How to “Give Up Bad Days,” With Jeffrey Holst

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What if you could simply make the decision that you would never have a bad day again—no matter what? In this inspiring interview, host Jeff interviews successful real estate investor and podcast host Jeffrey Holst. Jeffrey brings a perspective to life and real estate that is one-of-a-kind, and extremely thoughtful. In this conversation, Jeffrey and Jeff discuss a wide range of topics, from the keys to having a successful real estate partnership, to how to have “radical responsibility,” and how to decide to give up having bad days.

Episode Transcript

But he said, you know, listen, somewhere in the world right now, someone’s having the worst day of their life. somewhere else in the world, someone’s having the best day of their life. So when you really think about it, the day is neither objectively good or bad. It’s the perspective that you bring to the day and that determines whether it’s good or bad for you.

Jeff Stephens 

Welcome to racking up rentals, a show about how regular people, those of us without huge war chest of capital or insider connections, can build lasting wealth acquiring a portfolio of buy and hold real estate. But we don’t just go mainstream looking at what’s on the market and asking banks for loans nor are we posting We Buy Houses signs are just looking for quote, motivated sellers to make lowball offers to. You see, we are people oriented dealmakers, we sit down directly with sellers to work out Win Win deals without agents or any other obstacles, and buy properties nobody else even knows are for sale. I’m Jeff from a thoughtful real estate entrepreneur. If you’re the kind of real estate investor who wants long term wealth, not get rich quick gimmicks or pictures of yourself holding fat checks on social media. This show is for you. Join me and quietly become the wealthiest person on your block. Now let’s go rack up a rental portfolio. Hey, thanks for joining me for another episode of racking up rentals. Show Notes for this episode can be found a thoughtful ar e.com slash e 115. Please do us a big favor and do yourself a big favor by hitting that subscribe button in your podcast app. It really helps fellow thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs to find the show onward with today’s episode. And in today’s episode, I’m really pleased to share just such a cool conversation an interview I had with my new friend Jeffrey Holst, Jeff and I met via Facebook groups and both being involved in real estate conversations and even the way we met and what happened immediately was so interesting and just defined thoughtfulness to me that I was really inspired to continue to learn more about Jeff. And so as we’ve talked more and more, we just realized he’s got so much perspective to share with with people knowledge and insights. Yes, but perspective is the thing that I just find myself getting so much out of my conversations with Jeff. And so I’m so excited to share this with you. This is truly a one of a kind conversation as far as I’m concerned. And I know you are going to get so much out of it as well. So without further ado, let’s jump right into my conversation with Jeffrey Holst. Jeff is the host of the old fashioned real estate podcast and last life ever podcasts. Alright, Jeffrey, thank you so much for joining me.

Yeah, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. I’m excited. I’m it’s been great getting to know you the last few weeks here. So

Jeff Stephens 

I agree.

Yeah. So listen, I tell you a little bit about myself. I think that you know that we give people an idea of what I’m about. So you know, I’m Jeffrey Holst. I’m a multifamily real estate investor. But I actually don’t like defining myself, as a real estate investor, I don’t really like defining myself in general, I like to be a little bit more eclectic about how I live my life. If you really push me to define myself, what I would say is, my goal is to be the most interesting man in the world. So that’s, that’s really the goal, like I just, you know, try to make decisions based on that sort of mental framework. And for me, that’s about living the best possible version of my life, which means I’m going to do charity, I’m going to help people, I’m going to add value to the world wherever I can. And if I do that, then then you know, I feel that the universe sort of rewards us for adding value. Oh, and it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be like, you know, sort of spiritual or foofy or however you want to look at it, it can be it can really be a function of, of looking at capitalism and say, like, the more value you add to the market, the more money you’re going to get back. And I think that’s true, not just in capitalism, but it’s true in life in general. If you add value to people’s life, they’re going to add value back to you. And that’s what I try to do.

Jeff Stephens 

Yeah. So when you I love the goal of being the most interesting man alive. When you do your self assessment, like how you doing on that, like, give yourself a score of one to 10 right now.

Oh, like 0.1 I mean, listen, I’m not that interesting. Although I did actually have this guy at a bank the other day say to me, he might be the most interesting man in the world. And I never told him that sounds like that’s so awesome. Like, I’m really doing well. So maybe like a five. Okay, I’m getting there. I, I’ve, I’ve, you know, I’ve done a lot of really fun things in the last, you know, few years. And I’ve done things like start charities and stuff. So and I’ve got a couple of podcasts that I run that I think really help people so I feel like I’m really like leaning into this strategy. But it’s it’s a work in progress. I had this coach for a while Who said that? integrity is like the most important value for people like that you should just constantly work on living in integrity with your own personal values with with what you think is important. But then the the part that really stuck out to me is they’re stuck stuck out to me was that he said, integrity is like a mountain with no top, you just keep working at it, you know, you keep climbing a little bit hard, a little bit higher. And you might think you see the summit, and then you get there and you’re like, Oh, whoops, that’s actually just a little peak, there’s another peak up there higher, and you might not see the next peak until you get through that next one. So, yeah, so I think that’s kind of the same thing with being the most interesting man in the world. Like, yeah, you know, there probably been some people that have been alive that have been more interesting than me. But also, like, I need to be careful with that, too, because it’s a little facetious tongue in cheek, right. You know, serial killers are really interesting. But I don’t want to be a serial killer. So like, you know, I have to live in in line with what that means to me. And so that’s how I think about it.

Jeff Stephens 

Yeah, yeah. So I want to back up for a second and sort of let the the listeners in on just sort of how how we connected really, in the last few weeks, I think we’ve been officially, you know, technically technologically connected on Facebook for a while, but we didn’t really, you know, right, know each other, but then we’re exchanging comments on something recently. And that prompted you to say, Hey, I hope you don’t mind. But I’m going to send you a video about my life. And you sent me this video. And I, I actually don’t want to like give away the whole video, because with your permission, I’d love to put it in the show notes. Oh, yeah, for sure. Sure. That’s just the fact that you sent me the video. And then when I watched the video, it just felt like this very artful kind of way of communicating. And it just immediately struck me as being very, very, very thoughtful. I know we’re gonna like, we’re gonna touch on stuff that shows up in the video. Sure, today, and I hope people will go watch it. But one of the things you said in the video that actually right before I hit the record button, you you referenced it again that I want to start here. I love this. You said in the video, and I think I’m quoting correctly. I gave up bad days. Now on time ago,

yeah, yeah, I don’t know if I said it exactly like that. Because I like that video. By the way, if you want one made, I’ll tell you how stupid easy like these guys it like, you know, virtual assistant people. They just interviewed me for a half hour and cut it down to a video. But that was it. I mean, it took me like, a half hour. So it’s pretty awesome. But, um, yeah, so and I haven’t really watched it too much since then. So I can’t I can’t comment on the coding. But But yeah, I mean, listen, I, the some of it is that when I was 17, I gave up at this. And people say to me all the time, like, well, how can you give up bad days? That’s make sense, like bad stuffs gonna happen to you? And then it’s like, Yeah, absolutely. That is true. Good and bad stuff happens to me every day, just like it happens to everyone else every single day. But same coach that was telling me about integrity actually clarified this for me, I didn’t actually know how it worked. But he said, you know, listen, somewhere in the world right now, someone’s having the worst day of their life. somewhere else in the world, someone’s having the best day of their life. So when you really think about it, the day is neither objectively good or bad. It’s the perspective that you bring to the day that determines whether it’s good or bad for you. So when I thought about that, I went Yeah, that’s exactly how it works. Right? So when I was 17, I was I don’t I hesitate to say suicidal because it doesn’t seem right to me. But like, I broke up with my girlfriend, my parents were going through a divorce, I was in a bad spot. And I went into the bathroom. I don’t even think it’s in the video. So you may not know this, but I put a knife on my wrist. And it was a serrated blade, right? And I said, Man, that kind of hurts. I don’t know if I want to do this. Right, like so. You know, but I never told anyone about it for a year. So it wasn’t like a cry for help. It was literally like, I just was in this bad spot. And like I said, I don’t think it was pure depression. I think it was more like teenage angst in retrospect. And if people are depressed, they should definitely consult professionals. I’m not you know, this is not a magic trick, right? But I took that knife and I set it aside. And I looked in the mirror and I said this is really kind of dumb, like I’m, you know, 17 and I live in a middle class family in a nice suburb in the United States of America. Like how bad can my life be? I’m healthy and young. And you know, we’re rich, like relatively speaking. We weren’t like super wealthy, but you know, compared to people in like, you know, the third world were insanely rich, like the poorest people in this country are insanely rich compared to them. And so I just thought Today’s a good day and I walked out of the bathroom and I threw the knife in the sink. And I thought, yeah, I mean, today’s a good day. I’m going to I’m going to make today Good day. And it didn’t actually work like that next day, it wasn’t like a perfect day. But I was stubborn. This is in the mid 90s, like 9596, somewhere around there. And, and so we didn’t have YouTube, because Google hadn’t been invented yet. And so I couldn’t like watch things on YouTube to help me I just went Today’s a good day, and it didn’t work. So then the next day, I was like, well, I just got to lean into this. And I have to say, today’s a good day, like all the time, so I just kind of went like every time I saw a mirror. If I was by myself, I said Today’s a good day out loud, over and over again. And, and I just created all these trigger points to where I was saying this, like, hundreds of times a day. You know, now we know this is a mantra, affirmation, but I never even heard of those things that I just did, right. And one day, I walked into a 711. And the guy behind the counter says How you doing today, and I go, I never had bad days. And then I literally went holy. You know? Crap. I never had bad days. Like it dawned on me as I was saying it that it had been a few months since I had a bad day. Like I don’t know when exactly what day it started, right the street. But I was 17 when I started saying that. And I was 17 when I walked into the 711. And I haven’t had a bad day since so 26 years. No bad days. And it’s really not that hard. It’s actually easier to have good days and bad days.

Jeff Stephens 

Yeah. Have you ever found yourself really tested?

Oh, yeah. Yeah, there’s some days are harder than others. Right? Like, like I said, good and bad stuff happens every day. Like, like today, maybe I’ll stub my toe. That’s bad. But it’s not, you know, testing, right? Like that’s like, ouch. And then you move on. There’s this thing. Um, before I tell you about the the hardest part, right? The hardest days, there’s a couple that stand out that were really difficult. I’ll tell you that. It gets easier over time. Right? If some of the stuff that I went through, I went through when I was 17, I would have it would have ruined my day. I know this, like it’s not like one week into saying Today’s a good day, you’re going to be you know, perfectly aware of how to do this. It just you’ve got to develop it’s like a muscle. It’s like going to the gym. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Tony Robbins calls it the reticular activating system. The idea is your brain sort of defaults to the familiar, right. So the longer you have of having good days, the easier it becomes. And there’s actual science behind this. There’s this thing called the Baader Meinhof effect, which is essentially like when you get a new car, and then all of a sudden, it seems like everyone has that new car. It’s again, it’s your mind default into the familiar. But there’s also this. And I wish I could remember the guy’s name. I really memorize this guy’s name. But there’s this PhD that wrote a book called hardwiring happiness. I really liked this. He whispers something, but any which way. The idea is your brain neurons, your neural pathways in your brain, the more you use them, the more they repeat themselves. So if you sort of embrace happiness over and over and over again, your brain becomes better and better and seeing happiness. It’s the same thing as the Baader Meinhof effect, but it’s like from a neuroscience perspective, right. As opposed to a psychology perspective. So it actually like physically rewires your brain. And what he says is like, if you walk outside, and like the sun hits your face, like instead of being like, Oh, that’s nice, stop for a second and think this is really nice, because like that extra couple of seconds, tilts the balance over time. And if you do that over and over again, you get to the point where you’re like, really, really good at seeing positive stuff. And then of course, if you’re better at seeing positive than negative, it becomes really easy to see positive versus negative. So when the bad stuff happens, you stub your toe, and you go, I didn’t break, my toe could have been so much worse, or you try to start your car and it doesn’t start and you go, I’m so glad that mechanics exists. Right? instead of like, oh, man, my day is ruined. And that really is how it works. Because if you think back to the My coach Jamil, who said, um, you know, like, somebody is having a good day, someone’s having a bad day. Like, it’s all about perspective. So this is a very long way to answer your question about like days that challenged me, so I apologize for that. But in 2008, I have this thing, and I don’t think this is in the video either. For whatever reason, when I was in high school, I always told people I would die at 30 I just was like, I’m gonna die at 30. Right? I don’t know why I thought that I just believed it. And so I lived my early part of my life with this philosophy that you know, I was probably not going to live very long. So I needed to do really cool and interesting things, which you know, is actually good Good way to live your life. I mean, don’t tell yourself, you’re going to die at 30. But But tell yourself, you know, I might die at 30. Like, I might die at 25 whatever it is, right? If you’re 40, obviously, you’re not dying at 30. But say, you know, hey, I might have five years left, I might have two years left and, and you can go. Like, if you found out that you had 10 years left, what would you spend your time on? And then, and then if you really want to get profound, well, what if you only had five years left? You know, and think about that? And then well, what if you only had one year left, right? Like, would that change what you spent your time on? If you knew for sure you had one year left, or one week, left, right, one day left, right. So if you start thinking like that impacts your ability, so there’s actually some real value to that. But but it is morbid to think you’re definitely 30 when you’re 17 or 18 years old. That’s what I did. And then so, so flash forward to when I’m 30. It’s 2008. I’m a bankruptcy attorney. I was busy, because it was 2008. And there was a lot of bankruptcies and stuff like that happening at that time. And I had this short bucket list that I had created.

And one of the last things on that was to go to Machu Picchu in Peru. So I go to Peru, and I’m looking down, you know, at the last city, the Incan ruins. And I’m thinking, you know, everything is so good in my life, like, I’ve done like everything on my bucket list. And like, I have this law practice that’s thriving. And, and I mean, it was just like, really good. And I was 30. And I thought I was gonna die before I turned 30. So I was like, now I’m on bonus time. And I, but I did it. But something was a little bit off. And I didn’t know what it was. And I came off the mountain. And then I called my voicemail, because we didn’t have international phone plans then. And I listened to the voicemail. And I had this attorney that worked for me, and he actually put in his two week notice, and I was gonna be gone for another six or seven days. So I was gonna have like a week to figure out a replacement. When I when I got back and I was like, well, I’ll just have to work a little harder, right? And I got home, and I was sick, like I didn’t feel well. So I was like, This is great. Now I’ve gotten pneumonia, and I’m tired. And I’m down on the attorney. So I’m down from two to one. And I go to the Med Center on a Saturday. And, you know, it’s like, eight, nine o’clock in the morning, I go to the Med Center. And I’d gone a couple of days before that they gave me antibiotics, and I wasn’t getting better. And I’m like, you guys got figured out I’ve got this weird bruise on me. I don’t know where it came from. Like, maybe I picked up a parasite in the rain forest. I don’t know, like something’s wrong. So they go and do bloodwork. Right? And, and, and, and then they send me home. And they’re like, well, I you know, and I get a call at like 10 o’clock at night. Right? And this is the answer your question. This is a challenging day, the doctor says to me, hey, there’s no easy way to tell you this. But you have leukemia, and you have to go to the hospital right now. So that that’s a tough day, right? And so I did the dumbest thing that you can possibly do. When you find out you have leukemia, and I got in the car to go to the hospital, actually, you know, there was a little bit more to it. I told my wife and then you know, we were upset. And then her dad came over and over was crying and all that stuff was happening, right. But eventually we left to go to the hospital. It’s about 11 o’clock at night, on the Saturday. And I start calling everyone I know practically like Hey, Mom, like I have leukemia. I don’t know anything. So I’ll give you some more info later.

Call my brother and my dad and my sister and my friends. And you know, that’s, that was shock, right? Like, I mean, I was in shock, no doubt, like that’s not a normal response. Like you shouldn’t tell people stuff like that until you know a little bit more. But what happened is, all of these people thought that I only caught that. Right? And so they all start showing up at the emergency room. So we’re in this little tiny room. And there’s like, you know, a dozen people there. And one of them is my dad and he says something like, you know, if you live till February, this is in September. If you live till February, I’ll take you to Australia and I’m just going I just hope I make it till Christmas like my white blood cell counts 250,000 I don’t know much about leukemia at this point. I know a lot more now having gone through this, right. But I did know that one of my cousin’s had died of a different type of leukemia, and her white blood cell count got up to 150,000. So I was like, way worse than her. And that was when she died. Right? So I was like, I’m not making until February like that’s not happening. So I had this moment where I was like, Whoa, like, you know what, you’re 30 and you’re right. You actually are going to die. 30. Right. And, you know, maybe I manifested that I don’t know, right? Yeah, like, but um, but but I had this acceptance of the fact that I was going to die. And that’s challenging, like recognizing you’re going to die at a time when you really don’t want to die when your life’s going pretty well, right? Like you have a thriving law practice. And you’ve been able to travel to all these really great places. And you have, you know, your dogs and your house in the suburbs, and you’re your wife, and you’re happy and you’re planning a future, right? And my brother, bless him, I love him. But this might not have been the right strategy at the time. He was super young man, several different paths. But he says to me, still that same night, I bet today is a bad day, like, like, almost like he wants to prove it’s not possible. That days, and that’s actually a typical response. When I tell people, I never had bad days, they go one responses. Wow, that must be nice. And it is nice. The second response is, I wish that could happen to me. I love it when people say that because they can’t do it. And I can explain to them how to do it. And then the third one is You’re lying. You’re deceiving yourself, or you’re lying. And that’s kind of my brother’s reaction at the time was like, Yeah, see, I knew it was impossible, you know. And I was kind of like, actually, not too bad. Like, I didn’t get diagnosed until 10 o’clock at night, because my mind was like, let’s look at the positives. All these people show up that left me, right, I didn’t get diagnosed until 10 o’clock at night. So most of the day was actually pretty good. Right? hang out with my wife, she had the day off. We watched some TV, we went swimming in the pool, actually, which was like, the last day of the year for the season before we covered it. And, and, you know, so it was actually a pretty good day. And, and, you know, one person would say like, Well, yeah, I mean, that’s those are normal, good things. And then you have this really bad thing happened and that outweighs at all. But the thing is, it didn’t for me. And that’s what mattered, right? It’s the perspective. So that was a tough day. The next day was even worse, though. Because the next day I couldn’t say, Well, you know, 22 hours of not having the gym. Yeah, and two hours of having the game. It’s all 100% of the day having the game. Yeah. And I had I struggled a little bit that day, that was probably one of the harder days that I ever had to deal with. My set my wife home, she had been up all night, I sent her home sleep. And I was sitting in the hospital room by myself thinking about this going, man, I really don’t want to die. Like, you know, it was one thing when I was 17, to say I was gonna die 30. But when you’re 30, it doesn’t sound as good, right? And so, I sat there and I thought, Man, I really got to figure this out. And I’m like I was I was struggling a little. And it was about two o’clock in the afternoon. And there was a shift change. And this nurse comes in and she looks at me and she says, Oh my god, Jeff, I’m so sorry to see you here. And I went, Oh my god, Shelly, I’m so happy to be here. And that she was like, You’re insane, right? But I was literally like, filled with joy to see her. And the reason was, she was one of my favorite babysitters from when I was like seven years old. And I hadn’t seen her in a decade or more, right? I think I saw her at Costco once from when I was 10. Until then, like in 20 years, I didn’t one time. And I was just like, I’m so happy to see her that like my whole day felt better instantly, right? And people again, people would say to me later, when I tell this story, they go Well, sure. Like you were happy to see your babysitter. That’s cool. But you also had leukemia, and that’s worse, right? Like if you’re weighing these things, one’s worse than the other. And I say no, that’s not true. And I really believe it’s not true, because I didn’t feel it at the time. And again, perspective matters. And in retrospect, that was probably the best day of my life. But because if I didn’t have leukemia, I’d still be practicing law. And I didn’t really like practice. And I was doing it to make money. I decided to become a lawyer because I wanted to travel. And I said things like someday I’ll invest in real estate because I really love real estate. And I knew it when I was a kid I would sneak out at night and watch like Carlton sheets, no money down stuff. You know, like 15 year old kids usually sneak out to watch like some nefarious stuff. I snuck out of my bedroom to watch like infomercials about real estate, right? And I mean, I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, the second it came out. You know, I’m one of one of these people that obsessed on real estate and we didn’t have podcast then. But I bought Carlton sheets program. And I read every book I could find on real estate and I wanted to meet people that were buying real estate and I looked at Real Estate online, but I never bought any real estate, right? I always want someday I’ll have money to invest in real estate. And when I got sick with leukemia, I

went, huh? Someday may never come like I got a I mean, I said that I lived my life believing I was going to die at 30 but I didn’t really believe I was gonna die at 30 It was not until I actually was dying at 30 that I believed that I was gonna die at 30. And once I did that, I went, I gotta change everything. Like, I got to figure this out, like, first of all, if I die, and I can’t work, like I need money for my wife, like, I have to take care of her. So that was a big motivator. And you know, this stuff, it forced me a bankruptcy attorney into personal bankruptcy because I wasn’t prepared, because I didn’t make the right decisions before I even before I got sick. But now, I don’t have to worry about anything. Like if I die right now, my wife’s fine forever. I know for sure. Right? My business is set up that if I never paid attention to it again, I would be fine forever. Right? I have hundreds of units of apartments and like, not like syndicated apartments where I own 1% of them. I mean, like I own like a third or half, you know, like, like, it’s a small partnership. But they’re set up in a way that my partner’s businesses run them for me, and I really don’t have to pay any attention. And I mean, it’s an amazing way to live, and it would have never ever, ever happened had I not gotten sick. So when I was saying, today’s a good day, and people were like, That can’t be true, but I felt it. And not only was I feeling it, and so it was true. But it actually in retrospect is really honestly one of the best things that ever could have happened to me.

Jeff Stephens 

Yeah. Oh, my gosh. That’s cash. I mean, that’s amazing. It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, is just to riff on what you’re saying is that, thinking philosophically about, there’s like three levels of things that happen, there’s the thing that happens, which is just a thing that happens. There’s it’s not intrinsically Good, bad. It’s just a thing that happens. Yeah. The second thing is, how is the label we put on it? Like, that was bad. That was good sweat. That’s our perspective. But then the third thing is how we choose to respond to the label that we put on it. Right. So yeah, I’ve passion. I remember feeling this way. Like when my A few years ago, actually, almost five years ago to the day Oh, you and I talked about this before my, my dog died too early. And it it really wrecked me in and as I went outside and and like took a walk or went to the store. I was so struck by the fact that like, everything around me is happening. Totally normal, like look at all these people carrying on with their lives, don’t they realize, you know that my that my dog has died? And yeah, and it was such a reminder that like, the fact that he died was a thing that happens. But me labeling it as bad was a choice. And then how I responded to that level was also a choice. And so I think that’s to me, like what I kind of take away from the I don’t have bad days, it’s like I have days, things happen in those days. I can label them however I want. And then I can react to however I want to label them. Yeah, most of that’s decision making, right?

Oh, it’s all decision making, right? I mean, they said for that what happens, right? Like, I’m so I also like to going in line with what you’re saying I like to embrace something I think of as like radical responsibility. And the idea is to take 100% responsibility for everything, right? If you get leukemia, it’s not your fault. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be responsible for it. Responsibility is about looking at the cards you’re dealt, and then playing them the best possible way, right? How Elrod has this quote that I love the Miracle Morning guy. It says, The moment you take 100% responsibility for everything in your life, is the moment you can change anything in your life. Right? You can’t change something if you don’t take responsibility for it. And again, it’s not about fault. It’s about it’s about making that choice to respond. And when you talk about your three different levels, right? That’s really what you’re saying. You’re saying, look, this stuff happens. My fault, not my fault doesn’t matter. But it happens. And then I get to label it how I want that’s taking the first step towards being responsible for it. Right? I recognize that I get to choose how I perceive this thing. And then the second step after that are really your third step is saying, Okay, now what am I going to do about it? Buddha has this thing, and I’m gonna butcher this quote, but I really like it, even though I’m not Buddhist. says like, when you’re thinking about worrying, you shouldn’t worry about anything, because there’s only two possible things, right? Like, one, you can’t do anything about it, right? Like whatever this thing that you’re worried about, that’s going to happen, there’s nothing you can do about it. Well, if that’s the case, there’s no point in worrying about it right? Or the other possibility is whatever this thing you’re worried about, you can do something about it. And if that’s the case, you’re way better off just to do that thing about it to prevent it from happening. So either way, worrying doesn’t help, right. It’s a distraction. So don’t worry just like either recognize You have no control over it and then just ignore it because it doesn’t do any good to worry about it. Or if you do have control over it, go do that thing, whatever it is that that that minimizes the consequences of the thing you’re worried about, rather than worrying about it. And I think that’s the same concept as taking responsibility for whatever your doubt.

Jeff Stephens 

Absolutely. And I think that the antonym the opposite of radical responsibility is, is basically victim mentality. Right? And I think that once that once I kind of started tuning, or let’s say, I programmed my reticular activator to spot victim mentality around me, or especially when I was doing it, but I started seeing and other people. It’s like, Oh, my gosh, it is everywhere. Like, it’s all the time. It just like it could be like just some subtle little thing. Somebody says, that’s a clue to like, Oh, yeah, they feel like this thing happened to them, kind of, rather than they have any role in it, or any ability to, yeah, no. And I mean, other feelings about it. For me, I

had a guy I worked with for a number of years, who was very successful early in his career, and he started a business, and then it didn’t work out, you know, timing was off. He felt like people took advantage of him, the economy was unfair, all this stuff. And he was about, like, when I worked with him, he was in his mid 50s. And he still had great credit, he still was making good money. But he constantly would say things like, well, I could have been so much further ahead. But now I’m too old to like, turn it around, you know, and he just like, got progressively more and more depressed. And I really liked the guy, like, he’s a really good guy still keep in contact with them. But when I talk to him, every time I come away feeling like so sad, that it’s hard for me to even deal with him sometimes. Because the thing is, like, if you sit around and just blame things, and you never, like, take any responsibility for it, which like you said, the opposite of radical responsibility. It’s just, it’s always someone else’s fault, then you’re never going to change like how all rod set, right? Like, as soon as you take responsibility, you can change it. Well, if you don’t take responsibility, then there’s nothing you can do about it. If there’s nothing you can do about it, then there’s nothing you can do to make your life better. And I just don’t want to live that way. And I don’t want to be around people that live in a world where they believe that whatever happened to them is outside of their control, and there’s something they can do. And the people that inspire me the most are people that have overcome really hard things, right. Like, I always tell my story, and then people are like, it’s so inspirational. And I think it’s not really that inspirational, just something I did, like I got cancer, and I had a choice. I could either like blame the world and go die in a corner, or I could like keep living and figure out how to get through it. Right? Yeah, it seems like a really like it for a while, like when people would be like, Oh, you’re a fighter, I’d be like, that’s BS. I’m not a fighter, like, like, if you get cancer, you have a choice. You can either seek treatment or not, like you’re not a fighter, like you either go fix it, if you can, or you don’t, like, it’s just bad luck that you have cancer, if you really want to be honest about it. But you can take responsibility for it. And, and if you do, you can, you can get through it. And that’s what I did. I mean, when I got first diagnosed, I mean, I went and sought out the best doctors in the world. And I don’t mean that facetiously, like, I made friends with a guy who ran the lab at the Mayo Clinic that explained that that tested for the type of cancer I have, right the best lab in the world. Like he’s a friend of mine. And then I went, and I told this to my doctor one day, and he was like, wait, you know, a guy who runs a lab at Mayo Clinic official lab? And I’m like, Yeah, like, Of course I do. Like I need to make sure I’m under this is under control. And I even said to my doctor, when I first got diagnosed, I said, Listen, if you were diagnosed with this, like what doctor would you see? Like, I’m not nothing against you, Doc, but like, I want to I want to I want a second opinion. And, and you know, if you were 30 and diagnosed with a cancer that most people don’t get until they’re 60. Like, who would you want to see? And he’s like, Well, I mean, you could go to the University of Michigan and I’m like, No, no, no, I could. Who would you see if you could see any doctor in the world? And he named this Dr. Susan O’Brien He’s like, Well, you know, Susan O’Brien invented the treatment protocol for your disease like she’d be a good doctor to see and I go great, I’m gonna go see her and he’s like, I’m not think she’s taking new patients and I’m like, she’s taking me and then I did go see her twice actually. And she told me the second time you know, you really don’t have to come see me because your doctor is doing exactly what I would be doing and I go Okay, good cuz flying to Houston to MD Anderson over and over again. Like that’s kind of expensive. But But the point is, I did everything I could in my power to, to respond to the situation I was in and and it continues to Today, right, that’s why I focus on real estate. And when I got enough real estate that I could quit, I mean, I went from bankrupt to like, retired in seven years, which is awesome, right? When I got enough real estate that I could quit, I went, I should help other people do this, because this is freaking amazing. And so I started my shows and started telling my story. You know, from podcasts from the stage that it all came because I realized that it helped people. And then you know, just everything I do now is about trying to figure out how to provide that value and fit into that, you know, that most interesting man in the world that I’ve defined, right, so I do cool things like climb mountains, and, you know, try I spent a month in Puerto Rico this year. I mean, that was amazing. And, you know, month in Africa last year, I mean, think about that. 2020, who do you know, went traveling and 2020 for a month? Yeah. Now granted, I got lucky, because I went in February right before the pandemic, but, but I mean, it was amazing. I spent time in Ethiopia, and I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. I mean, that’s just amazing stuff to do. And it’s stuff that 10 years ago, I would have never been able to afford or even think about doing, right. And now I live my life. Like if something sounds cool. It’s like, what would the most interesting man in the world do? He’d go climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and he wouldn’t wait until the best time he would just be like, I’m gonna do it next year at this time. The end? That’s what I did. Yeah,

Jeff Stephens 

yeah. So let’s talk about the vehicle that that’s helped provide some of that that you have created. You mentioned before, you’ve got, you know, apartment units in partnerships. And you mentioned that, that to me before when we spoke before the show. I consider myself like a rugged individualist. And what I feel like I’m teaching people mostly is to be like, self sufficient stuff. And so I find that I kind of shy away from it. But I know that you, you love it and get a lot out of it. Like, talk to me about why do you love partnerships?

Well, I mean, first of all, I’ve never done it different. So I mean, I could be completely wrong, maybe I would love individual stuff. But every time I put something under contract to buy, and I think I’m going to buy it myself, right? I end up thinking, yeah, I want to help someone out like, like, for example, I have this duplex that I’m about to close on. I don’t normally buy duplexes, but this one’s a really good deal. And I was telling a friend of mine about it. And he was like, Oh, I’d like to do something like that sometime. And I was like, well, let’s just split it, right. So part of partnering with people is it’s a way for me to help them get involved, they’re gonna feel more comfortable. But another part of it is like, my friend, he’s a lawyer, and he doesn’t have a lot of real estate experience, but he makes really good money. So he might be able to get better terms than me. So there’s, there’s a synergy there, right? Like, I don’t have income, like I have negative income, according to the IRS. I mean, that’s silly. But that’s the way that depreciation works. And so if I try to get like a conventional mortgage, it’s impossible. I can get like 20 year AMS and like, 20%, down, but like, like, people that have w two income can get, you know, 30, ariens, and lower interest rates and stuff, right? So there’s a there’s, there’s a synergy there by partnering with him on that particular deal. And I use that as an example. But in reality, if you structure your agreements correctly, and you know, you look at a partnership, like a marriage, right? You know, something that’s long term, and you want to be really clear about your responsibilities, and your obligations, and all of that, and you want to be sure everyone’s on the same page before you get involved in it. But if you do those things appropriately, you get the advantage of all those synergies, some people have more money than time, some people have more time than money. Some people aren’t good at finding deals. Some people are good at financing deals. Some people aren’t good at managing deals. And so for me, I’ve partnered with property managers on a regular basis. In fact, my two main partners are both owned property management companies. One of them’s in Michigan, and one of them’s here in Tennessee where I live. And not coincidentally, I buy most every piece of real estate that I buy either in Michigan or in Tennessee, and even ones that I’m not partnering with them like this duplex, for example. They manage it, right, like this one’s in North Georgia, right near Tennessee. And I guarantee you that my partner, Brian, his property management company will manage this duplex for me, it’s not going to be me trying to do it, because I’m bad at managing it. I’ve tried that before. And it hasn’t worked out well, because I’m like, not good at it. And so, so I feel like you know, yes, I could just hire a property manager, right. But who’s the best, the best property manager, the person who has an ownership interest in something so if you partner with the property manager, you get better results. And I’ve developed amazing relationships like Brian who I do my one podcast, old fashioned real estate, with that partnership has brought me opportunities that I would never even considered like, he was syndicating stuff. I didn’t even know what a syndication was. Right. And, and because we were partnering together, I learned all about that. And then, you know, I think he would tell you if he was here that, that I’ve added a tremendous amount of value to his life, because of the way that I think about things is unique. I mean, I have a background in law and an MBA, and I’ve spent, you know, literally decades thinking about real estate and trying to figure out how to do it. And then when I got sick, and went bankrupt, I got started investing in real estate at a time, when I had no credit, no money and no experience, right, and also, the economy was crashing, because it was 2010, and the whole world was falling apart. And I was like, I’m gonna have to figure this out. So I have a different perspective on on real estate investing than, than almost anyone I know, because of that. And so, you know, I can provide value to him, he can provide value to me. And it’s the same thing with my partner, Travis, who’s got the property management company in Michigan. You know, we each have our own skill sets, we each have our own ways of looking at things. And that synergy really makes us both better off. And that’s why I like partnering. And there’s nothing against doing it on your own, but you don’t know what you don’t know. Right. And so I would say, you know, try partnering and see what you think. And it’s not for everyone, like bad partnerships are worse than no partners, for sure. So you want to be really careful about how you do it. Yeah,

Jeff Stephens 

yeah. That’s, that’s really cool. So one of the questions I had written down on my pad before, you know, was like, how does thoughtfulness apply in partnerships? I feel like the answer that I took away from that was kind of just being really, really thoughtful, deliberate, intentional about, about creating those synergies or seeing how different puzzle pieces fit together, where the uniquenesses of what you bring to the table, and what they bring to the table are very carefully considered, and you’re creating value for them. They’re creating value for you. And

that, yeah, I

Jeff Stephens 

mean, it seems it’s about the synergistic effect of one plus one equals three Kind of, yeah, no, I

mean, that’s, that’s exactly right. I mean, the other areas, I think we’re thoughtfulness really matters in partnerships, is understanding what your goals are, right? If you just want to buy a duplex, or a few single family homes, you probably don’t actually need a partnership, if you want to help people, right? The bigger your reach the the more people that you can help, right? That’s that value principle. And the more value you add, the more you get in return. It’s the same thing, right? You can give more if you have more, and it repeats itself. And so to me, partnership allows people a way to scale, right? So if you want to help other people invest in real estate, you can do that by coaching can do that by having a show, and you do the show. And that’s awesome, right? But you can also do it by literally partnering with them. Because what’s the best way to learn about real estate investing? invest in real estate, right? Like, just go do it? And not everyone’s gonna go do it. But you know what, my friend who I’m buying this duplex with, he’s he likes real estate talks about real estate, he asked me questions about real estate never buys any real estate, right, he’s got his own house, he makes good money is comfortable. But he would like to buy real estate so so his first real estate investments were in syndications that I put together. And this is a natural evolution for him, we buy this property together, and he owns half of it with me. It gets him into that realm of thinking about real estate differently. And, and I can really add value to his life by helping him see it’s not that hard, if he can learn what he doesn’t know. And then maybe, in an ideal world, like, Yeah, I’d love to have some stuff by his where he lives that we invest in together, but I’m equally happy if he finds some duplex or, or single family house and, and it does the numbers and it works good. And he goes and buys it himself. Because that means he’s transitioned away from from from being dependent on that. And by the way, I think that will happen, or we’ll end up partnering on stuff. And there are advantages to both and like I said, it’s it to me, there’s there’s a lot of value that’s added by partnering and, you know, someday maybe I’ll buy something on my own. That’s not my own house. I really do like it’s sort of in the back of my mind that I should do that someday just to see what that is like. Yeah, cuz you know, hundreds of transactions and I’ve never ended up buying anything on my own. Yeah, I’ve tried a couple of times, and then I’ve ended up buying it with someone else anyway.

Jeff Stephens 

So we got a couple minutes left. I was thinking a great way to wrap it up as if you wouldn’t mind just telling us about you. You have two podcasts I did which are completely different, both of which are on your passions in different ways, and I’d love for people to check out. Can you give us a quick commercial on each of the two?

Oh, yeah. So I’ll start with a real estate one since it’s a real estate show. So it’s called Old Fashioned real estate. And it’s literally a little bit tongue in cheek. It’s like the bourbon drink old fashioned. So it’s just bourbon and bitters and sugar. So what we do is we get on YouTube, and we drink old fashions, and we talk about real estate. Sometimes we interview guests, but mostly it’s us pouring a single drink and talking about a specific topic until we’re done with that drink. So like 10 to 15 minutes. Brian and I talking about real estate, and we’ve had some amazing episodes where we talked about really specific things. We’ve had some great guests, I mean, people like Harry dent, the economic forecaster, and prognosticator you know, people from bigger pockets and things like that. And then my favorite of all of our guests, was a securities attorney by the name of Jillian Sidoti. And this is an amazing transition to my next show, because I met Julian when we interviewed her. And then we were talking after we did this interview, which is something that’s great about drinking on interview, is that, you know, it loosens everyone up a little bit. So we are chatting after the interview. And I’m telling her a little bit about this Facebook group that I created called last life ever, and how I want to help people live the best version of their life. And I mean, that’s why we started the first show is to help people get into real estate investing, but then I kind of went, you know, some people don’t want to be real estate investors and living the best version of their life and maybe doesn’t have anything to do with real estate. So I’m telling Gillian, this. And she says, that sounds really awesome. I’m gonna join your Facebook group. In about two days later, she calls me up. And I’m like, I can’t even believe that I’m talking to her because I was like, she was our first ever guest on the show. And she was Grant cardones attorney. So she was like, you know, this, like, super, like, in my world famous securities attorney that had all these important clients and stuff. And she says to me, I want to do a podcast with you. And I go, we just did my podcast. And she’s like, No, no, like, I want to do a last life ever podcast. And I was like, cool. Well, I already started recording on because I recorded one episode yesterday. But you know, I’m gonna throw that away and start over with you because you’re super cool. And I’d love to have a co host. And so we started the show. And we actually had our first show the first day of the pandemic, like literally, March 16. The first day of shutdown was our very first episode. And it’s pivoted all over the place because of the pandemic and figuring it out. But it’s been amazing because we’ve been able to talk to people doing amazing things like people that are following their dreams, like we interviewed. Pinterest coming to mind right now we interviewed this lady who was a Broadway musician. And like a beauty queen. We interviewed a guy who won a reality television show we interviewed TJ Miller, the comedian from like Deadpool, right, you know, and Silicon Valley on HBO. And, and that was an amazing interview talking about how his mindset got him to where he is. And then we interviewed some non famous people to like people that started charities, one guy actually named Jeff Holst, if you can imagine that like literally the same name as the only time I’ve ever met anyone with my name, spelled the same and everything, I accidentally got an email for him. And that’s how I ended up meeting him. And then it seemed important, so I tracked him down. And I was when I tracked him down, I found out that he had started a charity, helping people who, who were, you know, like, who’s like basically helping with water safety for children. And I found out that his son had actually drowned in a public pool when he was seven years old. And, and his response to it was, we need to help other people and not like shut down pools, like we need to help people by teaching kids to swim, and teaching adults about water safety. And like to respond to a tragedy like that. Talk about radical responsibility. And his story’s amazing talks about how the very last night like they never let their kids sleep in bed with them or anything in the last night that his child was alive.

He just felt compelled to go see him and he went down and his kid column looked at him and said to him, I really want to sleep with you tonight. And he came up and, and snuggle. It makes you cry just thinking about it. Right? And he tells this story about you know, how he really believes that God was directing him that night, to spend that time. And, and all of the people that have been saved because of him, and I mean, they helped 1000s of people a year with with water safety and and so People like those people that one guy who lost his son in Afghanistan and started a charity for, for disabled veterans, you know, and things like that. And, and he told us it talks about never have bad days. He said he was really depressed after his son died. And he couldn’t move on. And it was really distracting him. And one day he woke up and said, I have to find three positive things that came from my son’s death before I can move on. And now he finds three positive things and every negative thing that happens to him. And I was like, holy cow, that’s even better than my stuff. Love this guy. And his name is Mike Pearson. If people want to look up that episode, that was another really great episode. But there’s so many like, every show we do. I’m like, holy cow. I want to hang out with this person. Like it just doesn’t matter who it is.

Jeff Stephens 

Yeah. Wow. Well, everybody listening, you’ve got two new podcasts and subscribe to last life ever and the old fashioned real estate show. Jeff, this has been his a one of a kind conversation on racking up rentals. And I mean, this, I could keep going for another six hours on this. Do another one sometime. I would love that. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and your life wisdom and everything with us. I know this is going to be moving to a lot of people like it is for me. So thank you so much.

Yeah, I look forward to hearing from your audience. So feel free to reach out to me anytime. Thank you.

Jeff Stephens 

Wow, I just feel inspired every time I talked to Jeff, listen to his podcasts. You hear anything more about his story. It’s really incredible. But his his mindset, his perspective on things is infectious. And I just I’m so excited about the idea of giving up bad days. It’s truly amazing. So I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. So that is it for today’s episode of racking up rentals again shownotes can be found at thoughtful ar e comm slash e 115. Please do us a big favor by hitting the subscribe button in your podcast app and rating and reviewing the show I see every rating and review and I am super grateful for them. Did you know that we have a Facebook group for thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs too. It’s called rental portfolio wealth builders and we would love to have you join us there. Just go to group thoughtful ar e COMM And the magic of the internet will redirect you right to that page and you can join. If you liked this episode, please take a screenshot of it and post that screenshot to Instagram. tag us We are at thoughtful real estate. I’ll see you in the next episode. Until then this is Jeff from the thoughtful real estate entrepreneur signing off. Thanks for listening to racking up rentals where we build long term wealth by being when when dealmakers remember solve the person to unlock the deal and solve the financing to unlock the profits.

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