Designing Your Lifestyle with Justin Donald
New episode with my friend and awesome human, Justin Donald. JD is a buddy of mine, he’s a fellow Front Row Dad, and he’s impacted a lot of lives as the “Lifestyle Investor.” He’s one of the few people I know who truly owns their time. His energy and passions are inspiring.
This episode covers a range of insights around designing your lifestyle. Just shares some background into the Lifestyle Investor, buying back our time, avoiding the net worth trap, and how we can break out of the traditional rat race of trading time for money. He also shares some cool ideas around competition, coaching, investing in relationships and how he’s driven by a bigger picture of creating freedom in the world.
I believe we can all design our lifestyle if we choose to, but many of us get stuck in the financial equation of realizing freedom. Justin offers some great advice in this realm to inspire how we think about money, success and realizing true freedom.
I appreciate Justin for his humility, leadership and authenticity. He’s created a lot of impact by sharing what he’s learned, and he does it without sacrificing who he is. Hope you enjoy the content!
“I'd rather have money so I don't have to work as hard, so I can work smarter, and then work on things that inspire me.”
“I got to a point in my career where I was tired of trading time for money. I was tired of being a slave to my business or being a slave to the income that I made, or that I became accustomed to.”
“I recognize I need achievement for me. I need to know I'm learning. I need to know I'm growing.”
“I like to get into a room where I don't know a lot and I can have other people teach me. It's a way that I can stay grounded. It's a way that I can keep my humility in check.”
“I love spending time with people to play the game of business and life at a higher level than me. Because I will naturally level up. So instead of me focusing on hitting a number, why don't I just focus on who I'm spending time with?”
“I've made it a point to invest in the smartest people in whatever their thing is.”
[00:00:00] Ali: Welcome back folks. I have a special friend, a buddy from FRD, actually a fellow original St. Louisan, which we might talk about today. Justin Donald, sometimes I call him JD. I am just excited to have you here, brother, because we've spent some really profound time together in person as a result of meeting up Front Row Dads over the last several years, which have impacted me, some of which we may talk about today.
But also, man, you're just one of the most humble humans I know. And I, I wanted to set that tone now, um, I'm not great at introductions. In fact, I'm gonna let you introduce yourself, but from the day I've met you in San Diego, I think this is three or four years ago, I was just like, damn, this is a humble dude.
And so I appreciate you for that. Amongst many other things. So welcome. Thanks for creating space for this. How would you like to introduce yourself?
[00:00:53] Justin: Well, thanks. You know, it's great to be here. Uh, I've never asked, uh, had someone ask me how, how should I introduce you? Or maybe it's been a long time.
Mm-hmm. , hey, I'm just a guy that loves hanging with people, getting to know people better, wants to have some impact on the world. And, you know, I try and share the things that I've figured out, but constantly learn the things that I haven't yet figured out. Hmm. I think that's the best way to describe me.
That's it. See, that's why no formal intro ever needed, man.
[00:01:23] Ali: Yeah. Couldn't have aligned with humility any better. So, perfect words. There's a lot of things I'm curious about, but the first thing, just to set the tone, and it is kind of to honor the primary intent behind this show is, Some awareness around where we're creating space in our lives.
So before getting into your awesome story, what you're doing right now or different parts of your journey, what are you creating space for right now? What comes to mind?
[00:01:53] Justin: Well, I mean, one of 'em for sure is just making sure that I have family in the calendar first. You know, I spent a lot of my life and career paying lip service to the fact that I was a family man first and a businessman second, but my schedule didn't reflect it.
Mm-hmm. . So, you know, I think really truly like putting that in and planning the trips. You know, we're in the middle of planning our spring break trip, which we're really excited about. And a lot of people would have probably already planned it by now. And I don't know when this episode's gonna come out, but you know, we, we leave ourselves a little bit of notice just in case we wanna mix things up or get some great idea last minute. Yes.
So that's really fun for me. Um, I have recently brought on a lot of my friends to help me run the Lifestyle Investor organization. So that, to me, I've created a lot of space there because, not only do I feel like this is something that serves people, but I actually feel like I'm able to help provide really cool opportunities to my friends who are skilled and gifted in different areas that can come on board and like, help me do some cool stuff.
And, you know, with many great minds, I think more happens and better quality things happen. And so I like being able to provide a cool opportunity for them. And we just did a planning session this last week for 2023 and beyond, and it, it was really powerful. Mm.
And then of course, fun man. I, I mean, I play volleyball. Mm-hmm. sand volleyball every weekend. And I like getting, you know, workouts in and doing my coffee breaks with friends. I leave my Fridays completely open for half the day as a date day with my wife and the other half to hang with my friends.
And then I, I, uh, you know, love just connecting with people in general. So I, I always have an open space for that. Mm.
[00:03:34] Ali: Yep. I've sensed that, you know, sometimes when we're trying to coordinate schedules for podcasts or other things, it can take time like especially with some of our friends in our network, whereas I was like, yo, you wanna be on the podcast?
And you're like, hell yes. And it just happened like within a week or two. So you're a reflection of what you just shared. And it's funny, dude, you just mentioned like three things that I intended to dig into, just cuz I'm curious, and I think you have an abundance of wisdom in these, these areas.
The first is travel. First, I'm curious, where are you guys going for your spring break trip?
[00:04:08] Justin: Well, I think we're gonna go to Turks and Caicos. So, we will likely pull the trigger on officially booking it at some point this week. We just had to get all our ducks in a row. And then we had a, uh, some close friends and other, Front Row Dad, Dane Espegard and the Espegard family say, Hey, we, we may wanna join you on this.
We might actually do our spring break with them. So we're waiting to see if this lines up. And it's just a gorgeous island. I've been to almost all the Caribbean islands. Mm-hmm. , my goal is to go to all of them. I think I've got like five or six more that I need to hit up. Turks and Caicos is, You know, just a, a gorgeous place with top-notch accommodations.
[00:04:46] Ali: Totally. Okay. This lends to a bit about your travel history. I happen to know you're very well traveled. I also happen to know you have a, a even bigger goal of visiting every country in the world, and I wanted to get, uh, real time update. How many countries have you visited today?
[00:05:03] Justin: I think it's 76. I've kind of stalled out the last few years where I've gone to countries I've already been to or just less travel. You know, during covid we've done more US travel or North American travel as opposed to maybe some of the countries that I haven't been to in Europe or Asia or Africa.
[00:05:21] Ali: Totally. Yep. Yeah, we exploded. Last year was our year of adventure for the Jafarians. Um, because the previous year was basically lockdown, like last year was a fun and challenging rollercoaster .
We had almost. Nine or 10 trips with, with each other, you know, in different degrees. And actually this year our word for the year is challenge. And we have like 12 trips planned. So we're really trying to exercise that muscle. And I, I'm always inspired. That's amazing. Yeah, dude, it's fun. I'm inspired by you though, because I know you, you've hit a lot of areas.
I also wanted to, to ask you about how you travel. So you mentioned briefly like, uh, you know, we're just locking it in. What's your travel formula? Is it a little bit of structure, a little bit of leading it open, like you said?
[00:06:08] Justin: Well, you know, this is a funny question that you asked us right now.
And it'd be really funny if my wife walked in for this conversation because travel has really shifted in learning how she likes to travel best versus how I like to, so mm-hmm. , I'm, I'm an Enneagram seven. I want to go check out everything. I want to have every experience under the sun. You know, I've, I've planned travel for us where it's like, we're gonna spend a night here and we're gonna do a night here, and then, hey, we're gonna do two nights here, but then we're back to a night here and three nights here.
And that's just a little too much of a go go go for my wife. She doesn't like to pick up and move and, and, you know, move all the luggage and all that. She wants to kind of get settled, find an area that she likes where she can kind of be a regular and ha you know, establish this routine. So our travels really have evolved over the years.
It's almost like there needs to be some structured time, but there certainly needs to be unstructured time, right? Mm-hmm. , so I, you know, one of the big jokes that I had in one of my earlier businesses is that, for a long time I like to rock the no plan plan, right? The plan that just has no plan. You just go and see what happens, right?
And, and so there's a big joke that sometimes I would go on vacation and when my staff was running stuff, that they would run the no plan plan, cuz I wouldn't actually do a very good job planning for 'em. Yeah. And I would just go.
But you know, I enjoy like researching the cool stuff to do. So I like having a hand in it. Mm-hmm. . Um, but then I like making sure that my wife's gonna feel like this is really cool and our daughter can really go with the flow. I mean, she wants some fun stuff to do, but I feel like there's gotta be carefree, timelessness built in.
It can't be too structured. But I also don't wanna just sit on a beach all day. Like I, I want to have some sort of like education, learning history, like something, right. So it's kind of gotta be a little bit of everything.
[00:08:05] Ali: Wow. That's so interesting how Jennifer and Gabrielle, my wife, are similar because we've found that healthy compromise as well.
I'm an enneagram five with a very strong seven, so almost dual they're so close. And so like you , I'm seeking the experience, I'm seeking the adventure. I'm seeking a bit faster of a pace, and I definitely don't like to sit on the beach. I've used those words. I'm like, we can have a beach day, but I'm not just gonna sit there like, I want to go get active and move my body.
And dude, what's so interesting is that , it's almost essential for me, and I'm reflecting back some of what I heard from you, that I love the vision process. I love planning it and be like, cool, here's where we're gonna go. We're gonna hit we're, we're doing this for right now as we speak. We've got an epic trip to Europe and June, four weeks, and I'm sitting there at high level, like, okay, what are the countries, what are the trains?
What are the major places? Are we gonna hit these mountains, these hikes, et cetera. And it's, it's already got her a little nervous. Like, Ooh, that's a lot like five countries , you know, but here's the, the best part. Even though I can look at it from that strategic level and be like, this is how we're gonna do it. These are the main things.
She'll be like, okay, did you book those hotels for the second week? I'm like, no, we'll do it when we're there. Which scares her. Cause she's like, no, we have to have it booked. I'm like, no... we might get there and talk to a local and be like, you gotta stay there and I wanna leave room and space for that.
Is that kind of how your story goes?
[00:09:33] Justin: A hundred percent. My wife wants everything booked before we leave. And I'm like, I wanna leave everything open because you just never know. Yes. What else could exist? I wanna know what the lost opportunity cost is here. You know.
[00:09:45] Ali: Oh dude, that is it. That, that completely lands with me.
Okay, cool. So we have very similar tone.
[00:09:50] Justin: And sometimes you might say like, Hey, I don't wanna stay here this long. Or you're like, wow, this place is great. I wanna stay here longer. So like, I think having some hubs makes sense. Mm-hmm. . But like, just keeping some flexibility in the timeline. Unless you know it, unless you had a travel agent book it. You know, for me that's just a fun way to do it.
[00:10:11] Ali: A hundred percent. I agree. Unless I've been there before, I need that. I basically need that uncertainty to be like, we need to experience what we don't even know yet. Mm-hmm. .
Awesome. Okay. Talk a little bit about travel. You also mentioned Lifestyle Investor, and I'm gonna let you explain it, but I want to at least give some context.
I, I've always admired the work you do and where you really hit it with me recently when you were recording a show with someone else was how you said something very much along the lines of "true wealth is owning your time."
Mm-hmm. , and dude that just hit me. We may have talked about that before. I and many other people know the abundance you've created with financial wealth and other forms of wealth, and you're a genius at it. But when you said that, I literally picked up my phone, I was like, yo, you wanna do a podcast?
So how would you explain for people that aren't familiar with you, basically why you got into the Lifestyle Investor, where it is today, and in what that ownership of time really means?
[00:11:11] Justin: Sure. Yeah. So, you know, I, I know a lot of rich people that work like a dog. Mm-hmm. that work so hard, so many hours. Their work owns them. Their money owns them. And that just is so unappealing to me. Like, I, I don't wanna have to work so hard to have more money.
I'd rather have money so I don't have to work as hard, that I can work smarter, I can work on things that inspire me. So, I noticed that, you know, rich people, many of them are still working hard. Yep. Wealthy people really kind of have the time thing figured out. And so that's kind of the difference between being rich and being wealthy.
And so for me, I got to a point in my career where I was tired of trading time for money. I was tired of being a slave to my business or being a slave to the income that I made, or that I became accustomed to. This lifestyle that I had become accustomed to. You know, for some people it's, more that you're like a slave to certainty or safety or security, right?
For me, there's some of that inherent in just like feeling like you got things under control. But I just, I didn't wanna live there. I wanted more, I wanted better. And so I decided that I was gonna buy my time back and I started researching all the ways I could do it. And I found real estate to be a really attractive way to buy my time back because of leverage, because I'd only have to put 20% down to buy something and I can have a seller or the bank finance the rest of it.
And then I could find some off market deals so that I could get a better return. I got started in mobile home parks, which, is you know, probably counterintuitive to many, but it's very high cash flow. And so we bought a mobile home park and that replaced my wife's income so she didn't have to work as a teacher anymore, which was great cuz we were on opposite schedules.
Like my, my busy season back then. I had a business where, summers were my busiest time because college students were my largest recruiting pool. Oh, yep. And then my wife was off during the summers. And then on her breaks were other, you know, intense recruiting seasons and so, um, my wife kinda missing each other.
Huh. Yeah, we are missing each other. Yeah. And so, you know, she loves teaching. I mean, she'll, I mean, at some point she'll probably do some substitute teaching. Her mom does that now. So it, it was less about like, her not loving it. It was more of like, let's own our time and let's do the things we want on our time.
Right? Let's be able to do a lot of family time. Let's be able to do the things that bring us energy and passion. And for most people, they're not able to step away from what they're doing, even if they don't like it. Most people don't even like what they do for a work for profession, right? They show up and they, they just totally like can't stand what they're doing. Most people, right, if you look at any of the surveys.
But why do they not leave? It's hard. It's hard because you have a sure thing in your head, right? Like, if I work this job this many hours, I make this amount of money, I know my responsibilities. It's safe, it's comfortable.
But most growth happens in discomfort, right? In, in the uncomfortable spaces. And so, you know, for us, we just wanted to buy that time back so we could spend it how we wanted to. And I think when people get to the point that they can do that, most need the financial equation solved. So most people can't step out of what they're doing and pivot to something else until their expenses are covered.
So that's what I try and teach people how to do. How do you buy your time back? Buy assets that produce income and keep buying them until you have more income coming in than what it costs you to survive at the beginning, and then what it costs you to live your current lifestyle later on. And so it's just a very rewarding profession where I feel like I can have true impact and influence.
But my free time is very much my own. Like I can choose when I wanna work, how much I wanna work. I can focus on the things that bring me the most energy, and where I show up feeling the most passionate. I can spend time with the people that I cherish and treasure their relationship the most.
So owning your time is just huge. Hmm. And most people really have to solve that financial equation in order to do it.
[00:15:35] Ali: It's a massive man. Yep. So, I remember reading your book a while back when it first came out, and I really enjoyed it. It was easy to read. You broke things down. . And one of the things that I found unique was your emphasis on cash flow investments, which is awesome because to your point, that's how you start to buy your time back faster.
And I am nowhere near investment specialist. I've learned a lot of things just from listening to you. And what's so cool, dude, is I gifted your book to one of my best friends and like a year later, I kid you not, he had two investment properties. So like, wow. I didn't tell me anything.
I was just like, Hey, here's my buddy. He wrote this book, he definitely knows what he is talking about. Check it out. And then a year later he is like, oh yeah, I'm already doing that. So like there's no doubt how much impact you're creating. And I love... I love the last part that you kind of discussed where it's about like really getting that time back and owning your energy.
Cuz I've always felt high energy from you. We never show up at a FRD retreat and you're just slugging like, ah, this is, um, dragging. Like, you're just full of life, dude. I think that comes out, I even told you before he jumped on today, I was like, you are looking young and fresh. So thank you for not only what you do, but also living what you do.
Because the last thing I'll say, and this goes back to how I've always sensed the humility in you, is I have met people with lots of financial success and high net worth and not all of them show up like you do. So that's what I'm saying, like, you do stand out and I feel like I'm talking to a friend who's not worried about status.
Whereas a lot of times when we get into this game, that's why I laughed when I was like, I love how you've created this mission and you do it in a way that reflects you. Whereas I know all these really successful financial folks that I kind of just sense they're in it as, it's like a, it's a game and it'll never end and until they have enough zeros, you know, they just keep grinding.
Oh, I gotta say one more thing too. Something else you said that was really profound and landed with me recently. It was just a really good wake up moment, was how you described that a lot of us will trick ourselves into thinking that cuz we own businesses that we're on this track of getting our time back.
Whereas you use this really awesome metaphor of. You're actually, you just own a job and you're on a treadmill. And I felt that before. So I appreciate you articulating that, because even if you have a business that's got tons of revenue and tons of profit, you could still be in it so much that, like you said, you're on that treadmill.
Like, oh my gosh, I don't know how to get off. And if I do, it all falls apart.
[00:18:21] Justin: Gosh, there's so much to unpack there. You know, first and foremost, you say such nice things. I gotta keep coming on your show, man. You're building me up. I appreciate it, . Uh, you're too kind. Yeah, you know, it, it's interesting because most people think they own their business when in reality their business owns them.
Right. And it's indicative of their schedule. Right? Right. Check out anyone's schedule, see what it looks like. See where the majority of their time is being spent and most people don't want that, but they're conditioned into that. And then I'll even say the same thing with money, right?
Like most people, their business owns them. They don't own their business. Most people, money owns them. They don't own their money. Mm-hmm. And you can always tell when someone is, is owned by money cuz they have a hard time giving. Like, it doesn't matter the amount or whatever it is, but find someone that has a hard time giving. You'll find someone that they don't own their money. Their money owns them.
Um, let's talk about this net worth trap here for a moment though. Sure. Like this, we could go down a long rabbit hole on this. One of the things that I, I despise the most about the financial industry is there are people in this industry that will make judgements on a person's value based on their net worth, based on how much money they make, like the, like the barometer, you know, or, whatever analytics go towards these financial measurements.
And it's just such a horrible gauge. Cuz I know a lot of people that check the box at a high level on the financial side of things, but are really miserable. Yeah. Or are really unhealthy and outta shape and maybe not living a life that's very physically pleasing. So I don't think it's a great gauge.
The problem is we live in a society that overvalues financial success and overvalues being an entrepreneur with a big business and pursuing unicorn status or whatever it might be. And so there is this net worth trap. And by the way, net worth is a funny thing because it's very subjective.
Most people will say or think their net worth is higher than it really is because there's the bias. And a lot of people, their business is part of that net worth. And if you're an entrepreneur, it's likely the largest part of your net worth. And your business is always worth more to you than someone else. Almost always. If you don't believe me, go try and sell it and you'll likely get less than you think it's worth. Right?
And whatever you do get, they're gonna make you stay on because most people have a personality or, or a, a person based business, a brand, but it's more based on them and it functions because they're involved as opposed to like a system-based business.
But let's unpack this a little bit more. The goalposts just constantly moves. So at one point in time, I think most people have said to themselves, like, if I could only make this much money, then I'd be happier, then I'd feel good. And then once you make that amount of money, I remember early on, like for me it was like, I wanna make six figures.
Like I will know. Mm-hmm. , I have arrived when I make six figures. Right? Like, no one in my family was making six figures. Like, that was a big number. And so I remember getting there and I was like, ah, this is cool. I'll make it six figures. And then I was like, okay, what's next? Mm-hmm. I mean, literally, like immediately.
Mm-hmm. You know? And the same thing is true, like a net worth. Like some people are like, oh, when I get to, you know, a million dollars in net worth, Then, I'm gonna be good. And then once you get there, you're like, well, no, it's not what I thought. So it's like, it's really 5 million was really the number I was thinking.
Right. And then it just keeps growing and growing and growing and whatever stuff you buy, like you could buy the newest, coolest, most amazing home and in a matter of time there are gonna be things you don't like about that home. At the beginning, you loved everything. And in, in a short period of time, oh, I wish it had that. Oh, my friend has this. Oh, you know, we got an indoor fireplace. My friend has an outdoor fireplace. I need, you know, whatever it is.
Like, it's just hard because, the goalposts move and your desires change. And when you see someone else with something, we often want that same something. So anyone that is waiting to get to a certain number, waiting to get to a certain income, like there's not a lot of fulfillment in that, and it's just gonna keep stretching.
You're never gonna arrive. You're just truly never gonna arrive. You're gonna always want more. There's no number that's gonna satisfy us. So we've gotta find things that are truly fulfilling, in my opinion, to live life today. Mm-hmm. not sometime in the future. And that's irre regardless of how much money you make or what your net worth is.
But if you can find a way to create passive income to cover your life's expenses, it becomes a lot easier to find the time to figure out what it is that you love to do and who you love to spend time with, and what fills you up.
[00:23:28] Ali: Totally, man. Wow. Yeah. So something you sparked there. I felt that, and I've felt the need to level up. I've gotten a lot more discipline in kind of pushing out the status games, relieving that egotistical voice that's talking about net worth and comparison. It still hits me from time to time. You know, I, I can admit that openly, but where I'm really curious is that sometimes I do struggle with what's enough.
Because often to your point, enough becomes not enough, becomes not enough, and then all of a sudden, like your metaphor, the goalpost has changed dramatically. I remember reading in a book Built to Sell, one of the really cool parts of that story is like, Okay, how much do you want for your business? Write it down and put it in a drawer. And in five years, when you get to a place where you're ready to sell, open that paper again and remember what you said.
So it kind of helps you stay balanced with that whole, it's gonna move. It's almost inevitable it's gonna move. But my question for you, with all this is it, how do you balance knowing when it's enough and not continuing to push and push and push and feel the the pressure of status?
[00:24:42] Justin: So this is hard for achievers. Mm-hmm. . Um, I mean, it's gonna be hard for anyone that plays the comparison game. Anyone that feels like they have to keep up. But especially for people that would consider themselves like an alpha personality, an alpha male, an alpha female. For someone that is an achiever like an Enneagram three.
But just basically like has this, you know, this engine desire to just do more. And by the way, I have that, so like I have to set up guardrails for myself. Ah. Cuz for me it's not that I need to accomplish things for status, though I can tell you at many points in my life that was true.
Right? Sure. And I, I actually think that though there's good motivation, it may not be the best motivation. Right? True. But I think a lot of people experience that. I recognize today like I need achievement for me. I need to know I'm learning. I need to know I'm growing. But it doesn't have to be in business, it doesn't have to be in finances.
Now a lot of people default to that cuz maybe it's what they hold at, at the highest position, like it's the highest on their totem pole. Right. But I, I mean, I've had a dreams list. I, I did my first dreams list back in 2006. And so this is just a list that I came up with a hundred dreams and then since then I just added to it. Added to it.
So every year I'm adding to it. Every year I'm crossing stuff off. And that's another way for me where I've been able to like, have achievement or experience things that are not business or financial related necessarily. Sometimes they are, and I do have those categories, right? Hmm. But it's a way for me to have that self-satisfaction.
Like I don't need you to know Ali, that I accomplished X, Y, Z thing. But I need to know that I was able to figure it out. Like I need to know I had what it took to, you know, learn whatever this thing is. Right. You know, at one point in time, I didn't know anything about online marketing or the world of the internet.
And by the way, I would still say I'm pretty amateur level at it. I went to this summit, Traffic and Conversion. Mm-hmm. summit years ago. And, and I went to a few of 'em, but I'm telling you, I showed up to this place because I knew nothing and there were 6,000 people there that year.
And I was probably number 5,999 or number 6,000 in terms of like knowledge, ability. Like it was amateur hour for me. I literally showed up and, you know, I'm sitting next to people I don't know. And I'm hearing someone speak and they're like, yeah, you gotta make sure the copy says this and then you gotta do this with the copy.
And I'm sitting here like, what the heck are they talking about? And I lean over to the person next to me. I didn't know 'em, and I'm like, "What's copy?" and thank goodness this person was nice. I mean, on the inside they're probably like, oh my goodness, what's this person doing at the conference? But, I didn't even know the most basic things. But I like to get into a room where I don't know a lot and I can have other people teach me.
It's a way that I can stay grounded. It's a way that I can keep humility in check. Mm-hmm. , right? It's just a way that I can show up and kind of understand where other people might be in the realms that I do know a lot about. So that when they show up in my world, I can understand them and treat them well, right?
Mm-hmm. . So, yeah, I think that it's important to set these goals. And by the way, I got a funny goal cuz right now my goal is to not have goals. Ooh, whole light, right? Yeah, that's good. My, my whole life I've had goals, so it's really cool to like be like, no, actually I'm gonna try and get out of achiever and not have goals and just like live some life with cool experiences and I can revisit goals later.
[00:28:23] Ali: I love that. We have to go there. And so I'll just reflect back to you. I heard a lot of you needed to go inward, which is amazing. I actually wrote a blog post similar, like along these same lines about finding true wisdom for me recently has been self-knowledge. Like what am I learning about myself and my relationship to these things, sports, business, family, et cetera.
And I think there's so much power in that. Is it, if you can turn on this going inward instead of outward for the validation, like that healthy inward validation, dude, that's where the stuff gets good.
Now, because you just said you've had a season of no goals, I gotta tell you, last summer I took a retreat to it's a event called Brave Soul with my mentors Philip McKernan. It was extraordinary.
And one of the things that came out of that, Justin, we're sitting in the room as a group in a bit of session work and someone brings up goals. And Philip, you know, he's just a really powerful, direct leader. He's like, what if I told you to go home and for six months, have no goals? And you could just sense and feel the tension rise. A lot of leaders in the room, right?
But I sat with that and I'm like, what is this fear telling me? It's scared, like something needs to be known here. And after sitting with that and then coming home and practicing it by going into that for nine months, it's amazing how things just work themselves out, how certain problems just solved themselves.
How, for example, a sales pipeline became a bit more full when I took off this focus, this laser driven, like we gotta have these metrics and hit these goals and these milestones. So it was the first time that I'd say in many, many years where I rewired some programming and be like, no goals.
We're just gonna show up. Do great work. Work with people we wanna work with that we believe in, and take our eye off of this whole K P I metric driven, which was scary, but it just worked itself out. I'm actually still kind of in a season of no business goals, even though I do have personal goals.
So have you found similar results? Like what's been your experience in the no goals game?
[00:30:28] Justin: Well, it's, it's interesting because it's not that you're not working on anything. I think that you don't pursue goals so that you can pursue character qualities Yes. Or virtues, right? So like, I wanna work on being more patient, right? So I can show up that way and focus energy on who I'm becoming as opposed to what I'm doing.
Mm-hmm. And it's also interesting, like, I was given a speech this one time and someone's like, Hey, how do you, like, what's the fastest way to become a millionaire? And someone else is like, well, I, I, I actually want to get to 10 million. What's the fastest way to do that? And they, they probably all thought I was gonna give some like, sophisticated answer.
And my answer was really like, you're probably just gonna hit it if you don't lose money. Mm-hmm. . So like, if you're not a millionaire and you keep earning and you save well, in time you have the opportunity to become a millionaire. I don't know when that's gonna happen. If you don't lose money and you keep getting returns on your money and you haven't invested somewhere and you're not just spending everything, you'll eventually become a millionaire.
Mm-hmm. And someone was at like 2 million in net worth and they're like, I'm at 2 million. How do I get to 10 million? And they thought I was gonna have this crazy answer and I'm like, just don't lose that 2 million dollars, right? Invest it in a super safe vehicle and you will eventually hit 10 million dollars.
You know, so a lot of people think you have to do all this stuff to get to places, right? Well what if you don't have to do all this stuff? I mean, you need to be wise, but what if you just make good decisions along the way, and you spend most of your time and energy focused on like who you're becoming and who you're surrounding yourself with.
Like, who are the people that are gonna influence you and impact you the most? Spend time with them and allow that impact to resonate and help you level up. I love spending time with people to play the game of business and life and investing, wealth creation at a higher level than me.
Mm-hmm. Because I will naturally level up. Mm-hmm. Because I'll hear the way they think, and that's different than the way I think. So instead of me focusing on hitting a number, why don't I just focus on who I'm spending time with? Mm-hmm. . And in order to get into certain groups, maybe it's not about like who you're spending time with, it's like who you are to be the person that they would want in their group.
Right. So it, it's an interesting way of looking at life and growth.
[00:33:07] Ali: Dude, it's super interesting. Yeah. Part of what I, I filtered through that, Justin was like being in the process, being in the experience instead of the outcome. And there's been, there's, there's a lot of learning that happens there, to your point, if you're just focused on showing up, being present, growth mindset. Instead of this constant reminder, like, I gotta get to 10 million, gotta get to 10 million.
There's so many things that remind me of that as it relates to goals, outcomes, et cetera. So I love that wisdom and just like being in the process, being diligent, really like appreciating the journey instead of, oh, I gotta get to this destination. So that's some profound stuff.
[00:33:49] Justin: Real quick side note, can I just, I, I just wanna share this too and do it, this doesn't have to change your direction, but like, I just wanna talk about the arbitrary nature of like a 10 million dollars. Because most people, when they hit 10 million, there's no utility in it anyway.
Mm-hmm. . So it's just kind of like, you know, my businesses are worth this, or I have money in the stock market and it's worth this, my real estate portfolio, whatever. But it, for most people, they don't have utility. You know, what's way more important than 10 million in net worth? I would just take like, how about we get to 10,000 a month in cash flow?
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . I would take that all day, any day because there's utility today in that money in those dollars, right? You can live a good life at $120,000 a year. And you can work up from there. Maybe it's half of that, right? Maybe it's 60,000 a year and it's survival income, you know, for some people they can live on that and live a good life.
Other people, they would just be getting by. You know, it depends on where you live, depends on the lifestyle you be become accustomed to, but all day, every day I would take a cash flow number that's gonna end up being a much smaller number and much more achievable than some big net worth number that doesn't have the same utility, anyway.
[00:35:03] Ali: Great point, dude. Yes. Thank you for adding that.
What I wanted to bring into the conversation as it relates to investing and also just some the time we've spent together that I've absorbed is there's an athlete in you, there's a competitor in you. I've seen it on the volleyball court. I imagine it shows up, like you said, in how you compete in the game business and just the game of versioning yourself, becoming better, showing up, being who you wanna be.
So tell me a little bit about that. I know you have a background in sports, but how does that blend into who you are right now?
[00:35:43] Justin: Yeah, no, it's a great question. I think I just show up and wanna be the best that I can at whatever the thing is. I just have a desire to have competency at a minimum.
And ideally like some pretty strong or high level skills. So sometimes if I'm not good at something, it's so good for me cuz it will force me. Like sometimes I'll obsess about becoming, you know, good and I'll have to put in the reps. Like, there's no shortcut to a lot of this stuff, right.
So you just have to put in the time mm-hmm. But I also recognize that I can hack getting good by hiring the best people to teach me the path. So I don't have to learn by default, learn by what doesn't work, but learn strictly by what is the best practice to learn by right out of the gates.
So yeah, I'm competitive in all the things I do, but it's an internal competition. Like I just want to know that I'm doing my best, that I'm playing full out in the things that I'm doing. And then when it's done, it's done. So I don't linger on anything. Like I've got friends that if their sports team loses, they literally have a bad day and I'm like, that is crazy.
Mm-hmm. like my team lost, that doesn't feel good. Or the team I'm playing on, we lost. That doesn't feel good in the moment and then I just move on. Right.
So yeah, there is a fierce competitor in me that wants to show up and wants to do well and wants to compete at the highest levels. Even in the things I have no business competing in at the highest levels cuz I'm not proficient, I don't have skills or an expertise. But that doesn't stop that desire. Right. I do wanna perform at a high level.
[00:37:17] Ali: Mm-hmm. Yep. I dig that, man. Do you have a relationship to failure? Like, do you, tell me about that. I'm not gonna put any more words into this, other than what's your relationship with failure?
[00:37:28] Justin: Oh, I just, I put not a lot of meaning behind failure.
I failed it like tons of stuff, but I don't really look at it as like a failure. I just eventually figure it out. Right. Mm. Or, I decide, actually, maybe this is something that isn't worth the time for me to figure out, I'm gonna abandon it and focus my time on something else.
But failure doesn't bother me. It doesn't scare me. It's a part of life. It's inevitable, right? In I will fail in many things. I just have peace of mind around it. And I recognize it doesn't define who I am, but it most certainly can like, define my understanding, my skillset, my work ethic, what I'm gonna do, decisions that I make.
Failure to me is more indicative of like how I'm gonna show up from a mindset standpoint. Mm-hmm. , like, is that a decision? Is that like a defining moment in my life? Right. Am I gonna let this get me down or am I gonna make different decisions so that I can succeed in that thing?
And most of the time I'll figure out how to succeed, but sometimes I recognize, eh, I'm probably just not gonna be good at this thing. And that's okay. Like, I don't have a strong enough desire to get good at it.
[00:38:44] Ali: Mm-hmm. That's cool, man. Yeah, having the discipline to let that go is big, especially because you've got that fierce competitor. I have it too.
And just the other day, my best friend was visiting. We've been playing some hoops together. He's in better shape. His jumper is better than mine right now. But it was interesting, man. I told him, I was like, you know, when we were younger, if you had to beat me, I'd be pissed. And that would just sit with me and I'd like think about. I'd be constantly reminded of the failure, not as a thing to learn from.
Whereas just the other day we, we hooped and he beat me twice, one-on-one and I just looked at him and smiled. I go, dude, you're just better than me right now. And he's like, why are you smiling? I'm like, cuz I'm learning things about myself, how I need to shift my game if we were gonna play again.
Like failure, I don't think needs to be losing. I think these can be different things. It's easy to associate them. Even my son Everest as he is seven, he did not like watching the Eagles lose the Super Bowl. He threw a fit. And I was like, cool. Go feel your emotions.
Like that's part of it. I'm not gonna tell you not to be upset, but there is this sort of balance of losing and failure. And I love that while you have that fierce competitor, you also know when to let things go because that was hard for me when I was younger. I was like, I'm gonna figure this out till I win, you know?
[00:40:05] Justin: Well, I also feel like I missed out on opportunities because failure in younger years meant too much to me. Mm-hmm. Like the, the fact that I would fail, maybe I looked at it as, as too much of who I was or that it defined me. And so I think because of that, maybe I didn't take the chances that, like today I would take, cuz it just, it doesn't mean anything to me.
Like mm-hmm. , I don't even, it's not even like, I wonder if I'll fail. It's like if I fail, okay, I'll probably crack some funny jokes about it. You know, like, it just doesn't, it's like a non-issue.
[00:40:39] Ali: Yeah, dude. Totally. I appreciate that. All right, one more thing I have and then we can wrap up with some fun questions.
So, part of the work you're doing in the world is coaching. You coach, you have a mastermind, you coach people who are then creating, you know, layers of impact. And I'm curious what made you want to get into that? What gives you energy about coaching?
Because you could have easily been like, yo, I'm cool. I've got the lifestyle investor. Maybe I'll partner with some people. But I feel like you invest heavily in coaching, mentorship. Why? What made you flip that switch and be like, I want to do this now?
[00:41:20] Justin: Well, I feel like I've had people that have helped me grow in my understanding and knowledge of finances and business. And now that I do have an expertise in some things, I want to be able to share that with other people. You know, part of what is meaningful and fulfilling for me is helping other people get out of the rat race.
I was in the rat race. I had become very accustomed to the lifestyle I lived and what it cost me to live and made it really hard to transition out. And so it's fun for me to help people get out of that and get off the treadmill. So that's part of it.
You know, I took a year off and we traveled the Globe went to, I mean, th this trip may have been pushing it for Jennifer, but you know, I think we ended up going to 13 countries. Ooh. And, uh, yeah, I mean it was a lot.
And, um, and so I think, you know, we even learned a little bit better way to travel the two of us together. But, during that year I got really clear on how I wanted to spend the next chapter. So I was reading a ton. So what I did is I journaled every day. And, and I paid attention to what it was I spent my time doing.
And so every day I would read, I always wake up before my family. So the first thing I do, I, I read, I do devotions, and then I do some reading. So when I read something I'm learning and then every time I learn something, I want to teach it.
Mm-hmm. . And then the other thing that I saw is that I had a lot of friends that wanted the financial independence we had. So we're taking this trip, we're traveling all over, and it's all on passive income, right? Mm-hmm. , I, I didn't have any active income coming in. And so I had friends that are like, oh, you gotta show me how to do that.
And so I was coaching my friends and this is all like pro bono. I mean, these are my good friends. I'm just, you know, I'm my year off having fun teaching 'em the stuff that I figured out. And so I had this idea, you know, deep into this year off where I'm like, wow. . I guess what I do is like, I love to learn and then I love to teach and I love to help people have financial freedom.
And then the other thing that I did the whole year was I found deals that I wanted to invest in. And it was just for me, right? I wasn't necessarily finding deals that was bringing other people in. Now, when a deal was too big for me, I'd bring my friends and say, Hey, who wants a piece of this?
I got a good deal. And that evolved into something really cool until like an investor's club where I started doing a lot of deals with a lot of people. But it, you know, for a while it was just me trying to get deals cuz it becomes a game. Like early on, finding passive income is hard and then the more you do it and the more you have it, it becomes a game.
And that also shifts the emotions around it. So you can pivot out of this scarcity mindset, right? At the beginning it's like, well this money's scarce, I don't have much of it, I don't wanna lose it. And then it makes it hard to invest. But later on when you don't have those attachments, you can invest easier and I think you bring better deals into your ecosystem based on like more of an abundant mindset and abundant view, the way people feel you're showing up.
And so I just noticed like, this is what I'm doing for fun. What if I just made my hobbies my profession, bring 'em all together. Next chapter, right? . And so that really is where the lifestyle investor was born. And so I just love helping people, man. I mean all the proceeds of the lifestyle investor book, all of them go to fighting human trafficking.
So I don't make any money on the book. There's other products that we have and there there's different things that we do that make money and a portion of all those go to fighting human trafficking. Because that is important to me.
I had a, a friend say, Hey, when I said like, you know, I don't know where to give or it's hard for me to get into it. And I had a friend that said, well, what's the thing that breaks your heart more than anything else in the world? And so for me, having a daughter, it's that. Yeah. And so once I was able to connect those emotions, it became really a lot easier to give. And so now as we build more, as the company grows, like we're supporting these charities, we're creating more awareness for what's going on. So there's just a bigger picture.
So the small picture, which is still big, is helping people achieve financial freedom. Mm-hmm. . But the bigger picture is we're shining the light on these organizations that can help rescue and create real human life freedom.
[00:45:42] Ali: Ah, wow. Man, that is beautiful. So I'll wrap all that in that there's a lot of giving back in that, so thank you for doing that. Showing up the way you do.
The last thing I wanted to note on this, cuz I feel like it blends into this, is that a big part of why I do this podcast and the work that lights me up is starting to realize personal transformation. So starting to see how we evolve as humans. You just hit on some of that and being like, Hey, there's small picture, medium picture, big picture. It all blends together and here's the vision.
What's just an example where you've seen someone that you've worked with or anything that comes to mind where you're like, oh, wow, yeah. This work I'm doing has evoked personal transformation.
[00:46:25] Justin: Well, it's interesting cuz for me, I get to see it on a pretty real time basis because I have so many people in the community that are constantly achieving financial freedom and we celebrate that. You know, it's a, it's a big deal.
So, people are excited to share that. So it is a pretty regular thing. But I mean, I have like close, close friends that, you know, I've worked with for years, that I've known for years that I've just seen the impact on their lives. I mean, many of the testimonials on my website are endorsements in my book are like, Dear friends that I've been able to see in their life, in their real life, like the impact that it's had on their family and their ability to like buy their time back and create epic, you know, experiences and travel the world with their family, have the money to do the things that they want to do.
So I feel very blessed. I mean, there's tons of people who I'll never know and, and never see the impact, but there are plenty of people like up close and personal that I know that I get to see, that I get to interact with on a pretty regular basis. And so for me, that is the most inspiring thing, right?
Like that to me is more fulfilling than any dollar amount, because at a certain point, you're gonna hit a dollar amount, and like anything above that dollar amount does not change your quality of life. Mm-hmm. , right? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . So, there are people that are addicted to the dollars and addicted to more, but for most people, you hit a number and you can do what you want.
Like, you can live a good life. It doesn't ca it doesn't take a lot of money to live a really awesome life. If you figure out what it costs on a monthly basis to live your ideal life, it's not as much as most people think that it is. Mm-hmm. . And at a certain point, for most people, I think money is not inspiring at a certain level.
Right. You, you gotta get to you, you gotta get your means to a certain place, but then, you know, once you're there, it's other things. I mean, you're never gonna find true fulfillment in money. You can find it in the experiences with people you love, that money can help you provide. Right. But it's not actually in money.
[00:48:31] Ali: Right? Yeah. That's important.
[00:48:34] Justin: In the relationships.
[00:48:35] Ali: Uh, it sounds just exactly where I was gonna go. That's important because there is like this false hope. It goes back to what we were talking about, outcomes, and even just sort of in the beginning of the show when we were talking about truly getting your time back to like, to seeing these people who are like, yo, you're in pain cuz you hate your job.
And so I feel like the transformation that you shared really comes when people not only get their time back, but they start to just come more alive. Cuz they're like, I'm just living now. Like they're so, cuz I agree with you and sometimes I feel like I'm maybe passing judgment, but I just look around. I feel like there's so many people doing things that they do not like.
It's one thing to do something you like, and then the small percentage of us that can do what we love, but there's so many people that are doing what they don't like. And then you gotta stop and question like why. And of course there's all the answers, which we've already touched on a bit.
I appreciate that, man. I appreciate that not only do you get to impact some of your close friends, but like you said, it's changing lives in different effects, different layers, so that's good stuff, man. Anything else left unsaid before we wrap with a few fun questions?
[00:49:45] Justin: Yeah. You know, I would just say one other thing is I've made it a point to invest in the smartest people in whatever their thing is. Mm-hmm. , right? Like, I only hire people that are experts at their craft. Mm-hmm. at the craft that it is that I want to get good at. Right. You know, I have hired a lot of people, a lot of coaches .
I have already talked about how important my peer group is and putting myself around people that think differently, that are better in so many areas, so many different niches, so many different industries than me, so I can learn and grow mm-hmm. so I can become more well-rounded. But having a great coach, like even on the fitness side of things, I've had some many great coaches that have helped me get into much better shape than what I would've done on my own.
I've had financial coaches, I've had business coaches, I've had relationship coaches. And I just can't share enough the importance of finding people that are world class truly best in class at the thing they do, that you hire to help you elevate a lot quicker than you would without them.
[00:50:45] Ali: I'm with that brother. I'm with that for sure.
All right. Few final questions to wrap up, JD. The first, going back to that athlete in you, and these are catered for you, what sport would you play if you could play professionally?
[00:51:03] Justin: Ooh, mm-hmm. . Um, I mean, I think today in my life I'm probably best at volleyball, so I'd probably say two on two sand volleyball. Yeah, I'll go with that as my final answer.
I've played a lot of sports and I, I mean, I don't know that there's a sport that I've played that I don't love. You know, anything that has anything competitive about it, I like it all. And I have probably played every sport and it is so fun to me. But volleyball's my truest love in sports.
[00:51:33] Ali: Nice man. I can see you being really good at that if you decide to switch and, and do some two on two, so. Awesome.
Next one. Going back to your travel, what's your favorite country that you visited?
[00:51:46] Justin: Yeah, that's a tough question cuz I look at things through categories, right? So if you're talking about like adventure, I mean, going to South Africa and doing a safari and living in these cool like huts with showers outdoors and you're in the middle of the wilderness and eating unique food and catches from the day. Like that is an experience and an adventure.
But you could flip that around and, and you know, we had just the most epic time exploring Croatia, um, which I think we didn't realize how beautiful and wonderful that country was and like all that it had to offer. So to us it so far exceeded expectations.
Um, it, it was really special and, and we've had a few special moments and experiences in Italy too. We did a three week trip in Italy this one time, and it was just such a cool place to live, an extended life in. So I, I look at it through categories. Those are a few that I've really enjoyed.
[00:52:47] Ali: Very cool answer.
And it's at a such a apropos time because Croatia is the final country on our list. So hearing you say that, it's like, well, this has to be part of our picture, so thank you.
[00:52:57] Justin: Ah, it's great.
[00:52:59] Ali: All right, brother, last question again, catered for you, and this is very selfish because I didn't get enough time to ask you about this last time we hung out. What was one highlight of playing tennis with Richard Branson?
[00:53:13] Justin: Well, I mean, first of all, I'm just so impressed with how good he is.
[00:53:18] Ali: Oh, okay. So he's awesome.
[00:53:19] Justin: He's actually good. Now, Ali, you would beat him. He had many shots that I was not able to get to, even at his age. And I'm not, you know, I, I can play tennis. I'm athletic enough to play tennis. I wouldn't call myself a tennis player. Mm-hmm. , which you can probably tell in just my form. But I definitely had some ACEs, which is nice. Oh, nice. Yeah. And then I definitely had some great rallies with him.
But I mean, more than anything like he is a competitor. Like he does not like to lose. And I mean he plays full out and he wants to be the best. And so it's really fun because I relate so much in that and afterwards everything's great. But in the moment, like while we're playing, that guy's a killer. Like he is ready to go as far as it goes to win that game.
[00:54:14] Ali: That is cool, man. Yeah, I bet it was an awesome experience. Me just kind of living that vicariously through you. So good to know . There's not a lot of many people who can say with some humility that they've aced Richard Branson, so that.
Is that, that's makes the dreams list somehow. Huh?
[00:54:32] Justin: That was a cool thing for me because I don't know that I get many serves in as is so that I actually under pressure, got some good serves in. It was pretty incredible.
[00:54:42] Ali: Hell yeah, dude, that is so cool.
[00:54:44] Justin: I had some shots that I normally wouldn't have and it was probably, cuz you know, the pressure was on, the eyeballs were on. I just wanted to show up in a, in a big moment.
[00:54:53] Ali: For sure. For sure.
Well, JD thank you. This has been an honor, pleasure. I appreciate your friendship. I appreciate you creating space for this today. And of course I look forward to the next time we get to hang out. But if nothing else, man, just all the wisdom, all the shares, you're an awesome human and I'm just grateful to have you in my life, man.
[00:55:15] Justin: Well, thank you, and I could share all the same things with you, and I hope your audience knows how great of an interviewer you are.
How mm-hmm. , curious and interesting you are as a human, how amazing you are as a friend. How eager you are to learn in every moment. I mean, the respect and the admirations really on this side of the table, so I appreciate being on your show and just getting time with you.
Mm-hmm. , we've, we've been able to spend some time in Chicago. We've been able to spend some time at altitude at like 12 or 13,000 feet. We've been able to hang, we've been able to do some cool stuff. Met in San Diego. I mean, we've been all to many different cities together. So it's always fun to connect.
[00:55:53] Ali: Totally, brother. Yep. That lands. I appreciate that. So, until the next adventure, JD.
Ali is a creator who's passionate about coaching people through desired self transformation. That's a fancy way of saying he wants to help people do their inner work. He's a father, husband, podcaster, blogger, technologist and many other things that inspire him to stay curious and learn. He's also a huge advocate for nature, hiking, adventure, testing physical limits and experiencing the natural world.