Meet Frank McKinney. He’s the Founder of The Caring House Project.
The Caring House Project has built 24 self-sustaining villages over the last 14 years in Haiti.
I read his book, Make It Big when I was 21 years old. His book inspired me to start donating towards his charity.
Then I moved to South Florida when I was 24 years old. I saw Frank speak at a local real estate event. Frank was offering a trip to donors who would fund an entire house in one of the Haitian villages. I couldn’t afford the donation at the time, but I resolutely knew I would go on this trip.
A few years later, I joined Frank and the Caring House on this yearly adventure to Haiti. I’ve gone four times in the last five years. Every year I go, it changes my life. It reminds of the special gift is to give, not only for someone else, but also myself. It helps me anchor back to what really matters in life.
Frank, who is also and ultra marathon runner, runs in Haiti every year to prepare for the Badwater Ultra-marathon in Death Valley, CA. I’ve joined him every year on this 11 mile practice run. It’s become a Haiti tradition for both of us.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have meaningful, in depth conversations with Frank while we run. Every year I learn something new through his character and wisdom.
Here’s what I learned this year, running with Frank on the streets of Haiti last week:
1. Ego is okay – We talked a lot about ego. The last few years, I’ve always considered ego a bad thing and try to eliminate it completely. Frank had a different take. He said, “you don’t have to associate the word ego with always being bad. There can be good ego and bad ego.”
The good ego is a confidence within yourself. This confidence comes from being passionate about something in service of others. Knowing your intention. Ego is no problem if your intention is for a cause greater than yourself and helping others.
2. Aspiration is what drives us – more than motivation and inspiration. When you see someone who embodies the characteristics and qualities you want, aspiring to be like this person is what will create the quantum leap to get you on the right track. Aspire to and model the ones you’d like to ascend towards and associate with.
3. Landmines are everywhere looking to blow you up – this is evil, and it comes in many forms. It comes in vice, it comes with our impulse and need for instant gratification. It’s the fear to pursue our dreams. It also comes in subtler ways that hold us back, such as everyday distractions like social media and information overload.
What’s interesting about landmines, is that when we are on the rise, more landmines pop up. We have to be extra alert as we climb and aspire to greater things. The evil, which can also be the resistance (or fear) wants to bring us back down. Conscious awareness and understanding the long term consequences of our actions is key to avoid landmines as we grow.
4. We can’t change, but we redirect energy. I asked Frank how he changed from being a wild kid in his late teens, to a successful entrepreneur and real estate investor in his 20’s. His answer was that he did not change. He said he never changed. In his early 50’s, he’s still that same wild kid in his teens.
What he learned to do (through his aspiration) was to redirect his energy from destructive habits to constructive habits.
He still has a need for wild and adrenaline pumping things, but now he has found ways to satisfy his adrenaline needs in a constructive way. Instead of partying (as he did as a teen), he turned his excitement towards taking risks investing in real estate, creating charities that can impact thousands of people, and over the last decade he’s added running ultra-marathons.
Energy towards destructive tendencies will leave one feeling empty inside, but redirecting that same energy toward the constructive will be fulfilling and sustainable as your pursue new adventures and endeavors.
Thank you for the lessons Frank, looking forward to the next run together!!