Rena Liu, the 349th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, is an action-taker, so her younger self was surprised to learn that many people just drift through life.

Rena moved from China to Sydney when she was in her early twenties, which forced her to adapt to a new language and culture. That, and the fact she was raised to be independent, meant that she was hungry to learn and improve herself.

Early in her career, Rena learned about financial freedom and investing from a co-worker, which inspired her to devour books and magazines about money and property. One of Rena’s big breakthroughs was to discover there were people who owned multiple investment properties – not because they had enormous salaries, as she assumed, but because they used the equity in one property to fund the deposit on another. In other words, you could use other people’s money (i.e. the bank’s) to build an asset base. Being the action-taker she is, Rena has since built a multimillion-dollar portfolio containing properties in multiple states.

At the time, Rena was working in financial services, around people who had healthy salaries and considerable intelligence. So she was surprised to discover that few people invest; and that some even choose to live paycheque to paycheque. It made her appreciate the importance of mindset: if you don’t take control of your future, you’ll just drift through life.

One day, Rena realised she was drifting. She’d felt unfulfilled working in the corporate world but hadn’t done anything about it. Eventually, Rena resigned and began a new career as a life coach, specialising in money mindset, so she could help people overcome their limiting beliefs and achieve their goals.

As we were chatting, I remembered a parable I’d heard a few years ago. 

There’s a boy who regularly walks by the home of an old man. The man is always out on the balcony with his dog – and the dog is always howling. One day, the boy’s curiosity gets the better of him and he asks: “Why does your dog always make that hideous noise?”

“Because he’s sitting on a nail,” the man replies.

“Why doesn’t he get off?” the boy asks.

“Because it doesn’t hurt enough.”

So many of us drift through life, because the nail doesn’t hurt enough. Rena wants to help people get off the nail as soon as possible.