it’s night and I’m floating in the pool of my new custom-built beachfront mansion. The water is aglow with beautiful changing colors. Tens of thousands of dollars of palm trees decorate the view. Splashing in front of me is a large waterfall from the second floor balcony of my 8 million dollar home. Inside, no expense has been spared, giant custom saltwater aquariums, a grand spiral staircase, extraordinary furnishings…
The whole thing is a magazine spread of paradise.
It took me twenty years to achieve, and only two months to be disillusioned. I’m successful by societal standards a thousand times over, but I’m a failure at fulfillment. I have the chilling realization that no amount of palm trees or wealth is ever going to make me happy.
When I was six, my mother, brother and I immigrated from Holland. She moved us to Denver and we lived quite poor. Mom was a live-in housemaid for a man and babysat on the side. But she bought the house across the street with babysitting money. (She was a heroic single mother). She made a $20,000 profit on that home purchase in 3 years. That inspired me to go into real estate at 18. Twenty years later, I’d amassed a 50 million dollar real estate fortune; 800 homes, multiple apartment complexes, and my beachfront mansion.
Immigrating was hard for me. I didn’t speak English, and my mom, being the proud Dutch woman that she is, would send me to school in leather shorts and wooden shoes from Holland. It goes without saying that I’d get beat up a lot. And when bullies chased me home from school, my mother chased them off with a fly swatter, so I’d get beat up and ridiculed again the next day. So my whole adult life I’d done everything to prove to the world that I’m good enough. I’d been totally focused on me. It was all Rod, Rod, Rod.
After some significant soul searching, I decided to do something for someone else, for the first time in my adult life, which is embarrassing to admit. I called a church to find out who needed help on Thanksgiving.
I bought big boxes of food with frozen turkeys and toys for five families. On my third stop, the woman I presented it to started crying. Then her kids came out and they cried.
Seeing the impact my act of service had of that third family changed my life forever.
It was an epiphany.
I created a foundation called Tiny Hands, and next year I fed 50 families. And then I doubled every year: 100 families, 200, 400, 800, 1600. Thus far, we’ve fed 75,000 children for the holidays, given tens of thousands of backpacks filled with school supplies, provided around 10,000 teddy bears to police officers to give when they encounter a child that’s been traumatized.
I self funded it all until the market crashed in 2008. After that we began taking donations so we could keep the positive impact going.
I lost everything in the market crash in 2008; $50 million in real estate. I lost the beach-front mansion, my Mercedes… all the stuff that ultimately doesn’t matter, but that is quite painful to lose. I’d made the mistake of buying single family homes to hold long term and cross collateralize them with my multifamily properties. The multifamily properties did fine, but the single-family homes pulled my entire portfolio down.
But the opportunity in the crisis was key lessons learned. Shortly after, I started sharing these lessons on a little podcast I started. I did hundreds of episodes, never selling anything, but we hit a million downloads and it just made sense to expand it into a purpose-driven enterprise. (We have exceeded 7 million downloads!) Today, I help people succeed in real estate with my podcast , seminars and coaching. I love my work and more importantly my life.
Best of all though, instead of looking at some fancy mansion that depresses me, today I’ve built a life full of people I’m blessed to help, and kids I get to serve…
Rod Khleif is an entrepreneur, real estate investor, multiple business owner, author, mentor, and community philanthropist who is passionate about business, life, success, and giving back. As one of the country’s top real estate trainers, Rod has personally owned and managed over 2,000 properties.
Rod is Host of the Top-Ranked iTunes Real Estate Podcast which has been downloaded more than 8,000,000 times – “The Lifetime Cash Flow Through Real Estate Investing Podcast.” Rod is the author of “How to Create Lifetime Cash Flow Through Multifamily Properties” considered to be an essential “textbook” for aspiring multifamily investors.
As an accomplished entrepreneur, Rod has built several successful multi-million dollar businesses. As a community philanthropist, Rod founded and directs The Tiny Hands Foundation, which has benefited more than 75,000 community children and families in need. Rod has combined his passion for real estate investing and business development coaching with his personal philosophy of goal setting, envisioning, and manifesting success to become one of America’s top real estate investment and business development trainers.
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While I love sharing strategies, making connections and creating opportunities for people in the world of real estate… what really keeps me going is creating long term positive impact on this planet.
See, impact for me… means helping you to take ACTION like you never have before.
It’s not about doing for the sake of doing. That’s the rat race, and it flat out sucks. The purpose here is to actualize your potential. To help you prove to yourself that you can create true wealth quickly and without regrets.
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