Competition. Driving Force, The Un-Motivator or The Comparison Starter?

Hi Everyone! I hope your weeks are going well and you have avoided the bugs and illnesses that seem to be doing the rounds! This week it’s got me, bad times. But in the midst of sneezing, I have been thinking this week about competition. More the question, are you competitive?

How do you define competition?

What does this mean to you? I am not naturally competitive, well at least I didn’t think I was. I don’t have to win games, I’m pretty useless at sport and the typical things that require a level of competitiveness; I’m really not that bothered by. I think I have always been internally competitive, I am fuelled by being better for myself rather than to gloat over the heads of others, but are they just one in the same?

Maybe I am just not competitive about the things I think are pretty trivial. But, I have noticed lately, that it is all about mindset. What competition can do for you is based purely on your approach. Are you in ‘lack’ mode or ‘abundance’ mode? This simple question will show you some home truths.

If competition scares you

When you view competition as a direct attack on how successful you can be, or are; I think this comes from a place of fear. At least I know it is for me when I am not using competitiveness wisely. Some examples of this may be that you view what others are doing and then believe that you can’t do it too. Or because they are doing it, there won’t be room for you too. You’re not as good as them, they must have a secret formula that you don’t etc. You get my point.

When you are using competition to drive yourself out of the game, you are fear based. If you don’t catch this and flip it round in your mind, it will turn to envy, bitterness and negative self talk. Sometimes when I read things and in truth I know I can identify, it can be painful or you may initially reject it and become defensive. What I have found, is that if you can own the negative traits you can sometimes have, you can change them.

When competition drives you

If you can develop your own sense of self worth and belief, you can use competition as energy and possibility. For the doubters, you can see that it is possible. Proof, that if you follow the steps and stick at it long enough, you can achieve too. That’s not to say that you are imitating someone else, it just shows you that if someone else can do it, there is no reason why you can’t too. Competition, if channelled in a healthy way can open up possibility; that in itself can be a huge motivator. When you build yourself up and solely concentrate on that, what others are doing, doesn’t really affect you.

The comparison competitor

There is having a drive to win and there is having a desire to be ‘better than everyone,’ where is the line? Is it the same thing? A sports competitor has a drive to win and that, in turn is fuelled by the want to be better. It drives them to train harder, longer and do more than the competition. It is the same in business.

However, for some, it really is like the child with the toy scenario. The toy has been left on the floor, unwanted for about 5 hours, child A now sees value in the toy and starts to play, child B now HAS to have it.

Does this come back to a fear based competitor, the fear of missing out on something. Missing an opportunity that they hadn’t seen before. Missing out on an opportunity to prove you are able to do something better than someone else to boost your own self esteem? Or is it chasing after what others deem to be valuable because you haven’t identified what is valuable to you?

Are you competitive?

Life of ‘Life About The House’

We’re expanding!!

Hi everyone! So I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. The point of the name of this blog, ‘Life About the House’, was to share progress about life and houses. So I am expanding the blog to cover just that!

When I left teaching in 2017, it was a real leap of faith into the world of property investment. I had to be all in or else it would be too easy to get scared and go back. (It’s still scary, but I haven’t gone back!)

There are still times now I have doubt, get overwhelmingly anxious and think myself into a worry pit. However, I never doubt what property can do for you, and I never doubt that we will make it. I just don’t give us that option.

But there are so many things I am going to have to level up for this year, so I am going to share the process, because they are all inter-connected. I doubt that any of us have so much free time when we are starting out, that our days are blissful moments of zen or solely free to be dedicated to business and only business!

The year ahead

We are re-designing and renovating our entire home this year, we are planning a wedding and paying for it through a flip, plus I am making everything for it. The honeymoon is on our vision board and we want to have property paying for that too. I need to lose some weight for the dress and I have started yoga to help with my mental well being and lower back pain. Plus we have signed up to do a half marathon (me) and the London marathon (Matt). And these are in addition to our business growth goals and usual life tasks. Even writing that down makes my heart beat a little faster.

For some of you, your stories will be similar, or you will have your own priorities to balance, having children, work, commitments and trying to create a business alongside.

We can do this!!!

Every week I am going to share the business side and the life side in separate posts. They are interconnected, but for my own mental space and writing, I am going to put things in zones. I will be sharing what we develop to manage time, challenges we face and the wins too.

Lets get rid of the excuses and know we deserve what we want!

For those of you out there who are feeling a bit overwhelmed, un-motivated or lost, I’ve got your back. We have all been there, tough love doesn’t work for me, but you will have to dig deep and figure out what you’re doing this for. Anyone can shout you into action, but for the change to be there at your core, you have to want it yourself. It’s not always comfortable, but that’s ok and good. We don’t achieve everything we are capable of when we are comfy.

Lets build each other up not compare and tear ourselves down!

Maybe you’re on a weight loss mission but can’t seem to give up the biscuits, (me), or you have signed up for a run and can’t really run (also me). Is your wedding on the horizon and you want it to be on budget but also look amazing?

You will probably be interested and invested in learning more about property if you already read this blog, so you may be on your way to getting your first property deal, or wanting to scale your business. Maybe you just want to know there are other people out there who are juggling it all, making mistakes and growing.

I would love to hear what big goals and events you have got on this year?


Is your thinking setting you apart, or holding you back?

Happy Monday All! I have been reading/listening to a lot of books this month and have been really thinking about the great content. I realised how easy it is to fill your head with the words when you’re driving, but if you aren’t making a point of doing any follow ups, you’re likely to forget or not quite recall all of the information. So make a point of taking some notes when you can, or put sticky notes in your books so you know where the action points are.

This week I have been thinking a lot on USP’s (Unique Selling Points). This can be difficult sometimes to come up with, especially when others are doing pretty much the same thing you are. In property, there are lots of investment models, but a house, is a house, is a house. You are going to have to dig deeper to find out what is setting yours apart.

The importance of feedback

We sent our business plan out for some constructive feedback, and one of the points raised, was selling our USP in the document. It initially stumped us to pinpoint. You really have to allow yourselves ‘think time’ to get to the essence of who your are and who you want to be as a brand.

The Magic Of Thinking Big, David J. Shwartz

As I was listening to ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ by David J. Schwartz, there was a section on questions. Your brain goes to work to find answers, so make sure you are asking it the right questions.

He discussed situations where if you believe something is impossible, we will find answers that support this belief. So many times we stop ourselves thinking creatively, because we don’t have belief that we can, or belief in what we can achieve, or belief that it will work. So we need to start allowing ourselves to think freely without creating mental blocks for ourselves. Ask different questions.

Action your learning

We sat last night with a note book and pen and broke our business down into core areas and started to brain storm all the ways we could make improvements in those areas. As I discussed at the start, if you don’t take action on what you are learning, you will likely forget it. I heard an idea and actioned it. What incremental things could we do, just by asking this of ourselves, we came up with loads of different ideas to action. It was rocket science, but we started to get creative.

Take an honest look

When we aren’t doing the best we can, it can be painful to admit. It is uncomfortable and creates a fine line in our minds between negative self talk and constructive evaluation. Try to work out areas that may be holding you back and how you could make some changes to benefit, rather than taking the view that you are x, y and z and that equals rubbish. Trust me, beating yourself up doesn’t make you more productive, it doesn’t fire you up and it slowly destroys what motivation you have left. You have to change your thinking patterns.

What great books are you reading?

Always love a recommendation!

How Are You Going To Move Yourself Forward in 2019?

2019 is fully up and running now. Decorations down, excuses that we don’t know what day it is, gone. We now have another year to get sh*t done. I am not a fan of new years, to me it builds a pressure for it to be something momentous. I do however like the mental shift of feeling like you have another opportunity to learn and a fresh start. There is something quite relaxing about drawing a line under the previous year and going forward.

I spoke in my last post about not making resolutions but making a promise to look after myself. So far, this has resulted in, yoga nearly every day (I genuinely love it and on some days get up at 5am to make it to class, so that says it all). We talk to each other more about what we are grateful for and what we want to do. I am back into the swing of training for a half marathon and most importantly, we have decided to have a coach.

Reaching out to someone who has more experience and knowledge is always a good thing. For ages, I was of the mentality that I just need to work harder and then I wouldn’t need a coach. What I found however, is that you can be working hard, but not produce results. You can go off on a tangent and end up months later feeling like you’ve got nowhere. There needs to be a balance between personal responsibility and collaborative guidance and accountability.

Personal Responsibility

What is personal responsibility? For me, in quite blunt terms, it’s looking at yourself honestly without excuses. When we are scared, sad, jealous etc., it is too easy to deflect our role in the situation and either cast blame to others, the market conditions or the economy, in order to take the heat off the role we have played in things not being how we wish them to be. I am guilty of this in the past. I didn’t do…. because this happened, or I can’t do it because of this, then I have to do that… The reality is usually because I was either too scared to start something or procrastinating, which is sabotage in itself.

When we can be honest, however difficult, we can at least start to break patterns and move forward.


Depending on your own personality type, you will either be a self starter, who can motivate yourself. You don’t need to keep account to anyone else, you will do it regardless. Or maybe like me, you have moments of this, but perform better when you have externally set goals, deadlines etc. In this case, having someone else to answer to can be the motivation to move. You are driven more by not wanting to let someone else down, or not wanting to let yourself down in front of someone else! (any people familiar with slimming classes will understand the latter).

For me, I am trying to get to a point of balance, where I succeed for myself and seek guidance and support to move me on faster. I am trying to avoid becoming dependent on someone else for my success. Matthew will read this and smile and say, “it’s becoming interdependent.” (I do listen)

Motivation Comes From Within

If you are just starting out in property investing, the road ahead can seem quite daunting. The best thing you can do at the beginning and throughout your time investing, is to learn. Having the right education will save many avoidable, costly mistakes. Also it will help you find solutions to mistakes that you do make (we are all human and in any field there will be mistakes). But, remember, learning, in the true sense of the word is not passive. It requires action. There are so many people who think that reading the books, going on courses, will give you everything on a plate, with little input required from yourself. Wrong.

Learning is a Verb

Verbs are doing words. The clue is in that. You have to be willing to actively learn, you can gain the theory from the classroom but you really learn it when you act upon it. When we started I didn’t know anything to do with property. We did courses and learned in the classroom, then we got out there and started practising. We got refurb costings wrong, but you learn. We made mistakes with time planning, but you learn. The fear of making a mistake will hold you back. There are always solutions, you just have to surround yourself with the people who can help to find them.

What’s the worst that can happen?

I listened to Brook Castillo on The Life Coach podcast. She summarised this with questions from listeners, her view was a game changer for me. A lot of people fear taking an action in case the result is, that it doesn’t work out. But, in not taking the action, you actually guarantee that what ever you want, won’t happen.

For instance, if you never view any houses or put in offers because you are scared you won’t get an offer accepted. You are making that outcome 100% guaranteed and are already living that now. What you’re afraid of happening, is actually happening anyway. You could change that, by taking the action; you may still have your offers rejected, but you stand a chance that you won’t.

What is going to make this year any different?

Whatever your answer is to this question, you have to mean it. Making empty promises and loaded lists of things you will do is great, if you will actually do them. Don’t play your life small, but make sure you are truly motivated by what you’re aiming for. Passive promises and ‘should do’ lists are unlikely to keep you going when it gets tough (and it does for everyone). You have to be fully committed. In the words of Tony Robbins, “strive for progress not perfection”.

Turning My Resolutions Into One Promise

So here it is, 2019. Happy New Year! Like every other person who gets to this time, my head is full of the excitement and possibilities for the year to come and also reflective on the year passed. What I am trying to avoid this year however, are the string of resolutions that make it to February, before they fade into the noise of ‘back to normal’ life.

I spent the last few weeks of 2018 with an anxious knot of excitement and overwhelm over what we have planned for this year. But if I allow these anxious thoughts to take control, I know that they have the power to turn motivation and joy into fear and worry. So I am taking a different approach to the start of this year. I am avoiding the resolution list, which in my case ends up being a shopping list of things that are currently wrong with me and need ‘fixing’, instead I am making myself a promise.

I promise to take care of myself.

This will take form in various ways and collectively, I hope that keeping this one promise will bring me a lot more than half a stone on the scales, or a whole month of drinking at least 2 litres of water a day.

This may sound vague, possibly even selfish, but how many of us put ourselves at the bottom of our ‘to do’ lists? Everything gets done for everyone else and there is never enough left in the tank for ourselves. We get frustrated and resentful of areas of our lives that ‘take’ opportunities away from us, when actually we give them the power to do so.

Promising to take care of myself is a far healthier concept for my mind to process than a list of things to fix and also covers a broad range of my life.

Taking care of myself will mean making sure that I work on building our goals first and with top priority. It will also mean creating a better sleeping routine. I won’t allow myself to get annoyed by others or feel inadequate on social media, I will just delete/unfollow. I will exercise and take care of my back so that I don’t get fatigued by pain. Creating an organised space will stop the stress of having to find things later. I promise that I will stay true to myself and not allow myself to feel less, compared to others.

There are so many more things that will come under this heading and not one of them will be to wake up at 4.30am and run for an hour before eating kale and chicken for breakfast every day except Sunday and work 18 hours a day to make sure my (money goals) happen.

I promise to look after myself and enjoy life.