As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, June 2009.
Mental toughness was never an issue when just about every approach to lending worked and when sloppy business practices were forgiven easily. Today, however, mortgage brokers must get tough.
The fact is that many of today's mortgage-industry participants never saw a down market or believed one was possible until a couple of years ago. Now, however, they find themselves fearful, shocked and overwhelmed. On the other hand, mortgage professionals with more than 25 years of experience know that the right mind-set is paramount.
With the right mind-set and mental toughness, brokers can get through the economic downturn stronger than they've ever been. Here are four key ways you can cope in today's market:
1. Learn from today. You can become tomorrow's mortgage-and-investment sage. Brokers can learn and develop more character and business skills during the next eight months than many learned in the past 10 years. Get excited about that. If you dedicate yourself to learning, you will increase your personal and your business value by going through today's market.
You will be paid well for that experience in the years ahead -- unless you quit. Until the recent market shift, those who touted 10 or 15 years' experience really had one year of experience 10 or 15 times. With nothing to change their paradigms, they quit learning.
2. Guard your mind. In many cases, the mainstream media isn't your friend. In fact, reading the daily headlines about how bad the economy is can hamper your attitude.
Instead, keep your mind focused on your desired outcomes. Read good books and positive articles every day. Also, stop engaging in negative conversations.
Brokers must do whatever it takes to squelch any negative energy that attempts to permeate their companies. Positive thoughts create positive ideas and positive energy. Positive energy and ideas create positive action. And positive action creates positive results.
The biggest nemeses to positive results are fear and worry. Those things don't inspire; rather, they drain energy, ideas and hope. Be the positive, action-oriented person everyone wants to be around.
3. Innovate to add value. Let this economic cycle rouse your fighting spirit. Treat every difficulty as a lesson and vow to grab portions of the market vacated by those who quit. Act like this market is good news for you and your company, and your mind will give you ways to prove it's true.
Many mortgage brokers around the country will come through this cycle closing more loans and with stronger businesses than before the cycle began. Will you be one of them?
One way to answer yes to this question is to start thinking "deal a day." Let that thought spur you to positive action. Be accountable for every day and remind yourself that the purpose of each day is to find a transaction worth closing. Don't go home until you do.
4. Dream up an exciting tomorrow. Reset your goals. Think about how things will look when this cycle is over and the market is spinning fast again. How can you position yourself to capitalize on better times ahead?
Design a picture that is exciting and worth believing in. Let the promise of that picture pull you through today's problems. If your goals are strong, they will nourish and strengthen you. Live every day believing that something great will happen to you.
When people try to surround you with negative energy, leave. Don't allow the naysayers and complainers to drag you down. Stick to your vision, remember your positive approach and plan for the future. Do those things, and good things will follow.
Mental toughness is essential for long-term success of any kind. It is similar to a muscle that must be developed. If your mental-toughness muscle seems weak and flabby, now is the time to change that and to drive yourself through this market and toward a better tomorrow.
Good times are coming. Like the changing of the seasons, they always do.
John Odegard is president and founder of Seattle Funding Group, as well as a founding principal and manager of the SFG Family of Income Funds -- one of the West Coast's most-successful and long-standing private-mortgage-investment pools. He is a valued presenter on the subjects of private-money lending and investing at broker and lender conferences and also speaks frequently at the university level.
Reach Odegard at (425) 455-1733 or JOdegard@sfgfunds.com, or log on to www.sfgfunds.com.