Mortgage technology and beyond ... Power investingJohn D. Svirskymortgage industry in 2006, mortgage originators, diversified portfolio "To thine own self be true." William Shakespeare As we complete yet another year of our lives, it's good to step back and take a look at what we have created during the past year. We can step back, detached from our day-to-day mundane lives, and see where we are and where it appears that we are heading. Although I would like to take credit for this concept, it comes straight from the Old Testament: " ... God rested on the seventh day ... He sanctified it, and He was pleased." What a great feeling it can be to step away from the mundane pressures of daily life and take a look of what we have done with our lives. That is what I am suggesting that each of us do between now and the end of the year. For from this inventory, we can chart a new individual course for 2007 based on thought, feelings and awareness of what we have done and what we wish to repeat. This is where the power lies: in seeing just what actions are working in our life and what actions are not. We can discover what we have done during the past year that has produced wonderful results (this can and should be more than just monetary results) and see how we can do more of that during the coming year. If you are in the mortgage industry, you would be lying to yourself if you said that 2006 was an easy year. More competition fighting after fewer loans, rates were higher, tremendous rate swings, economic swings, mood shifts, more regulation, more transparency of our actions and our profits open to our customers' scrutiny. But if you are still reading this article, you are one of those who survived the year - maybe beaten down a bit, maybe not making as much as the year before - and being mortgage originators, you're already projecting how 2007 will be the best year ever. That truly can be so, but it requires work and effort to happen. I have found that before planning a new journey, it is good for me to know what I want and why, to see what my motivations are, to see and connect with the derivation of the motivations. Once I can align myself emotionally (not mentally, but emotionally), then my journey will be bound to be successful. The way I start is by doing what I said in the first paragraph: look at where I am right now. Some people call this taking an inventory of their lives, but whatever you call it, it is effective and productive. To begin with, ask yourself what the most important qualities in your life are today. What are the motivational forces that drive your life? Do they include integrity (usually in the top five for most people, although less than that actually practice it), peace of mind, excitement, challenge, love, family life, empire building, money to prove self worth, lack of money to prove spirituality, living according to your personal religious or spiritual beliefs, service to others, play, working all week so you can party and explore nature on the weekends, travel, etc.? The list goes on and on. Connect with the top five or 10 emotional factors that are the hidden motivators in your life. Most of us give very little thought or attention to these, but in reality, these make up the subconscious programming that is operating within us 90 percent of the time when the boss - the conscious mind - is not giving orders and directions. When the boss - the part of us that we show the outside world - is present but moving us in different directions from what we are aligned with emotionally, then we have conflict. We move forward in the conscious direction for a while, but once distracted, the subconscious immediately goes back to its internal programming. If you doubt this to be true, ask yourself why most people regain the weight that they have lost. Why do most lottery winners end up bankrupt? Why do so many people who are on the fast track to success crash and burn? Something sabotages them along the way. That something is the inner self that was not made a part of the journey and not integrated into their dream. You can mentally achieve the goal, but if you do not inwardly believe it, you will return to your inner self image. That is why the first step is to harmonize your mind with your subconscious programming. Your emotional sense of self is vital for long lasting success. That is also why it is so important to step aside and take a look at what are your important values. See which of those values actually came from your parents growing up. See which values came from reactions to your early childhood and see which ones you have taken as yours because people you loved and respected had them. Then take some time and ask yourself what values you would like to emphasize in your life for 2007. Remember that every day, at every moment, we can re-evaluate our direction. To digress, did you know that an airplane is off course more than 80 percent of the time? The pilot constantly has to put the airplane back on course. But what is important is that the pilot knows the destination and that the plane is moving toward that destination when it veers off course. There are subtle adjustments to bring it back to course - so too, with us. Many times as we are moving in one direction, we get distracted, decide to do this, then that, and we go off course. I hope that is not what I have done with this article. So after connecting with the core values that you would like to emphasize for 2007, accept that they are fluid and their mix is constantly changing. One day's excitement might be number one; another day it might be safety and security; another day, looking for challenge; while another day, resting. Give yourself permission to be flexible rather than fixed. The next step I take is a gratitude list. You have already taken the time to look back at your year and evaluate what has worked and what has not. Now, make a list of all the things in your life that you are grateful for. For example, your health, family, loved ones, physical and mental well being, your material well being and the level of prosperity you have. I always add my clients, the bank and bankers that I deal with, the secondary market, which makes all of this possible, the availability of food and the freedom to be myself. My gratitude list goes on for pages. It is so easy to take for granted all that is present and that we have in our lives. For me, this is a really important step. I can take as much as a week of writing, coming back day after day adding things that I did not think of before. This is not television; life takes longer than a 30-minute sitcom or a 60-minute drama. Time takes time - the more time and energy you put into doing this, the more reward that is bound to follow. It never ceases to amaze me how much is present that I rush right by in the frantic pace of life. Don't worry, I am not Thoreau reincarnated, but he did have some excellent points. Had he owned Walden Pond and tried selling him a mortgage, don't think it would have happened unless you were able to get him to feel that by taking the mortgage it would add to his feeling of simplicity, peace and conservation. Respecting his values, his beliefs and satisfying them - that is just what I am writing about in relation to our inner core values. Rather than the mental dictator within saying "This is what we are doing," connect with what drives you inwardly and fulfill those emotional, mental and spiritual needs, and 2007 can be a great year for you. The gratitude list helps us see for ourselves just what is important in our lives. If you are like most people, you spend more time on things that do not satisfy you and less time on those things that are high on your gratitude list. When I first did this exercise and saw that a good portion of my day was spent doing things I did not like doing, and justifying it as business because I had to do it to make money, I shifted the balance of my life and changed things. The operative word here is "balance." Yes, I do have bills, mortgage and car payments to make, but a funny thing happened when I started spending more time with my family and friends, and when I set boundaries with my work hours. I spent more time taking care of my inner needs, which became more apparent from the exercises detailed above. Not only did my life get better, I felt better. At first, I was panicked that I wouldnt have enough or make enough, but just the opposite happens. I am more focused in the hours I do work, so the money still continues to flow and I take time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. That brings me to my next point. How do you invest your time, energy and, of course, money? After doing your gratitude list, it is really productive to do a time chart. For a week, write down everything you do - and that means everything - and put down how much time you spend doing it. If you want to go deep on this point, read David Allen's excellent book, "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity." (It truly changed the way I do my business.) You will discover just how much time we waste, how much time we spend doing meaningless things or things that give us very little reward for the time invested. We are looking for good returns from our financial investments, but what about our time investments? Investing in ourselves will always pay the highest returns. To me, my portfolio of investments includes time with family, education (I go to seminars, listen to educational and motivational material in the car as I drive, I read at least one book a month and many magazines), I do spiritual work, give service to others, I cook as a hobby and have been a volunteer fireman for the past 18 years. I've written these articles for the past 12 years, which has been an honor to do, I travel, help others to help themselves, and the list goes on and on. I feel I have created a truly diversified portfolio for my life, of which making lots of money is one important part. And the most important insight is that I've been making more money living a balanced life than I did when I just tried harder and harder at the job. Invest in yourself first by being honest with yourself. Get to know yourself on more than just the external superficial level. And once you do, fulfill those aspects of you that may have been neglected in the past. Now is a good time for this transformation. The power to create, to change, and the power to let go of that which no longer serves us is within each of us, yet few of us have been willing to use it. I wish for all of us a year of health, happiness and prosperity. May we live our dreams in 2007 and may we find them fulfilling. John D. Svirsky has been a mortgage broker for 24 years, doing both commercial and residential mortgages. He is also a volunteer firefighter, avid cigar enthusiast and cook. He may be reached by phone at (845) 424-3388 or e-mail [email protected].
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