Dave Lukas - Lessons for Hannah
270: Lessons for Hannah - Impact
Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!"
Many years ago, I introduced a new format that alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
Lessons for Hannah are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
I want to talk to you about your impact. Your impact on yourself, your life, those around you, and the world. How you approach each aspect of your life impacts you, the world around you, and others. You may not see it or know it, but it does. And the true test of character is how you act and adhere to your principles when others are not watching – because unbeknownst to you, someone probably is.
We don’t think about it much, but everything we do impacts something in our lives. This has been called the Butterfly effect or Newton’s 3rd Law which states that for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. If object A exerts a force on object B, object B also exerts an equal and opposite force on object A. In other words, forces result from interactions.
We have a lot of interactions in our lives all throughout every day, but we rarely stop to think about effects that they have.
I was recently reminded of the importance of reflecting and making sure that we approach life each day giving our best and being our best – because you never know what or who can be impacted.
A number of years ago, your mother and I bought an investment property. It was a cheap fixer-upper property in a less desirable area. The goal originally was to buy it very cheap, fix it up, and then flip it for a $5000-10,000 profit. Needless to say we didn’t know what we didn’t know, spent a lot more money than we thought fixing it up, and then got caught up in the real estate crash of 2007-2008. So, we turned it into a rental. It did OK. We went through a lot of renters over a period of 4 years to where we had to eventually evict one for non-payment after months of working with them.
Of course, they trashed the place on the way out, but even worse, left rotting food throughout the house and the place even had bedbugs. I had to do the work on it and essentially had to redo the inside of the house. Needless to say, I learned a lot of lessons that helped me for future investment properties.
After it was ready to rent again, we started looking for renters and we got an application from a young 18-year-old, single new mom. She wanted a place for her and her son that would be theirs and she wanted a longer-term lease. She had a job and had proven she had income to cover the rent and there was something that told me she was worth a chance.
She rented from us for 7 years. I never really had any problems with her. She would sometimes get behind on rent but was always proactive and let me know what was going on, when I could expect payment, and how grateful she was that we would work with her. Over time, I would see her for inspections and other needs and as we talked would impart some piece of wisdom to help her based on our conversation. She was a hard worker and dedicated to her son and I respected that, so, if I could help her grow as a person, I would. I never knew if those lessons about finance or business or thoughts on how to increase her value as an employee ever really stuck.
A couple years ago, we had recouped our investment and the market had turned up. We got an offer on the house that was solid and decide to sell it. I kept the renter in the loop and was up front that I did not know if they would keep her as a renter and to be prepared just in case. Once we closed, they gave her 30 days’ notice to vacate and she let me know. She understood why I sold the place and was again, thankful for working with her all those years.
I wished her well and that was that, or so I thought. In the spring of the this year, I got a text out of the blue that said,
“I just wanted to reach out to you and meant to before, but just go caught up with life. I’m working a double today! But you’ve been on my mind lately. I never got to tell you how much gratitude I have for you and your wife. You were truly a blessing for me and my son. If it wasn’t for you being so kind and understanding, I really don’t know where we would be today. I just want you to know, it was never taken for granted. I try to pay it forward every day. Maybe one day, I can be successful like you and help someone out the same. Anyways, thank you again so much for everything you have done.”
When I received the message, I sat back and thought, wow, I did not know we had that much of an impact, and I had to respond. In doing so I did my best to give what may be the last wisdom I could give her. I said this,
Thank you very much for your kind words, but it wasn't hard for us because it was the right thing to do. It's wonderful that you pay it forward. And you have the potential to be more successful than us and help many. It comes down to a few things. Never giving up, ever, in pursuit of your dreams and goals. Never stop learning and self-educating. Everything you need is at the library, use it to your advantage. Read books on successful people, read books on how to improve yourself. Never stop learning. Work hard, but also smart. Learn to manage money well and how to grow it and nurture it. And do what is right and care for others. You follow that and you'll get all the success you ever dreamed of.
I think that advice works for everyone, and I hope it impacts you in your own way like it did our renter.
Hannah, you never know what impact you will have and when it will take hold. Live your life every day as your best and seek wisdom so that you can share it and help others.
I love you,
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