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The Birmingham Real Estate Investor – Episode 18


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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PODCAST:

0:27 – Introduction to Goal setting

7:48 – 1st step: Knowing where you are in the present

11:41 – 2nd step: How do those facts make you feel?

14:15 – 3rd step: What are the patterns, stories, & behaviors associated with these facts?

20:36 – 4th step: What are your North Stars (future targets)?

31:46 – Patterns or behaviors you may want to gain to help you achieve your goals

39:16 – Our version of The Fact Map (Download here!)

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THE PODCAST AUDIO:

Spencer Sutton:
It’s easy for me to just say, “Oh, I want to be this. I want to do this.” But if I don’t understand where I am, I don’t understand the gap to get there. So when I’m honest about where I am, and then I’m honest about where I want to go. Then I see okay, look at all this work that has to go into it, and then we can start making a plan for that.

Spencer Sutton:
All right, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Birmingham Real Estate Investor podcast. I am one of your hosts, Spencer Sutton. And as always, I’ve got Matthew Whitaker here. So Matthew welcome and happy new year.

Matthew Whitaker:
Happy new year to you. I’m excited about this podcast because we’re going to talk about something that a lot of people do during the new year. Because we’re recording it after the new year. We know that we missed getting this out prior to new year’s. But I know a lot of people are going to be excited about setting some investment goals. And so we’re going to get to talk about that today. And I’m pumped to do that with you because you are the guru of goal-setting. And you actually teach that here at Evernest to our team members. And so I’m excited to reverse engineer this podcast and start asking you the questions for once.

Spencer Sutton:
Well, it’s really interesting, I think just being at Evernest over the past six years has really… It’s pushed me being around a great team. Great leadership team has pushed me to really examine all areas of life. And really get serious about setting what I call targets. Some people call them goals, you call them whatever you want to. But I think it’s really, really important. Especially when you start thinking about real estate investing. We’ve talked about on this podcast previously just how important it is to have a plan going in. Don’t just come in and say, “Hey, I’m going to invest in this city.” And just kind of shoot a like a shotgun, have a shotgun approach. But understand what you’re doing, what your plan is, what your goals are. And Matthew honestly in 2003, 2004 when I started investing, when you start investing. I wish I would have probably set more goals and been a lot more clear about what I was doing.

Matthew Whitaker:
I think if you think about it as a map, and you talk a lot about a fact map. But if you think about it as a map, it really makes sense to know where you’re headed. Now we can change plans on how to get there. But if you can’t really set goals, you can’t really achieve goals. If you don’t know what the end result looks like, or at least have a clear picture of what the end result looks like. So what I would love to do is get in to start asking you some questions. Because you and I have a little bit different approach to annual goal setting. Yours is way more detailed and thoughtful months kind of the redneck version and-

Spencer Sutton:
That’s because I need that. So I’ve got to have that in my life. If I’m not very thoughtful and detailed, that’s not in my nature. That’s not my personality profile to be very detailed. And so for me to sit down and to really put a lot of thought into it, like I did this past couple of weeks. I have to have that versus you, you’re already extremely disciplined in life. So it’s more about tweaking certain things right?

Matthew Whitaker:
I appreciate you saying that. I think one of the things people need to know about you because you’re going to speak into their life, is that you live this. I can be a testament to the fact that you live this every day. You’re not disciplined by nature, but have become disciplined in this process. And become disciplined with your goal setting and achieved a lot of personal goals.

Matthew Whitaker:
So let’s get started. I would love to know how you divide it into the different areas of your life. So talk about that to begin with.

Spencer Sutton:
So this is something that I got from a program called Warrior. So I want to give them credit. I didn’t think of it myself. We divide it into four different core parts of who we are. And that is body, being which is your spiritual life, balance which is your family life and business. So body, being, balance and business the four Bs, those are the four domains that we live in all of the time. And so it starts there, it starts with just understanding. I split my life up into those four areas and that’s how I want to begin.

Matthew Whitaker:
Well, I think it makes a lot of sense because when you’re trying to do something like this, like framing the problem is part of the big issue. And if you can give it a name and put it in a cubbyhole like body. I can see body problems. Like, hey I want to lose weight. Hey, I want to eat better. You can divide up your goals into the body category. The business category is another very easy way to look at it and see that goals. So I love this because… And we do something similar to this with our business. But this gives me a cubby hole to put these things in that I want to improve in my life. And also a way to grade myself on how well I’m doing in these areas of life. So that if I’m not doing well in one of these four areas. Which makes a rounded person, then I can do something to improve an area. I might be crushing it in one area, but really low in another.

Spencer Sutton:
That is the challenge. The challenge is, is that we will tend to gravitate towards something that we are very good in. So if I’m extremely disciplined at the gym, then I can have the tendency to say, hey I want to put a ton of energy into the gym and getting in shape. But completely ignore my family or completely ignore my spiritual life or something like that. And so this is a great way to step back and say, okay, let’s be honest. Let’s just tell the truth. Where am I in all four of these domains? And you think a lot of people…

Matthew Whitaker:
And I would agree but one of the things that your messages to our team when you’re teaching this goal setting is, a lot of people spend a lot of their time lying to themselves in these areas. Talk a little bit about that.

Spencer Sutton:
Lying is just a part of what we do and who we are as humans, unfortunately. And some of the lies are just lies of omission. Truths that we don’t want to deal with, that we don’t want to tell ourselves. And so we just kind of bypass the whole thing and we end up just ignoring these major issues in our life. And then we also tell ourselves a lot of stories. So we tell ourselves stories and try to give ourselves breaks, or we try to make excuses for why we are where we are.

Spencer Sutton:
So if it was my health and I might lie to myself and say well, if it weren’t for so-and-so, I would be in shape.

Matthew Whitaker:
My parents were overweight and I inherited those genes. And now I am an overweight person. That’s a story somebody would tell themselves.

Spencer Sutton:
Or another one as well COVID has shut the gym down. So therefore I can’t work out. When honestly, if we were telling the truth and we were being extremely objective. And we were saying well yeah, there’s plenty of things we can do at home, if we wanted to become disciplined and do those things.

Matthew Whitaker:
So that’s great, thank you for sharing that because people also lie to themselves in business. I wasn’t born in the right neighborhood and so-and-so gets all the lucky breaks and I haven’t had any lucky breaks. And so let’s start to build out this goal setting, target setting process. Tell me what step one is now that you’ve identified the four areas where you set targets.

Spencer Sutton:
I think it’s really important to also think about this from a mindset of our goal in life is to grow. We want to develop as people, nobody wants to stay the same. And whether you realize it or not, you’d have a future version of yourself that you’re aiming towards. And so I’m speaking now to investors, real estate investors. When you start thinking about investing in real estate, it’s because you have a future version of yourself you want to get to. Now this may be, I want to own 20 rental houses. I want to may be financially independent and have a big portfolio of multifamily.

Spencer Sutton:
Whatever the case is, understand that because you are seeing yourself in a different light, you want to see yourself achieve this thing. We have this built-in desire to grow and to achieve things. And so this framework is just really a way to set the stage and be very clear about it. So the first thing that I do is I go through… I’ll write down on a piece of paper, I’ll start with body. And what I want to do is I just want to write down the facts of exactly where I am today. Like be dead on it. So my weight, I’ll write down my weight. I write down my height.

Spencer Sutton:
If I have access to something like an InBody machine, I’ll write down my body fat percentage. Any kind of injuries I have, sometimes I have to get subjective. And so I say things like I can’t run a mile without getting extremely winded. So I have poor cardio, but I just want to be extremely honest with where I am. And it doesn’t mean they’re all bad things. It could be good things like, hey I’ve gotten better in this. But again, this is just telling the truth objectively and writing it down right in front of you. So that’s the first step. And you do that across all four of those domains.

Matthew Whitaker:
So talk about that, how that looks in business this is a podcast for investors. So talk about how somebody might see that as an investor.

Spencer Sutton:
I think it depends on where they are in the investment cycle. So if they’re brand new and they haven’t invested then they can be very, very clear about where they are. Like funds that they have available. Have they chosen a market? Have they decided on which market they want to go into? What kind of contexts they have?

Matthew Whitaker:
What their net worth is what their ability to buy-

Spencer Sutton:
What their ability to borrow money or-

Matthew Whitaker:
How much time do I have to devote to this thing?

Matthew Whitaker:
So what you would say is, and this is me really asking, you define where you are before where you want to go? Or do you define where you want to go before you define where you are?

Spencer Sutton:
To me, you have to define where you are before… You just have to be dead honest. Because it’s easy for me to just say, oh I want to be this. I want to do this. But if I don’t understand where I am, I don’t understand the gap to get there. So when I’m honest about where I am, and then I’m honest about where I want to go. Then I see okay, look at all this work that has to go into it, and then we can start making a plan for that.

Matthew Whitaker:
So step one is, I call it getting naked with yourself. And just being real and objective about your current reality-

Matthew Whitaker:
Maybe even some lies that you’ve been telling yourself-

Spencer Sutton:
Well, that comes later.

Matthew Whitaker:
Okay sorry, so step one is just the facts. All right so what is step two?

Spencer Sutton:
Step two is, how do those facts make you feel? So what are your feelings when you look at those facts? Like this is something we don’t do a whole bunch of. And so, which is why it takes a lot of time and kind of self-reflection when I look at these facts, how does that make me feel? What are my feelings associated with that? And so that helps kind of gives some meat to those facts of okay, this is the truth. This is how it makes me feel. And then the next thing I want to do, is I want to write down what are my patterns and behaviors and the stories that have gotten me here.

Matthew Whitaker:
So let’s take it to the business that you’re an investor. How do I feel about the fact that I only have x number of dollars. That my net worth is only x number of dollars? Or maybe I feel good because my net worth is really high. But I don’t feel great because I’m tied to a job or those are the types of feelings that you’re talking about. Somebody needs to… And why does somebody need to attach feelings to it?

Spencer Sutton:
Honestly it gives some meat to that. So when you look at the facts and then you combine them with feelings, it really makes you evaluate and say yeah, this is important. I don’t want to feel this way anymore. If your facts are not great then you’re like, I don’t want to feel this way. If your facts are really positive, then you want to build on that. And so attaching those feelings to those facts is actually very helpful. And you can go on Google and search, like a one page of a chart of feelings-

Matthew Whitaker:
Like adjectives or whatever.

Spencer Sutton:
Yeah that’s right descriptions of feelings.

Matthew Whitaker:
Verb or an adjective, but whatever you get. You can basically help define. And also think defining stuff like that makes it more objective too. If you’re zooming out on your life and zooming out on your business goals. How do I feel about this, then makes you way more clear-headed and objective. Also may make you less emotional when you get into that tight situation. Maybe cash is tight or whatever allows you to better think through and be objective and make clear-headed decisions. Because you’ve already defined that as something that happens when you worry about cashflow or whatever.

Spencer Sutton:
That’s right.

Matthew Whitaker:
All right and then you said… So moving on to step three, once you’ve defined feelings around it, what’s the next step?

Spencer Sutton:
Then we want to examine our stories. So we want to look at our stories. What are the stories and the patterns and behaviors that are associated with these facts? Now that we know the facts now that we’ve connected them with feelings. What are the stories and the patterns and behaviors that have produced these. So is there a story that you’re telling yourself. Essentially, it may be a lie that you’re telling that has kept you in a position that you don’t want to be in anymore. What is the story associated with that?

Matthew Whitaker:
You know it’s interesting… Go ahead.

Spencer Sutton:
No, no, go ahead.

Matthew Whitaker:
I was just going to say what’s interesting is, I’m naturally wired to be a more kind of we can always make the pie bigger. Grow the pie person. But I grew up in a household where it was a limited mentality. My mom was school teacher love her to death. But because she had a limited income and couldn’t grow her income as fast as being a business owner or an investor. She always had this limited mentality. My personality is more grow, grow, grow, but I was also raised in that kind of-

Spencer Sutton:
Scarcity.

Matthew Whitaker:
To this day my mom will eat everything on her plate, even if she’s not hungry to her detriment sometimes. And she also ingrained that in me. Oh, I need to eat everything on my plate. I need to… Don’t leave anything, versus why would I keep eating when I’m not hungry because that’s not healthy for my body. So that’s kind of a story that we’ve been told over and over again, or I’ve been told over and over again. That I have to basically name it and say, hey I know that I’m telling myself this story.

Spencer Sutton:
And that way you can identify it and decide, are you going to keep believing this story or are you going to believe a different story? All right good sense. And so this is really important. You can think of stories associated when you’re talking about business. You’re talking about real estate investing. A story might be, well I don’t have any deals, I hadn’t found any deals because it’s just too competitive out there. Or I’m not in the local market. So I just don’t think I’m going to be able to find any deals. Those are all stories. They’re just stories that you’re telling yourself. And if you believe that story, then guess what? You’ll never try. You’ll never work to find a solution to that. You’ll just say, well I’m just never going to find any deals.

Matthew Whitaker:
If your story becomes your reality it honestly determines your future. So if you want to change your future, you need to change the stories that you’re telling yourself.

Spencer Sutton:
That’s right. And then the last piece of this foundation, of looking at the truth and setting the stage for setting goals is. Just be very honest and say, what’s working and what’s not working. So what’s working that I’m doing, and what’s not working across body, being, balanced and business.

Matthew Whitaker:
So let’s talk about what that would look like from an investor’s perspective. What would be working in business, what would be not working?

Spencer Sutton:
Well working may be for a real estate investor. What’s working is I’ve determined what market I want to invest in. And what’s working is I’ve started educate myself. So I’m listening to podcasts, I’m calling and talking to other realtors. What’s not working maybe I don’t have any access to capital. So I don’t have a JV partnership lined up. I don’t have a strong relationship with a realtor or a wholesaler or somebody who can find me properties. So there’s what’s working, what’s not working. That way you can see okay, what areas do I need to focus on?

Matthew Whitaker:
I would say a lot of people are probably scared of messing up. When I get into something new sometimes it can be crushing to do your first deal. And to me, that would be one of the things. We’ve talked to a lot of investors that are looking, looking, looking, and they’re just forever looking and never pulling the trigger.

Spencer Sutton:
That’s right. And so maybe that’s not working. I’ve looked at a hundred deals and I’ve not made an offer.

Matthew Whitaker:
Which would come from my story that you’re telling yourself that I don’t want to mess up. I can’t lose money. Which would be maybe a story like me where there’s only so much pie to go around. And if I screw this up, then there’s not going to be more after it. So totally get it.

Spencer Sutton:
Listen people fool themselves into thinking, like if one of the things is working is you’re educating yourself. One of the things that may not be working is that you’re just educating yourself. So information without implementation, without pulling the trigger is not going to get you anywhere.

Matthew Whitaker:
It’s like the person that has 95 degrees from college, but they haven’t gotten out and done anything in the real world.

Spencer Sutton:
That’s right. They just want to keep learning and keep learning and never doing it. Never pulling the trigger. People are comfortable on the other side. We’re pulling triggers, we’re shooting everything.

Matthew Whitaker:
That could be a story you’re telling yourself is I’ve got this all figured out. I know exactly what I’m doing. Kind of the hubris story could be one-

Spencer Sutton:
The hubris story 100%. Like I’ve got brains when an actuality, it’s a bull market. So you got to be honest with yourself. Are you really smart? Do you really know what you’re doing? Or are you just shooting, hoping to get something. When I bought my first rental houses, it was a package of 10 houses for a $100,000. And I literally was-

Matthew Whitaker:
That was a can’t miss.

Spencer Sutton:
… I was shooting a shotgun just approach. I had zero goals. I was just like you know what? I want to start owning rental property. I didn’t really necessarily care where these houses were. I didn’t even see them all before I bought them. And that is just a horrible, horrible way to do it.

Matthew Whitaker:
All right so now that we’ve defined where we are. And the stories we’re telling ourselves. And the things that are working and not working, what is the next step?

Spencer Sutton:
The next step is we want to start writing down where we want to go, what we want to do. And this just really all depends on what do you really want? What do you want? You’ve got to ask yourself that question over and over and over again. And you may come up with 10 things. You may come up with three things. You may come up with 15 things that you ultimately want. But what you’re doing here is you’re writing out potential targets for the end of 2021. We’re recording this in January of 21.

Spencer Sutton:
So the target 12 months from now. So you just want to start writing down. So that could be, I want own 10 rental houses. That could be, I want buy my first rental house. That could be, a multifamily. Whatever it is, you want to start writing down ideas across all four of these domains. And get a list, that’s going to help you start to think, okay, what is truly important to me? And so that’s the first step.

Matthew Whitaker:
Because we do this in our goal setting process with our business. We set a 10 year goal or target. And then we set a three-year target and then we basically keep clawing it back. Would you suggest somebody does that personally as well, or do you think that across these four areas, setting annual targets is sufficient?

Spencer Sutton:
Versus like a annual, then a three-year, then a 10 year?

Matthew Whitaker:
Let’s say I’m a professional accountant or an attorney somewhere. And I want to buy enough rental property to replace my income from a cashflow perspective. And I want to do that 10 years from now or 20 years from now or whatever. Would it make more sense to go out that far? And go ahead and set that as a goal and set a date on it? Kind of like a utopia of my life. And then start to crawl back from that and set a one year target that you think will help get you started on that. Or do you think the one your target is sufficient?

Spencer Sutton:
I think the one year target is sufficient. Especially when you start talking about across all four domains, it’s going to give you so much to focus on. And then at the end of that 12 months, you may re-evaluate. I mean, shoot in the middle of the year, you may reevaluate and say you know what I need to course correct. Like, this is not exactly what I need to be doing. So for me personally to look out five more years, 10 more years.

Spencer Sutton:
Instinctively I know what I want for my family and I know what I want for business. But to be able to do that and set a clear, measurable target is going to be pretty difficult for me to do. I think that’s why it makes sense like people can look one year ahead and say a very clear objective target. Not something that can’t be measured, this must be measured. And so 12 months from now is a really good timeframe, I think.

Matthew Whitaker:
Okay, I love you, I might push back a little bit. And my only thing would be course correcting to get to an ultimate goal. And I think around business too, I would love to see if I was talking to somebody about, what are your goals with buying rural property? To me a year maybe too short of a timeframe. Because as we’ve talked about on the show, it’s 10 years before you even feel it’s working.

Matthew Whitaker:
The first 10 years is a little bit of a grind. So you need to have that long-term mentality. So if I said, hey I want to retire or replace my income with cashflow by the time I’m … And I think you should set a date not 15 years, because I can keep moving 15 years out. Like tomorrow it’ll be 15 years instead of me getting a day older and getting a day closer.

Matthew Whitaker:
So I would set a target somewhere out in the future. That’s more utopic, is utopic even word I don’t know. But you all know what I meant. It may be harder with body. But let’s say I’m overweight, but I know I can maybe start to clip away to get to my ultimate weight. That I know is going to be five years from now and maintain that way. I do think it could have some if you know what your North star is, it’ll give you some direction in your annual targets too.

Spencer Sutton:
I think that’s a great word North star. So my North star, maybe I want to become financially independent and replace my income with a rental income. So passive income that may be four years down the road or five years. And that’s fine to say that, but then what has to happen this year to make that happen?

Matthew Whitaker:
Yeah, what do I need to do today, by the end of this year to get us to that point. And I know your North star physically, your body is to look like me. So I know that you already have this deep down and-

Spencer Sutton:
Well, I’ve already surpassed that. So now I’m thinking what’s next.

Matthew Whitaker:
Now you’re on the Arnold Schwarzenegger-

Spencer Sutton:
That’s right.

Matthew Whitaker:
All right, so we set a one year target. How do you define it? It needs to be specific, measurable.

Spencer Sutton:
Yeah specific and measurable and it needs to be something thing you can’t achieve today. Like you wouldn’t achieve it today.

Matthew Whitaker:
So give me some examples of that may be in the realm of business around buying.

Spencer Sutton:
I think it could be you could have a target for… An investor may have a target to have half a million dollars of capital available to purchase properties. That could be the target at the end of 12 months. Or it could be two have made 20 offers and bought four properties by the end of the year. So when you think about that if it was, hey, I want to make 20 offers, I want to buy four properties. You and I both know how much work has to go into getting there.

Spencer Sutton:
Especially maybe if you’re starting from scratch, then there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. So wherever you are, think 12 months down the road. What can you achieve? I think we tend to underestimate what we can achieve. And so it can’t be something that you can knock it out in the first quarter. That would just not be a good 12 month target.

Matthew Whitaker:
Because we’re actually doing this right now. And we’re starting a brokerage business where we help people, investors buy houses acting as their agents to buy houses. And we’ve set a target a year in advance. And it’s funny because it’s easy to set that target and see that target and see us hitting that target. But as we crawl it back, it’s hard getting started. We’re trying to get the flywheel moving and it’s very heavy and it’s not moving very fast. And there’s all these different hurdles that have popped up to even just getting started buying house number one for people.

Matthew Whitaker:
And we thought we could just basically flip a switch and start buying houses and helping people buy houses. And then it’s like, oh we need this paperwork. And to do that, we need to get this license and to do that, we need to get this paperwork sent to this person so then you back it down until like, hey what’s important, but not urgent. Like what are the things that must be done this two months? Because we look at it on a two month basis. And so talk about what would be next step. So you set an annual target and then you crawl that back to what?

Spencer Sutton:
Well, you set this annual target and then you want to do the same thing you did with foundation. You want to say, how is this going to make me feel when I achieve it? So you connect the feelings again. So if I have zero rental houses, if we’re talking about buying rental houses. And my target is to purchase 10 rental properties. At the end of 12 months, when you purchase those 10 rental properties, how is that going to make you feel? What are your feelings associated with that target? Now let’s just say you listed eight of them.

Spencer Sutton:
What you want to do is, you want to find the one. If you can boil it down to one, but if you can’t, you can maybe take the top four. And start working on those and say, here are the four feelings associated with them.So that’s the next step. Then the step after that is what are the patterns and behaviors? And what are the stories going to have to tell myself to achieve that? So it goes back to stories again. So these are positive stories of, hey this is… A good example for me, Matthew was my target this year for… It was just fresh on my mind, for body.

Spencer Sutton:
This year is to run a Spartan ultra towards the end of the year. So it’s probably going to happen in fourth quarter and that’s a 30 mile race with 60 obstacles. And so one of my stories was I hate running. And so I had to say, hey this is a story I have, I hate running. I don’t like it. I think it’s bad for my knees or whatever the case is. And so a story that I have to tell myself is I love running. You know what I can run for 30 miles. I can do these obstacles. So those are the different stories and how they can either help or hurt you.

Matthew Whitaker:
I’m just making a note now that we’re going to need a new director of marketing starting next year sounds like-

Spencer Sutton:
That’s all right. When I don’t come off the mountain, I told my buddies, just leave my body there and just leave me there.

Matthew Whitaker:
Okay so you connected to story. I think the other thing too, that you said which we hadn’t really hit on is just patterns and behaviors. You and I are very big believers in compounding effects of your daily habits. We both have a habit of reading on a consistent basis and a pattern of growing and habits of growing. Talk a little bit about what it would look like on a business standpoint. What are some patterns or behaviors that somebody would develop? I think we actually even had one with one of our guests. A behavior he talked about he did in the morning. His first thing he did when he woke up was look at his market and see all the new houses that came out. And he does that every day, including Christmas day or Thanksgiving.

Spencer Sutton:
That was a Michael Zuber.

Spencer Sutton:
Yup on California, that’s what he did.

Matthew Whitaker:
So talk about what are some of the patterns or behaviors somebody might do on a daily basis if they’re trying to hit their goal in this business category?

Spencer Sutton:
I think that’s a great point. You want to continually be just… To me, when you start having daily disciplines, you start gaining a lot of confidence. Because you start keeping promises to yourself. And then all of a sudden you’re like, well this is really starting to add up. And so it could be a savings target, something that you do every, every week. Like I want to save this much each week. Or I want to make this many contexts. So what I like to look at is if you have this big goal for 12 months. I like to back it down, what’s going to happen?

Spencer Sutton:
What are the patterns and behaviors, the things that I need to do this first quarter? And most of those might be mindsets and skillset issues. So what are the things this first quarter, don’t try to achieve the whole target in Q1. Back it down and say, okay what is the baseline? If my target is to buy 10 houses, what are the things that I need to do this first quarter? That are going to move me forward towards that target. So like you said it could start with daily disciplines.

Spencer Sutton:
It could start with like Zuber was talking about, reading information about the market each and every day. It could be reaching out to somebody in the local market every single day. To try to learn from them, try to set up phone calls. It could be I’m going to try to make a realtor connection once a week or something like that. But most definitely it’s the small just daily disciplines. Or weekly disciplines that are going to grow up and to help you get that momentum and hit that goal, that target.

Matthew Whitaker:
We do this again with our business objectives and goals is, where do I want to be in a year? Where do I ultimately want to be? Where do I want to be in a year? Where do I want to be at the end of this quarter? And what do I need to do this month to get me there? What do I need to do to this week to get me there? We call that sprint in our business world. And then what do I need to do today to get to my sprint. To get to my monthly goal. To get to my quarterly goal. To get to my annual goal.

Matthew Whitaker:
To get to my ultimate goal. And if you break it down to get to today, you need to do something every day to move you forward. That’s the power of compounding. I’ve been doing some reading and really this happened probably a couple of years ago. Where I used to think that you needed to rest and not work out every day. But one of the things I found out was that it was easier for me to actually work out every day than it was for me to work out five days a week.

Matthew Whitaker:
Because if I didn’t have a decision, if I had that day where I could move it around and say, well today I’ll just be my day off. It became way easier. And I started structuring my five days. I had this five day sliding scale that it ultimately would result in me only working out three or four days a week because I kept sliding the five day scale around. Now, I work out every day. That may not be running 10 miles today, but it may be rowing for 30 minutes. It’s something because I don’t have the decision to make any more. And that’s that’s the point of the daily habits is you need to get out of the, do I want to do this today decision.

Matthew Whitaker:
It’s just what you do. And in fact, one of the great things about your brain and our bodies is they want to work on autopilot. That’s one of the exciting things that, earth shattering things that I found out. Is your brain doesn’t want to have to think about it. It doesn’t want to have to make multiple decisions. What it wants to do is just basically it wants to operate in habit. And so you want to take advantage of the habits that your brain tries to perform. And make sure that those are good habits versus bad habits.

Spencer Sutton:
Let me tell you just a daily habit and going to balance here. This’ll be for second. One of the daily habits that I started two and a half, maybe three years ago. Was just daily writing notes to my wife and kids. And you know what? At first, I was writing handwritten notes and my son who’s 18 now. So he was 16, 17, 18 was hanging them on his wall. My daughter was keeping them in a notebook. My wife was putting them in a notebook. And so just all of a sudden that becomes, that’s a non-negotiable.

Spencer Sutton:
It’s just a non-negotiable. Now it may be a video. Now it may be a text. Now it could be a handwritten note. But it’s just something I’m doing every single day, because I want to show appreciation. I want to show my care and that’s not a target of mine. It’s just something I do. And I tend to do these things early in the morning because my willpower is very strong in the morning. It’s not as strong in the evening when I’m worn out.

Matthew Whitaker:
Me either, one of the things that is amazing about you is, and we hit on this early is that you’re not naturally a disciplined person. But you’ve made yourself disciplined and the return you’ve gotten for that is exponential. One of the great things that I love to hear. Or I’ve heard in the past is that, creative people if they can become very disciplined, it allows them to make their life very routine. Which actually allows you to free up your brain to think about creative things.

Matthew Whitaker:
And that’s the way business owners are too. If I don’t have to make multiple decisions during the day, I’m not burning down my decision-making energy. I’m able to use that same energy to think about ways to make more money. Think about ways to buy more property. Think about ways to some sort of marketing campaign to buy one extra property this year. And so putting your life in as many routine habits as possible.

Matthew Whitaker:
My wife gets so annoyed with all of my routines because I don’t want to think about it and I will move a mountain not to miss something. But I think it also has that compounding effect which has a positive effect. And she loves it ultimately. Ultimately she loves it. But it is frustrating at times when we’re like, we don’t have time for you to row for 15 minutes. We got to get to dinner-

Spencer Sutton:
You’re like this is non-negotiable.

Matthew Whitaker:
… you married this guy, and now you’re stuck with his 15 minutes of rowing.

Spencer Sutton:
That’s right, like you said, setting these routines, starting these habits. It’s 100% freeing. And then this is something I just don’t ever have to think about. I used to work out three times a week, four times a week. And then when I just decided you know what, seven days a week I’m going to sweat. And I’m going to get a good workout and then I don’t even have to think about it anymore. It’s just, I know when I’m doing it.

Matthew Whitaker:
All right. So let’s wrap this thing up with some pointers. I would love number one, is it possible for us to post this Fact Map PDF or something similar to it? I don’t know if we need Warrior’s permission to do that, but-

Spencer Sutton:
I created one for our team at Evernest. And so I can definitely share that one. That is a bit of a different version, but it is perfect probably for what people need.

Matthew Whitaker:
So we’re going to post this on the website.

Matthew Whitaker:
I would like to give one recommendation and then I’d love for you to kind of wrap us up. My first recommendation and really only recommendation is to start small. I think people try to… It’s always easy to get to body. But people try to get in shape in one month and that’s just never going to happen. What I have found is the compounding effect of small things. So let’s say I want to start eating right. Well, I don’t need to eliminate every single sweet thing or fatty thing or whatever I’m deciding to remove from my life. But I can do one and maybe I just remove one. And once I get the momentum of that one, maybe I add another one and I add another one. One of the things that… I’m in a place with my body that there are times, seasons where I will add things that I know I shouldn’t eat.

Matthew Whitaker:
But then I know I have the ability to eliminate them and get back to where I want to be. So we’re just coming out of holiday season. Well, I ate desserts. I’m never eat desserts the rest of the year. But for a period of time for maybe four weeks, I was eating a lot of dessert. Now I’ve just reduced it back. And now I’m just basically maintaining I’m tweaking. But you need to start small to get to a point where you’re gaining momentum. It’s the whole Jim Collins Good To Great Flywheel.

Matthew Whitaker:
So that would be my suggestion, is in each one of these areas start small and know that there’s going to be a compounding effect on the backend. Where you’re going to be able to move mountains very fast, later on in this project. I honestly wouldn’t even break it up and we haven’t done this with our business calls. I would not even break it up into five equal segments to get me to my fifth year goal or 10 equal segments to get me to my 10 year goal. To me this year would be small and it would grow exponentially towards the end. What are your thoughts on getting-

Spencer Sutton:
100% start with Q1 in mind if I’ve set my target, what needs to happen in this Q1? So what do I want to achieve in Q1? And then you just start breaking it down again. And just really get clear on, okay by the end of March, this is what I’m going to have achieved. And it’s going to be getting me towards that goal. And again, it could be skillsets and mindsets.

Spencer Sutton:
So just like Matthew said, start small, start building those daily habits. I was the same way with you Matthew, on Christmas day I made the French toast casserole for my family. And then I also made a pizza on the big green egg. And literally I never do that as far as eating that type of stuff. But because my lifestyle, like I had become disciplined, I’m not naturally disciplined.

Spencer Sutton:
I’ve become disciplined with what I eat. It was very, very easy for me to go back and say, okay now I’m back on track. So I think to your point start small, be very intentional. I started using an app this year called Productivity. And so I’ve just got daily goals, reading goals, workout goal, just little daily things. I just want to make sure I’m checking off and doing those things. So I think all that helps. (Singing)

Matthew Whitaker:
Very good, thank you Spencer, for sharing this. I hope people take this and use it. And if you enjoyed it… I’m going to take this away from you since I interviewed you this time. If you enjoyed this episode, I hope you will leave us a five-star review. Please subscribe, tell others about it. We love getting to do this and the more people that are willing to listen to it, the more we get to do it. And so we appreciate you taking the time Spencer and taking the time whoever’s listening to this. And we will be back in two weeks with a new episode.

Spencer Sutton:
See you everybody.