What were you born to do?
Me, I was born to face great challenge, to overcome, and transform.
Challenge is the reason why my family and I have 25+ properties in the last 20 years.
Challenge is the reason I run three businesses, but can afford to take four ‘mini-retirements’ each year.
Challenge is the reason I declined the opportunity to spend a week with Richard Branson.
But I’ll get into that later.
To understand where my respect for the transformative power of confronting challenges comes from, we must start with the story of my grandfather.
In 1947, when the British empire withdrew from India, the power vacuum that formed triggered the largest mass immigration in recorded history. My grandfather, a simple Hindu man who had lived his life in the region now known as Pakistan, suddenly found himself a religious refugee.
He had no choice but to make the incredible journey to New Delhi, losing many family members along the way, including his mother and father. When he arrived he was homeless, and without work. But did he give up?
No. Not my grandfather.
He took matters into his own hands, and set up a business selling pickles.
It brought in little income, but his fortitude inspired something within the family he built with my grandmother: a desire to dream.
It was because he dared to dream that my father managed to escape poverty and go to high school and university, rather than remain a goat herder all his life. It was because he dared to dream that he made the courageous decision to bring my mother and I to the Middle East in search of a better life.
But dreaming could only get us so far.
Let me share with you my first memory: I’m four years old, and we’re in our flat in Dubai, one of the most extravagant countries in the world. My parents are standing nearby, and they don’t seem happy. They’re saying we have money troubles.
My father had been cheated by a business associate, and nearly lost everything as a result. This prompted a new move, this time to Australia, a nation where my father was promised that if he put his mind to it, he could own his own business, as he had always wanted.
But we arrived in the midst of the recession, and the only way my father – an engineer whose leadership turned that business associate into the owner of one of the largest companies in the United Arab Emirates – could provide for us was by mowing lawns.
The ‘money troubles’ I’d heard my parents talk about in Dubai were nothing like what we faced in those early days in Melbourne.
I remember asking my mother for $15 to go on a school trip to the aquarium, only to be told “we can’t afford it”.
As a child, I had no idea what she meant by that. I only knew she was telling me ‘no’.
I was sad. I was embarrassed.
The next day, I went to school and told my teacher, in front of the entire class, that I wasn’t going to the aquarium because I was afraid of sharks.
As a laugh rolled through the class like a tidal wave, I made up my mind to never end up in a situation where I would feel such pain again.
This was my first real challenge.
While my peers would play after school, I would go to the library, and read every book I could until the sun started to set. I reveled in fiction and non-fiction alike, opening my mind to exciting possibilities and the power of knowledge.
I quickly learnt the value of self-education as the tool through which I would shape my future.
When I turned 15, my father finally had the resources to establish his first business. This gave me a unique opportunity to study the intricacies of business management from the ground up.
I worked hard, spending time in each of area of the business to learn all I could.
By the time I was in my penultimate year of high school, I had eight people working under me in a division of the company I had established.
I was putting my accrued knowledge and experience into action, and proving good at it. But I didn’t want to work for my father forever.
As I began to consider the next stage of my life, my father was invited to attend a real estate course by a property seminar speaker. As he progressed through the program, I tagged along, and by the end we both got something out of it.
My father got eight properties in four years.
I got my next challenge: to work alongside people like this speaker in order to make a difference in people’s lives.
The first time I walked into a Tony Robbins event, I instantly realised I’d found the kind of people I had been searching for my entire life. People who understood me because they were like me. Over six years, they helped me confront and overcome my limits around leadership, wealth creation, and most importantly of all, purpose.
At the age of 25, we sold the family business, providing me with the financial support I needed to pursue my purpose.
This quest saw me become a sales manager for someone who, at the time, was one of the top business strategists in Australia. In the role, I toured the country, speaking on stage about securing financial freedom with the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tim Ferriss, and Richard Branson!
I then went on to found Momentum Education Finance, a company that provides finance options for those who weren’t as lucky as me, and couldn’t afford to attend the life changing events and seminars that made me who I am. The company was created with the goal of working with Tony Robbins, and in 2014 I made that a reality (plus I even got to write part of his script for an upcoming event).
While I loved every minute of my time there, I believed I was destined for more. I didn’t want to just work with these life-changing icons, I wanted to change lives myself.
I retired, again – though this time to Phuket – to figure out how to do that.
I got really bored, really fast.
I’d built my life around manifesting challenges and reinventing myself. Now, here I was, sitting in a hammock day in, day out.
I caught up with Tim Ferriss, who happened to be in Thailand at the time, to whine about my boredom.
Without his guidance, it would have taken a lot longer for me to get back on track. He said:
“What are you doing with your time? Are you learning the local language?”
“Have you explored beyond the beach you live on?”
“The same mindset that got you to retire on the beach is the same mindset that’s left you bored shitless!”
He was right. Sitting around wasn’t going to get me anywhere, and the passive income my business was creating felt valueless if I didn’t have some purpose to direct it towards.
I made my way back to Australia, and returned to my sales manager role. I still wanted to set out on my own, eventually, but at the time it was the role in which I felt I had the most impact.
But something wasn’t right. The company had changed. Now their focus seemed to be entirely on profitability rather than meeting the needs of their clients. The more money they brought in, the more clients – some of whom I knew well from my initial stint – were losing.
I was angry.
My anger was the fuel I needed to finally quit, and found my own business, 10 Properties in 10 Years.
A property mentoring service, 10 Properties in 10 Years is structured around the rules of wealth creation, and sharing them with people who can put them to use. 90% of property enthusiasts often get overwhelmed before managing to purchase their third property. With our guidance, our clients acquire the support and know-how to create their own property empire ethically and authentically.
My clients see 12% return on their investments, far more than the traditional 4% seen elsewhere. Because so long as they do the work, they get the results. I guarantee it.
Just over a year later, my parents retired, and I took over their new business: a finance company. I transformed it into a Yellow Brick Road franchise, with the intent of helping people re-orient their financial needs and find new ways to achieve their goals in the way banks can’t or won’t.
It gave me great pride to know my three businesses were having a monumental impact on my clients, but new challenges awaited me!
When I got the call asking me to spend a week with Richard Branson on Necker Island, I made the decision nobody could have imagined. I said no.
Why? Because I felt I still had much more to accomplish before I would feel comfortable being treated as his peer.
I decided to find out what made people like Branson special, and came to realise it was because they used their wealth for positive means, which often took the form of social enterprises.
So I started a social enterprise of my own, building custom houses for people living with disabilities. Investors in the venture will reach passive income goals in 12-18 months, but more importantly, it will save lives.
Nearly 100% of disabled people under the age of 65 currently living in nursing homes will have depression and a large percentage of these go on to commit suicide. It’s a horrifying statistic. But so few have been given any other option than to waste away in centres they should not have to be confined in. So we’re giving them the option. An option to have the freedom and flexibility to live the life of a ‘normal person’. An option for them to create the life that not only affects themselves positively but, some day, others.
There is no word called ‘rest’ or ‘timeout’ when you are working on what you are passionate about. This social enterprise will take the form of two new businesses, meaning I will be running five companies come spring.
And I’m still going. Every three months, I take a ‘mini-retirement’ of at least ten days to reflect on my life, where I’m headed, and what more I could be doing.
Because I’ll always be looking for the next challenge.
They won’t be the challenges faced by my father and grandfather; they faced them for me, and I am eternally grateful. But that means I can choose my own challenges in order to help others who are like the old me become someone like the new me.
Someone who generates abundant wealth while doing what he loves.
Someone who has the privilege to take weeks away in beautiful locations around the world, rediscovering and reimagining myself so that I can continue to grow.
Someone who can’t wait for the next big challenge heading his way.