Steve Richards talks about achieving success by creating more margins in life and unlocking the best version of yourself.
Steve Richards is a successful Real Estate Investor and has a great coaching program for entrepreneurs called CEO Nation. While Steve has crushed it in growing businesses and accomplishing many goals, he found himself at a loss in his life.
Steve realized he was spinning his wheels and not knowing what for. Steve understood the importance of margin in business, but not in his personal life.
As Steve began to add more margin in his life, and made space to be still, Steve began to learn the importance and power of stillness. Steve's marriage improved, his health improved, and even his business improved. Steve shares about how everything is interconnected, and when you can add more margin in your life and refocus, you will find more purpose and accomplishment in all areas of your life.
1:20 Gaining your identity back as a man
6:50 Religion vs Spirituality
8:20 We forget who we are – Inner War
10:45 Importance of Stillness
13:45 My Real Estate business worked well, but I had no margin
17:00 Awakened to stop drinking alcohol
18:19 Creating Margin in our lives
22:21 Learning how to Focus and converge everything I'm involved in – everything is interconnected
24:10 Checking energy levels and health
25:57 Growing deeper with my wife, healthier marriage
27:56 What's the best version of yourself? Finding Identity
STEVE'S COACHING: https://theceonation.com/
INDY INVESTOR PODCAST: https://www.youtube.com/@IndyInvestor
What's up? Welcome to Iron Deep. I got my good friend Steve Richards on this episode with me. What's going on, Steve?
Nothing. What's up?
Not much. Thanks for joining me. It's been a little bit. It has been about a year or so since I got a chance to chat with you. We used to chat all the time back in Indianapolis and have a beer together to shoot the crap. I miss you, buddy.
Likewise. If this is the only way we can catch up, I'm up for it.
That's right. Steve Richards is an Indianapolis real estate legend. He owns a local real estate company there. He runs a multi-seven-figure wholesaling flipping business. He also is an amazing man. He coaches, mentors, and partners for real estate mastermind groups. We might dive into it here. Steve, I want to talk about your journey because I know you've been on this journey for the past several months. This is a topic that we love to talk about in Iron Deep. We're all about identity. You've been on this journey about gaining your identity back as a man. I want to dive into that. Take us back a little bit. Was there a point where you felt like you lost your identity?
All of us come here with a plan. Our soul had a plan. God has a plan. It all fits in together. I don't know if it's losing, but I think all of us come through it. As babies, we forget. We're here to grow and learn. A lot of us spend our lives trying to remember who we are and not find out who we are. I think it's remembering who we are because it was already written. There's a reason we're here. I've been getting closer and closer to figuring that out.
I'll tell you, it's like a hypochondriac who finds WebMD. Sometimes I think the closer you get, the more pressure there is because you're like, “I know this is on my heart. I know what I'm supposed to do.” We have pretty good lives, you and I. They are different lives, but pretty similar in some degrees. Comparatively, 99.9% of the people in the world, our lives are really good. It's funny because the deeper we get and the closer we get to who we're supposed to be. Even though it’s only this far to go, the gap seems so big. You're like, “I'm stuck in my crappy life.” My life is not even crappy. It's good, but I know there's this next level.
Ten years ago, if you would've asked anybody at the time, they probably thought I had one of the better real estate businesses in town, running a REIA, and doing all these things. I wasn't who I was supposed to be. I was far away. I had the wrong business partners, wrong employees, and wrong clients. If anybody wanted to meet up, I'd be like, “Let's meet at the bar. Let's have beers." It wasn't working out. I wasn't taking care of myself. I was going through the motions, going to church, and not digging in.
Seven years ago, I had a big awakening. I know we'll dig into certain parts, but the condensed version is I wanted to become a better version of myself. I started doing a lot of things. Five years ago, that started taking hold. A year and a half ago, I had this spiritual awakening behind my emotional and physical awakening.
I've learned more in the last four months than I have in the last four years. I've spent most of the last 4 or 5 years helping other people running a business, coaching people, facilitating masterminds, being the dad, the family, the husband, and a leader. Everybody is coming to me, needing me, and wanting from me. I'm sure you talk to everybody about that a lot. There's a lot of pressure that I literally put myself in that position.
I got to a point where up until about 4 or 5 months ago, I couldn't listen to a podcast. I couldn't read a book. My head is so full of knowledge and I don't need to learn anything else about business. I don't want to talk about real estate. For a while, I didn't even want to coach anyone that was in real estate anymore. Even though I know that you and I are deadly lethal helping someone after all these years of real estate. I was avoiding it because I'm so sick of that. I got into this weird spot.
Over the last four months, I've been on a deep spiritual journey. Probably, a little different than some people. The more and more I talk to folks about it. I know a lot of people who watch this are in real estate. I was at the Family Mastermind last week. It's 200 of every single person that you know, whether it's a coach, trainer, vendor, software provider, data provider, whatever. It's who's who of everyone in the real estate industry.
I did this crazy thing. I went to Orlando on Wednesday after I was in Tampa for family. I'm sure we'll dig into that here in a minute, but it was very spiritual. I brought that up to about 40 different people. I walked up. It was like I was a Mormon on fire. I walked up and I was like, "Hey." They're like, "How are you?" I'm like, "I'm good. Guess what I'm getting ready to do on Wednesday?" I'm telling everybody.
I was laying it down. I wasn't witnessing for Jesus but in a way. It was so funny because if I had 30 personal conversations, 28 of them were like, "I'm on a similar path. I'm already doing similar things," or "That's what I needed to hear,” or “Call me soon. Keep in touch.” Men are craving for what we're going to talk about here. I even said this in a text to you. I used to confuse religion with spiritualness. Religion is more of a practice. It's how you practice it. Spiritual is more personal. Everybody is in this position. I'm realizing that we lose our identities in a way, but we can't remember, like I said.
I have literally changed so much from 10 years ago to 7, from 7 years ago to 5 years ago, from 5 years ago to a year and a half ago, and then over the last 4 months, and even over the last 3 weeks, 2 weeks. I've got some trips and some things planned. It’s crazy how much I'm evolving right now. I don't think my journey is unique and that I need something other people don't.
All of us lull into this place where we wake up one day and we're 30 or 40. I'm 48. I'm going to be 50 soon. No matter how successful you are, you wake up and you're like, “Is this all there is? Is this what it is?” The stuff I thought mattered maybe doesn't as much or at all. The stuff that matters a lot to me right now, I didn't know it mattered before. Many of the things, I had them in the wrong order in the past.
Let's dive into that a little bit because you brought up a great point that sometimes we forget who we are. It sounds like along the journey, other men are very similar. We forget who we are and then years go by. We wake up and 10 years, 20 years go by and we don't remember who we are. This happened to you. It sounds like 5 or 6 months ago. I know you love to listen to things. You love to learn. You soak in the knowledge. You're a coach at heart. You're a mentor. You love to read books. You're always growing. It sounds like there was a point where you couldn't even do any of that. Why was that? What was going on in the battle or the war? What was that?
I was joking before we started recording. We need a two-day event to talk about this. It's because I'm getting more connected to who I'm supposed to be. It is becoming so much easier for me to realize to say yes to things and no to other things. When I ride my car right now, I've got this spiritual mentor. She's intuitive. She's in tune. She can pray in and connect. It's funny because she was like, "I'm getting this feeling for you like you're always on. You got your headset in all the time. You've got something on your radio. You got music blaring in your ears at the gym. You're listening to a book on your phone. You're talking to somebody. You're at a meeting."
I even sleep with this app. I love this app. It's like binder beats. They're like theta and delta waves. You put them in. I don’t know if you know what I'm talking about. You have to wear earphones. They do a warble, but it can lower your vibration. It can literally get you into a delta, like a deep sleep. It can wake you up. I sleep better than ever with that in. She was like, “You don't even sleep in quiet. There isn't one second of the day where you're still and quiet.”
When I get in the car, I don't even want the radio on anymore. That's how it’s ingrained. I need to think about what I need to think about. I know I'm going to kill the evergreeness of your podcast here, but the NCAA tournament just finished. I didn't watch one second of one game because I had stuff to do. It's crazy and it wasn't like I'm super busy, but I was in the moment at home and my family doesn't watch it. It wasn't on.
The long answer to your question is I think the more you get on your path, the easier it is to be on that path. The farther away you are from your path, the easier it is to be distracted. Sometimes a rut feels like a groove. I don't think we always know the difference. A rut would be like Groundhog Day, just living the same day over and over even when you're not understanding that you're not in the right direction that God wants you to be in and that your soul isn't going its path. You might think, “This is what I do. I get up. I take care of my kids. I kiss my wife goodbye. I go to work. I crush work. I swing by the gym. I go home. I do it again.” It could be a rut. It’s not that much different than a groove. The only difference is what path you're on. That's tweetable right there, by the way.
There you go. I love that. I heard one time that if you get one degree off of your path, it doesn't seem like that much off your path. If you keep going to that one degree, you end up in a different part of the world.
You wake up one day and you're like, “Is this all there is? Is this what I wanted?”
Let's talk about that being still. It's funny. Let's take sleeping for example. My wife likes to turn on a fan. I always like to listen to something. Not like rap music or anything like that, but I listen to some music, but she doesn't like to do that. I have started putting in headphones and trying to figure it out because I've been having trouble falling asleep.
A lot of it is I've never had this before, but I can't turn it off and I can't be still like you're talking about. A lot of men and people in general in the world are dealing with that. They can't shut it off. It's destroying our health. It's destroying our sleep. We can't be still. One of my favorite verses, if I had to tattoo a verse on my arm, it would be, “Be still and know that I'm God.” For some reason, sometimes I can't ever be still. Why is that? Why can't you be still? Why can't I be still? What's going on?
For a long time, that was my life verse. It's funny that it's coming back around now. I understand why it resonated with me so much. In my prior business, I had a turnkey business. I ended that in 2014. That's going on almost ten years ago. We managed 350 houses. I was doing 20 rehabs at a time. We were leasing 10, 15, and 20 houses a month. We had brokerage. We had agents on our staff. We were barely even wholesaling. It's interesting. I ran all those. I didn't have an integrator partner like I do now.
I've got basically an alchemy in my business with Brian. He and I are so good. We mesh together well. He's an integrator with a decent amount of vision. I'm a deep visionary with a little bit of integration, but the integration I have is deep. I can make a system better than anybody. I just won't use it once I make it. Every system that Brian uses, I made. We talked about it. I don't even know what my logins are. A friend of mine is opening a title company. He was like, “Can you send me some HUDs so I can see what the fees are in Indiana?” I was like, “I'll have to ask for some because I haven't seen HUD in years.”
Brian has all of them downloaded on his phone. He is checking all the math on them every time. In my prior business, I didn't have an integrator partner and we had a brokerage investment company, a construction company, and a property management company.
It was interesting to me because I had a line of people outside of my office every day, and they were usually problems. I would fake phone calls. I learned I had to put it on the "Do not disturb" because if I faked a phone call when it wasn't on Do not disturb, it might ring while I was holding it to my face, then I would get caught in my lie. I would literally fake a phone call to walk through the office to get out because I couldn't even walk through the office without people stopping me and wanting to talk. There are always problems and issues.
I realized I had no margin in my life. We knew that I didn't have a time margin. I didn't have a money margin. I didn't have a thought margin. I never realized how important thought margin is, like my mind space. We give our mind space away to so many things. The majority of it needs to stay with us. I need at least 51% share of my mind. It needs to be with me.
Back then, I had probably at some point 105% of my mind. I had too much. I had more than anybody should have on their mind. It was maybe 110% of my mind was given away. It's a coping mechanism. It's numbing out. I drank way too much alcohol at one point in my life. It’s weird but I definitely liked it and drank too much, but I never fortunately have friends who I know are alcoholics. I can go months now without drinking. I don't even care. It's weird how God cured me of that path I was on.
It's almost like you were awakened. You were awakened because I've been through the same things. I'd love to have a go and have a few beers. I always say, “I don't know if I could ever stop doing that because it's fun.” You socialize. You have a couple of beers with someone. I've been in the same thing. I don't think I've drank in maybe seven months because I chose. After a while, it's like, “Whatever. I don't care.”
You probably want to. I enjoy bourbon. Usually, at a mastermind, I'll drink some bourbon. When I want to tie one on, I can still drink more than somebody else, go to bed, wake up, and feel fine the next day. I still have it in me. The leaning into that too much went away. God took that out of me at some point. I think it's a lot of vibration, where we vibrate the frequencies that we're on or where our mind and our consciousness are at. Business is no different. We numb out with sports. We numb out with alcohol. A lot of dudes are numbing out with weed now these days.
Let's talk about margin. You talk about how important it is to have that mind space or that margin in your life. I don't know how many times I've told my wife, “I have no margin. I don't have any time.” I keep going every day. I wake up and keep going. I don't have any margin. As she says, "You got to have margin in your life." I want to talk about how important that is for someone, especially business owners. How do you create that for yourself? How have you been able to create that? What does it look like now as you're creating margin?
It's very intentional. I'll cover that for a second. I got a practical thing that I think will help people. What it looks like is like anything, it’s realizing it's important. I didn't understand it until I had it. I had it because I shut a business down. I was literally in survival mode. I had no money coming in at some point after I was used to that. I would have to sell a house to get some money, then drive around and collect rent from people, scooping some money together. I spent a year in that weird mode when I shut the other business down. I didn't start another business. Luckily, I had some properties to sell and things like that to bring some money in.
There was a crazy tight time financially during that. I started to have more time to be with my thoughts. A deep thing too, and this is very pragmatic as well, was I started going to see a therapist. I had a counselor, therapist, nurse practitioner, doctor, chiropractor, golf coach, and guitar lessons. I had a trainer at the gym. I don't even remember what else. I was like, “If there's anyone out there I can pay who knows something I don't know that will help me be better.”
I realized during that time with a lot of those folks that focus is important. Running in somewhere, hanging the phone up, not being present. Running late and then showing up. When I go to a meeting now, I've already processed every possible outcome of that meeting a hundred times on my way there. I've got my intention set. I've got my mood set and the agenda set. I know the outcome. I visualize the outcome. That's what margin can do for you.
I truly believe God gave us the ability to manifest. This is the secret or whatever. It literally does start with a thought in your mind. If you don't have any time to think. We've all read Think and Grow Rich. I'm almost assuming most people who are watching this have. It always starts with a thought and it gets spoken into the world. It creates a vibration. When you don't have time to think, you can't have thoughts. Your thoughts are just reactions.
Here's a practical thing I'll throw on the end of that. With a lot of my coaching students, I've witnessed this and realized that go-getters like us will have conflicting goals. They're like, “I just started this business. We're having our first kid and I'm going to run a triathlon.” This doesn't end well for two of the three things. If your goals are to be the best dad, the best husband, a triathlete, and an entrepreneur, and you're trying to do them all right now, it's not going to happen.
Currently, we own our real estate business and I'm more involved in my real estate business right now than I have been in years. I spent largely most of the last five years being out of the day-to-day. Not particularly in the day-to-day, but as the market shifted. I'm sitting in my office now. This is my empty office. I'm never in. There's nothing in it. Nothing on the wall. That printer doesn't even have paper in it.
No ink cartridges.
That screen behind me is not hooked up to a computer. I don't know. Anyway, it's interesting to me because I've got my real estate business. Most of the guys I coach are entrepreneurs and business owners. A lot of them are in real estate. This is the other thing. We own this Team Architects company that's getting ready to take off. This is a software play now, but it's also a service to help people hire and build their teams. It so happens that this Team Architects company helps people hire and build teams.
That is also one of the biggest problems I coach people with. It's also one of the biggest things that we struggle with in our business. I spend a lot of my time thinking about how to effectively run a business, which has to do with KPIs, hiring people, and managing people. I spend a lot of my time whether I'm in my coaching business, my real estate business, or Team Architects.
Those are the only three things I do now, other than go to the gym a little bit or tis to do our missionoo much. Whenever I have one of the three things I'm working on, that conversation could happen in any one of the three businesses. Almost the same thing. I've converged on where my focus is. Where I'm headed with this is understanding my conversations when I'm on the phone with a coaching client or Team Architects client or whatever.
It'll go from, “I don't know how to hire someone and train them.” Somehow, we'll be talking about where their energy level is and how they're frustrated. I'm asking them how their marriage is. I'm talking and they're not sleeping well at night and they don't workout. I'm asking them if they've had their hormone levels checked like, “Your T's are probably low.” You can't outthink or outwork low T. If your thyroid is off, your liver is not processing, or you're low on vitamin D and B, you'll have a bad immunity system. You'll get sick. The micros and macros in your body, your blood, your organs, that stuff is so important.
Also, your head, like in therapy. Understand childhood trauma. We all have it. Jesus was the only perfect human being. We all have some kind of trauma no matter who our parents were. Our head is off. We have a chip on our shoulder or we have a validation issue or whatever it is. We have an abandonment or neglect issue. If our body is driving our energy level and how we operate, and then our brain is driving our thinking, if we're trying to be a business owner or hit our God-given purpose, good luck.
If you don't have your body right and your mind right, you can't get in the mode. It’s bringing us all the way back to what you said. It's a function of understanding this. I started getting my hormone levels right, my blood work, and my vitamins. I started exercising and sleeping better. I talked to my wife. We hit 30 years together the other day. We've been together for 30 years.
I tell my wife one day, “We're not okay.” She's like, “What's wrong with you? You're acting weird.” I'm like, “We need to talk more. We need to be connected more.” She's like, “This is how we are. We've been together all these years. We're fine. We love each other.” I got serious about all of it. Once it all started coming together, I started figuring out who I was. That made me make it easier to avoid things that weren't meant for me and weren't important to me. Things started going away and I had more time to think, and that margin came into play. I realized the interplay between my mind, my body, and my soul. Until those got cleaned up, I couldn't cut through the crap. I was medicating with business and alcohol, thinking, learning, and trying to stay occupied. I realized you can cut through that stuff. As you said, once you get some margin, you want more of it.
As men, we do lack or avoid one of those areas. As you're talking, I can feel myself avoiding and not facing reality in something. Maybe it's my body. Maybe it's my mind. Maybe it's my walk with Christ. Maybe it's my business or my marriage. As we wrap up here, we're talking about your journey over the last four months. You went through this awakening.
There was a point in time when you couldn't listen to podcasts. You couldn't learn and take in the knowledge. You were seeking out the best version of yourself, which I think you love to talk about. I want to ask you this as we wrap up this particular show. What is the best version of Steve? Talk about that. Talk about the results of where you're at now versus a year ago or two years ago.
That's a good question. I don't know what the final version of me is. I know what the next version is. I'm here to make a big impact. The religious way to say it is to help build a kingdom. I'm here to help. As I said, men get their identities back and remember who they are. Business owners in particular resonate with me because I am one and know intimately the struggles they're going through. In some ways, business owners affect the kingdom more than anybody. They have clients, employees, vendors, investors, bankers, and partners. If we get our minds right and get in the right groove and can share that with other people, we influence a lot of people, I guess is what I'm saying.
I know that in this next phase in life or this better version of me, there are some old thoughts and old habits I have about what I thought my marriage was going to look like, what I thought business was going to look like, or what I thought my time was going to look like. It's funny because it's almost like death when you let go of some of that stuff because you have this. Especially the older we get, we get sucked in our ways. I realize now that I don't have all that figured out. It's not up to me to figure it out.
The most important thing we can do is to do our mission. We can't do anything better for our wives as men than be the men we're supposed to be. That will draw them in and allow them to open up. Our wives need security and safety. That's one of the top priorities. If we're not being who we're supposed to be, that doesn't make them feel safe. If we're not making them feel safe and secure and showing them that we're out doing what we're supposed to do in the world, they feel like maybe they have to step up and do it. It's also important for our kids and everyone around us.
Figure out who we are. I remembered my fraternity in college. At the front of the book, it was like, “Write down your likes.” You had to write your fraternity first. Most guys write their girlfriend second and God third, then whatever they liked after that. If your girlfriend ever saw your book, where's she at, she's pissed, if she's not at the top or whatever. You would get crap from your fraternity brothers if the fraternity wasn't at the top.
It was funny because I realize now that putting God first is not different than putting me first. I am God. God is me. We're all coming from the same place. We're all connected. We all came from God. It doesn't have to be in some kind of order. Being who I'm supposed to be is me putting God first because I'm being who God intended me to be. That's the same thing. Carrying out my mission and being my best self is me honoring my relationship with God. They're the same thing. I can't do that without being healthy and in shape, and having the finances to make a difference.
I'm realizing it's all connected so much that I don't have these priorities as much anymore that are in some kind of order. I realized how intertwined it all is. One of the big messages I'm trying to bring out to people is it's all so connected. It all starts with being who you're supposed to be, remembering what that is, and then going after it. What you have to do and learn to become the person you're supposed to be in the journey. That's the thing.
It's less about getting there because when you get there, every time you hit a new level in life you want to go, then you have a new perspective. It's becoming the person who can do the things you did is the reward. Once you're at that level, there's a new level for you. That's when you're honoring God. That's when you're being here for your wife and kids. That's when you're helping your community. For me, it isn't just doing things. It's understanding it to the root of why I'm doing it, how I'm doing it, why it worked, why it didn't, and then teaching other people. Once I learn it, my goal is to turn around and teach somebody else.
I love it. As men, if you are tuning in to this if we can all get on this journey of being the best version of ourselves for God's given glory and his purposes, and if we can all get on that path, we're going to have better organizations and better families. We're going to make a true impact on the kingdom just like Steve. Thanks. I'd love to have you on. Steve, it's been awesome having you on the show. I appreciate you. I wish you the best. God bless you.
Thanks. I love seeing you. I'd love to come back sometime.