4. Breaking Through
After the yoga class of shame I suspected I would not have to wait for a very long time before clarity and relief would begin to arrive. I felt this because as I struggled through the weight and shame in that class I began to despair of ever finding the way, and I know that when I begin to despair the answer is always very very close.
The universe did not disappoint.
Before I unfold the breakthrough I must first explain that the uneasiness did not simply sit around my personal space or family life, it was embedded deeply in my business dealings. I am exploring an amazing property deal, the opportunity to turn a motel into long term residential accommodation in a town that desperately needs rentals, deeply caught in the grip of an emerging housing crisis. This is a big project, bigger than anything Stephen and I have looked at before. If we were to land this deal, it would more than double our current portfolio value and cash flow. If we get it wrong it could bury us. I have been feeling a steadily mounting confusion around the deal for a few weeks now. A tension, or sense of overwhelm that does not match the calculations of my logical brain. After the revelation around Liverpool street, the property I recently bought at auction, I recognised this tension as a form of upper limit problem. The motel project was an amazing opportunity. I had formed a sound business plan around the acquisition. The community desperately needed the product that would result. Logically, the deal was good. Emotionally, a shadow lay across how I felt about the deal and if I did not resolve it quickly the deal would not become mine.
I created a space and contemplated where I felt the shadow lay. I knew really. But I did not want to face it. The shadow lay over my potential business partner, Tom. I did not want to do the deal with him, but I could not put my finger logically on why.
I have wanted to do business with Tom for a few years now. He is an incredibly successful 20-something who dropped out of uni after reading Rich Dad Poor Dad and committed himself wholeheartedly to the property game. In a few short years he had built an empire of people around him to whom he feeds projects- they renovate, add value, resell and they all profit. He doesn’t think on a family or personal wealth scale, he’s building a hands-off, fully-scaleable empire of flipping for profit and plans to use this momentum and experience to solve the housing crisis in NZ. As well as flipping so he can live without ever having ‘a job’, he has also systemised a not-for-profit, rent-to-own business to help support low income kiwis into their first home. The scheme is simple. For a slightly-higher-than-average rent, the tenant is saving to buy the very house in which they are living. A deposit is saved over time, the banks agree to lend from the proven track record, Tom breaks even, the new homeowners were supported in funding their own home and the whole community benefits from initiative within an industry in crisis.
I have always admired Toms desire to give back. I have not yet found how my pursuit of wealth will enable me to give back. I know the answer to this is tied up in my Purpose, and that my purpose is not yet clear to me.
Tom and I often find ourselves falling over the same potential projects in the small town in which we specialise. Each of us exploring the new property on the market for how it might fit our very different strategies. Of late we keep turning up at the same properties for inspection and have just agreed between us that, as the number of properties on the market dries up we should just each try to get all of them under contract and figure out who does each deal in the aftermath. I found the motel deal and invited Tom to have a look with me for interest. He became as excited as I was. I soon decided that given the size of the deal I would prefer to do this one in partnership and Tom seemed a logical partner. We began working together on the long slow game of collecting information and priming the owners for a possible sale.
A fog sits around my mind when I consider Tom right now. Almost a resentment - although perhaps that is too strong a word. His actions have grated on my values lately, not showing up when he’s made a commitment, being preoccupied during our meetings, prioritising all manner of pieces within his many interests and businesses. This can be difficult for me to take, because I very carefully only select two or three projects and give them all my focus. I began to feel that Tom would be unable to pull his weight on this deal, simple because of the volume of projects he is juggling. I began to feel that he did not know himself where his businesses or his life are going and I felt a need to put distance between us. But still, logically he was a great match for this project, and I clung to that logic like a lifeboat. Logic would prevent me from making foolish decisions.
I don’t know how I would be able to do a deal that big without someone anyway, and Toms skill set and contacts made sense to this project.
That afternoon, as I sat in the very same seat in my favourite cafe where I had begun writing of the upper limits I was experiencing and I had made myself late for yoga, I received a phone call. It was from my mentor. I had messaged her that morning prior to being late for yoga to tell her I had recognised I had an ‘upper limit problem’ and asking if she knew anything about these mysteries.
As usual she was very blunt and to the point. Yes of course - I experienced this myself. After smashing my own 4 year financial goals in just over a year I wallowed around for a few months or so until I regained some direction. Thats ok. Your situation now is simply a product of your success to date. Get over it. So what….you have nearly $100 000 passive cash flow? Big deal. You can’t live on that. You’ll need to keep feeding your business some of that cash, and the remainder won’t provide the lifestyle you have now. You need to reset your goals. Double them. And then just do it.
My mind reeled. Double it? $200 000 passive cash flow in another year? And even as the thoughts took articulate shape I saw the shadow of the upper limit sitting behind them, pushing the disbelief to the front of my mind. Emotionally I balked, but logically I could repeat what I had just done. I just had to do the same thing again. And that hadn’t been too hard.
Clarity like lightening.
So actually, logically, $200 000 was realistic rather than unbelievable. What I grappled with was having that amount of income without working hard for it seemed almost offensive to the way I had been brought up, to what I expected of life. It directly violated my long held belief system that the only way to be successful was to work hard, and that “success” looked like a 6 - figure- full-or-nearly-full-time job with security.
I felt the fog lift from my mind and tiny shackles start to break away like little tethers attached to the shape of my mind. My mind began to morph, expanding, lifting and becoming lighter, larger.
The clarity pervaded the fog around the business partnership with Tom. I saw him limiting himself and his many small acts lacking focus and clarity as a symptom of not being ready to break through his upper limits.
I stumbled through a version of sharing this with my mentor, words clumsily placed together as I shared my concern for our friendship and the gut feeling around our business partnership. Well that’s simple, she said. You are both people who understand energy and intuition, yes? You just need to tell him that your gut instinct says that this deal is not the right deal to work through together, that you don’t feel his energy is focussed and clear and that you feel its the wrong timing, wrong deal. This is not personal, its business. And if he’s half the business man he claims to be then he can only respect that you are willing to articulate this vision and instinct. Don’t go into detail. No detail or explanation is required. It’s very clear, and very simple. It’s just business.
I am silent. Flabbergasted. It was perfect articulation, far better than the hastily cobbled together version finding its way to this page through the fog of memory and choice of words that don’t exactly paint the intent. The words she spoke were firm and fair, simple and articulate, truthful and gentle.
Please say that again.
She laughed and repeated it a few times for me. I hastily crammed as much of her language in my mind as possible knowing already that my own words when formed into sentences in the conversation that now had-to-be they would be just a shadow of the beauty spoken here and now. I just hoped that would be enough.
Later that day I cried and cried. Waves of emotion were breaking over me, washing me clean of the fog of confusion that had been sitting on my mind, weighing on my shoulders and making my steps and my belly heavier.
I was not bathed in sadness, but in shifting emotions.
Energy in motion.
The essence of a beautiful life.
When I was finished, when the tears stopped falling, I felt clean. Clear and fresh, like a sunshine rain shower.
When I spoke to Tom we shared from the heart. He thanked me for the clarity and kindness with which I spoke. He acknowledged that he felt a little unclear on his priorities, that he had a manic amount of opportunity at his fingertips and his motivation was inconsistent. He said this conversation was a wake up call, that he would focus on becoming clear on his purpose and his journey. We spoke much longer than necessary as we strayed into matters of the heart and soul. Our friendship strengthened as we spoke, an understanding of how we each do business, deeply instinctual, deeply emotional. The distance that had been between us vanished and we became closer than perhaps we have ever been before. I marvelled at the grace with which he accepted my truth and rolled his own over in his own mind, sharing his discoveries with me. He expressed a deep gratefulness for having me in his life, and my heart shone the same in return. I think we could have talked all night, barriers down, lights shining forth.
Tomorrow we would be the beginning of a life changing weekend. Tomorrow we would both be travelling to Sydney to see Tony Robbins. This conversation, my tears, the sense of being washed clean, the pressure of the building wave, all would culminate in the coming days as we each faced the inner most workings of our own minds with the Master of Self- Mastery. I was awash with gratefulness.
My love at my side, Stephen, on this journey of insight with me, helped me pack long into the night. My sister and his brother, each travelling from Perth, each ready to step out on a journey to look into themselves and be happier, more fulfilled people.
Our friends, property investors, stock investors and passionate people who understand that growth and change are the essence of the human condition. We would all be in Sydney together to see the man who changes lives with his words.
The stage was set. Everything had happened exactly as it ought. I was washed out, clean, fully prepared to be reprogrammed to dissolve the limits which to this point had dictated only a certain ‘acceptable’ level of success and love and joy. I was ready.
Bring it on.