How do you measure success? I was forced to ask myself this exact question not too long ago before my investing journey began. Looking at my track record: I’d become a partner in a startup and successfully exited with my first million at just thirty years old. After that, I was working as a senior leader at a top consulting firm. These job titles and millionaire status alone fulfilled what many would set as landmark life achievements… yet I felt unfulfilled.

Was I truly successful if I felt something was missing from the equation? And if not, then what was the real measure of success?

Adding Passion Into the Equation

Part of feeling unfilled in my role at the consulting firm came from feeling like another cog in the machine. During my time as a partner at the startup, I’d had the chance to really build something from the ground up, and I yearned for that feeling again. This desire led me to real estate investing. I began by investing passively with others, constantly seeking new knowledge and learning opportunities as I went.

My early days were guided by the voices of Jake and Gino on their podcast, followed soon by others: Joe Fairless, Reed Goosens, Hunter Thompson, Rod Kleif, and Kevin Bupp. These guys made it all sound so exciting and full of passion. It was becoming clear that the thing defining my own journey in real estate investing was my passion for making an impact.

I was reading every night, attending weekend conferences and monthly meetings, and joining mentorship programs. My days were seventeen hours long, but the difference now was that working didn’t feel like work. I wasn’t as focused on the numbers as I was about the journey itself. I enjoyed getting up every day and looked forward to the challenges and lessons that would inevitably come my way.

Building Purpose and Values

My family has always been the “why” behind everything I do. I wanted the financial freedom to spend as much time with my wife, two daughters, and son as possible. I want to be the dad that goes to every field trip and softball game. Real estate investing is the vehicle that helped me achieve this.

Along the journey, though, I also began to develop a deep set of personal values. Coming up the corporate ladder, it was easy to subscribe to other people’s definition of success, and to judge myself based on monetary goals. Achieving financial freedom also gave me the freedom to think differently, and to define success on my own terms. 

First and foremost, I created standards and values to live by, not goals to achieve. The difference is this: goals are aspirational, and standards are requirements. I was doubling down on what was important to me, including how I wanted to be treated and how I wanted to treat others. 

I started living intentionally and focusing on positivity. That meant waking up at 5 AM, exercising consistently, seeking new opportunities to learn, and even meditating (something I’d never seen myself doing before). What I stopped was just as important: procrastinating, doubting myself, getting caught up in what others think.

Sharing My Journey with Others

My journey started with me – how much money I wanted and how I could get it. Along the way, it transformed to be about adding passion to my life and defining success on my terms. But the real turning point was when I realized that, with everything I’d learned along the way, I was in a position to begin teaching others what I now knew. Having gone on my own journey, I could help others start their own, and start making a real difference in people’s lives.

There’s two ways I achieve this. First, by investing with intention. I believe in a human-centric approach to real estate investing, one where I add value to both investors’ and residents’ lives by buying and improving multifamily communities. Investing in people first is always going to be the best way to maximize your true ROI.

Second, I’m committed to empower others to determine their future (and financial freedom) through multifamily investing. I do this through my podcast, Ritter on Real Estate, my website, and my social media on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Through all these channels and more, I share resources, information, and tips so that others can find a definition of success that’s right for them, too.