This is my story….
“I have endured, I have been broken, I have known hardship, I have lost myself. But here I stand, still moving forward, growing stronger each day. I will never forget the harsh lessons in my life. They only made me stronger.“
I was born in 1980 and raised in a small town called Sechelt on the Southwest coast of British Columbia, Canada. I was raised in a middle class family by my parents with my one year older brother. My mom was a nurse practitioner and my dad was an entrepreneur who built and operated a convenience store. Among many other things , my parents demonstrated the importance and meaning of hard work, discipline, making and fulfilling commitments and being accountable for everything in our lives. My brother was my hero and always one of my best friends growing up. He blazed the path for almost all new things that I did as a child growing up when I lacked the self-confidence to push through the initial wall of fear that came with embracing anything new. I grew up with a great large group of friends and other supportive relationships. Outside of school, I spent the majority of my time during my upbringing playing hockey, softball, dirt-biking, mountain biking, waterskiing, skiiing, snowboarding, four wheeling, boating or swimming.
Following graduation in 1998, I spent a year at home to run the family convenience store to cover for my dad when he had to prioritize his time on a new business venture. I then enrolled at BCIT in Vancouver where I lived on campus for 3 years while completing a two year electrical/electronic engineering technology diploma program along with 1 year of on-site work experience. At the age of 21, I took my first job out of BCIT as an Applications Engineer at a leading commercial building Automation controls contracting company called ESC Automation in Surrey, BC in 2002. ESC Automation provided a great culture that allowed me to continually learn and grow, and it provided great promise for a successful career and stable life. I bought my first home in 2003, a 3 bedroom,2 bath condo in Surrey, BC with a loan from my parents while making $14.90/hr. I maintained at least 1 roommate, but usually 2, in order to afford my student and household loans and other expenses during that period. I was living large those days in my early twenties. I was physically fit, optimistic, and totally focused on living in the moment with a sure optimistic future ahead of me. I was playing in a competitive hockey league with my fiends, going snowboarding a few times a year, partying pretty hard at least twice a week , and working in at least a few road trips and other warm destination vacations every year. Life was Great!
In March of 2005, at the age of 25, one minor incident completely changed the trajectory of my life. Following a pretty typical party night out at a bar, I suffered a severe traumatic brain injury as a result of an unexpected blow to my head and resultant impact to the sidewalk. Following brain surgery to relieve a rapidly growing brain hemorrhage and a week in a coma, I was assessed over the next few weeks and was told upon entry into a brain and spinal rehab facility, that life as I knew it and the future as I intended it in all areas of my life would be no longer, that I would have to come to terms with that and create a new more realistic life following such a traumatic injury. I was completely paralyzed on the left side of my body, confined to a wheelchair that I could only mobilize from my right arm and leg in an awkward zig-zag movement. My brain couldn’t process any information from my left visual field, and I struggled with reading, writing, and parts of my memory, mostly short-term, names and word finding. I spent the next couple of months in a rehab facility working with some of the best occupational and physical therapists that supported me to push through my physical boundaries and fears. I searched desperately during that period trying to come to acceptance of my new fate and for any potential positive that I could find. I made a prioritized goal of being able to walk out of the rehab centre upon my discharge. After about 3 months of intense focused therapy, although with heavy reliance on a cane, I was able to walk out of the rehab centre. I then moved back into my parents’ house to continue with my rehab. At this point, my driver’s license had been revoked, I was able to walk about 50 feet on a flat surface with heavy reliance on my cane, and was told that I would likely never be able to return back to my job as an electric engineering technologist.
During those early days at home, I spent almost all of my waking hours on my physical and cognitive rehabilitation. During this period, one of my close friends was killed in a car accident, the second close friend within 2 years that had been killed in a car accident. As well, my mom was informed that her cancer had come back and spread through her entire body following a 2 year remission immediately after being told that she had beaten it. My life felt completely out of my control. I felt like an external spectator of my own life. I had lost almost all hope of a happy life and thought that everything in my life would continue in a downward spiral with no personal power or control.
In one following miraculous day, all of my pessimistic beliefs were quickly replaced again with optimism following the reading of a single book. A friend of my brothers had lent him a Real Estate Investing book (Real Estate Riches by Dolf de Roos), which was left on the coffee table. When I saw this book one early morning, I was intrigued, so I picked up the book and ending up reading it from cover the cover that day. This concept of Real estate investing lit an immediate flame in me as it provided a means for taking almost certain control over my financial future without being dependent on other people’s potential limited perception of me. Following this one single book reading, I was also overwhelmed with a bright vision of me in the future helping others, and I was happy in this vision. My mindset shifted from doom and gloom to optimism immediately. I would do anything to achieve this feeling of happiness in such a dark time; I became obsessed! I began reading every real estate investing book or associated education that I could get my hands on. During this same time period, I also became completely obsessed with personal growth and optimal health – all things that I believed that I needed to learn and grow in to heal and to someday live out my dreams of having an independent life with my desired future family.
Within 3 months of my new obsessive education, with some equity in my Surrey home but still no job, I closed on my first strictly investment property on Feb 1, 2006, a commercial office/retail/warehouse building on the Sunshine Coast. Within the next year, I was able to improve my walking distance and overall mobility and independence enough to get my driver’s license back, return back to my condo in Surrey and gradually return back to my job as an applications engineer. I continued to obsessively educate myself and first-hand test the principles of health, personal growth and real estate investing that I read about. I also became a member of REIN, the real estate investment network after following them for the previous year. Becoming a member of REIN was a complete game changer for me as it provided the complete suite of real estate investing processes, tactics and strategies, as well as a research team and network of like-minded people.
Over the course of the next few months, I started fully embracing a more inspired life by my own design. Within 3 months of moving back home, I ended up fulfilling all of my first ever created 5 year lifestyle goals - a cruise to the Bahama’s, a new Corvette, a road trip through the Southern US, and visiting my family across Canada. Although I had started taking control back of what I could in my life, I was also suffering through my single biggest fear – the fear of of losing my mom. Through an extremely difficult but well-fought mental, spiritual and physical battle with cancer, my dad, brother and I stood by my mom in her bed at home on her last breath on boxing day of 2008.
After my biggest fear was realized, over the course of the next two years, I focused on the next growth steps for what I believed would get me closer to my vision of happiness and fulfillment . I purchased an additional 8 personal and investment properties in BC and Alberta ranging from suited houses, condos and townhouses. I did this through joint ventures, seller financing, RRSP mortgages and traditional financing methods. During this same period, I travelled to several places: Europe, Egypt, Australia, the Dominican Republic and several vacations to Mexico, Hawaii and Vegas. During this same timeframe, I also transitioned from engineering into a technical sales role at ESC Automation as my personal interests and stengths changed.
In 2009, I met Amanda, the woman who would become my wife, through some friends of mine that she was renting a suite from. Those first few years were filled with an amazing over-abundance of food, adventure, entertainment, excitement and comforts that typically come with a new relationship and dual income/no kids. Amanda and I were married on the beach in Puerto Vallarto, Mexico on Jan 26, 2012 in the midst of a one week celebration with 94 of our closest friends and family. Our first daughter, Mila, was born on May 31st, 2013, a day before my birthday. Due to my new family developments and changed focus, I stepped back at bit more from my real estate investing and started passively investing more of my earned and borrowed money into a local car dealership and custom car building company for some diversity and more consistent cashflow instead of the more time intensive and sometimes inconsistent cashflow from real estate investing. The car dealership was providing a great consistent monthly cashflow, and all in all, I was on track with financial freedom and our other personal life goals.
I lived in my desired house with my wife and growing family, had a great job and some great additional passive income that allowed us to do or have most of anything that we wanted to at the time. I felt like everything came to me so easily, almost too easily…. Although I had accomplished my desired goals to that point and was really happy in my life, I also felt that I had lost a portion of myself along the way. I had lost the feelings of inspiration, gratitude and appreciation for some of the smaller things in life that I had when I was going through some of my more difficult times. Very soon after this very realization, the car dealership went out of business, taking my entire life savings along with another large sum of borrowed money with them. Within a year or so after that, the other car manufacturing company went bankrupt as well. Amanda and I struggled and dug deep over the course of the next couple of years to cut every un-necessary expense to cover the debts associated with these losses while having to maximize our credit line against our home as well to pay off other associated debts.
Our second daughter, Keira, was born on April 17, 2015. When Keira was born, her one shoulder was pushed up half-way through her skull, and her legs ,arms, hands and fingers were totally stiff and couldn’t be moved. We spent the next month between different hospitals while the doctors tried to come up with a diagnosis for Keira. All the while, we continually discovered more issues without any diagnosis. When the dust settled through all the day-to-day traumas and unknowns, we discovered that Keira’s joints had limited movement, both her hips were dislocated, she had other bone/joint issues and she aspirated when trying to orally feed, so she had a g-tube installed to allow us to pump food directly into her stomach. Through these traumatic times at the hospital, Amanda and I were literally just trying to breathe through the moments of uncertainty and fears throughout the day. With my lack of attention on my Alberta investment portfolio during this time and abdication to my property management team, my portfolio started to suffer the effects of the poor economy coupled with poor management. As a result, during this traumatic family time, I also had to transition property management during a high vacancy period, and undergo unexpected full scale renovations in several properties.
The traumas and dramatic changes associated with Keira’s birth, my passive investment losses, and my mistakes made in my Alberta real estate portfolio, held me back from doing any further investments for a couple of years while we tried to normalize our new life. This lack of action-taking contributed to a loss of identity, increased fear and a more reclusive approach in everything I did. I had lost my spark through these traumas. I battled hard through these depressive times desperately trying everything I could to snap out of it and get back to living an inspired life like I’d done before. People that knew me continually said that I was strong and resilient, and that I knew how to turn this around because I had come through adversity before. I knew this to be true, but I was so frustrated that I couldn’t remember the specific thoughts that I had developed for advancing through my first major setbacks. This next time, I thought, I will better document the process of getting out of a setback so I can help myself and others as needed in the future.
Starting by re-reading a lot of the books that transformed my thinking after my first major setbacks, I grew relentlessly focused on getting my mindset back to a positive state and creating some positive momentum. I experimented with my morning and evening routines, exercise routines, readings and podcasts over the course of the next several years. As I became obsessed with learning and growth again, my actions immediately started improving, and my physical, mental and spiritual health started improving along with them. One resultant example of these changes is as follows:
In fall the of 2017, with the guilt associated from deciding to stop my kids RESP contributions a year or so before during a low cashflow period, I made a goal to purchase a condo for each of the girls within a year for their future education in order to make up for the reduced education funds. Although I knew that having a condo per child could pay for their future education, I had no idea how or if I could pull it off at the time. Within only two months, I was able to close on the second condo, and with this momentum, I purchased an additional two condo’s and a townhouse within the following year as well, all of which were purchased with investment strategies and relationships that didn’t cost me any money.
I have primarily spent the last 5-6 years deeply reflecting on my own life experiences and further educating myself for the purpose of building a business that directly fulfills my vision of helping others create more intentional lives by design. As a family, we have learned to normalize our current life circumstances, and we strive for continual growth and new experiences while trying to be more grateful and present in all areas of our life.
Having learned many different life and investing lessons throughout my experiences with my personal and business adversities, I have developed a huge passion for helping others to live more inspired and intentional lives . In aligning with this passion, I became a certified Real Estate Investment Advisor (REIA) and Financial Life Professional (FLP) through the LEGACY Council of Canada in 2018. I continue to strive for maximum growth in all areas of my life in order to be the best possible version of myself so that I can help others do the same.
My primary aim is to utilize my experiences and intuition to provide holistic and planned approaches to help as many as possible create more intentional and fulfilling lives, financially and otherwise.
My core values and commitments:
- Trust - I will try my best to gain and maintain a high level of trust for all that I interact with
- Accountability/Integrity – You can count on me to always follow-though with any commitments that I make
- Honesty – I promise to always be honest, even when it may be uncomfortable.
I’m here to help you
- Become the best possible version of yourself
- Live an inspired and intentional life, on purpose and by design
- Discover your true intentions and desired outcomes
- Understand your strengths, weaknesses, capabilities and blind spots to fully grasp where you are
- Reverse engineer an action plan with specific required steps to realize your intentions and desired outcomes
- Support you through the process.
- Graduated with honors from BCIT with a Electrical/Electronic Engineering Technology Diploma in 2002
- Over 15 years of first hand real estate investing experience with many strategies and tactics utilized in single and multi-family and commercial, real estate.
- Over 14 years of Education and research as an active member of REIN, the Real Estate Investment Network
- Certified Real Estate Investment Advisor (REIA), Legacy Council of Canada
- Certified Financial Life Professional (FLP), Legacy Council of Canada
- The University of Hard Knocks.
In the News
- Canadian Real Estate Investment Magazine article “The Obstacle Obliterator” (pdf)
- The real Estate Insider Blog article “How I found Success After Almost Losing my Life“
- REIN Report Magazine article 2 “Life Lessons” (pdf)
- The Globe and Mail article “Rea-Estate Investor has the vision and will to succeeed https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/real-estate-investor-has-the-vision-and-will-to-succeed/article18068074/
- The Everyday Millionaire Podcast “Transforming adversity into seeds of opportunity”
“Learn from other people’s mistakes because we don’t live long enough to make them all ourselves.”Benjamin Franklin