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Rooting Out Sabotage, Getting to Your Why Not

seller financing mind set

Why is it that sometimes, no matter how we know or what we do, we just can’t seem to break gravity and allow success to flow? Why do we keep cycling through similar patterns over and over again?

Have you been trying to get into real estate or the note business for a long time, but just can’t seem to pull it off? Yes, often we need coaches and mentors to help fast track our way to success, (and help us avoid mistakes = expensive ‘seminars’) but there’s more to it than that.

It has to do with belief systems operating at a subconscious level.

Until we can excavate and ‘rewire’ the moments in life that were traumatic on some level, we will often keep sabotaging ourselves and fail to maximize potential.

At tender young ages (0-6), it is common for us to come to wrong conclusions about who we are, what we deserve, and how to stay safe in the world.

Long time real estate investor, Darlene Root, joins me for an amazing conversation about creative real estate, contrasting how deals were done in the 70’s and 80’s and what we have to do now, and then…

We dive into some of the most fascinating and powerful material… ideas that can literally help you make breakthroughs in less than 2 months with whatever it is you want in your life… money, career, health, relationships.

Read the transcript of our live conversation:

Darlene: Well, Dawn, it’s incredible to be here, and instantly we connected when we were doing the Cash Flow Expo, so I think it’s going to be the mutual adoration society right now. I just think you’re amazing what you’re doing.

Darlene: Yes, I would love to. So I was sharing with Dawn that I got into this crazy industry when I was 19 years old and the year was 1979. So you don’t need a calculator to figure out what was going on. I was a 19 year old kid and I, and during that time, women were not in real estate.

And so in the 1970s, for those of you who are fairly new in this industry, we had two recessions in the 1970s. One was in 1975, and we did that so well we thought we would do it again.

And we did it again in 1979. And then on the heels of that, interest rates went from single, low single digits to a record 15.6%. And I had seen them as high as  22.8%. And so in that decade, in the eighties, we created creative finance and we had to get super creative. We did wraps and blends and owner carry back. Then you could assume a mortgage, now you really can’t. I mean, there are lots of rules to do that now. So I had the distinct privilege of getting in on a down market.

And to all of our new investors, if you’ve only been in this industry for 10 years, I always say shift happens.

Because it is going to come and it’s already here. A lot of people are kind of pivoting into doing some creative finance. What’s unique about what’s going on now, that wasn’t really a big deal then, is that there are a lot of regulations and laws that were not in place back then.

It was the wild, wild west. We were doing everything. Now there’s a little bit more constraint. And so, I say, don’t go it alone. Get a great mentor to take you through.

There’s enough stuff on the internet that you can learn for free, but if you are not matched up with somebody who’s been there and done that, you might want to do that to save your shirt.

Darlene: You know, then and now… we’re going to do a little before and after and who wore it best. In the 1970s prices were still pretty low. We had more stay-at-home moms.

But here’s what’s unique that people don’t realize. The interest rates were all over the map, even in the eighties, we had to play that creative finance.

We became more creative because we didn’t have the mindset that we couldn’t do it. And now we’re all over social media, “Oh, the sky is falling, the sky is falling.”

I don’t know if it’s going to be a soft landing, a hard landing, or a crash. I’ve been through them all. In my 45 years of doing this business (and I’m still here) and I’ve just pivoted my business.

We didn’t have the information that we have now. The media was still churning out what they wanted us to believe, but you watch the signs of the times. And like I said, I had the distinct privilege of really aligning myself with my first mentor who taught me how to read what’s going on.

Just don’t listen to the daily news. I haven’t watched news, I haven’t watched TV in five years. I have my news sources. I don’t play on social media because at the end of the day, you just want to slit your wrist because it’s all doom and gloom out there.

And what I say to people is it’s not… you just have to have the right mindset.

You have to stop listening to the noise. Stop listening to what the media is saying. You know, it used to be “We report, you decide”. And now it’s “They decide and report and  we have to believe”.

So mindset is such a huge thing in this game.

Darlene: Yeah, so you and I both do note investing. I think it’s the most fun of anything in the real estate space because you can do so many things with a note that you can’t do.

I mean, there’s only so many ways you can wholesale a piece of property. You can do a reverse wholesale or all the cool buzzwords that are out there and reverse flip and all of that. It’s all just window dressing for the same thing that we’ve been doing.

I’m doing some micro lending, which a lot of people may not know. When I’m coaching a new investor, some of them have never invested in anything before. And so, as their mindset is shifting, I encourage them to get a self-directed IRA.

I’m a huge fan of tax deferred. My favorite is tax free. I always tell people I’m allergic to taxes. So… it’s my elixir of choice.

I say that you can make big money with small dollars. Start off with micro lending. One of the spaces that I do it in is www.Prosper.Com. You can buy a micro loan for as little as $25… not buy, but you’re going to invest in a micro loan for as little as $25. And I encourage my brand new investors not to go over 25 bucks.

So if somebody is looking to get a consumer loan of say $20,000, you’re not going to lend the full 20 grand. You’re going to lend $25 toward that bigger loan.

I have over 600 micro loans, and when they pay out, it’s tax free. Now you’re starting to see some wealth being accumulated, and so that gets the student used to doing little investments and getting dividends or getting a return on their investment.

As they start to get seated in that, that’s when they can start doing other investing in notes.

Again, you and I are huge fans of notes secured by real estate. That’s where you come in and teach. The Note Queen teaches them how to do that.

Darlene: Nonperforming. I love nonperforming paper.

Back when the market crashed in 08, we, as a team, became the 9th largest Fannie Mae REO broker in the country.

We would list the Fannie Mae properties and back then, you had to make sure that they were trashed out and make sure the heat was on. And most of our stuff was in Michigan where I lived at the time.

The downside of that was that we could not invest in REOs because it would have been a conflict of interest.

So I took part of that team and moved them over into the short sale end of our business, because that was huge. That was pretty much 100 percent of our business at that time: short sales.

And I loved working with the people who were losing their homes. Because part of my core is really ministry… making sure that I’m calming the fear down and doing all the things that I’m doing today anyway.

I became lifelong friends with a lot of the home owners. Three of my staff actually went through foreclosure themselves, so they were the best staff I ever had. They were able to connect with other home owners going through the same thing.

It was a fun part of the business, then it got heavily regulated because we were doing some interesting things with creative entity structuring. You have to keep one step ahead of the regulators all the time. When they zig, you gotta zag.

And even in the note space, you know, Dodd Frank, (I call him Dodd Frankenstein), but Dodd Frank came about, and the Safe Act.

Regulation is only going to get thicker, and you have to learn how to navigate that. Get yourself seated well with somebody who’s been there and done that so you keep yourself from getting sued or penalized.

I like to say we’re seasoned, not old. We have some seasoning and we make great mentors because we’ve been through it.

I’ve been through the SNL crisis. I’ve been through 911. I’ve been through the Great Financial Crisis. So if it happens again, it’s all good.

Darlene: Yes. Nonperforming institutional and seller-financed paper. Okay.

Darlene: Lather, rinse, repeat… just like the shampoo bottle says!

Darlene: Yeah, it is. So yeah, shift happens, and your mind needs to shift in order to keep up with it. So let me rewind a little bit and talk about how I got into actually doing distressed real estate.

When I got into the business, I came in as a real estate agent. I was 19 years old. I looked 12. I’m living at home. I didn’t even know what a mortgage was. The real estate exam was, you know, “How big is the pocket card that you have to carry in your wallet?”

Do I really need to know how big our pocket license is? And I don’t even think we have that anymore. And so, it did not equip me for anything in the real world.

I so almost by accident, I got into distressed real estate, started doing just wholesaling, and that was a whole different thing. And then I got burnt out, in the late 80s, in real estate altogether.

I was burnt out. I didn’t have systems in place. I was working a billion hours because I thought that’s what you do because that’s what everybody says you do. You have to work hard in this business, right? You have to be disciplined. You have to grind it. We have to hustle.

And so I decided I was done, so I opened up a frozen yogurt business. Now, I’m from Michigan. Great idea in July. In February, however, temperatures are single digit and below zero and minus with windchill.

We lost our shirt. And along with that, we had to go bankrupt and we were facing foreclosure. And because I had some fleeting idea of what real estate was at that time (eighties and nineties) I contacted the bank and I negotiated with them.

Because I am not moving from my house. I refuse to pack. And so, back then, I was able to negotiate it. And just to give you a little color on that, I had a first mortgage. Then when I opened up the frozen yogurt store… Rookie mistake number one: never personally guarantee the loan.

I did that because I didn’t know. And so when I lost the store, the equipment lien was on the house. So I negotiated that lien. I negotiated with the first lien holder, and I wound up staying in the house.

Now don’t try this people, because you’re not going to negotiate with your first lien holder. That was then, this is now.

But it taught me that you can really negotiate something pretty easily if you know what you’re doing.

So the second lien was $35,000. I negotiated it down to $175, and they took it because they realized a week later, the end of the redemption period in Michigan at six months, they were going to get nothing.

And I thought, why would they even take $175? Well, I learned how bank regulations are done, and they didn’t want the investors to see the losses on the books.

So I said, “this will catch on,” and that started my journey in buying notes, because now I understood what goes on behind that curtain. It is a lot of smoke and mirrors that the average person doesn’t get to see.

And so, because it could have been such a devastating experience, I said, “I am going to do this as my business model and help people that don’t know what they don’t know.”

You hit the nail on the head. That woman just did not know how to sell a house. Yeah, we take for granted the lingo and the processes that a lot of people don’t know.

I had such a rewarding career doing that, helping people avoid foreclosure, and sometimes I wouldn’t make a dime, but I did it because I could feel good. I could sleep with myself at night and go, “You know what, Darlene? You really helped that person out because there’s a lot of charlatans out there that would have taken advantage.”

So fast forward going into life, I found it really easy to make money. It was keeping it that was the problem.

I would make a bunch of money and then I would lose it on a deal, or I would lose it on a note or a flip, or all of a sudden some mysterious big bill would show up. And it always kept me at this one level, and I couldn’t figure out why it kept happening.

That made me curious about how the mind works. And I’m talking about years ago, like “How does this mind really work that keeps us in that loop?” And I would go for the shiny object. Which actually… now I look back and that was a good thing because I am very talented with a lot of different things.

But the detriment is you’re starting one thing, and then you’re going off and doing another thing without completing that first thing, right? And there’s a belief system that has you do that.

So I thought, “I need to nip this in the bud before I go broke because I’m not getting any younger and the stakes are always getting higher.”

And so the end of that whole thing was I invested in a development that I knew nothing about. It was one of the areas of real estate I had not touched on: property development.

I initially got involved in this development as the person who was going to structure the entities. I do a lot with entity structuring, using trusts and LLCs.

Initially I had no interest in throwing money in, but I met with the investors who were throwing their money in and as I looked at that investment, it looked too good to be true. Guess what? It was another lesson.

If it looks too good to be true, it is.

What we didn’t do collectively as a group of investors is we didn’t vet the developer properly. We were looking at the dollar signs in our eyes and completely missed what now looks glaringly obvious, because of greed.

And I lost close to a million dollars on that project, and it was my Roth IRA money…. so the profit would have been tax free.

Instead, I blew a huge portion of my retirement. And I thought, I’m not getting any younger. And I fell into a depression for about two years and I couldn’t get myself out of it.

I was dwindling away my retirement, which I vowed I would not touch until I was in my 70s (and I’m not there yet). And so I met a doctor… we call him Dr. Rewire.

He was able to help me excavate my limiting beliefs. Hidden beliefs. Ninety-five percent of our beliefs are below our conscious thinking.

A lot of people call it subconscious. I was able to excavate and then rewire those beliefs to where I no longer have any fear about going into an investment. Of course, I also have a really good checklist before going into deals. Yeah.

I was so enamored with the process that that is exactly what I do now.

Darlene: It’s not hypnotherapy. I have a theory on hypnotherapy that I share with both of my mentors who teach this very same thing. Hypnotherapy compartmentalizes. So if you’re trying to quit smoking and you go to a hypnotherapist to quit smoking, you may quit smoking, but it doesn’t mean the addiction is gone.

Just the addiction to that particular thing.

So you compartmentalize. I had such a genuine healthy fear of hypnotherapy from going to see someone on a stage who was making people cluck like chickens and making them act like washing machines.

I’m like, “Well, that is never going to be a go-to for me. I want to be completely cognizant and aware of what I’m doing.”

What I do now is a multi-disciplined modality of being able to get into the subconscious through a series of questions and exercises. Brain training is what I do. Get at the beliefs and the root experiences that cause those beliefs.

Most of our beliefs happen between the age of zero and six years old. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember a lot of what was going on when I was two, when I was five or even six, you know, you’ll have a certain memory.

Like I remember my fifth birthday, because I’ve seen a film of my fifth birthday party.

So whenever you have an event paired with an emotion it creates a memory. You don’t have a memory without the two. So, I always ask my audiences, “Do you know exactly what you were doing June 1st, 2020?”

And most of them say, “no.” I know exactly what I was doing on June 1st, 2020, because on June 1st, 2020, I turned 60.

And I threw myself a birthday party because I was tired of being holed up because of COVID. I needed an excuse for people to come over and give me a hug. So I had a bunch of people over. I said, wear masks, whatever, I don’t care.

So for me, there was a great moment paired with joy that created the memory.

I take my student/client through a process that goes into their moments. Not necessarily into their memories, because memories we add stuff to them.

You know, when your dad goes out and catches a fish, a perch. But boy, when he tells that story, especially after a couple of cocktails, you would have thought he was catching a Marlin, right?

Because a memory will add to itself.

A moment is the instant you experienced something, and there’s no adding stuff to it. The moments are the trauma. The moments are the root experiences that then create your beliefs that drive the bus of your daily life. If we don’t know what our beliefs are, we can’t change them.

Darlene: This is it. This is me. This is all I care about. I love doing the other stuff I do, but this was such a transformation that happened in a very short period of time, and it changed everything for me.

The process can take a minute depending on how deeply rooted that trauma is.

I just shared with someone yesterday on a podcast that I absolutely hate having my picture taken. Can’t stand it really.

And it’s weird because I was a musician back in the day, stood on stages, recorded in crazy amazing recording studios. One of my favorite memories is recording in Aretha Franklin’s studio! She wasn’t there. She was leaving. They didn’t have time to clean up her mic and other equipment.

And so I’m not a stranger to the stage at all. Give me a microphone and I’m there singing, you know, and I have no fear of being on stage, teaching what I teach.

Why didn’t I like my picture taken?

When I got back home to Florida, I needed my promo pics redone because they were ancient. And I was sick of people going, yeah, nice try, Darlene, nice high school photo.

I think my last promo shot was 15 years ago, and I thought it might be time to go ahead and redo that.

Well, I booked a photographer and I canceled it twice. No kidding. I did. And so finally I went “Suck it up, cupcake, just get there and get it over with.”

When I got there, I was visibly shaking and she said, “Are you okay?”

I said, “Yeah, I’m fine.”

She goes, “Do you want a glass of wine or something?”

I said, “No. I just have this, you know, this anxiety about this.”

And then it happened. I sat down and I was doing the poses, and I was very rigid, when really, I’m kind of a free spirit and a bit animated if you haven’t noticed! I clammed up and she yelled at me, and instantly I went into state.

I went right back to fourth grade having picture day at school. Oh, yeah. I was super white blonde then and had cat eye glasses because I had a lazy eye. And a patch on this side of my eye.

They let me remove the patch, but I had on this ugly outfit and my hair was super short. My mom didn’t want to be taking care of our hair in the summertime, so she buzzed it off like I was in the military.

And so he snapped the picture and I blinked cause I had my glasses on and he yelled at me. He said, “Listen, little Missy, you better straighten up or you’re going to have ugly pictures.”

And I could see it. I was right there in that moment. And then he snapped the camera again and then yelled at me and I started to cry. So my pictures are of me crying. So when my parents finally got the pictures, my mother was like, “These are awful.”

And so I completely forgot about that. You know, you get older, but in that instant where the photographer yelled at me, I went right back into that painful moment in fourth grade.

I said, “Give me about 15 minutes. I need to go do something.” And I completely rewired it. Then I had a blast during the photo shoot… I had so much fun doing it.

Darlene: Yeah, no. And it’s not talk therapy. I have a functional practitioner friend who calls it psycho drama. I looked up psycho drama and it’s really not that. It’s a technique that combines NLP, EMDR, cogno movement, because you are searching in your brain for specific areas.

When I take you to that moment, that’s where the work really gets done.

I don’t want you to go to a memory, I want you to go to a moment like I did when the photographer yelled at me. I didn’t have a problem going to the moment. It happened like a flash.

At that moment, when you’re in it, you can then rewire that. I know how to drill down, drill down and drill down.

Darlene: is my website. I call it the Real Mindset Method because of course it’s for real estate, but it’s also an acronym for something.

Darlene: Couple, three years. Yeah.

Darlene: Yeah. Talk therapy doesn’t work. It further ingrains the problems, right? So now we have a lot of psychotherapists who actually go through the certification because they’re not making any strides with people.

I know somebody who’s been in therapy for 25 years and she’s still a hot mess. So yeah. Everybody’s trying to put a new belief in, right? Change your beliefs, change your beliefs, change your beliefs. You just have to know your why.

It is not enough to know your why. There’s a book called “Getting to Your Why.” I’m rewriting the book… I am authoring a book now: “Getting to Your Why Not.”

That’s the biggest thing that’s holding you back. Everybody has a big why… family, whatever it is, if it was a big why, then why isn’t everyone doing it?

It’s the, “Why Not?” It’s that 90 to 95 percent that lies beneath, that you don’t even know is there and that’s keeping you in that mode, on the hamster wheel, so to speak.

So, Law of Attraction and The Secret and all of those things say “We’ll just affirm and do vision boards and all of those wonderful things… sit under a Bodhi tree and wait for it to fall into your lap” That does not work because most people are doing it out of the wrong part of their brain.

When you excavate and rewire the beliefs that got you to where you are, (knowing that they’re not going to get you to where you need to be) then you can access a different part of your brain that is used for affirmations, vision boards, mantras, meditations.

Those things are good, it’s just that everyone’s trying to use them out of the wrong part of the brain.

Darlene: Be back to me, yes.

Darlene: All the pleasure is mine. Thank you. And thank you, listening audience … it was fun spending time with you.

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