High performance doesn’t come by itself without a little nudge from you. If you’re looking to invest, build your career, or start your own business as an entrepreneur, you need to have the correct mindset. Without the correct mindset, you will easily give up and your dream job may be out of reach. For you to master this mindset, you need what real estate investor and coach, Jens Nielsen calls “The 5 Pillars of High Performance.” Jens is the Founder of the Jens Nielsen Multi-Family Real Estate Investing Coaching and is the Principal of Open Doors Capital. Join your host, Lisa Hylton as she talks with Jens about these principles and how you can apply them to real life situations.
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
How To Build Your Career With The Five Pillars Of High Performance With Jens Nielsen
First up, Jens is originally from Denmark but has lived in the United States since 1996. Since 2016, Jens has been investing in multifamily real estate and is the owner and co-owner of 85 apartment units and mobile home lots in New Mexico and Colorado. He is also partnered on multifamily syndications over the last couple of years. He specializes in the system, underwriting, due diligence, capital raising, investor relations and he’s a GP in five deals totaling 885 units. He is also passionate about teaching and helping others achieve success. As a result, he’s using his knowledge and skills to coach and train new students in multifamily real estate investing. In two years, Jens has coached 30 students and conducted over 300 coaching calls.
Welcome to the show, Jens.
Thanks, Lisa. I’m really excited about the topic. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
For this particular episode, we are jumping into the five pillars of high performance. It’s the one thing I didn’t mention in introducing you. One thing that we spoke offline about is that you are a high-performance coach. When I learned about you and got introduced to you by fellow real estate investors, I was blown away by our conversation about the five pillars of high performance and figured I wanted to create a show about it. To kick things off, my show is broken into three parts. One is the background, then we will get into the meat of the show and then close things down. The first thing is, what part of the US do you live in?
I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, down the Southwest.
What do you do for work?
I don’t have a W-2 job anymore. Luckily, I have “retired” from that. I’m a multifamily syndicator. I’m also a certified high-performance coach. Those are my two consuming passions. I am self-employed if you will.
What do you and your family like to do for fun?
I like to ride my bicycle. We like to ski, hike and anything outdoors. We live in a great state with a lot of outdoor opportunities. We love that. We also love the culture and the experiences that the oldest capital in the United States has to offer. Santa Fe is an amazing place. There are all kinds of fun stuff to do as we reopen after COVID, I guess.
I didn’t realize that Santa Fe is the oldest capital in the US.What holds us back in life is our mindset around how we achieve success. Click To Tweet
It was founded in 1650 or 1670s, something like that. New Mexico is a relatively new state but the actual city is the oldest city that’s also a capital if that makes sense.
Jumping right into these five pillars of high performance. For our readers who are reading, these are the people generally who are interested in high performance as they think about investing, building careers, building their businesses, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. The first place to start is, what are the five pillars of high performance?
It would be to take a step back because everybody gets so consumed in the mechanics around what they want to do. “I want to be a real estate investor. Here are the steps I need to do to buy properties. I want to start a company or a business.” People get so caught up in the technical aspects of it but in reality, that’s not what holds us back. What holds us back is our mindset around how do we achieve success? Do I even deserve success? What are the limiting beliefs we have and everything? I have been coaching a lot of students and we started on mechanics. I saw people failing because they didn’t deep down feel they were able to take the right actions or they didn’t take the right actions and all kinds of excuses came up. That’s why I’ve got so interested in high-performance because that is a mindset and personal development. Those are the key things that are going to enable you to grow from where you are to where you want to be because the skills that you have may not get you to that next level in your life. A lot of them are mindset skills and performance skills. That was my step back. That’s why I’ve got interested in this. The answers came from hiring my own coach because I felt like I wasn’t leveling up. I was not getting a podcast too. I wasn’t going to that level. I know what was going on. I realized, “I don’t have the right mindset and the clarity of where I want to go.” That’s where it came from.
Let me go into those five areas and break those down. The key thing here is like, “What do we all want?” We all want more. We want more success, happiness and passion in our relationships, energy, money, productivity, even more meaning. Why are we undeserved? What is our purpose? Until we discover that, a lot of us pursue what we think is going to bring us happiness and joy. In reality, we are pursuing some superficial goals that may not lead to any kind of happiness, maybe a brief moment of satisfaction, and then move on to the next thing. It becomes this endless race for the next thing without ever achieving any longer-lasting happiness and fulfillment.
1st Pillar: Clarity
Being a certified high-performance coach means that we take people through a very structured approach around the five areas of high performance. The first thing is clarity. That is such a key thing. What’s important in your life? What makes you happy? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? What are the people you want to hang out with? How do you want the world to see you? That even go as far as developing a vision for who you are as a person? Too often, I look back in the way that I choose my career. I was an IT for many years. It was interesting. I felt like I will be good at it. That was as far as I thought. If we step back and become clear about what it is that’s important to us, we start to make different decisions that are going to be longer term. That’s going to move us towards that happiness that we all were looking for.
Before you move on to your next point, have you ever come across in your coaching where you have a client or a student who has got clarity. They came in, they didn’t have clarity but through this process, they’ve got clarity. They realize that the step they need to take is a step that is going to be very uncomfortable for them to take. Maybe you are going to cover that in the other pillars but what do you say to them?
I love that question and thank you for asking it. I like to use this story. I have been working with a gentleman in Florida. He came to me because of real estate. Multifamily real estate was where I started. He wants to invest. He came to me but he was not taking action to the level I was going to lead him to success. He was running a pool build a building company. He started a pool building company but he had lost all enthusiasm for that. He felt like real estate was going to be his ticket out. As we both know, it takes a little bit of time to get to that but he was so fed up with that.
As we started developing his clarity he was like, “I want to be surrounded by people that I’m helping daily. I want to surround myself with people I was going to be grateful for what I do. I don’t want to run construction crews to build pools anymore.” I’m not telling anybody what to do. They have to discover their own truth and path. He decided that a way for him to move towards this ultimate goal of passive income through real estate. He wanted to start as a residential agent. He made the decision. He went and started studying for the exam or the certification and their license. He got his license. He has been doing this for 7 or 8 months. He’s probably going to close $17 million worth of residential real estate in 2021. I get goosebumps when I think about this. That was because he got clarity. He made a plan and he worked towards it because he knew what was going to create some happiness and long-lasting success.
How does someone create a plan for something that they have not done before?
That’s stepping into that unknown. This is where the coach comes in where you ask questions around. Once the client decides a figure through some guidance and figures out what they want to do, it’s like, “What are the next steps you need to take?” We will break that down. If this is a year-long plan, what do you need to do next year? If it’s shorter-term, what do you need to do next month? If it comes from that vision, break it into shorter-term goals that a person can work on to start seeing that success.
I took you off course. Clarity was the first one. What’s the second one?
2nd Pillar: Energy/Vibrancy
The second one is energy. I almost like to call this one vibrancy instead, both physical energy and mental vibrancy. What that comes down through is, as we are taking on a new path in life, a lot of people have a full-time career and they want to start something on the side that they want to grow. You better have some energy and some focus to make this happen. You had a very demanding job and trying to squeeze in those extra hours of work to build this new dream. That’s going to take focus. It’s going to take energy. We will talk a lot about like, “Are you taking care of yourself, eating right, sleeping right and exercising on the physical side of things? Also, on the mental side, are you taking breaks? Are you focusing on the right things? What if you have negative thoughts that come in? How do you deal with that? How do you make sure you take care of yourself daily to have that energy and vibrancy?” That’s where the energy comes in. People initially make like, “Energy, I need to exercise.” There are a lot more to it. We want to be happy and fulfilled in what we do. The vibrancy is really important.
One note on the negative thoughts. Do they ever go away?
It has to do with how we look at the world and our mindset around setbacks and other things. A setback because of external circumstances at the moment that we can correct by applying different strategies or do we feel like, “I’m inherently a failure.” That’s that growth versus a fixed mindset. We can develop that growth mindset because every single time, there is a solution and a way forward. We have negative thoughts and they come up but once we start focusing on the input, we can’t let the results dictate our happiness because then, we are always results-oriented. If we focus on the input we say, “I have done everything possible. Now, it’s up to the universe or thought of whoever to produce the results I’m looking for.”
3rd Pillar: Courage
Moving on to the third pillar of high performance is courage. Courage has to do with this idea that, are we open to the world to share what our dreams and our vision are because so many people toil in silence by themselves. They never enlist support and help from other people because they’re either afraid that people may think their idea’s crazy. They may think people are not going to support it. They may think that “If I put it out in the world, then I’m committing myself to whatever it is that holds people back.” Once you start, there will always be cheerleaders to help you accomplish your goal. I’m sure when you started your show, there was some fear around doing that but now, you have super fans that love what you do. Those are the people that are going to drive you towards your vision.
I can totally resonate with this in terms of courage because deciding to leave my job as well took a lot of courage. To change my LinkedIn, start posting articles on LinkedIn and start posting my podcasts on LinkedIn. Every time I do it, it feels foreign. Having the courage and doing the runway of doing that on Facebook and all the other media has helped me in a bit. It always feels a little uneasy.
Congratulations on taking that step. I want you to honor that and make sure you celebrate that because it’s a huge step. Most people never do that. As you work with the coach, that can help you develop that courage. There are always going to be naysayers but there are always also going to be cheerleaders that are going to help you. Those are the people you want to connect with.
What’s the fourth one on your list here?
4th Pillar: Productivity
The fourth one is productivity, which is again, huge because if we have the right mindset, energy and courage but we don’t take action, nothing is going to happen. In this world of distractions, social media, TV, whatever else it may be, it can be so easy to get sucked up into other people’s agendas and drama. This is the idea of, “Let’s think about what is important and what we need to focus on.” Number one, to move forward. There’s a great book, The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. It’s a wonderful book to read about.
A lot of us sit down to work for many hours or stand up. We are at our desks for hours working on the computer. Even such a simple thing as setting a timer on your phone and say for the next fifteen minutes, I’m going to work on whatever topic or project I’m working on. I’m not going to allow myself to check email, Facebook or whatever. I’m going to work for fifteen minutes on this then I’m going to get up. I’m going to move around, get some water and use the restroom. At that time, take a quick look at your email and see if there’s anything urgent that came in. If there wasn’t, don’t reply to them until later. Just take those fifteen minutes to work and then if you have more, do it again. That fifteen-minute block is super productive. It will raise your productivity to the next level if you implement something like that.
I feel that that would cultivate deep work.
This idea of multitasking is an illusion that we can do as humans. We end up wasting a bunch of time switching from task to task.
I feel like people get burnt out and overwhelmed because they are pulled in all these different directions constantly.If we step back, it becomes clear what it is that's important to us and we can start to make different decisions that’ll make us happy. Click To Tweet
One thing I hate is if I start on a project and I can’t finish it, it’s like, “I don’t want to go back to it because I have to restart it.” Sometimes, it’s big long projects but smaller things. Let’s get them done, get that email or proposal sent out and move on. That will free up some mental space and feel like you are accomplishing things.
I know you have one more to go through but I’m curious. When were you introduced to this? Were you still working your job in the IT and technology field at that time? Was the introduction to this a catalyst for you to perhaps think about doing something different or were you thinking about doing something different regardless?
The answer is yes. I was in the IT field. I had been thinking about doing something different. I did not have the courage to commit to shift. I have been investing in real estate for years. I was starting to build that portfolio and that income. Unlike you, I didn’t dare to step out of my 25-year plus career and say, “I’m done with IT. I am now a multifamily investor and a coach.” Once I develop that clear I was like, “I need to hire a coach.” This is the beginning of COVID, which made everything a lot worse. I was like, “I have two choices. I can hide in the corner, wait for COVID to go away and not make any progress in my life or I can hire that coach. Get that accountability. Take that action.” It totally changed my life because I had made some commitments to my wife that I was only halfway committed to in terms of moving to where we are now. I had made some commitments to myself about leaving my job, but I wasn’t taking the action. I was, “Whenever.” It was just as undefined date into the future. Once I went through the clarity session and courage session with my coach, I became clear. I went to my boss and said, “I want to leave.” Give me six months to transition out. I will give you an opportunity to find someone new and train that can replace me. We went through that. It just happened. It was such an awesome experience for me.
It takes a lot of courage and bravery to do that as well. Very powerful.
I wouldn’t say it was easy.
One more thing I want to bring up is about blind spots. I feel that a lot of people may underestimate their ability to see their own blind spots.
That’s a key thing for a coach to help it. We’ve worked with our clients for twelve sessions, which is either 3 or 6 months depending on how often you meet. You get a very good understanding of that person and you start looking at, “Is this person willing to examine their own life and take action? Also, are they taking the action that they committed to doing? If they are not, what’s holding them back? Are they working on the thing they are comfortable with or should they be working in a different area where they are going to see the progress?” Just examine them. Holding people accountable but also challenged them because, without challenge, there’s no growth. When I work with my coach, he was like, “If you are not a little bit uncomfortable asking the questions to your clients, you are not going deep enough.”
As a coach, if you are not a little bit uncomfortable asking the questions to your clients, you are not going deep enough?
That’s right. It’s a challenge because you always want to be respectful and say right but you are not serving your clients if you are not pushing them. Not in a negative, run faster type way but in a way that “Let’s examine these assumptions you are making, your behavior or your actions. Are they truly in line with who you want to be? Are we going to get you to the outcome you are looking for?
What is the fifth one?
5th Pillar: Influence
The last one is influence. That combines everything because you have the clarity, energy, courage and productivity. Now, you need to get other people on board with your vision of the future. For example, you and me being in raising money for real estate, we need to influence people to see the reason why it makes sense to invest in real estate. Why does it make sense to put your money into a hard asset versus stocks and bonds and so forth? Use influence to do that. Also, as a thought leader or leader in your organization, how do you influence people? In the old days, it’s like, “Go and do this and command that.” It doesn’t work anymore because everybody is an independent thinker. We influence people through a process. There are three different areas there.
One is we teach them how to think. This is again examining our assumptions and worldview and say, “Have you ever thought about it in this way? Have you ever thought that investing in real estate may give you an opportunity to retire at a much younger age versus putting it in your 401(k) stock plan? I haven’t but let me start thinking about that,” then people start generating new ideas. The second one is, challenge people. I mentioned challenges around coaching. Challenge people to think a little bit bigger to see a different possibility in their lives, especially when you are managing somebody. Challenge them to step up into a role that they are a little bit uncomfortable with because that’s where the growth comes. The last part of the influence area is role bottled away. Put your money where your mouth is I should take the action you want for your clients. It’s so interesting on coaching because if I’m challenging a client on an area that I know, I am not doing what I am requesting the client to do. It is super uncomfortable. I need to examine my own life here.
I can’t imagine being a high-performance coach in this kind of environment. You are helping other people. In the process of helping them, you are also pushing yourself. There are so much that you have to step up to the table in your own life. That’s amazing.
That’s why I work in my own coach too because I have a long way to go and it never ends. I feel like I can’t be congruent with my clients if I’m not willing to spend the money, time and effort to grow personally.
As you have gone through all five of them, one thing that stands out to me is going back to some of the things that you said in the beginning. Number one, excuses come up. As a coach or even as someone who’s reading, what are some of the ways that people can identify where they might be stuck in an excuse loop?
We always explain away things. When you hear an excuse or say an excuse, “I’m totally too busy.” If you check in with that assumption is that, “I don’t have the money to invest in real estate.” Whatever it may be. Check-in with that and say, “How does that feel in your body?” Does that feel a little bit uneasy in your stomach or other places? Is there an uneasy feeling associated with what you are telling yourself? Because then, you are probably “lying” to yourself. You are coming up with excuses. You have probably been there and if you lose out of the deal, “I didn’t want that deal anyway.” You are just making excuses. Own that and think about, “I’m probably lying to myself here.” Where does that come from? That usually comes from fear. What am I afraid of? Go down that a lot of people never reach that level of maturity to realize that they are making excuses. They were justifying their actions through some explanation. Sometimes, take a coach to like, “What I’m hearing here sounds like an excuse. What’s going on? What was behind that? What are you afraid of?” Throw some deeper questioning. Coaching is all about asking questions. I’m not telling anybody what to do because it’s their life. I don’t know what’s best for them but we discover the answers through the process.
The other item that you mentioned was people not having the skills yet to get to the next level. At the beginning of our conversation, you mentioned this part and I don’t think that people always recognize that they might even not have the skills to operate at that next level. They might know that they want to get to that next level but they haven’t even realized, “I need to go get some more skills.” I think that it’s being open to getting a coach. That’s just my thoughts. Being open to getting a coach is someone who has the awareness to say, “I’m willing to be humble,” and be in a position where someone helps me to see blind spots and the skills that I might be missing to say, “Encourage me to take a different path, take a course or maybe find the-who to help you instead of trying to do all the house yourself.”
There are plenty of ways to learn skills. Technical skills are easy to learn. There are 100 videos out there and courses you can take. The coaching talks a lot about having the capability or the skills that lead to confidence. We talked about competence in an area as you develop through technical skills leads to confidence to take it to the next level. That’s why when we discovered that you want to do syndication in a year in the next year. That’s a high-level goal. You may come up with an excuse and say, “That’s too much work. I don’t know how to do it.” You may not know how to do it but how do you figure out how to do it. There’s somebody who has been there before. How do you break that down? Especially, what are the skills you need to learn to get you there and generate those? The other thing I want to say, very few people have somebody that they can talk to that does not have other best interests in a certain outcome. As a coach, my only interest is in your productivity, happiness, clarity, energy. That’s my only motivation for working with somebody. Whereas most other people have some other best interests, so their advice may not come from the client’s best interest.
This was an amazing episode. Thank you so much. Is there anything else on the five pillars or on high-performance coaching that you would like to share?
No. That’s the five key ones. We go through the first round and then we go back and go through them again but go even deeper. We are going to psychology, physiology, persuasion, mastery and purpose. That goes even deeper. There are two layers to it. It’s a very powerful process. I encourage anybody to research it and learn more about it because we could all benefit from coaching.
As people research, if they want to learn more about this, what’s the best place they can go to learn more?Without challenge, there will be no growth. Click To Tweet
I don’t have a coaching website because it has been so organic with all these clients I have hired. I am getting one. The best way to reach out to me is through my email, which is Jens@OpenDoorsCapital.com. That’s my business email. There will be a coaching website soon but I have been very organically growing and had plenty of clients that way.
It sounds like you have fallen into one of your unique abilities.
If they want to learn the background research behind this model, they can read High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. That’s the foundation for it. I always share that book with any clients. It’s such a key way of understanding a lot of this.
Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
About Jens Nielsen
Jens is originally from Denmark but has lived in the United States since 1996. Since 2016 Jens has been investing in multifamily real estate and is currently the owner or co-owner of 85 apartment units and mobile home lots in New Mexico and Colorado. Jens has also partnered on multi-family syndications over the last couple of years. He specializes in systems, underwriting, due diligence, capital raising and investor relations.
He is currently a General Partner in 5 deals totaling 885 units. Jens has also passively invested in 16 syndications/private investments, spanning over 800 apartment units, 2,000 mobile park lots, and over 6,000 storage units plus mortgage note funds and private money lending.
His mission is to get more people to invest in private placements for the strong cashflow and equity growth, and his company’s mission is to “Open Doors to your secure financial future through multifamily investing.”Jens is passionate about teaching and helping others achieve success. He is using his knowledge and skills to coach and train new students in multifamily real estate investing. In the past two years, Jens has coached 30 students and conducted over 300 coaching calls.
Given his long IT background, Jens provides IT solutions and system support for the deals he is involved in. He lives in New Mexico with his wife and two dogs. When he is not looking for the next deal, Jens is riding his bike, skiing, or hiking.