Knowing who the hero of your story is and understanding the role this hero plays in your success is a game changer.
Maybe you've heard of the hero's journey popularized by Joseph Campbell in the 1940s that essentially revealed the common thread in every hero's story: the departure, the initiation and the return. There are endless variations to every hero's journey, but these elements are a commonality, and in every story there is ultimately a hero. If the life you are living is your story, what could be said about this story? Are you the hero, a victim or the villain in your story?
Mark Smith, the 7-2 Real Estate Investor, made time to share a little of his hero's journey thus far on an episode of Between the Highlights. In our conversation Mark got real about what he's learned from taking action, the rise of his alter ego and the plot twist that happened not long before our conversation that revealed his why. In plotting out his journey from medical sales, to real estate investing and his podcast, the 7-2 Mindset Investor, we are looking at how action, an alter ego and discovering the reward in your journey will elevate your daily experiences, achieve higher success and get you closer to your next highlight.
Your Actions Tell Your Story
"If you want to know what someone really means by what they say, watch what they do," is what I tell my son and daughter often. The actions you and I take every day say more about our goals and what's important to us than anything we post or say to our co-workers, friends or family. Dr. Benjamin Hardy often quotes Jim Dethmer, et. al saying, "You can know what you’re committed to by your results, not by what you say your commitments are […] The result is proof of a commitment.” Results require actions to exist.
To make moves, achieve goals and see progress in our businesses, relationships or careers action is a must, not an option. What you do and focus your energy and efforts on is telling of your priorities. Mark prioritizes maximizing his time and balance with his family. His actions reflect his priorities. He's hired a virtual assistant to delegate tasks to and he's set reminders on his phone to be unavailable for periods of time that are marked for quality time at home with his family.
Mark Smith sees action as the indicator with which progress and failure is measured. He mentions Ray Dalio's formula for progress, pain + reflection = progress. Mark interprets failures as indication as progress and evidence that he is taking action. He understands that he cannot control the outcome, he can only control the actions. With property investments, he is aware that he does not control the outcome, there are too many variables, but he fully embraces the actions he is in control of and that is where Mark is focusing his efforts. How and what we execute on impacts the outcome. Seth Godin refers to the practice where I would like to refer to the actions.
"The practice is not the means to the output, the practice is the output, because the practice is all we can control." -Seth Godin
I would say that the action is not the means to the output or results, the action is the result or output that reveals the inner story we are telling of ourselves. In an article, Who Are You, the writer says "our actions are self-signaling, meaning that with every choice that we make we are in turn signaling to ourselves the type of person that we are."
In his interview with Tom Bilyeu called Control Your Thoughts, Trevor Moawad tells a story his father told him about a successful magazine entrepreneur that unexpectedly received a high score on the SAT that caused an interesting twist in how his story played out. The entrepreneur that received the high score was nearly failing out of high school, but after receiving a 1480 test score his behaviors and actions changed. I imagine his thoughts about himself and the story he began to tell himself about what was possible changed, and so his actions followed to reveal who he believed he was in the story he was narrating for his self.
I believe we are all narrators in our own story. Your mind will go out of its way to make sure the narrator is not wrong about the story they are telling. In your mind, if you are constantly the victim of circumstance, victim of relationships, victim of society and culture, your mind will influence those thoughts so that you continue to play, or act out like the victim.
Remember, your actions tell your story. When and how you choose to start you day is evidence of this story. The things you choose to do or not do reveals priorities, and your priorities point to the bigger picture of the story that is going on in your mind. But we all have "dragons to slay" and people or situations that trip us up with our best efforts. Mark shares how he and many others are finding a way to ramp up their efforts and see success on the other side to become unstoppable.
Rise of the Alter Ego
We look at the stories of heroes like Spider Man who have super-human strength, but who apart from their mask are often "weaker" in character with struggles and internal conflicts. Although the character of Peter Parker is that of a teenage boy, many of us could agree (even as adults) that his awkward nature, lack of confidence, childhood trauma and shyness are relatable. We struggle with the enemy, as Todd Herman explains it in his book the Alter Ego Effect. He explains that we allow the enemy to keep us "tucked away, safe and sound, in the ordinary world" when we give into what he refers to as common forces: lack of emotional control, doubting our abilities, fear of judgement from others, not being intentional, and more.
Creation of the alter ego can serve to fill the void of who you are and who you wish to be by enabling you to get out of your own way. Mark shares that for him, his alter ego is what allowed him to be whoever he wanted to be. He reflects that his old self was a people pleaser that would take "crap" from others. At rock bottom he found himself in a position of needing to drastically change in order to survive, and so the alter ego, Mark Smith, shows up a total badass, capable of doing what his former self couldn't do.
"They broke my wings and forgot I had claws" -unknown
In the 2004 version of Cat Woman with Halle Berry, her character, Patience Phillips, gets walked over, belittled, disrespected and murdered before a second life births the alter ego Cat Woman who is everything Patience is not. There is power in the destruction and failing parts of our lives when we are willing to stare down our inadequacies and build the character that would better serve as the hero to our self-narrated stories.
Mark Smith does not battle to fit in or find acceptance among people not worthy of his time. Where his old self lived in scarcity and was never in the "right room," Mark now lives in abundance of mindset and sets the room as he chooses. He has self-love and is unapologetically confident. Mark is not compromising of his time or value because he knows his self worth. Where his former self may have been a victim struggling with these enemies as Todd Herman puts it, the alter ego shows up everyday taking action, big and small. In Mark's story, his alter ego gives him freedom to experience life on his terms and inspire millions of individuals to tap their own potential.
The Reward in the Hero's Journey
In the hero's journey, there is a reward, a treasure or a new power discovered after the crisis or rising from the abyss that is part of the initiation phase. For Mark, part of the new power he uncovered came to him the day of our conversation. It was the revelation of his why, which stemmed from the creation of his alter ego. He explains that "creating Mark Smith basically gave everyone the big bird and said f*ck you." His alter ego/super power no longer needs the validation of others and is no longer seeking love, approval and acceptance to fit in. His freedom from those restraints and dependencies is allowing Mark to live into his bigger purpose which is helping others that are in their own way. The reward for Mark is creating who he should be.
The reward is going to be unique and transformational to each of our journeys. Mark's reward was full on acceptance of his self. He recently completed the 75 Hard program from Andy Frisella, which has several requirements you complete for this mental toughness which includes taking a photo of yourself everyday. While this may not be a big deal to some, this was huge for Mark. In absolute vulnerability he explains that taking a picture everyday was so hard because, "I could not make eye contact with myself, cause I hated the motherf*cker I saw in the mirror, absolutely despised him... all I could see was my past..."
In your story there is some level of personal trauma. In his book, the Alter Ego Effect, Todd Herman says people will either use the past to fuel their success, change the meaning of the past traumatic events, or they will create an Alter Ego that isn't battling with that history so they can show up as they choose. Mark has chosen the latter route for facing his past traumas. Of the options that Todd mentions, I don't believe any of these to be better or worst than the other. The common factor that matters in each is that the past is not keeping you from moving forward. Either allow the past traumas to fuel a better outcome, or narrate a hero into your story that will allow you to answer the call and be resurrected.
Recognizing that you have the power to narrate your story and who you are is critical to your break through. In the beginning, as children, we don't have a say on how our story begins. As adults that are professionals, entrepreneurs, adventurers or whatever you identify yourself as, the rest of the journey is yours to determine. You don't have a crystal ball or psychic powers to predict the future, but you have control over your actions that dictate who you are, what you want, and where you are heading.
Nearly all of us have spent more time than we'd like to admit being the villain of our own story. More of us have even played the role of the victim waiting for someone to save you, or going through your days hopeless. The culprit to your self-defeating narration is in the space between your ears. Your heart may feel like the victim, but your mind left to its own will be the villain in your story every time. David Goggins explained, "the mind has a tactical advantage over you at all times, it knows what you are afraid of, it knows your insecurities, it knows you deep dark lies..." When the villain has that much insider information, you better create a super hero that can destroy or bypass all of those traps.
Align your actions with who you say you are becoming and where you say you want to go.
Allow your alter ego to serve you and push you to victory where you may normally feel weak and out of character.
Find your reward or super power on the other side of facing your fears, inadequacies and challenges
Mark Smith's #1 Tip
For those of you dealt a bad hand, in the middle of a bad season, sitting in discomfort with your back to the wall...
Stop folding, play the hand and at least put up a fight! You owe it to yourself!
Mark Smith is a Real Estate Investor and motivational speaker dedicated to becoming the Mindset Investor. His personal journey is inspiring and his mission is to impact millions of people. He is hosting the 7-2 Mindset Investor Podcast on YouTube and is live on Instagram every Tuesday at 7:20 PM EST.
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