PLP-122 Rod Khleif: Why Achieving Personal Growth Is More Important Than Goal-Setting


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Many people believe that achieving your goals is the epitome of success. However, what makes it more worthwhile is gaining personal growth along the way. Multifamily master Rod Khleif joins Keith Baker to tell his inspiring story of finding success and failure in real estate, teaching him to live larger than life and become strong whatever happens. He shares how writing down your specific goals helps a lot in gearing up for the challenges of life and how the feeling of gratitude allows you to manifest every goal you may have. Above all, Rod talks about finding a high level of self-fulfillment in giving back to society, sharing how he found a deeper purpose in feeding families every time the holiday season comes.


Rod Khleif: Why Achieving Personal Growth Is More Important Than Goal-Setting

I Finally Got To Interview Rod Khleif!

I’m pumped up for this interview with Rod Khleif. He is a multiple business owner and philanthropist who is passionate about real estate, business and giving back. As one of the country’s top business, real estate and peak performance luminaries, Rod has owned over 2,000 homes and apartment buildings and has built over 24 businesses in his 40-year business career, several of which have been worth tens of millions of dollars. That’s just a few of the reasons I sought out Rod to be on the show. As you read on, you’ll understand why.

Out of 120-plus episodes, this is the episode in which I say the least. Rod is captivating and inspirational, at least for me. I sat back and started taking notes because I forgot that I was conducting an interview. Rod’s podcast, The Lifetime CashFlow Through Real Estate is one of the first shows I listened to way back years ago. It inspired me to do my own. His show inspired me to also begin seeking knowledge and to understand multifamily investing, which is Rod’s specialty. Let’s go ahead and get down to the brass text of this show and to the interview with Rod Khleif.


It’s my distinct honor to welcome Mr. Rod Khleif to the show. Rod, welcome.

Thanks. Let’s have some fun, Keith.

I know full well who you are. I want my audience to know who you are. I listened to Rod’s podcast years ago as I’m coming up in my morning commute and it inspired me to do my show. Rod’s podcast is The Lifetime CashFlow Through Real Estate. There’s a lot of great information there. I’m excited and nervous. Rod, thank you so much. You honor me by coming on here.

Thank you for your kind words. That means a lot to me. For those of you that don’t know who I am, let me give you a little background on me and a story because it might help and inspire you. I immigrated to this country when I was six years old. I was born in the Netherlands, in Holland, wooden shoes and windmills. We ended up in Denver, Colorado. We didn’t have much. I worked close in the Goodwill and the Salvation Army all the way through junior high school until I lied about my age to work at Burger King when I was fourteen, so I could buy my clothes. I remember growing up, we ate expired food and drank powdered milk because that’s all we could afford.

Luckily, my mom had an incredible work ethic. She babysat kids so we’d have enough money to eat and have a decent life. She was a bit of an entrepreneur as well. She invested in the stock market with her babysitting money. She also bought the house across the street from us when I was about fourteen. When I was seventeen, three years later, she told me she’d made $20,000 in her sleep. I’m like, “You made $20,000, it went up in value and you didn’t do anything? Forget college. I’m getting into real estate.” I became a real estate broker when I turned eighteen. I’m an agent. I was a broker, which you could do back then with education. Now they got smart and you need some experience, but I was a real estate broker. I was going to be rich in real estate.

In my first year in real estate, I made about $8,000. This is 1978. In my second year, maybe $10,000 or $12,000, but in my third year, I made over $100,000, which back in 1981 was some decent change. What happened between year 2 and 3? I met a guy that taught me about the importance of mindset and psychology, and how your success in anything relates to your mindset and psychology. It’s 80% to 90% of your success in anything. Only 10% to 20% is the mechanics, be it in private lending and in multifamily real estate, which is what I teach. Whatever the vehicle is, it’s the smallest percentage. If it was knowledge, there would be much wealthy librarians and college professors out there. It’s the do and keep doing.

[caption id="attachment_3062" align="aligncenter" width="600"]PLP 122 Rod Khleif | Personal Growth Personal Growth: Whatever you focus on is going to get larger, both positive and negative.[/caption]

Fast forward now, I’ve owned over 2,000 houses that I’ve rented long-term and thousands of apartment units. In 2006, my net worth went up to $17 million while I slept. It’s a little more than my mom’s $20,000. I thought I was a real estate god. If you do Math on it, it’s $8,300 an hour over a 40-hour workweek, which I did. I could barely fit my head through a door. I thought I could do no wrong. When that happens, sometimes when people get like that, God or the universe will give them a nice little smack down. That was in 2008. I lost that $17 million and a lot more. I lost $50 million in 2008. I thought that was it for life. One of the things I enjoy talking about or drilling down on is the mindset it took to have $50 million and to lose in the first place, but then the mindset it took to get back to the success that I enjoy now. If you want me to drill down, I can go a little deeper on how that happened.

I want you to tell your story because I can regurgitate and it’s not going to be the same side of the impact that it has coming from you. I love the fact about what it took to get to that. How do you get the ability to lose $50 million? I love how you said you couldn’t get your head through the door, the hubris of youth. Getting back to do that, bouncing back, getting back up after that and returning. Please dive in.

How I was able to do it is re-associating with exactly what I wanted and more importantly, why I wanted it. I used to do these live bootcamps. I did sold-out live events for 2.5 to 3 years. I was supposed to have 800 people in Orlando in May 2020 and we all know what happened with that. I was freaking out. I was like, “We had hundreds of people that already paid. What are we going to do?” If you go to, you’ll see me with my phone in the backyard shooting the video because we had to get the website up in two days. We did and we’ve now had thousands of people attending my live stream events. I had to innovate and pivot.

Let me mention something. If you’re reading this, I know you’re a leader. Now more than ever, the world needs leaders. Back then, I had to innovate and pivot. Maybe you do as well. Maybe you’re going through a tough time and you need to re-invent yourself. We all go through these periods in our lives and don’t fear it, deal with it. Do it, innovate, pivot, whatever you have to do to make it happen. Some of the biggest companies in history were built when times were tough. Keep that in mind. One other thing on that note as it relates to leaders is as a leader, you have to pay very close attention to what you focus on. Whatever you focus on is going to get larger, both positive and negative.

[bctt tweet="Some of the biggest companies in history were built when times were tough. " via="no"]

Be very careful and don’t get sucked into the news. The news isn’t out there to inform us. It’s there to startle and scare us. Don’t get me started on politics. Don’t get sucked into that crap. Focus on bringing in the good stuff. The bottom line is how I was able to recover was re-associating with what I wanted. I do these live events. One of the first things I do is this session. I’ll give you a high-level overview of what I do. I call it goal setting on steroids. This is how I had $50 million to lose and how I got back to the success that I have through this process. There are a few steps. I’ll go through it very quickly.

The first thing you need to do is to pick an hour when you have a lot of energy. Don’t do it after a meal. Sit down and write down everything you could ever possibly want in life. All the stuff, there’s nothing wrong with stuff. The houses, cars, boats, jet skis, planes, write it down. Write down how much money you want in the bank in 3 or 10 years. Write down how much cashflow you want from your investments in 3 or 10 years. Write down all the places that you want to visit. Write down all the things you want to do. It’s not just the stuff. Dig deep and write down everything. The little things and the big things. Everything you could ever possibly want, the jewelry and clothes.

Also, write down the things you want to do. Maybe you want to climb all the mountains over 15,000 feet or jump out of a perfectly good airplane. I did that in 2020 and I’ll never do it again, but it’s off the list. Write down what you want to do. Where do you want to travel? I’ve got a travel vision board. Also, write down what you want to learn in your lifetime, the skills you want to learn. If you want to be a private lender, I know Keith’s got some stuff coming out to teach you how to do that. If it’s multifamily, come and see me. I’ll tell you how you can spend a couple of days with me. It’s $97 and I don’t send to sell anything there. I teach for eighteen hours and I don’t sell anything for under $100.

The point is if you want to learn something, write it down, a skill, maybe a foreign language or you want to write a book. Whatever you want to do, be or have, you need to write it down, little things, big things, everything and dig deep. Also, write down who you want to help. We’ll do more for others than we’ll ever do for ourselves. You want to use this. This is the fuel that’s going to get your butt out of bed early, stay up late, work on a Saturday. Do whatever you got to do to live the life of your dreams. If you’re willing to work like most people won’t for a few years, you’ll live the rest of your life like most people can’t. This is the fuel that’ll get you to that.

Don’t let the pen leave the paper. Write it all down. Write down who you are going to help. I bought my parents a house when my dad was alive here on a canal in Florida. I bought him a car, took them on cruises. Who do you want to do things for? Write that down because that’ll juice you. It’ll motivate you. I’m sure there are quite a few analytical people reading this, Keith. If you’re analytical, don’t stop and analyze your answers. Keep writing. You can always scratch them out later. Don’t let the pen leave the paper. Once you can’t think of another thing, put a time limit on each goal. That’s the next step. Put how many years you think it’ll take you to achieve it, 1, 3, 5, even 10 or 20, recognizing that as human beings, we will overestimate what we can do in a year, and massively underestimate what we can do in 5, 10, 20 years.

[caption id="attachment_3063" align="aligncenter" width="600"]PLP 122 Rod Khleif | Personal Growth Personal Growth: If you want to learn something, write it down.[/caption]

I’m going to give you some examples for me. This is not me bragging. I’m hoping to inspire you. Most of these examples don’t even interest me anymore, but I’m hoping they’ll inspire you. When I lived in Denver, I always knew I wanted to live on the beach. There was no beach in Denver. I would visualize the palm trees, sand, surf and all of that stuff. Twenty years later, I built this incredible mansion on the beach. It was unthinkable when I was eighteen. Take the lid off your brain. I own the beach on one side. I had my boats on the backside. It was an $8 million, 10,000 square-foot mansion. If you can imagine it, you can do it. There’s nothing you can’t do. Put a time limit on each goal. Once you’ve done that, you need to pick your number one goal. If you’ve got 2 or 3 that are equally exciting, just pick one. When you get that goal, you’re like, “This is amazing.” That goal that you know you’ve arrived at when you’ve achieved it.

Put that on a separate sheet of paper. I want you to pick your top three one-year goals and put those on that separate sheet of paper. Leave some room in between them. Don’t overthink this. Don’t kill yourself trying to pick the number one goal. If you’ve got 2 or 3 that are equally exciting, just pick one. It won’t matter for this, but your number one goal and your top three one-year goals. At this point, you’re ahead of 99.9% of the people on the planet that do a new year’s resolution that’s forgotten by February. There are two more steps. The goals are important. You got to have them. That’s how you create what Napoleon Hill calls a burning desire in his book, Think and Grow Rich. You got to have a burning desire.

You got to want it but, “Why the goals are an absolute must?” is the real fuel. You need to write a paragraph under each goal why you have to achieve it. There’s no 50/50. It has to happen. Use emotionally charged words when you’re writing your description. Words are powerful. Words like amazing, incredible and beautiful. Use these words because they’ll juice you. You might say, “I can show my kids what incredible success looks like. I can show my wife or husband what it means to be free and live an amazing life of success. We can have the freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want, go wherever we want, bring whoever we want.” Whatever is going to juice you, write it down. Put a positive reason why it has to happen under each goal. One little tiny step further. You need to put some pain in there if you don’t achieve the goal. Make it freaking painful, “So I don’t feel like a failure, so I don’t fail my kids, so I don’t fail my wife or husband, so I don’t live a life of regret.”

There was this nurse in Australia named Bronnie Ware. She was a hospice nurse. She dealt with patients when they were about to die. She asked them a question. The question was, “Do you have any regrets?” She even wrote a book about it’s called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Do you know what the number one regret was? It was, “Not living the life I could have lived but living someone else’s life. Not doing what I know I’m capable of.” We do not want that. If you’re sitting here and you’re afraid of failure, fear regret. It’s much worse. Fear being in the same place that you are a year from now unless you love where you are now. That’s what you fear. Fear regret, not failure. We fail our way to success. As a side note, I call them seminars. That $50-million thing was a seminar. It wasn’t a failure. I learned that it’s only a failure if you don’t get back up, and you don’t learn the lesson.

I’ve built 24 businesses. Several have been worth tens of millions of dollars. Most have been spectacular flaming seminars, but we fail our way to success. I met the billionaire owner of SPANX, the women’s undergarments. Her name is Sara Blakely, a beautiful human being. I met her at her mastermind. She told me that her dad used to ask her and her brother once a week, “What have you failed at this week?” What an awesome question to not fear failure. You’ve got your negative reason why you cannot fail in getting that goal. The next thing you must do is you must get pictures of your goals. This is how you manifest this stuff. Back years ago, I used to have a sign above my bed. When I laid in bed, I could see it. It said, “$100,000 a month.” Now I have 10X that. It says $1 million a month above my bed. I’ll reach it and that’s not ego. I will. There’s no question in my mind. That’s a big piece as well. You’ve got to know you can do this. You got to believe in yourself. The power of belief is incredibly powerful. You’ve got to believe it, even if you don’t have it and you know what to pee in.

[bctt tweet="Everything you want to manifest in life starts from a foundation of gratitude. " via="no"]

Get pictures of your goals. Let me give you some examples of manifesting. I’ll give you a couple of public examples. Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for $10 million when he was flat broke. He carried it in his wallet. He used to go up by the Hollywood sign. He would look at it and visualize cashing it. That’s how much money he made for Dumb and Dumber. Demi Lovato posted on social media, “I’m going to sing in the Super Bowl,” when she was unknown years ago. In 2020, go see who sang in it.

I’ll give you some personal examples for me. When I was eighteen, I figured I had to have a four-door car to show houses because I was going to be rich in other people’s houses. I bought this four-door Ford Granada, bench seat in the front, the ugliest piece of crap you’ve ever seen. I figured that’s what I had to have. I worked with a guy and he had Corvette. He let me drive one. That’s an important piece. If you want something, experience and test drive the car, go to the open house of the houses that you want. Experience it as much as you can. I drove this Corvette and I’m like, “This is freaking awesome.” It’s sleek and you sit back like you own the world. I got a picture of a Corvette out of a magazine. This is before the internet. I glued it or taped it to the visor of that bone ugly Granada. Every time I sat in it, it was right there in front of me, then a year I had a Corvette.

I’ll give you a couple more examples. This is back when the TV show Magnum P.I. was out. The actor’s name was Tom Selleck. He was this detective in Hawaii. It was the first time I’d seen an exotic car. He drove this Ferrari 308. I’m like, “Look at that thing. Look how low, beautiful and sleek it is. I got to have one.” I got a picture of that actual car. I put on the visor of my Corvette. Within a year or two, I have a Maserati that looked like it. The last example, I always wanted a Lamborghini. When I saw those, I’m like, “These are amazing.” I got pictures of them, posters in my room. What’s interesting is my son collected exotic cars. He had a model of the exact same color that I ended up getting. A color and style of Lamborghini that I ended up getting. None of this stuff may interest you. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t, but the message here is to get pictures of what does juice you and put them around you because they work.

I have a paper planner. In the back of this thing, I’ve got pictures that have been in here for twenty...

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