April 4, 2021

JF2406: Learning To Listen To Your Intuition With AdaPia d’Errico #SkillsetSunday


AdaPia has been a guest of the show twice before, in 2014 and 2017. This time she’s here to talk about her book, Productive Intuition. She started writing it back in 2018, and the Covid lockdown gave her a push to finish the book.

In the past, she’d feel that the deal would be off, yet she’d still go through with it since there was no rational reason behind the feeling. Now she’s learned how to listen to her gut, and she shows others that they can teach themselves to do it as well.


AdaPia d’Errico  Real Estate Background: 

  • Principal and VP of Strategy for Alpha Investing, a private real estate equity firm
  • Alpha Investing invests in multifamily, senior housing, and affordable housing nationwide 
  • 20 years of real estate experience 
  • Author of Productive Intuition – connecting to the subtle
  • Guest on episode JF1187
  • Based in Los Angeles, CA
  • Say hi to her at: www.productiveintuition.com  

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Best Ever Tweet:

“In real estate, we use our gut all the time” – AdaPia d’Errico.


Theo Hicks: Hello, Best Ever listeners and welcome to The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show. I am Theo Hicks, and today we’re speaking with AdaPia d’Errico. AdaPia, how are you doing today?

AdaPia d’Errico: I’m doing really great. Thanks so much for having me.

Theo Hicks: No, thank you for joining us again. AdaPia was on the episode all the way back in 2017. It went live almost exactly three years ago, in December 2017. A lot has happened since then. We’ll talk about that just a little bit in the beginning, but the main focus of the day is going to be on AdaPia’s book, which was launched in October, correct?

AdaPia d’Errico: That’s right.

Theo Hicks: Perfect. It’s called Productive Intuition: Connecting To The Subtle. So this is Sunday, and that’s going to be the skill set for today. Before we get into that, a reminder – AdaPia is the principal and VP of strategy for Alpha Investing, a private real estate equity firm. Alpha Investing invests in multifamily, senior housing, and affordable housing nationwide. She has 20 years of real estate experience. As I mentioned, the author of the book we’re going to discuss today, Productive Intuition. If you want to check out her original episode, it’s Episode 1187. She is based in Los Angeles, California, and you can get her book at productiveintuition.com. So AdaPia, before we get into the book, can you tell us a little more about your background, and then what you’ve been up to since you were last on the show about three years ago?

AdaPia d’Errico: Sure. It seems like I have three-year stints, because the first time I was on the show was in 2014 when, we did a whole series on real estate crowdfunding. That’s how I met Joe and The Best Ever Show. So it looks like we have these three years stints.

For the past few years, I have been over at Alpha Investing on the equity side. Previous to that I was doing a lot more of the hard money debt side, and now I’m over here on the equity side. We have a private capital network, we syndicate these projects, we do the underwriting, what you would expect from syndication; we just really, really focused on these three asset classes, on the needs-based asset classes. Everybody needs a place to live, and we put a huge emphasis on the sponsors and the sponsor’s background. In addition to Alpha – I’m over there as VP of strategy, really building the investor-base, PR, and communications – clearly, like I’ve had some free time to write this book, I was actually able to finish it in COVID. I started writing this book in 2018, and if anybody’s ever tried to write a book, you might not finish and then there’s just this moment when it just feels right and it flows. COVID actually gave me that moment, because I was like, man, I need to stop doom scrolling and do something more productive.

Theo Hicks: Doom scrolling. I haven’t heard that before. I like that.

AdaPia d’Errico: So it’s been a real adventure. I self-published and it’s been really, really well received. It’s really aimed at more of a business audience. It’s really aimed at people that  — everyone is trying to bio-hack, optimize, or try to make their lives better, make their businesses better, and I feel it’s really important to touch on the subject of intuition for that because, as you know too, in real estate we use our gut all the time. Whether we know it or not, we are actually using our intuition a lot to understand partners, syndicators, or even deals… And you actually make better decisions when you’re tuned into your intuition; you make faster decisions, you can get into a flow state, you can be more creative. This book really kind of came about from my experiences, and especially my experiences of realizing that so many times when things went wrong. And Theo, I don’t know if this ever happened to you, but something went wrong and you’re like “I knew it. I knew I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have said that. I shouldn’t have whatever” because there was a part of you that had warned you and you just brushed it aside. “No, I’m not going to listen to that, I’m not going to pay attention.”

I kind of reached that point where after one particularly really big career crash for me that led to a whole need for me to re-evaluate my life, what am I doing, and what are my values, why am I not listening – I kind of landed on this place of “I really need to listen to my intuition.” So I just did all this research on what makes us intuitive, how it works, and how to use it.

Theo Hicks: Thanks for sharing that background. I’m sure we could go on the tactical side of a book, how do you actually write a book. I totally understand exactly what you’re talking about when it comes to writing books. I think a good place to maybe start is if someone’s listening to this, and maybe they don’t necessarily know what you mean by intuition… Like, they say, “Oh, I’m really angry and emotional. I should listen to that”, so what do you mean by intuition?

AdaPia d’Errico: Yeah, actually, that’s a really good point. When I’m angry and emotional, is that my intuition? Definitely not. So there’s a lot of discernment. That’s why the subtitle of the book is Connecting to the Subtle, because it’s a really subtle sensation.

Intuition is the full “You know something, but you don’t know why you know it, but you just know it.” Intuition will also feel very different than an emotion, especially an emotion like anger is really just a signal. Anger is signaling to you, it’s saying, “This is not okay for me, something to pay attention to.” And of course, we have to do our work with our anger and all that kind of stuff. I have anger issues of my own so I totally get that. But intuition is more like a hint or a subtle signal. Often we feel it in the gut. Some people feel it in different ways. It can be a fully formed thought, it can be that idea in the shower, it can be so many things. But most of the time, I think the best way to describe intuition is a knowing that goes far beyond the rational mind. It’s really just something that you know, and it’s unshakable. That’s your intuition.

Theo Hicks: Yeah, I think that’s how I would describe it as well. Now that we know what it is, you’ve kind of already hinted at this with the discernment and the Connecting to the Subtle, but very practically, I’ve got a decision to make on whether to buy this deal or not. What exactly does it look like when I’m tapping into my intuition? Do I sit there and just say, “Alright, what does my intuition say?” and then the first thought that pops into my mind is my intuition. What does it actually look like?

AdaPia d’Errico: It’s different for a lot of people. One of the best ways to work with your intuition is to journal. Actually ask yourself questions and just journal it out. For some people, meditation is also a really great thing, because what you’re trying to do is get beyond the chatterbox of the mind. We’re trying to get to the self, and the space, and the knower that goes behind that mind. So journaling is a really great way to do that. Meditation is a really great way to do that.

When it comes to a deal, intuition works in a couple of different ways. One of the big things that I always want to talk about is intuition isn’t this magic thing that’s like for psychics. There are definitely people who are super tuned in to their intuition, and they seem really magical… But a lot of times intuition is also a function of deep experience. Like, if you have a lot of experience, let’s say in real estate, and let’s say you’re walking a building, you’re going to walk around, and you’re going to know things about it that have a lot to do with your previous experience. You’re going to notice things, you’re going to see things, you’re going to get a sense of something, and that’s because you have this lifetime of experience stored in your brain and stored in your body that you’re drawing upon, because we function to create patterns.

There’s also an element there with your intuition, like you were saying with a deal, is something might hit you and you’re like, “Something doesn’t feel right about this.” So you should go explore that. “Something doesn’t feel quite right about this.” It doesn’t mean that you make a decision just based on that, it means that it’s an invitation to go check on that. Another really good place that your intuition is going to speak really loudly are your partners. The people that you’re going to be doing business with and how they interact with you. It’s like the non-obvious ways. You’re going to get a sense of, “Do I trust them? Do we have alignment?” All of this is operating in your body and it’s giving you these signals. So I would always say, if you have a sense of “Something’s not quite right about this, it’s not sitting right with me,” then go explore what that could be. Don’t just let that sit there niggle at you. It could be nothing, but at least you go and explore it and figure it out.

Theo Hicks: That exploration process – that would be the journaling and them kind of sitting there thinking about it?

AdaPia d’Errico: And actually exploration. If you have a bad feeling about somebody, I would just go do full background checks. It’s actually really practical, too. To me, intuition is extremely practical. It’s like “Okay, I need to go do some fact-checking, because I got kind of a bad feeling about this over here.”

So the important thing is not to ignore that little feeling that comes up; that might be a warning. Also in a positive way if it might be like, you just get the sense of like, “I’m going to go this way today.” You just get these little inspirations; you’re like, “I’m just going to do this today. I’m going to do this differently.” Sometimes it’s fun to just see where that takes you.

Break: [00:10:04][00:11:10]

Theo Hicks: What are some common traps that people might fall into when they first start doing this? Maybe they’re someone who’s always been very rational that every single decision needs to be based off of an Excel calculator template. It needs to be an exact threshold or whatever, and they’re like, “Okay, I’m going to start going on my intuition a bit more.” What are some common traps that people find and how can we avoid those?

AdaPia d’Errico: That’s a really good question. A lot of those traps actually are in the emotion, in the emotion and the ego. This happens to me a lot, especially when I’ve had a situation where I lost a lot of money to fraud. I knew it, and I just didn’t want to believe it. The whole time, I was paying more attention to what my ego wants. I really wanted this deal to work, I didn’t want to believe that this could happen to me, I was smarter than this. Whatever the narrative is in our head, we really have to watch what is going on that’s causing us to dismiss it. There are usually these ulterior motives. For me, it was pride, it was not wanting to ask for help…

So these are the things that trip us up a lot and they’ll start to trip us up when we start to question it or talk ourselves out of it. You’ll notice that, you’ll notice you’re talking yourself out of it, like “Oh, no, that could never happen to me. Oh no, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to bother this person. It’s like the wrong thing to do.” But yet the whole time, like maybe you have this feeling in your stomach. For me, with this person that I lost all this money, I just would always get this really tight feeling in my head, and I just never felt good. But I just was so stubborn. I did end up down to the wire and I ended up getting defrauded for a lot of money.

Theo Hicks: On the flip side – because that’s an example of not listening to your intuition… So maybe give some examples of when you have listened to your intuition. I’m sure there are examples in the book. In addition to the example that you found about someone who listened to their intuition and either avoided a complete disaster, or you avoided a complete disaster, or it ended up being a really good decision, that allowed you to make money or to find the right partner or whatever.

AdaPia d’Errico: For sure. Yeah, absolutely. There are so many. We were saying this before we started recording, I helped launch real estate crowdfunding as an industry. That was my intuition that led me into that space. Even though it seemed totally bananas at the time, I joined one of the earliest firms. There were three people and I became employee number one, and it was wild, it was crazy, and it shouldn’t have worked. But it did. That was my intuition saying “There’s something here; there’s something about this real estate, and there’s something about crowdfunding. I don’t know what it is, but I know it’s going to be big.” So I’ve always had this ability to also understand the key trends. That’s your intuition kind of at work.

Another thing is actually this year, we moved to the mountains from the city of LA. We both had the same moment of this intuition. It came totally out of blue. We were not going to sell our house this year; it was not even on our radar. We both went for this hike, we both kind of came back from that hike and we’re like, “Huh, let’s look for some land. I feel like we should look for some land.” And then we ended up selling our house and buying this one.

That doesn’t mean that intuition makes it a smooth ride. It still took six months, it was still all the crazy housing market. But that’s an example of following my intuition, because otherwise, my rational brain “Well, that’s not on your plan for 2020.” But it just felt right. The more we did it, even though we encountered challenges, it just still felt like the right thing to do. So that would be like a really positive example.

Theo Hicks: You kind of already touched on this, but I’ll ask it again and see if you answer a little bit differently. You mentioned something about how it works, and that it’s going to be based off of your experience, too. So someone who’s never done a deal before, who has never flipped the house before, or done any sort of renovations to the house before is not going to walk into a house and then be able to listen to their intuition about what renovations need to be done. That’s just kind of an example. But what are some resources, what type of content, what sort of routines do we need to do to make sure that we’re continuously feeding whatever it is that allows us to have correct intuition?

AdaPia d’Errico: It’s a constant and daily self-awareness practice. It’s like a mindfulness practice. Anybody who has a mindfulness practice already — you’re already living life, let’s say, just noticing yourself. So you start to be able to notice when you’re having nasty thoughts; you’re going to notice when you have an emotional reaction, you’re going to notice when you’re triggered, you’re going to notice when something feels good. This is how you work with your intuition, because it’s really like a muscle. It’s like a super skill that we all have; every single person has it, and it must be worked. You do that, like with anything – with practice, and consistency.

It’s a constant daily awareness of yourself. What happens is you start to notice and you start to discern different aspects of you; you start to feel like you see yourself from the witness perspective for those who do meditation, and you start to be able to notice the ego part of you or the pride part of you, and then you’ll just also notice other parts of you. So it’s a self-awareness practice.

So if you go about your day, just like also noticing and taking the time, and remembering –because this is the hardest thing with all of this kind of work mindfulness– is to remember to do it. Let’s say you walk into a room, and just like you ask yourself, “What do I notice?” Just start with that and see. Now, you might not feel anything, nothing. Zero might come up. But over time, it’ll start to be there, because you’re starting to put attention on that part of you that’s always there, you’ve just haven’t given it space or time or any attention before.

Theo Hicks: Yeah, I think that’s the biggest thing. It’s not like these reactions we have are something that is completely brand new; you’ve been doing it forever, but you just don’t realize it. These are just patterns, for sure, so I totally agree with that.

Alright, the last question… Throughout your process for doing research for this book, I’m sure you’ve learned a lot of stuff. What was the most interesting thing you learned? Or maybe the one thing that maybe had you believe in one thing and then you did your research and like, “Oh, wow. I was completely wrong about that. THIS is actually true.” Or is there something that stands out from your research that you think could be valuable to listeners?

AdaPia d’Errico: I think one of the most shocking things that I’ve realized in my research is how powerful the heart is. It’s actually a thousand times more powerful than the brain. It sends more information to the brain than vice versa. The electromagnetic frequency of the heart is just so powerful… And it’s measurable now. They’ve done studies when large global events that happen, that just like the overall frequency of the earth will change. The reason that that is so amazing to me is that we’ve put such an emphasis on the brain in culture for hundreds of years, like the brain, the brain, the brain, the brain, and the heart is just a blood pump. But actually, the heart is so much more than a blood pump. It is actually what is controlling everything. There are really interesting studies that I had –I talk about it in the book too– that will put the heart as the main organ of intuition, and that it can future-see things. This is your heart.

So I just found that all of the research about the heart was so fascinating, and also timely. It’s time that we lead with the heart. We’re more human; we don’t want this top-down, aggressive, too cold, too rationally centered way. So many people that know, like you and Joe, for such a long time – you lead from your heart and you connect with people from your heart. The research around that will just blow you away. I know it did me.

Theo Hicks: Do you have that in the book?

AdaPia d’Errico: I do.

Theo Hicks: Perfect. That’d be fascinating to look into. Thank you for sharing that. I’m glad I asked that question.

AdaPia d’Errico: Yeah, me too.

Theo Hicks: Is there anything else that you want to mention, whether it be something we didn’t talk about before we sign off? And then obviously, where people can find your book.

AdaPia d’Errico:  This has been really great. I really, really appreciate coming on the show and being able to talk about the book. I really hope that people will be inspired to read it and start to work on their intuition and to listen to it more. Because intuition is productive, it’s faster decision-making, and it creates better outcomes.

So the reason I wrote the book too was I put so much science in there because I’m very left-brained. I’m like “No, I don’t want to just believe something. I want to know how it works.” So that’s what’s in the book, too. So I think it’s also very appreciated by a lot of people who — as you said, you’re like, “Okay, tell me something that’s scientific-based or that’s more rational.” It’s really important, because we need a rational side of us to participate in life, too. We’re not trying to throw it out the window. We’re just trying to say, “Hey, there’s another part of us that wants to work with us.” So I appreciate being able to come on the show and talk about the book, because it’s been a lifelong dream to write it.

Theo Hicks: This is a really fun conversation. It’s a lot different than what I usually do. I really enjoyed this. So thanks for coming on and talking about your book. Again, it’s called Productive Intuition: Connecting To The Subtle. You can buy it at productiveintuition.com. So again, thank you so much for coming on. Best Ever listeners, as always, thank you for listening. Have a best ever day and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.

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