June 15, 2017
Joe Fairless

How Skateboarding Legend Tony Hawk Accomplishes the Impossible

We’ve all heard it in some fashion or another. “It’s 80% mental and 20% physical” or “It’s 90% psychology and 10% tactics.” However you say it, it means the same thing: Success ultimately comes down to having the right mindset and mentality.

I recently interviewed professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, and he is a true believer in this mental vs. physical concept.

Tony was the first skateboarder in history to land a 900-degree air, or more famously known as The 900. “A 900 is basically a two-and-a-half spin in the air when you leave a ramp,” Tony said. “It’s a trick that I did in the X Games in 1999 for the first time. I’ve done it a few times in my life since then, but I hadn’t revisited it for about five or six years, and last year I decided to do it on the anniversary of the first one ever.”

Only 14 other people on the planet have ever successfully completed The 900. How was he able to accomplish something that for most would be impossible? Because he understood that success would be dictated by not only his physical ability, but by his mental skills as well. “I had the physical skills to do it for years before I really figured out the mental aspects of it. The mental aspects are [believing] it’s possible,” Tony said. “And so much of it is having confidence. I use that analogy to all kinds of things, but really the idea that you have the confidence in the skill set to make something happen – that’s just as important as doing it, or as the idea of it in itself.”

How does this apply to our real estate businesses, or our lives in general? Whether it’s making the decision to purchase that first deal or transitioning into a new real estate niche, you must move forward with 100% certainty that you have the resourcefulness, the will, and the skill sets to successfully navigate your situation.

That’s how Tony approaches a new trick or a new business idea. “If I have an idea of something, I believe it will work,” he said. “I don’t go out thinking ‘I really hope for the best. I hope this catches on.’ It’s intuitive.”

Over the years, Tony has seen many skaters come and go, and many of them had the physical ability, but were lacking in the confidence to see things through. Their approaches were haphazard and had an inner dialogue of I’m going to give it and try and hope for the best. 

In skating and in real estate, hoping for the best isn’t enough to succeed. I believe that is one of the main reasons why would-be investors never pull the trigger on a deal or give up after completing a deal or two. They don’t believe in themselves and set themselves up for failure.

When I set out to become a billion-dollar multifamily syndicator, I didn’t simply hope it would happen. Rather, know it will happen because I believe I am the most resourceful person on the planet and I will be able to overcome any obstacle I face as long as I don’t give up. However, it’s important to note that this didn’t happen overnight. Overtime, by completing one task at a time, I built up the momentum that I am riding today.

To build up this positive momentum and have the true confidence you need to succeed, Tony said, “I’d like to think that there’s a technique of baby steps in doing that. With me, just in terms of skating, I learned some very simple techniques early on, and I learned some tricks that maybe didn’t really interest me, but benefitted me in the end.” He said the same goes for business. “The stuff you learn about the business, even if it seems mundane and it’s not what you got into it for, it’s going to help you later. I’m talking about all the minutiae of how the business works, of doing reports and sourcing materials and things – those are the kind of things that you wouldn’t think you’d need to concern yourself with if you’re the CEO. But at the same time, it’s going to help you in the end because you’re going to understand that process and you’re going to see when things are going awry very quickly.”

The only thing I would add in regards to creating this positive momentum is to begin implementing daily practices. The best place to start is with a daily journal. I have been journaling every day since 2015. There isn’t much structure to it – I simply write out bullet points of what happened that day. However, if you want a stricter routine, then at the end of each day, answer these two questions:

  • What good did I accomplish today?
  • Who did I help today?

Writing out daily wins, no matter how small, is a great way to build up positive momentum in your business. 

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.

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