Discovering Your Property Investing Strengths
When Paul Potts first auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent in March 2007, he was an insecure, £30,000-in-debt mobile phone salesman. If you’ve seen the video, which has over 135 million views, you’ll remember him waddling out on stage looking rather timid. When asked, “What are you here for today?” he responds simply, “To sing opera.”
Within minutes, the audience of 2,000 was standing up and cheering, and some people were even wiping their eyes. The judges were looking at one another in awe.
Paul Potts went on to win that first season of Britain’s Got Talent. In the mean time, he has recorded five opera albums and toured the world, singing at sold out venues. His net worth is now estimated to be over £5 million.
The Paul Potts story illustrates for us the importance of discovering our talents, or what we have the potential to be one of the best in the world at. By focusing exclusively on his area of genius, he was able to stop doing what would only ever lead to mediocrity, and instead focus on fulfilling his dream to make a living from singing.
Donald Clifton, known as “The Father of Strengths-Based Psychology” said, “Every person can do one thing better than any other 10,000 people.”
As property investors, we need to know what that one thing is. We need to know what we have the potential of being better at than most other people. We must discover our strengths, and play to them daily.
Donald Clifton and the Gallup organisation created a tool for strengths discovery called StrengthsFinder. This online assessment asks a series of a hundred questions to determine your top five most dominant “talent themes” or potential strengths.
While I’ve taken plenty of personality tests in my day, StrengthsFinder is the most helpful tool I’ve come across. It has empowered me to tap into my core talents and learn how to best focus my energies toward what I can be the best at.
I was in Melbourne a few weeks ago teaching strengths-based investing to a room full of Steve McKnight’s “Millionaire Apprentice Protégé” (MAP) students, an elite group of investors from our Property Apprenticeship training course. I shared the StrengthsFinder tool with them and we discussed how to apply the concepts to our property investing goals.
Here are three reasons you absolutely must discover your property investing strengths:
1. Knowing Your Strengths Leads To Personal Growth
Has anyone ever asked you what your true strengths are? If you’re like most people, you probably looked back at them with a blank stare and then responded with a few anecdotes on the successes from your life. Most people don’t know what their strengths are, but self-awareness is crucial to your personal growth.
One of the fundamental conclusions of Gallup’s research is that we have the greatest potential for improvement in the area of our strengths, not our weaknesses.
In other words, when we know our talents, and seek to improve them, we will make much more progress in personal development than if we seek to correct our weaknesses.
To again quote Donald Clifton, “Don’t try to teach a pig how to sing. It wastes your time and irritates the pig.”
As property investors, we must face the fact that we are where we are now because of the choices that we’ve made. As Steve McKnight says in his mini e-book, 7 Mission Critical Investing Truths, “The journey to property investing success is a process of inside-out transformation. No one can have transformation on the outside until there has been transformation on the inside.”
This is why the entire first module in our training program focuses on dealing with correcting misguided mindsets. Personal development is crucial to achieving your property investing goals, and knowing your strengths is crucial to personal development.
2. Knowing Your Strengths Helps You Build Strong Relationships
I do some pre-marital coaching from time to time, and I ask all of the couples I work with to take the StrengthsFinder assessment.
The reason for this is because StrengthsFinder measures the deep hard-wiring of the brain. It reveals a person’s natural ways of thinking, feeling and acting. The more we are aware of and can appreciate the unique and distinctive talents of others, the stronger our relationships with them will be.
Because opposites tend to attract, I often find that the couples I’ve worked with have had complementary strengths. I’ve experienced this in my own marriage. For instance, one of my dominant talents is called “Command.” My Command theme helps me to feel quite comfortable imposing my views, confronting the brutal facts and, well to be honest, telling people what to do. I enjoy pushing others to take risks.
There is a dark-side to my Command theme, however. Believe it or not, I’ve found that some people don’t like to be told what to do. Furthermore, I don’t always need to confront every issue so bluntly.
So, to help me grow wiser in my confrontation, according to StrengthsFinder, I should partner with someone who has a dominant talent of “Empathy.”
People with Empathy can intuitively feel what other people are feeling, an ability that I tend to lack. It just so happens that one of my wife’s dominant talent themes is Empathy.
Not only does she help me see blind spots in my relationships with other people, but just by being around her, I’ve learned to temper the darker side of my Command theme.
Interestingly, StrengthsFinder also says that those who are strong in Empathy should seek to partner with someone who has Command. What do you think this realization has done for our relationship? As we’ve seen this objective evidence of how desperately we need one another, it has strengthened our bond and provides additional evidence of why we should stay together forever.
Knowing one another’s core talents also helps us with conflict resolution. When my Command theme manifests itself through my poor character, in other words, acting like a selfish jerk, my wife’s awareness of my weakness gives her the mercy to overlook my faults.
As I’ve worked with couples who’ve taken the StrengthsFinder assessment, I’ve seen this dynamic of complementary talents appearing in the relationship over and over again, but how does this apply to business or investing?
In the same way, the ability to build strong relationships is crucial for property investors. Whether you’re working with real estate agents, tradies, your mortgage broker or your accountant, you need other people. Knowing your strengths and being able to value the talents of others will empower you to connect with people in a more healthy way.
3. Knowing Your Strengths Empowers You To Build Strong Teams
StrengthsFinder helps us know what we have the potential to be great at, and what we can only ever hope to, at best, be mediocre at. The goal of every property investor should be to focus daily on those things he or she can do the best, and build a team of people that can do the other things they don’t do as well with.
If you’ve been through our Property Apprenticeship course, you’ll remember the four questions Steve asks at the end of nearly every video training session:
- What have you learned?
- What will you change?
- What will you do?
- Who will you engage?
That last question is the kicker. You must engage the help of others, if you hope to own more than just a few properties. Property investors, who can build strong teams and empower others to do the things that they are not good at, can scale their investing and achieve much more.
Have you ever been on a dysfunctional team? Most likely the leader was someone who lacked self-awareness and who didn’t value the distinct qualities of the other team members. Rather than empowering others to do what they couldn’t, they probably tried to do it all.
Lacking this simple leadership quality can be one of your biggest enemies as a property investor. To be a great property investor, you need to become, at the very least, a good leader.
StrengthsFinder can make us better leaders by giving us a language for understanding and valuing the distinct qualities of other people.
How Will You Live Your Strengths as a Property Investor?
I’ve recently been researching how the 34 unique StrengthsFinder talent themes play out in the lives of property investors. Here are some of my findings:
My Activator theme provokes me to ask the question, “When can we start?” Once I’ve made a decision to act, it feels impossible for me not to act. As a property investor, this has empowered me step out of the boat and have a go. It empowers me to overcome my fears, and then take action, even in the face of risk. As you might expect, StrengthsFinder suggests I partner with someone who has either an Analytical or Strategic talent.
My friend, Rachel, has Restorative in her top five. This talent causes her to be energised by problems. She loves to identify what’s wrong and find the solution. She attributes her Restorative theme to the primary reason she’s chosen a renovation strategy. She loves to breathe life into old lifeless properties.
One of our clients, Tony, has Analytical as a dominant theme. He loves to look at data and search for patterns and connections that might reveal conclusions. As a logical thinker, he’s able to take action without emotion. The due diligence process comes naturally for him.
Tony’s wife Karen has Relator as a dominant talent. Relators are comfortable with intimacy and feel that a relationship only has value if it is genuine. As you might expect, Karen’s job in the partnership is to build the team. Rather than connecting with a dozen agents, she’ll focus on building particularly strong relationships with just a few.
Another client, Jane, is especially talented in the Developer theme. She has a keen ability to recognize and cultivate the potential in others. This is a useful team leadership gift and has helped her creatively elicit the help of other people in finding deals.
One of Sally’s most dominant talents is Woo. This all-important theme stands for “Winning others over.” She enjoys the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like her. This empowers her to naturally establish a network of people who are helping her reach her goals.
You may not have any of these talents in your top five, but that doesn’t matter. There is no correlation at all between success in property investing and a particular group of dominant talents. In other words, no matter how you’re wired, if you’ll work to turn your talents into strengths, you can multiply your success as a property investor.
I’d love to hear your feedback on StrengthsFinder and how your top five most dominant talents play out in your life and investing. If you end up taking the StrengthsFinder assessment, send me a private message to let me know your top five, and how you’ve seen them at work in your life up to this point.
I realise I’ve only scratched the surface of strengths-based investing, but here are a few key questions for you to ponder:
- What it the one thing you can do better than 10,000 other people?
- Do you tend to focus more on improving your strengths, or correcting your weaknesses? Why?
- Do you feel you get the opportunity to do what you do best most of the time? Why or why not?
Please take a moment to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.