Have you noticed how some people seem to rise to the top of their chosen field, or journey ever higher up the property ladder, while others consistently achieve the same “average” results? Michael Yardney, from Metropole Property Strategists, helps us reflect on the 7 significant traits Dr. Stephen Covey says successful people habitually exhibit. We have called it the 7 habits of Highly Effective Property Investors.
Kevin: I wonder if, like me, you’ve noticed that some people seem to rise to the top of their chosen field or journey, even higher up the property ladder, while others consistently achieve the same average results.
In the 1990s, you might recall management guru Dr. Steven Covey explained what he believed to be the defining characteristics that distinguish highly effective people in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” I’ve read the book. I’m sure you probably have, too.
I want to find out if there are any similarities here between those habits and the habits of top achievers in property.
Michael Yardney from Metropole Property Strategists, I know you have a view on this. What are your thoughts, Michael?
Michael: Hi, Kevin. Yes, I think there are some similar traits between successful businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and property investors. You’re right, Kevin; they have similar traits. How about let’s go through what Steven Covey had to say, and I’ll give you my take of it in property investors.
Kevin: Okay, you swing it that way. Habit one, of course, was be proactive.
Michael: Kevin, you’re right. What he was saying was that life isn’t just a series of events; in every moment, you actually have a choice. You can either move forward and take the opportunities or you can be the passenger of your life.
As a property investor, I’d suggest you be proactive like Steven Covey suggested. Be the pilot of your life, not the passenger. You are where you are today because of all the things you’ve chosen to do, Kevin, and all the things you’ve chosen not to do. Either way, you’re going to either have to run the day or you’re going to let the day run you.
Kevin: Habit number two was begin with the end in mind.
Michael: I liked that one when I first heard it years ago, Kevin. It means that you have to focus on your desired outcomes and then do what you need to do to achieve that. The key, I think, for property investors is to block out a lot of the distractions that can inhibit you moving forward because there’s always these things, so-called perceived opportunities, that if you hop onto the latest bandwagon, it takes you off track.
I think all property investors – and not just investors; businesspeople – should write down a set of goals – in property investment, it may be getting to financial independence – and then put a strategy around it. That way, it’s going to be easier for you to make decisions and not get distracted, Kevin.
Kevin: Indeed. Habit number three was putting first things first. This is about prioritizing, Michael.
Michael: You’re right, Kevin. What Steven Covey said was once you’ve set your goals, then you have to develop the habit of planning and implementing activities that are going to enable you to reach them. Importantly, you learn to prioritize exactly what you said that you’re doing things in the right order.
As a property investor, I think what you have to do is keep the big picture in mind. Sometimes, you should actually say no to perceive opportunities if they don’t fit with your plans. I know, Kevin, over the years I’ve made more money by saying no to deals than by saying yes to them.
I suggest an investor takes personal responsibility because you can’t change the circumstances, you can’t change the property cycle, you can’t change the market, but you can change yourself. That’s something you have control over.
Kevin: Exactly. That’s the point, isn’t it? Habit number four was think win-win.
Michael: I think Covey was basically saying you can gain more out of life through the art of cooperation than with competition. As a property investor, win-win doesn’t only apply to negotiation but, in fact, to all elements of your life. I think you should learn to be happy with what you have while you pursue what you want to have, Kevin.
Kevin: Indeed. Habit number five. This one may be a little bit difficult, but I’ll just be interested to see what you have to say. Seek first to understand and then be understood.
Michael: I think what Covey was saying, Kevin, was most people engage in a conversation to be heard rather than to understand. I’ve found when I speak to people, what they tend to do is use their listening time to plan their reply, rather than to actually listen to what I have to say.
I think as a property investor, there’s a way of flicking this to suggest that a lot of property investors suffer with what I call confirmation bias. What they do is they go out in the world with an answer in mind that they’re looking for, and then they search for evidence to support their preconceived idea. Instead, I’d be saying to be skeptical of any preconceptions and try to disprove your own theories rather than continually trying to defend them.
Kevin: Very good, Michael. It makes a lot of sense.
Michael: Kevin, if you’re looking for mining towns, for example, there’s going to be enough information out there to support and confirm what your already preconceived idea is. I guess the suggestion would be have a look and see if there’s an argument against it.
Kevin: Yes, indeed. Habit number six was synergize.
Michael: I think Covey was basically suggesting that creative cooperation amongst humans allows us to uncover all sorts of new solutions, newer opportunities there. As a property investor, I’d be putting it this way. There’s no such thing as a self-made millionaire.
Kevin, every successful investor I know turns to a proficient team of consultants and to his mentors to inspire and to counsel him. The lesson is surround yourself with people who can lift you up rather than “Negative Nellies” who drag you down.
Kevin: Habit number seven, the one that I really love, that we sometimes lose sight of, is sharpen the saw.
Michael: Covey was basically saying that your best asset in life is yourself. In order to be effective, you should really look after the tools that control your mind, your body, and your spirit so that you can maintain the balance in your life.
I guess as a property investor, the message is the best investment you can make is to ensure your ongoing wisdom, don’t be afraid to invest in your education, and be prepared to learn, not only from your victories but from your mistakes.
To become financially independent, Kevin, I think you really should be following these habits of other successful people in other arenas of life because that’s most likely going to help you to become a successful property investor.
Kevin: I think the bottom line here, Michael, is habit number five: seek first to understand and then be understood. It’s just keeping an open mind to the whole thing.
Michael: Definitely. That’s one of the challenges that when you keep getting bombarded with all the information in our inboxes and in the magazines and in the newspapers, there are so many different ways one can be successful with property investment. Be open. Get some people around you. Get some good mentors. Save, invest, build your asset base, and then you can become financially independent.
Kevin: If you haven’t read the book, make sure you pick up a copy of it.
Michael Yardney from Metropole Property Strategists, thank you very much for your time.
Michael: My pleasure, Kevin.