5 Things That Absolutely Murder Your Success | Awesome REI

5 Things That Absolutely Murder Your Success


Few people realize this, but your ultimate success or failure in real estate has surprisingly little to do with wielding the hottest tactics, the coolest strategies or the sweetest tools in the biz.

The truth is, it’s got almost everything to do with that 6 inches of real estate between your ears–i.e. your Mindset. Yep, it’s those core values, guiding beliefs and personal habits you are (or aren’t) cultivating in your life–your Inner Game–that at the end of the day, will either make or flat out break you in your real estate endeavors.

Today I want to shine the light on five things that will absolutely kill your success to death if you let them. All five have in common…

1An all-too familiar tune: Chances are this’ll hit home for you somewhere, on account of it’s five of the most notorious and flagrant offenders that have been stupefying the progress and prosperity of smart, big-dreaming, hardworking folks like you and me since always and forever. I’ve seen it happen literally hundreds of times now firsthand.

2It’s not theory, it’s personal: I myself have struggled with these five things a number of times (sometimes a lot) since I first started in real estate 16+ years ago. So been there, done that, got the dang t-shirt.

I should say this: Each of these five things could easily merit an entire discourse by itself. But my goal here isn’t so much trying to cure all your crazy, success-eating head crap in one fell swoop. That’s way too much crazy for just one ‘swoop’.

This is more like ‘square one’, where I’m personally challenging you to get real with me for a couple solid minutes by taking a good, honest look inward, and ruminating on which of these inner demons you’re allowing yourself be held hostage by right now.

Then afterward, I invite dare you to share a comment below about which of these hits home with you the hardest and why. There’s a lot more we could crack open on any of them, but we’ll let your feedback decide which of them gets dug into more deeply in the near future together.

So let’s get down to it…

Thing #1: Fear

I consider this the number “success murderer” of them all–not just since it’s first on my list here, but because it’s the most prevalent, the most insidiously addictive and the hardest to break free from. But one way or another, come hell or high water…

You simply must break free from the shackles of fear.
Beaker Shaking

Fear can take many forms…

Maybe you’re afraid of what people think, so you don’t want to try anything new that you might embarrassingly screw up in front of witnesses. So you’ve got “FOLB Syndrome” – Fear Of Looking Bad.


It could be you’re afraid of feeling like a failure. Maybe you’ve wrestled through some painful (possibly expensive) mistakes in the past, and you’re just not sure you can take it if you fall down and bloody your nose yet again.


Maybe it’s that you’re afraid of not knowing enough. So you keep focused on learning, more seminars and more training, just soaking up everything you can… until you expect that at some point the ‘warm fuzzies’ will arrive and you’ll finally know enough to go out and take all that massive action you’ve been putting off.

Which–P.S.–is never really going to happen because (1) you’re just kidding yourself, and (2) at least half of what you need to learn will only happen in the trenches anyway. So the idea that there’s a “finally, I know enough now!” feeling waiting for you is, in fact, a myth.

Aaaaah, and then there’s that snake in the grass called fear of success.

Maybe you’ve got a repressed, self-limiting belief about what what you’re actually capable of, or what you’re even really worth when it comes down to it. For example, maybe you’ve got this picture of yourself as a “blue collar, $30,000” person, who comes from a respectable blue collar, $30,000 a year family.  Nothing wrong with that…unless it puts a cap on you by believing that all you’re capable of.

I’ve come to realize that lots of folks struggle with this one actually, depending on your background. And it can be really sneaky, since you typically don’t even realize you struggle with it on a conscious level.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg really. So many fears, so little time.

How to Start Slaying Your Fear

Here’s the really great news: You can clobber any of these forms of fear.

Step one is to genuinely “know thyself” well enough to identify where your own personal fear-demons are dwelling. And also to be honest enough with yourself to admit that you actually have a problem with being afraid, even if it seems irrational.

Then, once you’ve uncovered your own fear du jour and exposed it to the light for what it is, it’s already started losing some of it’s power over you. The next step is to focus intently on dealing with it.  And I mean attack it head on with everything you’ve got, as if it were an enemy…because it is!

An excellent place to start is actually doing the very thing you’re afraid of. Here’s something that’s become sort of a personal mantra of mine…

Mark Twain

Let me ask you: What is courage?

I used to believe that courage is basically the opposite of fear–that being courageous meant facing great challenges without fear. I’ve come to realize this isn’t even close to true. Courage is not the absence of fear–it’s when you do what needs to be done even in the face of your fear.

The men who stormed the beaches of Normandy weren’t courageous because they felt no more fear. I have no doubt they felt fear on a deeper level than I can come close to relating to right now. They were courageous in how they took necessary action in spite of their fear.

So basically I’m challenging you to level-up, not by ignoring your fear or somehow eliminating it, but by bravely acting in the face of it. And then like magic, the very act of doing so will begin to dissolve the power that fear holds over you. And I think that’s something pretty freaking awesome.

Terrified you’ll screw up or fail yet again?  Yeah, maybe so. But you have to start realizing that failure is a necessary part of the process of success. Every baby who learns to walk–every one of them–falls down over and over again in the process. But it sure doesn’t stop them from trying over and over again, does it? Then suddenly one day that darn baby’s running circles around you.

Be like that baby.
laughing scared baby

Instead of being paralyzed by the fear of falling down (yet again), start seeing failures as “failing forward”. You aren’t going to learn anything or gain anything by just sitting there scared on your duff. Every failure you endure is feedback for you – every mistake you make gives you an opportunity to learn, grow, hone your skill and craft a better plan for the next time around.

Consider this from the great Tony Robbins, a big-freaking man for whom I happen to be a big-freaking fan:

“I've come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created a new level of living that I now enjoy.”

Stop. Read that again please.

…Powerful stuff, yeah?

Every scraped knee, bloody nose and broken bone you endure, while painful, is also helpful – if you choose to make it so.

Think of a refining fire – it burns while it makes you stronger.

Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right, now more than ever thanks to the sharpening lessons you’ve learned through your mistakes.

So here’s a direct, personal challenge from me to you:

From this point forward I dare you to become all about freeing yourself from these fears.  I mean really attack them ferociously, because your success quite literally depends on it. And if you don’t… you’re choosing a life of slavery, shackled and controlled by fear. Frankly you deserve better.

 Success Murderer #2… hookupright2-jp

These five things aren’t just annoying stumbling blocks… they’re straight-up the worst.

Again, from the great Tony Robbins…

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you have taken new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”

Make a commitment that you’re going to break through these limiting beliefs and write down what you need to do to make it happen. Ask yourself, “What can I do to break free from being shackled by these things?”  And be committed to uncovering that answer. You owe it to yourself.

Got thoughts?

Which of these five things hit you squarely between the eyes? Maybe more than one?

Please share below. I’d love to hear from you on this.

And don’t forget to be awesome.

Patrick & JP

Hi, we are Patrick and JP and we are real estate nerds, older and somewhat more respectable than we typically look, and mostly pretty good friends. Patrick: Visionary, freelance ponderer, unapologetic iced coffee enthusiast, loves beach volleyball, local IPAs & flipping pillows over to get to the cold side. JP: Communicator, troublemaker, bacon evangelist, harsh critic of them who put clothes on their pets, loves Costco samples & traveling everywhere like such as. Together: They combine to form the Giant Superhero Robot that is Awesome REI.

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Fear, fear of success, lack of consistency because of having very little money to market on a regular basis.

Les Anthony

Geronimo!!! Fear you’re a dead duck!!!


hi i am a slow starter need to start some where need a starter person to tell where to start

    Valerie Bennett

    this is Valerie again My Fear is not knowing enough and people not believing and taking advantage of me. I live in NY and everything is so high and everyone is doing it. I’m retiring soon in debt cant pay all my bills right now, have spent all my retirement money trying to get this and still have not gotten a call to help me get started. I just keep adding more and doing nothing and now am up against a wall and I have to make it work. I want to be comfortable, help my child and grand child who graduated HS a year early at 16 started college and wants to be a lawyer. I also would like to find something for this young generation and my older generation. I really could use someone to help me, give me a step by step.

    Gernot Ritzau

    you need to rid yourself of your cycle of bs…take action every day, developed good habits that aid your success…

Jean Brown

You will probably never hear from someone like me. FEAR, LACK OF VISION, LACK OF MOTIVATION. I’ve been a licensed Realtor since 2003. Was reasonably successful for the first two or three years, then the market crashed and it took me months of knocking on asset managers door to get in the reo business, which lasted up until 2012. Then I found myself trying to re-invent myself again to do investing first I went to note training, then to fix & flip, now I,m trying to get into wholesaling which I have spent over $15,000 on a mentor with another company and still don’t know how to successfully wholesale. I am older than most of your students I’m sure, but now I have no more money to invest and am just trying to do anything to make my money back. I put it on my credit card and my husband & I live on Social Security. I feel like I was foolish to do that at this time in my life. Bottom line is all of the 5 things you mentioned hit me between the eyes. FEAR IS THE BIGGEST. I have learned from this that when fear takes over you can’t get motivated, have a vision or start planning. I am proud of my accomplishments in the past. I was a stay at home MOM until my three children were up and out on their own, then I got my RE License and done quite well. I didn’t get rich but I was not afraid, My husband was self employed and doing ok. His health is not good now so extra income is up to me. Your information was good. I’m guilty of most of it.

    Gernot Ritzau

    don’t guilt yourself too much, you deserve better, just make sure that you keep looking for deals and they usually resolve themselves if they are true deals, just take small baby steps again and you will catch momentum when the time is right for you…


I feel lack of being consistant. I was dead set on closing my first deal. It bothers me that I haven’t recieved too many request for sellers to close more deals. but i will keep on pushing and find another way to increase my sellers

Shawn Figueroa

Hi guys! First I just want to thank you for your investment of time and resources to help others! I enjoy your articles very much, and love the heart behind them =) The way you speak is compassionate and shows love for others, which leads me to believe (especially seeing scripture quoted) that you guys are my Christian brothers!? Regardless, I love what you’re doing and it is a blessing! =)
PS: I love the patience and love that you have shown “Jim” =)

Patrick Henry

Patrick, thank you for all you do! I’ve been following your stuff for years, and your humorously down-to-earth approach to things is something that has always resonated with me. I’m sure it’s why you have so many followers.

The problems that have swamped me are lack of Vision, Planning & Consistency. Since I’m nearly 70, that “5 years down the road” point you speak about could very well be the “END end”. But maybe that’ll just make it easier for me to identify and focus on? Anyway, thanks for this pithy discussion of what we need to be hammering away at.

Lorna Luckie

Lack of Focus and consistency are some of my weaknesses, thank you for share I am making some changes right now because I need to arrive at my destination.
Lorna H

Ashfaq Ahmed Sheikh

Lack of focus has been my main problem in life. No more.

    Johnpaul Moses

    love it, boom. 🙂 the first step to change is shining a bright light on the problem. make it happen, Ashfaq!


thank you Patrick even though i am a newbie. I needed to read this article, have stumbling block issues. #2 with Focus and #4 Planning Stage and #5 Consistency stages are my drawbacks.

    Johnpaul Moses

    great to hear this connected with you, sessing. now that you’ve got clarity on your biggest hold-backs, the next steps are on you to start obliterating them. you can do it! 🙂

Donna Hennessey

Thank you for your words of wisdom and advice..Well taken, Donna Hennessey


I love great content ,this is top of the line and excellent resoure

    Patrick Riddle

    Hey Evelyn, thanks for joining in the conversation here and for the feedback. Happy Investing!

    – Patrick

Kahl McDevitt

Just when I’m certain you’ve penned your Very Best, somehow you come up with a “topper”. It must be getting old, me replying “This one’s your best e-v-e-r!”. Nonetheless, it truly is ….. until your next ‘best one ever’, that is.

    Patrick Riddle

    Glad you enjoyed Kahl! Doesn’t ever get old… keep the feedback coming 🙂

    – Patrick

      Mary Taylor

      Yes it sounds too familiar. But I’m willing to give all I got to Conquer my dreams

        Johnpaul Moses

        awesome, Mary! thanks for commenting… now make it happen!


Spot on. I used to think that I could eliminate fear by learning what to do to achieve my goals. True, knowledge helps, but even an encyclopedia just SITS on a shelf until it’s OPENED UP.


Your blog is obviously well intentioned but horribly misguided. Planning and consistency both require time and money….and typically massive amounts of both. If you do not have enough of either (most people don’t), you are going to have a very difficult time overcoming those two “killers”.

I called you out on your questionable “baby learning to walk analogy” many months ago, and you just blew me off. I suspect you will do the same thing now. You are comparing apples to oranges. There is no monetary consequences to skinning your knees or giving up learning to walk. There is with REI, typically significant monetary consequences! The ROI for continuing to “learn to walk” is substantially greater to giving up over a skinned knee. But the potential payout (ROI) for continuing to waste more money and time on a failed venture in REI pales in comparison.

Honestly, exactly how many times are you truly going to advise an REI student to file bankruptcy in order to “learn to walk” in REI………??

    Patrick Riddle

    Hey Jim, you have some limiting beliefs holding you back. There are countless people who have come before you more disadvantaged only to succeed massively. Thus, you can too. Saying planning and consistency require massive amounts of time and money is just a lazy excuse for your lack of results.

    If you actually want to see any success (ever), it’s time for you to finally take some responsibility for your results in business and life. You are where you are in life because of YOU.

    And yes, there is risk investing in real estate. If you want to lessen that risk, choose an investment strategy that does just that.

    One more thing…

    If you don’t like our content, feel free to unsubscribe from our list.

    – Patrick


      Mr. Riddle,

      I submit these are not limiting “beliefs”, but cold hard personal facts. My wife and I have spent $40k+, 1500+ hours, made 150+ offers over the last 18 months and still no deals. Zero ROI. Agreed, there are those that have succeeded under worse circumstances, but there are ALSO those that have failed even worse with even more effort and money. I know some of them personally.

      My question is what is your advice to those? Just how far would you advise a prospective student to go before saying, “you know what, you might want to try something else”. Would you advise my to continue spending/wasting to the point of bankruptcy? Because for us to continue that is what we will be doing. Would you advise us to start staying up until 2-3 in the morning while continuing to work our full-time jobs? Because for us to continue that is what will be required.

      At least you admit there is some risk to REI. That is a start. But at what point does someone decide the risk is not worth the reward? I can tell you emphatically that for us, the “risk” (by risk, I mean money, time and effort) has most certainly not been worth the “reward” which has been and absolute zero. Would you agree……..are would you advise us to “keep learning to walk”…??

      Last, I have tried for a while now to get unsubscribed to all the 50+ “gurus” that send me daily emails. You never get completely unsubscribed……works for 2-3 weeks, then you mysteriously start getting emails again. You can’t unsubscribe as fast as you “gurus” sell the addresses to other “gurus”. I have had even lass success with that than I have REI.

        Johnpaul Moses

        Hi Jim. First, about your attempts to unsubscribe, I can tell you that, while I can’t speak for anyone else, we never sell, buy or rent email addresses. that’s spammy and it just ain’t congruent with who we are. If you’ve had trouble unsubscribing from our email list, it’s possible you’re on more than one of our internal lists and don’t realize it. Please feel free to reach out to Charity and Alita through the “Reach Out” page above and they’ll be happy to personally ensure you are unsubscribed from any/all of our lists at one time if you wish. We only aim to connect with folks who want to hear from us, period. 🙂

        To your other points on whether or not REI is right for you… I have a strong feeling that the true answer to why you haven’t cracked the code or crossed that first deal threshold is not something that can be quickly, easily pointed to in a blog comment like this. Simply put, there’s more to the story needed before solid advice or feedback would even make sense.

        I can say this though: If what you’ve been doing clearly isn’t working, then just doing more of the exact same thing, in the exact same way, doesn’t seem wise to me. There’s no “one answer” I can offer you here, but I CAN tell you there IS a specific reason you haven’t been able to make this happen yet… maybe it’s linked to a limiting belief holding you back… maybe it’s a destructive habit or behavior you haven’t clearly identified and taken down yet… maybe it’s market-related, meaning maybe the specific type of deal or marketing you’ve been focusing on isn’t the best fit. It could be something major or minor, but there is SOMETHING holding you back, agreed? It’s not that real estate investing is a sham or must not work… there’s just too many of us who’ve made it work awesomely for that to be the case.

        But I do know that “success leaves clues” as Tony Robbins says… and I have a feeling that getting across this barrier for you will come as you get closer to and begin to study those around you who have already achieved the specific success you’re aiming for. Find someone(s) who’ve done already what you want to do, then find a way to infiltrate their world… give first, make a connection, and find out how they’re different than you. What do they do differently from you? How are their beliefs the same or different? Their habits… their specific tactics and strategies.

        I hope that’s’ helpful, Jim. I know you can do this… I encourage you to stick with it, but don’t just keep repeating the same failing patterns… try instead to make it your top priority to uncover what’s truly separating you from the others who have achieved already what you want… then MURDER that thing. make sense? 😀


          Mr. Moses,

          I sincerely appreciate your lengthy and thoughtful response. I wish Mr. Riddle shared your empathy.

          To your points, yes I have been trying for 6-9 months to get “unsubscribed” from 50+ so-called “gurus”……and I can assure you, it is futile at best. I still sift thru about 30-50 emails a day….and those are just from “gurus” hawking yet another program, software, coaching, etc. Anyway…….

          I could not agree with you more, that is a specific reason or reasons. A limiting belief, destructive habit or behavior….?!?! I have no clue……I don’t think so, but it is certainly open for discussion. My personal opinion is that it is 3 things. We do not have anywhere near enough money……we do not have anywhere near enough time…..and we are trying to do business in a very difficult market.

          We have spent over $3000 on marketing and that generated 4 phone calls……none of which were interested in selling, much less being motivated. We were putting in collectively (my wife and I) about 45-60 hours week, and we were still not getting everything thing were trying to get done, “done”. This is on top of my full time job and here straight RE business.

          We have talked to numerous successful REI in our area and they have those two common denominators. They do this full-time, and they have their own money. They have told me that you simply cannot do this and be successful “part-time”. My experience confirms that, in spite of what all the so-called “gurus” tout. Further, they all have their own money, and do not have to factor in lending costs into their MOA calcs. I do, which makers it VERY difficult to compete with these other investors. As well as $2k-$5k PER MONTH for marketing alone.

          Factor in a VERY difficult market…….for every potential “deal” the comes up, there are literally 10-30 other investors competing for that single deal…..and it is next to impossible to get any deals here.

          Can my wife and I succeed here? Yes, if we are able and willing to work 50/60/70 hours a week+, AND if we are somehow able to save up $25k-$100k for marketing and for funding our own deals/rehabs. Neither of those two things are going to happen anytime soon.

          We will not even bring up the fact that you really have to be ethically challenged to have a possibility of success.

          This whole thread started from you blog entry about what might be murdering your chance of success. For my wife and I it was not fear, lack of focus or lack of vision. We had a clear vision, were VERY focused and while “scared”, we overcame that and did everything we possibly could to make this happen. #4 and #5 are where we failed miserably. My point is that planning and consistence requires two things (among others), money and time. And TONS of both. We didn’t have enough of either then and we certainly don’t now. My beef is that the so-called “gurus” continue to spout off about how you can do this “part-time” and with “little or no money”. Simply not true for most. Certainly not for us.

          We have given up, not so much by choice but by default. We are in damage control mode, just trying to recover from the massive financial damage we have inflicted on ourselves by venturing into this ill-advise venture. We have shifted our focus (again, by default) onto true revenue generating activities…….which is my job and her straight RE, in order to dig ourselves out of this whole.

          The real question is this. Is it all worth it? For us, that is an emphatic NO. Even if I mysteriously closed 10 $5000 wholesale deals tomorrow to get us back to zero financially, we would still be in the hole with regard to all the time, effort, angst, frustration, etc. I can make much more money for a lot less time and frustration just by working my job than trying to pound sand looking for deals to whole sale in my market.

          Obviously, it is/has worked out for you and for that I am sincerely happy and grateful. And the same goes for your successful students. Just understand that it simple doesn’t always work out for everyone. In fact I dare say it ends up working out for far less than those that never make a deal in spite of taking massive action.

          Your more than welcome to call me anytime if you ever want to discuss this matter further. Thanks and have a great day.

          Best regards,


          wow… Jim, you have done a great job getting your experiences and thoughts down in writing and for others to read and ponder on.. I totally empathize with how you are feeling.. there is definitely burn out I am hearing from you. I am identifying as I am going through some burn out right now. I, too, have lost lots of money. When the market crashed in 2008, there were tons of us who went bust. Personally, I believe that you are not alone in what you have gone through. However, these sorts of things do end up having us feel like we are all alone. Maybe taking a short break will give you time to decompress… I think that sometimes I try so hard that I end up trying TOO hard.. and the harder I try, the more elusive my goals can be or seem to be… just something to reflect on… then when I can… I look at all the people who have suffered major personal losses… and the money loss just seems to diminish… thank you for your contribution to this blog.


Very profound it hit me right between my eyes!!!!


Great info. keep it flowing!!!

Mario Dimacias

Good stuff Guys!! Thank you very much! Keep it coming. 🙂

    Johnpaul Moses

    awesome, mario – thanks! and will do! 😀


    Well if I must say all of them hit me right between the eye’s. Thanks for the encouragement. I feel pretty good this time around. I pretty much have my mind made up about what I’m going to. Now I need to plan out how. Thanks

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