171: Jay Papasan | Keller Williams and The One Thing

On this episode of Build Your Network, Host Travis Chappell interviews Jay Papasan, Vice President, and Executive Editor at Keller Williams Realty, co-author of the Millionaire Real Estate Agent, The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, and The One Thing.

Here’s what Travis and Jay discuss in this episode:

  • You call yourself an author that ventured into the real estate world, talk about why being an author is so important to you.
    • He’s always loved books and he’s an introvert.
    • He worked in bookstores and majored in English.
    • His relationship with Gary Keller started with a writing job.
    • The kids that he fell in with in middle school and high school were all very intellectual and successful.
      • They could hang out with any group.
    • Have those age-old friendships been an escape or a sharpening tool?
      • At first, they were a sharpening tool.
      • His friend group forced him to play up.
    • Talk to us about why you were obsessed with Sherlock Holmes when you were growing up.
      • He’s always been into knowledge and trivia.
      • He loved that Holmes was the ultimate Renaissance man with no limitations.
      • The British Sherlock series is hands down his favorite.
    • Where did you go to college?
      • He grew up in Tennessee and he wanted to get away.
      • He got a full ride to Memphis State and decided to go there.
    • What made you change your major from law?
      • When he went overseas he got the writing bug and went to NYU for English.
    • How important is travel to you?
      • Traveling and backpacking all over Europe completely changed his worldview.
      • They’ve been taking their kids all over the world.
    • What are your favorite places to go?
      • They quit their jobs and spent five months backpacking in Italy.
        • They’ve gone back four times.
      • They like a mix of going to new places and seeing old places they love.
    • Is your comfort with change nature or nurture thing?
      • It’s a mindset thing, we all can open up.
      • If you spend a lot of your days reading books, it’s one of the ways that you can see new worlds through someone else’s eyes.
      • Most writers experience the world passively.
      • Jay read all fiction growing up.
    • What prompted the move out to Austin?
      • When he and his wife got married and quit their jobs, they went to go travel for 5.5 months.
        • On this trip, they debated where they would move.
      • They moved to Austin without visiting any other city.
      • He was freelancing and then he joined a newsletter writing company.
        • This is how he got connected with Keller Williams.
      • He and his wife always had a side-gig.
    • Was having a side-hustle helpful for you in the wealth building stage?
      • Yes, they always planned to bank $1,500 a month.
      • Buying rental property was a result of working for Keller Williams.
      • He interviewed over 120 millionaires and learned that it’s not about income, it’s about investing.
    • Do you think that if you don’t have a side-hustle now you’ll need one when you’re 60?
      • At a certain point, you need to put your eggs in one basket and make things enjoyable for yourself.
      • A side hustle works when you’re employed and you also want to be self-employed.
    • Talk about how important it is to set a goal and then reverse engineer what it takes to get there.
      • If you’re willing to venture out five years and beyond and work backward, it paints a straight line in milestones.
      • Setting goals declutter your thinking and every year gets clearer.
      • You don’t have to be married to your goal from the beginning, you can date it for a while.
        • Nobody’s got a crystal ball, your needs will change based on the moment.
      • Talk about your book The One Thing.
        • People both like and dislike the simplicity of the book.
        • Talk about habit stacking.
          • When you talk about the ultimate disciplined person, those habits didn’t happen overnight.
          • It seems to be the ultimate superpower.
        • What does an average day look like to you?
          • He’s become a morning person and he’s found that time to be incredibly productive.
          • Most days they get up at 5:10 am.
            • They work out with a trainer 3x per week.
            • He reads from 30min to an hour every morning.
            • They have breakfast as a family.
              • They made the decision to have two meals a day as a family, breakfast, and dinner.
            • Before 8 am he looks at what he has time blocked for the day.
          • Talk about the origin of The One Thing and what The One Thing is that you’re trying to get across.
            • The book happened kind of by accident before Lehman Brothers.
            • Gary came back after the weekend with an essay called The Power of One.
            • They spent five years working on the book and they had two full-time researchers working with them.
            • When the recession happened they shifted focus from The One Thing and wrote a book about a shifting market.
            • You need to know what the primary thing is to focus on right now and you should be present.
          • How often do you need to step back and look at your one thing?
            • You get distracted all the time and need to refocus.
            • The rhythm for Jay is weekly.
          • Tell us about the goal-setting retreat.
            • They realized that they needed to get out of their world and reconnect.
            • Last year they offered this as a facilitated workshop.
          • If there’s one tip you have centered around networking, what would it be?
            • Be purposeful, be systematic.
            • Writing a book opened a lot of doors for him, but he needed to be purposeful.
            • For a year he met with one person he didn’t know on Wednesday mornings for coffee with no agenda and then added them to his database.
              • The first year, he did exactly 50.
              • Now he averages about 85 people a year.
            • Do anything, start a podcast.
          • Do you believe that what you know or who you know is more important, and why?
            • Who is first, talent tends to attract more talent.
            • Everything that he built started with a bathroom conversation with Gary Keller.
            • You need to know who you determine wealth for and who are your wealth determiners.
            • Ask yourself who the five people are who determine your success.
            • All the authors you never got to meet are your “dead” mentors, read their books.

The Random Round:

  • What profession other than your own do you think it would be fun to attempt?
    • Coder
  • If you could sit on a park bench with anyone for an hour who would it be, and why?
    • His grandpa Miller.
  • How do you like to consume content?
    • Books, people
  • Give us a glimpse of your morning routine?
    • Get up early
    • Workout
    • Read
    • A lot of time with his wife
    • Eat a meal as a family
    • Visit goals before work
  • What is something that you are not very good at?
    • Small talk
  • What is your go-to pump up song?
    • Sabotage by the Beastie Boys
  • What is one place where we can find you the most?
    • Instagram @jaypapasan

Tweetable Quotes:

  • Reading books is a way to see new worlds through someone else’s eyes.
  • You don’t have to be married to your goal from the beginning, you can date it for a while.
  • Habit stacking seems to be the ultimate superpower.

Resources Mentioned:

Buildyournetwork.co – Podcast website

BYN.media/fb – Facebook Group


The Millionaire Real Estate Agent – book by Jay Papasan and Gary Keller

The Millionaire Real Estate Investor – book by Jay Papasan and Gary Keller

The Defining Decade – book by Dr. Meg Jay

Grit – book by Angela Duckworth


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