I just recently published my sixth book, Virtual Real Estate Investing Made Easy...
And, thanks to many of you, it skyrocketed to the bestseller's list on Amazon. I’m proud of the achievement and I'm also proud of many of you who took action to invest in yourself.
If you've been a student or a subscriber or a reader of mine for very long, you've probably heard that I donate the net proceeds of all of my book sales to charity. That's right: After covering the small publication costs, the rest of the money goes to charity. I don't make a single penny in profit from the sale of these books.
People have asked me why I do that, when it seems like an easy way to generate additional income. And they are surprised by my answer, which is a story of something that my mentor said once, which made me cry...Wondering why there's a picture of a waterfall in this blog post? Keep reading and I'll reveal the secret (and surprising) reason...
How a mentor made me cry
When I was first starting in real estate investing and wanting to take my business to the next level, I had a mentor who said something that literally had me break down in tears and it changed my life forever.
(Bonus tip: I urge all of my readers to get one or more mentors. I'm such a strong believer in being a student and finding people who do something better than you to teach you something. I still have several mentors today, each helping me in different areas of my life).
I was working with this mentor and he was helping me to build my real estate business and he surprised me by asking me a question I wasn't expecting. I still remember the conversation to this day…
He asked, "Mark do you give back?"
I said, "Yes... I go to church and give my time when I have time." (This was when I was just starting out. I was 100% focused on making ends meet) .
Then he asked, "Great. What's the biggest amount of money you've ever given?"
Ummmmmmmm... I thought about it for a moment and I responded: "$80 bucks".
Then he asked, "Do you want me to be honest with you or lie to you like everyone else has lied to you?" (And if you're a student of a mentor, you'd better pay attention when your mentor asks you a question like this because this will make all the difference between getting value from that mentor or just wasting your time and money).
GULP... now, I could have taken the easy road but if I did that, I'd not be writing this to you right now. So I said, "Be honest. That's why I'm paying you all this money."
He said, "Mark, you're a joke if you think $80 bucks is going to change lives..."
I said $80 was a stretch to me and he said, "That's great but there has to come a point in life where you give more."
I was a little shocked because $80 seemed like a lot to me at the time. He started to speak again and I could tell in his voice that he was pissed so I braced myself for whatever he was going to say next.
He said: "I'm glad you give back ... and I know it makes you feel good when you do, but I'm going to change your life right now if you're serious about giving in a BIG way."
I said I was serious.
He said "Here you go Mark… YOU must SAVE YOURSELF before you save the world."
I thought for a moment and then I realized that it was a truth I didn't want to hear.
And then it began... I started crying... like I couldn't control it. I sobbed uncontrollably, like a little child.
My mentor's lesson to me (and how it can change your life... and the world)
After I pulled myself together, he started to tell me what I'm now telling you:
YOU must save yourself before you save the world. At the time I thought $80 bucks was a lot but, truth be told, it's not life-changing money. He said: "Mark, you're a great guy but from your dreams and life goals, you're trying to be everything for everyone and at the end of the day the ONE you HURT is yourself. You're exhausted and when it's time to work on YOUR DREAMS. You're too tired. How does that make you feel?"
I admitted: "Like $#!+"
He told me that if I wanted to truly give, I needed to give enough to change other people's lives. And if I was going to do that, I would need to change my own first.
That truth went against everything I'd ever been taught (and probably everything you've ever been taught). You see, we're usually taught that we should give only when we expect something in return and we should conform to the way other people want us to.
But my mentor's words were so insightful and freeing that I decided to do something about it and, two years later, I finished my first book (which became a best-seller) and donated 100% of the net proceeds to charity. I still get amazing emails from people telling me that it's changed their life. And more importantly, the day I LAUNCHED the book we were able to GIVE a check for over $10,800.00 to charity.
Six bestsellers later, I'm still donating 100% of the net proceeds to charity.
I don't tell you this to impress you; I tell you this to impress upon you just how transformational my mentors words to me.
Since then, I have aggressively adopted a giving mentality… But not the conventional giving mentality
Here's what's wrong with the conventional giving mentality
When we give something to someone else, we often expect to have something given back to us. And, when someone gives something to us, we feel obliged to pay them back. This is the "payback" giving mentality. If person A gives person B something, person B might feel obliged to give something back to person A (and maybe person A even expects to receive something in return).
Out of this evolved the "pay it forward" giving mentality, from which a movie of the same named was spawned. With this idea, you get something from someone and instead of giving it back to them, you "pay it forward" to someone else. So person A gives to person B and person B gives to person C. That's a good start. But I want to do more.
That's why I coined the term "Full Circle Giving" to explain a new mentality that inspired even more giving and even more positive change. With Full Circle Giving, I want to give to others, not only to help them but also so that together we can help even more people (even people we'll never meet).
Here's how I define "Full Circle Giving": Creating something that is going to make a bigger impact than you could do on your own (with your own energy) by leveraging a powerful force known as "the power of words" ... and then working really hard to get out of your own way so others can be changed.
This is what I do with my books: I write books to help other people and when they invest in them to help themselves, the net proceeds of that book go to help someone else… often, it's someone that we'll never meet in person.
I've not only done this with books but also with houses. In fact, in my book Virtual Real Estate Investing Made Easy, you'll read about one investor who invested in a house from me and the purchase price of the house was donated to charity. And just over a month ago, I hope you watched as I worked with Final Salute to rehab and furnish a house that we donated to a veteran who had lost her home in a house fire just before being deployed to Afghanistan.
Let me tell you that there is no better feeling than giving generously and it surprises people to learn that I work much harder on my charitable work than I do in my real estate business. Of course I work hard in my real estate business; but I throw myself body, mind, and spirit into writing books and rehabbing houses, etc. In fact, while I was working on the house giveaway, someone asked me, "Hey DM, I thought you were a virtual, 'hands-off' real estate investor. So what are you doing with that hammer in your hand?" I think they thought I was ignoring my own advice but that's not what was happening. I'm a virtual, hands-off real estate investor when I'm doing thousands of for-profit deals every year. But when it comes to giving, I love to get in there and roll up my sleeves and do the work.
Here's a truth I learned and I hope you will learn, too: The more you GIVE the more you GET. It's a weird truth (and frankly, it's a little mysterious) but it is true. When you give, you get.
So give!!! Give generously! And adopt a Full Circle Giving mentality that doesn't just give with the expectation of giving back but gives to help many people.
Hey, I get that some of you are just starting out and struggling to get your real estate investing business off the ground. And I'm sure that many of you would love to give more than you do but are trying to make ends meet.
So let me inspire you with the
Here's how you can get involved in Full Circle Giving
- Start with yourself. If you want to save the world, you need to save yourself. Are you doing everything you can to make yourself successful or are you getting caught up in only dreaming about success but stuck in the comfortable routines of life? You can participate by buying a copy of Virtual Real Estate Investing Made Easy, which can help to "save" you and the proceeds of your purchase will go to charity.
- Give... Give without expecting something back (INCLUDING a charitable receipt for tax purposes or the honor of applause and well-wishes). Find someone who is well-deserving and give to them anonymously.
- Build your business on generosity. Include charitable giving in your business plan. And adopt your own Full Circle Giving mentality by doing deals where other people win (even people you'll never meet).
Start giving more than you think you can and never stop giving!
Your "Full Circle Giving" friend and mentor,
Mark Evans DM,DN
PS, Wondering why there's a picture of a waterfall? No, it's not where I’m writing from. I included it because it's related to the concept of Full Circle Giving: If we only give back, we end up creating a stagnant pool where everyone just gives and gets. And if we only pay forward, we are like a single drop of water which can't do a lot on its own. But a powerful torrent of water in a waterfall (which is really just billions of drops of water all together) can literally carve impenetrable rock and can power cities. THAT is an inspiring idea of what Full Circle Giving can really do!