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Start With Your WHY

by Andrew C. MacDonald on June 16, 2011

WhyIt’s been about 5 years since I first read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich at the recommendation of a successful mentor when I was still a University student at Laurier. Widely considered to be the Bible of personal achievement, this book was a good starting point for my journey towards success in the real world. As I later learned, my original understanding of its content was somewhat misguided. Without a powerful why, it just won’t work.

Why You Need a Why

When I originally read Think and Grow Rich my understanding (based on the example in the book) was that I could cultivate a burning desire for the money I wanted, and accumulating a million dollars was my “definite major purpose”. As I later realized, money goals are empty. It’s hard to feel emotionally attached to a briefcase full of bills or a number printed on a bank statement.

What does work is having a powerful WHY for doing what you do. It’s not the million dollars (or any other amount) that matters. Instead it is about the freedom and lifestyle that you desire, and how you want to spend your time doing the things you love with the people you love. Get clear on exactly what that involves and you’ll get way more excited than you will by visualizing a briefcase full of cash.

The Benefits of Having a Powerful Why

When you have a clear and powerful why that you revisit on a regular basis you’ll soon see some great benefits.

On the good days, having a clear vision and knowing your why will help you to focus your thoughts and energy in a way that moves you closer to your goal. On the bad days, this same clear vision will help you push through negative emotions and continue moving toward your goal. Whatever the case may be, starting your day by focusing on your why will make you happier and more effective.

Revisiting My Own Why

Last weekend I started to sink into a mindset of scarcity and wasn’t on a very good mental plane. I decided to revisit my why, cut through the crap, and refocus. This turned my attitude a full 180 degrees and I’ve since been happier and more effective than I have in quite some time.

Here are a few benefits I’ve experienced this week since revisiting my own why:

  • Waking up well before my alarm where I had previously sunk into a bad habit of snoozing until the last minute almost every morning
  • Beginning my day by reviewing my ideal life and goals before anything else
  • Starting off on the right foot with a better tone for the entire day
  • Getting more done with better focus throughout the day

I usually keep my posts related to real estate and don’t add much detail from my personal life since it may be considered airy-fairy by some, but the mental 180 made me want to share this with others.

If you feel like you’re not on the right track lately or are not being as effective as you want to be, try revisiting your own why. When you get clear on why you want what you want and focus on that to start your day it’ll cure even the toughest case of “the Mondays” and motivate you to get ‘er done.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Ksayer1

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie Broad June 16, 2011 at 11:42 am

Hey Andrew –
Great post!! The longer you invest – and the more you do of it – the more you’ll realize that real estate success is totally between your ears. The personal side of it is CRITICAL. Things get really tough sometimes and without a powerful WHY to keep you going through the rough patches.

The other part of this is that your WHY will change over the years … it evolves or totally changes … so it’s important to get back in touch with your WHY on a regular basis.

Clarity of purpose is probably the hardest part – especially since most of us got into real estate for money. But ultimately money isn’t the real motivator so you have to get in touch with that when you hit a hard part. Sounds like you’ve done that and that’s why you’re bounding out of bed again. 🙂

Great post … congrats on the 180 and thanks for writing about it. It’s an important one.

Erwin June 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Andrew, what Julie said.

Now that you mention it, none of my clients are driven by the money. Most often it is about gaining financial freedom for the investor, their spouse or kids.

How cool is that?!

Keep doing what you are doing Andrew and don’t worry about being airy fairy, its part of what makes us human.


Andrew C. MacDonald June 17, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Hi Julie, thanks for the comment. Mine has evolved already and is sure to change as I time goes on.

Today I also realized that putting the WHY first is also a good way to keep on track and avoid distractions along the way. If a deal doesn’t get you closer to your WHY, then why bother spending any time on it?

Andrew C. MacDonald June 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Hi Erwin, Working with those type of clients of that personality is probably a little nicer for you too. Generally when it is about other people and not just the money there is less ego in the picture 🙂

Joey Ragona June 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Hi Andrew, you know I am a big supporter of this, the WHY, and of course all the stuff going on inside – the ‘inner game’ as Philip McKernan talks about. Many investors cannot identify with their Why and thus continue on paths that pull them further away from a goal they really have yet to identify-The success in Real Estate comes from inside out but most start outside and have to work backwards – as long as you realize it, you’re cool – sadly, many don’t which is awesome you have and bringing it to the world! Good Job

Andrew C. MacDonald July 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Hi Joey, I find the most successful people realize it is the “space between your ears” as Julie put it that makes all the difference. It’s fun to associate with others like you who “get it”.

League Assets August 12, 2011 at 12:39 am

Hi Andrew,

This blog post still resonates with me, and I’m glad to see it’s provoked discussion!


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