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Big Goals? Here’s How to Get Your Spouse or Partner on Board with Jay and Wendy Papasan

The BiggerPockets Podcast
74 min read
Big Goals? Here’s How to Get Your Spouse or Partner on Board with Jay and Wendy Papasan

Today’s show is centered around a big question we get ALL the time…

“How do I get my spouse/partner on board with my real estate investing goals?”

It’s the perfect time of year to think through exactly how to do that, and we have the perfect guests to offer some advice.

Jay and Wendy Papasan run an annual couples’ goal-setting retreat in Austin, Texas. Today, they walk us through the exercises they use to help couples (and business partners) confront uncomfortable questions and get on the same page.

Oh, and if you don’t know who Jay is, check out BiggerPockets Podcast 113: Becoming a Millionaire Real Estate Investor Using The ONE Thing with Jay Papasan and BiggerPockets Business Podcast 06: How to Manage Your Time Like a Millionaire with Jay Papasan.

Jay’s wife, Wendy, is a real estate broker who leads a high-performing team that’s expanded into four cities.

In this episode, you’ll learn how to initiate a goal-setting conversation with your partner, what kinds of settings work best for this exercise, what questions to ask, and which timelines to use.

Also, stick around through the end to hear Wendy’s tips on using leverage and a “not to-do list” to apply your time and energy more efficiently and be happier.

This is a profound episode with two real estate rockstars. If you enjoy it, do us a favor and share it with YOUR spouse or partner… or pass it onto a couple who you think might benefit. 

Download this one today, and make sure you’re subscribed to the show, so you won’t miss the next one!

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Brandon: All right. Jay and Wendy, welcome back to the podcast, Jay, and welcome, Wendy, to the BiggerPockets Podcast. Good to have you guys here.

Jay: Happy to be here. This is one of my favorite shows, so it’s always an honor to be here.

Brandon: Good. That’s awesome. Well, I didn’t tell you this earlier but I’m actually not even knowing that this interview was going to happen this week. Last week I was going through my audiobooks on Audible and I was like, “I need another book to read while I’m at the gym.” I pulled up The ONE Thing and I actually had been working all the way through it again the last week. I’m just like, “This is such a good book.” And then I’m like, “Oh that’s right. We’re interviewing Jay on the podcast.” I thought it was a very funny coincidence, I guess, or maybe subconscious. I’ve been prepping, I guess.

Brandon: But we’re not talking necessarily just about The ONE Thing today. We’re talking about the, I don’t know, the everything, the couple stuff, the goal stuff, going to a new year here. Just got out of the holiday season, kind of where to go from there. So before we get all into that business though, let’s hear from you guys on your story. Again, we’ve heard from Jay a little bit in the past, but I want to know a little bit about … For those who didn’t listen to that episode and that was episode, I don’t even know. Anybody else know what episode that was? It was a little while ago. Well, that’s all right. I’ll find it.

Jay: It was episode six of the business podcast. I can’t remember the episode number for the real estate.

Brandon: That’s all right. We’ll find it later. You’ve been on-

Wendy: It was a while ago.

Brandon: You’ve been on before. For those who were not there for that, who are you? How did you get into this real estate game? How did you guys meet each other? I’m curious of that. Kind of what do each of you do in your businesses?

Jay: Why don’t you start this time since that last episode?

Wendy: Okay.

Jay: How we met and what we do.

Wendy: Sure. Well, we met in a bar in New York, so that’s sort of exciting.

Brandon: Fancy. Did he use a pickup line? Did he use like-

Wendy: No, I kind of did. Yeah, I kind of did.

Brandon: Did you say, “Do you have a BAND-AID? Because I just skinned my knee when I fell for you.”

Wendy: No, I actually had the pickup line.

Brandon: Okay.

Jay: It was the second year, same birthday party, second year. First year the fireworks didn’t happen. The second year we’re walking across the street and Wendy goes, “Let trade IDs and see if the bouncer notices.”

Brandon: Smooth.

Wendy: The bouncer did not notice.

Brandon: That was good.

Wendy: Yeah. And the rest is history. We actually celebrated our 20-year anniversary this year.

Brandon: Wow.

David: Congratulations.

Brandon: 20 years. Congrats, guys.

Wendy: It takes 20 years to make a 20-year marriage.

Brandon: That is very logical. All right.

Jay: I moved to New York City. After we got married, we went on a five-month backpacking honeymoon and decided to move to Austin, Texas, and came down here without jobs. We did freelance and that was when she kicked me out of the house for not earning enough money. I was freelancing magazine writing and not doing too well.

Wendy: Well, here’s the reality is Jay was supposed to be writing all day and I would come home every day and he would be on the computer playing video games.

Jay: I’d already pitched all of my hard work.

Wendy: So I was like, “Your freelancing days are over. You need to get a job.”

David: I got to ask what games you were playing, Jay?

Jay: This is a while back. This is 2000. I think I was playing Diablo 2 or something.

David: Okay. It wasn’t like Oregon Trail?

Jay: Not that far back. But yeah. I’d done my work that morning, didn’t know what else to do with myself. I’m not terribly social, so I’d just sit in the apartment and not do much productive. So she did me a favor. I applied for a bunch of jobs and ended up working at a very small real estate company called Keller Williams. Back then there were 27 employees and only 6700 agents. Within a couple years, started working with the founder, Gary Keller. That’s where the books started. Today it’s the largest real estate company in the world.

Brandon: Yeah. You guys are massive. You guys are both pillars in that organization. Everybody knows who you are. I like dropping your name at parties. I’m like, “Oh yeah. Jay and Wendy, good friends of mine.” Everyone’s like, “Oh my gosh.” It’s a pretty big deal.

David: He does do that too. Often.

Brandon: Every day.

David: Every time there’s an awkward silence, I just know here comes the Papasan bomb.

Brandon: “Hey, do you guys know the Papasans?”

Jay: Real estate.

Wendy: It’s so weird.

Jay: Wendy got into the real estate thing 10 years ago, right? About 10 years?

Wendy: Yeah, yeah. So I actually got into real estate when Jay wrote The Millionaire Real Estate Investor. I had quit my job in marketing and we had just had our two babies. I was kind of looking for something to do. So Jay wrote The Millionaire Real Estate Investor and that’s when we started to buy investment properties. When my son started kindergarten a few year later, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do for myself so I thought, “Well, I’m going to get my real estate license to save money on investment properties.” So yeah. I ended up working part-time and selling 18 houses that first year. That was 10 years ago. Last year we sold-

Brandon: That’s a lot of houses. Isn’t that a lot of houses for a first-timer?

Wendy: Kind of. Yeah. Working part-time.

Jay: For a first year, yeah.

Wendy: And then last year we sold about 350 houses.

Brandon: Wow. All right.

Jay: The reason I put that out, it’s like I went from being Jay to, “Oh, you’re Gary’s co-author,” to now, “Oh, you’re Wendy’s husband.”

Brandon: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.

Wendy: Jay’s helped me a lot along the way.

Brandon: The Millionaire Real Estate Investor was a fantastic book, Jay. That was one of the early ones that got me started with real estate. I know it’s one of the most common books mentioned here on the podcast when we ask people, “What’s your favorite real estate book?” So you did something right. In fact, I’m pretty sure, actually I’m positive it’s mentioned far more than all of my books and David’s books combined. So you did something right. That and Rich Dad, Poor Dad are the books that everybody labels as the best real estate books ever.

Wendy: MREI is great because it’s very tactical.

Brandon: Yes, yes. And very much so. Of course, I recommend everyone go out and read that. But then later, Jay, you wrote alongside Gary Keller, The ONE Thing, which became just a massive international hit.

Wendy: How many copies now? Almost two million?

Jay: Yeah. The copies that just hit our warehouse had two million copies sold both [inaudible 00:07:58].

Wendy: I mean how many books have ever sold that many copies? Not that many.

Jay: I don’t know the answer to that. I know that the number of business books that have sold more than a million copies, it’s many 20 or 25 in the last 20 years. Every author wants that book, right? We did our best job. I know that it’s hard work and then it just kind of takes off.

Brandon: Well, and I think I said this when you were on the show the first time. I said The ONE Thing is the only book to that point I’ve ever read all the way through and got to the end and went back and just started immediately after. I just read it twice through and I’ve since read it 10 times. The reason why is because I said at the time I was like, “This book is my one thing. If I can just get this one concept down, then everything else in my life becomes easier and no longer necessary.” Just that concept. So I just read it over and over. In fact, I’m rereading it right now.

Brandon: Again, like I said, I’m rereading it right now because if I can just nail that concept of focus and say no to things and increasing my productivity-

Wendy: You can never hear it enough.

Brandon: Yeah. You can never hear that stuff enough.

Wendy: You can never hear it enough. I mean-

Brandon: Really good reminders.

Wendy: … you can’t hear it enough.

Jay: Simple ideas that are hard to live, that dipping back in. Every time I teach it, I’m reminded that I got to live it too. It’s tough sometimes to remember to be focused on the things that matter most.

Brandon: Yeah. So true.

David: If you guys want to hear more about that, you can check out Jay on the BiggerPockets Business Podcast with Jay Scott, Jay and Jay. They actually went into this pretty deep. I remember I was actually taking a run in the mountains listening, “This is good.” I don’t know how we got Jay to open up this much. He’s vulnerable. He’s talking about ways he didn’t do this very well. It was things that are difficult to talk about and hard to acknowledge that sometimes saying no is the best thing you can do and it may hurt people’s feelings and it may make you appear to be rude, but really it’s the right thing to do.

David: Sometimes the other person needs to hear it too. In particular, you talked about how you got the same question so many times, and so you made a video to answer that question. It takes some courage to send someone that video because you know that people will take that and be offended by it. But they don’t need to talk to you. They need to watch that video. Honestly, if they’re not willing to watch the video, they’re probably not willing to do whatever it was you were going to tell them to do. There’s an analogy that I’ve spoken before. When I was in first grade we had these little eggs in an incubator.

David: When they finally started to hatch, every little kid wants to get in there and open the egg. They want to help the baby chickens that are peeping. The farmer came into the class and he said, “If you do that they will die. They need the strength that it takes to get out of that egg for their lungs to work. So by helping them and making it easier, you’re actually killing them.” I think about that every time I hear you or Gary or somebody teaching something about this is the right way to do it even though it’s difficult, that if you make it too easy on the people who want you to, then they’ll fail. So I thought that was a great episode.

Jay: Did you just say that when you think of me you think of dead chickens?

David: Baby chickens. On the way to death maybe.

Wendy: You’re the farmer though. You’re the farmer.

Jay: I get to be the farmer. Okay. Good, good.

David: There you go. Yeah, you’re the farmer. Wendy, thank you for bailing me out there. I’m so glad you’re here.

Brandon: All right. One of the reasons why we wanted to have you guys on today again even though you’ve been on … Again, Jay, you’ve been on twice now, well, BiggerPockets and the BP Business show, is because, one, because we haven’t had the pleasure of talking in-depth with Wendy. But also because you guys teach a lot of goal-setting and couple goal-setting stuff. You have even a goal-setting retreat, isn’t that right?

Wendy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jay: That’s right.

Wendy: Yep.

Brandon: Yeah. I want to because I couldn’t make it this year or last year and I’ve wanted to go really, really badly. I thought, “Well, let’s just bring them here and do it.” How many days? It’s like a two-day event?

Jay: It’s a two-day event and it’s based on a two-day habit that Wendy’s the origin story on this. We’ve tried to figure out how many years we’ve been doing it.

Wendy: Probably 15 we think, about 15.

Brandon: We’re going to cram two full days of work into the next hour of this show. You got to talk really quickly. No, tell us about this thing, this habit you guys do for the last X amount of years.

Wendy: Well, so it really started probably about 12 years ago when our kids were little. I think for me, I wasn’t working. I was doing the investing stuff. I really wanted us to get away and figure out where we were going, what we were doing. Also we’d had two babies in 15 months, so we were somewhat disconnected as a couple. So we got a babysitter to watch our kids for a couple of nights which, of course, when you have little children it’s a huge deal. We got a little retreat in the Hill Country outside of Austin. I created this long list of questions, which I think was terrifying for you.

Jay: It scared my pants off. There’s stuff like, how do you feel about our love life? Do we talk about money enough? It was a lot of, I thought, potentially dangerous questions.

Wendy: Jay thought he was in trouble.

Jay: I did.

Brandon: That’s funny.

Wendy: So we created this long list of questions and that became the foundation for a working partnership/marriage/parenting partnership that’s really carried us through the last 12 years.

Jay: If you think about best practices in business, there’s a lot of things that we do as business people and you wonder. What we were doing is a leadership retreat. But we were doing a leadership retreat for our family. Executives do this. They go to some golf resort. They get out of their element and they go to get perspective on their business together. They get on the same page and they have a better year the next year than last. This is no original idea. But we stumbled on this and then started doing it and treating it like a leadership retreat.

Jay: I just remember those first few years. It was like some of the first nights we’d ever spent away from our kids. So it was, one, a real treat for us.

Jay: But that little sense of just having that time for ourselves. The basic pattern that emerges is the first night we usually go out to dinner and we treat it like a date.

Wendy: Relax.

Jay: We just talk without notes. We might have a phone out or something. Talk a little bit about what we want for the next year. We often, because we love to travel, we’ll brainstorm vacations.

Wendy: But not that first night.

Jay: Sometimes.

Wendy: Okay.

Jay: I can remember actually building a list of all the places we thought we’d want to go in our life over that dinner.

Wendy: We did. Yeah.

Jay: That’s one of the ones that stuck out for me because it was fun. And then the next day we get our laptops out and we just start breaking it down.

Wendy: We do the work.

Jay: We had a bunch of questions. In the beginning it was a Word doc and people would ask us for it and we’d share it. Then it was a Google doc that we would share. And then eventually three years ago we just came up with the idea with The ONE thing training company. It’s like why don’t we just host a goal-setting retreat? We’ll use the same formula and we’ll host it. So it’s kind of organically become a thing. Because we’ve been doing it, I’m looking at our goals, our first year that we recorded them together was 2003 that I have a record of. In sometime maybe 2007, ’08, or whatever, we started doing a retreat.

Jay: Every year we just add a new component. So we kind of walk you through the things that we want to talk about that I’ll just say the benefit of this is not just getting out of your element and getting fresh eyes on your marriage or your partnership. It’s this idea of bridging the gap. We’re both entrepreneurs. I have a job that I run businesses. Wendy runs a business. Most couples, there’s an entrepreneur and there’s the person that’s kind of the ragdoll to lag around. The entrepreneur’s got the crazy idea and they’re all excited and, “Oh my gosh. We’re going to buy an investment property.” Or, “Oh my gosh. We’re going to do this business thing.”

Jay: The other person is being dropped into that, kind of like being dropped into a combat zone. They didn’t sign up for that necessarily. I think that people get the most upset when things that they don’t expect happen. They’re surprised. This idea of let’s get on the same page for next year, takes a lot of those surprises away. So I think the number one benefit, it gave us a framework for talking about why we’re going where we’re going, why it’s important to us so that when I say I want to buy a ranch, it’s not coming out of the blue. It’s not just an idea. We’ve been talking about that for years.

Wendy: Yeah. Especially on the financial side because so many disagreements that people have are about money. For the entrepreneurs out there, they might have a really clear vision of what that looks like and they might want to own five rental properties in five years, but perhaps their spouse doesn’t really understand that or understand even the why behind it. So when you can break away and talk about why do you want to do that? Okay, well, for me that’s financial security in the future. Having that really intimate discussion because most of us, we just never take the time to really think about what we want or where we want to go. We especially don’t take the time to talk with our spouse about it.

David: Yeah. You know-

Brandon: Go ahead. Go ahead, dude.

David: No, you go ahead.

Brandon: Okay. Well, I’ll take it.

Jay: David, did the …

David: Yeah. Thank you, Jay, for noticing. Brandon never does.

Brandon: I didn’t notice that hand pointing. I was going to say that probably one of the number one questions I get, I mean the most popular question I get is, do I need an LLC? But probably the second most popular question I get is how do I get my spouse on board with my real estate ambitions? I hear it over and over and over. Everyone’s got this complaint of, “I really want to do this, but my spouse or my girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever, they’re not really into it. They don’t really understand what I’m doing.” So what I love about you guys saying this, when I see those couples and I was that way in the very beginning as well.

Brandon: I had all these ambitions of here’s where I’m going. Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m all excited about it. The problem was Heather didn’t even know what was going on in my head. All she would hear is just little bits and pieces of here’s where we’re going and that just scares the crap out of anybody if it’s just like, “Hey, we’re doing this thing we’ve never done before and trust me.” So I love it. You’re saying, “Let’s be preemptive about this and involve the spouse or the significant other into the conversation.”

Jay: A few years ago, maybe three years ago, Jeff and I were teaching a class on goal-setting. A thousand people in the room, it’s in February. I said, “How many of y’all set goals for this year?” Every hand in the audience went up. Then I asked them, “How many of you involved your significant other in making those plans?” And all but four hands in the room went down. The energy, it was just palpable. Everybody went internal. So I think it’s something that is very common. One person has taken ownership of planning for the partnership. What they failed to do is communicate why those plans are where they are and why it’s important, not just to them but to the couple that you do know.

Jay: Getting on the same page, that’s where you’re saying the why. It’s not just because you’ll be financially secure, but maybe I really want freedom. By the way, what we’re both going to get, I’m going to get my security and you’re going to get the freedom to make choices. We both benefit. Honestly, that other partner needs to have a chance to ask the tough questions that you may not be able to answer. You owe it to them.

David: That’s one of the things I wanted to comment on is I don’t know why it’s so difficult to do this. There’s just something about human nature that resists having a difficult conversation. I noticed this in my real estate agent business first where particularly with buyers, you would start working with somebody. You’d get under contract and they would just go crazy. The stress, the anxiety, the uncertainty, it hits them all at one time. Things go wrong and every time … I started practicing Jocko Willink’s concept of extreme ownership. So everything that went wrong, I would look and say, “What did I do wrong? How could I have done it better?”

David: The answer 100% of the time was I should have prepared them they would experience this. This was a part of the process. These are the emotions they will go through. This is how we’re handling it, and I didn’t. So I put together a presentation that every buyer that wants to work with us comes into my office and I give them where I tell them, “Here is everything we’re going to do. This is how appraisals work. This is how inspections work. This is how different offer types work. Here’s how we show you homes.” I give them a chance to ask me the questions that they feel like they need to get.

David: What happens is we get on the same page. There’s difficult conversations that come up. They may ask me about commission. They may ask me about, “Well, why are you not showing me homes somebody else is?” It gives me a chance to explain why this is better and it also gives them a chance to, “I know what’s coming.” I’ve noticed just the anxiety levels come down so far and my conversion levels skyrocket. When we don’t do that, it’s just a crap shoot. I’m just hoping this works. That’s a terrible strategy to be based on hope. I tell people you can’t base your business on smoking hopium and just hoping that things work out.

David: What you’re describing is the very same principle in place, but it’s for something bigger than just the real estate transaction. You’re getting your spouse on the same board. You’re telling them, “Here’s what to expect. Here’s where the spikes are going to come. Here’s where we could do well.” Just in general in life, it is so much better when you front load the process and you sit down and have the difficult conversation first as opposed to, “I don’t like that icky feeling. Let’s just start and we’ll deal with it when it comes.” It’s like trying to fix a flat tire while the car’s still moving. It’s very difficult.

Wendy: Yeah. Well, I think that’s why the goal-setting retreat is so great is because it’s really just a framework for success. It’s facilitated, so a lot of people just don’t know where to start. So they can take two days away, first of all. They’ve got the time that they need to devote to each other and to thinking. Most people just run around all the time and we hardly think, we just do. And then we also give them a framework by giving them questions to answer with each other, by introducing speakers. So I think that’s exactly what you’re saying. It’s like let’s give someone a framework for success.

Jay: I’ll just add. You made me think. Wendy and I went to a training with Keith Cunningham. I don’t know if y’all have had him on your show. If you haven’t, you must. He’s a brilliant, brilliant mind. He said two things in that training that I carry. One of them was his and I think one of them is [inaudible 00:22:23]. I don’t know whose is whose. But all failures of leaderships are ultimately failures of courage. I connected that to the next statement which is nothing changes until what’s unspoken is spoken. I thought about in our marriage and my leadership, It’s when I didn’t set the proper expectations with people is when I often had the biggest regrets.

Jay: It’s almost always a failure of courage because I didn’t want to have that what I thought would be a confrontational conversation. My partner, Gary, calls those care frontations. Because I care so much, we need to talk about this. It’s just really important. That’s a big deal. I’ll tell you the number one fear for people, whether we give them the free stuff, there’s a free resource. You don’t have to pay to go to an event. I want people to do this for their relationships and for themselves. But the number one fear is that people think, “Okay, we’re going to go together and we’re going to plot out our five-year goals and our one-year goals. What happens if we discover that we’re moving apart?”

Jay: That’s the number one fear we have to address with couples who are contemplating this. I’m just going to tell you. If you plan on being married for any amount of time at all, you will move apart. The key is to communicate why that’s happening and understand it. If Wendy needs more space, she’s got to go start something, start a new hobby. She’s needs to do this thing. Physically moving away from me, that’s great. If I understand why that’s important to her, I can support her and not feel like it’s a personal affront. But if you don’t talk about it, what you’ll see is just her moving away.

Jay: You’ll start filling that gap with maybe not the best motivations. It’s a real gift, this idea of having these conversations. Some of them are a little uncomfortable, but every year you do it, it gets easier and easier and the conversations get more powerful.

David: I want to ask you, Brandon. I know for Jay and Wendy, they both work in real estate. They’re both getting the same teachings. They’re both mentored by similar people. So they’re on the same wavelength just naturally because they’re in the same ecosystem. But you and Heather is very different. Heather is not involved in the business that you’re doing. She manages some of your rentals, but she’s not hearing the same things you’re hearing. I think that’s probably indicative of most couples, where you have one, like Jay said, that’s on fire. They’re an entrepreneur. And you have the other that really doesn’t understand any of that.

David: Who knows what they’re hearing when you say, “I want to buy an investment property?” They might be hearing you want to gamble our entire future on some crazy scheme.

Brandon: Exactly.

David: So can you share, Brandon, how you have navigated those waters with a spouse who definitely trusts you. I think that’s an amazing part of your and Heather’s relationship. But is it necessarily in the same waters that you’re swimming in?

Brandon: That’s a good question. Couple things come to mind. First of all, I always preach this anyway. As much as you can get your spouse on at least the same mindset as you, what I mean by that is early on I actually asked Heather to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, for example. She doesn’t have to dive deep into it. I just need her to understand where I’m coming from, so she can at least understand my thought process. I remember at the time I said to her, “I’ll read any book you want me to read. I’m just asking you to read this one. I’ll trade you. I don’t care. You could give me-”

David: Did she have you to read The Notebook?

Brandon: No, she had me read Twilight.

David: Okay.

Brandon: I read Twilight. True story. But she got it then. She understood it. Books and media and things, the podcast are a great way to do that. By the way, I also had her read The ONE Thing when I read that. I said, “Can you please read it? I need you to understand this concept because this is important to me.” We did the same thing. I don’t remember what she made me read that time. But anyway, that’s my first thought. Second thought is we do a goal-setting date. We haven’t done the retreat, which now I want to implement that as soon as I no longer have a four-week-old baby in the house.

Brandon: I love that one of the best things we do for five years now is every January 1st we go to the same restaurant. We generally sit in the same spot. We order the same meal. We talk three hours right near the ocean on the Washington coast. This will actually be the first year we’ll have to do it somewhere else because we’re not traveling back to Washington with the baby. We’re going to go somewhere on January 1st and we’re going to sit down with our goals. Where I’m going with that is every year we do kind of a similar thing. Actually, I want to dive deep into exactly what you guys talk about, but here’s what we do is we kind of go through again, what worked really well last year?

Brandon: What didn’t work? Where are we? How do we feel about our relationship right now? And then I say, “What would be cool to accomplish this year?” A couple examples of that, two years ago we wrote down we wanted to own a house in Hawaii within five years that we could have an extra unit to rent to family and friends or to give to family and friends. From that moment, we made that on January 1st. On July 12th or whatever, we closed on our home in Hawaii and we moved there with the extra unit, in fact, two extra units. Last January 1st, we set a goal. It sounds like a weird goal. We set a goal is we want to have a baby in this year. And then on November 18th, Wilder was born.

Brandon: We take these very seriously. The third thing, David, to kind of more directly answer it is I think people have a tendency to go into conversations of what do I want, because I did. I’m like, “Okay, I want to buy this many rentals. I want to buy another mobile home park this year. I want to do this.” And then when I got to her, I expected her to be like, “Okay, we should do this financially.” And she didn’t care. She had no goals financially. Her goal was like, “I want to drink a lot more water.” I was like, “Wait. Water?” She’s like, “Yeah. That’s one of the big goals is to drink more water.” I was like, “No, no.” We had to have a good goal. I’m like, “Come on. You got to have something.” She’s like, “No-”

Wendy: That’s one of my goals this year.

Brandon: Was it? Okay, yeah. “I want to drink more water.”

Wendy: It’s not a bad goal, Brandon, exactly. You need to drink a lot of water.

Brandon: And I need to drink more water. That’s one of my goals now this year. But my point, yeah, I naturally just wanted to go to the big epic real estate goals, but I had to remember. I have to remember that goals like, “I want to have a baby or I want to drink more water,” those are what’s important to her. So those are just as important as my goal of buying $50 millions of real estate. Anyway, that’s just how we do it.

Jay: I love that. One of the things that we struggled with when we were writing The ONE Thing is we had to define success. The subtitle’s The Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Success. How are we defining that? Is it monetary? Is it about jobs? We ended up saying success is getting what you want. The tough thing is a lot of people don’t ask the question and they’re not really clear about what they want. So I do think that’s a part of what you get to understand of what success looks like for your partner. If success for her is, “I want to feel healthy and have energy,” and success for you is, “I want this financial freedom and this sense of acceleration,” they’re both completely legitimate. They’re just different. Now you get the gift of understanding it.

Wendy: I would say that goal-setting is a muscle that you develop over time. I know that I sometimes forget that where I was at a point a long time ago when Jay and I first started setting goals because he worked inside of Keller Williams for 10 years before I did. So my mindset was pretty far behind him, to be honest with you. That idea of thinking bigger and wanting more for yourself and having a bigger life, that is not something that came naturally to me. I didn’t grow up that way. My parents didn’t think that way.

Wendy: So just a reminder for those of you out there who maybe do have that big mindset, maybe your partner is still at the baby stages of it. You could look up in 10 years and they could year over year just be thinking bigger and bigger as the decade goes on.

Brandon: On that note, could I ask you guys a question? I had a buddy recently ask me, well, not ask me. He told me he’s having problems with his wife in that they sat down to talk goals. He’s like, “Okay, let’s talk goals.” He had, “I want to travel to these many countries. I want to do this. I want to do that.” He had all these big, “I want to retire at 35.” And then he asked her what she wanted and he said the only thing she could come up with was, “I’d like to only work six days a week instead of seven.” He’s like, “Think bigger than that.” She’s like, “That just sounds really tough.”

Brandon: So in other words, they were on completely different mindsets on what’s possible. Is that okay? That’s the first question I want for you. Is that okay? If not, do you think, how do you get somebody’s mindset to that height, to think bigger and to think higher?

Jay: It’s totally okay and I think it’s probably normal. Again, the discovery you get is understanding where you both are. So great. Work with that. It’s one thing to think big, it’s another thing to take action on it. One of the last things we did at this last goal-setting retreat is we encouraged people and we’re getting ahead of things a little bit now, at least once a month come back together and revisit these goals. Don’t beat yourself up. Having an ongoing conversation in relationship with your goals is the first battle. So you might get there and say, “Hey, did you get the will done?” And you’re going to say, “No.” I’m going to be like high five because we’re still talking about it.

Jay: I can’t tell you how many times you look up and six months later, it actually wasn’t important and you’re not going to take action but we’re still talking about it. Most people do goals and they discover them on January 1 the next year when they open up the drawer to try to find some paper to write their goals down.

Wendy: I would say there’s a couple things you can do to help yourself think bigger because I do believe it is a muscle that you can grow. The first thing that you can do is with our family, we play this game called Think Bigger where we sit around the table and one person says something like Jay says, “I’m going to the grocery store.” And then our son will say, “Well, I’m going to the grocery store,” and we’ll say, “Think bigger.” And then, “I’m going to the grocery store on an elephant.” “Think bigger.” “I’m going to the grocery store on a rocket ship.” You get the idea. And then the other thing that you can do is there’s a-

Jay: I’m going to the grocery store to buy all the ice cream.

Wendy: Right.

Jay: There we go.

David: That sounds good.

Wendy: That’s really big. Yeah, on the rocket ship. And then there’s something in a class that we have inside of Keller Williams. It’s called a Financial Thermostat where you have to spend a certain amount of money. It’s like a check register where you start out with $100 and then you have to spend it on yourself and then you double it. You have to spend 200 and then you have spend 400. You get up into the millions because most people honestly haven’t thought that big because once you get beyond a couple hundred thousand dollars, all of your needs are taken care of. So you really have ask yourself, “Why do I want to make a million dollars a year? Do I want to start a foundation? Do I want to help kids with AIDS in Africa?” So I think those two things can be super helpful in just growing your mindset.

Jay: That’s a good corollary, just to be really brief. I’m sorry. It doesn’t even have to be about money. I don’t think we think big about our health. If you could live to 80, what would you want to do? If you could live to 90, what would you want to do? If you could live to 100, what would you want to be able to do? Focusing on bigger goals for all of those areas, if you don’t exercise that muscle, you’re not asking those questions. You don’t even get a chance to get bad answers in the beginning. But you have to just start asking those questions and start finding your answers.

David: That’s so good. I think when you guys were talking about meeting together, taking each of your goals, like Brandon mentioned Heather’s goal was to drink more water. His goal was to, I don’t know, buy seven mobile home parks. One of my favorite things to do is you’ve unpacked these goals into small little pieces and now you get to put this puzzle together where both people’s goals get met by the same action. That’s what I was thinking. When you get it all on the table and you can see it, your mind can look for creative ways to marry these goals together.

David: So maybe Brandon realizes, “I’m going to have to make 10 lead-generating phone calls every day to mobile home park owners. I don’t like doing that, but I don’t mind it when my mind is high on endorphins from a run that I just made.” So they come up with an agreement, probably not with a four-week-old baby, but you take a run together. You come back. Heather drinks a bunch of water. Brandon sits there while she drinks the water and makes sure she does. Then he makes his phone calls. Each of you have made progress towards your goals based on a small decision because there’s synergy with what you’re doing.

David: I guess that’s one thing that I’ve noticed that I really try. When I write out my goals and I say I want to do these four things this year. The next thing my brain does is it says, “Where’s there overlap between these goals that I can make progress on both of them with the same action?” I think successful people sort of do that naturally. People who feel like there’s never enough time in the day, you’re not thinking that way. You’re not realizing your goal and your spouse’s goal can be met through the same action if you impact them. Or even two of your own goals can be met if they’re similar enough.

David: When you do these types of workshops or retreats or just practices, your mind is really good at noticing that. It will find the pattern where, “Hey, if I just do this one thing,” one thing. It’s funny how that came up. “It will encompass five of these and I’ll make progress towards every single goal.” Do you guys have anything that you want to comment on that you noticed that working in your own lives?

Jay: I think it’s just true. I mean we call it lining up your dominoes. I know you know this probably from selling a lot of real estate. Someone will tell you, I mean it’s not like she’ll say, “I want to live in Hawaii for 12 months,” and I’m going to say, “I want to live in Alaska for 12 months.” I mean which sounds like, “We can’t make those things happen.” What you look for is if someone says, “I want a privacy fence,” well, would a house with no neighbors serve your … Is it privacy or the fence? So it forces you to have a conversation. They look like they’re oppositional, but is there some common ground?

Jay: “We both want to live above the 32nd latitude,” or whatever that is. That’s actually what we both want and we can find a place to triangulate what we both want. If you don’t have that on the table somebody, usually the more assertive partner, is saying, “I want to go live here,” and the other person is being quietly resentful over time.

Wendy: Well, and I think Jay mentioned our ranch. When Jay first mentioned it, I wasn’t too excited about it just because it just seems like a big waste of money, like a land yacht.

Jay: That’s what she calls it.

Wendy: And yet, five years ago, well really it was more than five years. It was about 10 years ago, it came up at the goal-setting retreat and there it was. “I want a house with … I don’t want land, with water on it,” just very specific. So year after year after year, Jay kept bringing up, “This is something that’s important to me.” I’m like, “No, we don’t really have money. It’s a big waste of money.” And then we had an opportunity five years into that where we had the opportunity to purchase a ranch with a partner essentially at half the cost. I think that if I didn’t know that about him and that it had been on his goals for so long, I probably would have just said, “I don’t think that’s going to work.”

Wendy: And yet because I knew that about him and there was an opportunity, it made a lot of sense. So I think that sometimes we’ve been thinking about things. When we bring them up to our spouse, they come out of left field. But if you’ve been discussing them year after year after year, then they really understand how important it is to you.

Jay: Actually, it’d only been on my goals for two years. I remember this very specifically.

Wendy: Okay.

Jay: And then the third year I found out one of my best friends was willing to go 50/50 and it took a lot of the financial burden and fear out of it. But we’d had two years of conversations about I wanted to have outdoor time with my kids.

Brandon: I was going to ask that. I was going to ask why did you want a ranch?

Jay: I grew up hunting in Tennessee. I started doing that again when I moved to Texas. My son asked if he could go with me. At that time he’s like eight years old, nine years old. I’m like I have to tell my friends, “Can I bring my son to the ranch with me?” They said, “Sure.” And then the next time they’re like, “We’re going to drink beer. We’re going to pay poker. It’s probably not appropriate.” It kind of bugged me because I have these vivid memories of going hunting with my dad. I’m not going to put on hunter orange and go stand in a field and hope I don’t get shot. I’d like to go on a private property where we can be safe and a great experience for him, and we were being denied that.

Jay: Because there’s no public land in Texas really to go do this. There’s not those options. So I was like, “We’re going to miss a part of my vision for our childhood together.” I also like it. So that was the motivation, but it really would have been a huge financial stretch for us at the time. But if I hadn’t had it on my goals … I actually went hunting with my buddy. We said, “What are you going to do next year?” I’ve got them with me because when we do these goals I carry them with me. “Here are my five-year goals and here are my one-year goals. What are yours?” We both shared the goal of a ranch property.

Brandon: That’s cool.

Wendy: So you’re just hunting and you just have your goals tucked under your-

Jay: It was a fishing trip.

Wendy: I’m getting clarity around that.

Jay: Well, I had my notebook with me, which I always have.

Wendy: Okay, yeah, in your backpack.

Jay: This guy’s a great business person and when we go hang out we often talk about … I’m sure if you go hang out with Josh or David, y’all talk about investing.

Wendy: Of course.

Jay: It’s just we love doing it, so it comes up even over beers. So we were just talking about our goals and he’s like, “Wow. I’d do that. I have to get on a plane no matter what where I live,” he lived in Washington state, “because I have to fly to go hunting. So why not just fly to Austin? That’d be great. It’s a win-win.”

Brandon: That’s awesome.

Jay: There’s huge benefits to thinking far out and having these conversations and getting on the same page.

Brandon: That’s great. That’s really, really good. Let’s dive into some of the specifics then of what you guys teach in the goal-setting. For those people listening to this maybe with a spouse, maybe without … Maybe I should start with that. Does this only work if you’re talking to a spouse or significant other? Can a person still listen to us in this show if they’re single? Does David have to leave right now?

Jay: oh yeah. There we go.

Brandon: Do you have to be married? Bye, David.

Jay: We have about a third of our audience every year are single people or people who just show up with their business partners. That’s why we do a collaborative thing about getting on the same page. We’re actually going to probably rebrand it next year. Instead of a couples goal-setting retreat to just be a goal-setting retreat because I want to make sure that we’re open to … The same process works for everyone. Fundamentally it’s about can you get out of your environment? That’s the whole idea of a retreat is very important. Can you get out of your environment?

Jay: There’s been years where we just got on Priceline and got the cheapest hotel downtown. We didn’t have to get on a plane. We barely had to pack a bag. It wasn’t expensive. But what I don’t want to do is be worried about walking the dog or doing the dishes or vacuuming. I want to be focused on my future. So get out of your environment. I believe pretty firmly that first night should be fun. So you have an element of fun and let’s talk about the things that bring us joy. Maybe let’s revisit this year. Let’s talk about our victories, whatever that is.

Wendy: Especially if you have an unwilling partner, maybe someone who’s like, “I do not know why I’m here.” That lays the groundwork for, “Let’s just be relaxed. Let’s have fun. Let’s ease into it.”

Jay: Yeah. Because it should be fun on that level. And then the next day we have for ourselves, and we’ve done it for other people, a series of things you want to do. I think the first thing we teach is go way out. In our goals we go at least five years out and we say, “What are our five-year goals?” If you remember in the one saying, it’s the only page I’ve memorized, page 114 in the US hardcover edition, there’s the seven circles. In five years, what do we want our spiritual life to look like? In five years, what about our physical health? What about our personal relationships and our personal life?

Jay: We kind of walk through that circle. It started for us financially because it was our investor journey. And then we started adding those other elements to it. You just have to ask the question. What does our spiritual life look like? On the key relationships now, we’re asking very specific questions, what do we want to have done for Gus?

Wendy: Our son.

Jay: Our son, our daughter Veronica, your dad, my parents. We have aging parents. So instead of it just being about us and maybe our date nights or whatever that is, it’s also the really important relationships around us. We just kind of go through those categories and say, “Where do we want to be in five years?” That’s kind of fun to dream.

Wendy: I would say that, I said it before, that the most important thing is really the time and the space for thinking because most people are always doing. Whether you’re a couple or you’re a mom and dad and you’re a single person or you’re in a business, most of the time all we’re doing is doing and doing and doing and doing. So just to sit back and give space for thinking is just so important in our busy world.

Jay: Yep. So we did the five-year journey. We get to talk about why. Because it’s five years out, some things are really scientific. We have very specific financial goals, but we’ve also been focused on that for a long time. But it started with we wanted in 10 years to be millionaires. That was the very first big question we asked as a couple. You do those big goals and it allows you, so based on where we want to be in five years, what do we have to do in 2020? What do we have to do this year to feel like we’re on track for those things? And then we go through the same process for our annual goals.

Jay: If you did nothing else but kind of get in agreement about what we want to pursue in five years and what we want to pursue in one year, that would be massive. That’s just huge in itself to have that kind of clarity and not just around your finances, but around other things. We asked the five-year question this year. Both of our kids are going to be out of the house in five years.

Brandon: Oh wow.

Jay: That was like a kick in the gut. It sneaks up on you. You’re like, “Whoa.”

Wendy: We were like, “What shape are we going to be in?” We’re like, “It actually sounds pretty good.” We think our marriage will improve.

Brandon: I can see that.

Jay: It snuck up on me like, “Now we really have to get serious. Did we save enough for college? Are they prepared for that? Are they prepared to go live somewhere else on their own?” We have to ask. Does Gus know how to cook? Does he know how to drive? There are things now that are a part of our job for him and we only have a few years left to do that.

David: I love that you’re talking about this because what I see, I’m not married, but what I see with married couples, especially those that have older kids, is when the last kids has left the house it hits them like a shockwave. They were not prepared for this tsunami that was coming. There’s this, “Why are we together? Are we even happy? What’s the purpose?” Because they were together to raise the children. They drifted apart and that wasn’t made clear until the kids were gone and it hits them all at one time. What you’re talking about is five years before that happens, we are going to emotionally, mentally prepare.

David: This is coming. What do we need to start doing right now so when that hits us, it doesn’t knock us off our feet like the big wave coming into the crab fisherman boat. That’s just the principle that I really think a lot of people fail at realizing is life is going to give you both hardship and opportunities. They are going to come whether you are ready for them or not. You don’t know when the phone call’s going to come that someone you love has passed or when the phone call’s going to come that you have an amazing opportunity to go do this thing. All you can do is do your very best every day to be prepared for when that happens.

David: I like to tell people you have to imagine four years from now you’re going to be in the Olympics, that you are going to have the chance of a lifetime to give your very best effort and you can’t start training a week before the Olympics and expect to do well. You have to be training today. So I’m always just reminding myself I don’t know what’s coming my way. I don’t know what opportunity and I don’t know what tragedy. I have to be working out right now. What you’re discussing is basically that same principle. Things are going to happen. We’re not promised a perfect life.

David: Things are going to go wrong with our investment properties. Things are going to go wrong with our family. I know, Jay, I just realized as I was talking, you had a similar experience in that this year. You guys, both from business and personal things, got rocked. I think part of the reason that it knocked you over but you got back up was this principle you have of this is the page we’re on. This is our goal. This is where we’re going. The wave comes. It knocks you down. You get right back up. You’re not swept away by this thing that you didn’t expect. I mean would you agree that that’s kind of played a role in how you’ve weathered these storms?

Wendy: Yeah.

Jay: Sure. I mean you can’t anticipate everything, but there’s stuff that we can anticipate and this process allows you to. Stuff happened this year that was just unpredictable. But things like becoming empty nesters, okay, if we didn’t plan for that that’s on us.

Wendy: Well, I think that for us we’ve always put our marriage at the middle of everything. So we tell our kids, “Hey, we love you but I love your dad more because I picked your dad and you guys were random.” So they understand that. And then we also-

Jay: They’ll be in therapy someday for it. We’ll find out.

Wendy: But then we also treat our marriage a little bit like, not like a business. I don’t want to say we treat it like a business. But we use the language of business in that we have metrics that we track and we actually have goals around. So for instance, pretty much since our goal-setting retreat we’ve had a weekly date night on Wednesday. So if you think about it, over the last 12 years we had over 500 dates. Consistent activity over time yields results and your marriage is no different.

Wendy: So I think also what happens when people get to when their children leave they haven’t done those activities to maintain the relationship. So it’s like what are the things that we can do every year? If you look at our five-year goals, the number one thing is family. The number one thing under family is marriage.

Jay: It says specifically marriage thriving.

Wendy: Marriage thriving.

Jay: I don’t know that we’ve changed that language in 10 years.

Wendy: No.

Jay: But we have to ask the question, “What would it look like for our marriage to be thriving?”

Wendy: And that’s prioritizing a date. It’s having usually we take two times a year where we go away. We have a little vacation just the two of us. We have a personal trainer that comes to our house three times a week and we exercise together. What are those metrics that we look up after all those activities and see, “That’s what success looks like.”

David: I think that’s what I was-

Brandon: [crosstalk 00:48:48]. Go ahead, go ahead. Take it.

David: You just got to look at my finger, Brandon. You’re getting terrible at this. What I think that I wanted to point out about this is because you focus on your marriage, when the tragedies came you were what I say in shape. You could handle the weight that was thrown at you much better than the couple who’s just walking along trusting nothing bad’s going to happen. We just interviewed Jocko on the podcast and what he said, he gets taught to help businesses make more money to make them better businesses. What he says is, “I don’t even worry about studying business at all. I just study people.”

David: He just knows how people work, how human beings work. If you understand that and you apply it to business, you’ll make a bunch more money. You guys are saying the same thing. You said, “We use business principles in our marriage,” but what you’re really saying is, “We use the principles that work in business and we know they work because of how people work and we apply them to what matters to us, which is our marriage.” If you talk to someone who’s a fitness guru, they’ll do the exact same thing you’re talking about. They are goal-setting. They are planning. They are looking ahead. I’m going to be going here. I have to bring my own food. I know what’s coming.

David: These things work no matter what you apply them to. That’s why I love talking to successful business people because you can take what they’re doing … What’s the thing you always say, Jay? Success leaves clues?

Jay: Yeah.

David: You see what’s going on and you then apply it to other areas of your life and you’ll get the same result. Brandon, you may speak.

Brandon: I was going to basically say the same thing. My point was going to be, and I’ll make it here anyway to expand on what David said, is you don’t just set these goals and say, “This is what we want. We want a better marriage.” But I love that you’re breaking down on what would that look like? What does that look like on a week to week basis? So in other words, what we talk about a lot on the show a lot here is you’re taking a leg measure, which is the end result, the weight loss, the better relationship, whatever, and you’re saying what lead measures do I do to accomplish that?

Brandon: Business people are great about doing that in business. Gary Keller’s been teaching that forever, how many phone calls you got to make, how many clients you need to talk to on a weekly basis. But applying that to your spiritual life, your relational life, or your health and fitness. I think that’s when those things change. I love the fact that you say the date nights, the vacations, those are tangible lead measures that you can work toward. It’s not just hopium, as David says.

Jay: In the beginning it was rougher, but we get better and better. Just so people don’t get intimidated. I remember the very first thing we focused on was investing. We broke down our annual goal of buying one house is I just remember our big goal is if we can save 1500 bucks a month into our investment account we knew we were on track. So even though the idea of buying our first investment property was kind of overwhelming, we could just focus on what do we have to do this month to save 1500 bucks. Do we have to do freelance work? Do we have to have a side gig?

Jay: But that was the battle. And $1500 was a big deal back then, but it was something we together could make happen. Each month you got a little better at acting on that thing and then it adds up. By the time you got to the end of the year and you had your first down payment and this is a while back. I know that would not be a down payment in most people’s markets today. You look back and you go, “Wow. Now the next journey is we have to find an investment property.” But you’re just breaking it down. It’s all big goals if you break them down become manageable and it allows you to give ownership.

Jay: So if we’re really taking this process to the final stages at a really high level and we’ll share with you. Y’all can share it in your show notes. We have a free guide for doing this that has everything that we’re saying. We can just put that in the show notes if that’s okay with y’all. You have your five-year goals. You have your one-year goals. The last steps for us are who’s going to take ownership of what? If you’re doing this by yourself, it’s all on you and you have to just prioritize. But if it’s two of us, what’s our journey on this-

Wendy: But it doesn’t have to be. I mean you have to think about leverage too and what that looks like in your life.

Jay: If you have leverage, if you have people on your team. But basically who’s going to be in charge of this? We might jointly, but if you have multiple people responsible for things, it doesn’t always work out. It might be that I started off in charge of it, was failing, and she decides to take it over. We do that for each other. We don’t judge it. You just own it. If you do that and you set a rhythm and for us in the beginning it was once a month we get together and ask how are we doing. It was back in those days our big focus was on budget and saving for an investment property.

Wendy: And our net worth.

Jay: And our net worth.

Wendy: Tracking our net worth.

Jay: We would do those little activities and it was our monthly check-in. I really think if people can just set some goals and then create a rhythm for talking about them and not judging it. Just because you’re trying to build a habit of being engaged with your goals because if you focus on something … What’s that deal if you’re driving down the road, you go wherever your eyes are. If you’re staring across the lane, you’re going to veer that way. Stay focused on something, you’re going to start gravitating towards it.

Wendy: I think that’s the difference, then so many people set resolutions and they set it and forget it. Two months later, they’re just not doing anything around it. But if you’re revisiting it every month or now we really revisit it every week.

Jay: Every week.

Wendy: We revisit it every week.

David: One of the things Brandon and I noticed when we started working together on a deal was that we move forward at the speed at which we communicate. When a month would go by and we wouldn’t talk, hardly anything got done. When we would meet every week for a phone call that was on our calendars, things would just magically start to happen. I realized this feels a lot like trying to get from one place to another using the GPS on your phone, but you lose reception unless you’re talking. When you meet together, boom, you get reception. Oh wow, we’re way off. Let’s go back. Or we’re on the right path. Let’s keep going.

David: That’s why it’s so important that you get two people on the same page communicating because our minds just work that way. When you’re meeting together to talk about things, you get back on the path you’re going to be on. Wendy, I know something that you excel at is figuring out how to use systems and leverage to be successful so that you’re not compromising things like I want to be a great mom. I want to be a great wife. I have these other goals that are not related to business. A lot of our listeners are in the beginning stages of trying to become real estate investors and this is a new concept to them.

David: Can you share for people who are hearing this that it is possible to have it all if you just do it the right way?

Wendy: Sure. Well, I won’t say you can have it all but you can have all of the things that you want. So I think the first thing is getting clear about what’s most important to you. Once you’ve got clarity around that there’s lots of things you can do to get leverage in your life. For a lot of people that leverage really starts at home. I know for me when I started my real estate career, before that I was literally a stay-at-home mom making no money. Everything was all buttoned up at home. Honestly, that was a gift to be able to stay home with my children, but it was also a gift to Jay as he was growing in his career at Keller Williams.

Wendy: I mean I really supported him for five years and he came home and didn’t have to worry about very much at all at home and so then when I started my real estate career, things started to change. So I really thought about, A) what’s on my not-to-do list. I tell my coaching clients, “Hey, put a piece of paper on your desk and at the very top of it write my not-to-do list.” Every time you have that feeling where you’re like, “I don’t want to do that,” or maybe you start putting it off. You put it off one time, two times, three times, then that goes on your not-to-do list.

Wendy: When you’ve earned the right to be able to pay someone to do that, then all of those things become the job description for your leverage. That can be at home and that can be at work. Either way, it’s the things that you don’t want to do. Anybody who’s growing a business gets to choose what they want to do and what they don’t want to do. I think sometimes we feel like there are things that we’re supposed to do as business … Well, there are for sure some things as business owners like financials that we always have to deal with. Yet I think we feel pressured to do certain things. But really if you like to do them, you can keep those tasks and leverage out everything else.

Jay: I just remember this journey. She actually taught this for me while she was still at home. I’d come home and I thought it was my job to mow the yard and trying to be nice and environmental, I had this stupid electric lawn mower and a giant yard. It would take me four hours in the Texas heat to mow my yard instead of spending that time with my wife and kids. I was already working hard.

Wendy: This is why I’m laughing is because it was actually not an electric … It was electric in that it plugged in, and so Jay would be flipping the cord around the yard trying to mow around it.

Jay: I ran over it a few times too. It was not fun.

Wendy: It would take him forever. And then I said, “Why don’t we just get someone to come-”

Jay: Well, no. You’re taking it over.

Wendy: Sorry.

Jay: No, but the thing is I would do it for four hours and then I’d come in and collapse and be asleep for the next two. So it was pretty much a whole day was lost every weekend. That was when you just said, “We can pay someone to do that. We have a friend that runs a lawn company. I would rather have you back.” For 50 bucks or whatever it was, it was such a great investment because now I can recharge on the weekend and be better at work and advance our financial status. Now, you can leverage yourself right into the poorhouse if you’re not careful. “I want a personal chef. I want someone to do my hair.”

Jay: Yeah, don’t be crazy. But there are stuff you shouldn’t feel guilty about. I remember we talked about getting a maid service. I actually just kind of brought it up at work. All of my employees had maids and we didn’t have one. I was like, “What are we doing? We’re idiots. We’re spending all this time running around doing stuff we hate doing.” We thought we hadn’t yet earned the right and everyone around us is way ahead of us. So let’s just commit. Let’s get that energy and time back, put it to greater use either for our personal life or our professional life, and start chipping away.

Jay: I’m a dude, so maybe you have issues about handing off your yard or whatever. I think it’s worse for a lot of the women in our lives that might have mom guilt for not being that mom that made the perfect cupcakes. Get over it. You’re living a big life. You can leverage some of the stuff out, recapture that time and energy so that you can achieve those goals that matter a whole lot more than mowing the grass.

Wendy: My children are very scarred from being left places. But I would say the other thing that you need to know is to understand what your hourly wage is. Most entrepreneurs don’t really know what their time is actually worth. So you can take all the money that you made last year and divide by all the time you worked and you can find your hourly wage. If your hourly wage is $7 an hour, you pretty much need to work a little harder. But if your hourly wage is $50 an hour, then all the services where you can pay someone for less than $50 an hour, you should really consider doing it.

Jay: Your time’s worth more than it. A good cheat is people who are hustling, maybe 2500 hours a year, that’s like 50 hours a week. They’re doing it with a couple weeks of vacation. That’s a good rule. Divide your income last year by that. That’s your dollars per hour. If you can leverage stuff out that’s less than that, think about it. Like I said, you can leverage yourself right into the poorhouse by having people do everything for you. You probably don’t need a personal driver yet or someone to carry your surfboard, Brandon. But there’s stuff that you don’t need to be doing.

Brandon: I got Ryan for both those things.

David: One of the things our mutual friend, Ben Kinney, talks about this a lot. I want to make sure I’m getting the words right, but he says there’s luxury and there’s leverage. Correct me if I’m using the words wrong. But leverage is when you pay someone to do something, you get your time back, and you become more productive with it. You do a higher dollar per hour activity. And then there’s luxury where you pay someone to do something for you and you go play Minecraft or something. Understand which of those you are doing. They’re not the same. It’s not leverage for the sake of leverage. It’s leverage so that you can do something better.

David: I think what you guys identified with Jay cutting the grass is it wasn’t just the four hours of grass cutting. It was then the toll that took of being exhausted and not wanting to go work on the business or have a productive relationship. The price you were paying was more than just the hours. Brandon and I talked about this a lot too that there’s three dimensions to this. It’s not just two dimensions where I’m putting this much time into it because certain tasks make us hate our life and we don’t want to do anything after that. Other tasks get us all pumped up.

David: I could spend four hours doing certain things like educating people, teaching about things, and when I leave I want to go work even more. It’s okay to be aware of that. What Brandon and I talk about is does this task feel heavy or does this feel light? If it feels like, for him, it’s talking to contractors or having to hold somebody’s feet to the fire. It’s just not Brandon’s thing. He does not enjoy doing that. So if you make him spend 20 minutes doing that, in his next two hours he’s recovering from that exhausting workout. Or if you sit down with Brandon and say, “Hey, can you draw me a flowchart for a business idea?” Good luck getting him to stop. He like a Ferrari … He just takes off right through it.

David: So it’s okay to leverage off the things also that you know just kill your soul and you hate doing them. My friend, Kyle Rankey, he was talking about how driving his kids to practice and sitting in the traffic, by the time he gets there he’s just in a bad mood. I thought I wonder if whenever I have kids, if I paid someone to take them to the game or to practice and then I showed up to watch the game, how much happier I’d be and they’d have a dad that was excited for them and I’d enjoy it, instead of this is just some soul-draining task that’s killing me. If you’re thinking that way, it’s okay to do these things. You guys have any advice on that?

Jay: The good news is is that kids today, their parents are putting them in Ubers and Lyfts. When they get to a certain age and there’s a responsible age that you can do that. You don’t have to be the shuttle driver for 16 practices a week. I was like, “Are you kidding me?” I was talking to some of the dads in my neighborhood. “You let them Uber to practice?” “Yeah. He’s got five practices a week.” I’m like, “Okay. That’s enlightened me. Thank you.”

Wendy: Well, and I would just say that we’ve earned the right to do all that. When we were just starting out real estate investing I have painted the insides of so many places. I have done all the things. I have done the make readies. I have cleaned up after tenants. I have put my hours in. I got tennis elbow once from painting this duplex that we had. Yet at that time that was kind of the only thing that I did because I didn’t really understand that if I could become a real estate agent, I could make a lot more money. So it’s really getting a really good understanding of your worth.

Brandon: At some degree also when you’re just starting out, sometimes you are only worth $20 an hour. So you have to go paint that unit. Some people are like, “Well, I don’t want to do manual labor.” I’m like, “I don’t do manual labor any more.” You’ll never see me painting hardly ever. You’ll never see me painting something unless I want to. When I was starting, I mean I was making $8 an hour working overnight at some crap job. I ain’t going to hire somebody. But the beauty is you hustle for a few years and finding ways to earn more money in your job or from being a real estate agent or whatever.

Brandon: All of a sudden, then now you’re worth 20. Now you can outsource to $10 an hour. And then when you’re in 25, you can outsource to %15 an hour jobs. You move those as you go. One more thought to throw at you guys. I never really thought about this too in-depth before but, yes, you have a dollar per hour that you should look at. But for those people of us who run teams of people, our teams have a dollar per hour that they’re good. I mentioned jokingly the other day, I have Ryan to carry my surfboard and drive me around. In the beginning, when he first moved out here he would literally help me load my surfboard and drive me around. That’s what he did because … Today then he’s running this $50 million mobile home park business.

Brandon: I don’t even ask Ryan to do anything hardly any more. I feel bad if I do because I’m like his hourly now rate is thousands of dollars an hour. So then I brought in this guy named Mike and then now Mike’s wage, I feel bad asking Mike to do things because Mike is my investor relations guy. So he’s dealing with thousands of dollars an hour tasks. It’s interesting. Keep an eye on your own team and make sure you’re not giving $50 an hour people $20 an hour tasks or else they’re going to go crazy-

Jay: Or letting them do $10 an hour tasks because it’s nice sometimes … I mean I’ll tell you, sometimes I should be checking boxes, but you’re not in your gift zone. Companies have done this forever. Why do you think some people get executive assistants and assistants? Because the company realizes when they’re in their 20%, they’re making so much money for the company. We should pay people to take everything else off their plate. We have to think that way for ourselves and our teams. The biggest waste of time for most people in terms of money is the meetings that we hold.

Jay: You look at the salary. I’m so conscious. I look at these meetings we have and the salaries sitting there in this not productive meeting. I’m just like we’re burning money.

David: Yeah. Did we just have a $25,000 meeting? No. We should not be doing these any more.

Jay: Are you talking about all the time we spent waiting for Brandon to fix his mic?

David: Indirectly, that’s exactly what I … That’s funny you say that, Jay, because for the listeners, we started this episode with Brandon sounding like a strangled Decepticon trying to get his microphone.

Jay: And he still never got it fixed. I don’t know what’s wrong with it. Couldn’t figure it out.

David: You know why? Because he took Ryan off of those-

Brandon: That’s exactly it. That’s exactly what happened. It’s like Ryan used to set up my microphone and now Ryan’s out there. We literally 20 minutes before this call, we signed documents on a huge multimillion-dollar property to close on it. That’s what Ryan was doing this morning is helping me do that. So yeah. That’s totally true.

David: Brandon and I are good enough friends that I can see it on his face. He didn’t want to tell you guys. He didn’t want to make an excuse. But he’s thinking, “I really need a new assistant because Ryan’s too busy, but I don’t have time right now. How do I just make a joke to try to make it light?” I could just see him storming under that. But see, this principle is exactly in place when you see it happening. That’s funny.

Brandon: That’s what it is. We decided the other day, we interviewed Michael Hyatt recently. It comes out, I think, next weekend on the podcast.

Jay: That’s great.

Brandon: We’re interviewing this afterwards, but he comes out next week. But he talked a lot about executive assistants. So since that interview, actually we decided … I mentioned I brought in Ryan. Then I brought in Mike. We’re actually hiring an assistant for Mike who is my assistant. We have now because, again, that’s how I have to work. In a way now Ryan’s just going off to run everything in the business.

Wendy: He’s like your chief of staff.

Brandon: Yeah. That’s exactly what its. He’s chief of staff now. Sometimes you have to do that because we all have things that we do, our dollar per hour.

Jay: It says a lot about the talent you hire. These people aren’t moving on to be executive assistants or assistants for other people. They’re moving up in your organization. It’s really cool when you see that happen.

David: It is cool.

Brandon: Let me ask you guys a question, and then kind of focusing back on the goal thing. For those people who are new to real estate investing, a lot of our audience is brand new, has not done a single thing yet. Where do they start? I mean let’s say if you were talking to somebody. They’re brand new to real estate. Let’s say they’re married. They’ve got maybe a couple small kids at home, not a lot of time. How big a goals do they set? How big is too big? I mean I’m going to buy a billion dollars in real estate the next year. What do you tell those people right now?

Jay: I always say and we always say think big, act small. It’s awesome to have a huge dream, but then you’ve got to break it down. What am I going to do this week? It’s just really hard to say, “Okay, I’m going to be a millionaire someday. How do I have to behave this week?” That’s that whole process. We didn’t go into it, but it’s called goal-setting to the now. Based on your five-year goals, what do you have to do this year? The next steps are based on my annual goals, what do we do this month? Based on my monthly goals, what do we do this week? Based on my weekly goals, what do I have to do today?

Jay: All you’re doing is systematically breaking things down into action items that you can actually do. Now that little hour you have blocked to make your 10 calls for your mobile parks, those are actually you’re acting appropriately for your big goal of being in the Forbes Fortune list for mobile home owners. But most people don’t do that process. So think big, break it down into something that you believe as best you can is the appropriate action this week. Then just go do that thing. I don’t ever want to tell people to think small.

Wendy: Can I offer a different perspective?

Jay: You’re going to offer a contrary perspective? Go right ahead.

Wendy: I don’t want to tell anyone to think small, but I would just say that thinking big is a learned behavior. When I started my real estate business, my goal for that year was very small. I wanted to make $15,000, which for us at the time was a big deal because I was a stay-at-home mom making no business. I ended up making $85,000 that year in real estate, which is awesome. For me, I’ve been lucky enough to live with Jay who I feel like is very much a visionary. He’s able to look out. I haven’t always operated that way. I’ve always been like, “Let’s live in the moment.”

Wendy: I’m a good goal setter now. And yet, it’s okay if you’re not. I’m just saying to everyone, “It’s okay if you’re not a huge goal setter.” Think of what you can, because some people can’t conceive of being a millionaire or owning a million dollars worth of real estate. So that’s just my contrarian perspective.

Jay: Progress matters a lot more than perfection, so don’t get too caught up in knowing the perfect answer. For real estate investors, I know that one of the first things I tell them to do, you have to learn to live on less than you earn or you’ll never save up to buy a house. At some point you have to understand what value looks like. Barry, one of our mutual mentors, my co-author, he gets young people and he’ll hold up a shoe. He’ll say, “Do y’all know how much this costs?” Everybody in the room will know how much that tennis shoe is worth. He goes, “The problem is everybody masters the value of things they don’t appreciate. This is not an asset. This is a liability.”

Jay: To become an investor you have to master understanding value of things that actually grow in time. So for real estate investors, what is the value of a mobile home? What’s the value of a single-family property? Figure out what you think you want to do and start paying attention to it. If you look at that thing every day … We did a hundred pro formas before we took action. But then you write it down. You say what is this house worth? What do we think it would rent for? You do that enough times, suddenly one stands out and you go, “Whoa. Something’s wrong here. This is different.” You know value.

Jay: I think if you just start with an activity that gets you in the game, that’s one of the ones … Learn how to save money and learn how to find value. Everything else follows those two skills, and work from there.

Wendy: Yeah. And then I would just say our first house was our first investment property, which is a very easy way for people to get into investing is just do maybe a move-up house or even a lateral move with your housing and just keep your first one as a rental. Because I remember for us, the first tenants we ever had, they made more money than us. They pulled up in their BMW and I was like, “Wow.”

Jay: It blew my mind.

Wendy: Yeah. We were like, “Whoa.”

Brandon: How cool is that?

Wendy: Yeah.

Jay: And you’re buying your next home, which is we’ve actually our first two homes are now rental properties. We got to buy those both on residential terms.

Wendy: Yeah. 5%.

Jay: 5% down.

Wendy: 5% down.

David: Low interest rates.

Jay: That down payment’s been working hard.

Brandon: What’s great about that, and I talk a lot about this at BiggerPockets about this concept called the stack. It’s basically if you start very small, like a single-family house, and then you maybe later buy a duplex and later buy a four-plex and then an eight-plex, I mean you can conservatively … Once you buy the single-family, you can handle a duplex. Once you buy the duplex, you can hand a four or five or six-unit. You’re scaling up. But the first few deals don’t matter all that much. Yet people get overwhelmed sometimes. They’re like, “I got to buy 100 units to be able to quit my job.”

Brandon: Yeah, maybe you do but … You probably don’t need 100. But you’re going to need some. But just start small. Start with the next one. That’s the most important thing you need to do is get that one deal. Just to reiterate what you said, knowing deal analysis and underwriting, if you can get really, really good at that you can become somebody who’s just good at underwriting deals, you may have to underwrite 100 deals. You may have to look at 100 before you buy one. So build that skill. It costs no money. I mean start with different properties.

Jay: Yeah. You get really smart. People underestimate on the path to being big, you’re growing. Every year you make mistakes, you learn from mistakes. The point is, especially early, just don’t get knocked out of the game.

Wendy: Yeah. Don’t give up.

David: On the last BiggerPockets webinar I did, I talked about how experience leads to success. The more experienced you are, the more things you see, the better you’re going to do. Taking acting leads to experience. The thing that prohibits most people from taking action is the lack of confidence in what they’re doing. They feel scared. They feel worried. They have some emotion that’s negative that keeps them from taking action. So start your journey on whatever you need to do to feel confident or at least competent at taking some form of action. As you get good at that, you will take more action.

David: You’ll get used to taking action. Experience will come and then, boom, the next thing you know, like you said, Jay, that investment property stands out. “Oh my gosh. How is that thing only priced right there?” That’s where you make these moves like we’re talking about now where for us it’s not that big of a deal. It happens through that growth.

Wendy: I would say your capacity for hard things will grow as well. Jay said it the other day. He was like, “You know what? 10 years ago or 15 years ago, if a water heater went out in one of our properties we’d be freaking out the whole weekend. We’d be talking about it all weekend.” Now it’s not even on our radar. It’s just not even a thing at all.

David: Yeah. I know Brandon’s smiling too because he has those same stories of things that just completely shook your whole world, now happen and you’re like, “Hey, can you fix that for me?”

Brandon: That’s one of the reasons why it’s good just to get around other investors who are ahead of you because when you tell them they’re just like, “What? Why is that a problem?”

David: That happens.

Brandon: “Call a plumber.” We have a flip going on right here in Maui and we found out there was a collapsed pipe in the concrete below the living room where we just installed flooring. I mean this is not like-

Jay: I’ve been there.

Brandon: Yeah. So all the new flooring had to come up, demo the concrete, fix the pipe, put everything back. It was one text message I got and I responded with, “Okay.” And that was about it. It was nothing. Imagine 10 years ago, I would have freaked out. That would have ruined my day.

Jay: That was our first flip, by the way.

David: You would have questioned if you should be an investor at all.

Brandon: Was it really? Yeah, I have. That was your first one?

Jay: Our first flip, we got to jackhammer through the foundation to fix a pipe. But we survived. I think we recognized like $3000 in profit. It was a paid education.

Brandon: There you go.

Jay: Survived and move on.

Brandon: Because those early deals anyway are more about education and experience and knowledge and growth and confidence, probably confidence more than anything, than money. I mean who cares if you make 3000 or 20,000 the first deal. Long-term, it isn’t going to make a difference.

David: That’s what we were just saying. You guys took action so now you got experience. Now you know the next time you look at a house you get the line scoped because I mean I’ve dodged a huge bullet on one in Florida. $22,000 bids to fix all the plumbing and I just was like, “It might be better just to sell this house than to pay that much.” So I just pushed and pushed and pushed and finally the property manager said, “Hey, I know a guy. I’ll pull him off another team.” That guy went in there and said, “Oh no. I just have to go in right through the bathtub, fix this one little part. We don’t have to redo it all.”

David: But that would have been a huge thing. Now I know every house we buy, part of my checklist is you have a plumber scope the entire line with a camera because this is a problem. Like you guys mentioned, it’s not just fix the pipes. It’s I have to cut through everything that I just did to get to it. It’s really big. Wendy, I want to ask you, because I know we haven’t talked a ton about your business. But Wendy runs one of the top real estate teams in the biggest real estate brokerage in the world. She’s an extremely successful business person. She’s just very humble, so you might not have known that. I know-

Wendy: You did?

David: Yeah. Of course. I have a lot of respect for Wendy and the way that she does business. A lot of people look up to her. I wanted to get your advice for those that are … Because I think the majority of our listeners are male who want to talk to their wives or their girlfriends who are women specifically about why this is interesting to them. Can you share with us any advice for the right way to communicate this to a woman so that she will understand what you’re trying to say? Because this is where I get in trouble all the time.

David: I talk to a woman the way that I would talk to a guy or I would want someone to talk to me and it comes across completely wrong. Brandon laughs at me because I’m so bad at this. So I’ve learned the way you phrase something is oftentimes even more-

Brandon: You can get rich and pick up chicks. It’s awesome. All the girls are like, “What do I care about that?”

Wendy: Yeah. Well, don’t use the word chicks. That’s my first piece of advice. And then I would say it’s kind of like we were talking about before. Let’s talk about the why behind it. Why is it important to you? Where is this going? How are we going to build something together? Because for me, all of our wealth-building journey has definitely been about freedom. But I think for a lot of women, safety is really important and security is very important. So explaining how this actually will make your life more safe and secure in the future and I’ll just give you an example.

Wendy: I tell my real estate team, “If you can help 10 families this year purchase one investment property, over the course of a 10-year real estate career, you will have significantly changed the lives of over 100 families. That can mean a college education. That can mean caring for an aging parent. That can mean maybe care for one of the people in your relationship.” So just explain that that for you might look like freedom but it is actually safety and security. Having a lot of money doesn’t make you happy, but it does give you more and better choices.

Jay: One of the things that we’ve done, Wendy started an investing club for people who work with her. She calls it the Hot Millionaires Club and we meet at our house once a month and we talk about wealth building. Everybody who joins, they have to share their net worth. It’s part of the journey. But they also have to share why they want to grow their wealth. That’s that vulnerable moment. Most people haven’t thought about that. So I always agree with all the answers and to security or freedom because when you really peel the onion and peel the onion, most people are looking for one or the other.

Jay: They want both ultimately, but one or the other is their prime motivator on this journey. Maybe they came from a place where they didn’t always have what they needed. They want to make sure that their family is provided for. Or maybe they feel like they haven’t had the choices that they want in their life and they want more. But understanding why someone else’s motivation is a great place to start in any conversation. So maybe it starts with not what you say but what you ask.

Brandon: That’s good. Finding out what they want and asking those questions on what allows you then to formulate your response in a much better way.

Jay: You saw how Wendy just connected the dots to selling 10 homes to college educations and healthcare and all those things. If you know what they want, then you can help them connect the dots between what they want and what we’re doing together.

Brandon: Yeah. That’s really good. That’s really good. All right, guys. Man, I feel like we could talk about this stuff forever. I’m curious though, maybe kind of last question. I’m wondering can you guys share with us maybe before moving to the famous four, what are some of your goals? I know you mentioned marriage, thriving marriage. Anything else you guys can share that what a goal of yours is in the next five years and one year and what you’re doing about it to reach it?

Jay: The first thing that came to mind was some health goals. In Austin, Texas, we have this thing called cedar fever and it’s just a really bad allergy that people sometimes get. It got so bad that I thought about quitting my job with Self-Made Billionaire and leaving town. I was like, “This is horrible.” But you look up and you have something that’s pressing. I was like, “I want to get my back situation fixed. I want to get my shoulder fixed and I want to get my allergies.” I didn’t know how that was going to happen, but we had to write it down.

Jay: Generally over the last 10 years we’ve chipped away at those things. I started getting allergy drops. Now I can go out this time of year and not be sneezing the entire time. You just pick something and sometimes they go off your list and sometimes they don’t. But if you have it written down, you’ve got a chance to create a plan to go do something. What came to your mind? That was the first thing I thought of was the health challenges.

Wendy: Well, for me, it was a couple things. One is we have a goal to create millionaires, so that’s why we started the Hot Millionaire Club. That’s always kind of been on our to-do list. And then I said to Jay a couple years ago. I’m like, “What are we actually doing here?”

Jay: To make it happen.

Wendy: Yeah. So we teach wealth building all the time and then we definitely teach it to our team. Then we have really big giving goals. What I love about our giving goals is that we’ve always had giving goals and they include money we give, so money we just give away, money we raise, and then money we … What’s the third one?

Jay: Time invested.

Wendy: Yeah, time invested. Having those three metrics for success has been really powerful for us over the years because especially when you’re young, you can’t really always give away money because you’re pretty poor. But now we have a massive giving goal. We had a goal this year of giving away $100,000. We have a goal of helping raise $250,000. And then we have the time in there as well.

Brandon: That’s awesome.

Jay: I love that. Much better than allergies. Thank you. Let’s talk about mucus.

Wendy: It’s like, really, Jay?

Jay: Yeah, yeah. I love it. I love it. I’ll just make fun of myself because I know it’s coming. We’ve got that on the record. I love that you said it. Before people can write checks and they say, “Brandon can do that or David can do that because they’re wealthy investors,” you can give your time. After you give your time, before you still can write checks, you can give your influence to raise money for other people. So you can volunteer and help raise money. You could go into Movember and say, “I’m going to run a marathon and for every mile I run …” Whatever that is, you can still have a huge impact on the world.

Jay: And then later we earn the right to write those checks and make a direct impact. But there’s no reason that as we build the lives that we want that we can’t also be planning for giving back. Great examples, Wendy. Very dear to our heart. We talk about that a lot.

Brandon: Yeah. Really good. Well, thank you, guys. That was fantastic, fantastic. But before we get out of here, we got a few more questions to throw at you. It’s time for our famous four.

David: Famous four.

Brandon: All right. This is a part of the show where we ask the same four questions to every guest every week. We’re going to fire them at you guys today. We’ve been asking these questions now for, what, seven years I think we’ve been doing this podcast now, which is crazy?

Brandon: I know, Jay, the first time you were in the BP Real Estate show we asked them to you. But let’s see what each of you, and you can answer the same or you might have different answers. So number one, other than anything that you’ve written, do you have a favorite real estate-related book?

Wendy: Well, my favorite real estate book is really Set For Life. You know Scott Trench? I think he’s one of yours. I recommend it all the time whenever I speak. I say it’s the number one primer for real estate investing and then of course I talk about Jay’s books. But that’s my favorite.

Jay: You’ve already mentioned Rich Dad, Poor Dad. That’s a book that I give out a lot. It’s a great mindset change. I love Set For Life. I agree with that. In terms of how to think about saving money so that you can start investing, it’s just a starting place for a lot of people. I also love Cashflow Quadrant, the whole idea of you work for money. You’re self-employed versus being in business. Some of those ideas were just real fundamental to how I think about things.

Brandon: Cool.

David: Awesome. What about your favorite business books?

Jay: Favorite business books, this is my least favorite question. I have a shelf of books that I tend to give away. I’m looking over there right now. Oh gosh.

Wendy: Look what we’ve got.

Jay: I got a million books over there. I’m trying to think of the book by Scott Pressfield about the resistance.

Brandon: Yeah. Steven Pressfield, The War of Art?

Jay: The War of Art. Thank you. I’ve probably given more copies of that away than any other book. I mean as a writer and an entrepreneur, we’re always battling the resistance. I just think it’s a really great meditation on making yourself do the things you know you need to do so that you can get the things that you want in your life.

Brandon: Yeah. If I could echo that one, I mean I think every single real estate investor, budding investor listening to this show needs to buy that book today and listen or read it. Because resistance is what it is when I need to go analyze a deal, I need to go to an open house, and instead I’m on my Instagram. That’s resistance. That’s what the whole book is about is how to get over that.

Jay: Yep. It’s a battle every day.

Wendy: Yeah. Well, mine’s The ONE Thing. I didn’t write it so I can say that.

Brandon: Yeah, you can.

David: Nice. Very nice. Okay.

Brandon: That’s usually my answer too.

David: Thank you, Brandon, for kissing up with our guests in front of our listeners. Very nice.

Brandon: Any time. Any time.

David: Other than overcoming horrific allergies, can you share some of the hobbies that you guys like to do?

Jay: I love to be outdoors. I like to hunt. I like to fish. Probably the number one activity I do is read. When I’m not reading business books, every other book I try to read is a novel. That’s just one of the ways that completely de-stresses me. That’s probably my number one favorite leisure activity.

Wendy: I would say for me it’s really traveling. We take a lot of trips every year. We just got back from an amazing journey to Tanzania in October.

Brandon: I don’t even know where Tanzania is.

Wendy: It’s in Africa.

Brandon: Okay. I don’t even know where Africa is. Okay, that’s cool.

Wendy: It’s a continent.

Brandon: I only know America. All right. I’m an American.

Jay: America.

Brandon: America. Who needs other countries out there? All right. Last question for me, what do you believe sets apart successful real estate investors from all those who give up, they fail, or they just never get started?

Wendy: Well, I think for me it’s really figuring out what you’re good at and understanding your 20% and running towards that and then leveraging out the 80% when you can afford it.

Jay: I don’t know what I said last time, but I’m going to say this time I think the people that succeed are the ones that are clearest about their motivation. I think when you really understand why you’re saying yes to this thing, what’s motivating you, what your big why is, those people that are really clear are kind of unstoppable. So that shows up for me.

David: I just had that conversation with somebody last night that it’s actually a skill of being able to understand your own motives a lot of the time, that most people go through life doing things based on what they feel, but they don’t understand why they feel that way. Emotions are like this river that runs through us and we all know where the river’s going but we don’t where the source of it is. When you understand it, you can actually change that. You can readjust and so your emotions can move in a way that makes you get the things you want in life. That’s such good advice is just start with understanding your own motives for why you want something and then ask yourself, “Is that the way I want it to stay? Do I not like how that feels?” So thank you, Jay. Very wise.

David: I was thinking when you were talking that you could really get paid to write fortune cookie quotes. You’re so good at succinctly delivering wisdom in a very short-

Wendy: Brilliant.

David: Like a good author’s supposed to be. I’m terrible. I just run on and on and on and hand to it someone else and say, “Figure out how to make some sense of that.”

Brandon: That’s why Katie the publisher’s just like, “David, this is too long. You need to cut this in half.”

David: Yeah.

Brandon: Too many analogies.

David: All right. Well, thank you guys very much. For people that want to learn more about you and I’m sure there’s a lot. This has been an amazing conversation. Can you tell us where they can find out more about you?

Jay: Sure. I’d send them for me to the1thing.com, with the number one. Specifically for this podcast, if they go to the resources there’s a kick-ass guide to hosting a goal-setting retreat. It’s a free download. It’ll walk through a lot of the things that we talked to and it has little worksheets for people. So our hope, and I know it’s one of the legacies that we want. We want more people investing some time in themselves so they can have a better future. A lot of that’s couples too.

Wendy: Yep. Well, anyone can find me at our real estate website, which is papasanproperties.com or I’m on Instagram @WendyPapasan.

David: Thank you. And Wendy what-

Jay: She runs a huge investor network too, so she definitely has lots of connections. It’s been great. They can definitely help her out.

David: Which areas does your team service for those looking to buy a house or sell something?

Wendy: We’re in Houston, Dallas, Minneapolis, and Austin. And then like Jay said, we actually have created, I need to talk to you about this, a real estate investor network across the country where we vetted people for their real estate expertise. So if anyone’s looking for a good realtor really anywhere in the country, I could probably help.

Brandon: Cool. That’s awesome, guys.

David: Boom. Thank you.

Brandon: Very, very cool. Well, thanks. This has been fun. This has been awesome actually, more than fun.

Wendy: Yeah, it’s been great.

Brandon: This has been amazing. I hope people will take the advice from this and go apply it to their life immediately. This next year do something a little bit different. Take your spouse out. Take your partner out. Take your dog out and get some clarity on your life.

Wendy: You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Brandon: Yeah. Thanks guys.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How Wendy and Jay started setting goals together 13 years ago
  • Applying the idea of a “leadership retreat” to your family
  • What settings work best for goal-setting with your spouse or partner
  • Navigating a relationship where one partner is an entrepreneur
  • Their answer to, “How do I get my spouse on board with real estate investing?”
  • Why most failures of leadership are failures of courage (Keith Cunningham)
  • How having tough conversations about goals can head off misunderstandings
  • How Brandon’s navigated balancing business with family
  • Why Gary Keller calls tough conversations “care-frontations
  • Which time horizons are most useful when setting goals
  • Using the language of business in your marriage
  • Putting your marriage first, even when you have kids
  • Moving at the speed of communication
  • Delegating draining tasks to help you keep more energy for yourself and your family
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “Consider what success means for your partner.” (Tweet This!)
  • “It’s not always about the money.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Consistent activity over time yields results.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Stay focused on something and you start gravitating towards it.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Jay and Wendy

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.