How long have you been “thinking” about purchasing that first property? About sending that first direct mail campaign? About calling friends, family, or other non-institutional lenders to help you fund your next deal?
If your answer is between “six months” and “too long,” you are suffering from the silent killer we like to call analysis paralysis.
It is no secret that most victims of this terrible “disease” are newbies. This article is designed to remedy this plague that has struck many wannabe real estate investors, to help turn the wannabe into an experienced investor.
Close your eyes and think back to your proudest moment, your biggest achievement. Where were you? What were you doing? Why were you so proud?
I recently polled a group of people and asked this exact question. Here are a few of the answers I received:
- Successfully growing three profitable businesses
- Writing a book and being on Amazon’s bestseller list
- Running a marathon
What is the commonality here? Hard work? Determination? Perseverance? Absolutely! How about the ONE underlying feeling each person had while pursuing these goals? You guessed it: discomfort.
It takes many sleepless nights, denying weekend plans with friends, and hours of tireless work to grow three business. Sound comforting? I don’t think so.
How about writing a book? This now-author had never written a book before. Even after he wrote the book, he had to sell it. He could be the best author in the world, but if he couldn’t sell the book, it would be useless. Have you ever heard of a “best-writing” author? Selling and self-promotion made this person extremely uncomfortable. Guess what? He did it and is reaping the benefits now.
Related: 5 Signs of the Dreaded Analysis Paralysis
How about my friend who is a marathon runner? He wakes up before the crack of dawn every day (even on weekends) to train. At first, he ran five miles. He gradually worked his way up to 20-plus before successfully completing the full 26.2 miles. Does waking up early, shin splints, broken toenails, irritated nipples, and aching knees sound comforting? Of course not!
Obtaining the Antidote
So my question is this: If it seems that an individual’s biggest accomplishments are directly correlated with discomfort, why don’t people actively seek ways to experience discomfort every day?
Simple—it’s human nature. Think about a toddler’s first day of kindergarten. What do they do when their parents leave for the first time? Many cry uncontrollably. In fact, most cry until they become comfortable with this new environment. Days or weeks later, this once-uncomfortable place called “school” becomes very comforting, and many toddlers have few problems attending.
Think about the last time you felt uncomfortable. Maybe it was your last job interview? Your first day at a new job? Now imagine if you let the nerves get the best of you, and you chose not to show up. You would likely be without a job, sitting at home in your mom’s basement playing Fortnite.
My point is this:
Growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.
To cure yourself of analysis paralysis (or failing to act to avoid discomfort), you simply need to take that first uncomfortable step. What is that step exactly? It differs for everyone, but here are a few examples as it pertains to real estate investing:
- Take control of your personal finances. Find ways to earn more and spend less.
- Start relationships with 5-7 lenders. Get pre-qualified so you know what you can afford.
- Introduce yourself to other investors local to your area or investors on BiggerPockets. Invite local real estate investors to lunch or coffee.
- Employ a real estate agent. Ask them to send you an automatic email of properties on the MLS that match your criteria.
Do these things above scare the living bejesus out of you? If so, follow the steps below to ease your way into it.
Step 1: Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Find small ways to seek discomfort every day. Some examples include eating something unusual, cooking something new, listening to a different genre of music, shutting off the TV, reading a book, going a full day without checking social media, or taking a different route to work. My personal favorite is to turn the water cold before shutting off the shower and to stand beneath it for as long as I can—a minimum of 10 seconds (not recommended if you have heart issues).
Step 2: Recognize what your next uncomfortable step is.
Don’t let your ego get the best of you here. Recognize and write down a few things that you are uncomfortable doing. Perhaps it is one of the four recommendations I mentioned above.
I am sure there are thousands of things that make you feel uncomfortable. Whatever it is, write it down, and promise yourself to start doing it. If you can’t keep a promise to yourself, how are you supposed to keep promises to anyone else?
Step 3: Visualize yourself succeeding.
Close your eyes for five minutes every day and envision yourself doing what makes you feel uncomfortable. Envision yourself succeeding at it. Picture yourself masterfully managing your finances, getting prequalified for your first property, shaking hands with your future business partner. Close your eyes. See it. Believe it. Achieve it!
Step 4: Embrace the failure.
Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team. Albert Einstein could not speak and could not read until he was seven years old. Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” There are countless stories of highly successful people failing miserably at the start. What did they do? They embraced their failure and used it as motivation to keep going.
Guess what? They are no different than you. Embrace any failure you may have as “growing pains” and push through. Have you ever heard about that guy who quit? I know I haven’t. Think to yourself that there is nothing in life to fear or worry about because you cannot fail, only learn and grow.
Step 5: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals.
As Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the five people you associate with the most.” Spend time with video-gamers, and you’ll be a video-gamer. Spend time with potheads, and you’ll be a pothead. Surround yourself with successful people who are completely immune to analysis paralysis, and you will soon be the same.
Step 6: Recognize your improvements.
Before you realize it, you will start to see noticeable improvements. Write these improvements down. Maybe you set up an account on Mint or Personal Capital. Maybe you called one or two lenders and understood what you need to get pre-qualified. Or perhaps you sent private messages to five to 10 local BiggerPockets members asking to grab coffee. This will serve as further motivation to keep going. It will transform previously uncomfortable situations into comfortable ones. As you realize these improvements, you will consistently crave that feeling of discomfort, doing away with analysis paralysis.
Step 7: Rinse and repeat.
Do not let the buck stop here. You got the ball rolling. You have started to network and build a team. Go through these same progressions as you start to offer on properties, as you schedule showings and screen for prospective tenants, as you begin to take action on creative ways to finance deals.
Related: The Ultimate 60-Day Action Plan for the Paralyzed Newbie Longing for a First Deal
These steps apply to aspects of your life beyond real estate investing. In fact, I would argue that feeling uncomfortable is an obstacle between you and the majority of your goals—goals you have in your day job, in your fitness/dieting routine, in your relationships.
The Bottom Line
Now that you understand that discomfort is the antidote for analysis paralysis, you understand that rather than trying to avoid discomfort, you should seek and embrace it. How are you going to obtain it? What is on your list of short-term goals? Where are you stuck? What is your next uncomfortable step? Whatever it is, write it down.
In fact, write it in the comment section below. Is that uncomfortable for you? If yes, it’s a great place to start! If not, I’m looking forward to seeing what your areas of discomfort are. Writing below will hold you accountable AND will give the other readers ideas of seeking discomfort.
Here is my list that I started a couple of months ago:
- Submit offers for multifamily properties in Denver. I own a couple at this point and want to keep the ball rolling.
- Do not drink coffee or tea in the morning. I’ve successfully given this up. However, I still reach out and ask to “grab coffee” with five local real estate investors weekly. While they sip coffee, I sip on my water. This I am now fully comfortable doing.
- Attend one to two networking events monthly. I aim to exchange information and follow up with at least five people from each event.
- Write more for the BiggerPockets Blog. Writing has always been my biggest weakness. I recognize the only way to improve is to continue doing it. I’m still not totally comfortable with this.
- Complete Crossfit workouts at 100% of men’s prescribed weight with good form. I am not comfortable doing this. Currently, I do between 80% and 90% of the prescribed men’s weight.
- Drink zero alcohol and eat zero added sugar without sacrificing my social life. This is the hardest one, and I am certainly not comfortable here yet. It is difficult going out to a bar or an event and denying all drinks—though I have kept my promise, and it has gotten easier.
- Finally, announce all of my areas of discomfort to the public. Nope, it is still not comforting!
Are you suffering from analysis paralysis? What will YOU do to get out of your comfort zone this week?
Don’t be shy. Leave a comment below!