In the real estate world, we read and hear a lot about the power of leverage. Essentially, it means investing a limited amount of personal cash to geometrically increase net worth. Let's say you buy a piece of rental property for $300,000 with a down payment of 20%. You laid out $60,000. The rental on the property covers your monthly mortgage and all of the expenses to maintain the property, so the investment is cash flow neutral (for simplicity sake).

In ten years, you anticipate selling the property for $600,000. After you pay off the mortgage, you get a return of $360,000 on your original investment of $60,000. Six times your down payment in ten years. Not bad.

If this was new information for you, you're probably reading the wrong newsletter. I do have two bigger points: First, leverage has power in every area of life. Second, the failure to exploit leverage will lead you to an unsatisfying life.

Let me explain.

My "bigger" definition of leverage is employing time, talent and money to create a disproportionately high level of value. Let's take a look at a business example: Several years ago, one of my clients, John, owned one car dealership. His personal annual income and net worth ($500,000 and $3.5 million, respectively) were enviable for a guy in his early 40s. John was not, however, a happy camper. He had not taken a vacation of longer than three days in six years. His relationship with his family was tenuous, at best. He was also an anal, detail monger in the office. Although he professed that he trusted his people to do their jobs well, his demeanor portrayed something else. He submerged himself in almost every decision – even those for which he had no background or expertise – not because he added value, but because he could. His typical work week of 75 to 80 hours was a source of personal pride. John was also 50 lbs. overweight and suffering from high blood pressure because, he said, he was forced to eat on the run and had no time for a fitness regime.

Let's review the bidding here: We have a financially successful guy with an unrewarding, unhealthy, unbalanced, obsessive/compulsive life. Is that what you want?

Four years later, here's the picture: John has an income and net worth of $1.5 million and $12 million, respectively. Last year, he took off 180 days (that's not a typo)! He has a hyper-qualified (and highly paid) president now running the business. He is working about 40 hours a week. John's time in the office is now consumed in two areas: the performance and development of people and prospecting for acquisitions. His family life is much improved, and he has lost the 50 lbs. with a regular routine of running, lifting weights, yoga and meditation. His blood pressure has improved to 105/70.

The only difference in the "two Johns" is leverage. He now dedicates his time and talent to activities which give him a disproportionately high payback for the resources invested. That requires a complete understanding of his strengths and passions. Where they intersect, he wades in. Where they don't, he steers clear.

Many, many business people become martyrs and then brag about it as if self-sacrifice is sexy! Tony Robbins says, "life rewards action." That's an incomplete assertion. Life really rewards RELEVANT action. In order to be relevant, action has to produce the results you intend. Otherwise, it's just MOVEMENT. Relevant action must create leverage. Otherwise, personal and professional growth and success are not possible.

Don't major in minor things. Use your own personal leverage to your advantage.

Copyright 2016 Rand Golletz. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Rand Golletz is the managing partner of Rand Golletz Performance Systems, a leadership development, executive coaching and consulting firm that works with senior corporate leaders and business owners on a wide range of issues, including interpersonal effectiveness, brand-building, sales management, strategy creation and implementation. For more information and to sign up for Rand's free newsletter, The Real Deal, visit