In today’s show, Richard sits down with Stephen McKenna and Lee Hounsom, and talks about the concept of Thinking Big. The mindset, the psychology and the philosophy of driving yourself forward; in property in business, and in life.

  • Why should we think big and not just settle or be mediocre…
  • How to balance being content and grateful, with having a drive and a desire for more…
  • What’s at ‘the end of money’? Discover what Stephen found at that milestone moment in his own personal journey…
  • Can you LEARN to think big? Can you implement these principles in your property business? The answer is yes, but listen and understand how…
  • What exactly is it that limits most people? Learn how to avoid these natural obstacles…
  • “Finding your gold in others”: a concept that Stephen explains, and how it’s kept him on course for so much success in property and business…




RICHARD: Hello and welcome to today’s episode of This Week In Property. I’m your host Richard Swan, and in today’s show we’re going to be tackling the subject of thinking big. Now to get stuck into that, I’ve got two gentlemen with me who certainly do that. They think big all the time. And we have Lee Hounsom and Stephen McKenna. Good morning gentlemen.

Now we’ve had these chaps on the show before; a wee while ago actually. And we went into the nitty gritty of things like land deals, and that’s fascinating. We want to do that, but from time to time, we want to pull back, we want to think bigger, think at a higher level; a wee bit esoteric to put it that way. And thinking big, that’s a concept, that’s something to get our teeth into.

So the first thing that comes to mind for me, Stephen, is: why? Why should we? Why should we think big? Why should we not just get our head down, get on with things, stick in at school, get the job, work our way up the corporate chain, let’s just do what other people do. Why think big?

STEPHEN: Well, I just think we’ve got an opportunity to actually be different. I mean I’m brought up in a family with 6 of us, and if I’m going to go “Who’s the best? Who thinks the biggest in the family?”, do I just limit myself to that? So, why should I not stay in a great house, why should I not drive a nice car, why should I not do that? It doesn’t mean that it’s about that. Money is not the thing for me. So, thinking big is totally different from money. Yes, we all need money to survive, and live our lives, and everything else. But when you get over the money, and believe me I’m over it, there’s a big life there to be had. There’s a great life.

I mean, we were talking to Lee and he went on holiday there, and he was in Lake Como. And you’re thinking, how beautiful is that? You’re getting up in the morning, and you’re getting the boat over, and you’re having lunch on another wee island, and then you jump in a car. A wee kinda fancy car for the day. It’s a nice experience. Yes, eventually you come back to Glasgow and it’s raining, or Edinburgh and it’s raining. The weather’s not so good and your life’s waiting for you as you’ve left off. But it’s the opportunity to dream, and why is a football player, why is Ronaldo one of the greatest? Why did he become the greatest? He worked hard at it. We’ve all got the opportunity. You’re no different from me, Richard. I’m no different from Lee. There’s none of us any different from anybody else. There’s none of us any more special than we are. But, you’ve got an opportunity. You can go, I’ll settle, because if you’ve always done what you’ve always done. My dad used to do that, my dad used to go there, and my mum used to do that, and that’s where we’ve always shopped.

Well, I’ve never been that guy. I left the house at 18 years old, and went to London. With a trade, and I’m probably the worst tradesmen you’ve ever seen. I mean I had the cheek to go there, because I was a tradesman that wasn’t a tradesman. It’s that drive and ambition. I’m brought up in Toryglen; there’s a few great people came from Toryglen. I’m not knocking Toryglen, I’m just saying it’s an environment. Do you want to live in that environment? Do you want to just go, I’m now 70 and I’ve just known Peter next door, and James next door, and this is what we’ve always done, and it’s a wave in the morning. Come on.

RICHARD: Yeah. So why did you have that? Why did that 18 year old have that, to go to London?

STEPHEN: I think the drive’s in you. I relate it to the difference between me and my son. It’s not that we’re any different, it’s just that culturally we’re different. I was brought up in a family where there wasn’t much, right? It’s not “poor me”. I had a great life, right. We never really knew we never had much. It’s not until you get something you realise what you didn’t have. Whereas, my son’s privately educated, so his fallback is maybe a metre off the ground, whereas my fallback was 3 metres under. So my drive was always, I think most entrepreneurs will tell you that. My drive was always running away from the lack. We don’t get a choice of dinner; that’s your dinner. Greg will get a choice at dinner. And so, it’s nothing wrong with it; it’s just different. He doesn’t know there’s anything wrong with it, and I’m just that used to it. So I’m constantly running from that level that I used to live in. So every time I get to a level.

Sarah was telling me at dinner the other night. She say’s “I was having a dream,” she says, “and you were taking me up too high.” And I said well that sort of makes sense to me. It’s always like “Why don’t you just stop at this level, Stevie? Is that not enough?” And it’s a subconscious thing. She’s saying “You’re going higher again. Where’s your limit?” Well as far as I’m concerned, Richard you know me, I’m a Christian. I want to stand in front of God at the end and go: “I nearly got it. I was nearly Prime Minister. Or was it the President you wanted me to be?” I just want to find out what’s in me. That’s why.

RICHARD: Right, ok. And, Lee, pull me into your story. Again, trade? You know, you started that yourself. Tell your own story.

LEE: Yeah, definitely, I mean thinking big is massive for me. I mean, I never learned about that until, well I did. Like Stephen, I was in the trade but trade was never enough for me, so I would always kinda chase the money, and chase the, always wanted the better car and wanted the bigger house, and wanted the better holidays. And to do that, obviously you need money, so I was always chasing the money as they say. Jumping from job to job, and obviously moved into oil and gas, where I was trying to build the ladder that way. Get more time off, spend more, and make more. So, I’ve always kinda thought big and then moving into the property and land developments and so forth, I mean, Stevie’s nailed it there. It’s kinda, several of us got it; it’s your past. I mean I was never very academic at school or wasn’t very, my grades weren’t the best. But it drove me, it drove me to do more.

RICHARD: What was, that start?

LEE: Coming away from school, starting to grow up a bit more.

RICHARD: That kind of thing?

LEE: My own brother, he’s very academic. He’s always had a lot. He’s always been able to, he’s more relaxed, more subdued. He kinda plods through life, so to speak, no disrespect to him. He’s in university now, and he’s doing wonderful things but he’s had a lot, and he’s been able to just kinda chill out, so to speak, and walk about, be quite happy. Where I was, where I came out of school, I was kinda, right I’m going to be an electrician. Fine; done that. And then building the ladder that way. Trying to get higher; trying to get a house, and get a mortgage, and buying cars, and yes certainly, everyone has got it in them. Definitely everyone has got that.

RICHARD: Right, so you believe that, do you?

LEE: Definitely. But it’s just depends where you’ve been, how you’ve been moulded, how you’ve grown up, I would think.

RICHARD: So it’s a kind of a nurture thing, rather than a nature thing? You reckon everybody’s got it at the start?

LEE: Everyone’s got it. I mean, I look at my friends, and I look and say “They’re happy. They’re working 9 till 5. You know, they’re quite happy with their kind of, I don’t know, their one holiday a year, and things like that. It’s great, if that’s what you want, but for me it was never the case. It was always, what can I do more? What can I get more of? You know. Right, I’ve got that car, how can I get the next car? Or how can I upgrade to that? And you know. I’ve had a holiday in Spain, now I want to go to Egypt, or now I want to go to Dubai, and so forth. And you just want to keep building it that way, so definitely thinking big. For me it’s always down to that millionaire mindset. It’s always about your mindset. Mindset is the fundamental part. You need to have that right mindset. And without having that right mindset, making sure every morning you’re waking up, and you’re setting your goals, and you’re achieving. And these goals can be absolutely outrageous, you know. I want to have a hundred million in the bank, you know that’s going to take a long time, but certainly having that goal and you need to work towards that goal.

So it’s all about goal setting, millionaire mindset, it’s fundamental. I think about that daily, you know. Where am I going? I beat myself up. In a good way. It’s to drive me forward and say, “Right, Lee, you done it this week. And you never got there, you know. You set out to do that, but you never really achieved that, so next week you’re going to kill it even more. You’re going to go even further, and you’re going to hammer it.” So, I mean certainly, yeah, think big. I mean there’s nothing wrong with thinking big. Maybe a lot of people out there, or maybe some of the listeners have been thinking, “No, I don’t really want to think big, because what if I’m a failure?” But, in my eyes there’s no failure, you know. There is absolutely no failure.

You’re just on that path, and you might just be that wee bit further down the path than somebody you might be looking up to, or something you’re involved in, but certainly you know, have goals, be goal orientated, have that millionaire mindset, and just believe in yourself, you know. If you don’t believe in yourself, you know, if you’re doubting yourself every day and going “Oh, is this the right thing to do?” I mean, I had a really successful kind of career offshore, and I threw, I just got rid of it. Because it wasn’t where I was needing to go, you know. I had achieved everything I wanted to achieve in oil and gas, and I knew that there was doing the properties and so forth, and kinda being my own boss and doing my own things, and working my own hours, and so forth. You know, you’ve got to make these leaps, you’ve got to make these jumps.

You’ve just got to stick by what you believe in, and eh, go for it. Definitely, you need to go for it. Stephen mentioned last time we were talking about the land stuff, I mean it is, it’s risks, you know. Look at Donald Trump, he’s a perfect example you know. You mentioned it earlier you know, he had everything, and now he’s the President, you know. I mean, how much more did that guy need? And he lost it all, and he built it all back up again. It’s just stories like that you hear, and you listen, and you go “You know, if these guys can do it, anyone can do it really, really anyone can do it.”

STEPHEN: It’s a great point that Lee is making there, because if you look at Donald Trump, there’s a guy that’s striving. His father was a construction guy as well, so he learned the ropes from his father, but he took it to a certain level, and to be fair he probably didn’t even understand the day-to-day running of that business. Because he doesn’t need to. He’s the front man.

LEE: It’s the power team.

STEPHEN: Right. And he’s the guy that when the bank, when he needs 200 million, he’s the front guy. They lend on him, they don’t lend on what’s behind him. They understand the structure works and everything else, so look at what it’s done for him. You’re talking about aiming, going bigger and everything else. So the natural thing is keep pushing through the doors, and look it’s led him to the Whitehouse. So imagine he’d settled, imagine he’d settled. He’s 70. What is he, 75 or 71 or something? And he’s in the Whitehouse, right so, imagine he’d have settled. “We’re at this level, come on, that’s good. It’s a better house than my brother’s got; it’s a better house than my family’s got.” I mean, who are you relating to? Are you looking back at your family, looking back at your friends, and it’s no disrespect to anybody. They’re all superstars in their own right, and they’re limited, but the doors will open for you, if you keep pushing, right?

We’re looking at a football club just now, that came through a land deal, it’s crazy. And now we’re talking about designing a shopping centre round about the football club. It’s never been done in Scotland. And last week, I meet David Barr, who we’ve done a land deal with, and David says, “My friend designs football clubs,” and I’m thinking “of course he does.”

RICHARD: Of course he does!

STEPHEN: Of course he does. Because we were only talking about it 2 weeks ago. So, you’re talking about thinking bigger. So the minute you start to think about things, the doors, it’s like double doors. I look at it as a long corridor. And if you start thinking about it, the doors just keep opening. Now, yes there’s trials, but the thing is, it must be even more scary having one business and it’s not a good week. I’d rather have 50 businesses and 30 of them are having good weeks and 20 of them are having bad weeks. So it’s really just expanding your mind, it’s, Richard you can be who you want to be, Lee can be who he wants to be, and I’m going to be who I want to be. Because I’m determined to finish the race, and actually do the right thing. But it might not be for everybody. But everybody is exactly going to be who they want to be.

RICHARD: Right, ok. I want to pull you back to something you started with about the money. You almost put the money to the side. “Oh no, it’s not about that, and I got over that. I used to do that.” etc. etc. So if we’re not chasing the money, what is it that you’re chasing?

STEPHEN: Well, look at the changes you can do to people. And I’m not saying, if I mention someone I’m doing land deals with, I’m not looking at them as different. They were successful in their own business, but you bring them through, and they know what you know. And then they bypass. My pastor used to say to me “I’d rather be sitting at the back of the boat, Stevie, and you sailing it.” Now, I understand that concept, right. Because what he’s saying is, we’re all here to bring people through. Now somebody might be running the company here, and then 5 years later, they’re sitting at the back of the boat. It’s that journey.

Imagine sitting back in 10 or 15 years time, through Protege, through what we’re doing with land, through the next level we’re going to, cause nobody is talking about the next level. We’re here, we’re land, we’re not stopping. That’s not the ceiling. Come to ALG and you’ll just hit land. No, no. It’s going to blow your mind. There’s other stuff happening that people don’t know about. Because how can you stop dreaming, and not take the company to the next level? Where we started from, we don’t do that anymore. Look at us now. Do you think we’re going to be here in 3 years time? No chance.

RICHARD: So is it the possibilities you’re chasing then?

STEPHEN: You’re changing lives. You’re changing lives.

RICHARD: It’s the people?

STEPHEN: Once you get it. I was always about the money, to be honest with you, and hands up, it was all about the money. It was about how much can I make? Lee mentioned a hundred million there and everything else, and yeah Lee will have that. But when he’s got it, he’s going to go “What am I going to do with it?” Right? It gives you choices. There’s only so many watches you can buy, so many cars, and houses, and a house in London, and blah blah blah. You’ll do all that, and then you’ll sit back and go “No, no, I’m going to have to do this. Or I’m going to do this for my kids, or for my family. I’m going to bring people through. I’m going to set up an entrepreneur school, and make it free.” You’re going to do great things.

RICHARD: Those kind of things?

STEPHEN: For me, that’s what it’s all about. You need money to do that.

RICHARD: Yeah, of course. Of course.

STEPHEN: I’m a church guy; I want to build my church. I want to help my pastor build his thousand churches in Scotland. I want to do that. Right? But it’s going to take finance, it’s going to take discipline. Does it work? 100% it works. Changed my life.

RICHARD: And Lee, for yourself? Is it the family part of the puzzle? You’ve got a gorgeous young boy. Is that why you’re doing it? is that your focus? Is it the possibilities? Is it excitement? Is it the journey? What is the thing that you’re chasing towards? What is the drive that’s pushing you forward?

LEE: I think…it’s me.

RICHARD: It’s you, yourself?

LEE: It’s looking at yourself, and you know, at the end of the month, at the end of a deal you’ve done, you look and say “Ok, well that’s been done. Where’s that for me?” You know? Like Stephen, I’m kinda similar to that as well. It’s not all about the money. It used to be, I was the same. I was always about the money, and now it’s more, you know, bettering myself. I look back and I say “Ok, well you’ve done in that year, what have you managed to achieve? Or better yet, what have you learned?” How have you grown as a person, you know?

RICHARD: Right, so your potential.

LEE: I’m just chasing me, a better me. You know? That’s just chasing a better me. But of course the family is the fundamental. If you’re not doing this for your family then I mean, when Noah came into this world in 2014, it absolutely exploded. It changes everything. And I think it’s one of the reasons why I came away from offshore. I was working away a lot, not seeing him. It was just that next step in my journey, you know. It was my next focus. And the drive to get better, you know, and give a better life for him and the family. Certainly it’s trying to create a better version of me.

RICHARD: Aye that’s what I was going to pull in. So, that’s the centrepiece?

LEE: And the money obviously, the money that comes, great! I mean, and like you say, you get a hundred million, what the hell are you going to do with a hundred million? It’s giving back, it’s, you feel you’re going to get better results helping other people, bringing them up, which obviously Stevie does. But, yeah, definitely, a better version of yourself.

RICHARD: OK. Stephen, if we have got the drive to go for something, we’re pushing ourselves. Let’s go, and the next one, the next one, the next one. How can we balance that with being content, with having gratitude, with having appreciation. How do we kinda, you know, cope with those two? Because we all know stories, and we see it with really famous people. They have this monster in them that pushes them and pushes them, but they’re not happy.

STEPHEN: I had that, I had that myself. I had that in my life, so I can, you’re asking the right guy that question. Because I had exactly that in my life. I was at the top of my game, I was sitting in 5 star hotels, flying business class. And to be fair, I was the loneliest guy on the planet. Because you’ll find at the end of money….there’s nothing. Right. But you’ll need to get there. So, imagine I sit with my mum and dad in our council house, and I go “I’m the bricklayer from Toryglen, and I just stay there, and my mates are all within 5 miles of each other. We go out on a Friday and Saturday. And I marry the girl next door, and it’s all good.” And then something happens. And then it falls apart. And I wake up one day, and I’m 60 and I go “What the flip have I done?” I had all that talent, all that energy, everything else. So then what I done is flip back, and that wasn’t me. That was never me. Right, and I’m not saying that’s anybody. I’m just saying that wasn’t me.

So then I go on a journey. I go to a place with no talent, right, but bring me. And I bring expectation, right? But I don’t have the talent. I’m a basic bricklayer, probably the lowest 30% of talent. I’ll learn my trade, I get lucky. My site agent is a Scottish guy; he likes me. He’s a wee bit of a bully but he likes me. So, I work harder for him than I’ve ever done, cause I’m a worker. So I go through all the process then I get to the stage I’m in London, now I’m buying a house in London. How did that happen? I’m from Glasgow, So, then you go buy a house in London, now I come back to Glasgow, and I’m moving my life forward. Now I’m actually making a lot of money, now I’m building my own block of flats. Now I’m actually selling flats, now I’m selling them in the hundreds, now I’m doing this and that. Now I’m meeting Presidents, now I’m sitting having dinner with Presidents. I’m meeting Prime Ministers, I’m invited to Downing Street. It’s all going round. So, all of a sudden, here’s, I’m flipping back. It’s like sliding doors.

Here’s your guy, who’s going round, there’s nothing wrong with him, same talent, he’s got the same fresh air in his body as I’ve got. He wants to do that, but I’m not content. Now maybe it’s the poverty that’s driving. Whatever. But then it goes and then the doors start opening, and then you’re buying properties in luxurious places. And you’re in legal formats. You’re doing massive land deals. How did this, where did this all talent come from? It’s not. I just started. And I would say if you’re 70 today, you can start. Right? So that gives everybody that’s thinking “Oh I’m 35, I’ve missed the boat, I’ve got 2 kids, and I’ve not got time to get 5 minutes to myself.” And all this rubbish. It’s nonsense. So, all I’m saying is the opportunity is there. I don’t even believe I’ve started.

RICHARD: Right. You’ve got that mindset.

STEPHEN: I don’t believe I’ve started. Imagine all that knowledge, somebody would say. There’s all that knowledge, there’s what to do, right? Wrong. All the mistakes. There’s how to pick great business partners – terrible business partners; everything else. I was probably a terrible business partner. Right. Because I ended up with me! So, it says you’ll end up with whoever, the way you’ve lived your life. So, I’m not blaming them. I’m just saying in general, there’s all that information, now here. Go again. And that’s probably that. And it’s phenomenal.

RICHARD: And what’s keeping you content just now? What’s keeping you grateful just now? With having the drive still, you know? You said you went to the end of money and there was nothing there.

STEPHEN: There was nothing there. At the end of money you’ll find that money is the thing that we chase when we don’t have contentment. So, if you’ve not got contentment, you’ll chase money. And you go another million, another million, another million, another deal, another deal. So you keep chasing that, right? But there’s no contentment. Here, I’m at peace. I’ve got a great marriage, a great love in my life, I’ve got a great family life. If you see me in the house, you wouldn’t recognise me. It’s just a different guy that’s in the house. He is so chilled out, he is so laid back, and we have a lot of fun as a family.

Whereas before, what I had was, I didn’t have that, I didn’t have that contentment. So what I did was I substituted that for extra fuel to drive that. So what I’ve got is I’m more in balance now, and it’s funny how you’re more in balance now, and I have more. How does that work? But the money, the money’s important to pay your bills and move your business, and move your life forward. But you’ll find, once you give up on the money, the money comes. And it’s not just as easy.

RICHARD: Right, so it’s quite counter intuitive like that?

STEPHEN: It is. Whatever you’re focused on, it won’t happen. You take your mind off it, and watch it happen. If you’ve got a problem in your life, I used to say tear a piece of paper off the wall, if you’ve got that in your house. And worry about that. Because whatever you worry, you stop the flow of. So if you’re worried about money, you won’t have any money.

RICHARD: Got you. That’s powerful.

LEE: Brilliant.

RICHARD: You go along with that, Lee? Have you seen that yourself in your own life and stuff? You spoke about, or I was asking you about, what can push people on, why should they do it, all this kind of stuff. Potential, become the best version of yourself. What do you think stops people from doing that? What limits people from thinking big? Is it the fear of failure thing you touched on? or something different?

LEE: Definitely got to be. I mean, a lot of people, you know, they strive for that corporate job, you know, the best grades at school, and you know they’ve got that kind of life, and they’re happy, and all the rest of it. But certainly, yeah, I mean, they’re kinda, I wouldn’t say stuck, but they’re content with what they’ve got. But certainly, where I am, or where people that are trying to go bigger, it’s definitely just the mindset and change, you know? But certainly, I definitely think it’s the risk element. The unknown.

RICHARD: The fear of the unknown. So they become comfortable, wherever they are. Right, ok.

LEE: I mean, there’s years that I was comfortable, you know, and I was content and quite happy with what was coming in. Happy with my holidays and all the rest of it, but certainly, something just switches, you know, and you want that, you want more again. You want to keep chasing, and getting more, but, definitely I think it’s a risk element. And the fear of the unknown.

RICHARD: Uh huh. And if that’s what they’re fearing, if that’s what’s stopping them. Fearing the failure, fearing the unknown, fearing setbacks. I tried it and it fell apart. Or I reached out, and I got kicked back down again. Have you had those moments? And how have you got yourself over those setbacks?

LEE: I mean, for me, I hit it’s crazy to say this, but it’s only really happened in the last maybe 18 months where I. It’s not that I can’t wait, but, I’m happy with a failure. Which is quite unusual, because.

RICHARD: Right, explain that to me.

LEE: I actually, well, now I know what not to do whatever I was trying to do. In actual fact, it grows you. I would rather make the mistake than just go through it like a land deal, you go a land deal and you go from start to finish, it’s absolutely nothing, no complications.

RICHARD: It’s just a breeze.

LEE: And you go, fuck, that was easy. Then you do another one, which you think, ok I’ve got the experience there. I’m going to do this one. That 20 units, I’m going to go up to 75 units now. Now you hit a hurdle, you hit that mistake. If you knew that mistake maybe earlier on? That’s why I always, for me, a mistake that comes forward, I embrace it.

RICHARD: And why? Is it for the lesson?

LEE: I think it is for the lesson. It’s strange. When I see something go wrong, it’s happened to us all, you know, and it’s happened to me many a time. And I’ve lost a lot of money as well, in regards to investments in certain deals. It’s coming out the other end, looking at it, looking at yourself, now you’ve got better grips on the game. Now you can understand that, what you’ve done wrong maybe, why did that happen? Ok, it’s because you’ve calculated it because of x, y and z, well that’s, I’m not going to do that next time, you know. And it’s lessons learned, it’s moving forward, so I actually embrace failure.

RICHARD: That’s interesting.

STEPHEN: No, it’s good, cause you don’t set out to do it. You don’t set out to fail, nobody does, but what you’re saying is, and it’s going back to that risk thing, that we spoke to about different points in the podcast. What we were saying like if you’re risk is 1, this isn’t the business, you go and work for somebody. And if you’re on, if you’re trying to be a 3 but you’re really a 1, just go and work for someone. But if you’ve really got it in you, this drive, I’m different, right, and it’s not that you’re different – you’re better. People mistake different for being better. It’s in you.

LEE: It’s in everyone.

STEPHEN: We’re all different. We’ve all got talents, and it’s just that some of us use more of our talent than others, it’s not, nobody is any better than anybody else. Everybody’s got the gift, and we can all learn. You can learn what I do, Richard. I can learn what you do. It’s the exact same with us all. It’s really just about implementing it in your life so that it takes your life forward. If you look back on last year, and last year is the same as this year, then you’ve no growth. I mean, that’s not momentum. It’s got to be different. You’ve got to be able to highlight a target, and one of the great things my pastor always says to me, is he goes: “So why are you doing it?” Why? Why would you get 50 land deals? Why? And you go, well why not?

Cause we can actually change a nation, we can help people, we can grow people. Paul and Billy are. That’s one of the things that Paul’s always saying – he loves growing people. He loves to see someone start somewhere and go somewhere. He’s not taking the glory for that. He’s not going, look at me, I’m great. He’s just going: how amazing to stand back. It’s like your kids. When you see your kids achieve something. Lee posted something today, he said about his son writing his name, right, and it’s because he’s a proud father. He’s going – look, it’s that. Now, that’s family, right, that’s a given. But when you see that in the business world, you see people growing, it’s just that they’ve got to step on that ladder. It’s uncomfortable; it’s uncomfortable. And you will feel nervous, and you’ll have all that pain, and you’ll go why am I doing this? And I shouldn’t have done that, you know. You’ll have regrets and everything, but you’ve just got to burst through.

LEE: I was thinking on that as well, because the uncomfortable. I said it earlier on, at the last networking events that we co-host. It is, if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing. You know, you need to feel uncomfortable. Because without being uncomfortable, you aren’t growing, definitely not growing. You’re just subdued, you’re quite happy. It’s taking those risks, oh my god what’s going to go down. You’ve not got a glass ball, have you, you can look at the future, you can go: Oh God, this is, but it’s being uncomfortable, you know that’s growing you. Definitely growing you.

STEPHEN: Richard, when we started and land became the thing again, and we were just chatting. We’re not flipping back to it, but you do the first deal and people say: What are you doing? I mean, why? I’ve not heard that in the last 6 months. So it’s being uncomfortable, and remember, you can be in a marriage and your wife is saying ‘Why are you doing that? I wouldn’t do it that way.’ And I get that. I think you’ve got to know it in your heart, what you’re going to do, and if you know you’ve got this deep conviction of, this is the right thing to do, yeah, the opposition is usually standing right next to you. It’s not opposition.

And I always relate it to the story when I went to London as a young boy. My mum was crying because I was leaving the house. And she’s standing in our main room, and she says: don’t go, I’ll give you the extra money. But mum it’s not about the money. I need to go and open my life up. Right, so there’s a woman who cares for me, and that’s your mother, not your wife, or partner or whatever. There’s a woman who cares for me, who’s actually an enemy to my future. But she doesn’t realise it, cause she’s just pouring out love on everyone else. You get that in a relationship. You get that with your wife, you get it with your partner, you get it with your family, your kids, everybody. But you’ve got to have the conviction – I’m moving. And you know who wins, as soon as you move it to the next level – they will win.

RICHARD: All of them.

STEPHEN: So, lead. And you’ve got to have a strong conviction in your leadership.

RICHARD: OK. Now you mentioned, we can learn stuff. I can learn what you do, you can learn what I do. Can people learn to think big, do you think? Is that something you can actually learn?

STEPHEN: Definitely. You can. I think it was, I was talking to Paul and he was taking his mum on holiday or something like that, and I done it with my brother. Here’s another lovely place for you to go to. So, you’re talking about is it a learn thing? Yeah. Lee goes to Dubai, and he’s dead flash, Lee. He hires himself a Ferrari. So what’s he doing? He’s saying I’m culturing myself in a beautiful place. I’m lifting my standard cause I’m here. And that’s not. He IS flash and I’m no, right?


LEE: I don’t know, like.

STEPHEN: My older brother, he went through a great time in business, and then he was down on his luck, and then we booked him a place to go to in Thailand with his girlfriend and everything else. The culture in that two weeks in a beautiful resort. It lifts. Think big. And he came back and he went: “I don’t know what I’m thinking. I don’t know. What was I thinking?”

RICHARD: So it flicked that switch in him, did it?

STEPHEN: What was I thinking? And I know there’s a lot of people in Protege who quit their jobs and things like that, and for some of them that will be the right idea, and for some of them it might be a bit early. They need to monitor that; it’s their decision. But once you do it, you go, what was I thinking? Where was I thinking, working for somebody else? This is what I should be doing. If the time is right. Because it’s all about timing. You don’t just jump right off the cliff and go, I forgot my armbands.


STEPHEN: It’s got to be in order, right? But it’s that, yes. You can be sitting with great people, but if you sit with me and Lee, or Paul and Billy and yourself, Richard, for an hour, and you’ll leave inspired. You’ll leave feeling: I can do this. Now, sometimes it’s just a feeling and then it goes away after an hour. But you keep consistently coming back once a week. Do you think Laura would be able to do 4 land deals if she didn’t come back every week? No chance. But she came back every week. Right, she’s got a husband behind her, he supports her, she’s juggling finances, she’s a mother as well. So, everybody has bought into the deal, and then she can move forward. So, it is trainable. You can teach bigger thinking.

RICHARD: And have you got that in mind for Noah? As his dad?

LEE: Yeah, definitely. A hundred percent. I mean you need to, you need to follow people as well. It’s not all about you. You need to be inspired by other people, and look at them, and say what a great, whatever their business is. It doesn’t have to be property, it can be anything, you know. Look at Richard Branson, you know, people, it’s inspiring to see where he’s came from, you know. Dyslexic, I think he said he was to bloody, this billionaire. I mean I think I watched a clip the other week, in regards to a day in the life of a billionaire, and it’s just great to watch. And you’re thinking to yourself, you know, you need the kind of passion, you still need a desire. It’s always good to relate yourself to other people and kinda grow that way, but certainly with Noah, yeah, definitely. I’ll show him what’s needed.

RICHARD: And so, it’s examples? You’re going to show that to open his mind up?

LEE: Exactly. But he’s got to take his own…

RICHARD: His own path? His own journey?

LEE: Absolutely. But you know, I can only guide him, but I’ll certainly, he’ll make his own mistakes. I’ll make sure he makes his mistakes.

STEPHEN: It’s a good point you’ve mentioned Richard Branson there, right. You say, there you go, there’s a guy who’s a billionaire, right. And this is where the journey, a lot of people quit the journey early on, because it becomes difficult and you go through a fire, or through something that’s terrible. It’s almost like that first land deal, all the things coming against. You go: “Do I really need this? This is actually stressing me out.” I seen a picture of Richard Branson about a month ago, when the hurricane took his island out. And he’s standing on it. And I’m going: Here’s a guy who has probably had every megastar on that island, right. It was a place I wanted to go, right, because you can hire it for a week. And he’s had everything on that. And now he’s sitting with his dream absolutely decimated.

I don’t know how insurance works or whatever for that. I doubt he’ll get back what it’s cost, he’ll get something back, I don’t know. But there you go, there’s a guy who is flying, right, literally. But there he’s now standing on a disaster zone, and I seen when one of his trains came off the rails, which was terrible, and I seen him standing there as well. So, have you got the guts to stand when it all goes wrong? Right, yes, there’s a million people pointing the finger. If you’re pointing your finger, you’re only pointing the finger cause you’ve not got the guts to do it yourself. Because people who are in the fight don’t point the finger. They go: I know what it takes to be a brain surgeon, it’s not a 2 hour operation, it’s a 12 hour one. If I’ve got an opinion as a patient that it’s 2hrs, it’s cause I don’t know.

If I’ve got an opinion of that train coming off, or this, or if I’ve got an opinion on the island, it’s because I’ve no knowledge. So the reason I’ve got this opinion, or “haha, it deserves you so,” it’s because I’ve never actually stepped out of the boat. But to stand there on an island and go, the place is decimated, right, it might have cost me 20, 50 million to get it back to whatever, that’s the character that you need to build in yourself. By a millimetre at a time. All the way through. Cause it’s not a straight run. We all know it’s dips, it’s ups and downs, it’s dips, and it’s highs and lows. Highs, it’s unexplainable highs, it’s unexplainable lows.

RICHARD: Excellent. Right, there’s one wee thing I want to pull you in just for the last piece of the puzzle. It’s something you touched on earlier, but I’ve heard you mention it many times, and I think it is a way that people can start to think differently, to start to think big, to change their mindset on things. And it’s a thing you say about “finding the gold in others. Your gold in others.” Can you explain that to the listeners, what you mean by that?

STEPHEN: It’s something I’ve found out, since I’ve had my faith, right, and to be fair, my gold is in Lee, or you, Richard. See when people understand it’s not them, it’s who is round about them. See when they really get, it’s my gold is in what Lee has got. Not that I’m trying to jump on Lee’s great favour, or whatever, cause Lee’s actually jumping on my favour, cause I’m favoured anyway. But, it’s in other people, right. Your gold’s in other people. It’s like Laura. I sit with Laura, right, and Laura brings me 4 land deals. Right, but Laura sits with me, and I help her achieve her drive to grow into a different person.

Right, so, I never got the land deals, Laura got them. She learned, and she managed to get some of her dreams fulfilled through me. So I’m getting a using, she’s getting a using, and that’s where the world will look at it. It’s not that at all. It’s softer than that. The gold that you’ve got is in the other people. If you’re a quiet person who doesn’t really speak to a lot of people, or whatever, you’ll find that there’s not a lot going on. And if you’re a selfish person, you’ll find that there’s not a lot going on in your life because it’s all about other people. You sew it onto someone else, the by product of that is that it’ll come back to you.

RICHARD: Right, that’s your gold.

STEPHEN: I’ve got it. That’s I’m getting it. I can sit with 10, 15 people every week, mentoring them for an hour, and sometimes I get blown away, with the favour that’s actually in them. I was sitting where you’re sitting Richard, and I says there’s the legals just come through for that deal. And the guy across the table said to me, can I invest in the deal? So, is it timing? Was I lucky? I keep saying to Sarah: lucky again! Lucky again right. In the right place at the right time, again.

Richard, it’s everything. If you want to be great, you need to surround yourself with a lot of people. And, you need to reach out. Because if you don’t reach out, it’s not going to come back to you. There’s a young boy that I met through church. He was lively; he’s a lovely boy. But he was just; I fought myself actually having to go and meet him, right. I go to meet him 2 or 3 times and he’s great. He’s turned out amazing, right. But I’m thinking, what am I doing? All of a sudden he says, will you meet this pal of mine? And this pal he has, me and him are now doing a land deal. And I’m thinking, I would never have got that land deal if I hadn’t stepped out, and I’m not trying to put myself on a pedestal or anything, or him to put him up or down. I’m just saying, sometimes you’ve got to go somewhere, that even your gut says: don’t go. Go in. And the gold’s in it.

RICHARD: Excellent. I like that. That’s the perfect way to wrap up. That’s certainly a way of thinking big, of thinking outside yourself, not thinking selfishly. Looking around you, looking to help others. I definitely like that. That’s fantastic. Well, I would like to thank our guests on today’s show, who have been Lee Hounsom and Stephen McKenna. And if you would like to connect with any of these gentlemen then all you have to do is go to and check out the show notes for this episode. You’ll find the contact details for our guests, along with any of the links and resources mentioned in the show. Now 2 other links I want you to write down, is: if you’re looking for high level networking events in your area. And lastly, if you’re wanting to start your property journey, or if you’re already in the game and you want to take it further, go to and check out the resources there. So from myself, Richard Swan, that’s all for today; thanks for tuning in. And we’ll see you in the next show.

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