Chris Powers - How Big Of An Impact Do You Want To Have?


20 March 2022

1 hr 24 secs

Season 2

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode

Chris Powers is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Fort Capital and the host of The FORT podcast. Chris is a serial entrepreneur with more than 16 years of real estate development and investment experience. Since founding Fort Capital, the company has invested over $1.4B in Class B industrial, commercial, multifamily, student housing, and residential and land development projects.

His drive to always remain curious, desire to connect with and learn from others led Chris to start his podcast, The FORT. In the FORT, Chris talks with leaders of businesses across real estate and a variety of industries and dives deep into ideas and topics that are not regularly discussed. Chris covers each guest's story and explores in detail the critical moments that led to success, failure, growth, and confidence. He has successfully published over 200 podcast episodes.

Standout Quotes:

  • "You only are going to be on this earth one time, you really are not coming back again after the first time; let's make the most of it" - [Chris]
  • "Everything that you were mad at your parents for when you were a kid, is everything you respect them for when you're an adult" - [Chris]
  • "Money never mattered to my dad, being content and serving others did" - [Chris]
  • "I think it's a very special thing in life to really want to be good at something" - [Chris]
  • "If you're a parent and you actually can't give your kids the things they want, it makes it almost easy; what's tough is when you can give them what they want and you choose not to" - [Chris]
  • "How can you expect someone that grew up with everything easy and given to them, to ever have that burning desire" - [Chris]
  • "Kids don't learn by words, they learn by actions, so I can say everything I want to my kids but they're going to be watching what I'm doing" - [Chris]
  • "You don't keep families together, particularly with the amplification of wealth, if you're not intentionally practicing the values" - [Mike]
  • "We're living in a really cool generation where I think we're going to be able to tell our stories to our kids like nobody's been ever been able to do it before" - [Chris]
  • "There's just very few people that matter in this world that you remember because of how much money they had, it's really about what they did… you will be defined by how much people remember you" - [Chris]
  • "The majority of businesses that do really well hit singles and doubles over and over"
  • "When's enough enough?... it depends on how big of an impact you want to have" - [Chris]
  • The first great business decision you're going to make is who you marry" - [Warren Buffet, Chris]
  • "There's things in life that are either giving us energy or taking away energy" - [Chris]

Key Takeaways:

  • Chris Powers is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Fort Capital. He is also the host of the podcast, "The FORT", as well as a serial entrepreneur with over 16 years of experience in Real Estate Development and Investment Experience. Chris is a first-generation entrepreneur with stories that shaped him down to his relationship with his children.
  • Chris's dad was a lawyer who valued education, however, after 13 years of being a lawyer, He decided to become a doctor. With two kids and a wife at home, He left law and started medical school at the age of 39 which took place over 8 years with a financial toll on the family. The experience during those years created the foundation for the impression Chris has about money, feeling fortunate to have been more deprived of things than his peers. Chris also learned the importance of doing things in life that give fulfillment.
  • Because of the experience of not having money over those years, Chris became an entrepreneur at a young age to get the money he needed. However, Chris has a fear that his success allows him to skip the chances to deprive his kids of the things they should be deprived of.
  • Following the passing of his dad, Chris witnessed a turnout at the funeral and stories that depicted the level of impact people felt while his dad was alive. Although it was a traumatic unexpected event, Chris felt equipped at the time to take the reins in the family because his father had trusted him very early on to do things. This taught Chris that there's a level of transparency that is healthy with children, for them to start learning early on how the family operates.
  • "If you study people who are extremely successful in life endeavors, there is a common thread among them where they were in a position to really want something while growing up". This has made Chris understand that it is hard but necessary to deprive kids of certain things even when they can be gotten. He is trying to teach his kids not to be overly reliant on his wealth but to forge their path. Additionally, having the nature to treat people very well even from childhood is a good foundation to build on.
  • Raising great children amidst wealth is a challenge, and the importance of transparency cannot be overemphasised, especially when it comes to treating people well, or other issues affecting family values. This is important to note because kids learn by watching the actions of their parents, hence the teaching values has to be transparently done through actions. This transparency also translates to work, as Chris tries to make his work fun and appealing to his kids rather than intimidating.
  • Chris has been very intentional about leaving content for his children to learn from, especially in recordings and this is one of the motivations for his podcast, "The FORT".
  • Currently, Chris is working to create intentional family traditions that build the family experience. The first of these is an annual talk recorded and kept to give the kids later in life.
  • Starting Fort Capital: While in school, Chris wasn't particularly trying to make a lot of money but came across someone in Real Estate who helped him learn and start Real Estate deals which resulted in his company "Fort Capital". It is a Real Estate private equity company based in Fort Worth Texas. It is focused on buying Class B industrial and multi-tenant properties, functioning as value-add buyers. As time goes by the desire to sell lessens because there have been great liquidity events from sales and holding cash from sales isn't very impactful anymore. This is beneficial especially for newcomers because Real Estate is a great tax tool.
  • It is easy to get overwhelmed by other companies that seem to be doing immensely well, and be tempted to keep taking high chances. However, the majority of businesses succeed by surviving and growing incrementally.
  • To be an entrepreneur you need someone supportive even when things aren't so great. Chris recalls how selfless his mum must have been to be supportive of his father's unexpected decision to study medicine. This played a major role in the success of his dad just like his wife plays to get him to where he is today.
  • Concerning his view on generational wealth, Chris believes the easy route for a lot of folks with money is to let their kids assume that it's all going to be theirs, as soon as they believe it, whether it's true or not it can alter their lives. He is yet to decide on what he will leave for his kids but currently focuses on shaping their mindset on money. "I want my kids to have something but I want them to earn it and I don't want them to live a life dependent on it; not because I think it would be bad for them to have money but I think it would rob them the joy of living a fulfilled life"
  • From Chris to his kids: The way they will be judged when they leave earth is by the impact they've had on others. For them to live a fulfilled life, they need to think each day, "if it was all over tomorrow, what did I leave the world"? An exercise for listeners concerning this is "If you were at your 80th birthday party, write down what you would expect people you care about to say to you". You've got one shot, make it count.

Episode Timeline:

  • [00:49] Introducing today's guest, Chris Powers.
  • [02:25] Chris describes inspiring life lessons from his dad.
  • [12:24] How did you deal with the loss of your father?
  • [16:30] How do you create balance with depriving your kids of some things for them to learn key values?
  • [28:45] Are you being intentional about creating lessons for your kids to come across one day?
  • [33:39] Do you have any intentional family traditions to build rituals around the family experience?
  • [35:50] Chris shares his journey to success in his business.
  • [45:33] Was there a breakthrough point where you knew you could breathe?
  • [48:58] What did you learn from your mother and wife in the role they play to support the family?
  • [53:04] Have you started to think about Generational wealth?
  • [55:53] A letter from Chris to his kids

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Episode Links

  • Chris Powers — As an undergraduate, Chris Powers started buying rental properties and leasing them to fellow Texas Christian University students under the banner Powers Acquisitions LLC. Powers put down roots in Fort Worth after graduating in 2008, and rebranded his real estate endeavors to Fort Capital in 2012. Today, the company’s portfolio boasts 1.5 million square feet and $220 million in assets, and includes industrial, multifamily, and urban properties across Texas. Throughout the day, Powers’ passion for Fort Worth is clear from meetings with business leaders to talks with his own team members.
  • Fort capital — Established in 2005, Fort Capital is a forward-thinking investment firm with a focus on real estate and private businesses. They look beyond the usual, and while we seek to provide our investors with superior financial results - their greatest returns are improved lives. Their team is their competitive advantage as they seek meaningful work and relationships.
  • ‎The FORT with Chris Powers on Apple Podcasts — The podcasts are the Conversations with leaders in real estate & business. They cover the stories often not publicly discussed.