We Are Only One Decision From a Totally Different Life

69 Replies

I was driving home from a party yesterday afternoon and saw a truck with a big American flag driving on the freeway. I asked my wife what's the occasion? She said September 11. She reminded me that I've been off my W2 for exactly 7 years.

Around April 2009, I was polling my family and wife's family about me quitting my job. Both of us have a decent size family with 5 siblings on my side and 6 siblings on her side. As expected the responses were overwhelmingly negative. Almost everyone thought I was nuts. This is 2009 when the sky was falling and everyone was getting laid off. Those, who still had a job, was working to death in fear of getting laid off. Here I was, wanted to do just the opposite in pursuit of my dreams. Thankfully, wife supported my decision.

By July, I planned for my exit and wanted to make it a memorial one. September 11, 2009 happened to fall on a Friday. So much memory came back when I looked at this date on the calendar. I remember vividly what I was doing and where I was when our country was under attacked on 9/11/2001.

On my last day at work, I felt liberated. However, I had mixed feelings on my drive home. On one hand, a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulder. OTOH, I was nervous and scared. What if scenarios were running through my head. 

Long story short, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. Not only have I replaced my low 6-figures salary, I have also accumulated a decent size real estate portfolio in the Bay Area....a tough task by many standards. It has been one of the best 7 years of my life. It's easy to look back now and smile, but the decision was an extremely difficult one at the time.

If you have Sunday syndrome, I know how you feel. I used to feel that way on Sunday afternoon. Feeling nervous and occasionally sweaty palms thinking of going back to work tomorrow? Well, you're only one decision away from having a totally different life. As Albert Einstein wisely said "A ship is always safe at the shore, but that is NOT what it is built for."

Best of luck.

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Thank you for sharing your beginnings, @Account Closed

It does take a decision.  A decision to follow a why with purpose.

I quit my hour long each way commute to my cubicle in Denver on July 24, 2002.   

Packed my little family into a 26ft Uhaul, waved so long to many friends and moved 3 states away into a doublewide by the river.    

When your why is powerful enough, we can move mountains.  Cheers to you my friend!

Congrats on your success Minh! Not easy to do but you made the right decision in your life. I know you also put in a ton of hard work along the way, the success did not just land in your lap. You worked hard and now can enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

Your post reminded me of this quote that I think you capture. 

"Poor luck is often given as an excuse for lack of energy. You make your own luck and must work hard and plan carefully if you would succeed."

@Account Closed awesome. I have a friend that works in the jail. He tells the inmates that every person is only one BAD decision from being where they are. Your story shows that we are all one GOOD decision away from bringing wonderful changes to not only our lives, but also our friends and family.

Hi Minh,

Your story is very inspiring. My hope is that I can follow in your path one day and achieve the freedom you described in your story.  Happy anniversary and congrats on your journey!

@Steve Vaughan , you got brass balls. My wife would never allow me to do it. What brought you to East Wenatchee? Did you see something there that others didn't? Can you use some competition? LOL!

@John Thedford , your friend is absolutely correct. I'm a living testament of that statement. 

So after my wife reminded me of my 7-year anniversary, she asked if I like or love what I'm doing now? I smiled and said I really like what I'm doing now. She asked "What do you love to do then?" I looked at her and said "You." Both of us busted out loud and laughed.

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Thank you for sharing your story. 

I got distracted with things that going on in my life, and I have not been focusing on REI. Last night, I decided to ditch everything thats been distracting me and refocus my energy on REI, whether writing one more Yellow Letter or browsing one more deal. This post reinforced my beliefs. Thanks

@Henry Pho , I'm glad you're inspired.

@Vamshi Ananth , thank you.

@Bryce Wong , thank you. My next journey is doing more charity work and helping some individuals get off their W-2. It's in the works.

@Tom V. , thanks. I'm glad you find it inspiring. What would be even more inspiring if your last name were Vu? :)

@Roy C. , it's normal to get distracted. Determine what's really important in your life and go after it. Maybe you should block out certain hours in a day, turn off the phone and focus on what will get you to your destination. We all have the answer. We just have to get quiet enough to hear it.

Best of luck to everyone.

@Account Closed You continue to inspire! Seriously, its time for you to make an appearance on BP podcast and share the wisdom :) Cashflow in Bay area, that has to be on the podcast. If anyone from BP podcast team is listening......

@Account Closed , you are a braver man than I, my friend. By late 2011 I started buying out of state (TX) and had a plan to leave the day job. I was going to collect enough cash flowing property out of state (SFH, duplexes, triplex, quads - in TX and GA) to quit the day job within 3 years and do real estate full time. But as I came to realize later, leveraged SFH homes really don't cash flow worth a damn, but that's for another thread.

I collected quite a few of these out of state properties, but I was not going to hit my "walk away" number any time soon.  My wife would periodically suggest, "Why don't you just quit and do real estate full time?  You hate your day job.  Just walk away." But I always had some reason for why it was not the right time or why it made sense to wait a bit longer. I did not like working a J.O.B., but was not uncomfortable enough (or brave enough) to walk away.

Then I was done a HUGE favor at the end of 2013. About 75% of the company I worked for got laid off. We could all see the train coming from a mile away. Everybody knew it would be a nasty layoff, but nobody knew exactly when it was coming our how big it would be. I decided to embrace the impending doom. I told my supervisor/head of the department that I hoped to be laid off.  When layoffs were announced 6 weeks before they actually happened everybody was freaking out. Getting their CV's together and job hunting. I was the only one in the company who was happy. In fact, I was thrilled. I had already decided the layoff would be the best thing that ever happened to me. I told everybody exactly what I was going to do next and burned all my bridges to ensure I could never go back again.

It was a bit rough at first and luckily my wife had the day job with the benefits, health insurance, etc for the family or it might have gotten a little dicey.  My father suggested numerous times that I should consider looking for a job. By then I was so mentally beyond that concept that I told him I'd rather live out of a cardboard box than work for somebody again. 

That first year after being laid off I acquired 10 more properties for the same amount of $ out of pocket as the first 3 had cost. And this year I'll make more than I did during the last 5 years of my low six-figure day job. Unlike Minh I did not have the guts to jump into the deep end of my own volition, but am very glad I chose to embrace the change when it was forced upon me and am grateful for being laid off. If you're waiting for the push that may never come you may want to reconsider.



What a BEAUTIFUL story, @Minh Le.  That's precisely what my business is all about ... helping people take that leap of faith.  I've done it. It can be scary.  But that's where the thrill is ... it's called "fear". :-)  LOVE the story!  Thanks for sharing.

@Minh Le @Jeff Pollack thank you both for sharing your inspiring stories! Different paths but great results! My take away is that you both planned your exits and then just executed it. The hard part is the execution for my wife and I as we know we want to move back to Hawaii but a have a lot of excuses including we'll make less, kids will have to go to $20k private schools, our vacations will be visiting family in the mainland who probably wouldn't visit us, so we should wait 12 years when the kids are in college etc.etc....I think we're so close now and need to take that leap of faith that @Lynne Jacob   mentions...Here's a great motivational video that has recently inspired me some....


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