3 top tips from Lawrence Dunning.
1. Always to be your best self and to be the sharpest mentally.
So, I think the first thing I’ll always say is to be your best self and to be the sharpest mentally, you have to look after yourself physically. So physical health and also mental health.
2. Invest in yourself.
The second thing I think we kind of touched on this, again, is invest in yourself. So don’t try to cut out the middle step and say how I can make money. Say no? How can I become find a niche, I think, even within a business? So, for instance, for real estate, if I just said, Hey, I’m a real estate agent. Most most people I know, know five or six agents. But if I specialize and I say I work with developers and investors on investment properties, which is kind of my niche in real estate, then people associate me with my niche. And it’s a way to market yourself, it’s a way to differentiate yourself. And it’s a way to provide value. So the second thing would be don’t rush the step of investing yourself in getting the money. Invest in yourself and provide value, and the money will come strongly believe that.
3. Be a good person and provide value.
I think what’s so important is just to try and be a good person and provide value. But just be nice. You know, it’s not hard to do. And I think I’ll take you a long way in business, but no one really talks about that, but it is so important. Yes.
people, bit, money, business, mentor, life, trading, real estate, Lawrence, good, martial arts, learn, years, traveling, relationships, started, friends, work, called, put
Lawrence Dunning 00:00
Find someone that’s successful and say, Hey, listen, I run around, I get your dry cleaning, I pick up your coffee I’ll, I’ll do your chores, I’ll walk your dog for your lunch, you know, I’ll do the stuff to make your life easier to save your time. In exchange, please, can you just help mentor me in whatever the industry is?
Debra Chantry-Taylor 00:14
Good morning, and welcome to another episode of Better Business, Better life. I am here today with Lawrence Dunning, who is a fellow Brit like myself, but who also left his homeland many, many years ago, and is now based in Chicago. Lawrence is a real estate investor. And he’s got a very interesting journey that he’s gone through in life where he was retired very early in his life, and then had to sort of start again from scratch from zero at the age of 35. So welcome to the show. Lawrence. lovely to have you here.
Lawrence Dunning 00:41
Thanks, Deborah. Likewise, lovely to be here.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 00:43
Yeah, so it is a really interesting story. So you, you kind of Rose very quickly in your career, tell us a little about how that how you got to where you were, and then what happened at that sort of, you know, 35 year old point in your life.
Lawrence Dunning 00:56
Yes, I was lucky in the sense that I, I finished my I got my degree in in extra small city in the south of England. And in in England, the system is a bit different. I’m not sure the listeners are in the US or in New Zealand or Australia. But in England, you have to pick your major when you’re 17 years old. So you’re, you’re still a kid, and I was you have to pick a subject at a very early on. So I liked history. And I liked the idea of not having many classes. So I got a history degree. And then I’m coming up to graduation, I’m thinking, you know, what the hell am I gonna do with a history degree? I don’t really don’t want to be a history professor, you know, I wasn’t really sure what to do. And I was actually training at martial arts gym, and I wanted to keep training for one more year. So I decided I got into this MBA program. And I thought, well, you know, I’ve always, I’ve always been interested in finance, and I would trade a little bit, I would invest in stocks. My dad had me doing that when I was a teenager, I would have these, you know, weekend and evening jobs, and I would get some money, and he would help me invest in different stocks. So I had appreciation for the financial market. So I did this MBA in finance. And then I was actually planning to spend a few years after that and go to Australia, New Zealand, just traveled enjoy life, I figured that I’ve got a lifetime to work. So well, before I start my career, I’m just going to have a few years off and be a bit lazy and enjoy life. Then, my uncle who was very close to he just met somebody at a dinner party. And he said, I just graduated, about two days later, he called me up and he said, Lawrence, I just had dinner with this guy. He works with a trading company in London. And they’re really doing really well. They’re expanding, they need people like you. And I said, Well, I thought well, rather than traveling and just enjoying life, if I go and work for six months, maybe I can make a bit of money, I can still do my plans, but I’ll have a bit of money for fun. So I went for this interview. And it turns into about about 12 interviews over two days. And I saw these young guys making all this money in London. And I thought you know what I can put off, put off my dreams for a few years. And I can do really, really well. So I got the job. And after a week that she sent me to Holland, there was the Dutch exchange in Amsterdam. So I worked there for a year I was kind of training. And then they said, Okay, you’re ready. If you go to the US, we’re trying to grow in Chicago, we have an office in Wall Street in New York, they sent me there. So I was in, I was on Wall Street for a few months. And I was back in Chicago for about a year. And as I started to make money, I realized that they would take almost all of it, they would pay me this little sliver, you know that that’s part of being with a company, they don’t You don’t have any downside risk, but you don’t have too much upside either. And one of the older guys there, we traded a lot together. And he said Lawrence like you and I could do really well if we just set up our own company. But he was one of those guys where he was all just talk, you know, talk, talk talk. And then so I actually sat down, I wrote a business model, I figured out how we get some loans to buy these trading seats and golf on our own. And so he and I left and we started our own company. And we did really, really well for a few years, I worked really hard. But I was also lucky I was in a I was trading in the US. And there was a lot of business, I was trading options on government bonds, and there was all this money to be made. So I did really, really well. And then he had a bit of a breakdown just from its trading is a very stressful environment. And he was drinking a lot in the evenings and it would come over hungover and try and trade all day. And he was just burning the candle at both ends. So it got to the stage where he and I just couldn’t work together. So we went through in separate ways. And then I was the only person running this trading company. And it was a lot of stress for a young guy in his 20s. And it got to the stage where I remember I just turned 30 And I realized I had made all this money, but I hadn’t made my standard of living hadn’t changed. So one thing I always tell people is, if you want to create wealth, as you make money, you can’t just increase your standard of living and then you’ll never get anywhere. You have to kind of keep a standard of living. And then as you make more and more money, just save it, invest it and things like that. So I’ve got the stage where I was 30 years old. And I realized like on paper like wow, I’ve got you know, a huge amount of money in my in my trading account. And I’ve got these dreams that I can’t do. I can’t do when I’m older. And I was I was an amateur boxer and I was doing jujitsu and I had this dream about being a professional MMA fighter because I thought it will be so I found that challenge so difficult. So there’s two types of people that compete in combat sports. There’s the guys who are just ferocious and if they weren’t fighting for money, they’d probably be getting drunk and fighting on the streets. And there’s the people like me where it’s Terrifying for them, and they want to face their fears, they find the challenge very interesting. So I took about five years off, five year sabbatical. And I was doing that. And I figured in my head that when I’m finished, I can just go back in the trading pit and keep making all this money. But I didn’t realize Deborah is as time changes, opportunities are not there all the time, you have certain opportunities at certain times. And during the time I was away, the big companies came in with high frequency trading, and my business model no longer existed. So then it got to a stage where I’m blowing through all my money, I’m having a great time pursuing my dreams and traveling and just enjoying life. And then I suddenly realized when I turned about 35, like, well, I can’t get back to trading because all my friends down there leaving the business, you know, what am I going to do? And that was a that was an early midlife crisis, for sure.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 05:43
Okay, so then what did you decide to do?
Lawrence Dunning 05:48
So luckily, I had a very good friend that I live in the same building in a high rise downtown Chicago, and he and I both had dogs, and I would see him just walking his dog, and we got to chat. And he was a very personal, personable guy. And he kept telling me, so lions, you know, he was an attorney. And he had a little law company. But he said he wanted to start a real estate company. And he said, you know, you could do so well, in real estate, you’ve got this English accent in Chicago, you’re, you’re personable, you’re a smart guy, like you could really do, well, why don’t we do this together, what’s gonna will will, you can get your broker’s license and be a broker. But you can also we can work in rehabs and flips, and developments and all these different things. So thankfully, he convinced me to get my license and start working with him. And it’s one of those things where when you switch careers, as you’re older, it’s very, very hard. Because I think when you’re young, when you’re in your early 20s, you’re used to kind of being a beginner, and not really knowing what you’re doing. But when you’ve had a certain amount level of success, it’s very, I personally find it much harder to go back to almost square one, to relearn a different business to reinvent myself. So that was definitely challenging period. But looking back, I’m very glad that not only that I did it, because I think it’s really important to put yourself in positions where you are forced to grow. But also that I that I just became friends with somebody who I’m still friends with to this day, he still owns my company, that the umbrella company that my trading company is under, and he’s still my real estate mentor. So I was very, very lucky. I think that’s the one thing Debra, I want to stay. And I’d love to hear your opinion on this. But I think so if you are so many people who are successful on paper, you know, what do you attribute the success to, they’ll say, you know, intelligence, hard work, taking good risks, all these things, but very few people would say luck. And I definitely think that I had the fortune just to meet him. And just, we just got on very well. And the first few years, I picked his brain, you know, all we were friends. So I would see him all the time, I would pick his brain about everything and anything for years. And I’d learned so much from him. So that really that importance of just having a mentor. He was a mentor without realizing it was a mentor. He was a friend who was a mentor with you know, just by being my friend and I was hanging out. So I think that’s so important.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 07:51
So I think I think you’re right, there can be an element of luck, that puts you in the pathway of certain people, but there’s still you actually have to put your hand up and say, hey, look, I I want to pick your brains, I want to find out things. I know, when I was working in corporate world, I really desperately wanted to go meet with a group CEO, because I felt that as the head of marketing, I should really be meeting with a group CEO who who knew what the business was doing, and I could then best support the business. And I bumped into in the lift one day and I said, Hey, look, I’d love to kind of pick your brains on it on a regular basis, just so I can make sure the stuff we’re delivering fits in with what you’ve got long for them for the business. And he went Sure no problem at all. Go and see my secretary, get yourself booked in. So I booked in a monthly catch up with him. When I went back downstairs to my office and to the team that I was working with. My boss was like, Well, you can’t do that. I said, What do you mean? So we’re, you know, your level three, and he’s a level one, and you’re not meant to kind of meet? I said, Well, I asked him he said yes. And so I went ahead and did it. And and most people don’t don’t put their hand up and don’t actually take that opportunity to go well, let’s give it a go. And let’s see what I can actually learn from these people. So I applaud you for doing that. Yeah,
Lawrence Dunning 08:53
I’m so glad to say that never, because that’s that’s true. And I’ve noticed that with a lot of people is they have so much potential, but they’re almost waiting for it to literally fall into their lap. And you do have to be a bit of a go getter. And you have to put yourself out there a little bit and then the reward will come back you know, massively but without you doing it unless you’re incredibly unlucky, there’s not going to be someone behind you to push you every step that you do have to take the initiative like you did.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 09:17
Yep, absolutely. And like you did to like said, you went and pick that guy’s branch. That’s fantastic. So it is hard when you change isn’t it? You know, when you change a career, I think you’re right when you’re younger. It’s it’s a bit like It’s like young kids learning to ski right. I think that we wonder how they, they are so brave. Well, they don’t really know what it’s like to fall over. They just see other people doing it and think, Well, if they can do it, I can do it too. And then as adults we kind of grew up on we get more fearful and we go oh well I don’t know if I fall over I might hurt myself. Or if I go to a new role. I’m not good at it. I might look stupid. So what was it like you know, when you’re when you’re in you’re 35 years old, starting a new career. How did you overcome that, that inner critic that sort of talk about well, you can’t do this or you’re not you’re not good enough or you know Other things that pop up for many of us at times.
Lawrence Dunning 10:03
Deb, I’m so glad you said that because that’s the what do they call it? The blanking on the word, but it’s with the feeling of not being an imposter syndrome. I think the number of successful people I’ve talked to that have just recently, I’ve been really fascinated by the idea of the imposter syndrome. And I’ve been talking to a lot of people that I look up to in different fields, and almost every one of them have have to overcome that. And I think the easiest way to overcome impostor syndrome is to actually become competent, and how do you become competent, you have to put the time in. So I think for me, I had that mindset where I knew that I wouldn’t make a lot in the beginning, but I wasn’t trying to make a lot of money, what I was trying to do is become competent and learn. So the first year that I was in real estate, I took so much terrible business that I would never take if I was just trying to make money. But I knew that by being busy and active, I would meet people, I would develop relationships, and I would learn along the way. So I tried to have a long term mindset. And I think this is important for anything, I had the same thing when I was learning martial arts, you know, you’re not going to walk into a gym and train for a week and get your black belt, you know, you have to put the time in. So I had that long term. It was the first year I want to develop as many as much skills and knowledge so I can actually provide value, because I know when I’ve got the value, I’ll get paid for that value. So I had that that same approach that I have with trading because I remember with my trading company, I didn’t let me trade for them for a year and a half. And then I traded for them for about a year and a half before I started my own company. So I’d already been trading in effect for three years with someone else’s money before I was risking my own money. So I spent the first three years learning learning a lot, just skill development. And I did the same. So I did the very same thing with real estate. I knew that it would be rough and it was rough. The first year, I always joke that I took home the first year in real estate, the same that I could make in one good day of trading wasn’t much money. But I learned so much. And a lot of some of those clients I met the first year I’m still working with now on huge projects and with great income for me. But I had that mindset. And I see I always tell people start you know, there’s in America, there’s a common saying, I’m not sure if you have it in New Zealand, but they always they say if you start a new business, you shouldn’t even expect to be profitable for the first two years. The first year is just about getting getting the skills and the knowledge and building the relationships. So I think having that long term time horizon is definitely was definitely the key for me. And I think it’s the same with anything it’s like, with your relationships with your personal relationships with your professional relationships. If if you no you do something that in that week or month or whatever, it’s not going to make you too much money or sometimes you might even lose your money. But if you develop a good relationship, you’ll have that relationship the rest of your career. So it’s having that long term mindset. I think it’s really, really important.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 12:44
And I think we were just talking about this before we came on the podcast, you know, there’s there’s all these people promising the magic silver bullets or the hat life hacks that will make everything you know, 10 times as fast and everything will go but it’s in reality. Most of the successful people I’ve worked with and talk to it’s been grip determination, execution just really consistency that has got them to where they are, would that be fair to say for you as well.
Lawrence Dunning 13:09
100% and it’s one thing that it’s become a bit of a joke among my friends because like like you and I love the fact that we can respect us in many ways. I love to travel I know you get a lot of traveling too. And but real estate when you’re dealing with clients and people, you have to be somewhat available so I tend to work 365 days a year and of course, when I’m traveling I’m on vacation with family, I’m not working all day, but I will be available at certain times to check in and so I think you have to have that consistency is so important in business and just people knowing that if you’re a factor that you’re available, so it’s some people would see that as a huge chore. I don’t mind working an hour or two a day on vacation because I can take as much vacation as I want I’ll I’ll sacrifice the need to be connected in order to have the freedom to live the life that I want to live.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 13:59
And it’s funny as we talk about work life balance and we always talk about you know you should have time to do so you should be doing what you love with people you love but having time to pursue other passions. And and to me work life balance doesn’t mean working Monday to Friday nine to five and then taking weekends and four weeks holiday. It’s like you said it’s about achieving the flexibility to do the things you want to do when you want to do them. And if that means you know on the weekend, I’m often thinking about work I can’t just turn off and go Well that’s it I’m not there anymore now. But it does mean that yeah I get to travel the world and do I’m going to Canada in January, US in February you know do all these things and I will still be doing some work on there. So I think the work life balance thing is an interesting one because if you love your work, it doesn’t actually feel like work for a start but secondly it is about having that that real flexibility to do what you want to do when you want to do it.
Lawrence Dunning 14:46
Exactly. And I think that the whole work-life balance is much more complicated now anyway just with cell phones because I remember thinking when I was growing up when I was away on a weekend trip with my with my dad I used to my dad is taking my brother night for a lot of hiking. We’d be hiking that There was no way his company could have even got ahold of him because there was no cell phones. But now most people do expect to have some kind of communication with you, or they want you to be checking in at least once a day. And actually, most of the people that I look up to that are very successful, they will it when I’ve been with them on vacation, or at when they’re not in their city of work, I’ve noticed a lot of them do have that where they spend an hour in the morning, just checking in or an hour in the evening, they kind of, they’re always available, and you don’t have to be but I think in a lot of a lot of businesses where they are time sensitive, and real estate is one where I think a lot of things is time sensitive, you do have to be available. And then of course, the end goal would be and which is I’m in the middle of middle of doing is where if you’re planning to go away, and you know, you don’t want to be available, then you just have to have someone who’s competent of your team that can take over that the big challenge for me is people want if they want you they don’t necessarily want your team member and they almost see it as a bit of a slight slight weather. Oh, yeah, cool. John, he’s gonna handle it as I kind of want you Lawrence, you know. So most people are very understanding that we’re all juggling family. And I have noticed I’ve been a dad for the last two years, my son’s about setsu, people are a lot more understanding when you have a when you have a case that makes life a little bit easier.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 16:15
So I mean, I’m probably going to disagree with a little but I do think you do, we do have to take time out. And sometimes we’d have to really take time out. So there are times when I actually do say, hey, look, the world’s not going to end if I take a whole week off and disconnect for a week. And I think having that that chance to have real real clarity Breakers is quite important. But what are you do to relax? Like, I mean, you know, it’s difficult. We do love what we do. Because as I say, work doesn’t feel like work. But what are you doing to actually completely disconnect yourself from business from, from the pressures and the stresses? How do you get that clarity in your mind?
Lawrence Dunning 16:47
Well, one of the things that the reason that I decided to take that sabbatical, when I turned 30, was because I looked at what I did at the weekend. And when that back then I was much more kind of the trading hours. So I was Monday to Friday, when the trading floor was open. And there was nothing to it the weekends in the evenings. And I noticed that I would be I would be in the gym training a few times. And I would, that’s why I decided to take this sabbatical and pursue that because that was my real passion. Now the older, just like you, we were talking a bit off air, but just like you I find nature very rejuvenating. And and yeah, just to clarify, if I, it’s, I’m in an industry where it is a bit more time sensitive than a lot of industries. For instance, if you have a closing, and there’s certain things just before the closing. And there’s a lot of people relying on it, you do have to be a bit more connected. But you can always outsource it. So I just want to clarify, you don’t have to work every day. But I think getting in nature is and traveling, I think there’s a huge thing with just being in a new place, whether it’s in some new city, you’re walking around just seeing a new a new thing. I think humans evolved. And a lot of us we have this natural curiosity. And I know that’s one thing you have in your bio about your curiosity, and changing the status quo. And the reason I love traveling so much is because I think it, it satisfies my curiosity. And sometimes you have to get out of your bubble. And that’s when you can really think clearly and you can reassess the direction of your life and your long term goals. I find it very hard to do that in my day to day just got too many things in my mind. So I actually I love reading. I’m a huge reader. And I think it’s it’s becoming harder and harder to do. Because I think the world collectively is all becoming more and more distracted with technology. So that’s one thing when I’m when I’m away, I love just being somewhere warm. My wife and I both love the sun, and spending time, quality time together. And now Now I’ve got a son I love I love you know, waking up with him and spending all day with him and going to bed with him when we travel with him. But sometimes it’s nice just to be a be a couple and leave him behind and reconnect and our relationship first. So I love you know, being somewhere warm, and we have a little a happy place. That’s Hawaii, we have a hotel, we’d love to go there. It’s really it’s a bit away from everyone else. It’s very secluded and peaceful. And if I go there for five to seven days, I feel like I’m reborn. So that’s definitely, yeah, that’s how I rejuvenate.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 19:06
Excellent. I love it. Yeah, we do have some major similarities there, which is good. So I’m really intrigued because he as you said, you’re happily married. You’ve got a son that’s two years old. Now. If you could go and give your son some advice to help him with his growing up, what would it be? What have you learned from your journey so far?
Lawrence Dunning 19:26
Debra, that’s I think about that all the time. I really do. I think such a fascinating thought experiment because I obviously want him to avoid the mistakes I made. And I want him to be successful and have this wonderful life. But I also know because I’m realistic that it’s one thing me telling him and it’s another thing him making a mistake and learning from it. And I can try my best but I know that he’s going to have to go through a lot of growing pains, you know, naturally so I think a few things that I really want to impart on him. One of them would be don’t peak too early. Oh, lot of people peak in high school, you don’t want to peak in high school you want to take a bit later. So try to have that long term, definitely a long term perspective. The other thing is, I think that when I was trading, they used to tell us every time you do a trade, you’ve got to think of your risk and your reward. So your risk is how much money you could lose. And the reward is how much money you can make. But you can imply that with anything, like if you’re, if you’re dating, and you’re scared, I was, if I was scared to ask my wife to dinner, when I first met her, if I look at the risk reward, well, the risk is that she turns me down, I don’t lose anything. But the reward is she could be my my soulmate my future wife, so you can apply that metrics, everything. So I want to teach, I really want to teach my son about the importance of, of having good risk, taking good risk. So for instance, if he’s, if he’s drunk, and his friends are trying to get him to drive them home, or something, that’s a terrible risk and reward, right, there’s no reward, the reward is you just, you save a bit of money, take an Uber, but the risk is, you know, could could be the, you know, the end of your life, so that I want to teach him good risk management. And I also want him, this is a really tricky one, I want him to develop hardships, and learn and learn to be resilient. And that’s really hard as a parent, because I’ve worked hard because I want him to grow up in a nice, nice area, I want to provide him, you know, live in a nice house. So I part of my drive is to give him comforts. But I don’t want him to grow. I think there’s a problem we’re seeing. I don’t know how how much you’re seeing this in New Zealand, but definitely in the US, we’re seeing this problem with a lot of troubled kids that have these parents that they’re not they’re very much, they’re very wealthy, they work all the time. And these kids are just addicted to all these different drugs, and they’re just getting it, they just don’t have any drive. And life is too easy. So I think the best thing I want to give him and not necessarily to be a competitor like I was, but I want to give him the gift of martial arts because I think it’s a superpower, it gives you confidence. And I think the the journey of, of, it’s a very linear effort between you put time into something and it’s hard, and then you see the results as you gain a skill in something. And I think that’s such a so I think sports, whether it’s martial arts, you know, Ash played soccer when I was young in England, and it’s, it’s a big day, and he’s already kicking a soccer ball around, he loves to run. So I just want him to find his niche in some kind of sport, and take it to a pretty high level, because I think the the lessons that he can learn from that are going to provide him, you know, set him in a really good stead for future.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 22:24
And it’s interesting, because I mean, I was also very sporty when I was at school and I think there’s yeah the the teaches you teamwork. It teaches you how to work with a coach because you know, you have a sports coaches there to kind of do it. And you can take all of those things into discipline, like all these things into your your business life and your personal life as you move forward as well. So you’ve mentioned you know, you’ve had mentors, are you working with a coach or a mentor right now.
Lawrence Dunning 22:47
I work with so many I have what I consider my real estate coach, I have someone I consider my entrepreneurial coach. I started a podcast about a year and a half ago, and I have two people I consider my podcast coaches, I have my martial art coaches still like and I think that’s that’s one thing that you you said in your bio, that I couldn’t agree more, you said to be a mentor, you must always be a student. And I think the same thing, like I think a good life, a rich life, a balanced life is your you’re surrounded by three different types of people, you’re surrounded by people that you’re trying to help that a less advanced in whatever you’re like, if it’s real estate, it will be like a new agent who’s starting and he’s trying to grow and build. If it’s my budget, I teach jiu jitsu on the side, if it’s a new jujitsu student who doesn’t know what he’s doing, those kind of people that you’re trying to help them get started and share your wisdom. And then there’s the people that you’re still trying to grow from the mentors that you look up to, and you’re trying to learn from. And then so those two, I think you have to have them both, you have to be helping people, but you also have to be getting helped to grow. And I still think you need peers to be competitive with to bounce ideas off around, you know, friendly compared competition, obviously, too. I think that’s really important. So So I think to have all three, it’s not easy, but I think most most of the time, if you go a lot of people will be scared like you have a go getter in finding that mentor. And I think a lot of people feel nervous to kind of approach busy people, because most mentors, by definition are going to be very busy, right? Because they they reach this level of success, they tend to be a little bit older. Yes. And their time is so valuable. And it’s but most people they’re very, there’s nothing greater than someone coming to you as long as they’re not saying, Hey, can you help me get to where you’re at, and I don’t wanna do any work. I get a lot of those where they almost want to step out there at step two, and they want to get to step 40 Without doing all the other intermediate steps. That’s just a bit annoying. They’re just trying to just, you know, be a bit lazy, but if someone’s genuine and they come to you or what I would I would do what I always tell people is find someone that’s successful and say, Hey, listen, I run around, I get your dry cleaning, I pick up your coffee, I’ll I’ll do your chores. I’ll walk your dog for your lunch, you know, I’ll do the stuff to make your life easier. save you time, in exchange, please can you just help mentor me in whatever the industry is. And I think most successful people would do that, that they would most successful people, that there’s a great book called Real Estate Titans. And it’s about 30 or 40 short chapters on these incredible real estate, people that have spent six years in real estate. And they built these incredible empires, they made incredible amounts of money. And the one thing that struck me when I read it was nearly every single one of them at the end of the arc of their career, at the at the end was all about giving back, whether it’s their time, their money, their knowledge. So most successful people, if you catch them at the right time, are going to be willing to help. Now of course, there’s going to be a successful person, maybe if they just had twins for four months ago and haven’t barely slept in four months, they’re probably the wrong person to ask there is you have to find people at the right stage of their career to be there. But I think most people aren’t they do it most most successful people. They do they get there’s a lot of satisfaction in mentoring. And it’s almost like a responsibility. And I’ll use jujitsu as an example. But they say when you’re jitsu black belt, even if you’re not a full time instructor, it’s your responsibility to give back to the art and to teach new students. So even if you’re not a full time gym owner, you still should be teaching, whether it’s, you know, a couple of classes a month, whether it’s a class a week, whether it’s helping out when when the instructor is sick, but it’s almost your responsibility to give back. And I think it’s the same for business.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 26:20
Yeah. And I think you know, the you as you said, you got to pick them at the right time. I remember, very early on in my career I had, there’s a guy called Rod Drury, who started zero over here. And he was a friend of mine colleague of mine, we catch up, we didn’t run things. I said to me, Look, would you mind mentoring me? And at the time, you know, Zerah was growing massively. He was on a number of different boards. And he said to me, Debra, I just can’t I don’t have the time. And initially, I was absolutely devastated. And I thought that, you know, that’s good. It’s good that, that he’s recognized that because if you said yes, and tried to do it, it wouldn’t have been a great experience for either of us. And it was just a timing thing. So you can’t take it personally just have to go. Okay, well, that one didn’t work, but there’ll be somebody else who will. So yeah, good advice. So what’s your podcast about your two years?
Lawrence Dunning 27:02
Knowledge and sorry, just one plug.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 27:04
It’s two podcasts?
Lawrence Dunning 27:06
Yes, if I go, sorry. It’s called enter the Lionheart. So my nickname when I was fighting was Lionheart because I had a bit my coach that I had the heartland, I had a, I had a lot more. What’s the word like, I don’t think I was ever physically gifted. But I had a lot of tenacity. So that’s where that came from. And that’s, it’s really just about all the things that I’m interested in. And because the thing is, a lot of I have a lot of different interests. But I feel like there’s a lot of crossover. So for instance, I love I love martial arts and health, but also love entrepreneurship and business. And I think that to be the best entrepreneur or to be the best business owner, you have to put yourself first and you do have to have interests you have to be I think, if you’re physically healthy, you’re going to be better at you’re going to be mentally sharper. And so it’s about all the things I’m interested in. But I feel like there’s a lot of crossover in terms of, you know, what, what makes life worth living. And I think just like, learning, I keep coming back to martial arts. It’s just, it’s an easy way to, to use analogies. But it’s like, just like, when you walk into a martial arts gym, and you don’t know the first thing, and after a few months, you actually learn techniques, I think that you can learn techniques for building a business techniques for living a good life, you know that there is certain, like we mentioned before, you steal again, there’s going to be a lot of times where you have to roll up your sleeves and get dirty hustling and grinding and putting the work in. But there’s certain cheat codes to make that work go further, by having certain principles. And I think that’s what it’s about. It’s about trying to learn from people. And, and I learned from every single conversation and you know, I’m learning from you, you’re reminding me to put myself out there and reach out to some people, some some people that I want to learn from for mentoring, because I can get lazy with that, too. So I think it keeps you accountable by having these kinds of conversations. And like I said, at the beginning, I repeat myself, but I think what when you said, to be a mentor, you have to be a student, there’s a old martial art saying to be a master, you must remain a student, it’s the same principle we have, we have to keep this growth mindset. And I know some people have that fixed mindset. Some people have a growth mindset. I don’t know where mine came from. But I know very early on, I had that mindset that I might suck at something. But if I put the work in, I can get better. And I think that’s such a good message to remind people is, it doesn’t matter where you are, we can all grow. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20, if you’re 40, if you’re 60 They’re these wonderful stories about you know, there was one famous Russian author, I can’t like Dostoevsky or one of those kind represented who, but he looked he picked up the violin in his 80s. You know, like, we can always pick up these new skills and passions, you know, it’s never too late. I think that also keeps you young by doing these things by putting yourself in a position of discomfort or putting yourself at the bottom of the learning curve. I think that’s what makes life interesting and fun and makes a rich life.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 29:45
Yeah, no, I completely agree. So I always ask our guests to give some tips for our listeners, because I think it’s you know, it’s wonderful to hear stories, but it’s also really good to go hey, these three things are things that I think have really helped me on my journey. What would be your three things that you’d like to share?
Lawrence Dunning 30:01
Well, firstly, we kind of touched on it. But I really want to emphasize because it’s so easy to neglect your physical, like your health and your body and everything in pursuit of business. I’ve seen this with these people were when they were young, they were very fit, and they played sports. And then they got in the corporate world, and they just let themselves go. And then now I’m at that age in my 40s, where you can you can, you can burn the candle at both ends for a while, but it catches up with you. And I’ve got these friends who are in their 40s. And they’re having a lot of health issues from, I think 40s is so young to be having all these health issues. But that’s what happens when you just put the business before your health. So I think there’s no one that I think no billionaire on his deathbed would ever wish for more money that always wished for more health and more time with their family and loved ones. So I think the first thing I’ll always say is to be your best self, and to be the sharpest mentally, you have to look after yourself physically. So physical health and also mental health. We’re in a crisis in the US. And I think I think around the Western world, pretty much ever since COVID, shutdowns, I know that mental health is skyrocketing. And my wife’s a therapist, and she’s she’s just always turning down clients, because she’s, there’s such a demand for her services, for therapy, because so many people are struggling. And I think if you’re struggling with things, one of the best things you can do for yourself is just physical exercise. And I know for me, my mental health is I love to go for long runs. I live on the lakefront in Chicago, and I just run up and down the lakefront, and it’s my happy place. And I think that trust me, I’m not some kind of person that I I’m sure people listening it, it’s easy for him to say that it’s not easy for me, I put a lot of miles on my body, my knees hurt, my back aches, I get tired or overwhelmed, or my kid, my kid wakes me up in the morning, I think about sleep. But by forcing yourself to get out of the door and start moving whatever, even if it’s just putting a podcast and going for a brisk walk for an hour, it helps so much. So I would say the first thing is move physical health. The second thing I think we kind of touched on this, again, is invest in yourself. So don’t try to cut out the middle step and say how can I make money? Say no? How can I become find a niche, I think even within a business. So for instance, for real estate, if I just said, Hey, I’m a real estate agent. Most most people I know, know, five or six agents. But if I specialize and I say I work with developers and investors on investment properties, which is kind of my niche in real estate, then people associate me with my niche. And it’s it’s a way to market yourself, it’s a way to differentiate yourself. And it’s a way to provide value. So the second thing would be don’t rush the step of investing yourself to get the money. Invest in yourself and provide value and the money will come i i strongly strongly believe that. I think the third thing, I was just on the phone before we started this conversation with a very, she’s she’s not an official real estate mentor. But I was joking to her. And I said, every time we talk, I learned something from you. She’s an older agent who’s been in the business for about 25 years, and I’ve been real estate for seven. So she’s been a lot longer than me, she’s seen a lot more market cycles. For me, she has a wonderful disposition. And we were talking about relationships. And she was telling me about some of these, how she met some of these builders she works with now. And she’s like, I’ve been working with these people for you know, 1518 20 years like these, these are long standing relationships. And how do you develop relationships, where you develop relationships by providing value, obviously. But also, this is something that no one teaches you in business school, but I want to stress it, it always makes me laugh when I think about it, is by being a nice person. And by being personable. They don’t teach you that when you when you study business, but it’s so important. When I was working at my trading company they had my trading company from London eventually broke away from the London office and the US office kind of went off on their own. And they cut they cut about 40% of the traders. And they cut some traders that made not not the best traders, but they were profitable. They made money. And they kept this one guy who was great guy hilarious, but he was new and he didn’t know what he was doing. They haven’t made any money. He made the cut for one reason because they liked him being around because he was funny. And he was great energy and everything. And I always used to think when people talked about energy, I was like, yeah, it’s kind of woowoo nonsense. But it’s not it’s so true. Every time when you look at your phone and you see a name pop up, you get two feelings. One is excitement, or one is like, I don’t want to talk to this person. And it’s just like when I when I read your bio, I was so excited to talk to you because we’re such kindred spirits, you’re mentioning these things. And I’m like, I feel the same way you know that you’re good energy, you know. So I think that’s so important is just to try and be a good person and provide value. But just be nice. You know, it’s not it’s not hard to do. And I think I’ll take you a long way in business, but no one really talks about that, but it is so important. Yes.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 34:38
Nice, be nice, but also be authentic. I suppose. They don’t want to be falsely nice. But yeah, exactly. Don’t be Life’s too short right to not be enjoying what you’re doing. And this is what I say to people. You know, we talked about doing what you love with people you love making a huge difference in the world but having that time to pursue other passions are being compensated appropriately. And in reality, if you’re finding that you’re going like that phone call right if you’re picking up the phone When you’re reminiscing because the person is calling it, same with your job, if you’re going into work every day, and you’re hating what you’re doing, or the thought of going into work makes you feel ill or just makes you feel unhappy, you’ve got to do something about that. Because life is too short to be doing that day in, day out, make some decisions, get, there’ll be another place where you’ll find your happiness again,
Lawrence Dunning 35:18
I’m so glad you said that, because, you know, ultimately, so many people focus on money, but really the most important commodity is our time, and our health to enjoy our time. And I think when you start out in business, it by by necessity, you will be working with people that you don’t like that your energy doesn’t match with. But then most people in most businesses, as you become somewhat successful, you can choose who you want to work with. And I’ve told clients like I’ve given clients to other colleagues, I’ve said, Listen, I really am glad you brought up being authentic, because I’m not being fake, nice. I genuinely like almost everyone I work with. And if I just don’t, for whatever reason, we don’t get on, I’ll normally give them to somebody else. And I say, hey, you know, I think you’ll be a better fit. And of course, you can’t do that when you’re starting off. When you’re starting off. You have to do whatever you
Debra Chantry-Taylor 36:01
Everybody, everything will do whatever it takes I know I’ve been.
Lawrence Dunning 36:05
But I really think that’s that’s the the definition of success is just working with people you want to be around. And that’s, Listen, I’m not there yet. I still work with most of my clients. I really like some of them. They do frustrate me. And over time, that’s just my goal is to slowly, you know, keep whittling down people that I don’t really have a good connection with. And eventually it’ll be 100% of people for work when the phone calls. I do want to talk to them. Yeah, yeah.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 36:29
Perfect. I got that’s really great. Three Great tips. So yeah, first of all, look after yourself, make sure you put the oxygen mask on yourself, you’ve got to have physical and mental health, get up and move in the morning. I actually think getting up in the morning and going out for a walk. Even if it’s just a walk or a cycle, which we do each morning. In the mornings, I’m not able to do that because of a very early start. They’re just never the same. I think there’s there’s obviously that thing about getting the sunlight getting out there, getting the fresh air just makes a huge difference. Don’t ya don’t forget to invest in yourself. Don’t look, don’t look for the quick wins and trying to bypass all the steps, find your niche, do really well at it add value. And then you’re developing relationships and being being authentic, but also being nice and being kind of it is really important. So thank you for those. Hey, if people want to have a listen to your podcast, but I’m sure you share a whole lot more about these things that you love. Where would they? Where would they find that? What’s the name of the podcast?
Lawrence Dunning 37:17
Yeah, it’s called enter the Lionheart. And it’s on Spotify and iTunes. And yeah, the very different episodes. One, one episode might be, you know, focus on more jujitsu martial arts, while might be more on finance and entrepreneurship. But I think the theme is just trying to trying to be your best self. And a lot of people told me never, they said, you’re, if you’re doing a podcast, you really you want to have a niche podcast, too. And But coming back to your comment, I’m so glad you said the word being authentic, that wouldn’t be authentic, because I don’t want to just talk about one certain thing, I do have different interests. And I think most people do. And I think you want to be as authentic as you can be. So it does, there is some different different topics, but I think there’s a common commonality and there’s a lot of crossover between them. And I think that’s what’s beautiful about life is, as you get a bit older, and you you start to look back more, you see there is these common themes between a lot of different things, you see this consilience of knowledge and, and this crossover and I think that’s really beautiful. So it does, it does come down to one of my one of my mentors always says, almost every decision you make, there’s it’s either love or fear, you’re doing it from love or you do from fear. The more as you get older, the more you can try and do things from position of love and not from a position of fear, the better your life will be. And that would be an example of like these, like, there’s tips and things we can learn. And then the next level is learning principles that kind of run almost over the principles run over the different topics and different divisions in your life. And I think that’s, that’s where when you when you say be authentic, that applies to everything. Plus your work applies to your relationships, your friends. Yeah, your hobbies.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 38:48
Absolutely agree. That’s fantastic. Hey, so if people want to get in hold in contact with you personally, how would they find you?
Lawrence Dunning 38:54
The best thing is probably my LinkedIn, LinkedIn or Instagram, and it’s just my name Lauren Dunning. I’m pretty easy to find. I’m out there just like you. And I think that’s, I think it’s, it’s great that one thing I really love about what you’re doing, Debra is you’re sharing your knowledge. And you also your remaining a student too. And I think that’s the key to being good to having a good life is you’re trying to give back, but also you’re learning and you’re always working on yourself. I think having the balance between those two is really important. So I pretty easy to find anyone anyone can reach out and for real estate, my LinkedIn I do post a lot of stuff on real estate tends to be a bit more focused about the Chicago US market. So it’s not probably to instinct for people in New Zealand. But there are certain principles. Hopefully there’s some crossovers there. Now that’s
Debra Chantry-Taylor 39:39
fantastic. And that’s Lawrence with a W by the way. So you’ve got quite a unique name, which means you’re quite easy to find. So Alonzo W Lawrence Dunning been a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much for your time. And and look, I just want to reiterate, I do love doing these podcasts myself. Like you said, I’m always learning from them every time I sit here and I talk to anybody first of all, I get to meet another amazing person, which I think is really important. And then I get to I always see a little bit Will things I take from it and go? Yes, that’s right. A little bit of a reminder sometimes all where she really should be doing that. And sometimes just something completely new. So yeah, I love. I love doing these. I really appreciate people who come on the show. So thank you so much for your time. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and sharing your experiences and we’ll look forward to talking again, similar debt.
Lawrence Dunning 40:20
Thank you, Debra. And I feel the same way I feel very inspired right now motivated. So I’m gonna go to the gym right now and I’ve got good energy from you. So thank you for sharing that. I really appreciate it.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 40:28
Absolute pleasure. Thanks very much.
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