Over the last handful of months, I've done something new that's been really beneficial for me.
I’ve been journaling things along the way that I've learned over that previous month.
Things have been moving so quickly and we're so blessed. There's so many great opportunities that come, that at times, I've made the mistake in the past of just go, go, go, go, go and not sitting down, letting my mind settle, and letting the lessons be written down and logged for myself to look back at later on. So what I wanted to do is log some of these lessons over a period of time and share them because they're things that have been really impactful and really helpful for me in growing the fund working with our team. So I wanted to share these learning opportunities with you along the way so that hopefully they can impact you as much as they did me over a period of time.
That said, over the last month, I've written down and made notes of some really, really, really key and impactful things in my life. And I wanted to share those with you today.
For those that don't know me, my name is Nic De Angelo with Saint Investment Group, we currently have 150 million dollars under management and we are currently raising another 100 million.
Today we're gonna talk about the eight most impactful learning experiences and learning points that made the biggest impact for me at work with my family and in life satisfaction overall.
The first thing is you must know yourself and you must own it from top to bottom, baby.
You're from your toes to your nose. You must own everything about yourself inside and out. To me, this is achieved by learning, and this is exposing yourself to all kinds of different things, going down the rabbit hole of different thoughts and philosophies, different experiences that expand your comfort zone, and you learn about yourself through those. The truth is you are the leader of your life. Absolutely no question. You cannot be the best leader for yourself and for your life.
If you don't know yourself inside and out and part of knowing yourself, I think, is fully embracing and accepting yourself.
If you do that correctly, I think you're unstoppable. I think you can say, look, I have my strengths. I have my weaknesses. I have my flaws. I have my foundational amazing traits. And you own them, all of your flaws. You own that. You must own that. You must accept that and own that's part of what makes you great and your greatness and the traits that actually make you stand above the crowd. Those are things that you should go all-in on. Those are traits to ramp the volume up to 11 and make those the leverage points that you say you might have something naturally better than the average person that you can absolutely blow up your success with knowing everything you can about yourself, accepting it, and owning it to your core, I think is so, so, so important.
And I think the result of that is your self-esteem being through the roof.
The next is one that sounds like a contradiction, but I think is not at all and is actually two things that play off of each other very strongly.
And that is to be laser-focused and also be extremely curious.
In the age we are in today focus is an absolute superpower.
Focus can set you above all competition because while they're doing all these different things and putzing around in different directions, all of your energy can be focused in one direction and take you much further than if you're taking one step in each direction. Being able to focus your attention for hours or weeks, months, years, or even decades can yield you astronomical results. And it's just the process of staying on task and knowing that you are in something for a long, long period of time.
So you want to Excel at it and be absolutely phenomenal at it. Focus is that 1% of incremental progress that you make daily, and step by step, you chip away at that, hike up the massive mountain of success and progress in that field or on that topic. This is completely not understood in the modern era. When you have 19-second TikTok videos that have 40,000 times as many views as some amazing work of art hour and a half 90-minute thing on YouTube, that might be an interview with some insanely happy insanely wealthy person with everything that you could ever want or need or desire. But instead, people's lack of focus can drive them to small TikTok videos that can't possibly have that level of depth and away from things that are longer, but have more fulfilling and more long-term available results.
Part of this process, I believe, is choosing very intentionally what you want to be focused on. If you're gonna spend decades, you can't really waste that time on a bunch of different things you're unsure of, or that you kind of like, or that you may or may not want to spend huge chunks of your short life doing for me I'm 100% clear. I've already made the decisions on what's on my shortlist.
My list more or less is self-education, weightlifting, health, investing specifically in real estate assets, marketing, chess, fighting like jujitsu, geopolitics, futurism, and essentially those are the hobbies and those are the interests that I have. That's pretty much it.
There are the obvious core foundational things, your family, your children, your extended family, your God, religion, spirituality, etcetera. But that list that I gave you guys is 100% what I'm focusing on when I am not handling those core foundation things.
The list that I gave you is my list period. And guess what? That's why you won't see me golfing on the weekends or playing in a softball league or etcetera, etc is because my time is extremely short so I either want to be working on those things or I want to be doing the core foundational things like spending time with my children, with my family, etc. But let's challenge what I said there.
Why wouldn't I play a little softball with my buddies or why wouldn't I dabble at golf? Even though I suckat those things - it's because those things I'm positive about are not lifelong experiences for me. I don't want to play golf for the rest of my life. I don't want to play softball for the rest of my life. So for me, removing those things from my schedule, removing those things from my focus or my attention at all, allows me to free up space and give towards that shorter list that I can be focused on for essentially the rest of my life.
Now that's not to say that list is never gonna change. Truthfully, there are other things that I would like to include things like skydiving, guitar, and somewhere down the road maybe even cooking.
Frankly, I guard that list because I always want to know where my focus is and what things are prioritized above all others for my own learning and my own growth, because the payoff at the end of it, I've gotten to taste some of these areas where you've spent a huge amount of time and your return on investment is insanely big. So I think if I can just spend decades on some of these things, that it will only get more and more rich throughout my life. Something as simple as chess, which to me has been super rewarding. And it's one of my probably dorkier traits, for sure.
But to me, chess has been so rewarding because it teaches my brain layers of strategy and these amazing things. It's competitive, it's player versus player. I get to play someone directly and we get to test our skills against each other. That is my absolute focus. I am zoned in when I'm playing chess and competing against somebody else. To me, that level of competition and strategy is kind of like a weird peak experience of competition. That's fun. But the obvious question remains, if you're so focused on so few things, where does curiosity come in? How do you add curiosity to the mix? If there's only the shortlist, what can you be curious about? To me, curiosity with focus is about being very curious in those select fields. So one of the things that I really enjoy and I'm really passionate about in business is marketing from top to bottom.
At our last company, we had a six-figure per month marketing salary and I loved it. I was super involved in it. It was something that really gave me joy in the business. So in the fund world, curiosity in the marketing space has allowed us to access and take opportunities that other funds are not doing. As a matter of fact, we did this in the capital raising space and there are many playbooks on how to raise capital. We took little pieces of each and put our own spin on it with our own research and strategy. And it has been extremely successful so much so that we woke up in a position where our investor interest and our investor backlog of people that wanted to continue to invest in the fund was far outweighing our deal flow. That's an interesting predicament. So we learned marketing in a different way and focused our marketing efforts on an acquisition model. It's something that we've been continuing to build out and are still building out today that we're seeing huge, incredible results, but it takes that curiosity.
It takes curiosity to say we are finding success in this category very much. How do we take those core successful concepts and apply them in a new category or a new strategy? That's curiosity. That's asking questions within the same marketing sphere, right? The same bubble of marketing, but how to do things differently, how to apply things differently? And doing that and failing and succeeding gives you a different perspective and different experiences that give you a more rounded view. And that's where the focus and the curiosity together combined to bring things to a whole new level and further while we can always take our own ideas and apply them to new things while we can always take our own ideas and our own success stories and apply those to other things we want to be successful in.
I'm always interested to learn from other people. Continuing education is essentially a permanent staple of my life. That's why it makes my shortlist. So I'm not above taking marketing classes, ongoing and learning new strategies, and learning new things about people when I'm at events or I'm talking with someone, if, if they bring up one of those things on my shortlist, I'm insanely curious because I know what I could learn from that person and also what I could share with that person are things that could impact both of our lives in a major way. That's super exciting to me.
Overall, I think it's that concept of just being a lifelong student that essentially you never stop learning, you never arrive, you never know enough. You are always hungry for new information that you can vet and test and decide if it belongs, what do you believe the best scenario is for the topic you're interested in?
Now on a bigger scale, let's say your company or the company you work for, or your role as a leader in any type of organization, curiosity is incredibly important because if you don't innovate to some degree and you don't have new ideas in the mix, you are positioning yourself, literally to be replaced, overstepped etc. If you're not making progress, you're falling behind. And it's really that simple. So curiosity and new ideas are the lifeblood of that. And as a final note, it's not just learning from other people, new books, and podcasts, etc. a lot of it is the practice and discipline of sitting your butt down in front of a notepad or in front of something and recording your thoughts and learning experiences from a certain event or certain timeframe so that you can take those with you in the future and not let those get wasted.
Honestly, that's part of what this is right here is me taking all these notes and being like these massively changed my life. I just want to give that back and offer that. And you can take whatever gems that you may or may not find in this for your own life. You end up getting some good nuggets out of this. Please comment below. I really want to see what was most impactful for you so I can understand your biggest takeaways and what added the most value to your life?
Also, if you like and subscribe to the channel, it massively helps us give you more and more good information, and for YouTube to offer this to more people, to help them as well. So please give us a like, give us a subscribe and check out what we consistently have coming out.
The next item that was really impactful for me is just simply, get your house in order.
This means take care of your damn business. There are too many things that get sloughed off to the side, just because they're quote-unquote housekeeping issues or aren't exciting or are dull. These are things that you need to handle. Get your life organized so that you can stay on track. And you can focus on the big things, because if you don't take care of those little things or you don't take care of your own personal housekeeping along the way, what ends up happening is that grows and that festers into something much bigger. So if you just handle it at the time, it can be let go, and you can move on mentally. This means holding yourself accountable and your different areas. Having discipline, making time to think through things and strategize on things that are important to you about your life like goals, etcetera.
Physically this can mean different things to different people. This might be losing weight. This might be eating more healthy, drinking, less getting to the gym more handling your freaking business. I think it is really important to own it and handle it. For me, one of the biggest reasons this is on this list there's been health stuff. That's been bugging me for years and I've just been putting it off. And by the time I went to the doctor, he was like, “you've been dealing with this for how long essentially it's me having sleep issues and not getting enough sleep every night”. And so I just thought I was so tough and I was so cool and I could just work my way through it. The reality is when I go to the doctor and I go through all the stuff he's like, you could have been living with this much-increased quality of life and energy and more time for your business and more time for your family and more time to enjoy life just by having the energy and enthusiasm to do that. If you want to come in X amount of years ago, I had been putting it off and it was something that was so important and I still didn't do it when I should have. So if you have things like that with your health, go get it figured out. You will thank yourself. 100% also getting things in order including spirituality. This is asking the big questions and you answering them with your research, not just what other people told you or what you grew up with, etcetera, but you gotta do the research on the big questions in your life. This is what it means. When you get your house in order, you have the courage to find the answers and you take the moves necessary to find your answers yourself.
The next big item is to learn to forgive in order to make progress. Yes, you heard that right. Learn to forgive in order to make progress.
This progresses your life. As a matter of fact, I'm gonna go even further and tell you that forgiveness is one of the most selfish things that you can do. And I don't mean selfish negatively, or like with a negative connotation about you only thinking about yourself and not others actually. I mean it in the way of self-focus and self-care. Now let me give you the reverse example, holding onto resentment and bitterness ultimately only affects you. It doesn't affect the other person. There's an old saying that comes to mind. And I know I'm not gonna get this a hundred percent, but the saying is something along the lines of “anger towards another person is like drinking poison and wanting it to hurt them.”
The only person that it actually affects is you. And while no one's above this, the reality is we can carry things around for years instead of letting them go and forgiving and moving on. Sometimes it's not as simple as just saying I forgive and that's the end of it. Sometimes it's understanding that is actually the bridge through that and that's even more difficult and to look at a situation that let's say you were deeply wronged and to not judge and not be angry and not resentful or bitter, but instead understand that they made moves and they did things that they thought were best for them at that moment and accept those and give forgiveness. And so that you can also let go of your feelings and your ties and your draw to the negative emotions of that situation. But most importantly, and I would argue equally as important as forgiving others is forgiving yourself.
And that's part of where that understanding comes into play. If you make a practice of giving understanding to people, when they fall short or don't live up to the expectations or wrong you flat out, then you also give that practice to yourself.
So we all have things in the past when we look back and we're just like, oh, I can't believe I did that. I can't believe I said that I made a fool of myself or I treated that person that way. Or I did that thing that I just didn't like, if you extend that understanding and that love and, and that forgiveness to yourself, you can wash those things away and become lighter after the experience. Now, the purpose of this is not to turn this video into some big psychological thing or some big spiritual thing about how to forgive others. Again, this is a wholesome self-care purpose behind this. So if you have a life that's jam-packed with many responsibilities and many things that you're trying to achieve, you actually cannot have the emotional drag of all these different things. You can't wake up with endless amounts of shame and guilt and bitterness and upset that this person did that or disappointed in yourself for that thing. You did six and a half years ago. You must let these things go because the focus and the energy that you need for your goals and for your only life cannot afford to be wasted on these things that are already in the rear view mirror, let them go, forgive yourself, extend the forgiveness to others, understand and let go of the mistakes you made and understand to let go of the mistakes others made. That way you could feel light and focused and move forward accordingly.
The next thing is one of the most impactful on this entire list.
That is this: the only figure that you should be pointing at yourself. You are the captain, no matter what happens in your life, you are responsible for the outcome of your life. It might not be your fault, okay? You don't have to blame and shame and guilt yourself, but you must understand no matter what the situation is, that it's your responsibility and it's on you to make the best of it and create what you want out of that situation.
You're the absolute captain of your ship and every decision you make redirects that ship slightly or massively in the direction of your decisions. If this sounds heavy, it's because it is heavy. There are no practice tests in this life at all. Every single day is a test. Every conversation with your partner, every phone call you take, every task you do in the office.
Every time there's an opportunity to cut the corner or do the work right. And you have to make a decision. Those are the tests, don't fail the tests. Life is always testing you and life will always test you. But if you accept and understand the responsibility for your own life, then you can take responsibility for yourself, the people around you, and the situations that you're presented with in order to produce the best possible outcome for what you want.
Now, for me, this has never been more apparent. Now that I'm living with my lady, my children, etc.. I have four people in one house and all of our lives are intertwining with all kinds of different things going on. Everyone has their own needs. Everyone has their own schedule. And at the end of the day, I need to take responsibility for all of it and make sure that everybody has what they need to live successful, happy growing, learning, and rich lives. And guess what? I'll take responsibility for all of it because those are people that I love.
In the business, if things happen that I don't like or that weren't supposed to happen that way, or someone just threw the SOPs out the window and didn't follow instructions, I am still looking for ways to improve it and get it on track because it's my ultimate responsibility. If I blamed everybody else, we'd get more caught up on who's at fault and who's the problem than we would be on making the progress that we need for that situation.
This next one is one of my favorites as well. You have two ears and one mouth - act accordingly.
Now in the past, when people would say like, you know, listen twice as much as you speak, I would sometimes brush that off as like them just kind of sharing nice platitudes and non-impactful.
The reality is there's actually an immense amount of wisdom that most people that say that don't even really understand, I would go so far as to say that many of life's biggest issues can be solved by understanding further or allowing the other person to talk and quote-unquote, be heard.
Now I was raised around a lot of old school guys, old school negotiators, the hard drive-in my way or the highway etcetera and while I think there are a lot of good things about that tough mentality, but I actually don't think it serves the individual or the bigger purpose. Well, in many situations, let me drill down on an example in negotiations. Now I actually very rarely focus on hammering the other person with what I want while my needs are extremely clear and I never lose sight of them. I've found that often I'm getting much further in negotiations with questions instead of me making demands, instead of making statements like that's the price, take her to leave it, kick rocks, taking a different stance of something like, Hey, my partners won't accept that. How can we make progress on this? How can we structure this term so that we can get past it? And my absolute favorite phrase of any question you'll ever hear me say is, “okay, what do you recommend?”. When you understand the dynamics and the power behind asking more questions and listening more rather than jam something down their throat, you actually realize you're more in a position of power in that interaction, letting them answer. You being in the question chair actually puts the whole thing in a position of power for you. The roles are now that they have the responsibility to come up with a solution and you are now the evaluator.
Do you see how powerful this is? Just by asking questions and shutting up and listening. You've changed the whole dynamic of the situation. Let them be heavy-handed, let them be the aggressive negotiator. Let them be the problem solver. Let them tell you how they think. You're moving with the flow of energy.
You don't need to be the hard drive and shove everyone back on any time they push towards you being a person of self-control or conviction. Speaking intentionally and being strategic is much more advantageous than owning the microphone every second of a conversation or negotiation. The next thing I've seen so much over a short period of time that it's just been hammered into my brain and it's just the concept of deeply embracing changes in the market in assets, in how business is done. The introduction of new technologies change is absolutely inevitable. You must embrace change. And if you think change is important as an average person thinks about when you're a leader, you must be at the front lines of change because you have the responsibility to yourself and the people that rely on you to stay up to date and competitive in this busy, fast-paced world.
That for me is one reason why I typically look at growth often above even efficiency because at the end of the day, pushing the boundaries on growth and expansion shows you new things in the business of how to grow and expand and improve whereas trying to be the most efficient all the time. There are many times we've seen that are focused on grinding on every penny or the absolute perfect system, has kept us back from these leaps and bounds forward that we could have been making. If we were focused on adapting to the change to being ahead of the competition, rather than trying to fine tune every single thing perfectly. A mentor of mine once said, good enough is good enough. And what he meant was don't be a perfectionist. That's now falling behind the crowd because you're trying to get every little detail perfect.
Instead, make sure it's good enough and then go back to progress and growth of what you're working on because that yields the highest results.
The last one that has absolutely impacted me incredibly since I started this practice on a daily basis is to be grateful and not just be grateful like, ‘Hey, I'm grateful’, but a practice of gratitude as a habit.
This is one that is absolutely essential for mental self-care and to also help you focus on some of the most important things in your life by having a practice of gratitude, it zooms in and zooms out on the most important things, because this was so helpful. What I ended up doing, adding this into my daily routine in the mornings for five minutes, I include it as a form of prayer for me, but it's just having that five minutes and noticing and understanding all the amazing things in your life and the things you're most thankful for.
This works amazingly in good and bad times in good times, it draws your attention to all the amazing things in your life and it actually makes you feel so genuine, and have such a deep understanding of what you're going through. In the good times, it's a way just to give thanks and understanding for all the things that you have and to feel those in your depth and your core – in the bad times, it's to remind you that it's really not that freaking bad. That zoom-out perspective of seeing the forest and the versus the trees etcetera, you realize that if you're watching this video and you're in the US or a developed country, that the reality is, and whatever issues you're having are very real to you and that's legitimate. But the reality on the flip side is your experiences have very unique and positive things to it and they deserve the attention of being acknowledged.
And if you feel thankful even in your toughest time, feeling so thankful and so joyful that those good things, even if there's less at a certain stage of your life and the perspective of just being alive are something you can be thankful for on its own.
Also in terms of focus, a practice of gratitude is something that is actually kind of one of those gives silence and calms yourself and smells the roses type experience.
For me, the gratitude practice actually snaps me into a very focused centered state in the present because if I didn't do this, personally with my personality, I'm at risk of putting my head down, focusing on my work, and waking up in 10 years with all kinds of wild, amazing goals achieved, but missing out on things that are actually very important to me, like being involved in my children's early years or memories with my parents or connections with my lady, my life partner.
That gratitude experience that I feel deeply and I go through and I understand what amazing things are in my life. It actually draws me into focusing more so that I can experience those more and not let those amazing things fall to the wayside. That wholesome way of building that perspective into your life is something that has really benefited me lately that I thought you might get something out of as well.
Those are the eight most meaningful takeaways in my life. Over the most recent period of time that it brought me the most success, the most happiness, and those experiences that it took a lot of pain to learn.
I hope these were helpful for you and if you have questions, leave them in the comments below. I'm happy to respond. I'll get you whatever information you need. If there's a topic you wanna see, leave that as well and keep reading our blog and follwing our content because we want to bring you a ton more content.
If you guys are looking for more resources, check out the Saint site under resources, credible amount of free information from everything from free eBooks to a podcast to interview series etcetera, check out the resources section on the Saint site.
Thanks, guys. Have an amazing day!
A master in Investment, Marketing, and Capital Raising.
Nic has honed his focus on the Real Estate and debt markets with Saint Investment Group and pursues large-scale Distressed Asset purchases with his partners and syndications.