When I was in Italy Britney Spears came out with a new song that makes a pretty hard hitting point:
You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti?
You want a Maserati? You better work b*tch
Like her, or not, the fact that she’s able to keep making hits and always stand up after falling down, is something to appreciate.
It’s way too easy to look at someone who has achieved a level of success and discount how they got to where they are. It’s much easier to criticize when you’re sitting on your couch just watching others do things. Not that it applies to Britney but the phrase “overnight success” is comical because almost every time you research the background of that “overnight” success you find out they actually were working for 10+ years becoming great at what they do before they were discovered.
Guess what? If there is something you want in your life – you’re going to have to go and get it. You’re going to get bruised along the way. You’re going to trip and maybe even fall, you might get lost, but you will only get where you want to go, if you keep going. I relearned this and some other important lessons when I was trekking in Italy with my Dad in September (Which I also talked about in When Your Real Estate Business is Stormy.
Here’s 3 Life Lessons Learned Trekking in Tuscany
1. Stop to appreciate how far you’ve come
Every morning we’d set out with a map, a backpack with water, snacks and our camera, and a destination. The daily treks from village to village ranged in distance from 12 – 18km most days (assuming you did not get lost or do any extra exploring, of course). With that much walking in the rolling hills of Tuscany it would be easy to just stay focused on where you’re going, but that can also be overwhelming. Pausing to look back and see just how many steps you’ve already taken can give you a big boost. (This is a photo looking back on San Gimignano as I walked my way to Monteriggioni. I had so far to walk at this time that I couldn’t even see the castle walls of Monteriggioni yet. Dad didn’t walk with me that day as his foot needed a rest – so I was trekking solo that day.)
I see this a lot with our coaching clients. They have this big goal – maybe it’s to buy 3 rental properties in the year. Six months into working with us, they haven’t bought a property yet and they are frustrated. They are beating themselves up because they don’t think they’ve made progress. When we stop and look back at where they have come from though we always find enormous progress like: picking a market and a neighbourhood to focus on, becoming an area specialist, setting up a great team, getting financing in order and possibly even raising money. Bottom line is they are now ready to do 3 deals and now just have to find them. The reality is that they had a 20km journey to travel when they set out and they’ve actually done 12km of the trip. Just because they haven’t reached their final destination they think they haven’t done anything. That’s not the case.
It’s important to have your eye on your goal AND to always stop and appreciate the steps you have taken.
2. Sometimes You Get Lost – It’s Part of the Wonderful Adventure of it All
The instructions and the maps weren’t always so helpful. In fact, at times, I think they intentionally made it confusing to challenge you, and I actually liked it that way. Other than when I encountered a snake in a forest – which I really did NOT like – I actually had fun getting lost. At one point, after spending 40 minutes walking on the wrong trail only to then set out, again on another wrong trail for 25 minutes, I sat down, ate a croissant and just stared at the olive groves and vineyards all around me.
I was a little nervous as this was one of my solo days and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if I didn’t figure it out. I was also feeling so grateful for the quiet time. There were no cars, no people, no emails, and no interruptions. It was me, one of the most amazing croissants I’d ever eaten, the sunshine and Tuscany! (The picture to the left isn’t that moment but it was later that day when I was seated on a rock with Monteriggioni in the distance … finally!)
If every step had been easy I wouldn’t have appreciated the journey nearly as much. If I hadn’t have gotten lost, I wouldn’t have taken a breather. I would have kept trekking. I remember that moment sitting on the hillside looking at my map wondering where the heck I was supposed to go more vividly than most of the 5 days of trekking. And I remember it fondly as part of the adventure that I loved so much.
And after that rest I looked at the map, pulled out my compass and knew exactly what I had done wrong. It all became clear. I just needed a little rest. It’s like that in your business and life too. When you feel lost, the best thing you can do is take a rest and just appreciate that this moment is part of the adventure and really is what makes the journey exciting and interesting. After taking the rest, things become clear. If you try to push through – you’ll just feel more tired, probably stay lost and never really get to where you want to go.
3. Everything is Better When You’ve Worked for It!
Do you notice how water tastes better after a workout? It’s the same water you always drink, but you’ve worked hard and now it just seems that much more thirst quenching. Food – any food – tastes better when you’ve worked hard all day. Getting my book to #1 on Amazon felt so much sweeter because I’d been told my book wouldn’t sell and that I didn’t have a strong enough marketing platform for the publisher. I had to work crazy hard to get the book out into the world, but I’m not sure I would have appreciated the book’s success without the struggles. The victories feel so much more significant when you have to work crazy hard to earn it.
I think you should WANT to work hard in your life … not just for the material things Britney Spears is singing about … but because life is just better when you’ve earned it.
It’s a bit like my suggestion that you need a bigger purpose in your real estate investing business besides making money. Money is nice but it’s not the actual reward to building your wealth and generating an income from real estate. Financial options in your future, security that you have something to live on in your retirement if there are no pensions, comfort that you can help your kids with their university costs, or the knowledge that a stronger financial position allows you to help more people and give back in greater ways – these are all really powerful reasons to push forward and will be the things that taste oh so sweet because you worked hard to create it in your life.
Happy Investing …
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