DO Pick | Pick Your Hard

Dreams often remain ideas because, it turns out, working to achieve them is not as glamorous or Pinteresting as they seem. Realistically speaking, it can be hard to make our dreams come true. But then again, the best things are often worth the try. So don’t give up on your dreams just yet. Let Julia Gentry and Travis Gentry enlighten you to just be strategic and pick your hard! They share their struggles and experiences, both in their personal and professional lives, where they had to rethink their commitment to achieving their goals. Along the way, they impart great lessons and questions to ponder if you find yourself in this dilemma. Tune in and learn to choose the right kind of battles in this episode!

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Pick Your Hard

Welcome to the show.

As a friendly reminder, as we head into season two, our goal with this show is to challenge, encourage and equip you to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Second, Travis and I are known for our epically profound, deep conversations behind the scenes. We thought it would be better to do that with you in the comfort of your home. We’re talking about things like faith, family, career, entrepreneurship and money. It is all the things that most people don’t want to talk about.

What are we talking about? What is our topic?

This might be one of my favorite topics. I’m being challenged on it. We’re talking about picking your hard.

What does that mean?

To dovetail on our last episode, we talked about the idea versus doing the work. Oftentimes, we see Instagram, Pinterest and the picture of the farm. We jump in and realize, “This is hard. This takes work, grit, prayer and faith.” We realize that the ideas are not all glamorous and that they’re hard. It would be good to demystify the idea that our dreams are easy, glamorous or Pinterest-y.

Ultimately, are you willing to go through the process? It’s like working out. You’re like, “I want to lift 200 pounds but I’m at 100 pounds. Am I willing to go through the process of 110, 120, 140 and 150 pounds, then back down to 120?” Most of us, to be real, are not.

There is one of those clips that says, “How many people want change?” Everybody raises their hands and then they say, “Who’s willing to change?” All of those hands drop. It’s good to talk about the hard and quite honestly, picking the right hard. At some level, with what you and I have learned and what this episode is about, it’s all hard. It’s being strategic on picking the right kind of hard.

I’d like to unpack what hard feels like. At some level, hard is in the eye of the beholder. You could look at my hard, which we did. We went to dinner at this amazing Thai food restaurant. We only had one baby so we got a lot of conversation in. My hard is not as hard for you. It’s hard for me. It’s not the hard you choose. Also, hard is in the eye of the beholder. It’s not the hard you choose. It’s worth diving into. Let’s do that.

Hard is in the eye of the beholder. Click To Tweet

I was talking to a friend. It ultimately gives you a big picture of climbing a mountain and getting to the top but realizing, “That’s not the mountain I wanted to climb.” I gave that analogy in the last episode too. We’re going to continue to talk about that. It’s the Everest analogy in the book. You have to acclimate at every level but ultimately, are you going after what you want to accomplish? That’s in all areas. That’s why we talk about marriage. We’re going to talk about kids, finances and careers. They all coincide. Often, we do something and we’re not thinking through it. We’re not thinking about the process. We’re just putting our heads down and grinding it out because that’s what we’re supposed to do. You then wake up one day and you’re like, “This is not even the life I wanted.”

That is interesting because that’s hard. If we’re even going straight on point, climbing the wrong mountain is hard and climbing the right mountain is hard. It’s still a mountain. That’s what’s been interesting in both of our journeys because we’ve tried a lot of different things. We’ve lived in a home and in an RV. We’ve lived in seven different states. We’ve not had a home and we’ve had a home base. We’ve had 1 kid and we’ve had 5 kids. We’ve had no money and we’ve had money. At some level, I would look back and say it was all hard. Although it’s a different kind of hard, what has been in enlightening to me is how do you pick the right hard? I’d like to talk about that too.

You’re in it. Give an example of what that means for you.

I’ve been doing growth coaching for the last couple of years. It’s been an incredible ride. It’s helped me put into context the work that you and I have done to put into the book. As of a few years ago, my hard was transitioning into speaking, writing and doing the show. We are in a huge transition of shifting from everything I’ve ever done from business, which is growth coaching, into being a speaker, producing more content, knocking on doors that we’ve never knocked on, going into the churches and all of these things.

To be frank, it’s been hard. It’s not been as easy as I thought. I didn’t think it was going to be a slam dunk but it’s been challenging on top of that we had our fifth baby. It turns out five kids is a lot. That’s hard. It came at a time when I feel like I’m doing it well and maybe I’m doing better than most but I don’t feel like I’m doing it well. It feels like a lot of hard at one time.

To give a little context, we moved back to Bend. We homeschool our kids. We’re figuring out that process too. Two of them are more of school age. Nixon is entering this school so we’re starting to do some stuff with him. We’ve got a lot on our plate. I’m also transitioning my focal point too. I’m spending hours doing something I’ve never done before but I’m super excited about it. It’s new.

It’s interesting to do new with your partner at the same time. You are doing hard and I’m watching you do the pushups in life every single day. I’m planting seeds and doing the pushups in my life. We’re both doing this new hard. That adds another dimension too. It’s almost like we’re both doing pushups at the same time. I’m like, “Could you tell me that I can do it?” You’re like, “I’m too busy doing my pushups. Can you give me a fist bump,” which is awesome and great. I have to remind myself and I did, “This is the hard I choose.”

Why though? We say we want something but why are you choosing this hard as opposed to you got to a place within your business that you did well? You worked part-time and could have stayed there. You wrote a book, came out with a curriculum and hired someone full-time and she’s awesome. That’s part of this process and journey. Sometimes, it looks like you’re taking a step or 2, 3 or 4 backward to get to where you want to go. Why did you transition? You created the life that you wanted to have a certain amount of time and income. What made you change? Why are you picking a new hard when you don’t have to?

Number one, I’m an eight on the Enneagram, which means nothing to Travis but for everybody to whom it means something, I like a good challenge. Two, do you remember a couple of years ago when we watched The Greatest Showman? Hugh Jackman says, “Comfort is the enemy of progress.” Number three is I feel called to do this. All of them are convicting. I love a good challenge.

At some level, I was very blessed but I was comfortable and I wasn’t challenged in the work I was doing anymore. That comfort can truly become the enemy of progress. I could be where I was for years to come and that’s not a win for me. When you sit long enough with, “I cannot do this anymore,” it has pointed me in a new direction. Do I feel called? Yes. Do I feel equipped? Not most days. Do I feel like I have to call on God in a way that I’ve never had before? For sure. It’s required me to hit my knees more than I was before. That’s what’s resonating in my head.

Comfort can truly become the enemy of progress. Click To Tweet

You feel called to do it so you’re taking those steps. What are you doing in the midst of what we talked about where you’re like, “Tell me I’m okay and I should keep going.” Those thoughts come up when you transition, whether it’s a career or you start eating differently. You’re like, “Tell me it’s working.” You don’t see the results right away. What is that process? How has that process been for you? What are you doing to motivate yourself and continually know it’s hard? A lot of people will start something and then when it gets hard, they stop.

Let me answer that question and then I’m going to fire this one back at you since you are rapid-firing me. There are two things that run through my head on a regular basis. I wish all of you had a Travis Gentry at home in your pocket to pull him out every once in a while. He says things that you’re like, “What did you say?” You have said it before. This was while we were traveling the country. You said, “It’s never about not having enough time. It’s where you have priorities.”

You broke it down for me. You were like, “You have 24 hours in your day, the same amount as anybody else. It’s never that you don’t have time. It’s what are you willing to make a priority.” That’s a very practical approach. That resonates on a regular basis. It’s the ability to say, “I have to learn to make decisions based upon where I’m going and not where I am. I have a clear vision of what I want this to look like. If I can do my part, making decisions as the woman who’s already there, even though I don’t feel like her today, then I’ll end up where she’s at.” It’s not because I want to be there but because I want to think like her. She’s thinking differently than I’m thinking.

She’s manifested the dream and holding a bigger blessing. She trusts God in a way that I’m learning to. With the faith that I have, she sees the finished product. If I was her, what would I tell myself? I’m doing my best to make one decision after another based on how she looks at this, not how I look at this. That’s all I got.

I’ve watched a major transition into this investor role. I’ve seen you invest in education and learning. You’re going down a path that you’ve never gone down before and that’s taking some risk. You’re taking some financial risk, delaying instant gratification and doing things behind the scene to learn things that most people wouldn’t learn. You don’t have the “results” yet either. My question to you is how do we know we’re picking the right kind of hard and that the delayed results are part of the process and not a result of the work you’re in?

One of the things that I’ve probably struggled with over the years is being interested in a lot of different things. I would start and stop. I’d get results. It would work and then I would be like, “I like this.” There are so many different facets of real estate that you can do. You can flip houses, do rentals land and commercial. There are so many facets and I’ve tried a bunch of them. I feel like I’ve done well but I haven’t done great because I haven’t stuck with just one.

Looking back, we’ve traveled. The last couple of years have been my best couple of years but I’m also recognizing the market cycles. Understanding where we’re going, the past doesn’t repeat but it rhymes. If you look at market cycles, it happens. Whether it’s the stock market, the real estate market or precious metals, they go up and down. I’m recognizing that there’s a big shift happening in the world and also in real estate, commodities and the stock market. That’s what I dove into. I’m understanding what is going on and why.

I’m super passionate about that, not only for myself but I want to help my family and other people understand you can’t keep doing what you’ve done and get different results. Most people invest for the long haul, especially in the stock market. They invest in the 401(k) and put their money there. They hope and pray that by the time they reach retirement, they’re going to have enough. That’s not the best strategy.

We don’t have 401(k)s so I have to be proactive. I love the world of investing. I’m getting more into economics and how that affects investing. A lot of people will ride it until the end. They wake up one day and be like, “What’s happening? What happened,” as opposed to being reactive like, “The market cycle’s changing. Maybe it’s a good time to sell your real estate, sit on the sidelines in cash, adopt a different strategy or look at the stock market.”

It doesn’t go up. It has for the last couple of years but it pulls back, goes up and pulls back. With interest rates increasing and the fed tightening, it’s having an effect on the stock market. There are ways to make money on the way down and up. I’m passionate about understanding why and what is happening as opposed to being a victim. That’s where a lot of people look at what happened as opposed to being like, “I’m going to make things happen.”

I’ve watched you in this transition. You were giving some advice to a friend because his approach to this changing world is to work more. We’ve seen him transition. He’s working nights and six days a week. His mind says, “I’m going to put in more hours to make more money,” which you say is fair. On paper, it is fair. Your advice to him was, “Take those extra hours and put them into learning a skill or learning a trade that there’s no cap to what you can make financially.” Both are hard.

Let’s look at this again. We’ve said before that being fit is hard, being fat is hard, being married is hard and being single is hard. 1 kid is hard and 5 kids are hard. Working more hours to make more money is hard. Working fewer hours to put your time into something that doesn’t give you any return right away but could be increasing your rate of return later, how do you know how to do that? For anyone that’s reading and is new to this, some of these are big risks. Writing this book takes a risk. Starting a new business takes a risk. Putting your time into something that isn’t going to give you financial gain right away, how do you manage that hard?

Specifically, on what you were talking about with the friend, he had one job, working 3 or 4 nights a week. He got a second job, working nights to max out. He’s working 6 to 7 days a week. It came up that he wants to be an investor. He wants to invest. I understand that but where I would be spending my time is not having two jobs.

One, I’d do a self-audit as far as my financials and look at, “Where could I save some money so I don’t have to have two jobs?” With that extra time, as opposed to having a second job, I’m studying and increasing my value and knowledge base to understand what’s going on and how I can be an investor. It’s not just about having money. If you have a skillset, you can create money.

This is huge. To me, if we’re trying to be strategic or intentional on picking the right kind of hard, it’s, “How can I increase my value?” It’s like an input play. I need to learn more and know something. It’s not implying that I’m wrong. It’s implying that there’s something I don’t know that I need to get some input so my output can increase. That’s hard.

It’s the same as not doing anything. Not doing anything is as hard because you’re going to wake up in 5 or 10 years and be in the same spot or on the wrong mountain. It’s looking at, “Where am I? Where do I want to go?” Having a job, for most people, is not a bad thing. You can dual-track. You can be an investor and have a job. There are benefits to that because you have W-2 income and real estate. It helps you.

Being self-employed doesn’t always help you. There are different strategies that you can look at and say, “I love my job.” That’s great but also, spend maybe 1 hour a week, 2 hours a week and then 5 hours a week learning a new skill or understanding an investment strategy. You can then implement that. You can dual-track, grow your wealth or your money and compound that as opposed to hoping and praying.

That’s the point right there. We have to ultimately ask ourselves, “What is the greatest result that I want here?” It’s not, “What do I want now? What do I want most?” That’s harder to do because you’re going to have to think a little bit in the long game but then, it’s going to be strategically working backward. It’s like, “If that’s what I want most, then it’s not about I don’t have enough time. It’s what my greatest priority is.”

I even said to Travis I needed something at the grocery store. I was like, “I’ll do Instacart.” He’s like, “I’ll go and grab those three things.” I was like, “It’s not the highest and best use of your time.” He looks at me the way that he always does. It’s like, “Do you think I’m stupid?” I look back at him with eyes and say, “No.” He’s like, “I’ll listen to something while I’m at Costco.” I was like, “You will.” This guy is not listening to Oprah. He’s listening to Think Tank and Robert Kiyosaki. This guy is getting things done. You have proven to me with five kids, being so hands-on with our family and watching you make huge strides with how much time you’re putting in the study of learning that there’s always time. He’s done course after course and that’s huge.

There’s that tipping point too where some people study and never implement. You’ve got to do both. You’ve got to learn. Once you feel competent enough and you look at the probabilities, you’ve got to move forward. I’ve seen that for the last couple of years in real estate. Everyone wants to be a real estate investor because it’s glamorous. It’s on TV. You got to know a little bit more than a week in a workshop or strategically align yourself with someone that’s in the business. It’s a combination of spending time but most people don’t spend any time. Whether it’s health and nutrition, it doesn’t have to be money. Money gives you options. That’s all it does.

If you want more options, create your value. You get paid according to the value that you present and serve to the world. If it’s fitness, spend twenty minutes a day listening to a podcast specifically on fitness and nutrition. I guarantee, if you tweak a few things, you’re going to start to see some results. If you want to keep going down that path, you’ll compound that. In 3 months or 6 months, you’re going to look back and be like, “I feel better. I look better. I’m doing better.”

If you want more options, create your value and get paid according to the value you present and serve to the world. Click To Tweet

It goes from being super hard to build momentum. This is what you said to me. You were like, “You’re going to have to walk through the hard.” He asked me many times, “Is this the hard you choose? You got to walk through that hard until the momentum builds,” and it does. That’s when, at some level, the grace kicks in and it does become simple. You’re riding the momentum until you get to a place of comfort again.

It’s almost like our journey in real estate. I remember the first couple of phone calls we made. I was petrified to talk to the loss mitigation. We would throw the phone back and forth. We didn’t know what to say. We were following scripts. Three years later, we could multitask and teach other people how to do it and all the things. It’s the same thing with my coaching and the book. At some level, hard turns into momentum. Momentum turns into comfort and comfort turns into a choice. That’s what we’re looking for.

Pick the right kind of hard that builds the momentum because the momentum’s going to build either way, even to your point of health and fitness. If I decide to eat a hamburger every single day, on day 1 and day 2, I’m not going to be overweight but if I keep doing that, guess what’s going to happen? We’re going to build momentum one way or another.

At some level, we have to keep asking ourselves, “Is this the momentum I want to build? Is this the hard I choose?” We then have to be okay that the pressure is a privilege. The tension is building strength within us to hold the blessing. That is the only other thing I’m reminding myself of. I’m like, “God, give me the ability to hold the blessing so that when it comes, I want to have the oomph within me to hold it.”

I’m going to say a couple of things. We’ve gotten this or people get this, “It’s easy for you to say. Look at where you’re at.” We didn’t start here. Like someone that’s a multimillionaire or billionaire, they didn’t start there unless they inherited it. You’ve got to look at what the work is that they put in to get to that level. Secondly, we’ve created a life of comfort but that’s not what I want. That is to me, personally. I want to challenge myself in all areas of my life because comfort is the enemy of progress. It’s looking at it like, “Where do you feel comfortable but you’re not satisfied?” Once you start to get complacent and comfortable, you start to die inside.

What COVID showed us is I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I’m tired.” What I would propose is, “You’re not tired. You’re bored. There isn’t a fire or an urgency that’s getting you out of bed.” We’re confusing tired with bored. It’s almost like the kids. They are like, “I’m hungry.” I’m like, “You’re not hungry. You’re thirsty.” Sometimes, we have these things that confuse us.

I don’t want to suggest that having times in your life that you can settle in and go, “I’m safe, secure and stable,” is great but it’s not what we were born for. At some level, that’s the American dream. Once you get it, then you’re like, “Is this all that there is?” There’s a fulfillment play too. Tony Robbins says, “Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.” That’s what we’re talking about.

The way through the hard, the tension and the pressure are also the connection with the fire. Do you believe? That’s what I’ve watched you ask yourself for the last couple of months. You’re like, “Do I believe in what I’m investing in?” It’s been a constant gut check for you. You’ve used the words, “I’m convicted,” and you’ve asked me that. You’re like, “Are you convicted by this?” I have to admit that there are some days that you’re like, “I don’t understand the question. I don’t know.” That’s why it’s so important to have someone who’s not as biased. When you were like, “Are you convicted?” Tears were running down my face because I’m like, “I think so. I’m learning if I am.”

We’ve done this too. You’ve got to look at the best and worst-case scenarios with the decisions that you’re making. You’re like, “What’s the best case that everything falls in the line? Am I committed to the process that it takes, whether it is 3 months or 3 years? What is the worst case?” I got to understand my worst case and what I would do if I start to see the worst case come true. It’s a blessing that we have each other. You bring up the Enneagram. We’re going to do an episode specifically on the Enneagram.

You’re going to love it. I promise you that.

How we approach the hard is different. I look at investing and everything that’s going on and I’ve learned this from a couple of different mentors, as probabilities. A lot of investing can be counterintuitive to what everybody else is doing. Warren Buffett is the one that said, “Be fearful when everyone is greedy and greedy when everyone is fearful.” You’ve got to take a different approach to certain aspects of life, food, nutrition and everything. There’s so much fast food and garbage out there. If you were to take out all the foods in a grocery store that have sugar and processed anything in it, it’s 80% of it.

Most people would not know what to do.

You’re limited. If you’re starting to change your eating habits, that prohibits you from going out to a lot of restaurants. Since we live in a world where you can click a button and you can have it now or tomorrow, you have to put in the work. My mindset has changed and I’m excited about the work that I’m putting in because I know what it’s going to get me. I have hope is what I’m saying. I focus on the hope of, “I’m not where I want to be.” Success leaves clues. I’m looking at them and I’m like, “If I follow, do certain things that they’re doing, gain a new mindset and rethink how I thought, I have hope that pulls me through those days where I’m like, ‘Is this working?’”

That’s key. Someone said, “When all else fails, pray.” I was like, “First things first and when all else fails, pray.” It’s also that idea you and I were talking about. Act like it depends on me and pray like it depends on God. That’s where the hope is. Travis and I look at this very differently. He’s this feeler. I’m more of a knower. You have walked into your hard differently than I’ve approached mine, which I can so appreciate. We have to learn to build from revelation and build from the result that we want the most regardless of what we see.

If I want to lose 30 pounds, I can’t make decisions based on where I am. I have to make decisions based on the man or woman who’s lost 30 pounds. If I want to be a speaker, author and someone who delivers content, I need to be making decisions from that revelation or the dream working backward. More than anything, what we want to encourage you in is, number one, to make sure you’re picking the right hard. It’s all going to be hard so don’t look for the path of least resistance. Look for the path that’s going to make you the proudest and pick that one.

The second thing that I’m hearing from us is don’t overlook the pressure and the tension. What is building within you is going to be the strength and the resolve to hold the blessing, to hold the increase and the more. Even for Travis and me, having five kids is a huge blessing. It’s a lot to hold. It’s not that we are perfect parents but we’ve learned along the way how to do it well. There’s a little bit more strength and resolve in holding a family of 7 versus 2 or 3.

Don't overlook the pressure and tension because what they're building within you will be the strength and resolve to hold the blessing. Click To Tweet

That is planned for a specific reason. You could have 3, 5 to 7 kids at one time but that’s rare. God gives you 1 or 2 at a time. You gradually grow your capacity to have five. Your capacity has to expand rapidly and you go with it. It’s the progression of every area of life. You have to understand that this is the process. You’re not able to hold whatever blessing or whatever that is. There won’t be the satisfaction of it if you were given whatever it is that you want.

Part of it is I don’t have the strength to continue to hold it. God is so good that he gives us what we know we can manage and gives us more when we’re ready. For him, it’s not about the destination. That’s what we forget. For him, it’s not about the goal. It’s about your heart, character, resolve and faith. He’s already at the finish line. For him, it’s not about the things that it is for us. It’s so much about the character building in between that’s important to him.

I want to say one last thing on this topic. If you could imagine and dream everything that you ever wanted and you had it, what do you do? The whole point of it is to continue to dream and chase new things. It is to expand your capacity and grow as a human, not only for yourself but for the people in the world around you. You’re not given it because then, everybody would have it and do nothing. Everyone would be walking zombies and some people are.

The whole process is part of the experience. You get to that mountain peak and you’re like, “This is awesome. I did it.” You stay there for however long you want to stay there. At some point, it becomes so natural that you’re like, “I need a new challenge. I want to grow and expand my capacity or me as a human.”

Here’s to expanding our capacity, picking the right kind of hard and leaning into the pressure because we can do hard things. We’ll see you next time.


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