BIO: Sakthivel Thevar is a highly sought-after international speaker and Maximum Performance coach within the business and corporate circles.
STORY: Sakthivel was looking for a mentor when he first joined the corporate world. Without much thought into it, he went with the first guy who offered to mentor him. He didn’t gain much from the mentor even after working with him for months. The mentor was just not the right fit.
LEARNING: Be clear about the kind of people you want to invest in. Take your time, don’t rush when finding a mentor.
“Just as you don’t blindly invest in a house, look at the options available for you when picking a mentor.”
Sakthivel Thevar is a highly sought-after international speaker and Maximum Performance coach within the business and corporate circles, starting his career in the most challenging way possible as a military officer and Airborne Ranger in the Singapore Armed Forces.
Worst investment ever
When Sakthivel left the military, he decided to join the financial industry as an advisor. His goal was to make a difference to people. Because he didn’t know much about being an entrepreneur, Sakthivel decided to invest in a mentor. He went out and talked to several people. Then this guy came up to him and told him that he could be his mentor. Sakthivel didn’t think twice. He decided to work with him.
Eight months later, Sakthivel’s business was tanking, and he could barely pay his bills. When he couldn’t afford to buy his daughter a book she wanted, he realized that he had made a wrong investment. He had invested his time and business with the wrong person because he didn’t do his due diligence to check other options. He chose a mentor blindly without first figuring out what to look for in a mentor. He just decided this guy was the one and just went for it.
- When choosing a mentor, find out whether they’re in line with what you believe in.
- Be clear of who you want to invest your time in and if they’ll be able to bring you to where you want to be.
- Take your time, don’t rush when finding a mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Learn to say no to people who are not the right match for you.
- Take the time to do the research, and the benefits will come.
- Time is the only real resource that we have. It allows us to do the things that we want to do. Use it well.
- Get the right boss. So many people get stuck in situations where they’re with the wrong people, and they stay out of convenience.
- Don’t walk away from what works.
Be clear about what you’re looking for when you’re thinking of investing your time in learning something, especially from someone. Be clear of the outcome or the things that you require from this person. Then ask yourself whether this person can bring you in that direction.
No. 1 goal for the next 12 months
Sakthivel’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to get his new book out. He also gives talks, so his biggest goal is to reach out to as many people as possible.
“Wake up every morning and ask yourself; ‘If I’m good at something, how can I go about doing it better?’”
Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning in our community we know that to win in investing you must take risks but to win big you've got to reduce it. Join our community to claim your podcast listener discount on my valuation masterclass Boot Camp, where students learn how to value companies like a pro and advance their career go to my worst investment ever.com to join the community for free. Fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz, from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guests. Suck the vowel Divar sakti. Well, are you ready to rock?
Sakthivel Thevar 00:49
Hi, Andrew, thank you so much, and always really looking forward to be here with you. And before we start up, I just want to say one thing that made me excited to be here. It's the name of your podcast, straight to the point, what is your worst investment? And I'm, you know, really honored to be here. And yes, let's rock and roll.
Andrew Stotz 01:08
I love it. Yeah. And I think, you know, I meet a lot of people that there are starting podcasts. And I just use mine as an example like, you know, get straight to it. A lot of people try to go around the bush or try to do some cute and fancy. Mine just hits you between the eyes, either like it or you run away. So exactly. Ladies and gentlemen, succesvolle is a highly sought after international speaker and maximum performance coach within the business and corporate circles, starting his career in the most challenging way possible. As a military officer, and Airborne Ranger in a Singapore Armed Forces SACD we'll take a moment in Philly further tidbits about your life.
Sakthivel Thevar 01:56
Thanks, Andrew. And you don't thank you for all of your to be you know, listening to this podcast. Now just a bit about myself. People usually mistake me to be somebody you know, very stern, because I'm a military officer, Airborne Ranger, you know, and they say they suck the you must be a very stern guy, discipline died. Now the reality is this. I just believe in living my life by my design. I don't like rules and regulations around me. I mean, I don't enjoy being in the Army. And I'm telling you that I don't like that. Why? Because life is too short, you know, why would I want to have rules in my life, and whether they control. So currently, I love my time, you know, doing my business, whether it's making an impact to people, and, you know, meeting people and making a difference to them, as well as being a father of two girls. So I spend a lot of time why because they are my greatest investment. Though I'm here to talk about the worst investment. I like to say they're my greatest investment because they keep teaching me how I can be better. And that's what I spend most of my time. And that's me. So in a nutshell, I live my life. And I just find ways to just get experiences to keep learning.
Andrew Stotz 03:01
That's exciting. And you know, I think you know, one of the lessons from what you just said is that there, there's times that we need to be strict. There's times that we need rules. But boy, not at our time, right now, at our age, as we get older, we get more experienced, we want to bring more value to the world. It's not about following the rules. It's about figuring out where is our place to add value. And before we, you know, before we go into the big question of the podcast, maybe you can tell us a little bit about kind of what's your what's your angle? What's your specialty? What's your secret sauce, about the way that you help people to think about performance and all that maybe you could just give us a little bit of tidbits about that.
Sakthivel Thevar 03:44
Sure. No, I started off in the military. And, you know, being in a special ops, that's always been a question, right? How are we able to be the elite soldiers? You know, how do we go about performing? I mean, there are a lot of books out there, right? From X regulars who are in the special ops and everything. So when I came out to be a business owner, nonetheless, the story behind that the reason I was out because there was a training accident. You never see that in papers back in Singapore. But there's three of our servicemen who passed away, and I was supposed to be one of them in that location. But I was saved because we were overseas, and I was told to finish my food before I go there. And that food saves me from being at the place of the accident. So you know, that got me thinking is like, wow, you know, there's a calling for me. That's much more than just being a soldier. So that's what made me start thinking what I want to do for the rest of my life. Apart from being a soldier, though, I love soldiering. So that's when I came out. And I realized that I wanted to be in a place where I can make an impact. And I saw that a lot of people are always talking about performance, and how can I do better? And that is what I wanted to do. How can I bring the lessons that I learned being an elite soldier out in the corporate world? And in order to do that, I got to lead by example, I must be able to do that. So I decided to go into the financial industry. You know, take on a business and start working on it and you do that like military, lead by example, get that results be there. And right now what I do is that I work with a lot of organizations, individuals to talk about three key areas. When I talk about maximum performance, I just call it x. Walker, the mindset come up with strategies and action plans. Because without action plan, nothing happens, right? And the most important, x is about execute, take action, you don't take action, your plans are just a piece of paper. So it's getting the right mindset, have you action plans and strategies, and let's go out there and execute, validate, learn from it and do it better. So this is what I help organizations and individuals do. You could be anything, whether it's in sales, you could be leadership, doesn't matter, the principles are always the same. And that's what I do. And recently, I've been working with quite a few students as well, I believe that students can have or develop this mindset as well. So I work with a lot of students as well.
Andrew Stotz 05:57
You know, it's hard for a person to think about, you know, let's say you're working with top leadership in a company. You know, it's hard for people to think that these people need this help. I mean, they're already at the top. They've got a lot of things right to get there. But we know that they do need this help. But why is it that they're not doing what they should be doing? Because maybe they don't know it? Or they just don't they need support? They what is it that, you know, makes those people that you coach and support and advise, you know, what holds them back? That you're able to break through with them?
Sakthivel Thevar 06:39
A lot of times and do it's because they don't see the reason, right? I mean, we don't look for solutions when we don't have a problem, right? It's like, Why do I look for a solution? Or why do I look for anything? If I don't need it? So what I usually do is, I mean, they are on top there because they are capable of achieving great things. And usually I'll have conversations with them and ask them look, you know, how things are, where you want to be? And where you are now, are you happy? Or do you think there's potential to grow? Realistically, a lot of them on say, Yes, I got potential to grow, I can be better. So you know, this is how the conversation stops. So and then the next thing is, so what's stopping you? What are the reasons where you are not getting there, or you find that is stopping you from getting there or delaying you? And this is where we have these conversations first, and let them realize and get the answers for themselves. They identify their own problem, because when you are convinced that you have an issue may not be a problem, or you have something that you want to work on, that conviction will want you to take action. So that's my job, you know, to first of all, let you see, because a lot of us, we don't do things not because we don't want to because we are not informed or we are not aware. So my job is to just ask questions and see where they can see if there's any areas they want to work on.
Andrew Stotz 07:56
So for the listeners out there, I mean, think about it. I know, one of the things that I first when I was a financial analyst in the stock market is that, in fact, everybody, all the analysts and fund managers, everybody was working super hard. But very few people actually took care of themselves. That well, even their own money they took they did a huge amount of work for their clients money, due diligence and all that, and then they just throw their money at some wild investment that just, you know, was just absolute speculation. And so what I'm hearing from you is people are looking for growth, and happiness. And what I'm hearing from you is that you help them to identify where they're going map out the direction, and then support them in that process, rather than it's not like you come in with an answer, you help them go through that process. So for the folks out there, what's the best way for them to follow you listen to you learn from you, we're going to have all the links in the show notes. But where would you recommend that they go to contact you?
Sakthivel Thevar 08:56
Now, I will suggest, you know, you can catch me on LinkedIn, because I make it a point to have a post every day. And these are not posts where you know, I read it a week before it's a campaign, but I write what I feel the night before or the morning and I put it out. It could be an experience I had for example, you know, with Andrew yourself to be right. So it could be a post about ups the next day, you know, one of my thoughts. So I share things. So LinkedIn would be a great place because you can also usually we just direct message me and say hi suck the you know, so that would be the best place to catch me.
Andrew Stotz 09:27
Perfect. All right, well, now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one goes into their worst investment thinking it will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to then tell us your story.
Sakthivel Thevar 09:40
Yes, and no, I like the way you made it sound like nobody don't get into a worse investment knowing they are going to and now my story it's not about I mean, I'm a strong believer that money can be an right. You know, be out there and it's a tool, right? It's a tool that we want to buy experience we want to do for my family. So I will say that for me Time, it's very important. Maybe it's because of the experience I had, before I left military where, you know, I could have been no more here. But I was given another second chance, I will call it where, you know, I have much more things to do that. So for me, I think investing on people was something that was important, who I decided to invest my time my resources on. Now, the experience of the story that I had was, when I left the army, I was very clear that I want to make a difference to people. And I knew that level to 12 years I was in the military, I was right in the well, I've always been talking about leading people in the military context. So I never knew how the world was out there in the corporate world. So when I want to start something, what I knew I needed was a good mentor. And I wanted to be in an industry where I can make an impact to people. So I went to the financial industry. Why? Because when I went to meet one of the parents whose son passed on, they were hawkers, and they were in their late, early 50s. And their only son passed on and to them, they invested everything on their son, and he was their potential retirement plan. So when I met them, that hit me hard, right, like only son no more. And then I like, so what are they going to do? And when I talked to them, and I checked with them, and they told me that oh, you know, for us, our kidneys, everything we never need such thing will happen. So that hit me is like there could be many others out there. Right? I mean, as much as we do not expect things to happen to anyone, but it can happen, right? I mean, that's what unfortunate incidents happen. So I wanted to be in a place where I can make an impact to people to help people to make the right decisions in terms of you know, if uncertainties happen, and I thought financial industry was a good place, why I make an impact on people. And instead of being a guy who just goes out to sell a property, a car, I'm selling concepts, I'm selling dreams, I'm selling people, ways of how things can be done better. And I realized that was the best place for me to, you know, really sharpen my axe, to talk to people to sell and articulate myself, it is a challenging thing, right. So I realized, let's put myself I mean, being arranger myself, you know, no challenge means no fun, right? So I decided to be there. Now, when I was there, now, this is where the story starts. We are always looking for somebody to guide us through. So at the point of time, now, what I did was that I had to believe that it's me, it's all about me. If I'm good, I'm good, right? So I never thought of the importance of actually investing myself in the right mentor. So I went out there I talked, and then you know, this guy came up to me said, I don't want to talk to you, I can do this for you. And I did not think twice. I said, Okay, fine. If this guy can do it, I think, fine. And I decided to join him and I went on. And now what are the painful things that I learned? But yeah, he did a decent job. I wouldn't say it's a bad job. But, you know, along the way, when I started no more than that you have a look, you know, this is not what I joined you for, you know, it's not about just doing sales and making money. It's about making an impact and the dollars and cents. It's an afterword it will come, right. I mean, if you do the right things, and you're, you know, you make a difference, and you're really good at it, the dollars and cents will be there. It will come you know, it's a by the way thing, but here the focus was just dollars and cents. And, you know, it's and I realized that I was not doing well, because my heart was not there. So eight months into the business, I used to share this thing in my LinkedIn posts before it's the book that costs $10. You know, my two girls, right? At the point of time at one girl, my older girl was about five years old, I brought it to a preschool, and we're walking back and all my savings were gone. And I had about what less than $7 in my pocket, and not much in my account. And I was an ex army captain, you know, I used to have no issues with it. And now I've came to the level where nobody, and you know, there's this esteem, right? I'll be paying my bills. And today I don't have. So as we walking past there's this makeshift bookstore. And my girls picked up a book and say that, can you buy for me this. And I realized that the book costs $10. And, you know, ironically, or I don't always go Incidentally, the book was Beauty and the Beast. And at that point of time I to become the beast to teller, you know, because it costs $10. And I only had $7 in my pocket, I got to disappoint and lie to my small girl to tell her that this is not a good book, you know, forget about it. And I could see that disappointed face on, you know, it's like why you told me that books are good. And I had to think of every single creative way to lie to the girl to say leave the book there. We'll get some of the time. This is not a good book. And I managed to do that, you know, kids, right? They, they always believe the parents and I walked away. And when I came home, it took me a couple of days to really, you know, question myself, what am I doing? You know, it's not just $1 cents, I was behind on my bills. And I was doing well. It's not my capability. But it's like why? So when I went up to the mentor manager and asked him, Look, this is what's happening. What should I do? He told me No, exactly. We just got to focus. We just got to go out there and talk to people. And so I realized that I was not getting the right direction. I was not given the correct ways of how I can do things. And that's when I realized that's it. Right now I can go on a blaming game to say I didn't have a good mentor, but I knew that I made a wrong investment, the investment of investing my time and my next career with the wrong person, because I did not make my due diligence to check whether are there other options? What should I look for in a mentor? I did not, I just decided that he's the one and just go for it. So who do I blame? Now one of the key thing I learned is, I'll take responsibility for my actions. So I'm not here to talk about, you know, that I invested my time with the wrong mentor, and I'm here to point fingers to say, Hey, I've done all those things. I mean, in one way, think about it over the years, I got to thank him. Because he taught me a lot of lessons, right? He has inspired me to do a lot more things, but that investment made me lose my confidence in myself. Right? The ego, you know, thinking about it, I'm a Special Ops officer out there, you know, commanding about 700 Over men, and I've done so many things. And suddenly, I felt so small, not being able to buy a book for my file, not able to pay my bills, coming home, talking to my wife to tell her Don't worry, things will be fine. But at the back of the head, I'm thinking like, what's next? What am I going to do? You know, I have to have that straight poker face, right? And these are the things. So then that is when I sat down and think about this, what should I do? Yeah, I made an investment. And I knew for sure, it was a very, very bad investment. So what's next? Am I going to sit down here and think about it? Or do I move on and that was the day, I made a decision, that the book that cost $10 became my turning point in life, and never ever going to do that. And I think I took one step to say that I will never want another day or mom to feel the same way. And I can change the world, I can do this for everyone. But I should be able to do this for a couple of people, you know, if you'll be at a staff or in the CIA, if I throw one starfish into the sea, it makes a difference that I want starfish to stay alive. So same thing, if I can make a difference to a couple of people, then I've made my, you know, a difference to them. So that was where it started. I decided this time around to look for mentors who can teach me, you know, to bring me to the next level. So I went up to them I learned and so on. So I think that most my worst investment that I done, and well, a painful one.
Andrew Stotz 17:12
And how do you how would you summarize the lessons that you learned from this experience?
Sakthivel Thevar 17:18
No, the greatest lesson I realized is that you know, any point account any decisions we make, especially with people, right? It's about, you know, to find out whether are they in line with what we believe in, right? Whether it's our career, whether it's about them mentoring us, it's about doing anything, it's about, you know, finding out, be clear of Who do you want to? Or who do you want to actually go out to the invest your time, and will they be able to bring us to where we want to be that should be certain level of research, just like going for investment, right? You don't blindly go into an investment, you don't blindly invest in a house, you do your back end research. So look at the options available for you. And who will be the best person have a chat if you need to talk to them. And never be worried ask because you're investing your time. And that's the biggest value they want to have. So that's the biggest asset we have, right. And in your life, your career, your family depends on what you make, the decision you make. So pick a time don't rush. And that is the biggest advice that I will give people.
Andrew Stotz 18:20
And maybe I'll add in a few things that I took away. First of all, I've looked at the as an analyst, I've analyzed all the people that have talked to me that have written me, and I've come up with six common mistakes. number one biggest common mistake is failed to do their own research. And I think here, you're telling us, you know, and telling the listeners out there that take the time to do the research, and the benefits will come off. There's a bunch of things I wrote down. I mean, the first thing I wrote down as you were talking in towards the end was the idea of time, is the only real resource that we have time allows us to do the other things that we want to do. But if we don't have time, if there's no time, if time is running out, you can't make that impact. So that's the first thing. That's our first resource that you remind me of. The other thing I wrote down is get the right boss. So many people get stuck in situations where they're with the wrong people. And they stay out of convenience or whatever. If you're not with the right boss, your job is to get with them. My first boss in the financial world, he hired me in 1993. And we're still close friends to this day. It was purely by luck. I mean, I would take any job that came along at the time, but he was a boss that really helped me and guided me over the years and it's been there all my life. And the other last thing I just wanted to touch on is I was asked By I was asked to go to the regulator here in Thailand, the Securities and Exchange Commission to talk about, because I had written a book called How to start building your wealth investing in the stock market talking about long term investing for individuals that don't really know much about the stock market. And they asked me now that they're facing a challenge, and that is that, you know, Thai people are getting older before they get rich, you know, Japan is old now, but they're rich. And so they, you know, asked me that saying, what we're going to be facing this huge problem of, we won't be able to fund their retirements. And, you know, I, we talked about some solutions there. But I said, but let's not forget that you are actually implementing right now, the most successful replied, retirement system in the history of mankind. It's called family. And you think you're going to get an answer, by shifting over to the style that America does, as an example, where you no longer rely on a family either rely on yourself or you rely on your government? Yeah, there's some pros to that. And it makes sense. But do not walk away from what works. And just thinking about the story of the hawkers that lost their son. And you know, how meaningful that is, you know, the idea of in Asia family is so critical. And it's become more critical to me, because I live with my 90 and might might not 19, my 1938 Born mother, who's 83 years old. And, you know, it's my pleasure to have taken care of my mom for the last five years. And I look forward to that. So anyways, there's a lot of things I wrote down, I thought about, is there anything you would add to that?
Sakthivel Thevar 21:48
Yeah, I think it's, it's what both ways, not only just choosing a boss, but I think even when we like, you know, when we, when we receive guidance from people, they want to invest time to receive to be mentored, or even when we are going to give choosing the right person to give right, I think it's important that we also invest the time the right people, because along the years, I also had experience in spending my time and effort with people and I realized that look, you know, why have I spent so much time on someone who just is not committed for themselves? So and this thing sometimes, you know, stops us from want to do certain things that could have made a difference to somebody who really deserved it. So it's always about, you know, taking a step back, yes, pick the right people, because I think our time, and the value we can give to individuals is very valuable. So don't waste it on the wrong time. I mean, it's the same thing as using money, right? Don't waste your money, buying the wrong things. Same thing, that one thing that I wanted to add on
Andrew Stotz 22:43
it, I always say to people now when they asked me, you know, hey, I'd like to ask you for your advice. And after I listened to their situation, I then reiterate. So I'd say you're asking for my advice, is that correct? And they're saying yes, okay, then I hit them between the eyes, and I say, Okay, you're asking for it. And there it is. And also, if they come back and go, Yeah, but that's not the same as my I'm like, Look, you asked for my advice. There it is. And it helps to kind of not get too caught up. And if somebody really isn't into receiving it, or they want something different, it kind of shuts that down. So Alright, so now based upon what you've learned from this story, and what you continue to learn, what action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?
Sakthivel Thevar 23:34
No. Two things that I will tell them now one of which will be specifically to be clear of what you want. Right? When you are out there, when you are looking, you know, thinking of investing your time or learning something, or from someone, especially from someone be clear what you're looking out for. Right? Because when you are clear, this is what I mean, sometimes, at least you need to be clear of what is the outcome, or what is the things that you require from this person. And whether if this person is able to bring me to that direction. Now, just like any investment, right, there's no guarantees. So I'm not saying that you need to guarantee and get 100% But let's be clear that you have done your due diligence, take your time and do that. I think that is important. Why because you're going to commit your time and you're also going to get them to commit their time. So you know, always do that. And never never stop yourself from wanting to grow. You know, never stop yourself from wanting to say that look, you know, I it takes too much of my time to grow to ask people for advice to look for these things or something I don't have the time to invest or to to do my research to do this because you are investing in yourself when you do this. So that's the biggest investment right? Nothing gives you a better return. Send yourself so every time you're looking into spending your time with people and anything else, it's about even a way you are indirectly invested in yourself, because it's about your ego So take the time, do not rush. If you think the person doesn't, you know, it's not your cup, learn to say no. It's one of the toughest things. And in Asia, it's tough for people to say no. I mean, if you think about it, right, so or say thank you so much. I think this is not what I'm looking for. But I appreciate the time and you have to move on. You need to say no, and this is something that I realized, because a lot of them, they get stuck with this thing called obligation. And we invested my time with him. I can't say no, I can hurt him, you know, I just got to find just move on with it. And, and that is something that we are, it's not the right thing. We are being fair to ourselves and to the other person. So learn to say no, if you think that it's not the right match.
Andrew Stotz 25:47
Yeah, it's not as bad as you think they're probably happy to hear no to sometimes. So. Alright, last question. What's your number one goal for the next 12 months?
Sakthivel Thevar 25:58
Well, currently, I'm writing a book. And I've been like a bit like, I've been supposed to have this book way before, but it's like never good enough, right? Every time I go there. So I told myself by end of this year, I'm going to have this book. It's a title rise above mediocrity. And this is what I believe that every single individual have a choice to rise above mediocrity, it's okay to be mediocre. But we have a choice. And this is where I put up my experience for myself and the people I've talked to. So I'm going to get that book out another year. And I'm spending a lot of time on that. And I also give talks, so this year, my biggest goal is to reach out to as many people because after the pandemic, I think this is where people I won't say they need but this is where we need to come forward to make a difference to people you don't wait to just receive but if I receive something so I actually work with a lot of organizations, individuals and to say look, you know, there are things that I want to share. So I reach out and talk to as many people as possible and organizations and that is the key focus and goal that I have. I don't go by numbers. I don't have a numbers like 100 or 200 people but it's like consistently just looking for people and talking to them and make engaging with organizations and teams on that.
Andrew Stotz 27:13
Fantastic well listeners there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning. My number one goal for the next 12 months is to help you my listener reduce risk and increase return in your life to achieve this. I've created our community at my worst investment ever.com And when you join you get that special discounts the valuation masterclass boot camp, boot cans, something that suck the knows a lot about. As we conclude suck the I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy, I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?
Sakthivel Thevar 27:57
Yeah, definitely. Learn from the lessons that you have done. I think these are key lessons. And I think I wake up every morning tell yourself that if I'm good at something, how can I go about doing it better? I think that's where life gets exciting. So you know, live an exciting life wake up excited and you know, live day by itself.
Andrew Stotz 28:16
Beautiful. And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast hose Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.
Connect with Sakthivel Thevar
- How to Start Building Your Wealth Investing in the Stock Market
- My Worst Investment Ever
- 9 Valuation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
- Transform Your Business with Dr.Deming’s 14 Points
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