Run your own race
Recently I participated in my second ever half marathon. Consequently, it was also the second one I have done this year. And if you don’t know, a half marathon consists of running 13.1 miles. Now you may be asking yourself, “Why in the world would he do that?” To that I would answer that I have no idea.
Well, that is not entirely true. One of the guys in the race had a shirt that read “You will know when you cross the finish line,” which was referencing a quote from the movie “Cool Runnings” about the first ever Jamaican bobsled team.
In that scene, the main character Derice asks his coach how he’ll know if he has what it takes — not just in sports, but in life. The coach, played by John Candy, responds with, “When you cross that finish line, you’ll know.”
I think a lot of people, myself included, enter events like this, not for the race itself, but to watch and see how their bodies and minds will react as they train for the event. And in that, you learn a lot about your character.
My first half marathon was back in January in Chattanooga. I hadn’t trained for it. But my buddy and trainer Cody Johns talked me into it by explaining that it would be less work than the triathlon I just done where I swam .64 miles in the ocean, biked 26 miles and ran 6.2 miles. That took me three hours and Cody said I should be done with the half marathon in less than two and half hours.
I learned a lot from that race, and I felt semi prepared for this one in Atlanta. That being said, the Chattanooga course was relatively flat. And the shirts from last year’s Atlanta half said “heat, humidity and hills.” I knew it wasn’t going to be hot and humid this year, but there were still the hills to contend with.
I was pleasantly surprised for the first 9 miles or so. It was a little rolling, but not bad. And I was making way better time than I thought. I knew that because in races like this they have pacers at different intervals from the start who carry a sign with a time on it. Their job is to run the race and finish at the time they are holding. I was shooting for 2:20 and lined up at the start with that pacer. But I quickly found myself well in front of the 2:15 pacer which was way faster than I thought I was going to do.
All was going well, that is until we turned to start mile 10. That’s when we hit the hills. It seemed like the entire mile 10 was a hill. And it zapped my energy. I made it halfway up before I started speed walking. And as I was gasping and climbing, I noticed the 2:15 pacer had not only caught back up, but was leaving me in the dust. And I could see the 2:20 pacer coming in hot.
Once at the top, I got to trot down some before making another ascent. That led to more rolling, more walking and being ever grateful for the aid stations along the way. But that was pretty much the trip until I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:20:04.
I forgot to mention that I finished the Chattanooga Half in 2:15:23. So it may sound like I would be disappointed finishing the Atlanta one nearly 5 minutes slower. But really, I’m not. The reason for that is the two races are not comparable. They were the same activity, but in totally different landscapes with different dynamics. They were two totally different races.
Now you may be wondering what any of this has to do with real estate. It has to do with something I see investors do regularly. They try to compare themselves to others who are doing similar activities. You will get people asking questions like how many deals a year someone else does or how many rental properties they have. And the reason for these questions is to try and find out how to compare one another.
But the problem with that is those are not good questions because you’re not in the same race as another investor. For instance: What if you have a wholesaler who does 75 deals a year, a landlord who has 50 rental properties and a house flipper who does 5 deals a year. Who is doing better?
Even though they are doing similar activities, they are not in the same race.
And even if you are on the same field, you’re not in the same race. For instance, the Atlanta half winner finished at 1:21:18. That is almost an entire hour before I finished. That runner and I weren’t in the same race. We were just doing similar activities, he just did it a lot faster.
What about the house flipper that does 5 deals a year versus another one who does 20? Who is doing better? You don’t know! The 5-deal guy may be making $60,000 a house, which is $300,000 a year. While the other is doing $20,000 a house or $400,000 a year. But the 20 guy has way more overhead and only has company profit of 12% or $48,000 whereas the smaller guy has profit of 40% and makes a $120,000 profit.
I have heard it said that you can’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides. For real estate investors, that means don’t try to compare your deal flow to someone else’s especially if you don’t know their actual company profit margin — not just their supposed profit per deal.
As a matter of fact, I think you do better when you put your head down and just focus on your race. Zig Ziglar said that success is not measure of what you did as compared to someone else. He said success is what you did as compared to what you are capable of.
In other words, run your own race and let others run theirs. This will limit discouragement, push you to do the best that you can do and get you to the financial freedom finish line.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.