Your Path To Success Starts With Your Positive Vision, Learn It With Mark Dolfini
You get frustrated once you get stuck in your business. This frustration can poison everything else in your life too. You don’t have to worry today. Because in this episode, Mark Dolfini, the author of The Time-Wealthy Investor 2.0, shares his success story as proof of how a positive vision sets him on the path to success. He shares the role of authenticity in his wealth growth. Trek into the path of success with Mark Dolfini today.
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Your Path To Success Starts With Your Positive Vision, Learn It With Mark Dolfini
Our special guest is Mark Dolfini. Welcome. How are you?
I am amazing. How are you, guys?
Great. Before we get started, do you want to give us a quick sky view of your background, what you do, and where you ended up where you are right now?
I grew up in Upstate New York. I decided that I want to go out and see the world a little bit, and joined the Marine Corps. That was a great experience for me. I was a navigator on C-130. I was a celestial navigator. I learned to navigate using a sextant and the stars. That was cool. It was before the days of GPS were big. I learned how to do that and then decided that I wanted a different and better life. Marine Corps was good to me, but I wanted to do something different.
I went to Purdue. That’s in the Midwest in Indiana. That’s where I stayed. I came here. I loved it and fell in love with the low cost of living, low taxes, freedom, etc. I liked all the things that New York State didn’t have or represent anymore for me. I stayed here. While I was at school, I started buying some real estate and proceeded to make about every single possible mistake an individual could make, not only in business but in real estate specifically.
I built up a resident portfolio of about 92 rental properties in total, then 2008 came along. It shook the snow globe up pretty well. I had about a $6 million portfolio and lost about 2/3 of it in about 8 months. I learned a tremendous amount from it. I didn’t declare bankruptcy. I crawled back on my own. It’s all of those lessons that I’ll share here. Real estate is a lot stronger for me. I’ve gotten to a point where I can do this full-time and not spend a whole lot of time on my real estate portfolio. That’s the quick version of what I went through.
Thank you for your service first and foremost. What did you do to get past all that?
In the middle of all of that, I was working like crazy. I was working probably 20 to 22 hours a day. I would literally grab naps in the parking lot of Lowe’s, Menards, or whatever your favorite is, pick-one. Also, sometimes at the stoplight if it was a long one. It was terrible I was completely time weary. I had created hundreds of little horrible jobs for myself. When people were looking at different properties and things like this, and I’m not sure if a lot of real estate investors tune in to this, but when you buy a property and you’re underwriting the individual property, you have all these line items that you budget for.
You budget for snow removal, maintenance, and CapEx which no one seems to know how to calculate properly. You allocate all these different lines. I wasn’t doing that. I was looking at, “Here’s my mortgage payment. Here’s what I could make over my mortgage payment. That’s what I’m going to make.” What I learned pretty quickly is every individual line item that you don’t budget for becomes a job you created. I created a management job, maintenance job, lawn mowing job, snow removal job, and all these different jobs that I created for myself. You have an abundance of time in the beginning. When you’re seventeen, you don’t pay much attention to time.
When you have time abundance, you don't pay much attention to time. Click To TweetYou’re first starting out. That’s how it was for me. I can relate to you on a lot of levels in the sense when we started in real estate, we were giving up weekends and holidays. We worked 24/7 for years before any traction started, then traction started and it was like, “Wow.” I’m with you on, “We became the person mowing the lawn and this.” Now it’s not like that.
I would love to say that it was parting in the skies and doves flew, but it wasn’t it. It was this awful disgusting grind that I had to go through. What was sad is during that period of time when I had a $6 million portfolio. I was worth a little bit over $6 million and I had $5.5 million worth of debt. I was way over-leveraged not just in money, but in time. I was bringing in roughly $60,000 a month in revenues. Everybody on the outside looking in was thinking I’m crushing it. They’re doing the beer math.
They all think it’s easy like you have nothing to worry about.
It’s usually advice from people that were like, “You know what you ought to do. You ought to get those people that owe you to pay you.” I’m like, “You should get into this business. I never realized that.”
“I never thought of that.” Imagine being in the business and you are the bank owner financing it. I had the same issue when everyone was like, “I can’t afford it.” I said, “I’m not Chase Bank. You still have to pay your bills.”
“I didn’t get a bailout like you did, Chase.” It’s interesting that during that time I had this $65,000 a month coming in revenues and a massive overhead nut that I had to crack every single month. In one month’s time, that $60,000 went to $30,000, and that was month over month. It was not long at all before I was completely upside down.
I burned through my cash quickly and what little cash I had because I was beating the OPM or Other People’s Money drum. I was doing that to the exclusion of my own cash, which is the other side of the equation that people don’t hear about when it’s like, “It’s great to use OPM, but don’t do that to the exclusion where you don’t have any of your own cash.” I’m not talking about lines of credit. I’m talking about cash money.
In my former life, I was a banker. I went through a twelve-step program. I’m much better now, but when I was a banker in my previous life, the first thing that goes away is home equity lines of credit. Those lines of credit dry up because banks don’t have the liquidity to issue money on them anymore. That’s what goes first. People are like, “I didn’t realize that happened.” I’m like, “They want their money yesterday.” That’s what happens.
If you asked me how I climbed out of this, things got worse before they get better. During that period of time, I was working these 20 hours a day and 7 days a week. It catches up with you. It always does. I’m in my mid-30s. I think I’m bulletproof and I get sick. This teeny little cold turned into double pneumonia, which should have passed in normal time. I’m still working and taking medicine, and not taking rest and all this other stuff. It turned into double pneumonia. I almost died in the hospital.
The hospitalist came in, and I wish I knew her name because it was one of the most pivotal moments in your life. She looked at me and at her chart. She’s like, “How old are you?” I was 37 at the time. She goes, “People who look like you don’t wind up in hospital beds like this. You need to get a hard look at your life or what you’ve got going on.” She didn’t ask, but she knew that I was working myself to death and she left the room. That moment was pivotal because I had to get a clear vision of what it was I was trying to accomplish in the first place. I’d been in the corporate sector. I’d worked in the corporate world.
I knew that I could make a living, but what was I doing this for? What was my vision to begin with and how am I going to live life? What’s the infrastructure of my business that didn’t involve a phone system that looked like this, or constantly being pulled back into the business because I had no infrastructure? What are even the processes? I get constantly not being in reactive mode.
With that vision, infrastructure, and process swirling in my mind, I landed in three different buckets, which were the vision infrastructure process, the VIP method that I came up with and talked about in the time wealthy investor. I can’t say as a vision of birds in the shape of VIP letters flew across my window. I was like, “What is that, God? Give me a sign.” It wasn’t that clear. I didn’t put it into those nice neat little categories right there in the hospital bed but later on, I came up with this methodology. That’s what helped me to climb out of this.
What a story.
It was terrible.
I could almost relate. I got sick a few years ago. It was really bad. They knew it was from working too much. I needed a mandatory vacation.
It was one of those things that becomes, “What in God’s name am I doing? What am I doing this for?” I’m a coach and people come to me. They’ll come with all different issues, “I’ve got this going on.” It’s usually three or more business ideas that they got. They’re trying to do them all because they got part of the story when they heard, “Most entrepreneurs or millionaires have multiple streams of revenue.” That’s partly true. They do have multiple streams of revenue, but they’re not working all those streams of revenue. They built one bridge using that knowledge of building the bridge. They walk back across the bridge and build a second bridge. What they’re trying to do is build seven bridges at the same time.
None of them are successful. None of them are getting the attention that they need. They’re not sticking with any one bridge long enough because of this novelty bias they get drawn back into which is, “Because something is new or this shiny nickel, therefore it’s better. I’m going to go chase that.” They never stay with anything long enough. I run into this all the time. At the end of the day, I’m like, “What are you doing this for? What’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that you seem to be thinking that you’re going to be doing this? If you woke up with $30 million in your bank account tomorrow, what would your life look like?”
Half of them were like, “I’d try to turn it into $60 million.” I’m like, “I’ll fix your wagon. What if you woke up with $30 million, but you only have 2 years left to live?” All of a sudden, people get sober. They’re like, “Oh.” Are you going to turn that to $60 million now or are you going to go out and have some life output? I’ve had that same conversation with nineteen-year-olds that got sober fast. I was like, “That could be a reality for you.”
What you touched on is important. For me and my team, and I can’t speak for everyone on it, that’s the type of environment we want for our team in our personal business. Everybody has their own personal life, as well as the company, as we grow. I want them to have time freedom, enjoy their lives, and do things because I went so many years without doing it. I’m just now learning how to do it. It’s a new space for me. It’s uncomfortable and new, but it’s also a change. I want that for my team too. I want them to be able to enjoy their life, have a purpose, and also have fun working with a great team too.
It takes intentionality. It takes a boss that says, “Do you have any work left to do today?” They’re like, “Not really.” “Go home. I’ll pay you for the rest of the day. Just go home.”
That’s what I do, “We’re done. Cut out.” They’re like, “No, it’s too early.” I’m Like, “We’re done with everything we have to do for the week. Enjoy your weekend.”
A lot of times, I see that with folks who are hiding. They’re hiding inactivity. They don’t want to spend the time doing the real work that they know they need to do because it’s hard. Back in 2017, my life was a complete disaster at home. My wife and I were not living together. There was a huge rift between her and me. We could not seem to reconcile. I was like, “Screw this. I’m not living in a home.” I was out doing my own thing. She was out doing her own thing. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but it was terrible.
I was working. I felt inauthentic having written a book called The Time Wealthy Investor and was working like crazy. It was not even because I needed to but because I was hiding. I was hiding in activity, and disguising myself in this world of busyness because I didn’t want to go home and work on that aspect of my life that needed the work. It wasn’t until I was like, “I’m done with this.”
It’s been a real journey for us. I went and spoke with her. It was during the summer of 2017. I said to her, “The only way I’m getting out of this marriage is if I’m dead.” I stopped talking and let it sit there and hang in the air. She knew I was serious. I didn’t know how I was going to get there but I was like, “We got to get this sorted out because there is no out. This is the only way we’re getting out of this marriage. It isn’t in a body bag,” not in a threatening way. I drew the line in the sand like, “We got to get this sorted out.” We were good together at one time, and I did still care for her, but I couldn’t live the way we were living.
If I didn’t have control over my calendar, me and Jen would not be together today. During those first couple weeks, we had some of the ugliest conversations for the first time, but they weren’t venomous. It’s a very different conversation. You can have an ugly conversation and it can be a lot of stuff you don’t want to hear and say, but it can be done without venom. That was one of the biggest shifts for us where we learned how to talk with each other.
We knew when we were like, “I’m going to press the timeout button and I need to walk outside. We’re good, but I need to take a break because I feel like I’m getting flooded.” We would do that. We would honor that with one another. Whereas before it would be this chasing, back and forth, and all this spewing of nonsense. It was good. This is the one thing that I was so intentional about. I know that this is a business show. I’m not trying to make it too squishy, but this is the thing we’re doing it for. We’re doing it for them, but yet we’re not investing in them at all. You got to have that part.
When stuff is not right at home, it’s not right. It doesn’t matter. Not to sound super brash, but that’s so true. People are like, “I’ll worry about my home life when I get my business done.” I’m like, “It doesn’t work that way because your business is just an extension of you.” Once we got right with one another, it was interesting because people see the relationship now between me and my girl. They see the wonderful authentic relationship that she and I have. It’s amazing and passionate. Clearly, we’re parable social distancers because we have a six-month baby at home now.
We have a 17-year-old, a 14-year-old, and a 6-month-old which is amazing. The fact of the matter is that everyone sees the benefits of our relationship but they don’t see the investment. They see the dividends but not the investment. I don’t mean like, “We go to dinner once a week.” If you go to dinner and you’re sitting on your phone, that’s not it. You need to make an investment.
Everyone sees the benefits of the relationship but doesn't see the investment. Click To Tweet
With the folks here who might be learning how to do wholesaling, fix or flipping, and they read my book and want to learn how to be a better property manager, landlord, or whatever, you’re making an investment. You learned how to be a good spouse, friend, husband, father, mother, or whatever. What investments have you made in that space? What books have you read? What seminars have you attended there? It’s like, “I’m uncomfortable.”
I’m going through a transition myself right now. I’m doing a lot of new uncomfortable things. I have to do what’s best for me, my family, and my company. It’s a very humbling position to be in. I’m at the very beginning of this process. I can relate to everything that you’ve said.
On the other side, it’s worth it. Unfortunately, there were a lot of people that Jen and I had hurt in that process. It was interesting because there was this one very dark night for me, one of the nights where you have to hide the gun from yourself. I deleted all of her pictures on Facebook. I posted out there. I made it Facebook official.
It was interesting because there were many folks that were like, “Thoughts and prayers.” I’m like, “You do not think or pray for me. Let’s be honest.” There were an ardent few that reached out that said, “Do not give up.” That resonated with me. I’m going to challenge everybody here to have that same approach with someone when things are bad and not just the, “Thoughts and prayers,” because that means, “I did my part. I’m out.”
It is just the surface. I’m tired of the surface. I want genuine relationships.
Everybody is dying for authenticity these days. Think about it. It’s the metaphorical walking up to the family at a funeral or the widow and said, “Anything you need.” They’re numb. Never in history has a widow pulled out a list and said, “Thank God someone said that because I need you to go finish the laundry. Since you’re asking, go ahead and bake me a roast, because I would love that.”
It’s like, “I almost want it to happen just like a handout. I’m dying for you to ask like, ‘Anything? Here you go.’” They’re like the world’s worst scavenger hunt. We say that so we can feel better. I said, “Anything they need, I’m out. I’m good.” I’m emotionally separated now, but they don’t mean it. That’s the level of inauthenticity that we’re all ready to be done with.
Especially with the market growing so many opportunities for many people, everyone deserves an opportunity to be successful regardless of what they choose to do. You shared some personal details with us that I wasn’t expecting. Thank you for sharing that.
I’ve been coaching people for a dozen years or more. It’s interesting because I used to do it when they were like, “Can I come to pick your brain?” I give them three hours of my life for a quesadilla. I was like, “I need to be authentic about this. I need to be honest with myself.” I didn’t realize how good I was at it until I started charging money for it, then I was like, “I have this bizarre ability to connect dots that I wouldn’t otherwise necessarily see in others.” I was under the landlord coach marketing channel for a while and I still maintain that, but I decided to make a strategic shift to a strategic life and coaching business. That life and business coaching was in alignment with what it is that I like to do.
I’m being authentic. It was funny because, in the early days, I was mortified that someone would find out that I wasn’t a zillionaire, that I didn’t own the color yellow, or that I drove a car that was too old, or that things weren’t right at home. Who am I? Now, I am driving this piece of crap. It’s getting to the point where I’m like, “Now I just want to keep it running.” It is almost like a badge of honor.
What happened was I was driving this Expedition. It was a big box. It was super comfortable. I and Jen went out in it. I had 300,000 miles on it. It was in great shape. I was like, “I am not spending $8,000 on putting a new motor in a vehicle that was ten years old.” It was a great vehicle but I was like, “Whatever.” In my parking lot, I had a bunch of vehicles. They were all leasing vehicles or maintenance vehicles. I said to my maintenance manager, “Which one of these vehicles can I drive?”
He’s like, “They’re all yours.” I was like, “I know.” He’s like, “That one over there.” I was like, “What’s wrong with it?” He says, “Nothing.” I got in it and I realized why no one was driving it. I went and bought it for $2,200. It stunk like a dog food Dorito. I was like, “How are all three of those smells in this car, yet so distinct?” A wet dog Dorito food, that’s what it was.
I’m in this car and I was like, “Whatever.” Heats, AC, and windows go up and down, and the radio didn’t work, but I don’t care. I don’t listen to the radio. I was like, “It’s fine.” It was a 2010 HHR. It was a great little put-around vehicle that I got from my leasing agent because I had a hatch that you could put the leasing signs in and out, and she had a little Honda Accord, which made it hard to do that. I bought it for her and we never got it lettered. I come to find out that it didn’t get lettered because no one wanted to drive it to get lettered because it smelled like a wet dog Dorito food.
I’m driving this car. This car became my car. My wife was like, “Would you please go get another car?” I’m like, “Why? There’s nothing wrong with this one.” At first, I was like mortified that someone would find out, “Here’s this coach and he’s driving this thing.” I happened to mention it. The more I mentioned it, the people were like, “I drive a beater too.” Now, I can’t ever get rid of this thing because people are like, “Do you still have that thing?” I’m like, “Yes, do you want to see a picture of it? It’s not a terrible car.”
You love that. That’s also a good example of a lot of people who have that shiny object syndrome. They have to have the latest and the greatest thing. When it comes down to your vision, business, and any kind of wealth growth that you’re focusing on, at the end of the day, it all has to come together. You got to be relatable. My car is paid off and I drive. My husband is always like, “You need a nicer car.” For what? I go to Walmart in my pajamas. I’m a native of the country.
You are every red-blooded American.
Who cares? He’ll be like, “Are you wearing that?” I’m like, “Yes.” He’s like, “I’m taking a picture.” I’m like, “I don’t care.” He’s like, “I’m posting it.” I’m like, “I don’t care.”
I spend my money on guns. I would not be caught dead without an HK on me or a Sig. I’m a little bit of a gun snob.
I am too. You’re in the right company.
As long as you learn how to shoot straight. Bullets are way too expensive to waste. I’m sorry, I’m not going to give you a warning shot.
What you’re working with your students is pretty incredible. For our audience that have been tuning in to everything that we were reviewing so far, you can find more information at FullerWalletMedia.com/TimeWealthy. What are you doing with your students or focusing on now that’s driving a lot of them, especially in this economy, the world, and what’s happening?
I introduce them to the VIP method a lot of times. What I’m generally having to continually unpack is all the self-sabotaging behavior that they engage in. It takes one to know one. It’s like, “I’m not here to judge. This is a confession as much as judgment.” Having these self-sabotaging behaviors, which are procrastination, seeking perfection, or continually going out and rescuing other people, rescuing them from themselves and inserting myself in their life in an attempt to either prop up my low self-esteem because I hope that they’ll like me, but when I’m also rescuing someone else and fixing them, what am I not working on this disaster up here? Even having a bad relationship with money, I’m helping them address their self-sabotaging behaviors.
It’s good to know or even understand that we have these biases that we walk around with. Whether it’s a novelty bias or always chasing something new, or even an anchoring bias we become over-reliant upon the first data point that we hear. That’s called an anchoring bias. Making them aware of these things is great, but it’s giving them the tools in their toolbox in terms of how to fix this stuff. It’s great to say, “I’ve got this,” but browbeating them and saying, “You got to do better.” I had to learn how to put tools in my toolbox to help address those things because I still struggle with them. I struggle with addictive-type behaviors where I’m working another twenty-hour day. I’m like, “Why am I setting myself up for failure like this?”
Even having a bad relationship with money, which is now a constant fight to reprogram people to have actual cash. I’m fighting against guys like Grant Cardone who are coming out and saying idiotic things. Granted, I understand why Grant Cardone does it. He has to be polarizing, but he’s big about saying, “Cash is trash.” I’m like, “That’s true, but you have an awful lot of operating cash. When you’re saying stuff like that, you’re saying that’s to someone who’s got like $30,000 in the bank and thinks that they need to deploy that.” The problem is this. They don’t know how to handle wealth. If they don’t know how to handle their most liquid form of wealth, what they’re going to do is they’re going to take this $30,000.
They’re going to give it to someone else to make it work.
That would be better than what they do. What they often do is take the $30,000, they’ll pay off the debt, and then they’ve got no cash. They go through this cycle of getting cash, pay down debt, run up more debt, get back to neutral and go, “I got to learn how to make more money.” I get more money, pay down debt, and get back in the debt. They continue on this cycle over and over again and never break the cycle.
I know this sounds almost ridiculous and I’m not saying it to be polarizing. I’m saying this because people learn this to be true. I would almost rather you have $100,000 in cash and $100,000 in credit cards just so you know how to manage liquid wealth because they don’t know what to do with it. They feel like they’ve got cash and they got to do something with it.
These six little holes leak out all over the place where people like, “I could save it. I could go buy something with it. I could pay my bills. I can invest in it. I could pay down on debt or donate it.” It’s always squeezing out one of those six holes, and some of the holes are bigger, but generally, the savings one doesn’t stick around very long.
This is the relationship with money and I continually have to work on it. Those are the sort of things that I’m working on. It’s this mindset piece and this relationship with wealth. Usually, every now and again we get to talk about business because it’s all this other stuff. Once they get some breakthroughs on this other stuff, all of a sudden, their well shoots up and they’re like, “Holy crap.” I’m like, “Yes, it’s not that hard. It’s going their own way.”
It’s unfortunate because I feel that our education system doesn’t teach our children. They didn’t teach us anything about entrepreneurship, owning a business, or managing money. We’ve always been taught, “Go to school, get a degree, get a good job, and have a 401(k).” Let’s think about it. If you want to retire and build a wealthy stream of income, it’s going to take a lot more than just working with someone your whole life and then retiring.
It can, but I don’t think they recognize the risks that they’re taking when they’re putting their hands and their future in the hands of someone else. Look at all the people who thought they were safe and secure. Pick a corporate job these days where they thought they were safe. Even in the banking industry, which is known for managing risk. You’ve got all these banks that got over their skis because they didn’t handle their liquidity for various reasons. I mean banks are here all the time, but it’s one of those things when you have the second and third largest bank failures.
That’s a little bit of a nebulous number because banks continue to get larger because the money supply keeps getting larger. These are reality. These are real things. Do you think a 57-year-old banker is going to be highly employable in the banking industry when he worked for a failed bank? I’m going to see him with a blue vest ongoing, “Aisle seven is where the razor blades are.” The challenging thing is that they think that they’re safe when in reality they’re so far removed from safety that they don’t realize it.
Those are the crux of the issues that we run into all the time with our clients when I’m walking them down that walk. One of the reasons is also about managing these tail events. Nassim Taleb called them Black Swans, but I prefer tail events, which are on the statistical distribution you have these tails, these six sigma events, which are rare that happened in the time that they seem obvious after the fact but when you look back at them, you’re like, “Oh, well.”
They seemed obvious after the fact, but when they happened they were these major events. When you have cash, you have options and the ability to take advantage of situations like that. They’re not timely. It’s Canada invades Michigan, which after the fact would probably seem logical. You go, “I totally get that. Why didn’t I have the foresight to be ready for that?” These are the things that happen that people are not prepared for because they don’t have cash or they think they have cash.
They think they have secure borrowing ability until they don’t. They don’t have a borrowing facility when they don’t have access to capital, which is what ground the economy to a halt back in ‘08. No one had cash. No one had access to capital. That’s what drives our economy. I will give our government massive props for helping out the 99.9% of businesses, which was the small business owners of under 500 employees, and not helping prop up massive businesses, which wouldn’t have impacted the economy.
For once, the government got something right. They did something well. Granted now we’re paying what’s due with all of the inflation. We got to put a cap on that in some way, but I know we’re going to get screwed somehow. In terms of the COVID response, they did a decent thing. Managing that liquid cash, liquid capital, and liquid wealth is probably one of the biggest things that most people need to work on.
Melanie, any questions for Mark?I don’t think so.Ask him whatever you want. Think about if you were meeting Mark for the first time and you were doing your business and your future, what would be something you would want to know?How do you address any of these self-sabotage traits or issues?
The first thing is to identify what they are. It’s easy to say, “If I’ve got self-sabotage in my life, what does that look like?” It shows up in a lot of different ways of procrastination or even picking fights or complaining, even something small like that. Have you ever noticed that people complain to the wrong person? They go to work and complain about their spouse, then they go to their spouse and complain about work. Why are you complaining to the wrong person? Go to the right person and complain.
All of these things are self-sabotaging behaviors and they all tie back to some limiting belief. It may not be logical. Don’t try to find logic where it isn’t. I’ll explain why there isn’t logic usually in these things. It makes sense logically as I explained this, but it doesn’t have to be a logical event that happened. Generally, we have a belief system of a story that we tell each other and we tell ourselves over and over about something like, “Money is hard to come by. Success is only for the lucky.” We tell ourselves these stories over and over until they become true for us.
Don't try to find logic where it isn't. Click To Tweet
There are lots of ways limiting beliefs get formed, but for one ex quick example, I believe that limiting beliefs get formed when we experience something that we believe to be a failure. I’ll give you a quick example. Let’s pretend that I’m on the playground. I am seven years old and little Mark is going to go up and talk to Sally Sue because he thinks Sally Sue is the cutest with her little pigtails and everything. Marky goes up to Sally Sue and says, “You’re cute. Would you be my girlfriend?” Little Sally Sue says, “You’re a boy. You’re gross,” and she runs away.
She doesn’t just run away. What does she do? She tells the whole playground. Now it’s like, “Marky loves Sally.” It’s terrible. I’m massively humiliated. I’m walking and doing the long suck-me walk back to where my friends are all at. The rest of the day, week, and year I’m teased because I put myself out there. Could I then create a limiting belief that it’s not safe for me to go up and share with a girl what my feelings are?
Therefore, my subconscious self is going to try to protect me like, “There’s so-and-so. I find her attractive. I go to make the motion to say something,” and my subconscious says, “Whoa.” It starts to make me nervous and go, “Remember the last time that happened 7 or 15 years ago? You were mortified. Remember? I’m going to try to protect you. I’m going to derail this. I’m going to make you nervous, make you stutter and stammer. I will make you so fearful that you’re not even going to be willing to go forward with it.” You’re paralyzed often in fear.
This is what happens. It’s one little microcosm of something that happened years and years earlier. Now that’s a logical sequence of events. Many times it’s not logical. The reason it’s not logical is because it doesn’t lie in the logical center of our brain. Our feelings and all these things that we carry around with us are being housed in a part of our brain. The mid-brain and the limbic system of our brain. Our limbic system doesn’t have a capacity for spoken language. It speaks in the language of feelings or if you’re feeling a certain way. Our limbic brain houses that portion of feelings in our mind.
When you’re going to be engaging that part of the mind, you can’t logically say, “I’m going to buckle down and not engage in that behavior,” because you’re talking to yourself and the logical cognitive neocortical part of your brain. It’s like being metaphorically broken down on the highway and you’re out of gas. You know you’re out of gas, but you’re rooting around in the trunk to find something. It’s like, “There’s no gas back there. I’m going to look into the hood.”
There’s got to be gas around me. There’s no way we came all the way to the racetrack and we don’t have any gas.
You’re fixing the wrong part of the car, even though you know you need to be getting it. Someone pulls up and says, “Something wrong.” “No, I’m just looking under the hood for nothing else better to do.” It’s recognizing that’s the part of the brain that is reframed or reprogrammed. A lot of times one of the things I talk about is recorded affirmations. They have to be done in a certain way, but recorded affirmations will address not only the self-sabotaging behavior but specifically the underlying issue of self-worth or something like that. That’s usually what’s relying around. It’s either, “I’m not loved. I’m not enough. I’m not worthy.” That’s generally a pretty common thing that I see in most of the clients that I work with.
I would love to say that I worked around this to help myself. I started pulling on these different straws of different things from NLP, neuroplasticity, epigenetics, all the way up to even hypnosis to try to understand this amazing computer. Unfortunately, my mom passed away from Alzheimer’s prior to Mother’s Day last year. She was a wonderful woman and highly cognitive in her life. Seeing that decline started me down that path of understanding the human brain so much more. I’m thankful that God opened me to that field of study because I feel I can help people and myself now. That’s a massively interesting field of study to me now.
Before we close, do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share or anything?
For the people that are out there that are struggling, there’s another bias that we didn’t talk about, but one that tends to permeate all of us, not just entrepreneurs or real estate investors. It happens with all of us and it’s called a status quo bias. It’s this bias that the way things are is the way that we tend to think that they’re always going to be. I would challenge you to set aside that bias. It’s like, “The real estate market is going up,” until it doesn’t. Everybody thought the stock market was going to keep going up until it didn’t. The same with crypto and all these different things.
That also applies to where you’re at in life. A lot of times that status quo bias is reinforced by a confirmation bias because we tend to seek information that confirms what we feel we already know. You tend to watch the same news program and read the same types of books from the same types of authors. If you’re in real estate, you tend to only read stuff about real estate. If you’re in business, you tend to only read stuff about business. Challenge that bias and open yourself up to other things that maybe are outside of this.
Challenge the bias and open yourself up to things outside of this normal. Click To Tweet
I’m not trying to get into political stuff here, but I held a book up written by Michelle Obama and I’m like, “Am I going to buy this?” Not that I have a problem with her as a human, but I don’t subscribe to a lot of the things she talks about. I’m like, “If I’m going to do this, I got to walk the walk.” This is important because this opens up another perspective where I can say, “I have my beliefs, but the beliefs don’t mean much unless they’re challenged. I have my values, but they don’t mean much unless they’re challenged. Should I be thinking about this? Should I challenge this?”
I’ll give you a quick story. I was upset about what Colin Kaepernick was doing when he was kneeling before the flag. I was super pissed about it. I have a great Black friend. We were at an event that you and I have both been at. He and I were sharing a hotel room. He asked me about it and said, “What do you think about that?” I said, “I got to be honest with you, I’m pissed about it because I feel he’s using someone else’s stage to make a point.” He listened to me for a while. I went on and on. I said, “It’s in front of this. I’m a veteran and he’s not.” He nodded his head and goes, “But a Black man so and a White man are sharing a hotel room and they’re talking about it.” He was right.
I had several conversations like that.
I was like, “I hate being wrong about something like this.” It was intrinsic and I wanted to be mad about it. I was like, “I get it.” He and I had an amazing conversation after that about what he has experienced. He lives in California. His experience as a man of color is very different from that of a White dude in the Midwest. It’s a very different world out there for him. He even says to me half kidding, “Are you carrying a gun?” I’m like, “I’ve always got you covered.” He’s like, “No. I’m serious because we’re getting ready to walk outside right now and I want to know you got a gun.” That’s his reality.
If you’re ever around me in LA, we always carry.
We’re good. All the bolts are heading down range. Challenging that status quo bias and these confirmation biases or an anchoring bias that we carry around is another one, but always look for ways where you can challenge that bias to expand your mind and thoughts, and not get stuck in the same old thought pattern.
Thank you so much, Mark. It has been such an honor having you on. It’s always great when we get to connect with you. It has been such a privilege having you on the show with us.
Thank you. It was a lot of fun. You guys are great.
Is your personal Life suffering because you’re feeling stuck in your business?
Mark Dolfini is a veteran of the U.S. Marines and the author of three books. Most notably, The Judge: A Landlord’s Tale, which released in the summer of 2018 and his much-anticipated 3rd book, The Time-Wealthy Investor 2.0, was released in January, 2019, which teaches the exclusive VIP Method of how to create a real estate business focused on Life-Output. It became #1 Amazon Bestseller in March of that same year. He is currently working on his 4th book, The Time-Wealthy Advantage, directed towards the small-business entrepreneur.
Mark is a strategist, and coaches his clients in both life and business endeavors. performs operates a Strategic Coaching one-to-one coaching for his clients in addition to a Mastermind to help foster community and accountability for small and medium-sized business owners who often feel stuck in operations. He also operates under the Landlord Coach brand, for his client who have a real estate focus.
Many dozens of business owners have found Mark’s approach to coaching using the VIP Method and his extensive background in accounting and commercial lending translates well across all industries. From buy and hold investors, to roofers, gym owners and CFOs, his clients span many industries and have benefited greatly from his knowledge and coaching using the VIP Method.
Mark spends his free time pistol shooting and kayaking and lives in Lafayette, Indiana where he and his wife Jennifer are raising their two sons, Leland and Logan, and their new baby girl Liliana.
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