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Green Real Estate, Sustainable Development and the Unfolding of My Ikigai.

How I found my life’s purpose through real estate.

By: Pio Granada

5 years ago, in a cool bright March summer morning I dropped an interview to be a business development manager for a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) and attended the first day of training to be a Property Specialist for Ayala Land Premier. My real estate career had begun. 10 days after, I have graduated at the top 3 of a class of 23 people, with an attitude award to boot. I was coming off nearly a decade of being in the media industry (7 years of which I spent being an entrepreneur – publishing a magazine I co-owned and the rest doing business development for a marketing communications firm) with a quick stint in the tech start up space. Back then, I was itching to do my own start-up but I wanted to have some equity in it and not to get too high on OPM (Other People’s Money) as some start-up founders do. I still believe that having skin in the game in your own company is the way to go, that way I will always grit it out when times get tough. That was the main reason why I came to the real estate game as many have – to make money. That was the goal, financial freedom as most would call it.

I made quite the killing in Ayala Land Premier during my time there. I was able to pay off my credit card debt, buy a car and travel internationally regularly. Selling real estate felt like a good fit for me, I was having fun and making a lot of money. I wanted to take it a step further and become a full-fledged real estate broker so I went to broker school at iAcademy. Then I learned about RE/MAX Capital, it seemed to be a great company to learn the complexities of the secondary market and commercial real estate as they had senior brokers who could mentor me on the ins and outs of being a fully-fledged broker. So, I joined them.

Fast forward to the summer of 2020 in BGC, everyone knows that this was the time of the dreaded COVID-19 lockdown in the Philippines, and BGC was like a ghost town. I was just there all alone in a condo I was leasing with nothing to do but day trade, exercise, eat, watch Netflix and sleep. This was on repeat for most of the lockdown. Day trading kept me sane until the gains I made in 2019 and shorting the dow-jones and SP-500 during onset of the pandemic were melting away, calling in the wrong trades. Then I hit rock bottom, my trading game broke down I had allowed my mindset to deviate from my game plan, I had just burned my trading portfolio to the ground with just an odd eleven dollars left. This was absolutely psychologically jarring for me but I had to muster the mental fortitude to soldier on.

In these dark times, I discovered the Be Extraordinary quest in Mindvalley taught by Vishen Lakhiani. In doing this I discovered that I was mostly money driven, always after the next commission or the next trading windfall. No wonder my life felt so empty and to my own surprise I was very materialistic and shallow. Things had to change – I had to change.

The goals that I had and were focusing on we’re mostly means goals. Means goals are simply goals that are just a means to an end. Money goals simply put are means goals. According to Vishen Lakhiani (in the Be Extraordinary) course, what we must be focusing on are the end goals – the actual goals that the means goals are working towards. For example, you have a money goal (the means goals) and the reason why is you want to travel the world and enjoy diverse experiences. Then your actual goal is to travel the world and experience it. This is where your attention must be. Far too often we get into the trap of focusing on means goals and we loose sight that there are other ways to skin the cat to go towards the actual goal.

The course actually goes beyond this and has a goal setting system called the 3MiQ or the three most important questions. The three most important questions are:

1. What experiences do I want to have?

2. How do I want to grow?

3. What & how do I want to contribute to the world?

The way this works is you turn these 3 questions into categories – experiences, growth and contribution and then fill them out with end goals to your heart’s content by answering the 3MiQs. The easiest way to determine whether you have a means or an end goal is, simply put, if it falls into the if-then model then you have a means goal. For example, you set a goal of having six pack abs so you can attract the girl of your dreams, then you have a means goal. The actual end goal for this might be to experience being in a romantic relationship that is the stuff of dreams.

Through this process, I got to know what I really wanted out of my life and the goals like become a billionzaire by so and so date simply became realigned as just simply one of the paths (which I can choose not to take in the event a better avenue leads to the actual end goal) and were realigned to the real goals which really ringed true to the core my being. In doing so, I got to know myself better so I decided to rewrite my vision and mission for my life.

The Ikigai – Finding my purpose

I have stumbled upon the concept of Ikigai while reengineering my vision. Translated from Japanese, “Iki” means life and “gai” means value, combining the two you get “value of life.” Through this concept the Japanese saw that the value of life is found in the meaning or purpose one gives it. This is what Ikigai is all about. To find my Ikigai I had to know the following four components and see where they all intersect:

1. What do I love?

2. What am I good at?

3. What can I be paid for?

4. What the world needs?

To better illustrate see the photo below:

I answered the questions, and this is what came up. This was a quick process for me since I already the answers doing the 3MiQ before this:

1. What do I love? The beauty of the environment and the planet earth

2. What am I good at? Selling and marketing things

3. What can I be paid for? Selling real estate

4. What the world needs? Sustainable development going towards carbon-neutrality

I saw that all these four intersected at selling green (sustainably developed) real estate and in doing so advocate sustainable development in the real estate industry. This was the process of finding myself and my purpose in life. The reason why stand for sustainable development can be surmised in this quote:

“The struggle for a sustainable future on this planet will be won and lost in our cities. In the next 30 years (quoted in 2017), we expect a doubling of the urban population and with that a doubling of the global infrastructure. That is a very short window of opportunity to get things right. So urban investment decisions today will determine if people will be locked into resource dependent & inefficient fossil fuel dependent infrastructure and lifestyle, or if they (we) will enable cities to become places where we can live attractive, healthy & sustainable lives.” – Carina Borgstromm – Hansson, Ecological Footprint Expert, WWF.

I want to help the planet go towards carbon neutrality so we can mitigate climate change and to do this we must take climate action. My contribution is from my station in life, being a real estate agent, I want to educate people that green real estate and sustainable development is the future. This affects people because if we continue building infrastructure and property the way we do now, how are we going to move towards a future where the air is breathable, the beaches are swimmable and the homes we live in promote an attractive, sustainable, and healthy lifestyle? At the same time making these investments worthwhile and profitable. This is my life’s mission, to allow sustainability and prosperity to be in harmony hence my mantra, “Green real estate, green portfolios!”

Now, this is what I focus on selling green properties and my geographical farm: BGC. Losing my trading portfolio was a small price to pay in finding myself and what I am put in this earth for. It has led me to my true calling. Selling real estate now has become more purposeful, soul-aligned and I know I am creating an impact for both my investors and the planet.


If you are curious about green real estate, sustainable development and investment feel free to give a call.

Pio Granada, RES

PRC Reg. # 009602

RE/MAX Capital

BGC Southern


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