Unlock Your Peak Performance
Why Understanding What’s Important to YOU is the Key to Property Success
How are your property goals and plans shaping up so far this year? As we’re already halfway through 2016, Jayne Owen suggests checking progress and reviewing what it will take to boost performance and results.
Why do some people become phenomenally successful in property while others fall by the wayside? As we can see from the Graduation Day! article, there is no doubt that some make massive progress in a few months but there are plenty more for whom it feels that whatever they do, it just ain’t happening. Life gets in the way, deals fall through, delays frustrate, time gets eaten up, hands are thrown in the air in annoyance or frustration. The Other Half and I can certainly relate to this – we’ve had some maddening drought periods in our investing journey – and if this describes your property life right now, perhaps it’s time to work out WHY things aren’t working out as you had hoped.
Ant and I were delighted to speak recently with Dr John Demartini, one of the world’s foremost experts in personal development. One of his key messages is being aware of and living true to your most important values, a subject covered in depth in his book The Values Factor.
In this article, he explains why this is crucial to success and also illustrates how to align your values with your property goals. In addition, over this article and in Part 2 next month, property people from beginners right up to long-time professionals share how their highest values have led to their success.
What are values?
In property circles, you often hear about the need for a big WHY to drive you forward and keep you going when things get tough. That WHY = your intrinsic motivation. You can of course argue that everyone is extrinsically motivated when they start, but to find the key to sticking with it and succeeding, we’re going to have to dig deeper. Dr Demartini explains how inspiration and motivation works.
“You live by a set of priorities, a set of values. These are the things that are the most important to the least important in your life. They are unique to you, like a fingerprint, and determine how you perceive the world, how you make decisions and how you act. So you are spontaneously inspired to act on and fulfil your very highest intrinsic value – the thing that’s most important in your life. But as you go down your list of values, from most to least important, you require ever greater degrees of extrinsic motivation and things to incentivise you to act.”
He cites the example of a teenage boy who plays video games all day and into the night, often to the irritation of his parents. Nobody has to remind him to do it but getting him to clean his room or do his homework is a different matter. These might be important to his parents, but he will need an incentive to do those things because they are far less important to him than getting to the next level on the video game.
You might wonder where values come from. Nature vs nurture is a long-debated psychological topic but values begin to emerge at a very early developmental stage. Children have an intrinsic set of values but as they grow, they absorb the values of the people around them – parents, the wider family, social circle, teachers, and so on – and combine them with their own. To some extent this is normal development, but sometimes the external influence can be too strong. In addition, what is important to people changes as they grow and develop, so by the time that video-game-playing teenager is 30, his highest value might be having a secure income to support his young family rather than improving his score on the latest game.
Getting confused about your values is common. Therapy rooms are filled with people trying to live to other people’s values instead of following their own path. Furthermore, many confuse values with what Dr Demartini refers to as ‘social idealisms’: terms like honesty or integrity, principles that they feel they ‘should’ embody. What matters, he emphasises, is what is showing up and being demonstrated in your life … “because your actions are way more powerful than words.”
Discover your values
Answer the following questions (from The Values Factor, reproduced with permission) to get an idea of what your true values are. (Click here to do this exercise on Dr Demartini’s web site.) Give three answers for each question.
1. How do you fill your space? You will keep things that are really important to you close around you, and push the less important away by consigning them to the bin, attic, garage or charity shop.
2. How do you spend your time? You always find time for what’s really important to you and run out of time for the things that are not. How much time do you spend looking for deals?
3. How do you spend your energy? When doing things connected to your highest values, your energy skyrockets; if not, you’re drained. Do you have more or less energy at the end of the day when working on property projects?
4. How do you spend your money? If you value shoes or beer more than property, you’ll walk on or drink your money for the immediate gratification those things give you instead of making your money work for you.
5. Where are you most organised in your life? You are ordered and organised in your highest values and chaotic in the lowest. Do you have an immaculate kitchen but a cluttered workspace (or vice versa)?
6. Where are you most disciplined and reliable?You won’t get around to doing things low on your list of values unless someone is pushing you, whereas you won’t need any prompting to get up and work on what’s really important to you.
7. What dominates your thoughts about how you would love your life to be that shows evidence of it coming true?
8. What do you visualise most about how you would love your life to be that shows evidence of it coming true?
9. What do you most often say to yourself about how you would love your life to be that shows evidence of it coming true?
These three questions will help you reveal the evidence of what is showing up in your life from what you focus on.
10. What do you most often talk to others about? You will naturally find yourself turning the conversation towards what is most important to you.
11. What inspires you? These are the things that bring a tear to your eye and render in you a sense of profound satisfaction.
12. What goals stand out in your life and have stood the test of time? What long term goals do you have evidence for, that show you are persistently and consistently bringing them into reality?
13. What topics do you love to study, read about or research? What section do you make a beeline for in a bookshop or on Amazon? What magazines do you subscribe to? What non-fiction TV programmes are you attracted to?
Find the common thread in your answers – the ones that keep being repeated. The three most frequent in order of frequency will reveal your three highest values, giving you a real indication of what your life demonstrates is most important to you, rather than what you think is important but is in fact fantasy and/or other people’s ideals.
Aligning with your values
“When you set goals that are aligned and congruent with your top three highest values, you increase the probability of achieving them. People are disciplined, reliable and focused on their highest values; they will procrastinate, hesitate and become frustrated with the lower ones. When you set a goal truly aligned to what is important to you, you will excel and be much more likely to do extraordinary things.”
That sounds straightforward, so why would anyone set a goal that subscribes to a lower rather than a higher one? This is where external influence comes in. You might have adopted the values of people around you, or be trying to emulate someone who has a completely different value system.
In property circles, people are often encouraged to list the six people closest to them as a financial barometer. If you want to build wealth and the people closest to you are more interested in beer and football or clothes and shoes, it’s likely to be a tougher journey than if you are surrounded by people who are also building wealth through property. Now if those relationships are more important to you than building wealth, the truth is that succeeding in property may not be one of your highest values.
“In your lower value systems, you constantly need to be reminded to do things and will keep being distracted by the true higher values, and you end up sabotaging what you think you want. In reality, you keep going back to what’s really important and valuable to you.”
Every decision you make is based on what – at the deepest level – you believe will be of greatest advantage to your highest values. But you can actively change those values. Dr Demartini explains a process he applies in his Breakthrough Experience Programme:
“I show people there are only two ways to achieve fulfilment. (1) They can either set goals that are completely congruent with their highest values, or (2) they can change their values to match the goals they say they want.”
Option (2) involves stacking up the pleasures and benefits of the goal as reasons to raise the value to the top of the list (eg, more freedom and autonomy from investing in property), while at the same time stacking up the drawbacks and pains associated with a current higher value as counter-reasons to move it lower down the list (eg, buying an expensive new car prolonging the long hours in your current job).
How does this apply to a goal of financial independence?
“If I ask 1,000 people in an audience how many want to be financially independent, everybody has their hand up. If I ask how many are financially independent, most put their hands down. Typically, less than 1% achieve it because so many have a fantasy about a lifestyle where they spend money on consumables and depreciables instead of buying assets. They have a fantasy about financial independence but the values they have will not get them there. So unless there is a shift in values, the probability of them becoming financially independent is very low.”
To bring this around to property, those who are successful will have values, such as wealth development, that are truly congruent with development and investment strategies and with taking the necessary action steps. Without that congruence, you have a whim not a goal. It’s those values that will keep you motivated to do what it takes. Linking what you need to do to your highest values will immediately increase your productivity and results.Ironically, the first introduction to property investing for many is seeing people who are (or appear to be) living with the trappings of success – cars, places in the sun, fancy clothes, jewellery and the like – but this all about the consumable rather than the investable. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to values, but it is important to realise that values based on consumable items won’t necessarily make you fulfilled or help you realise your dream of financial freedom.
Buying consumables and depreciables can be attributed to immediate gratification, which will take you further away from the financial freedom you aspire to. Turning attention to true assets that will appreciate demands long term vision and patience. “The second you have a real value of mastering property investment, not just a whim but a true value, you will stop seeking immediate gratification. You will realise that buying properties will give you a greater life in the long run.”
How to ensure success
Naturally, we want to know whether the few who do achieve financial freedom have a common set of values that we can emulate, or whether each individual works in alignment with their own, yet different, values. The answer is not straightforward; it can depend where they excel. A professional sportsperson, for example, may have mastering their sport as their highest value, then go on to earn £millions … but if they don’t have a value of building wealth, their agent will likely pocket most of that money and the retired sports-person ends up having to do another job at the age of 40. So to become financially independent the hierarchy of values has to include wealth-building.
This is a big learning curve for the majority of the population. Few are exposed to wealth development at an early age and it is certainly not taught at school. Our current school system was largely put together in the industrial age. “At that time, society needed drones and worker bees, not leaders, and the educational system was set up for drone-building. There was no entrepreneurial development or wealth-building system, because society just wanted workers.”
Consequently, people have to make a conscious decision to become autonomous and learn how to do it, which means breaking out of the norm, developing a different attitude and subscribing to different values. Many struggle with the transition, feeling guilty or unworthy of being wealthy, but consider it this way: can you really help humanity if you are poor? By building wealth you will be in a much stronger position to contribute to society and Dr Demartini reminds us,
“One of the greatest services to people, believe it or not, is providing homes – that’s one of the foundations of human society.”
The more engaged you are with what you do, the more successful you will be because you are fulfilling your highest values and so more driven to do the work involved. This observation comes from a Japanese study on degrees of engagement in corporations, but the same is true for property and building wealth. A sobering statistic from this study reveals that the average corporation has an average employee engagement level of only 56%, which renders the business only halfway productive. Companies with a high percentage of people who can’t wait to get to work flourish because they have energy and vitality. When you are in alignment and love what you do, you are more productive and inspired.
But if you aspire to property and realise that wealth development is not one of your top three values, you will likely have to realign your values to match that investing goal. Of course, that means you have to know and state exactly what that goal is. It might be £50,000 equity or four HMOs – but go deeper. What is important to you about achieving that goal? For example, four HMOs might mean having enough income to be able to give up a hated job and spend more time with your family; a buy-to-sell refurbishment project might mean opportunity to make money through creative expression.
True wealth, however, is about more than money in the bank. By aligning our values with what we do on a daily basis we are far more likely to become fulfilled people – and more inspiring to be around! That sounds like a win/win for everyone.
When there is congruence between goals and values, fulfilment goes up; if there is no congruence, fulfilment and meaning in life go down and immediate gratification goes up.
“Wisdom is knowing what your values are then setting goals and prioritising your day according to those highest priorities. That way, you will get the most out of life. Learn the art of delegating the lower priority tasks to others who are inspired by them, to liberate you to work on whatis most inspiring to you. If you don’t fill your day with high priority actions that really inspire you and are meaningful to you, it will fill up with low priority distractions that don’t.”
That’s surely something we can all relate to.
According to Dr Demartini, if we’re not on track with our values, symptoms begin to arise as feedback with the sad reality that many end up leading “lives of quiet desperation.” You will have a good idea if you’re off track when you feel things ‘just aren’t right’, complain to all and sundry, get bad-tempered, or succumb to a series of minor (or not so minor) physical ailments. Life will feel full of ‘shoulds’, ‘ought tos’ and ‘musts’ instead of ‘want tos’ and inspiration. Envy or overwhelm can also be indicators when you compare yourself to others and believe they are smarter / more successful / wealthier / more influential / socially savvy / better looking / healthier / have a better relationship (the list goes on) than you. By doing this, you subordinate yourself to their values and become more susceptible to pleasing others, leading you to act from your lower values rather than your highest.
“The moment we do this and set goals that try to match them and not us, we immediately get a feedback system that I call the ABCDE’s of negativity:
A – Anger and Aggression
B – Blaming and Betrayal
C – Criticising and Challenging
D – Despair and feeling Depressed
E – Wanting to Escape and Exit our situation.
You can also add an ‘F’ for frustration. These are all signs that we are trying to be someone we’re not and setting goals that are not our own. However, as well as being influenced by others, sometimes we project our own values on to other people, which is also futile.
People cannot live in our values and we cannot live in theirs. Every decision we make is based on our own values so wisdom is knowing what our values are, and living congruently with them without either subordinating or superordinating ourselves to others.”
If you are struggling to meet your property goals, it is time to re-evaluate and check those goals align with your values. Even if you are well on track, understanding what drives you to succeed – or not – will be helpful for all your future goals, decisions and actions.
“There is an old proverb, ‘Know Thyself; Be Thyself; Love Thyself’. That’s the key – it’s simple but it’s true. Your identity revolves around your highest value; for example, my highest value is teaching so I identify myself as a teacher.”
When it comes to property investing, Dr Demartini points out that there are proven action steps to follow. You can find these in seminars and books (and of course in YPN!). Check each of the action steps for your chosen strategy against your highest values, and ask yourself how it will help you fulfil your mission of becoming a successful investor. Come up with 30 responses for each one. The reason to do that is to train your brain about the importance and benefits of the goal, and consequently increase the likelihood that you will actually go and do those steps. That in turn will maximise your investment returns.
“If people do that exercise, they would be astonished by the difference it would make in their performance.”
Tempting though it is to blunder on when things aren’t going well … pause. Take a little time, work out your values, and see whether the challenges are draining or inspiring. (Clue: it’s the inspiring ones that will get you where you want to be.) To repeatDr Demartini’s message, once you’ve done this exercise you’ll be astonished by the difference in your performance.
WHAT INVESTORS SAY: PAUL SMITH
My life has changed enormously over the past three years. During my early years, the message ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’ was hammered home to me, then life as a mechanical engineer and later MD of a major corporation was all about facts and figures. I guess I dismissed much of this personal development ‘stuff’. It took a long time to recover from that conditioning.
I read The Values Factor and did the exercises a while ago and started working directly with John earlier this year. Since then, life has grown almost immeasurably as I’ve developed clarity around my values and my financial position is growing with it. Is that coincidental?
Do I wish I had discovered this message earlier? Yes of course, but I achieved financial freedom despite not understanding the concept of values. Life events force you to re-evaluate and when my wife Aniko and I were both made redundant on the same day, we committed to two things. First, we wanted a stable home because we had moved around the world for years with corporate life. Second, we determined to never work for anyone else ever again. You can’t possibly have financial independence if your livelihood depends on somebody else so westarted three businesses, one of which was property investment. We carried on with all three until 2013 when we did the Progressive VIP course and focused on property.
My values have changed over the years and my top three now are education, wealth creation and family. I have satisfied the value of education in different ways over the years by teaching about other subjects, but now I doit through training and educating others to achieve financial freedom.
We naturally like or undertake activities that are in accordance with our highest values and they don’t feel like work. There might be other activities we don’t like but need to do to get us where we want to be and linking those to our highest values makes it much easier to do them. What is true for me is that I can only teach what I know about so over the past year, I’ve been systemising our property and other businesses to run without me, which is totally in line with my other high values of wealth creation and financial freedom, so that I can spend more time teaching others.
I am fortunate now to be able to combine my values through teaching – it ticks my boxes for wealth creation, education, property, stability and leaving a legacy for my family. That makes for a very fulfilled and satisfying life.
Paul has teamed up with Dave Ravenscroft to arrange for Dr John Demartini to run a two-day Breakthrough course in Glasgow on 13th-14th August.
To attend, quote YPN OFFER and receive a third day of training included in the price with Paul and Dave on the Monday. Both have experienced the deep impact of John’s work and will be sharing practical applications and business strategies specifically for property investors, to include serviced accommodation, HMOs and business systems.
Venue: 200 SVS, 200 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5RQ
Visit www.panevents.co.uk for more information. To book, contact Paul’s office on 01436 268020. Quote YPN OFFER to receive the third training day – and 10% off!
WHAT INVESTORS SAY: SUSAN ALEXANDER
I am a firm believer in being ethical, operating in a professional way, and where possible creating a ‘win/win’ scenario. These are part of my core values and have been pivotal in my success. I have always been drawn towards situations where I can help, support and empower individuals to grow and develop, and love having the opportunity to coach and mentor others to change their lives through property investment.
My other key values in life and business are: Trust, Independence, Positivity, Sense of Achievement and of course Love.
For me trust signifies honesty, loyalty, integrity, being reputable,respectful, fair and professional, with no hidden agenda... so basically, what you see is what you get. This has been intrinsic to my success with others. When trust breaks down, it can be very difficult to overcome and rebuild to continue a healthy relationship, as this goes against one of my highest values.
Having independence is a real sense of freedom, it gives me flexibility, choice and opportunities to do, see and experience what I want, when I want and in the way I want to. Property investment has been a great vehicle to create a platform for independence.
I have a great passion for living life to the full, and am a firm believer in the glass is half full. I love the fun things in life and beingsurrounded by positive like-minded individuals. One of my favourite words is ‘Fantastic’, as it keeps me thinking and feeling fantastic even if it’s not such a great day. Ask me how I am and, in the main, you will find my response is “I’m fantastic!”
Personal development has always been important to me: growing, developing, learning, and trying something new or enhancing stuff I already know. I love accomplishing things, whether that’s personally, in my businesses or my property portfolio. Time is extremely valuable to me and I have learnt to excel at cramming as many different, exciting and interesting things as possible into each and every day, week, month and year. By setting goals, no matter how big or small, and mini-targets along the way, not only do I get to fit lots into life, but also celebrate small steps achieved through the journey, have fun, and enjoy a great sense of achievement on reaching the end goal.
What gels all of these things together for me though is love; it’s fantastic to have all these values working for me, but having respect, support, and a sense of belonging through key relationships with my family, friends, and a great professional support network is fundamental. I am genuinely lucky and privileged to have a very loving and supportive partner, maybe more fortunate than most as she is one of the UK’s leading psychotherapists specialising in relationships, and is very good at keeping me balanced, grounded and connected to my values.
Susan is a successful Property Investor, Entrepreneur, Coach & Mentor, Business Woman, Founder of The Property Mentor (TPM), Host of YPN Manchester.