At the end of the day, when I sit back after a long day in the office and I know that I kicked butt and I got after it, the number one thing I’m assessing about my performance is making significant progress on growing the business and moving forward? The key tasks are the most important thing that I’m personally responsible for because that’s the biggest thing.
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The reality is there’s endless tasking. You can fill your day with anything that you want to. There’s so much that you can do, but the most important things are the most important things. So if you read a book like Gary Keller, the one thing where you can plan out goals effectively and learn to identify and do that, is what you can do at the end of the day, it’s very simple. You look back and do you check off the top one, two, or three things that you had planned out for that day? If I get those done, then I feel a sense of growth and I know that I can be satisfied with my work for that day.
Additionally, I know that what we’re working on and doing on a daily basis has a bigger picture. So when I get those tasks done, I know that it’s part of a bigger hole, especially things like our philanthropy side and the ways that we help investors in their lives.
So to me, that’s the really rewarding flip side of that is if I go home and I did not get the most important things done on the list, I feel a sense of needing to catch up and kind of kicking myself in the butt because I know that I could have left war on the field and I know I could have done more for those big causes and lived up to the potential that I had for that day.
A unique one that’s only at a short moment in your life, it’s for this very small period of time is time with your kids when they’re young kids because it’s the purest, insane, happy, fun, playful time that you will ever experience. But it’s also exhausting so it’s not a recharge of your physical batteries or your energy batteries, but it’s a recharge of your purity and your happiness and like this core child that you have inside of you that’s extremely joyful and playful and positive.
Where is a place of rest for you and why?
But on the flip side, when I need deep recharging and I really need more quiet, calm, and silence, a lot of that is picking a place that feels like it’s at that level. So whether it’s a quiet room or whether nature does it for you, ec. But it’s also about your mind because there’s the age-old saying that wherever you go, there you are, right?
So what that means is if you’re sitting at the beach and you’re the only person on the beach and it’s this beautiful day and it’s this tranquil, picturesque moment, the issue is that if you let your mind run wild, then you don’t get the rest that you need. Rather, it’s taking those moments and zoning into a mode of meditation or peace or calm and tapping into that feeling of truly restorative peace and feeling and then, in addition, it’s getting some freaking sleep, right? It’s making sure you get your sleep in and that your body literally has that period of time to recharge the batteries and have the rest and recuperation that it needs.
How do you incorporate mentorship into your week?
If you want success, you must be in a permanent state of learning and growth. Oftentimes, especially early in the journey, that can mean direct mentorship where a mentor and a mentee connect and there’s that connection between one and the other at later stages. The mentor-mentee relationship can be amazing on bigger-picture items or on more soul-searching items and things where you really need a giant perspective. But it’s really difficult for a mentor, almost no matter who they are, to drill down into your situation. Cause think about it this way, if they’re way ahead of you in the path, let’s say 30 years, 40 years down the line, the issue is that a lot of the advice they’re gonna give you on a technical basis is not going to be as up to date as advice that you could get from somebody that’s maybe one step ahead of you.
But that individual has the big-picture perspective there’s also times where the big-picture perspective is not going to navigate you through the short-term waters that you’re dealing with, one thing after another. There might be really tiny hurdles that you just have to get through one after another where they’re not gonna have the tactical advice, but they’ll have an amazing big picture.
On the flip side, somebody who’s just one stage ahead of you, let’s say five or so years, maybe five to 10 years ahead of you, one stage of life ahead of you, they can say, Look, this is how I got through that successfully and this is how I failed in those moments and they can give you tactical feedback on exactly what you’re dealing with at that moment. The difference is that individuals might have a little bit of a wider perspective, but they’re not gonna have a lifetime or decades of perspective to give you that great feedback.
But there’s another thing to consider is that when you niche down in business, furthermore towards a niche in a unique position that you get in, especially with industry, it becomes very rare to be able to find an individual that is on that exact same path. Maybe they’re similar, maybe it’s eCommerce.
But maybe you’re selling some really niche thing that they could never even think of or they have no knowledge of on a big picture, and then the same they’ve experienced that you won’t have or you don’t need. So that when you further down a path that less people have traveled and it’s very thin air and there’s only a few people in that space. It’s about peer connections and connecting with those other peers, not about competition in the sense where you want them to do poorly or they want you to do poorly more so of the community and saying, Look, we’re all in this together.
Maybe you win some, maybe I win some. But it’s being together, being able to share best practices as much as you can do, and that’s why you see these masterminds become so successful is because it’s a room full of people that are doing pretty similar stuff but not identical to sharing the best practices and then each one is taking it back to their niche and finding 10x success. I love masterminds for that reason, and that’s why I’m always looking for more of a peer mentorship situation like a mastermind group rather than a direct mentor relationship, is because I get so much from those groups that I can take back to my niche and how we are doing things, and it usually improves the whole group as a whole and it usually improves the group as an absolute whole.
What are the three principles you strive to impart to your kids regarding business?
There are three perspectives in the work world that I want to give my children. The first is I want them to work early. I want them to have a job as early as physically possible, think preteen like, around the 11, 12 range, and there’s a big reason for that. It’s that I’ve personally seen consistently the most successful people around me start working early.
I believe the earlier that you start working, it becomes kind of a sixth sense. It becomes a part of you that in your formative years while you’re growing and you’re forming your picture of what the world around you looks like, that if you’re surrounded by the workplace and you see things getting done and systems and operations and sales and marketing and all these things just happening around you that it just kind of becomes second nature. You just kind of have a little bit more fluency with that.
Just like if you’re exposed to a new language very early on, it’s much easier to learn that language at an early age than it is decades later. So that’s the first is that they become more fluent with what business looks like and they learn the hard work that goes along with that at a very early age. Oftentimes in the workplace, it’s as simple as your hard work plus your value equals your results. So if they learn that intuitively at their core and in their heart early on, then I know their likelihood for success, for the rest of their life, is going to be higher. It’s just higher odds of them being good successful people in their lives.
The second thing I want to teach my children about business is the difference between price and value.
Price is just literally the currency that you trade for an item. But price also has different things because if you think about currency accurately, currency is actually time. So you are trading a piece of your life for what you’re purchasing, so it might be something really expensive like a bag or car shoot. Whatever it is, you traded portions of your life to get the currency, to get the dollars, to get the money to then purchase those things. So that’s the price, that’s the cost of that object.
But the real question is what’s the value of things, right? So when you can fully understand that you’re trading a piece of your life for certain things, all of a sudden it all starts to make a different sense. Things like other people approving of your new car, or maybe you want a Ferrari just to show off to your friends or whatever that is. The reality is does that have true intrinsic real value? And when you can answer that question, maybe it does.
Maybe that individual’s a car person and they love exotic cars, it just really gets them excited and it’s a passionate thing in their life, but maybe something else expensive isn’t a passionate thing and the value’s not there in that item. The distillation of all of that is I want my kids to know what’s valuable to them and that’s the reason that they make decisions and not for the wrong reasons or for shallow, unimportant things like what someone might think about your cool or not cool car.
The third thing I want to teach my children about business and success in life is about truly evaluating opportunity, knowing that if they put in X, what is their return on that? You might think that’s me trying to instill investing advice to them. It is, but it isn’t because the reality is you want asymmetrical, you want disproportionate returns on anything you do in life, right?
If you are gonna spend every day in the gym and, you’re actually going to commit to going to the gym every day, just as an example, what you need to understand is it’s not just about doing the motions, right? If you go off and leave the gym and screw up your diet, at the end of the day that hard work is minimized and not maximized. So it’s about understanding that diet’s equally important, and that’s something outside of the gym. Don’t spend all those hours in the gym and don’t commit to it unless you’re committing to the full thing.
So in business, there’s a couple things like how big is the opportunity? How big is the market that you’re tapping into and you’re going after? How big is the leverage ability of what you’re going after? Does it mean that every hour that you work, that’s one hour of production on the back end of that? Or does that mean that you can front-load your hours and maximize those through different things like software or investment or capital, or having a team that can maximize labor and everybody can work together to achieve something even bigger?
You want to understand the leverage and the asymmetrical, the disproportionate returns where if you put an X amount of effort, you’re gonna actually get a hundred or a thousand x back and so having my kids understand that, that there are smart ways to spend their effort and their energy and there are not smart ways to spend their effort and energy and the small time that they have on this earth is something I absolutely want to distill.
For me, investing is the number one absolute leverage that if people are going to work so hard in their lifetime and they’re gonna spend decades, and decades pursuing, whether it’s financial freedom or just making ends meet or being extremely wealthy, any of the above that if they don’t invest, they have no leverage, they just work hard and they get some money back, and then they spend that money and maybe shove it in a bank account.
But those leverage points are things that the earlier someone understands them, the more successful they can be with less effort on their part.
What is the sole experience that has been the most shaping of who you are today?
Generally speaking, the things in my life that I’ve learned the most from are just long periods of difficult grind where I know I can see the light very far away, but I just know I gotta get through a bunch of crap before I get there. That’s things like dealing with difficult markets, etc.
The saying that I love in regards to this is the obstacle is the way and the reality is when you have those challenges and you have those frictions and you have those difficult things, you have to get better or you will fail and the reality is, if you’re committed to it, you will almost always overcome all the crap and all the difficulties in those moments and come out better on the other side.
Not only that, if you want to extrapolate this into a business environment, the business comes out better on the other side of difficulties if you build and adjust along the way.
One thing worth noting when you’re going through really difficult times and you’re getting hit with a lot of different things is that when you’re going through a difficult time, the number one thing you need is education and knowledge.
Because the more positivity and the more perspective and the more tools that you have in your mind, the better you can get through things and implement those to get across the difficult times. Sometimes for me, it’s been a philosophy like an obstacle in the way that book got me through some really difficult stuff. Other times it’s been things like books on growth and marketing to get over a plateau, right?
Where you gotta really pull yourself up through that plateau to get there as a business and now what I’m leaning into a lot and getting a lot of advantages from are biographies of extremely successful people, whether it’s Winston Churchill or some happy billionaire person with an amazing lifestyle that achieved great things and helped a lot of people that just pick people that you feel is some kind of connection to where you can see that they have traits that you wanna learn and learn about their life.
Because in 200 pages for 10 minutes a day, you can get downloaded the perspective of somebody that achieved world-changing success. Whether that means financially or whether, that means philanthropically where they’re helping a lot of people or just making the world a better place in some way. It’s truly amazing what you can get just from biographies and getting the information at the time that you really needed.
President of Saint Investment Group
Nic is a two decade seasoned expert in investing and capital raising, specializing in Real Estate and debt markets. With Saint Investment Group, he leads large-scale distressed asset purchases and innovative syndications for investors.