When it comes to goal setting, Keller Williams power couple Jay and Wendy Papasan are on the same page. Literally: the plan they follow year-round is written during their annual couple’s retreat and focuses on individual, family and business goals.
The process they began 15 years ago combines the best of Keller Williams’ planning tools with strategies customized by the Papasans for use as a couple. Wendy and Jay share how their planning process has evolved – and open up about joint successes they’ve reaped as a result.
“Getting on the same page with the person who represents the most important relationship of your life is a wonderful way to create tailwinds instead of headwinds in your life,” Jay says.
How did goal setting as a couple begin?
Jay: Being methodical in our goals, at least for me, came from my association with Gary (Keller) and Keller Williams. Before that, I might have had lists and dream lists, but they were dreams.
I trace a lot of it (planning) to a conversation that I had with Mo Anderson where she challenged me to do a balance sheet for our home and net worth. And that started an ongoing conversation with Wendy about wealth building where we started tracking our net worth, which led to bigger thinking.
Wendy had worked at the Texas Historical Commission and left that to stay at home with the kids. We were doing a lot of real estate investing because of The Millionaire Real Estate Investor.
Wendy: (In 2006) we had two young children, I was not working, except managing our investments, and honestly not feeling great about myself. When you’re a working person, then suddenly, you’re not working, there is a gap of self-worth. We live in this country where a lot of our worth is our work. So that was different for me.
At the same time, I was feeling disconnected from Jay. So, I began searching online for retreat questions and pulling the best ones from all of them. I created a two-day schedule for Jay and I, which have become the basis of our retreats.
Jay: I loved the idea of getting away from the kids and doing something by ourselves … I was curious, and a little terrified: she wasn’t just randomly saying, “Let’s get out of the house.” There was a purpose.
I remember it being a dense page of questions. “Where do we want to go on vacation? How much money do we want to save?” There was a lot of “Let’s get to the heart of the matter” – no dancing around it.
It was uncomfortable because we were dealing with things that most couples don’t talk about. What was great about it was that it created space for us to have those conversations in a safe way where nobody got too sensitive.
How has the goal-setting process evolved over time?
Wendy: The whole goal-setting process has been very gradual. It really started out with a list of six things. And now we have all of these spreadsheets and we have “Who are our top five wealth builders? Where does all of our income come from?”
Jay: To jump into our goals today feels very complex. But it happened gradually. There’s more pre-work now. The goal is not to build everything from scratch, because you can’t do that in a day and a half. What we do is we review it together and troubleshoot.
Wendy: We begin by working off of our goals from last year and always come to the table with something new. Typically, whatever new things we’re working on in our life. That’s fun, because you get to find out more about your partner and have the opportunity to feel supported in your goals and dreams.
What are the results you’ve experienced as a result of your efforts?
Wendy: What I love is that we've built a whole bunch of things together: the real estate business, investment business, and Jay has two businesses inside of Keller Williams. We have also built a family, which is incredible, and a giving platform for our family too. We’ve donated a lot of money and we’re involved in charitable organizations. I think a lot of it comes from Keller Williams and this idea of giving back constantly. That’s how you get in this world – you give.
Jay: If the people we were 10 years ago saw what our schedules were like today, they would go, “Wow.” It was a very long, slow process. We just kept adding and adding. It’s like watching your kids grow: you don’t notice it ... Unless you stand back, you don’t see that you’re growing. And that constant influence of KW, and Gary Keller, and some of the other leaders that have been around us kind of always pushing us to keep growing, it adds up over time.
Join Jay and Wendy in Austin!
Join the Papasans in Austin, Texas, Nov. 17-18 for a couple’s goal-setting retreat, where you will discover the proven models to set your goals with the people who impact your success the most!
About Jay and Wendy Papasan
Jay Papasan, who after a successful publishing career in New York co-authored the Millionaire Real Estate series with Gary Keller, collaborated on the bestseller FLIP, and serves as Keller Williams VP of publishing. He is also the co-owner of Keller Capital, LLC, and co-owner of the Papasan Properties Group at Keller Williams.
Wendy Papasan is co-owner and founder of the Papasan Properties Group at Keller Williams, headquartered in Austin, Texas, with expansion teams in Dallas and Houston, as well as St. Louis, Missouri. During her first eight years in real estate, she sold more than 850 homes, totaling more than $325 million. Wendy is a member of Gary Keller's Top Mastermind Group and a highly sought-after KW MAPS Coach. A community activist and philanthropist, Wendy is chairman of the board of KW Kids Can and chair of Heroes for Children, a Texas nonprofit that assists children with cancer.
The couple enjoys life in Austin, Texas, with their two children, Gus and Veronica.