5 Things That Absolutely Murder Your Success

Mindset21 min read

I want to shine the light on five things that will absolutely kill your success to death if you let them. And it’s got to do with the core values, guiding beliefs, and personal habits you are (or aren’t) cultivating in your life. Let’s go…

Patrick & JP
Patrick & JP
5 Things That Absolutely Murder Your Success

Few people realize this, but your ultimate success or failure in real estate has surprisingly little to do with wielding the hottest tactics, the coolest strategies, or the sweetest tools in the biz.

The truth is, it’s got almost everything to do with that 6 inches of real estate between your ears — i.e., your Mindset. Yep, it’s those core values, guiding beliefs, and personal habits you are (or aren’t) cultivating in your life — your Inner Game — that at the end of the day, will either make or flat out break you in your real estate endeavors.

Today, I want to shine the light on five things that will absolutely kill your success to death if you let them. All five have in common…

  1. An all-too-familiar tune: Chances are this’ll hit home for you somewhere, on account of its five of the most notorious and flagrant offenders that have been stupefying the progress and prosperity of smart, big-dreaming, hardworking folks like you and me since always and forever. I’ve seen it happen literally hundreds of times now firsthand.
  2. It’s not theory; it’s personal: I have struggled with these five things a number of times (sometimes a lot) since I first started in real estate 16+ years ago. So, I’ve been there, done that, got the dang t-shirt.

I should say this: each of these five things could easily merit an entire discourse by itself. But my goal here isn’t so much trying to cure all your crazy, success-eating head crap in one fell swoop. That’s way too much crazy for just one ‘swoop.’

This is more like ‘square one’, where I’m personally challenging you to get real with me for a couple of solid minutes by taking a good, honest look inward and ruminating on which of these inner demons you’re allowing yourself to be held hostage by right now.

Then afterward, I invite dare you to share a comment below about which of these hits home with you the hardest and why. There’s a lot more we could crack open on any of them, but we’ll let your feedback decide which of them gets dug into more deeply in the near future together.

So, let’s get down to it…

Thing #1: Fear

I consider this the number one “success murderer” of them all — not just since it’s first on my list here, but because it’s the most prevalent, the most insidiously addictive, and the hardest to break free from. But one way or another, come hell or high water…

You simply must break free from the shackles of fear.

Fear can take many forms…

Maybe you’re afraid of what people think, so you don’t want to try anything new that you might embarrassingly screw up in front of witnesses. So you’ve got “FOLB Syndrome” — Fear Of Looking Bad.


It could be you’re afraid of feeling like a failure. Maybe you’ve wrestled through some painful (possibly expensive) mistakes in the past, and you’re just not sure you can take it if you fall down and bloody your nose yet again.


Maybe it’s that you’re afraid of not knowing enough. So you keep focused on learning, more seminars and more training, just soaking up everything you can… until you expect that at some point the ‘warm fuzzies’ will arrive and you’ll finally know enough to go out and take all that massive action you’ve been putting off.

Which — P.S. — is never really going to happen because (i) you’re just kidding yourself, and (ii) at least half of what you need to learn will only happen in the trenches anyway. So the idea that there’s a “finally, I know enough now!” feeling waiting for you is, in fact, a myth.

Aaaaah, and then there’s that snake in the grass called fear of success.

Maybe you’ve got a repressed, self-limiting belief about what you’re actually capable of or what you’re even really worth when it comes down to it. For example, maybe you’ve got this picture of yourself as a “blue-collar, $30,000-person”, who comes from a respectable blue-collar, $30,000-a-year-family.

Nothing wrong with that… unless it puts a cap on you by believing that’s all you’re capable of.

I’ve come to realize that lots of folks struggle with this one, actually, depending on your background. And it can be really sneaky since you typically don’t even realize you struggle with it on a conscious level.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, really. So many fears, so little time.

How to Start Slaying Your Fear

Here’s the really great news: You can clobber any of these forms of fear.

Step one is to genuinely “know thyself” well enough to identify where your own personal fear demons are dwelling. And also to be honest enough with yourself to admit that you actually have a problem with being afraid, even if it seems irrational.

Then, once you’ve uncovered your own fear du jour and exposed it to the light for what it is, it’s already started losing some of its power over you. The next step is to focus intently on dealing with it. And I mean, attack it head-on with everything you’ve got as if it were an enemy… because it is!

An excellent place to start is actually doing the very thing you’re afraid of. Here’s something that’s become sort of a personal mantra of mine…

Let me ask you: What is courage?

I used to believe that courage is basically the opposite of fear — that being courageous meant facing great challenges without fear. I’ve come to realize this isn’t even close to true. Courage is not the absence of fear — it’s when you do what needs to be done, even in the face of your fear.

The men who stormed the beaches of Normandy weren’t courageous because they felt no more fear. I have no doubt they felt fear on a deeper level than I can come close to relating to right now. They were courageous in how they took necessary action in spite of their fear.

So basically, I’m challenging you to level up, not by ignoring your fear or somehow eliminating it, but by bravely acting in the face of it. And then, like magic, the very act of doing so will begin to dissolve the power that fear holds over you. And I think that’s something pretty freaking awesome.

Terrified you’ll screw up or fail yet again? Yeah, maybe so. But you have to start realizing that failure is a necessary part of the process of success. Every baby who learns to walk — every one of them — falls down over and over again in the process. But it sure doesn’t stop them from trying over and over again, does it? Then suddenly one day that darn baby’s running circles around you.

Be like that baby.

Instead of being paralyzed by the fear of falling down (yet again), start seeing failures as “failing forward”.

You aren’t going to learn anything or gain anything by just sitting there scared on your duff. Every failure you endure is feedback for you — every mistake you make gives you an opportunity to learn, grow, hone your skills, and craft a better plan for the next time around.

Consider this from the great Tony Robbins, a big-freaking man for whom I happen to be a big-freaking fan:

Stop. Read that again please.

…Powerful stuff, yeah?

Every scraped knee, bloody nose, and broken bone you endure, while painful, is also helpful — if you choose to make it so.

Think of a refining fire — it burns while it makes you stronger.

Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right, now more than ever thanks to the sharpening lessons you’ve learned through your mistakes.

So here’s a direct, personal challenge from me to you:

From this point forward, I dare you to become all about freeing yourself from these fears. I mean, really attack them ferociously because your success quite literally depends on it. And if you don’t… you’re choosing a life of slavery, shackled and controlled by fear. Frankly, you deserve better.

Thing #2: Lack of Focus

Many people in this industry are sold into the idea that a savvy real estate investor always takes a “Utility Belt approach” to his business – this is the belief that, as a fancy pants professional real estate investor, you should be able to tackle multiple angles of this business simultaneously.

Said another way, it’s the mindset that if a potential real estate deal comes your way, you should be like Batman, able to pull out whatever “tool” from your “REI Utility Belt” you might need in order to find some way to make money from the property one way or another.

Well, I call BS on that.

Here’s the harsh reality: You’re not Batman. Let’s get that straight.

And if you try being a jack-of-all-trades in this industry, you will likely end up a master-of-none. At least for your first 2-5 years in the business.

Another Personal Challenge: Right now – I want you to think about any successful real estate investor you personally know. I mean someone that makes you think, “Hey, this guy/gal really has achieved an enviable level of success that I admire and would love to reach someday.”

Now let me ask you… Does that person take the REI toolbelt approach? Are they typically all over the map doing different types of deals all the time?

Chances are, they have one specific type of deal they focus on, like a laser, 95% of the time. Maybe they do a different type of deal here or there, but the vast majority of the time, the truly successful investors are intently focused on doing one type of deal and doing it extremely well, over and over again.

Success leaves clues. No matter how many people offer you the advice that you should be a “toolbelt” investor, if that’s not what the real-life investors around you — the folks you want to emulate — are doing, then why should you?

Overcoming Lack of Focus

Instead, I challenge you to become a student in the art of hyper-focus.

Hyper-focus is a phrase coined by my good buddy, Bob Norton, who is ravaged by ADD. He is also one of the highest performers in our industry, consistently exceeding six figures a month in flip income. As a response to his ADD, he learned how to hyper-focus, and it is what he credits as the primary secret to his high achievement, even in the face of a massive learning disability.

I want to challenge you to do the same.

First, choose just one strategy — one type of deal you want to focus on. Maybe it’s wholesaling houses for quick cash, maybe it’s rehabbing houses for big cash, maybe it’s flipping notes, maybe it’s getting that first (or next) rental property…

I can’t choose it for you. But make it something you think is probably the best fit for (i) your personality, (ii) your circumstances, and (iii) your market. You don’t have to know for sure… you can always correct the course later, but you need a solid starting point. So, just give it your best guess.

Then give yourself a 90-day challenge and say,

“Okay, I’m taking everything out of my inbox for a while. I’m not looking at anything else. Based on all I’ve learned so far, I’m committing to hyper-focus on doing this one type of deal, and I’m going at 1000 percent. I am committed to this, and then seeing what happens at the end of 90 days.”

After 90 days, chances are you’ll have gone further, faster – and learned a heck of a lot more – than if you’d been all over the map with your “toolbelt” approach.

I promise you if you can learn how to hyper-focus, you’ll be blown away by the results. Then rinse and repeat what works.

Thing #3: Lack of Vision

When there is no vision, the people perish. –Psalm 29:18

A truly successful person is someone who’s crafted a clear vision for what he wants and then categorically achieved it.

The problem is that most people either have a super weak vision or none at all. And if your vision is fuzzy or non-existent, then how can you even measure your success or know when you’ve “arrived”?

Here’s a fact: If you don’t have a vision for your life, someone else will. You’re like a ship with no rudder, swept in whatever direction the closest influences around you can steer you.

How to Gain Vision

You owe it to yourself to create the highest, grandest vision possible for your business and for your life. Accept nothing less than something that will make you want to jump out of bed in the morning.

But a vision doesn’t come by accident. It starts with getting clear on two critical things:

1. An unambiguous destination:

You should be able to vividly imagine and articulate your happy ending. Exactly what are you even aiming to achieve or create?

What does the end-game tangibly look like? I’m not talking about when you’re 75, 80, or 90 years old, retired on the beach, and sipping umbrella drinks. I don’t mean the END end. I mean, like five years down the road, in the most ideal scenario:

  • What does it look like?
  • What does your business look like?
  • What kind of deals are you doing?
  • How many hours are you working?
  • Who is on your team?

2. A clear-cut, compelling “reason why”:

Your reason why is your motivation.

Why are you doing real estate, and why the heck are you aiming for your chosen destination?

Why are you an entrepreneur instead of just somebody holding down a job? Nothing against people who hold down jobs… But, why are you doing this instead of that? What’s truly driving you?

And your “why” can’t be something like “to make a lot of money” or “freedom for me and my family”. That’s way too ambiguous, and who the heck doesn’t want those things anyway?

You’ve got to be much more specific, and your WHY should be something that really hits you in a deep place.

When things get super discouraging, frustrating, weird, or bone-crunchingly hard, what is it that gets you back on track and keeps you focused and pressing on?

What keeps you getting out of bed early with excitement and passionately awake inspired at night?

When crap happens, and it all hits the fan (and it will), there’s one potent thing that’ll let you tap reserves of energy, focus, determination and courage you didn’t even know you had when you need them the most… your “Why“.

But here’s kinda the bottom line for you bottom-liners: The clearer you’re able to understand and picture exactly where you’re going and why, the more you’re able to engineer and follow an actual plan for getting there. Because here’s the reality:

What you expect and focus on, directly influences what you create and attract.

So, just like an artist crafting his masterpiece, as you craft your life, your business, or whatever — get super-duper clear on exactly what it is you’re trying to create and why.

And while you’re thinking about your vision and motivation, why let small thinking cut your life down to size? Think big, aim high, act bold. And see just how big you can blow up your life.

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. -Michelangelo

Thing #4: Lack of Planning

This is very different from lacking vision, though the two are symbiotic.

  • A lack of vision is not having a clear idea of where you’re going;
  • A lack of planning is not knowing how you’re going to get there.

Where a Vision is your clear destination, planning is mapping your route.

I took a trip across the state of Tennessee once… me and eleven other dudes. We had three cars, and we were all going to the same destination but happened to take three different routes. In the end, we all made it to the same place (we all knew our target destination), but interestingly, we all chose entirely different paths for getting there.

Having all departed from the same place at the same time, one car made it in 5½ hours, the second car (mine) made it in 6 hours, and the third arrived after (gasp!) 8 whole hours.

Wow, what a huge difference an alternate route can make, right?!?

The moral is this: Once you have your vision (your destination) clear in your mind, the next essential step is planning your specific, ideal route for getting there. And the plans you make will have a dramatic impact on how efficient and effective you are in getting there.

This ain’t rocket science here, folks. But the cold, hard truth is that most of us spend more time planning our next vacation than we do planning our business or our life. Think about that.

How to Stop Sucking at Planning

So you know you need a plan of attack to accomplish that big, sexy-as-all-get-out vision in your brain, right?

Well, making the right plan involves (i) asking good questions — the right ones- and (ii) modeling what others before you who have aimed for the same destination have done.

For example, as a real estate investor you could ask yourself to specify:

  • What exactly is your ideal opportunity market to target?
  • What specific type of deal are you primarily going to focus on?
  • What area will you be the big fish in a small pond?
  • What does your ideal transaction look like?
  • Who does what in your business, and when?

Answer these questions with as much detail as you can. Then, once you have a rough map laid out, go seek out others who’ve followed a similar path, and learn everything you can about their route – and glean from their successes and failures, twists and turns along the way.

You should also make sure you craft your plan in writing, not just in your head. This could be as simple as writing it all out on a legal pad or as much as a fancy-pants mind map.

Personally, I’m a total Xmind freak nowadays, and I whip out a fresh mind map weekly or so to ‘splat’ one thing or another out of my brain and onto ‘paper’. But use whatever’s fastest and easiest for you.

Bottom line: if you don’t have a plan of action, you just may never get there.

Thing #5: Lack of Consistency

If you’re inconsistent in doing the things that you need to do in your business, then your results are going to be predictably sporadic at best, right?

If you struggle with being consistent in your necessary business endeavors, then it’s likely because you struggle with either:

  1. lack of planning,
  2. lack of vision, or
  3. lack of motivation

But once you see a specific vision and create a plan of attack, then you have to be consistent in carrying-out your plan. If you keep going… you get there!

How to Conquer Lack of Consistency

A few quick hints on tackling this one…

First, consider putting all your “to-dos” on your calendar. For me, once it hits my calendar, it actually becomes a thing – it becomes real.

So if you’re inconsistent with your marketing efforts, then put the tasks required for consistent marketing on your calendar, complete with annoying reminders. No more “out of sight, out of mind” – this puts it squarely in-sight.

Another trick you can deploy here is to get an accountability partner – someone who agrees to hold your feet to the fire, to doing the stuff you know you need to consistently do.

This could be an industry friend, someone who is at the same level as you, but ideally, it’s somebody who understands at least a little about this industry so they can understand your plan.

They need to be willing to challenge you with the tough questions on a consistent basis and, if necessary, say, “Hey, I’m going to kick your butt now because you didn’t follow through.”

Another way to help ensure consistence: Hire someone else to be consistent for you.

Sometimes, there are certain things you consistently have “avoidance behavior” with because you just can’t stand doing them. I know it’s true for me.

If this is you, too, then you should strongly consider bringing somebody else on your team to handle those things instead.

I’m a big believer in the power of focusing your own time and effort on your highest and best use. I’m all about creating a business that allows me to focus on what I’m best at, truly enjoy the most, and bring the most value.

This means being dedicated and focused on finding someone else to do the other stuff that I can’t or don’t want to do — whether it’s a partner who may be strong where you’re weak, a virtual assistant, an employee, or even an intern.

If this concept especially hits you in the feels, I highly recommend you read a fantastic book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. This book, more than any other, helped me really get my head around the critical importance of zeroing in on my own highest points of contribution in business and in life.

Another way to gain consistency worth serious consideration is to hire a mentor or coach.

This takes the accountability partner concept to another level entirely. Sometimes, it’s too easy to let a friendly colleague down by not following through on what you know you should… especially if you’re each holding each other accountable. It’s too easy sometimes to let the other person off the hook.

Whereas having a coach — someone who’s good but further down the road than you, and with whom you’ve got some kind of formal agreement to follow their instructions and leadership… well, take it from me, it’s a lot tougher to waffle out on your commitments when you’ve agreed to submit yourself to someone like this.

Of course, not all mentors and coaches are created equal. A bad coach can be a total waste of your valuable time and money, whereas an awesome coach can be a complete game-changer in taking things to another level sooner rather than later.

Personally, I’m a big fan of being coached. I’ve been blessed with many good informal mentors over the years, but my biggest leaps forward have always come from the people I’ve had in my life as formal coaches and mentors.

Even today, 16 years into the REI game, I still have 2 people formally coaching me, driving me to clarify my vision, and pushing me to be consistent in creating and following my plan to get there.

Stop. Hammertime.

These five things aren’t just annoying stumbling blocks… they’re straight-up the worst.

Again, from the great Tony Robbins…

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you have taken new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”

Make a commitment that you’re going to break through these limiting beliefs and write down what you need to do to make it happen. Ask yourself, “What can I do to break free from being shackled by these things?” And be committed to uncovering that answer. You owe it to yourself.

Got thoughts?

Which of these five things hit you squarely between the eyes? Maybe more than one?

Please share below. I’d love to hear from you on this.

And don’t forget to be awesome.


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