5 Tips for Pushing Through When Times Get Tough


When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Easier said than done. But so very true. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of those tough moments and nothing seems to be going right, you can feel pretty alone and even spiral into a little self-pity. No one has it as hard as you do, right?

Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re not alone. I’m not alone. Building a business is hard (as thousands of people who have gone before us have experienced!). As you start to gain traction and new levels of success, your problems just intensify. They never go away. And would you really want them to? The challenges and problem-solving is half the fun!

To my point, a couple of weeks ago, a good friend, and well-respected fellow business owner in a different industry emailed me and asked, “What are your go-tos when times get really challenging for you and you feel the doubt, negativity, and lack of confidence? What tools do you use to push through strong?” So, I’ll share with you all, what I shared with him.

My Top 5 Tips for Pushing Through When Times Get Tough:

  1. Exercise. As most of you know, exercise is an integral part of my daily routine, however, it’s so easy to say “f*!k it” when you’ve got people wanting your time and a million fires to put out. Do not sacrifice your standards. During these tough times, exercise becomes even more critical for clarity, focus, and let’s be honest, to blow off some steam! Whatever you do, whether it’s Cross Fit, running, spinning, or yoga, just move. Sometimes I even like to just hike solo, it gives me time to think. Focus on moving your body and I guarantee you’ll not only feel better, but you will have some of your best ideas and breakthroughs.
  2. Meditate. Again, something I do every day to build my emotional fitness, and something I refuse to sacrifice especially when shit is hitting the fan. I need my twice daily meditation practice to expand my mind and create a better mind, body, and soul integration, which in turn enables me to be a better leader. Take time to just sit quietly with your thoughts, breathe, meditate, and get centered. Clear mind equals clear, instead of reactive, decision making.
  3. Journal. Journaling for me is another daily practice (do you see a pattern here?). Journaling clears my mind, connects me to my family (since I have a journal for each of my family members), makes me reflect on what I have accomplished and reignites my vision and passion for everything I still want to do. Journaling connects me with my big why every day. For me, journaling is also rooted in gratitude – the good, the bad, the ugly – I write it all down and am purposeful in my expression of gratitude for all the experiences I have. It’s impossible to be grateful and be afraid at the same time. Journaling enables me to be grateful even in the toughest of times.
  4. Connect. But not with just anyone. Connect with friends and mentors who get it. Those that have gone before you and weathered the storm. I always caution my employees, coaching clients, and friends to be careful who they take advice from. Make sure who you are listening to and emulating are people who are actually living (not just talking about) the life you want. Some of the best mentors can be found in books. I always have one or two personal development or leadership books going – the ones that tell a story about how hard building a business is are some of my favorites (i.e. Shoe Dog, Steve Jobs, Built from Scratch, Elon Musk, The Power of Broke, etc). Or, I’ll watch videos from some of the greats like Tony Robbins or Wayne Dyer. All of those books and conversations remind us that it’s really frickin hard to go out and do something big. But that is what life is all about.
  5. Take Action. Most importantly, when I am feeling stuck, I make a decision and execute. You may not be able to see the entire path ahead of you or the exact steps that you need to take, but you will be able to see the first step. Take that one step and then you’ll be able to see the next. And from there, the next. Keep moving… If it’s wrong, you make another decision – just don’t sit idle! That’s the danger zone. Inaction for too long can lead to paralysis and before you know it that tough moment has turned into a tough year (or more). If you’re going through hell, keep going. Recalculate. Make a new decision. Keep pushing forward and take another step.

These tips are not just things I do when times are tough. In fact, I have built up these daily habits and routines over years of practice so that I am emotionally fit to handle any challenge, law suit, or emergency that comes my way. My mind, body, and soul are all conditioned to respond at peak performance. If you haven’t started a daily emotional fitness practice, I encourage you to start today. It doesn’t have to be perfect – start small. Just incorporating daily exercise or journaling can start you on the path to a more centered existence. Build a foundation now for daily strength and continued growth and when the tough times hit, you’ll be ready.

And as I reminded my friend, what he and I (and you!) are going through, someone else has already gone through and become stronger from it. Just remember, life is happening for us, not to us. You already have the tools and strength inside you to push through, now it’s time to get purposeful on bringing them to the surface and living in that strength every day.




Guest Blogger Cari Heibel – When Everything is Going Right, Make a Change


My kids are back at school, the leaves are starting to change, and Summer is slowly fading into Fall. This time of year always causes me to pause and reflect. Recently, I was thinking about the professional moves I’ve made over the last 15 years in the real estate industry and I noticed something interesting. Each time I decided to make a move, two things were true.

First, each opportunity that I decided to take advantage of was one I needed to take a financial step back for, knowing it would bring me much further long term. And each time, I was excited to take that short term risk because I was able to see the long term benefit very clearly!

Secondly, each professional change came when everything was going exceptionally well and I was very content in my role. Somehow, despite being happy and successful, I was open to opportunity and ultimately, excited for a change.

So, it got me thinking, why do people decide to make a professional change or a life shift? It just so happens (and science shows) that change stimulates your brain, broadens your perspective, and boosts your performance!  And if you make the change at unexpected times, like when everything is running smoothly, it can be especially powerful! Who knew? It was what I was craving and I just didn’t know it!

Here is what I know today, I am a completely different person than I was 15 years ago, and much of it has to do with the challenges, experiences, and growth I had during these times of change. I am forever grateful I took the opportunities and that I embraced these times of change as they have stretched me and helped me reach levels of achievement that I didn’t even know were possible.

And as easy breezy as that story is, I get it, you probably aren’t always jumping for joy when thinking about making a change. After all, change is a bit scary and definitely pushes you outside of your comfort zone. These are the challenges that come with change.

Remember – what you focus on expands!  So I am going to give you something else to focus on… change prevents you from getting stuck or losing steam. It takes your skills to the next level and boosts your confidence!

For example, after a year or so at your job you tend to feel a sense of competency and steadiness that is reassuring. Gradually, though, your work starts to feel routine and you become comfortable. This is the time to shake things up and make some changes because you will be doing it while you are a high level of mental fitness and confidence. This type of forward-moving change will help you evolve, grow, succeed, and ultimately get you to reach your highest levels of achievement!

In fact, according to Laura Vanderkam, a productivity expert and author, “The most successful and happy people are constantly evaluating themselves and their circumstances and are looking to make changes that will help them grow.”

You too, can embrace change, and benefit in a big way!  You see, the number one thing that holds people back from pursuing a positive, productive life shift or change, is doubt. We worry about things not working out or making our life or career worse. So, instead of allowing doubt to creep in, realize you are in control. You are choosing the change, you are doing so on your own terms, and it is going to work out in the best possible way for you because of this. You are making the change when you are competent, confident, successful and ultimately, empowered!

Here’s the truth – you are more flexible and adaptable than you give yourself credit for. Of course you can handle a change. In fact, there are no limits to the amount of changes you can make! Don’t underestimate your abilities. Don’t cheat yourself out of personal and professional growth by avoiding change! Embrace it, look for it, choose it at the most unexpected times, and watch who you will become along the way!

Cheers to your journey!


cari heibelCari Heibel was a Top Producing Real Estate Agent in the Twin Cities for 10 years prior to becoming the CEO of the Maple Grove office of Keller Williams. During those four years, the Maple Grove office became the number one office in the state of Minnesota in closed transactions. Cari has recruited over 500 real estate agents and assisted in the growth of over 50 real estate teams in the past four years.

As Director of Growth for Hergenrother Realty Group, Cari recruits and coaches all expansion Regional Directors and CEOs and assists them in growing their teams through recruiting and increased productivity.

Cari is also a coach and trainer for Adam Hergenrother Training Organization. Her next online course, Recruiting Without Limits, starts on October 24. Click here to register.

Connect with Cari at cari@herggroup.com.

From Fat Kid to Freedom – How I Got Started in Business

grand opening party with Gov Scott

I get a lot of question from other entrepreneurs and business owners, but especially from the young guns – college seniors or recent graduates – about how I got started in real estate and development, and in general how I built multiple businesses. So, I figured I would take you all on a little journey down memory lane and show you exactly where I started and some of the pivotal moments and decisions that led me to where I am today.

This is a long one, so pull up a chair, pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine (Mine? Pinot Noir), and get comfortable. It’s story time.

[1993] I’m going to take you back about 24 years to when I was in 6th grade. Hindsight is 20/20, but it’s interesting now to look back and see that even then, I was a bit of a rebel. My mom found these forms that I had her fill out for me (i.e. leverage). Even then, at 12 years old, I refused to have anyone put a limit on my thinking. Cowboy? Model? Astronaut? Hell no. I was going to be a business owner.

[1996] School was never my favorite place to be (and that is definitely an understatement). I started hanging out with the wrong crowd, dabbling in drugs, smoking cigarettes heavily, and using food as a way to numb my feelings and escape from this life that I was living, but hated. I hated the way I was living for a long time and in the process ended up over 100 lbs overweight, failing classes, and driving a POS car. My self worth was non-existent, I was in a dark place in my life, and was completely unsatisfied by how my life was going. Enough was enough.

One day, when I was 15, I came home from school and just started crying. My dad found me like that in my room and said, “You have two choices. You can accept where you are or you can change.” There is that moment, and you know it when it happens and I’m sure you’ve had moments like this before in your life, when you’ve wanted to change, but nothing really happens. And then you’ve had those moments when you said, “F*$k it. No more.” And in that moment, your life changes forever. You are fully committed to the new direction and you cut ties, burn bridges, and leave behind the old you for good. That’s what I did that day. I stopped caring what other people thought of me. I stopped hanging out with my friends who turns out weren’t really friends after all (Quick side story: These “friends” broke into my car and stole all of my belongings which erupted into a series of fights over the next couple of weeks. My big brother had to come down from college with some of his friends, things got physical, and the police got involved. It was a total shit show. But I never backed down. I was committed to this new life. And eventually, they started bullying someone else.) I stopped letting other people dictate who I should be. From that moment on, I was determined to never let anyone put a limit on what I could do or who I could become. I was writing my own story.

[1997-1999] A year after one of the lowest points in my life, I was 100 lbs lighter – physically, mentally, and emotionally. I really started getting into sports at that point, hockey, snowboarding, and eventually settled on football. My Junior year we won the state championship and my Senior year I was Captain of the team along with a couple other guys. What a difference those friends were from the ones I was hanging out with before. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, right? Well, today, I am in business with two of those former football Captains. Pretty cool…

[2000] School and tests still weren’t really my thing. I wasn’t good at taking tests, so my SAT scores sucked. Combine that with the fact that my grades my Freshman year of high school were terrible. College was an option, but only in the guaranteed admissions program at the University of Vermont (UVM), which meant that I had to get a 3.0 my first year of college to be fully accepted as a student there. Challenge accepted. There were five people from my high school who did the guaranteed admissions program, but I was the only one to be accepted as a full time student. 3.2 GPA my first year. I’m really proud of that, because I had a clear vision and was going to work harder than anyone else to get there.

[2000] During my Freshman year at UVM, I had a friend who crashed on my couch, but didn’t actually go to school there. We all had one of those, right? He was selling cars and had this great opportunity for me to make a little extra money. We bought a car for $1000 – $500 cash in, each. It was all the money I had at the time (he was a good salesman!). So he bought the car, fixed it up, and sold it a week or so later and we doubled our money. What!? All I had to do was hand over some cash, do nothing else (I never even saw the car), and two weeks later my $500 was $1000. It was the first time I experienced leverage in the business world. But I would never have had that experience if I hadn’t been willing to take the risk. No risk, no reward. Seemed like a pretty sweet deal to me, so I kept putting the money I made back into more car purchases with my buddy. After about six months and grossing about $40,000 each, he didn’t need my capital contributions anymore and was going to move forward on his own. And that’s when I learned about the value of an agreement – putting this shit in writing! Though really, shouldn’t they be called disagreements? The only time you need that piece of paper is when you don’t agree.

[2003] So, I took my cash and bought a condo with my brother. It was a pre-construction unit (part of a large new condo complex) that we bought for $160,000. Brand new, spacious, great location… and once it was complete, we rented it out. Meanwhile, I was living in a basement (literally). I’d seen it before with the cars, so I understood how important it was to put money into the business or business deal first. Personal comfort be damned! Everything was going fine until 2005 when our note was pulled and we were forced to sell (yeah, we weren’t supposed to be renting the unit and the bank found out). I thought it sucked to have to sell when everything in real estate was booming! But, that peak, meant we ended up being the highest sale in that development for almost 10 years. Not a bad deal. Life was happening for us, not to us.

[2004] When I graduated college, I started working as a commercial underwriter. That only lasted six months. It’s a long story, but suffice it to say I was fired for sticking up for my mom. So there we were, both my mom and I, without jobs. But I just kept going. I found a great job with the help of my professor (Build relationships with your professors! They can do a lot more for you than you know!).

[2005] The new job was great. I was still a recent college grad, making $42,500/year, I had an assistant, and an 1.5 hour lunch break where I went to the gym (I wasn’t going to give up that habit!). I stayed there for about a year and a half. But there were limits that came with working for someone else, at least at that organization. I needed to be free to think and explore and experiment with my own ideas, my own business. I needed to be in control of my life.

[2006] So I did what every sane person would NOT do in late 2006, during one of the biggest, if not the biggest, real estate bubbles in history, I quit my job, became a Realtor, and started building a real estate team. Everyone thought I was crazy, including my parents, and they were right. Don’t get me wrong, they supported me, but they still thought I was crazy. I think Steve Jobs said something about the crazy ones changing the world, so it’s all good. Still, everyone tried to talk me out of the making this move and to go back to a stable job. I just said, “F*!k you,” as nicely as possible and just kept doing my thing and allowed their doubts to fuel the fire inside me.

[2006] My Papa really came through. He let me borrow $8000 to start my real estate business and I took $4000 of it and immediately flew to a Howard Brinton sales conference with my wife Sarah (who was my girlfriend at the time and was also getting back into real estate). Yup, I spent 50% of borrowed cash to invest into us and our education. It paid multiples. I remember being at the conference for about an hour and saying, “I’m good now,” because I had gotten so much info in such a short period of time. But we stayed, made connections, took a ton of notes and I started dreaming about being on stage like one of those top producing Realtors one day.

When I was back in Vermont, I put three homes under contract in my first 30 days of business. At the time, we didn’t even have an office yet and nobody knew who we were. Sarah and I worked from a 450 square foot apartment. I would lead generate for 10-13 hours a day, every day, until I had set one appointment. That’s why I never understand people who tell me that they lead generated for three hours and checked it off their to-do list. Well, did you set an appointment? If not, then you’re not done. We shouldn’t reward ourselves for the activities, but for the results! We just didn’t quit. We put our heads down and did whatever needed to be done to hit our goals. Our next step was getting an office and within a few months we hired an assistant. We still had very little money and I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to pay them, but I knew that we had to leverage out the administrative work, so we could go sell real estate and grow our business. I went through about five assistants in five months (that was a learning experience!) and hired a dear friend as my first Buyer Specialist who still works with me ten years later at KW Vermont and owns multiple other successful businesses.

[2009] I had a lot of success quickly. Within my first couple of years of real estate, I was the REMAX Associate of the Year, the NVBR Rookie of the Year, we had one of the top teams in New England, and I was named one of the nation’s Top 30 Under 30 Realtors by Realtor Magazine. The awards were great. People definitely knew who we were now. But it wasn’t enough.

top 30 under 30

[2010] I wanted more freedom, more growth, and more opportunity for myself and for those I was in business with, so I decided to open up the first Keller Williams Realty office in Vermont. The challenges with all of that definitely warrants a separate blog post! We had the fastest office launch in New England history. Brian, my business partner for KW Vermont, and I recruited 40 people in less than 3 weeks in a rented building with nothing but a folding table and a couple of rickety chairs. With only 400 Realtors in our entire real estate board (in about a 3 hour radius), I would say we did a damn good job! Anything is possible when you have a clear vision and are willing to do the work. Seven short (and long) years later, we are the largest real estate company in Vermont.


[2011] I founded Hergenrother Realty Group, currently the #28 real estate team in the country, with teams in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Idaho, and California, as well as Vermont.

[2012] I partnered with my brother, Tom, to start BlackRock Construction – a residential construction, commercial construction, and development company. We also partner with investors on several of our projects and host seminars on how to build wealth through real estate and development. BlackRock Construction was just ranked #42 on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 list of companies.

[2016] After training and teaching leadership and business classes around the country for years, I founded Adam Hergenrother Training Organization to reach an even wider audience through live training events, online webinar series, and one-on-one coaching. This month, we partnered with Dartmouth College, Thayer School of Engineering to provide even more professional development opportunities through our organization.

Owning a real estate franchise, along with my real estate team, was the foundation for the rest of my entrepreneurial journey. From an early age, I was willing to take risks, reinvest my money into my business and into my training and education, and leverage jobs to other people. Several years ago I also learned the value of working ON the business, rather than IN the business and that is when I ultimately found freedom. I didn’t want to have a job, so before I started any new business, I always found a WHO first – someone else to run the company or research a new business venture. Freedom is what drives me. It drove me when I was 15 years old and I wanted to be free of the physical weight holding me down and free to create the life I desired. Freedom continues to drive me – financial freedom (the freedom to give by richly blessing other people’s lives), physical freedom, spiritual freedom to truly embrace other people’s growth and success, social freedom to experience the journey of life with other people when and where I choose.

And for all those young, aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners who want to know my secret to success? It’s simple – there is no secret – you’ve got to do the work, put in the time, do the activities (consistently), say no to late nights out and yes to early mornings of exercise and working on your personal development. Do. The. Work. There are no limits, except for those you impose on yourself. Either accept where you are or make a change. I chose to make a change and haven’t looked back.

AHC logo


What is Life?


Over the summer, my brother and I (and our better halves) threw a surprise 60th birthday party for my Mom and we flew our grandmother (Nanny) in from Texas. She was flying in from Dallas and I was on my way back from a business trip in Austin, so I had the privilege of meeting up with her in Atlanta and helping her get to Burlington, Vermont. We had a bit of a layover and some time on the plane, so I asked her… What is life?

I love asking that question to people who have much more wisdom and experience than I do. I mean, really, what is the meaning of life, what is the purpose of life… what is life? You may ask yourself that question from time to time (probably when you are going through something tough), but we really should be asking that question every day and then actually listening to the answer.

Which is exactly what I did with Nanny. When I asked her, “What is life?,” she paused for a while and responded with one word – family. But she then went on to explain: Life goes by in a flash, so enjoy all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because that is life. Never settle. Be grateful for what you have in the moment and the best part is that happiness can be found in any experience, it’s just our job to find it.

I think she was spot on.

Have you ever gotten a killer deal online for a $99 week-long vacation on a beautiful beach and the photos made it seem like it was the deal of the century and too good to be true? Turns out, it was. The place was a dump. But you had the best time ever anyway. Has that ever happened for you (see what I did there? It happened FOR you, not TO you). And why did you have the best time? Because you were surrounded with the right people – laughter, engaging conversations, adventure – those can happen anywhere, anytime. On the flip side, you can have everything money can buy in life and still be miserable because you are in relationship with the wrong people or missing a relationship with the right person.

Life is a journey, an experience, an experiment.

We all get so caught up in the BS of life that we forget to actually enjoy it and just live! There are moments of joy when life turns out exactly the way you wanted it to, but why can’t we enjoy it when it doesn’t? Most people are still trying to GET something from life instead of realizing that life is something we experience. And it’s the relationships that are the key – which is why Nanny first said FAMILY when I posed the question. Now, that doesn’t always mean that family or relationships are going to be prefect. Relationships will come and go, which is why the second component of experiencing it all (and not placing any judgement on it) is so critical. Embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly – just like Nanny said. Don’t let life pass you by without embracing every moment.

Life moves pretty fast.
If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile,
you could miss it.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

So, what is life to me? Life is an experience that we witness to help shape us for our next celestial journey.

And let me just leave you with this. My man, Tony Robbins, always says that the quality of your life is determined by the quality of questions that you ask. So make sure you are planting incredible questions into your own mind every day and asking great questions to those in your world.

What is life for you? Take it even deeper. Ask yourself, “If I died today, would I be happy with all that I gave and with the legacy I am leaving behind?” If the answer is no, change your life today.



Guest Blogger Matt Bex: Overtime, Over Time, is Overrated


I listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of books that talk about grinding, hustling, and working your ass off. Go in early, stay late, repeat. I agree, at the end of the day, most people lack the work ethic required (especially long-term) to be as successful as they say they want to be.

I’ve been reflecting on this a lot over the past three days after dropping my oldest son off at kindergarten this week. For me, being a great husband and dad, getting enough sleep, and improving myself every day matters more than work. I love real estate. I’ll be nest, some days I love it more than my kids! But the reality is, if you don’t find that balance, if you’re not fulfilled on a personal level, you’re not going to be the best you can be on a professional level.

As we head into this holiday weekend, I want to leave you with this: Overtime is overrated. Overtime, over time, is highly overrated. You don’t have to be a workaholic to work super hard. The grind and the hustle have to be purposeful. When we’re hustling, we often neglect the things that matter most. It’s okay to love your job. Take time this weekend to reflect on what truly matters in life. Be purposeful. Turn off your phone, pick up a book, and enjoy life. The grind will still be there on Tuesday, and after a long weekend of friends, family, and fun, you’ll be fulfilled and ready to hustle even harder.

Make it a great weekend and a great holiday everyone!


matt bexMatt Bex is the CEO of Hergenrother Realty Group at KW Vermont.

Matt is an active duty military veteran and is married with five children under five years old. Matt has lived in Alaska for the past nine years and is excited to return home to the east coast, as he and his wife, Martina, grew up in upstate New York. While in Alaska, Matt built a $30M real estate team in three years, and was also a KW ALC Member, the chair of the Technology Committee, an Ignite Instructor, and a four-time BOLD graduate.

Matt loves learning, building businesses, finding new opportunities to lead, teaching others, trying new restaurants with his wife, playing with his kids, and fly fishing.

If you are interested in a career in real estate, please contact Matt at mattbex@herggroup.com.