As a founding faculty member of Loan Toolbox, I am always reminded of a conversation that I had with its founder, Tim Braheem, more than 15 years ago. Tim has been a close friend and mentor of mine for many years, and back when I joined his faculty, I always had this secret desire that Tim would ask me to do something great! He knew my talent as an originator, a teacher and a coach. He knew my dedication to the mortgage industry and my passion to teach and to train other originators and my desire to help them grow. Yet he never asked me to lead any events or invited me to do anything that I construed as great. Then one day when I was sitting in his office, we had a conversation about this. His words have never left me. He said, “Cindy, no one can ever make you great. You have to want to be great!”
The light bulb went off for me and I quickly decided that I had to take responsibility to become great in every aspect of my life. I had to earn that spot and create it myself. I began to take full responsibility for my business and my life and take the necessary steps to uplevel my own game and increase my skill set and relationship skills. I made a strong commitment to take my mortgage career to a whole new level.
So you may be wondering what it looks like to take 100% responsibility for your life and your business? For many years I felt like the term “responsibility” felt heavy and laborious, as most of you would probably agree.
For me, more responsibility was simply overwhelming because I had so many commitments on my plate already. But when I dug into the concept more deeply, I began to realize that it was more about how I “responded” to my life that mattered—how I was responding in my personal life, in my business, with my kids and in my relationships. That’s what really mattered. I needed to take responsibility for how I was responding to the events of my life to truly drive the outcome I desired.
In that moment, I realized that having the ability to respond differently to every situation changed the game and making the choice to show up based on the outcome I wanted to create truly became my defining difference and the secret sauce that took me and my business from good to great! I suddenly realized that I had the ability to make the choice, because in responsibility, we don’t have to just accept our outcomes—we create them. We actually get to look at everything on a deeper level and choose the life we desire. I now know that making more conscious and intentional choices became my defining difference and the pivot point that changed the game for me.
So I began to learn from all the great mortgage educators at the time—Steven Marshall, Tim Braheem, Todd Duncan, Barry Habib, Greg Frost, Jim McMahan, Dave Savage, Karen Deis, my coach Daniel Harkavy, and many other great leaders and originators in our industry. The list is long. I made a decision to follow the success of others and just do what they did. I made a decision to take my business and my life to the next level and I created and earned my way to success. Over time, I developed key systems to organize the flow of my business—which included:
- Database marketing plans to consistently stay in touch with my clients and referral partners.
- A 12-month marketing program to help me stay on track and market consistently.
- A strong focus on income-producing activities each and every day to drive my business consistently to new levels of success.
- “Feet on the street” plans to support me in getting out of my office on a regular basis to meet with Realtors, financial planners, and CPA’s.
- Joining community groups like the Chamber of Commerce and Toastmasters to improve my speaking skills.
- Creating and leading a network group called Network NOW, made up of 15 local business owners, which I led for more than 10 years to drive more referrals.
I ultimately built my business to my highlight funding year in 2003, when we funded $198 million. I have had the great fortune in my career thus far—to fund over $2.5 billion in loans with the support of amazing partners and team members! I don’t share this with you from a place of ego but to remind you of what’s possible when you get “intentional” about your business and become accountable to create a new result. I created a business vision for what I wanted to achieve. I planned, I hired the best coaches, I learned from the masters, I evaluated my business every month and made changes to make our team stronger, and I continued to expand my influence in the marketplace. My success came from a passionate desire to be “great” and to help as many people as possible secure their dream of home ownership.
In my determination to build and grow my business, I gave up excuses and complaining and focused all my time and energy on following proven success strategies and relationship development techniques to better myself and my practice. Success is a team sport, and it took an army to consistently move my own needle up the ladder. But if I can do it, you can too!
So I frequently ask my coaching clients what success looks like for them. For some, they are seeking more balance and personal time. For some, they need relationship development skills to connect with more people. For some, they need better time management and productivity skills and more accountability for how they manage their day. For some, they need stronger leadership and management skills to manage their team. And for others, they simply need to let go of control and get out of their own way and empower their team to take the ball so they can focus on their greatest skills and strengths. So ask yourself to think about what success looks like for you and to evaluate what is holding you back from stepping into your full potential. Where do you feel blocked or stuck? What steps do you know you need to take, but may have been avoiding taking action on.
One of my personal mentors is Jack Canfield, co-creator of the phenomenal best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series and co-author of The Success Principles, who has helped me to increase my confidence, tackle daily challenges, live with greater purpose and passion, and to truly realize my full potential. I trained with Jack in his Train the Trainer program in 2009 with 100 other trainers from around the world, and he helped me to:
- Take 100% responsibility for my life
- Decide what I want
- Believe it is possible
- Take action
- Experience the fear and take action anyway
- Ask, Ask, Ask
- Commit to constant and never-ending improvement
- Surround myself with masters
- Embrace change
- Stay focused on my core genius
So, I ask you: What three goals can you commit to in the next 90 days to help fuel positive change in your life and your business? Think about what three areas make you happy and bring you joy. What goals in- crease your bottom line and support your health to be the machine you need to be to make a defining difference in your own life? What makes you happy, healthy, and wealthy?
Maybe you need to get intentional about creating new referral partnerships, maybe you need a stronger team to drive additional revenue, maybe you need to create a marketing plan to increase your influence in your marketplace, or maybe you just need a stronger support system around you. I encourage you to clearly de ne your goals to help increase your income, health, and happiness in the next 90 day days and get an accountability partner or a coach to keep you on track.
I encourage you to get intentional about your business and your life in 2017 and make it be the year that changes everything. You control the outcome of your life and only YOU have the ability to make new and intentional choices to drive the results you desire.
Here’s to wishing you a healthy, joy-filled, and prosperous 2017!
To Your Success,