For years I’ve been in leadership sales training for Fortune 500 companies.

What that means is I’ve trained top-level executives in the best sales practices so they can boost their company’s bottom line.

Ultimately, what that boils down to is teaching them a few new skills and getting them to practice the 70/20/10 Rule.

Ever heard of it?

It’s a safe bet that you’ve heard of the 80/20 Rule, where you earn 80% of your income from the 20% of the most engaged customers…. Or that you earn 80% of your income from the 20% of your most-focused efforts. (Though a most people spend 80% of their time to produce the lowest returns, which leaves them feeling overwhelmed, overworked and frustrated.)

It’s sort of like what you’d learn in The 4-Hour Work Week… where the author shares with us how he spends far less than 20% of his time on his business to earn way more than 80% of his income, but that’s a productivity topic for another day.

The 70/20/10 Rule is a bit different…

Let’s say you want to learn a new language. How would you do that quickly? Or at all?

Using the 70/20/10 Rule, you could conquer the new skills by spending:

  • 70% of your time practicing the language,
  • 20% of your time working with a native speaker of that language, and
  • 10% of your time reading books and using other training resources (not by engaging with other humans)

That’s how I learned to speak Spanish so well that my associates in the U.S. often think I’m from Barcelona… and not that I’m just a guy from the middle of the United States who traveled to Barcelona following the love of my life and who ended up staying and creating a life there.

Hey, I love living in Barcelona and don’t plan to ever leave. (But that doesn’t mean I want to invest here when it makes more sense to do long-distance investing.)

Living in Spain meant I’d definitely need to learn Spanish really, really well. The secret to my success can be found in the 70% of my time spent on practicing this new skill.

Immersion in the new skill is critical to your success.

When I was learning to speak Spanish I knew that if I wanted to reach my goal of being proficient very quickly I would have to immerse myself in the language.

So that’s what I did.

I practiced, practiced, practiced till I built my confidence speaking Spanish.

Part of that practice was attempting conversations… even if I wasn’t great at it… even if I felt silly speaking this foreign language! It was very important to spend 70% of my time practicing Spanish, which helped me get it right faster.

You’ll need hands-on training and some book smarts.

Next, I found a few people who were native to Barcelona and native to the language who were willing to work with me. They helped me with all the little nuances of the language that I couldn’t learn from a book. They corrected me politely when I was wrong or had mispronounced a word.

So for 20% of the time I was not just practicing but rather practicing WITH a native speaker who would help me get to my goal.

As for the remaining 10% of the time, well, I used books and CDs, YouTube and other resources that would help me learn the new language.

However, that 10% of the time brought very little returns; it only reinforced what I was learning by doing in the real world with real people.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Practicing the language, making mistakes, failing to get it right the first time (or even the second and third times) and stumbling over my words is what really taught me to speak Spanish well.

Learning Spanish and a few other languages has made me a more valuable asset in the corporate world.

It has definitely helped me forge relationships that will last a lifetime here in Barcelona.

Learning Spanish has also brought me closer to my wife and her family.

What if I had not been willing to fail?

What if I had not put myself out there and practiced hard?

What if I had just given up because learning this new language was tough?

For starters I wouldn’t still be in Barcelona, a place I adore… I sure wouldn’t have earned a good income in a job that required me to speak languages other than English… I wouldn’t have the sense of accomplishment I feel today knowing I had overcome obstacles and reached my goals of learning new languages.

So why I’m sharing this with you?

It’s because I want to encourage you to keep learning new skills, especially those you’ve told others you want to learn… so you can reach those goals you’ve set for yourself.

blogentry7retirementFor example, you may want to learn more about real estate investing so you can create a big nest egg for your retirement years.

Maybe you just want to learn how to participate in other people’s real estate transactions so you can earn big returns on your investments so you will have a steady stream of income month after month from the interest you earn.

Perhaps you want to try this thing called “long-distance investing,” but feel it will take too much time to learn or be too difficult to learn your way.

If that’s how you think, it’s time to re-think things.

Learning to invest doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

In fact, investing in real estate is really fun. At least for me it has been. And, believe me, I wasn’t always educated about the process.

Not long ago I decided to learn another new skill. It was kind of like learning a new language. I even wrote an article about it entitled Learning Real Estate Investing Is Like Learning a New Language.

Give it a read if you haven’t already.

It’s just another way of saying that no matter what your goals are you can reach them.

Believe it!!

If your idea of success is participating in winning real estate transactions, especially if you live abroad and are interested in investing in the U.S., let me help you with that.

Ditto if you’re in the U.S. and want to invest in a different state.

My main focus is investing in North Carolina… and there are plenty of excellent reasons for me to have chosen that state. Learn more…