How To Reduce Work Hours & Increase Revenue: Meet Ignite Mastermind Member Debbie Spaulder

Debbie Spaulder is a retired real estate agent who worked with Matthew for several years before joining the mastermind. She always regarded her family as the highest priority, yet she was not able to spend nearly as much time with them as she liked. Not to mention following a brutal method of real estate sales which leads to a very high turnover rate. This inspiring case study reveals how Debbie was able to spend much more time with her family while achieving greater financial success in her business! 

Meet Ignite Mastermind Member Debbie Spaulder:

  • Born in New York City, currently lives in Newton, PA;
  • Successful and determined real estate agent;
  • Other passions: traveling, beaches, photography, reading, cooking, puzzles, playing with tech, Penn State football;
  • Debbie did bodybuilding during high school, and studied in Spain.

Q: You’ve been with the Ferry family for a very long time. Where did it all begin?

A: Having spent thousands per year, I would say I was heavily invested. When I first started coaching with Matthew, I worked with him in a group setting. After getting exposed to him and eventually becoming attracted to his energy, I wanted to know what else we could do together.

I was a coaching client for 3-4 years with Matthew – both private and with others – before he launched the mastermind. I really wanted to work with him on a deeper level, so the mastermind just seemed like the next step. 

Q: Sounds like you’ve been learning a lot from Matthew for several years! How was your working life prior to joining the mastermind?

A: I was working REALLY hard as a real estate agent. Rather than change the context to help myself work more easily and effortlessly, I was grinding nonstop with my team. 

We were following the old-school method of endless prospecting, which is about as hardcore sales as you can possibly get. It wasn’t so much that I wanted things to be easier, but I definitely wanted a better life balance.  Even though I was pulling in a generous income, I knew there was a different way to do what I was doing. One where I wouldn’t be so exhausted all the time and have more downtime.

“Here’s the bottom line: If you aren’t feeling peaceful, fearless, calm, and prosperous…if you don’t have the financial success, health, relationships and peace of mind that you REALLY want…then self-help isn’t working for you either” – Matthew Ferry

Q: Yikes! Did this have any effect on your family?

A: It did. Because of my workaholic mindset, I was happy yet I was always out of balance. We had the type of family where Mom (me) always works a lot and Dad travels a lot. We were a loving family, but it’s safe to say we were absentee parents. Work always came first. Fortunately, I had a good relationship with my husband, and we went through our good share of great times and tough times. However, we just weren’t living the life that reflected what we felt was most important. We had full-time child care, and at times we had a live-in housekeeper as well. 

Q: Did you feel your never-ending work ethic was sucking all the fun out of setting and achieving goals?

A: Surprisingly, no. I never felt that way. I’ve always seen myself as a creator who likes to create things, and I have had this innate desire to create more. Not out of any obligation to keep up with the Joneses, but rather to focus my intentions on what is important to me. Unfortunately, I was not consistent with this. I would always tell myself how important my family was to me, but I wasn’t actually living out that priority. I needed to make a change and I knew Matthew’s mastermind could help me do it.

Q: Tell me more about your experience with joining the mastermind. Did you have any fears or concerns? 

A: I’m not really a “groupie” kind of person, so I was reluctant to get involved. I would have much preferred (at the time) to just keep coaching individually with Matthew. “Am I going to fit in?” That’s the thought which plagued my mind. I was making a significant investment in something which was obscure to me at the time. 

Unlike other events and groups you join, this was not quantifiable in the sense of “you put this in and you get that back.” It can definitely make you uneasy. And I couldn’t even begin to think about how I would explain what I was doing to other people. I wasn’t sure if people would be supportive of the concepts and ideas I was being exposed to, so I would just tell them it was some “real estate” thing. 

Q: How did you get along with the other members when you came to the first in-person retreat?

A: It’s the dream version of a “safe space” come true (not to use the term lightly). You can share so many things that are deeply personal – things you would NEVER share in any other setting. I got to know people on such a different level compared to many other relationships I had in my life. You get these great feelings from each member in the group, as if your heart becomes warmer. Even with some of the members, I have not seen in ages, those feelings have not diminished one bit. 

I have never met more generous people in my life. They literally give and give without expecting anything in return. I never would have had these relationships if I stayed stuck in my own little world. They’ve opened up so many doors for me and their presence always helps me grow as a person. If I did nothing else except the in-person retreats, I would still sign up for the mastermind every year. It’s just that awesome, and the connections you make will last forever. 

Q: I hope you felt the same way about Matthew and Kristen! 😉

A: I sure did – they are terrific people and I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them. I thought of Kristen as a successful independent female entrepreneur, someone who I truly admired and wanted to get to know better. She has navigated many difficulties in her own life and I found it very easy to connect with her. I felt the same way with Matthew, a man who has gone through many ups and downs of life with me for many years. He has been a mentor, a coach, and a close friend. Matthew and Kristen were always there for me no matter what, and I appreciate how hard they have worked to serve me.

Q: You had a funny incident after coming back home from another Ignite Mastermind retreat many years later. What happened? 

A: It’s a funny story when I look back at it! I remember driving a fellow member back home from the airport, and I felt very “floaty”. It was as if my consciousness was at such a high level that I stopped paying attention to what was going around me. This quickly led to a car accident where I crashed into a gate! And to make things even funnier, I didn’t even feel dismayed or distraught about the accident itself.  Nowadays I’m much more careful, and I make sure I’m grounded during situations like those. Whenever I’m driving to the airport from the mastermind, I make sure I’m the observer and I have full awareness of my surroundings. 

Q: How’s your business doing today? Are you still putting the pedal to the metal? 

A: No, I’ve completely changed my schedule and my approach. Here’s the real kicker: When you look at the number of hours worked, I actually earned far more money. I’m no longer attached to any made-up rules. I’ve fundamentally changed my mindset on what’s truly important. For instance, I don’t need a person on my team who doesn’t share my values, or if they’re acting in a way which doesn’t provide my clients with the highest levels of service. Those two things are far more important to me than any other criteria.

It really came down to how I can make things simpler and easier while focusing on the parts of my business I love. The parts I don’t like? Well, that’s why I delegate! When I look at my business through the context of what parts give me the most joy, decision making is a lot easier and faster. 

With more money coming my way, I also had to question my financial decisions. I’ve summoned the courage to challenge the status quo and ask myself how I can already be happy with what I have! No more needing a nicer car or bigger house to make myself feel successful. Whenever I think of earning more, it’s about supporting my lifestyle. I’ve started exploring passive income and other forms of investments, so hopefully those can help me reach my lifestyle goals. It’s no longer under the guise of “If I produce or earn a certain amount, then I can consider myself to be a success.”

Q: Incredible! What transformations did you see in your family and your relationships? 

A: One of the very first exercises I did before starting the mastermind was writing letters to people who I have relationships with. I remember writing one to my deceased dad and even “sharing” it with him. Not only did I take responsibility for things I blamed on him, but we now have a much closer spiritual connection with each other. I can better understand his past actions and see where he was coming from. 

With my husband of 36 years, we have started talking about more important things. And more often! We’ve scheduled what Matthew calls a “date night”. It’s a block of time where we sit down and ask each other what we want to be acknowledged for, while also sharing our goals. This one thing has made us feel as if we are more in sync. It took us from a great relationship into an even better one. 

Q: And I guess this helped you accept other people in your life exactly as they are?

A: For sure. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have people I would prefer to be around. I’m not as social as I used to be, but that’s perfectly okay because I like the quietness. Some days, I’ll even park my phone in the laundry room and have a day where I can just “be” without any interruptions. Slowing down and just appreciating the present moment for what it is.

With all that being said, I’m becoming much better at accepting people for who they are. I no longer feel the need to judge them or label them, which ironically gives me more control over how I view things and how I react to them. 

“Enlightenment gives you the mind-bending power to create your epic life. At the center of my definition of enlightenment, is the ability to accept what you see without unwanted emotion or reaction” – Matthew Ferry

Q: What would you say was your biggest takeaway from the mastermind by far?

A: Structure. The group has a LOT of structure and I loved it. We are always asked to share 3 things during our weekly calls: What we are grateful for, what we want to experience, and what we want to manifest into our lives. When everyone shares and collaborates together, it puts you in a completely different place. Even though I’ve slowed down, other people would still say I’m incredibly fast-paced. The group structure has allowed me to savour the moment and reflect on what is most important. What used to take me 6 months to fix might now take 2 weeks or less. 

Q: I know how rigid and ruthless real estate can be, especially when it comes to conflict. How have you dealt with it since you started the mastermind?

A: Believe me, conflict doesn’t stop once you’re in the mastermind. I went through a lot of challenging periods. I was able to endure the hardest years of my life and navigate them both successfully and effectively. Prior to the mastermind, I probably would have just shut down. But instead, I am taking a strong role and advocating for what is necessary. Not out of a sense of arrogance or wanting to be right, but being crystal clear about what I want. But here’s the trick to this: Even though I’m focused on exactly what I want, I’m also very flexible. I can look at different possibilities, examine the potential opportunities, see all the people involved, and ask myself what is best for a given situation. 

Q: Seems like you got an incredible amount of value from the mastermind. How can new members do the same? 

A: If I can be blunt, the mastermind is not for everyone. It’s definitely not a group for people who are beginners in the self-development world. You need to be doing some other form of inner work before you join. If you’re joining the mastermind with the expectation that it will make your life better, it won’t. But for people who are receptive, want more self-awareness, are willing to take chances and aren’t afraid of being open, it’s the perfect opportunity. Being close-minded and being in the mastermind are two mutually exclusive things. You need to be trusting, and you have to trust the process Matthew and Kristen guide you through. 

Some people were certainly not ready for it. And the cost of admission also stops a lot of people, as you need to feel comfortable with the yearly fee. This alone would probably stop a lot of people from joining. I felt it was a lofty business expense at first, but now I consider the mastermind to be a pleasant vacation.  And if I can offer one last bit of advice: Participate. Everyone contributes, and you are expected to do the same. Ask for help when you need it, because the members are very welcoming and so many resources are available to you. I’d go as far to say the in-person events are mandatory because that’s where you meet people and the experience is on an entirely different level. 

Be receptive, show up for the calls, be yourself, get fully committed, and I can promise you the rest all just happens!


About Author

Tom Zakharov, contributing author

Tom Zakharov is an accomplished Canadian copywriter who has successfully worked with numerous clients across a diverse range of niches, having written virtually every type of copy under the sun. When he isn’t crafting persuasive copy for his clients, he’s interviewing high-achievers to discover how they consistently maintain peak performance in all areas of life. Their insights help himself and others design a life they can live on their own terms.

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