Rod Khleif is an entrepreneur, real estate investor, multiple business owner, author, mentor, and community philanthropist who is passionate about business, life, success, and giving back. He is one of the country’s top real estate trainers, host of the Top-Ranked iTunes real estate podcast The Lifetime Cash Flow Through Real Estate Investing, and author of How to Create Lifetime Cash Flow Through Multifamily Properties considered to be an essential “textbook” for aspiring multifamily investors.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I immigrated to this country when I was six years old. I was born in the Netherlands and my mother, brother and I immigrated to Denver Colorado. We didn’t have much. We really struggled when I was growing up. My mom babysat kids so we’d have enough money to eat. With her babysitting money, she bought the house across the street from us when I was 14 years old for about $30,000, and a couple of years later she told me her net worth had gone up to $20,000 in her sleep because the property had gone up in value that much. That’s when I told her “forget college, I’m getting into real estate”. I never looked back. I’ve owned thousands of single-family houses and thousands of apartment units. In 2006 my net worth went up to $17 million while I slept.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

I wish I’d realized that there really are no limitations in this life. That there’s nothing you can’t do, be, or have. The only limitations we have are the limitations we believe. The only things that hold anyone back are their limiting beliefs or their fears. The people that are able to push through that fear to grab the life they deserve are the ones I admire.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

I think the worst advice I see people giving is to have patience. This life isn’t a dress rehearsal. To be a success requires speed of implementation and a sense of urgency. You don’t dabble and you don’t coast. You take massive freaking action to build that life you deserve. You focus and grind for a few years like most people won’t see you can live the rest of your life like most people can’t. You realize that a comfort zone is a warm place but nothing grows there. That the life you deserve is just on the other side of comfort. The other bad advice I hear and see his parents telling their children that they need to go to college get a good job and build a retirement. I believe in college for technical abilities but definitely not for much else. College is failing most of the people that attend. Many end up with huge student loan debt and 74% of people that go to college don’t use their degree. I didn’t go to college and I got most of my training from coaches and mentors in the thought leadership space. That’s the new way of learning.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

I spoke previously about my net worth going up to $17 million in 2006. While there is a punchline. In 2008 I lost everything. I lost $50 million. That was a pretty dark time because I thought I was set for life. One of the things I teach and I’m known for is the discussion around the mindset it took to have $50 million to lose in the first place and then the mindset and psychology it took to get back to the success that I’m blessed to enjoy today. It’s my belief that 80 to 90% of your success in anything is just that. It is your mindset and your psychology. Only 10 to 20% is the technical knowledge like real estate for example. You have to actually take action with what you learn.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

I believe one of the biggest contributors to my success has been my focus on having the proper mindset and focusing on the things that I want versus the things that I don’t want. Whatever you focus on gets larger both positive and negative. It’s been my ability to focus on the positive and then manifest those things into my life that I believe is the biggest contributor to my success. It’s having very clearly defined goals and knowing why those goals are an absolute must and then re-associating with those goals and why’s that I believe has had the biggest impact for me.

What is your morning routine?

My morning routine includes drinking a lot of water, exercise, and then doing a short visualization. I sit in my recliner just for a few minutes being grateful for all the amazing things in my life. My beautiful wife, my kids, my students, in my foundation. I just do gratitude which happens to be the most important emotion available to us as human beings. So I’m grateful for the things that I have but then I’m grateful for the things that I want as if I already have them. I take this process very seriously and sometimes even get emotional being grateful for things I don’t even have yet. Why? Because that’s how I manifest them into my life.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

The most important habit has been my commitment to health and exercise. Not so much for health as for energy. To accomplish anything magnificent in life requires incredible energy. If you’ve got a job and you want to build a side hustle and then maybe you also have a family with kids to do all of that requires incredible energy and to have that energy you have to have your health. I exercise daily and eat as healthy as I possibly can for this reason.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

At my boot camps, I take my students through a planning exercise. So they can be incredibly effective planning on a weekly basis. It involves celebrating progress, journaling, identifying the most important things to focus on, and then blocking time for those things. It’s how I was able to manage two large businesses at the same time. So many of us find ourselves distracted when we’re with the people that matter the most. We don’t live in the moment. We’re focused on the future of the past. The most important people in our lives would rather have a short time of our total focus than a longer time of distraction. This planning process that I teach helps with that focus and presence.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

I think the most impactful book in my life has been Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. In fact, it’s had such an impact that I’ve given away thousands of copies to my students over the years. It has so many incredible life lessons around finding your burning desire, and the power of decisions, and the incredible momentum you get from participating in or creating a mastermind.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

One of my favorite quotes is from Tony Robbins, which is “Live With Passion”. When someone is operating inside of their passion it’s something that they love and we all know the most successful people on the planet are the ones that operate inside of their passion. I encourage my students to find their passion because when they do then work is play.