Finally Getting to the Real You and Liking You When You Get ThereJohn D. Svirskyrefinance boom, goals, values
As many of you read this article, drinking mai tais and coconut
daiquiris at the NAMB 2001 Annual Convention and Showcase in
Hawaii, I hope you are having a wonderful time relishing in what a
financially great first half of the year it has been for the
majority of Mortgage Brokers and Mortgage Bankers. This month,
instead of reviewing a product, I want to share some of my thoughts
that will hopefully be thought provoking for you and for me as
Between October and December of 2000, many mortgage operations
were dying and ready to close up shop due to a lack of volume and
business. Then, the miracle of low interest rates and a refinance
boom were upon us yet again. All of the marketing techniques we had
carefully learned and implemented took a back seat to simply
picking up the phone and saying yes to our customers--we could
refinance their mortgages at the lowest rate with no cost to them
and plenty of profit for us.
Where are we now? The pace has slowed down a bit, business is
still good, but not as frantic as it was earlier in the year.
Therefore, this is a great time to stand aside and perform a mental
and written review of your operation in its entirety. For me, the
process began not with looking at my business, but with looking at
my thoughts and beliefs. I am a strong believer in the power of
thought. Indulge me as I provide you with some questions that I
have asked myself. I suggest that you write the answers to these
questions, and if my questions provoke your own questions, than so
much the better. Remember--this is your life. Invest the time in
yourself--something I found to be the best investment I ever made.
If you have trouble giving to yourself, ask yourself why, and for
the moment, pretend you are being called in as a $300 an hour coach
to help improve your business (nothing but the best for you!).
Look at your life right now. Make a list of five items you like
about your life and five items you would like to change or improve.
For me, this is done with the following categories: mental,
physical, spiritual, emotional and business. If selecting five
mental and five spiritual items is too much for you, then select
three items. Give it a great deal of thought before writing
anything on paper.
Next, write down who your role models were growing up, beginning
with your mother and father. What five traits did you observe from
them that influenced your life? This means how they lived their
lives, not what they told you to do. If you were like me, "Do what
I say, not what I do" was important in my family. Look at how your
role models and parents lived. What was important to them? What
were their goals? What were their values? How did they relate to
Using the same role models, what messages did they give you? Did
they reinforce that you are terrific and could accomplish anything
you set your mind to (you are lucky if this was the case), or did
they say "Whatever you touch turns bad," "Whatever Johnny does, do
the opposite, for he is always wrong," or "I will show you the
right way." Perhaps your role models left you on your own and never
helped at all. Whatever your story, write down at least five
conscious and subconscious messages you received from your early
Select one or two adults who were your favorites while growing
up--people you idolized or looked up to. Do you remember what
attributes you liked about them? Write these attributes down.
Enough of the past, let us move onto the present. In my opinion,
it is great to be conscious of our past and see how it
subconsciously influences our present. More important is that we
live in the present and make conscious decisions that fulfill our
current desires, as opposed to subconsciously fulfilling the
unrealized expectations of those who were looked up to while
The way to begin with the present is being honest about your
life as it is right now. Are you happy with your married life,
children and spiritual beliefs? Do these beliefs sustain you or are
they simply words? Does your free time (do your have any?),
hobbies, outside work interests and relationship to your business
provide for you? Do you put in a great deal of time and energy and
receive very little back? Does your business provide you with more
money than you can spend, or does it take all of your time and
energy and provide you with just enough to pay your bills each
month? Be honest--no one needs to see this except for yourself. I
do not want you lying to yourself!
Look at how you spend your time in business. Do you find this
time fulfilling? Sure, we all experience our daily frustrations,
but do you like what you are doing, or are you doing it just
because the money is good? Is there something else you would rather
be doing? I have shared with many people that they should spend 50
percent of their time awake doing what they need in order to make
money and the other 50 percent doing what the soul yearns to do,
even if it does not produce money. For me, I am a volunteer fireman
who loves driving the fire truck to a scene and rescuing people in
accidents or dangerous situations. The child in me loves this. I
also love to garden-- creating and working in my garden is a great
source of relaxation removed from the pressures of being a Mortgage
Broker. If these two were not enough, I also love to cook as much
as I love to eat. So, I have found vehicles to balance my day as a
Mortgage Broker. The operative word here is balance.
Most of us fluctuate from one extreme to the other. It is
difficult to find balance within the pressures of family, children,
business and everything else trying to capture our attention. I
found that having "me time" makes be a better person and far more
productive. I actually make more money because I fulfill my other
needs, such as cooking, gardening or pretending I am a real fireman
(something I wanted to be when I was 5 or 6 years old).
I have spent a great deal of time looking at my present life and
asking myself what I want to change, what I have accomplished and
want to take to the next level, and what have I accomplished and
can now let go? Often times we do the same thing repeatedly, rather
than saying it has been done and move onto something new. Many
individuals are more comfortable staying with old patterns--even
though they do not like the results--rather than taking risks and
trying something new since the results are not guaranteed.
An exercise that has changed my life is writing my own obituary.
What I mean by this is, how do I want to be remembered? This
exercise forced me to own up to what is important in my life. I
guarantee you that closing the most mortgage loans was not on top
of my list. If The New York Times or your local newspaper
wrote a headline, what would it say about you? By looking at what
was most important to me, I made a major shift in my life. Now I
spend more of my time fulfilling what is important to me. I even
found ways to incorporate what I like into my business life. In my
case, helping people help themselves has been a primary principle
in my life. Therefore, I shifted my business to help a percentage
of clients who lack perfect credit and have low incomes. I help
clients, who without my help or someone like me who is willing to
step outside the box, would not have received a chance at
homeownership. Although I do not make the same money on these
deals, they have been very fulfilling for me.
Another concept I want to share with you is that I do several
deals a year for free. I do not charge a fee or yield spread
premium. It is a wonderful feeling to help individuals who are
spending their last nickel to buy their dream home. The expression
on the client's face when I tell them that they do not have to pay
a fee is worth any fee that I would normally charge.
These are only a few personal examples. They may not be yours,
but I challenge you to find what principles you want to be
remembered for and live them now. Make them grow into a beautiful
garden of accomplishment and happiness.
After taking all the time you need to answer the above
questions, look at your life impartially. Do nothing for
awhile--just let it all sink in. It finally hit me that I am
responsible for my life. My thoughts, emotional beliefs and actions
(notice I did not say my spoken word since actions speak much
louder than words) create my life, as well as the me I am becoming.
I am the co-creator of my life and this is empowering, I will do
everything that I can to make it a life I want to live and become
the person I wish to be. I wish the same for you.
So, instead of reviewing a product this month, I am encouraging
each of you to review yourself.
John D. Svirsky is Director and Technology Chair of the New
York Association of Mortgage Brokers, a volunteer firefighter, avid
cigar enthusiast and has been in business for approximately 20
years. He may be reached at (845) 424-3388 or e-mail