How writing a book saved me from bankruptcy—and what you can learn from it
In 2010 the bank was calling me on loans of $42 million and I was under assault for a completely unwarranted and frivolous $60 million-dollar lawsuit. At that time, I owned two apartment buildings totaling 300 units and a shopping center. The bank I made the agreement with had failed and the new bank funded by the government bailout—and your tax dollars—came in and said my loan was due. Debtors were bailing on loans everywhere, unable to pay their mortgages.
Shortly after this very painful and scary time, I started writing The 10X Rule. The government bailed out the auto companies and failing banks while the new banks forgave those who couldn’t pay and hammered those who could.
I looked at how I was going to solve this problem and I didn’t want to carry this failure with me the rest of my life. Even though I had not defaulted, nor had I ever missed a payment, I knew I was ultimately responsible for the situation I was in. What had I done wrong and more importantly what was I going to do? So I started to LOOK.
I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing—and trust me if I could have simply wished it all away I would have. I wanted to do nothing but doing nothing was impossible. I wanted to retreat from the situation, but I knew when I backed away from a bully I would just get beat up worse—if not from them, from myself for being a coward.
So what should I do? How much action should I take? How hard should I go?
Everyone around me; partners, family, and lawyers were telling me to try to get all these situations to go away by trying to calmly negotiate some settlement and get along with all the parties. You know, find some middle ground, a win-win for everyone. But there was no win in this for me. I was getting crushed, and on top of the lawsuit and the banks demanding payment, my business was failing.
On top of that, I was looking forward and asking myself, “How am I ever going to recover from this going forward? How will I rebuild?” I was brought up in the middle class and my mother taught me, “Get along, be polite, don’t fight, turn the other cheek, play it safe, and don’t get too much attention.” You know, basically to do what everyone else is taught to do—stay trapped.
That is when I started to write out what my choices actually were. I wrote out all the possible actions I could take.
Take normal expected levels of actions
Take massive action and go nuclear.
I couldn’t just do nothing. Retreating was just going to get me the financial beating of my life, and also leave me feeling like a coward. Taking the expected average levels of action was what everyone suggested I do, but that would just get me millions of dollars in legal fees and a settlement I hated. What else could I do?
That is where I came up with The 10X Rule. I am going to do what no one would consider normal and 10X that.
Now, I can’t tell you all the details of what happened legally, but I can tell you this: when I discovered and wrote The 10X Rule it showed me how to negotiate the settlement the 10X way. I turned the lawsuit around so that the criminals not only ended up getting nothing, but I made $4 million out of the deal. While I worked with the banks to give me the time I needed to pay the loans off, I completely revamped my little $3-million dollars a year business and took it to $100 million a year.
I then applied The 10X Rule and took the fourth level of action to my real estate business and went from 300 units to 4,000 units. I thought I had a problem in 2010 when I owed $42 million, but today I owe the banks over $300 million and the debt is all funded by the real estate.
The 10X Rule saved not only my financial life but became my legacy. The 10X Rulewas my first business book that was not about sales and was written to show people what level of action and success is necessary to ensure you have the freedom in life you want.
The socially acceptable, middle-class response to life is not workable.
I had asked myself what had I done to cause this situation in my life. Well, it wasn’t what I had done, but what I had not done. I got into this jam in my life because I had never given myself full permission to employ The 10X Rule and the fourth level of action. Once again, the 4 choices are as follows:
Normal levels of activity
Take 10X Action