Watching my son graduate from high school recently was certainly one of my proudest moments. As I looked on, the excitement that he and his friends were experiencing was absolutely palpable. The smiles spoke volumes about how relieved and excited they all were to have successfully completed such an important stage in their lives. But there was more there than just a feeling of pride in having completed high school. There was a tangible feeling of exhilaration about what was coming next … college.
Much of the success of my own loan business can be attributed to the fact that I try to put myself in the place of everyone I come into contact with. I listen, watch them and see if I can draw a parallel to what they are experiencing. By that, I mean, I figure out how I can honestly relate.
When it came to my son’s graduation, what I could clearly see is that, all too often as mortgage professionals, we complete our own chapters. Regardless of whether you’re closing one loan per month or 15 loans per month, each loan that is completed is a chapter closed. After we have spent countless hours addressing every condition under the sun that a lender has affixed to a refinance loan, we often breathe a sigh of relief when the loan closes. But what most of us forget to do is celebrate.
In the day to day tedium, we ought to take a moment to celebrate our victories, not because we’ve earned a commission, but because we have helped someone else to realize the dream of homeownership. Or perhaps because we’ve helped a family refinance and with the monthly savings, they can get their child piano lessons or take the whole family on a vacation. We aren’t the only ones who have achieved a personal goal.
While we can look to our past as anchors of our success, we should remember that every little victory deserves its own celebration. Whether you choose to celebrate with lunch for your hardworking team members, or perhaps decide to have a celebratory glass on wine on the weekend will be a personal choice. The point is to acknowledge the achievement. The work that we do helps others and that, in and of itself, is reason to celebrate in your own special way.
But, we cannot just stop with the celebration. We need to nurture that thrill at the thought of what’s next to come. Again, we can learn a lot about looking toward the future by looking at recent graduates. Concurrent with the relief of having finished a substantial portion of their education comes the thrill of what’s to come next. As mortgage professionals, we should have that same enthusiasm for our next chapter. At the end of each year, for example, we should be planning what education courses to take the following year. We should be laying out a roadmap to our next certification. Do we want to add a new segment of business to our repertoire? Do we want to have a new teacher to mentor us? What are our goals in five years? After all, don’t we want to learn new things? Don’t we want to experience that exhilaration about starting a new chapter? Don’t we want to earn a Master’s Degree or perhaps even a doctorate in our industry? If we do, then we need to also have a road map for the next “degree” we want to earn.
Therefore, in addition to an annual review of what we have completed, it will serve us well to reevaluate our progress after few years, just like we would upon graduating from high school. We, too, ought to have a method in place to gauge just how we are doing. For example, set yourself a goal to check your progress every five years. That way, you will be able to look back and recognize that you have successfully completed your own educational and professional goals. You will have, in a sense, graduated from one portion of your career and can then look forward to the next.
Of course, when we recognize these successes, we need to remember to toss our proverbial cap in the air and celebrate our accomplishments, which marked incredible accomplishments of our clients. Then, much like the Class of 2013 just did, we can immediately turn our attention to the fact that a new door of opportunity is standing wide open in front of us.
Fred Arnold, CMC is past president of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals and a mortgage professional at American Family Funding in Southern California. Fred hosts the radio show SCV Chamber and Business Spotlight on AM 1220 KHTS, as well as the televised program “Out of the Rough” on SCVTV.com, Channel 20. He may be reached by phone at (661) 284-1150, ext. 109 or e-mail [email protected]