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What Olympians Can Teach Mortgage Pros About Reaching Their Goals

Bubba Mills
Sep 21, 2016

“I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”—Michael Jordan, Gold Medalist in basketball in 1992 and 1984

Those are some strange words coming from arguably one of the best athletes the world has ever known. But get this, Jordan also adds: “I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.”

Congratulations … you’re just the second paragraph in and you’re about to learn one of the most important lessons of your career: Success is a product of failure. It’s a wonderful message to ponder in the wake of the 2016 Olympic Games. Oh to be sure, we all witnessed stunning, physical feats and unmatched marvels.

But what we didn’t see holds the secret to transforming your life in the mortgage business: We didn’t see all the toil, sweat, tears, misses, mistakes, and the utter and complete failures all the athletes have endured over the years–and in some cases–decades.

And if you ask them, top producers in the mortgage industry will tell you they’ve left behind a long and wide path of failures, too. So that’s lesson number one from the Olympic Games: Success is born from failure. Never be afraid to fail.

Another Gold Medalist, the late and great Muhammad Ali, once said, "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life." Take risks. If you fail, it only means you’ve moved closer to success.

So what else you can you learn from Olympians? Here are what I believe to be their best lessons:

►Olympians thrive on facing the toughest possible adversaries. When runners are lined up on their starting blocks, they know their competition is as strong as it gets–and they love that. That’s what makes them better. Every day they take on what frightens them most and then they overcome it. Learn who’s the best mortgage pro in your area–and then vow to be better.

►Olympians seek and use feedback to gauge progress. In a word, they’re coachable. Study after study of excellence in sports has confirmed that an essential element of improvement is feedback. Something else we didn’t see when we watched the Olympics was all the hours and hours of coaches giving their athletes constructive criticism to their performances. Think about it: You cannot fix what you don’t know is wrong. And if you can’t do that, you’re stuck in a revolving door of mediocrity. Get a coach.

►Olympians know there is always more to learn. This is a nice segue from feedback. Olympians are obsessed with learning. They not only crave their coaches’ feedback, they then spend days, weeks and months on their own practicing, studying, watching competitors–doing anything to learn more about how they can be even better than the best. Readjust your desire to learn all you can about your profession.

►Olympians think big. Consider this … Olympians wouldn’t be where they are without thinking big. In their case, thinking big means becoming the best in the world in their sport. That’s thinking big. What about you? Please don’t tell me you’re satisfied with just being average, normal or ordinary. True, none of those are actual four-letter words–but in my book–they’re some of the nastiest words in the English language.

Commit to thinking big from this day forward. It doesn’t have to be dramatic. Remember, every single Olympian began as a regular person. But with small steps forward every day, they made it to the top of their individual sports. And when you apply lessons from Olympians, you can too become the top mortgage professional in your market or even the country!

Bubba Mills is CEO of Corcoran Consulting & Coaching Inc. He may be reached by phone at (800) 957-8353 or visit CorcoranCoaching.com.

This article originally appeared in the September 2016 print edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. 

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