As a successful real estate investor, people often ask me what one thing made me successful. I always have two words for them: self-discipline.
It’s the secret sauce of successful investors. It’s not a flashy insider tip or a trick that will shortcut you to success. It’s a gritty daily grind. It’s a war. But it’s one we must win if we want to be successful.
We all face an internal war between daily gratification and long-term success. This war pits the shiny objects we want against long-term sustainable wealth, who we are today against who we want to become. Winning that war comes down to self-discipline.
Self-discipline is the most important characteristic of successful people. It’s the ability to do exactly what we need to do when we need to do it, and to complete tasks today that are in our best interest long-term.
Every day you’re distracted by shiny objects, life changes, family drama, demands from your staff and colleagues, and business emergencies. Self-discipline means getting the right tasks done—the ones that impact your future and help you meet your goals.
Define Your Long-Term Goals
What are your long-term goals? They should always be right in front of you so you know which tasks should be at the top of your priority list.
Let’s say you want to create passive income and legacy wealth. In order to do that you need income today, so maybe you decide to wholesale properties. But don’t forget in the midst of that wholesale or fix-and-flip process that those things are a band-aid to help you accomplish your long-term legacy wealth goal.
My goals revolved around owning properties and assets, which revolve around raising all kinds of capital: bank capital, private equity capital, private money, private lenders. Meeting my goal came down to funding and finding the deals. If I could go back and do something differently, I would have realized that earlier and started focusing my efforts on raising money sooner.
Commit to Your Goals Today
Once you’ve got your long-term goals in front of you, commit to do what it takes to meet them. Forego today’s profits. Live on less, wait to buy that car or bigger house. Keep your bills down. Take fewer vacations for now.
Stay the course, and when you’ve met that long-term goal, do all the extra things on your list. Every day, do the things you’re supposed to do that actually impact the better self you’re working toward. Give up certain things in the short-term in order to be who you want to be in the long-term.
Realize this is a journey. Maybe you’re putting out a ton of social media posts, podcasts, and videos, but you’re not getting the number of eyeballs you want. Stay the course.
Maybe you’re trying to recruit private money and you keep getting doors slammed in your face. Stay the course.
Wikipedia defines self-discipline as the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses, the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it. Nailed it, Wikipedia.
Keep your goals in front of you and pursue true freedom in your finances, relationships, and time. Give up some freedom in the short-term to experience complete freedom long-term. Stay organized and focused.
Habits of the Highly Successful
So how do we build self-discipline? It comes down to how your day is structured. Start before bed. Make a to-do list for the next day. Prioritize your list and post it somewhere. That way you’ll wake up with a specific agenda.
Then in the morning, do things to win right from the get-go. Wake up with intentionality. Don’t spend the first 30 minutes of your day lying in bed looking at social media.
For me, mornings mean being the first one up, letting the dogs out, grabbing a cup of coffee, and spending some time outside. I enjoy the dogs, I enjoy the morning breeze, I take my time just being outside with no interruptions.
Then I open my gratitude journal. I write about the previous day and the people I’m thankful for on my team and in my family. I think about my private investors, how my wife does so much for our family, the friends we’ve made. As I write my soul fills up with joy.
And I write about challenges too. I write about how I’m grateful for the opportunity those challenges are providing. When an investor flakes out, instead of getting frustrated I’m grateful for the opportunity and that turns the entire experience into a positive.
Lastly, I go to the gym. I drink a green juice on the way, and I’m back around 7:30 a.m., already having done a massive amount I’m proud of. And I have total clarity about where I want my work day to go.
My best days in the office are the days that begin this way. And the thing that usually compromises that routine is when I stay up too late the night before to watch movies, hang out on social media, or have one more drink I really don’t need at dinner. So for me, self-discipline really begins the night before.
When I’m self-disciplined in the evening, I’m able to execute at a super high level from 8 to 3. So I take my most important meetings and plan my most important tasks before noon every day. Having that kind of self-discipline in the short term is what allows me to succeed in the long-term.
What about you? Are you winning the war of self-discipline? If you want long-term sustainability, profitability, and endurance, it starts and ends with self-discipline.
What habits make you effective? And how do you maintain the discipline to continue those habits? Give me a shout-out below.