is it too late for you
 

There’s a dilemma a lot of people deal with when thinking about whether to get into the real estate business (or any new business venture, for that matter). The question is:

Is it too late for me to get started?

Put another way, the question could also look like this:

  • Am I too old for this?
  • Are all the opportunities gone?
  • Is the economy not right for this?
  • Is the market too competitive?
  • Is my life too busy right now?

There can be A LOT of different reasons to not take action. Some of those reasons are well-founded, but many of them are based on fear, scarcity, and an overall unwillingness to take risks.

In this conversation, we’re going to dissect a lot of these reasons and try to get to the root of what’s really going on.

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Episode 86 Transcription

Seth: Hey everybody, what’s up? This is Seth and Jaren with the REtipster podcast. Great to be with you here today. In today’s episode, Jaren and I are sitting down and we’re talking about a kind of a dilemma, kind of an issue that a lot of people struggle with and have to wrestle with, as they’re deciding to get into the real estate investing business. And really a lot of different businesses, for that matter.

But the issue is, it’s really more of a question of, “Is it too late for me to get started?” And that could mean, “Am I too old for this? Or have all the opportunities already been taken? Or is this just not the right time in my life?”

Jaren: Or in the market.

Seth: Yeah. Or in the market or in the economy. I mean, there can be all kinds of different reasons or narratives that play into this. I think ultimately it would boil down to is, it’s kind of an excuse, for lack of a better word. And I’m not saying there’s never a time for excuses. There are some times when excuses are well-founded, they are rational, a real thing that you have to acknowledge.

So, it’s not like I’m trying to put down the idea, but I do think it’s worth digging into this and just unpacking that a little bit. Like, what are we actually getting at when we say that “Is it too late for me?” What is the real issue living under that? So, that’s what we’re going to pick apart today and just kind of share our 2 cents about it.

Jaren: Yeah. I’m excited because I think that a lot of people allow circumstances to influence their decision to quit prematurely. And I’m excited to rock the boat a little bit.

Seth: Yeah. Or not even starting at all. I mean, whether it’s quitting early or just being like “No, I’m not even going to try it.”

Jaren: So hopefully we can inspire some people to take action on this one.

Seth: There’s a number of people in my life who I have known and still know today that I’ve had a lot of these conversations with. Just repeated conversations about, “Hey man, did you see this property? Did you see this opportunity? Or have you heard about this?” I consistently get very predictable responses back from these people like, “Yeah but that, that, that.”

They just kind of like highlight all the negatives, all the possible downsides about it, which actually there’s always got to be room for that. It’s not like you shouldn’t acknowledge those things. But basically, what it boils down to is like, “No, I can’t because of this, this, this, this.” There’s always some reason to justify inaction. I don’t know. It’s kind of just a broken record that I hear from them a lot.

Seth: In terms of those different scenarios we were talking about, or that I mentioned earlier on about “Am I too old? Is the economy just messed up right now? Or are all the opportunities gone?” Maybe we should take those, one by one, and kind of unpack each one of those.

Jaren: Yeah. There’s a lot of different layers there. Let’s do that.

Seth: Maybe the first one. If we talk about the idea of “I’m too old for this. This is a younger person’s game. I’m just not equipped for this. Maybe I don’t understand technology or the current world today. It’s just over my head. Maybe I don’t have the energy.” Things like that. Do you know many people in your life, Jaren, like that, who have those kinds of reasons for not taking action?

Jaren: Yeah. And I don’t know why they think that way, but it’s almost like after you get over 45 or older, people just stop ambition in their life. And I don’t know why, because one of the more famous ones is Colonel Sanders. The guy that started Kentucky Fried Chicken. He didn’t sell any chicken commercially until he was 65 years old or at least in his mid-sixties.

And I have that kind of mindset. I know I’m just the way I’m wired. I don’t ever really plan on retiring. I just plan on doing one thing to the next, to the next, because I don’t like the idea of retirement. So maybe I’m the oddball here, but I know, I hear a lot of people reminisce about the past and that they wished that they could do XYZ.

There’s really nothing stopping them from doing it, except that they just have this limiting belief that they’re too old or that opportunity somehow has passed them up just because they’ve lived a long time. And I don’t understand that.

Seth: Actually, I think I mentioned this in our previous conversation with Braden. I think Jaren, you had already left the call at this point, but it’s a very real issue where I think a lot of us, as we get older, there’s this increasing pressure from society to not look like a fool. And really to try anything new is to risk looking like a fool because you don’t know what you’re doing. There’s a high likelihood you’re going to mess something up and something’s not going to work out in the textbook that it’s supposed to play out. I totally get that. I mean, I don’t like looking like a fool. I think if you want to get anywhere, you really have to…

Jaren: Have to risk it.

Seth: Get rid of that thought because it’s going to happen. You got to be okay with that.

Jaren: Yeah, I totally understand. As you said, man, the reality is high risk, high reward. And if you’re going to get anywhere, you have to be willing to go the distance. The reality is being successful in a business of any kind or an investment pursuit, the odds are kind of against you. Even if it’s an educated risk, there’s still risk involved. And so, you’re going to have to, at some point, come to terms with the fact that you have to be willing to give something up or at least take that risk, take that jump.

Seth: There was actually a guy, and the reason that he’s always stuck out to me is because he was such a contrarian in this way. Back when I was in my MBA program, this was back in like 2013. There was a guy in my class who was 60 years old and he was going for his MBA. Just right off the bat, a lot of people would look at that and be like, “Why are you messing around with this now at this point in life? Aren’t you winding down from your career?” Usually, when people go for an MBA, they’re just a little bit younger.

Obviously, nothing wrong with doing it when you’re older. But the interesting thing was, this guy, he was the co-owner of the biggest winery in Michigan or one of the biggest wineries in Michigan. He was like, already a multimillionaire in his own right. Even apart from his involvement in this winery. He had a lot of things going for him and he was a brilliant businessman and an incredible salesman. Like one of the best salesmen out there.

But it was interesting how successful he was. And I wonder how much of that success was attributable to this idea of “You never stop learning.” Like you never have this idea that “I’ve got it all figured out. I don’t need any more help. I got all the answers.” And he was actually one of the most vocal askers of questions. He was very willing to say things that might be wrong. I don’t know. He really took that whole learning process to heart and it’s kind of cool to see his genuine curiosity and also where he had ended up going in life.

I don’t know if it’s one is because of the other necessarily, but I do think those things probably link to each other, the fact that he was pretty successful and he also was one who wasn’t afraid to admit that he didn’t know at all and he was still figuring things out.

Jaren: Yeah, definitely. As you’re talking, I feel like the only time it would make sense for me to legitimately say no to pursuing an opportunity like getting started in real estate investing is if I had a lot of debt, a lot of financial obligations, and a lot of people that relied on me to be the breadwinner.

I feel like that’s for at least the only time that it’s justifiable for you not to take a risk because if you take that risk and it fails and other people that rely on you are hurt because of it, it’s probably not worth it. It’s probably better to play it safe. But any other circumstance that provides an opportunity, I feel like it’s worth taking a risk.

Seth: Yeah. And even that word risk, you almost have to distill it down to like, what is risk, really? Because there are different levels of that. Like you could risk $1,000 or $10,000 or $100,000 or your whole life. So, it’s like, even if you do have other things going on, maybe it is okay if you just set aside a chunk of change, that you’re okay losing all of that. The purpose of it is to help you discover this new business and see what’s there. And hopefully, it’ll pay back many times over, but if it falls apart, you already budgeted for that. So, it’s not really a risk necessarily. Or if it’s a calculated plan to risk that you’ve made room for in your life.

Jaren: It won’t negatively impact anybody or anything. Now, I love that. That’s a really good way to approach it because if you take the land business, as an example, you can get started in the land business from maybe $3,000 to $5,000. And if you can save that up and you have that already there, it’s okay to figure out the business with that and risk losing some of it or all of it, because most people can recover from $3,000 to $5,000. What would be not a good idea is if you have $0 in savings and you have all this financial obligation and then you go rack up credit cards to get started in real estate, that wouldn’t be a very good move in my opinion.

Seth: When I look at anybody who just tries to run after any business and it just doesn’t go well and it just falls apart and gets uglier and uglier. I think the reason that happens is because they haven’t done any of this budgeting stuff. They just keep throwing good money after bad. They don’t really figure out what’s working and isn’t working. They just figure, “Well, something must be just around the corner. So, I’m going to keep dumping money into it.” Well, if you had stops in place, like, “Nope, we’re going to spend this much until we see results.” If that doesn’t work, we’re just going to stop or something has to pivot. We don’t just keep blowing money on stuff unless there’s a plan and it’s going somewhere as we mapped out.

It’s kind of similar to what Dave Ramsey says, when people get into financial trouble, a lot of times it’s because they just let go of the wheel. They just stop watching the road. Their foot is on the gas and they’re not even looking where they’re going. It’s just really paying attention, I guess. And course-correcting when you need to.

Jaren: A hundred percent.

Seth: Circling back to the whole age thing. If that’s what you’re thinking, “This is a younger person’s game; You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” and that kind of thing. Do you think that’s true? Are there some people who just have no business trying new things? They shouldn’t try?

Jaren: Yeah, I do. But I don’t think that it’s a factor of age. I think it’s a factor of mindset. If you have somebody who’s extremely rigid in the way that they think, and they’re not hungry for growth and they’re not open to change. They’re kind of just stuck in their ways regardless, that can be an 18-year-old, that can be a 16-year-old, that can be an 80-year-old.

There are people out there that have gotten to a point in their mentality where it’s useless trying to teach them stuff or have them develop a new skill or go after something that, in my opinion, is worth going after. Sometimes people do settle in life and they get comfortable and they’re better off just watching TV and reading and drinking wine and enjoying life.

Seth: Yeah. And also, just factually speaking, if age is your issue or if that’s your manifested issue in your head, it’s worth acknowledging you will never be any younger than you are today. You’re only getting older and there’s no way to go back. So, if there was a time, if you’re waiting for something and if age is your issue, that doesn’t make any sense. “Every time to act is right now.” I heard somebody else say that a while back and it stuck with me. Because as simple as that is, it was like, “Oh yeah, that’s true. There’s no time like the present to get started.”

Jaren: Yeah, a hundred percent.

Seth: At least once a week, if not multiple times a week I see somebody post in some forum somewhere about the land business specifically because the land business is a pretty special thing, honestly. And part of what makes it special and part of what makes it work as well as it does is because of the lack of competition. It’s not like houses where there’s like a million other people going after the same property that you are. It doesn’t have that insanity to it.

And for the most part, when you make an offer to somebody, you’re not always the only person making an offer, but a lot of times you are. And even if there are other offers, they’re probably also making a really, really low offer as well. And that whole opportunity is being squeezed out because of competition. Historically it has not been an issue really with the land business.

But the truth is there are more land investors entering the market all the time. I mean, new people are learning about it. There’s a lot of different educators out there now talking about it. And they’re all funneling new competition into the market. And people have this concern of, “Is this going to just totally kill the land business? Should I just give up right now and not try because it’s going to be too hard?”

To acknowledge it, I think there’s truth to it that there is certainly new competition out there more today than there was 10 years ago. But if you’re going to use that as your reason to not try, I guarantee you, you’re not going to find anything else with even less competition than land has. Or if there is, it hasn’t been invented yet. Because what’d you say it is, Jaren? Like 97% of the land in the U.S. is still undeveloped?

Jaren: I wrote a blog post a while back and it was like 3% to 6% of the land in the United States is developed, which is crazy.

Seth: Yeah. You just think about how many more investors are going after the improved stuff that 3% to 6% versus the very, very few people going after the undeveloped stuff. It’s a different universe. It’s like a different world. Is competition increasing? Probably. I believe it is. But that doesn’t at all mean the opportunity is gone or that you can’t find deals or have just as much success as everybody else.

In some ways, it can actually even make things easier because there’s more data out there to know what markets people are having success in, what prices things are selling for. Whereas 10 years ago it was just question marks everywhere. Nobody really knew anything. They were just kind of poking around in the dark. So, in some ways, it kind of makes things a little easier as well.

Jaren: Yeah. I would say outside of land, because land is a unique animal. I do think that there are circumstances where industries die up or they’re replaced by new technology. I probably want to get into the DVD business right now, or I want to get into…

Seth: Cassette tapes. 8-track players.

Jaren: Yeah. Or even like opening up a bookshop. Right now, I don’t know, that seems to be a kind of a dying industry. Maybe if you were to do it online or something like that and compete with Amazon. But there are a number of different things out there where that ship has sailed.

We don’t think about it now, but in the rise of the automobile, there’s an entire industry related to horses and horse carriages and cleaning and all kinds of stuff that was related to the mode of transportation prior to the automobile that got completely erased. It did not exist anymore. But the automobile opened up a whole new world of industry and sub-industries and all that.

Real estate is a little bit different because there is a certain level where I feel like real estate is kind of evergreen. If the U.S. continues to be the way that it is right now, there’s a really amazing opportunity whether it’s in “buy and hold” or flipping houses or wholesaling or whatever strategy you have. But there are going to be different niches of real estate investing or even different marketing strategies that used to work a whole lot better. That doesn’t work as well now, or maybe doesn’t even work at all now.

So, you have to weigh the circumstances and make an educated decision of what you want to pursue. But I don’t think that you should allow that reality to be a means of convincing yourself, not to take action at all. I still think you can do something and figure out what’s going to work to help you grow as a person and help you grow financially and all of that.

So, I still don’t feel like it’s an excuse to not pursue investing in real estate and getting started. I just think that as a voice of wisdom, definitely make sure that you’re not just flying by the seat of your pants and just saying, “Oh, I saw this guy say that I need to get into lease options. So, I’m just going to go do lease options now.” You really want to make sure what you’re doing.

Seth: Yeah. And really succeeding in any business is just about finding the right solution to the world’s problems and solutions that people are willing to pay money for. And sometimes that’s like really low-hanging fruit and it’s really easy to figure out. That’s been one of the luxuries I think of the land business historically, is that it’s not that hard to find those people and it’s not that expensive to buy them.

There’s a lot of just proven methods that have historically worked, but I’m sure it’s going to change over time as everything does. That doesn’t mean the opportunity disappears. That just means you have to pivot a little bit and be creative. That’s really like any huge, successful business comes out of that. It’s when the world is stuck in this old way of thinking that’s not working anymore and somebody actually has the ingenuity to come up with something that does work a lot better. It’s kind of like a challenge from the universe to up your game a little bit. Like do something just a little bit different or better than everybody else and you’re probably going to kill it. Those unique challenges really have huge opportunities in them if you’re up for that challenge.

Jaren: Yeah, a hundred percent. Let’s touch base a little bit on the economy because right now I feel like we’re at the very, very top of the real estate market. At the recording of this podcast, we’re in the midst of 2020, and there’s a lot going on. Real estate is really hot.

But I feel like in the next six months to a year, and a lot of other people are saying something similar, there’s going to be a downshift in the market. How severe nobody really knows. There’s just a lot of speculation. But I do think that something is going to change real estate wise in the next six months to a year.

So, does it make sense to get into storage units right now, or apartments indications or a number of different strategies? To be honest, I hear a lot of people saying different types of real estate investing that competition is very fierce and that prices are really high and it’s hard to find a deal.

However, I think that regardless of what phase of the real estate cycle you’re on, when you enter into the scene, there’s still an opportunity to make money and there’s still an opportunity to capitalize and there’s still an opportunity to find deals. It just might be harder than in other times of the real estate cycle.

So, for me, I would rather take action now and be wise and be conservative and don’t get ahead of myself and don’t jump the gun and try to make a deal out of something that’s not a deal. Make sure it’s legitimately a deal and that I have a margin to course-correct if there’s a major shift in values or whatever. But I still think that I would not use the economy or the state of the economy as an excuse to shy away from getting started now. I think I would just take action and try to figure it out and my current climate and course-correct as things change. What about you, Seth?

Seth: Yeah. This is an interesting one. If there’s anyone on here that I can relate to the most, I think it’s this one right now. Because I don’t know, man, just being vulnerable, like I’m struggling with this right now. Outside of land, if we’re looking at “buy and hold” stuff, self-storage, everybody I’ve talked to, they just want insane prices for their facilities and they’re getting it too. People are paying for stuff that doesn’t cash flow.

It’s a very similar thing with rental properties. I actually sold a couple of duplexes off last year to people who just way overpaid for them. And they were happy to do it. It’s a terrible investment for them and people are doing that right now. And it’s kind of like what we talked to Braden in the last episode. I think he said he sent 4,000 to 5,000 mailers out per deal. So, they’re out there, but you really got to search hard for those properties.

I’ve looked at a few different possible scenarios of new construction. And in the markets that I would be looking at, the numbers don’t seem to work because the amount you can give for rent is just nowhere near enough to cover the cost of build right now. And maybe that’ll change, but in today’s market right now, the numbers just kind of don’t work unless you have some competitive edge or a way to build a lot cheaper than everybody else.

So, in a way, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been looking high and low, spending a lot of time seeking things out. But in terms of finding deals that like you could back in 2014, that kind of thing, it’s a different world today. And because I know the other side of it, I know how bad it can get, it does make me really hesitant. Because I sure don’t want to overpay for stuff and then see it all crash.

I’m one who tends to go there in my head is like the worst-case scenario of, “What are we going to do?” and all that falls apart. At this point in time, it’s late September, early October as we’re recording this, there are just so many questions up in the air. 

If and when there will be a vaccine? And if and when people will get it? And who is going to get elected? And what are they going to do? What are other countries going to do? Where’s the travel industry going to go? How many more people are going to lose their jobs? Like lots of things that can all have a huge impact on when and where the economy is going to go.

Part of me wants to at least wait until later this year when the election is done and we at least sort of have some clues on the direction things are pointing. But right now, at this moment, I feel like there are the most unanswered questions they will ever be.

Jaren: Yeah. It’s a pretty unique time in history right now, for sure.

Seth: I’ve listened to what other people in the real estate industry are saying and what they’re predicting and their predictions are all over the place. Some people will think one thing and other people think some totally opposite. I feel like a lot of times those predictions are based on some inherent bias based on what they do. And so, I don’t know if it’s really objective what they’re saying and I don’t know. I feel like this is the year of “I don’t know” if there ever was one.

Jaren: Yeah, man, a hundred percent. The distinction though that I want to make in what you’re doing compared to, we know the topic. We’re talking about people who haven’t gotten started yet. You’re actively pursuing it. That’s the difference, right? Yeah, you’re making sure that you’re going to be wise and you’re not going to call something that’s not a deal, a deal. And you’re not going to compromise on that. And I think that that’s wisdom in action.

But you’re still looking and you’re still doing something and you’re saying, “Hey, I want to look into some ‘buy and hold’ stuff.” And you’re talking to people. I think you almost had a deal. What if that deal would have come through and the numbers would have worked? So, I think that’s the distinction.

I think in times like this, you need to be extra conservative and extra cautious, but it still shouldn’t derail you from trying. I think you should have in any market. I mean, there’s wholesalers that are full-time right now that are killing it. And if they can kill it in this market, then you can kill it too. You just have to figure out how and figure out your competitive edge.

Seth: That is the thing. Like a lot of those comments pertain to “buy and hold” that doesn’t pertain to the land business, which has always kind of worked. The “buy and hold” thing is like the passive approach. It’s like the long-term, “Where am I going to park my money?”

The land business is very much the active approach. And luckily at least there’s something that works that I know about. It’s not like everything is just broken and I can’t figure anything out. It almost begs the question of like, “Is it ever okay to take a break or just ignore one set of opportunities in the name of, I just don’t know what to do?”

Maybe there’s a season to just hoard cash until things become clear and you know where things are going to go. Do you always have to be plugging away doing something, even if it’s like not the right thing, just in the name of action? Sometimes there is inappropriate time, I think, to see where things fall.

Jaren: Yeah. My personality doesn’t like that. It’s just the way I’m wired that rubs me the wrong way. But if I just take my obsession with drive and try to always go toward something, there’s a lot of wisdom in what you’re saying.

The pinnacle principle of investing, the foundation of buy low, sell high. That’s the entire concept right there. Right now, things are high. So, it’s time to sell right now. It’s not time to buy right now. So, I think there’s definitely wisdom there. But if you’re dealing with a person who isn’t taking action and they want to start taking action, or they’re wondering if they should take action, you can always be doing something toward your goal.

Like if you want to get into real estate investing and you’re nervous about the climate, you can still be learning and reading and networking and still looking for deals, talking to brokers, and trying to find opportunities. And I know a lot of people will even do that. They’ll go to networking events and read books and pay for courses and feel like they’re busy when they’re not actually doing the few things that actually move the needle forward. So, I struggle.

Because it’s like, if you do what will move the needle forward toward your goal, you have a much higher likelihood of actually accomplishing your goal. But is there ever a time where it’s like, “Hey man, just wait six months or wait a year and things are going to be a lot better?” Yeah, probably. But the reason why my personality struggles with that is, “Well, your year is not going to be guaranteed. What if you get hit by a bus?”

Seth: And who knows how long you have to wait?

Jaren: Yeah.

Seth: What if it’s five years? It’s hard to now know, “Okay, this is the point in time at which I can say moving again,” because it’s always kind of a ‘who knows.’”

Jaren: Ambiguous.

Seth: And there can be opportunities buried in the midst of a really competitive market. Like sometimes things will come up and if you’re not looking for it, you’re not going to find it. So, there’s definitely value in continuing to try, even when it’s hard. And also, say you do try and you fail.

I can point to a pretty sizable list of things I’ve tried and failed at this year. I was actually thinking about doing a blog post about it for no other reason than just to show people, “Hey, I fail a lot. Here’s a lot of the stuff that didn’t work for me this year. And here are the things I learned about it.”

But in a sense, is that really failure? Are you truly making no progress through failure? Or are you actually learning a lot? Like, “Hey, I’m not well suited for this because of this. And I didn’t realize that until I failed at it. So now I can stop wasting my time there.” Versus like, if you just never tried, you’d never know and you’d still be nowhere.

Jaren: Yeah. And I feel like our culture and most cultures in the world actually don’t have a very good approach to failure. We attach so much shame and ridicule to failure. But if you remove the emotion from it, all it is, is feedback that what you tried didn’t work. If you just distill it down, that’s all it is. It’s saying, “Okay, me trying to do this means my goal doesn’t work. So, I have to try a different means in the end.”

And if you just look at it like that, failure should be embraced and celebrated. And I hope to try and teach my son to embrace failure and to go after failure and to not have any negative connotations if something doesn’t work because that’s I feel like a core pillar to being a successful person. It’s willing to go after it and not be afraid of failing.

Seth: Yeah. I wonder why. Well, I think I know the answer why. But it is interesting how at least in the real estate space, every YouTuber or blogger or podcaster I follow, I’d be hard-pressed to find a single person anywhere who talks about their failures. It’s that uncommon. Maybe there might be some passing mention of it here and there, but not like real, genuinely helpful content dedicated to like, “I’m terrible at this. Look what I screwed up. Here’s how I can help you learn from it.” Like it is so rare.

Jaren: So why do you think that is? Because you said at first, you’re like, I wonder why. And you’re like, “Oh, I think I know why.” Why?

Seth: I think, especially if you’re for somebody who’s trying to be seen as an authority in any subject, there’s a lot of pressure to look like you know it all. There’s a lot of pressure to be like, “I don’t have problems. My life is purely highs and highs, but there are no lows. It’s just a straight shot up to the moon. And this is what it’s like to be me. So, don’t you wish you were like me?”

It’s tough, though. Because anybody who’s teaching anything, they do need to be worth their salt. Like you can’t just be somebody who sucks at everything you tried and then expect anybody to have a reason to pay attention to you or follow what you’re doing. But it’s also like completely unrealistic to just hide all the things that haven’t gone well.

I don’t even know that I’ve done that good of a job of it. I try to be humble and real about stuff, but I don’t think I’ve spent a whole lot of time like specifically talking about the things that I haven’t done well. So, I don’t know. Maybe there’s a place for that. Maybe it ought to be a bigger part of what we do. Dedicating time to failure of the week or of the month or the quarter just to show like, “Hey it’s okay. It’s okay to screw up and drop the ball. And that’s a real part of what this looks like.”

Jaren: That’d be really cool. Imagine if we did like a segment on the podcast each week, it’s like, “What did you fail at this week, Seth?”

Seth: Yeah.

Jaren: It’s an interesting thing about leadership because leadership does require a certain level of faking it till you make it. I mean if we were at war and I was a general and I had to lead troops into battle and there was a high likelihood that a lot of these men were going to lose their lives tomorrow. And I was afraid legitimately, like fearful of the battle, I cannot sit there and be like, “Guys I’m really insecure about tomorrow. I think we’re all going to die.” Like it doesn’t work. You have to fake it. You have to be like “Tomorrow, we’re going to go unconquered.” Even if inside you’re like, “Nah, dude, I’m going to die tomorrow.”

You have to just kind of almost be dishonest and just facilitate the strength that everybody needs to move forward instead of being real and authentic. And that’s something that I struggle with. Because I’m authentic to a point like I’m just extremely honest. And it’s hard because it’s like people need me to facilitate confidence and people need me to facilitate strength in my environment. That’s what a leader is supposed to do.

And so, it’s a hard walk to figure out how vulnerable you need to be about your failures or your fears or insecurities versus also showing a level of humanity. Because showing a degree of it helps people trust you even more or follow your leadership even more. But too much of it, it makes people be like, “You’re all over the place, man. I’m not following you into battle. We’re going to die.”

Seth: That’s interesting. That whole analogy about a military leader leading troops in the battle. Is that right? If the person really thinks they’re going to die and has it on good authority, they probably are going to die. Is it right to just kill a bunch of people in the name of, “Well, we just do it because that’s what our orders are?” Or is there ever a time when you should question that and be real? And be like, “No, I don’t think this is good.” I mean, I realize any big military operation would completely fall apart and not work, but there are times when there are bad orders that are made very foolishly and people die because of that.

I don’t know. It’s as in anything. It’s like, I don’t know if you ever want to draw a hard line of like, “No, you never questioned it. Here’s your job to portray success even if you’re not, and it’s important and it’s right to fake it.” You could really screw a lot of people up that way. He could lead a lot of people that stray, make them do the wrong things. It doesn’t compute to me. I feel like that’s messed up. But on the same coin, I get it. And I see there are times when it is appropriate and can make sense, but I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud right now.

Jaren: It’s tough. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around because to the GRI, authenticity and honesty are extremely important. But to another degree, I don’t want to throw anybody under the bus, but there was one time we’ve been doing church on Zoom and it is with much smaller numbers than normal on Sunday because of the COVID-19 stuff.

And there was somebody who was sharing one Sunday after service and just started like bawling their eyes out and crying. And I mean, obviously, we were supportive and listened and prayed and all this stuff. But I was thinking to myself, man, if my pastor acted that way, that it would be all like… It’s totally fine for that person, it’s all good. Like no one judged her. She wasn’t inappropriate at all. But I was just thinking from a leadership standpoint, our worship leader, or our pastor or our pastor’s wife. If they acted that way, it would be really, really bad because right now people need them to be strong in the midst of uncertain times and be a lighthouse and a guide.

It’s tough. I feel like the bigger the influence you have, the smaller and smaller circle you can actually let your hair down around and just be real and vulnerable and insecure. I don’t know. But it’s this tough balance of figuring out. Because if you just be fake and you just facilitate strength all the time and you’re not authentic, that’s a recipe for disaster and burnout and can get really unhealthy really quick. But if on the other side, if you’re just authentic all the time, nobody’s going to want to hear what you have to say because I think you’re falling apart like the $2 suitcase.

Seth: There are different levels of authenticity. One version of authentic is like literally any thought that enters my mind is going to come out. You’re going to hear every little problem I’ve got and I’m going to look like a complete mess. I don’t know that there’s ever a time when that’s appropriate. For the same reason you get dressed before you walk out the door in the morning. You don’t just let it all hang out. You have to literally and figuratively, you got to come to the table with something.

So, there’s that. But there’s also, if you don’t actually know the answer or if there’s some part of the equation that you’re not a hundred percent certain about, you don’t have to pretend like you are certain about it when you’re not. And when you have no data or experience to back it up.

And this is something I try to do a lot when I know there’s a lot of different ways to do something and they all have their merit. And there are some things that the different ways work better at than others. I try to say that. I don’t just say, “Nope, this is the one track. This is all I ever need to know. And this is perfect.” You’re never going to hear me say that unless I’m actually certain about that and I know it.

So that’s one level of authenticity where it’s like, I don’t actually know the answer here. You can feel free to play around with whatever you want. This is what I’ve tried. And this is what happened here. You might have other options to explore it too. Versus like when I have actually perfected something and I know it works. I’ll say that too. I am very confident about this. Like this is something that I have tried many, many times. It’s always producing results. So there, take that for what it is.

So, it’s like a much more refined level of authenticity where you’re not going to hear all my problems. You’re just going to hear this stuff that’s relevant, packaged in a way that hopefully is digestible and understandable. And you can really trust that. Like when I say something it works, I mean it, because if it doesn’t, I’m going to tell you that.

Jaren: I understand that. I have a really good friend named Tim. We have these types of conversations quite a bit. And something that I liked that he uses as a metaphor. And sometimes with these things, it’s more like a volume knob than it is an on and off switch. My personality is very much a hundred percent authentic or like not authentic at all. Like I’m very extreme in that way. But it’s probably more so like a volume knob. You need to be authentic all the time. But in certain circumstances, you need to turn the volume down a little bit just so that you can lead well. And then in other circumstances, you can turn it up a little bit louder because it’s appropriate to do so.

Seth: Yeah. I mean, we’re sort of going down a rabbit trail here.

Jaren: We definitely are. It was good though. It was a lot of fun.

Seth: For sure. Back to the original question of like, “Is it ever too late to get started?” So, I read a book a few years back. The author’s last name was Christensen. I heard the guy died a few years ago, but he’s written a lot of books. One of the things he talked about in this book was like a lot of people that are concerned about their legacy. What their legacy is going to be someday after they are gone. What they’re going to be remembered for, how the world is going to be different or better off because they were there, or in some cases worse off, depending on how you live your life.

But I think the truth is your legacy is being created today. Right now. What you are doing right now is part of your legacy. Things you are choosing to spend your time on, things that you’re spending your money on, all this stuff. You are currently being defined. So, I think if you stopped looking at it in the sense of like “Someday. Someday, I’m going to define who I am and someday I’ll get this all figured out.” It’s having a right now, buddy.

If something’s not going right, if you’re not happy with where your life is going, you better correct course pretty quick, because you can’t redo this stuff. When I heard that, it was like, yeah, that is true. And there are things that I’m not that happy about with where my life is and I’m like, I should probably fix that pretty quick. And I think a lot of people just don’t think of it that way. It’s important to frame that correctly.

Jaren: I love that. That’s something to write down and put on your mirror. I really, really liked that a lot. Because it’s true. We like to push things off for the infamous “someday.” But the infamous someday boils down to several different choices that you make on a daily basis. And that’s what eventually leads you there. I love it, man. I thought that this was a great podcast. Do you want to ask a personal question before we land the plane or…?

Seth: Yeah, like our conversation starter thing we do?

Jaren: Yeah.

Seth: Let’s do it.

Jaren: I got a great question.

Seth: Yeah? What’s that?

Jaren: If you were to choose your first name and it was different than your current name, what would you want your name to be? That’s a great one.

Seth: Yeah. That is a good question. It sounds like you have an answer to that.

Jaren: I do.

Seth: What is yours?

Jaren: I would go by my childhood nickname, which it was Bear. If I didn’t like my first name Jaren, I would probably exclusively go by Bear. Introduce myself as Bear.

Seth: And why is that?

Jaren: I just feel like it is a pretty accurate depiction of my personality. Growing up as a kid, I was always called Jair Bear. That was my childhood nickname. And then as I grew up, they kind of dropped the Jair part a lot of the time. So, it was just, “Hey Bear.” And I probably go by that.

Seth: Interesting. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on this website, but babynamewizard.com. My wife and I spent a lot of time here and we were trying to figure out names for our first kid. And part of what I find interesting about this is you can type in any name and it will show you how popular it’s been over certain years in the past. Certain names like nobody calls their baby that today, but they used to back in like the 80s kind of thing.

But anyway, so for me though, when I think of that, and this is like the first name that came to my head, I’ve not spent a lot of time thinking about this, but the name of Wyatt seems like that would be kind of a cool name because it’s like pretty unique or at least it has been historically. According to Baby Name Wizard, it’s like really popular right now. More than ever has been.

I think that’s one thing I’ve kind of appreciated about the name of Seth is that there’s not a whole lot of other Seths out there. So, usually, when I hear that name, I can be pretty sure they’re talking to me. Yeah. I think Wyatt is what I go with. Like Wyatt Earp.

Jaren: Yeah. I met a Wyatt only once in my entire life.

Seth: The hard thing about this is like, because we did this all the time. My wife and I had such a hard time coming up with a name we could both agree on. I think there were like two names total of all the names we ever found anywhere that we were both like, “Yes, I’m all about that.” But the problem is like everybody knows somebody by a certain name that they didn’t like when they were a kid and they associate that with today. And now, did you like the Wyatt that you met, or were you indifferent?

Jaren: Yeah. He was a good guy. I’m in the middle of that right now because my wife’s pregnant. I think we just hit the six-month mark. So, we’re close and we’re trying to figure out names. So, I have to grab that link from you after the show.

Seth: Not that it’s relevant to real estate, but I’m going to put it in the show notes too at retipster.com/86 because this is episode 86. The guys and girls out there who are listening to this on their phones, you can feel free to take out your phone and text the word “FREE” F-R-E-E to the number 33777 and you can stay up to date and all the stuff we got going on and get access to some cool stuff we don’t normally have on the blog. But yeah, I think that wraps it up for today and thanks Jaren for the good conversation. It was fun.

Jaren: That was fine.

Seth: We’ll pick this back up again in the next episode. See you guys.

About the author

Seth Williams is the Founder of REtipster.com - an online community that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

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