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It is day two of the EPM Broker Summit in Atlanta, GA and this is our first in-person industry conference I’ve attended since the Pandemic started. I am emceeing the event and first up is the dynamic and arguably controversial Founder of Vetted VA, Christopher Griffith. 

The Spotlight Shines Brightly

Featuring Contributing Writer, Fobby Naghmi

Adventures in Podcasting

I was elated. It felt as if I had arrived! Soon after the show was over, I had rude awakening…. I had never hit the record button. I had just spent an hour talking about the mortgage market with Barry Habib and had never recorded it. Cue personal meltdown.

Making The Connection

Featuring Contributing Writer, Ray Befus

The Wind in Your Sails—Your Emotional Why!

At its core, emotional intelligence is our ability to discern what is going on inside of us and inside the people around us so we can adjust and manage our interaction in such a way we can provide what is needed or wanted.

Celebrating Leadership

Featuring Contributing Writer, Grant LaViale

Is Vulnerability a Desirable Trait in a Leader?

It’s so important to be vulnerable in different areas of life and in multiple situations. I believe most would agree to the truth in this. As professionals, sometimes we question whether it is important to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

Forecasts and Foreshadows

Featuring Contributing Writer, Ruth Lee

Diary of an Executive: Resilience: Building a Lifelong Career in a Cyclical Industry

Resiliency is the key ingredient in the cycle of adversity and recovery, and unlike tenacity or grit, it isn’t something you are born with; it is something you build throughout your career.

Meet the Pros

New Kids on the Block Are Far From New in the Business!

“We’re going from that mom and pop with me and Shawn and our kids and the people who have been with us for 20 or 30 years to spreading across the country. We want the benefits that come from expanding to a national corporation but I don’t want the feel.

The V Factor Column

Featuring Contributing Writer, Jenny Mason

Vision! Mission! Purpose!

My vision of life and where I fit and where I expected to go is even more drastically different now than at 22 years of age. Then my vision was about a life of success. Now it’s about significance. Then it was about how much wealth I could amass, how many sales contests could I win, how good could I look. Today my vision is about a life that includes a legacy.


ANNOUNCING! New Column Coming

Featuring Contributing Writer, Fobby Naghmi

A Media Mashup!


Vision Partners in Success
Regular Features

Note from the Editor in Chief


n this edition of The Vision we continue to showcase the individuals and businesses in the forefront of the mortgage and real estate industry, be they bankers, brokers, LOs, or any of the dozens of important roles that make up successful teams of professionals. In Meet the Pros we profile Peoples Choice Mortgage, a business committed to a win-win formula of success for clients and staff alike through coaching, teaching, and outreach.

In these digital pages we bring you the voices we hear and see across the industry. We hope you find each of the features and stories presented here worthy of reading and sharing. We are already working on the June/July issue of The Vision which will be a special edition with a special focus on the Vision Summit. Be sure to read the Upcoming Events column in this issue for a look at the speaker lineup. Additional details are available at, the summit website. 

As always, a big Thank You goes out to all who have subscribed to both magazines. I hope you enjoy today’s issue and will share in social media. Reach out and congratulate your peers whose bylines and profiles appear in these pages. Tag us in your posts #thevisionmag and #2020visionforsuccesscoaching. We love the feedback!

Message from the Publisher

Thank you, readers for joining us again for another incredible edition of The Vision. And Welcome to our new subscribers! In this issue, you will find the story of Christopher Griffith. It is powerful saga, witnessed when I had the honor to introduce Christopher to the stage for his inspiring speech and then his amazing gifting moment.

The theme, if you will, of this issue is one I’ve dedicated my life to, much as Christopher has: Live with Purpose. The tattoo on my right forearm reminds me daily to seek guidance and ensure my choices have meaning, my purpose has cause, and my mission is clear. We are here on this earth for what is in truth a short time. This mortality as I soar into my 50’s is ever-present and as such, I am focused on filling my days with efforts to best pay forward and ensure my time here makes a difference. These efforts are returned ten-fold. My life is fulfilled, my heart is happy, and my mind is purer than it’s ever been. Living with purpose really is that simple.

Enjoy this edition chock full of incredible information written by amazing people and take something away you can apply to your own life and business. Happy Spring!.


Yes, we do accept submissions. If you are a writer interested in being featured in a national publication, we will be happy to consider your ideas and your article submissions. We are also interested in recurring columns centered around our featured topics. The place to start is by clicking the button and inquiring.

20/20 Vision for Success Coaching


Written by: Christine Beckwith 

It is day two of the EPM Broker Summit in Atlanta, GA and this is the first in-person industry conference I’ve attended since the Pandemic started. I am emceeing the event and first up is the dynamic and arguably controversial Founder of Vetted VA, Christopher Griffith. It is no surprise to me when Christopher has no bio to offer as background for his introduction to the audience. I watch as he begins his speech by saying, “I am nobody from nowhere,” a refrain he repeats saying, “No. I mean it. I am nobody.” Despite his efforts to will the world to accept his humility (which is real), this claim is refuted by his clearly contagious and magnetic personality when he strides on stage and speaks from the heart. Christopher Griffith is, by all standards, a celebrity who walks amongst us.

Undeniably, Christopher Griffith has the makings of an outlier personality. Even if he wanted to be a wallflower, he could not because his God-given, authentic self, shines brightly for all to see. He is extremely special, a man who has a vision large enough to contain millions and solid enough to give rise to a successful business benefiting a segment of American veterans who have not always been served as well as they have served us. To understand the impact of the message shared at EPM’s Broker Summit, you need a glimpse into the last two years of Christopher’s life.

In March of 2019, Christopher made a Facebook Live video where he called out the mortgage industry for taking advantage of veterans with loan churning and unscrupulous business marketing tactics. Viewers, perhaps despite the speaker being clad in a Whataburger t-shirt, could not help but be drawn to the sincere earnestness as he described his vision of a new standard of service and integrity for veterans desiring to use their VA Home Loan Guarantee. To hear him describe it, the reception of his message that day was about 50/50 – 50% heard him and appreciated what he was saying while the other 50% heard him and fired back against him hard. A couple of months later Vetted VA, a private Facebook group, was launched with the sole mission to vet and verify all information openly and honestly for the veteran consumer.

I met Christopher Griffith in person for the first time in the spring of 2019 at an Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME) conference where, as it happened, I knew few people. One familiar face, Clayton Collins, CEO of HousingWire, invited me into his circle of people, all listening to this Duck Dynasty-looking character who I was quite sure was chewing tobacco and wearing a suit clearly not his usual garb. As a country girl, I felt comfortable joining the enthralled crowd, expecting the conversation to be about hunting and fishing or sports. To my surprise, he was talking mortgages, politics, regulation, and economics.

I was intrigued. Not what I expected at all. Over the span of an hour, I listened. Then, as I was introduced and shook his hand, I felt compelled to share my resume, explaining I was also a nobody in the broker world, having recently opened 20/20 VSC following a long career in banking. He was unimpressed. As I remember it, he cut me off before I finished what was probably a long-winded list of credentials. I realized instantly that Christopher is driven by moving the ball down the field, not resting on laurels and past wins.

Christopher Griffith is looking for the engagement, the dialogue, the meaningful debate, and the people who want to talk about what has plagued our industry and the broker channel specifically. I quickly learned he is a steadfast defendant of brokers and vehemently speaks up to those who stand to deter brokers or ignorantly misfire in their direction.

Christopher is an avid social media personality who, when asked what statistics he’d like to share about his organizations, proudly states, “Zero marketing dollars spent, zero effort put into SEO website work, and 100 percent community value.” Christopher has created an exclusive community online where only veterans and eligible benefactors of the veteran benefit are included. These are virtual places where I cannot follow him. I look for his posts online, though, and when I catch him slinging a video, or doing a LIVE FB rant, or giving an interview or monologue, I always dial-in. I even take notes.

Recent history bears testimony to why the broker channel champions a defender. It was 2008 when the insane explosion of mortgage default occurred. The mortgage broker channel took fire, blamed for their contributions towards writing loosely regulated and underwritten loans during a time of falling demand in real estate. The coupling of loose regulations and a slowed real estate market set the American mortgage world ablaze, ultimately delivering an historic upheaval to the value of homes and creating constriction of guidelines which completed the downfall of the mortgage industry entirely for a time. Truthfully, the brokers were no more at fault for these deficiencies than the bankers and lenders. I know because I served in a retail lending shop the prior 12 years and we wrote billions of dollars in subprime and adjustable pre-payment penalty no-income no-asset loans. All of us were to blame, all channels, all agencies, and all facets. It simply was a perfect storm nobody saw brewing.

So back to the Saturday morning of EPM Broker Summit as Christopher takes the stage. The topic was Social Peer-to-Peer Relationships. He had a picture of Mr. Rogers with a beard, like his own, drawn on the iconic face familiar to generations of children. The slide says simply, Won’t you be my neighbor?

When Christopher speaks there is an impact, a visible one, shown on the faces of the audience members watching. He does not mince words. He will tell you he does not care what you think of him. And I believe him. He will intimately share details of his life.

The photo collage he showed the audience included tributes to his grandparents and parents, his pets, his hobbies, and his home and flower garden. The images are precious and ordinary, all parts of his life. And as he speaks, the audience is enchanted and comes away feeling privileged to have had a glimpse into how Christopher Griffith sees the every day and who he is. Because that is being Neighborly, by allowing yourself to be known.

The takeaway from this heartfelt presentation is found in this paraphrase, “If you are lucky enough to have one soul touch you in such a way you are bonded forever, as is true for my wife and me, it’s a gift beyond all measures to be relished and cherished. There is no greater joy a human can experience than finding their person. When there is only one of something that something is special. There is only ONE of you, of each of us, of all of us, only one, we are all uniquely special.”

He is right. And he is off-the-charts unique and special.

On that morning these words spoke to me and I felt as if they were spoken only to me. Yet, as I looked around the room, I saw every person hanging onto his message. Nobody was checking their phones; few were taking notes. He paced the stage comfortably flanked by two enormous stage screens, addressing all sides of the large ballroom audience honestly sharing his words. He pounded his chest a few times. He laughed at his own word choice and the audience did too, at times. His speech mounted to a crescendo accented with his slight southern drawl. Slide after slide, he took us on a journey.

The emotion he evoked from the audience is the essence of his power. He pulls you in, captivates and intrigues you, and then tells you a story imbued with deep meaning. He is, by all sense of the words, a modern-day evangelist of humankind. He is for people, about people, and with people. He is motivated to make a difference and invites all serious inquirers to join the club. His words resonate, “There is nothing more special to me than my community. Become my neighbor, show me your commitment, and challenge me to reciprocate.”

So why am I telling you about this speech drawn on a topic that is quite ordinary? Because what followed was extraordinary and incredible and happened at the culmination of his presentation.

The audience had glimmers that a surprise was being prepared. A tablecloth was quietly laid out on the stage as Christopher continued weaving his story, telling about an incredible youth outreach movement based in Denver that he supports. In the background, as he talks about SoxPlace and its commitment to bring the Father’s heart to the fatherless through physical, spiritual, emotional, and social provision, a chair was quietly placed atop the tablecloth. The air of expectation grew as it became apparent an epic moment loomed.

Christopher continued to explain the backstory, talking about the day before when he was asked by Eddy Perez, the CEO of EPM and owner of the company hosting the conference, “What will it take to shave the beard?”
Understand, that beard is a part of his brand and is immediately recognizable by all who know of him.

Christopher replied, “$100 thousand for my favorite charity, SoxPlace!”

“Done!” was all Eddy had to say and just like that Christopher took a seat in the lone chair on stage announcing he is going to shave a “100-thousand-dollar beard” right there and then.

Christopher had the audience firmly in his hands from the first minute into his presentation. Now the applause was momentous, the standing ovation immediate, and the stunned audience members were grabbing for their cell phone cameras all around the room. I filmed it myself and caught an entire 16-minute video. Tears were rampant among the audience, and I found myself laughing and crying at the same time. All this fuss over a beard? It is just a beard! But oh, no it is not. It is a man who is letting his soul hang out. This is a moment of leadership and learning. It is a rare moment of insight into one of humanity’s most vital strengths: giving sacrificially.
This simple act of shaving showed the world the power we have together as a community to do good and serves to remind us we can give up those things we cherish to give others what they so desperately need.

As you might imagine, this story took a hard left as the hair fell to the stage floor. All prep for this story was simply tossed out the window. This epic selfless move became the narrative. We tip our proverbial hats to Christopher Griffith for being a leader amongst leaders, for putting his money where his heart is, and for doing something every human on earth should do, use their celebrity for the betterment of mankind.

I have the words Living with Purpose tattooed on my right arm. I did it the year I decided to exit direct mortgage management and live in my God-given purpose, teaching others. I understand why I feel connected to Christopher and his life and his cause. I know leadership, passion, and purpose when I see it.

Christopher lives his purpose. If you follow him on Facebook, you will see his home with his wife and his three beautiful daughters. He adores his family and freely admits it is for their wellbeing and future that he strives to live his purpose and passion. Do reach out and catch him on the social waves. Check out #VettedVA and his Facebook profile. You will surely be entertained, informed, and undoubtedly surprised upon occasion.

We will see you there as we at 20/20 VSC will continue cheering him on!

About the Author

Christine “Buffy” Beckwith is an award-winning executive sales leader who has spent the past 30 years in the mortgage finance industry. Her life and career are filled with a progression of success stories reaching all the way back to her childhood. A Best Selling and Award-Winning Author, Christine branched out in 2018 to begin her dream job as the founder and president of 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching & Consulting. After breaking glass ceilings in the mortgage and banking industry, Christine is now a columnist for professional magazines and is a special correspondent anchoring the news and interviewing experts in her industry. She is an advocate for women, dedicating a complete division in her own company to the cause and communities she touches at a vast level.

Christine spends time on the national speaking circuit, lecturing on topics focused on sharing her expertise in finance while highlighting her personal stories of inspiration and motivation to deliver both tactical and practical advice. Breaking mainstream in 2019, Christine has appeared on huge stages to speak, kicking off the year at the Miami Garden Stadium with Gary Vaynerchuk Agent2021 as the real estate expert panel moderator. Among her many speaking engagements, she has spoken at the Anaheim Convention center in Los Angeles, The Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, and for multiple prestigious organizations and media companies.

Christine will tell you writing, teaching, and speaking are at the core of who she is, and her legacy work she is committed to making a difference in the lives of professionals and youth everywhere.

Christine is a mother, a girlfriend, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a homemaker, and a lover of laughter, good health, home and heritage. She calls herself a happy human.

Contact Chris on FB Messenger or by phone or email here: 903-202-2820

If you wish to also contribute to the SoxPlace charity you may do so by clicking this button:

Highlights of the $100K Beard Shave!

Here’s a bit of home-grown video from the charity shave. The entire ‘event’ was 20 minutes, give or take. Thanks to Jason Frazier for sharing his video.

Christopher would like to share information about #VettedVA and the charity, SoxPlace, he supports.

  • #VettedVA exists to ‘Vet’ or verify all information for the Veteran Consumer. To become involved, reach out here:
    Professionals – Join the VettedVA Professionals group and find how we take applications
  • Veteran/Active Duty/Spouse or Surviving Spouse/Other Qualified Individuals (non-mortgage/real estate pros) – Join the Facebook Group
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SPOTLIGHT ON: Adventures in Podcasting

Written by: Fouad (Fobby) Naghmi, EVP

So, you want to be a podcast star? Well maybe it’s not as cool as a rock ‘n roll star, but I can share with you that creating your own podcast can be rewarding, without having to sell your soul to the company. My adventure in podcasting started about seven years ago when I was with a company doing online webinars to garner industry recognition. For those who remember webinars (seems long ago now), the participants would register for the webinar ahead of time, and it was mostly a conference call with a PowerPoint presentation on the computer screen shared with the audience. Nothing was ever recorded, and the audience could not watch or listen to the webinar at their convenience.

After a few years of doing this, I had a big A-Ha moment. I wanted to record the webinars and host them on the company site so anyone could watch them at their convenience without having to register and share their private information. Plus, I wanted to talk with people in the mortgage industry and obtain their take on, really, anything! As expected, I had some push back from our IT guys as to how the time needed to support me would be too much for them. What was surprising to me was the upper management people who tried to dissuade me from this idea. I heard comments like: “What could we possibly gain from giving free webinars with no information from the listeners given to us?” and “We don’t want a non-company person speaking on behalf of our company.”

Uh, ok? I guess I’ll take my boom box and go home now. Not! All this push back to my idea made me want to do it even more.

It took me another three years (persistence pays off), but it happened. Thanks in part to a new online platform people had started using called ZOOM. This flexible tool would allow me to record the show with anyone, anywhere, and download the audio-only portion to create my podcast.

That’s when I created my podcast, Laugh, Lend, and Eat: the Podcast (LL&E). I worked with marketing for branding with colors, fonts, the whole gambit. Even if it is part of a larger concept, creating a podcast is much like creating a brand for a company you want to launch. Don’t overlook the value of bringing in your marketing team early.

The first podcast episode was recorded in January 2020 with none other than Barry Habib. It was finally happening. Barry logged on as scheduled and we dove into a great conversation about the mortgage market and where it was going. Barry predicted how low the 10-year bond was about to go; promoted his upcoming book Money in the Streets; discussed growing up in NYC, and much more.

I was elated. It felt as if I had arrived! Soon after the show was over, I had a rude awakening.

I had never hit the record button. I had just spent an hour talking about the mortgage market with Barry Habib and had never recorded it. Cue personal meltdown.

That was some 30 plus episodes ago and Barry, being the ever-generous human being he is, came back for episode 23 and blessed us with an even more amazing episode.

How do you go from an idea about a podcast to actually creating one? Well as we say on Laugh, Lend and Eat, sit back, and enjoy the reading!

Know your target audience

There are an estimated 850,000 active podcasts, with over 30 million episodes to listen to, so knowing who you want your audience to be and who will most likely tune in to listen is critical. The more specific you can make your audience, the better the listenership can be.

Once you identify your audience, you must know the questions for which they want answers. For example, I often hear veteran loan officers talk about what they do to gain business. But the question a new loan officer really wants to know is, “What did you do in your first year to build a book of business?” It can be as simple as that. Once you can add value to your audience, they will have a reason to listen and will tune in more often.


You talkin’ to me?

Ok, for me, I always want to make people laugh. I’m not sure if I’m good at it, but I try. What I do know I am good at is marketing, leading sales teams, and creating relationships within the business community. Make sure your podcast highlights your expertise and what you know. This is how you become an expert on those topics within your industry. Also, it will make asking questions of your guests much easier, and quite honestly, more enjoyable for you as the host.


What do your core values have to do with creating your own podcast? Ultimately, your core values will define your podcast. My own podcast’s name really defines some of my core values: Laugh, Lend and Eat. From there the character of the show emerges. This is something I am becoming aware of as the podcast matures over time. As circumstances and opportunities arise that could derail the podcast or send it in another direction, my core values bring it back to its roots and keep it true to its core audience.


This is a crucial part of the podcast process. Also, keep in mind artwork is needed to create thumbnails to be used on most audio streaming platforms (e.g., Spotify, Apple Podcasts). There are plenty of third-party companies that will charge you to handle this step of the process, and some of them are credible. For myself, I chose a less expensive path (F-R-E-E) and found an online platform to handle distributing LL&E to several audio streaming platforms. I was then responsible for creating the thumbnails to use and I turned to CANVA which is a free online graphic design platform, for those who like being creative and use basic graphic design tools.


This was tougher to decide than it may appear. In researching the history of podcasts, they were originally audio only, and I believe somewhere it states a podcast is the “digital audio file of spoken words.” This statement sums it up pretty much.

But in this new age with streaming videos, I chose to do both audio and video with LL&E. I created a video channel on YouTube where I could upload the episodes. I wanted to be able to reach a broader audience by offering multiple ways to listen to my podcast.

One thing to note; there is more work involved in creating a video version of the podcast. There is post-editing involved for the video, as well as adequate lighting and background for videos while you are recording. If you choose to do both, make sure to tell your guests. I found out the hard way some guests were not ready to be in front of a camera.


Once again, no set answer. I know there are plenty of podcasts 15-30 minutes long while others can run up to three hours and beyond. This goes back to knowing your target audience and what they would like to hear. Also, how much time do you have to ask someone else questions? While some days the Q and A can seem rapid, there are days when it becomes pretty tiring asking a guest a question.

I started at 35-40 minutes for myself but have increased to about 52 minutes. My audience is ok with the time, and I have mostly received positive feedback. It allows enough time to dig deeper into a few topics, go down a few rabbit holes, all the while making sure to not bore the listener.

While this list is not meant to cover all the questions that may arise when you are considering creating a podcast, it certainly should help enough so you can decide if this is something you want to do or are able to do.

As I said early on, creating a podcast has been rewarding for me personally. People have started to associate me more and more with the podcast. I’ve received multiple comments where they feel my questions of a guest were extremely on point and helpful. I absolutely love learning about topics I would never have even thought about. I gain insights on current issues in our mortgage industry from some of the best within our mortgage industry. But most of all, I love the banter between myself and my guests, who now have become friends.

About the Author

Fobby is a card-carrying 20/20 Vision Master. Evidence of his inherent professionalism and humanity is exhibited through his words. Not quite as apparent is the great sense of humor he brings into his relationships, both professional and personal.

“Starting in the mortgage industry in 1994 as an inexperienced loan officer, I understand the challenges my sales teams may face on a day-to-day basis. While the industry has changed, I truly believe the blueprint remains the same to achieve success.

I have been blessed to be able to build cross-cultural teams over the past years, which in turn, has really challenged me to better understand people’s individual needs as no two salespeople are identical.

My WHY is knowing every single day there is someone out there who needs a little push in the right direction to take their career to the next level. Once that push is given, the satisfaction I feel in seeing them achieve the desired results is unmatched for me.

Leadership is not about blazing a trail; it’s about supporting your team with the trail that they want to blaze.”

SPOTLIGHT ON: Adventures in Podcasting

Written by: Fouad (Fobby) Naghmi, EVP

We hope you enjoyed Fobby Naghmi’s entertaining and informative article about podcasting. Regular readers of these digital pages will recognize Fobby’s unique blend of humor and great content. Fobby has been writing on a semi-regular basis for us and each article is better than the last, in our estimation. We are pleased to announce that beginning with the next issue of The Vision (June 9) Fobby will become a regular contributor. He will be featuring select editions of his popular podcast Laugh, Lend, and Eat to publish in The Vision along with a written profile of the person being interviewed. We are excited by this mashup of technology and look forward to what Fobby brings to our family of writers.


Written by: Ray Befus, Executive Coach

Let me date myself. Remember black and white televisions? When I was a boy, I used to watch a detective show called Dragnet. Jack Webb played a detective named Joe Friday, who would begin all his investigations with the very same line, “Just the facts, Ma’am.” Just the facts. And off Joe Friday would go, every weekday evening, building his case, a short story, really, on the facts he discovered.

We all live between two worlds: the world of facts and the world of stories that we make up about the facts. Our common humanity puts us all on a constant search for meaning so, as we go through life, we gather the facts of our experiences and makeup stories about what we think the facts mean. We create stories to help us make sense of our experience. Stories help us navigate through life. Story-making or meaning-making is a wonderful gift.

At a tender age, the September after the Woodstock music festival, my parents sent me across the country to spend a year at a prestigious New England college prep school for boys. Just the facts, Ma’am. The experience was extremely challenging for a teenager from the Midwest. The first semester was dominated by feelings of loneliness, shame, and resentment. These emotions, too, are facts. I wonder, though, what did these facts say about me, about my parents, the prep school, or about my future? Joe Friday’s facts were concrete and real. The meaning of my facts was ambiguous leaving me to define my own reality as I made up my story.

Now here’s some bad news. Men and women like us fall into self-deception when we assume there is no difference between the facts and the stories we make up about the facts. If the facts of our experience are painful, we’re all tempted to form negative judgments about ourselves: we are not worthy of respect, trust, and love or we are bad people or we are incompetent failures who will never succeed, who don’t have what it takes. We may tell ourselves we’re not like the people who are wildly successful or trim and fit, who have cultivated fulfilling marriages, or who are genuinely happy. And the storytelling doesn’t stop with negative judgments about ourselves. We make up negative stories about the people around us who hurt us or should have protected us or should have come to our rescue or should be taking better care of us right now.

It’s only human to connect present frustration, disappointment, and pain to past frustration, disappointment, and pain. When we do connect our present experience with our past experiences, we unconsciously start using extreme, global language to describe our situation: always, never, every time, totally, nothing, everything, and so on.

At this point we no longer have a story; our story has us.

Our story becomes a filter through which we see ourselves, our experiences, other people, and our world; every day, all day, wherever we go. Our stories function like dark sunglasses. They shade everything we see. On the one hand, they keep us from noticing or giving weight to the facts contradicting our story. On the other hand, our glasses draw our attention to focus on particular facts supporting the stories we’ve created. So, if our story includes negative judgments about ourselves and the people around us, we’ll go through life noticing more and more negative traits about ourselves or more and more negative traits about others: our team members or our clients and even our industry and its leaders.

If someone points a finger at us and says, “I think you’ve been irresponsible in this instance,” we may respond defensively, “You just don’t know me. I’m very responsible.” Then we list the evidence we’ve handpicked to justify our self-image.

If someone says, “This is certainly a wonderful season of life to be in the mortgage-banking industry,” you might reply, “You don’t have a clue to the stress this business is causing me,” and then list the evidence you’ve hand-picked to support your story.

If someone says, “You really could extend some grace to your spouse and offer forgiveness” we may rehearse the evidence we’ve carefully selected to support our case that he or she is unsafe and undeserving of unconditional love (even though others see the evidence of how he or she is simply human, like you, and is actually showing signs of health or growth).

The psychological dynamic behind this metaphor is confirmation bias. When we make up stories about ourselves, settle into judgments about other people, or succumb to prejudices around what is possible and impossible, we share a human tendency to start noticing and collecting evidence to support our position while shutting out, overlooking, or minimizing evidence contradicting our perspective. In other words, we gather evidence confirming our beliefs and judgments, our biases, while we conveniently minimize or dismiss evidence contradicting our biases. Individuals who are unconscious of their confirmation bias (sunglasses) become prisoners of their assumptions. Or better yet, prisoners of their stories, prisoners of their past.

Think about this common contrast in people and stories. Perhaps you have or had a parent who was absent or even abusive. Or maybe it was an ex-spouse. Or maybe you had a boss who was cunning, manipulative, and vindictive. Two different people can experience these same facts and yet tell different stories. One might describe himself as a victim who has been forever damaged and setback by the facts he experienced. He might remain bitter and adopt a victim’s frame of reference to much of life.

Judgment, resentment, and passive aggression now color his thinking, stir up his emotions, and like a virus, infect all his relationships.

But another person who shares remarkably similar experiences may describe herself as a victor. As she tells her story, she acknowledges the pain and loss, but her focus is on how she learned life-giving lessons, developed uncommon strength, overcame extreme hardship, is now daring great exploits, and achieving unexpected success. She sees herself as an ancient warrior; a young David taking on Goliath. Her story states in every crisis there are golden opportunities to grow stronger, wiser, and prove yourself in battle.

Though the facts this man and women have experienced are similar, they have written the facts into different stories now framing their different perspectives, motivations, and goals. One is living in bondage to the past; his story has become the chain binding him. The other is living in the future; her story is the key to unlock her chains.

Facts themselves never upend our lives; it’s the stories we create to explain how the facts are EITHER the source of frantic anxiety and grinding hopelessness, or life-giving creativity, clarity, and fresh resolve.

So, what’s the good news? Here it is! Each of us has the power to write new stories about the facts of our experience. Each of us has the power to reframe our stories from a self-limiting version that endlessly rehearses “this is how I was hurt, damaged, rejected, robbed, abandoned, and crippled” to a self-affirming version that celebrates “this is how I was rudely awakened, gained strength, broke free, gained clarity, and accelerated into the future.”

Neither version of the facts minimizes the pain. But one version keeps a person locked in a dismal past; the other version sets a person free from the pain of the past to create a future worth living.

You really can change your life and alter your future by reframing your story. It’s not quick and easy, but nor is it impossible. A coach can help you.

When a coaching client relates to me they are about to quit their job because they are being victimized on a regular basis, I invite them to first quit the story they are living in, as though they do not have the power to stand up and speak out to both protect themselves and to advance their own interests. Change your story and change the way you stand, and you can transform how people relate to you. When a client explains they are about to divorce their spouse because of endless grief to which they have been subjected, I advise them to first divorce the story in which they have been playing the role of a powerless victim who silently submits to bad or abusive behavior. Change your story and how you stand and, you can transform relationships.

When my parents sent me off to a boarding school, I spent the first half of the year spinning a victim’s story in every letter I wrote home. I was a desperate young man, wrongfully imprisoned. My life had been stolen from me. Over the Christmas break, God mercifully answered my mother’s prayers. In a miraculous change of heart and mind, I adopted the perspective of an adventurer on a search for treasure wherever I could find it. I rejected fear and embraced the rich opportunities around me. I stepped out of my comfort zone and began to take risks I hadn’t even imagined possible in the first semester.

When I returned home in June, I had made a dramatic turnaround. I was a somewhat disciplined and responsible young man, confident in my identity, grateful for my year abroad, and proud of my exploits. The facts of my situation never changed, but my shift in perspective dramatically altered the story I was living and continue to live to this day. The power of Just the Facts, Ma’am. resides in you. No matter your facts, you have the power to rewrite your story.

It all starts with being willing to interrogate and challenge your perspectives, assumptions, and prejudices about yourself, others, and your possibilities. The whole process requires unusual commitment and humility. It’s not easy to admit what we’ve known to be true may not be the whole truth or even be true at all.

Let me summarize: Only a fool would ignore the facts. But it would be foolish to think beautiful stories cannot be authored by strong and resourceful people who examine the facts from different angles and assemble their facts in a manner to make room for hope and hard work, compassion, and eventual health and prosperity. Facts are inescapable. Our stories give facts their meaning and their influence.

About the Author

Ray Befus has spent his entire career in leadership development. He’s folded this lifetime of experience into his coaching enterprise, HIGHPOINT Training and Coaching. He is a member of the International Coaching Federation and now serves as one of 20/20 Vision for Success’s adjunct coaches. In his own work, he continues to provide executive coaching for professionals, business leaders, and their teams both nationally and internationally, helping clients overcome self-doubt, reclaim their best selves, and rise to their next level. Ray lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he enjoys life with his wife Carol, four married children, and thirteen grandchildren. When he’s not coaching and training, he enjoys motorcycling, playing guitar, and camping.


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"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." – Aldous Huxley

Is Vulnerability a Desirable Trait in a Leader?

Written by: Grant La Viale

Vulnerability. It’s so important to be vulnerable in different areas of life and in multiple situations. I believe most would agree to the truth in this. As professionals, sometimes we question whether it is important to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. For those who may not be in the mentoring and coaching industry, let me say allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is one of the most important emotional states we can adapt to and invest in ourselves from a business perspective and to improve ourselves personally.

While I consider myself a super positive person in general, as well as when I’m coaching and mentoring others, not long ago I realized I was in a place where I wasn’t always practicing what I preach. I could feel my A-game slowly slipping away from me. Those who know me understand one of my primary core values is family first. I recently had a life-changing situation occur with my daughter which required me to immediately step up. Bottom line, I knew I had to be there for her, even though I wasn’t sure how long support would be needed. It could easily be weeks or months.

Soon after the event with my daughter, I was scheduled for my coaching call and because I was willing to be vulnerable and share my situation with my coach, I learned an important lesson: I also needed to be more vulnerable with my team.

This meant sending send out an email to everyone reminding them of my core values and the importance of practicing what I preach. I asked them to allow me to give my B-game temporarily for the next several weeks. I explained my response time could be delayed, I might have a difficult day and wanted them to understand it likely would have nothing to do with work.

The responses from my team were overwhelmingly filled with support and love. It made me realize how blessed I am to have built this amazing team and how honored I am to work beside them each day. They could see how vulnerable I was in that moment. They saw I needed their support, their A-game. Without even asking for it, by simply opening up and allowing myself to be vulnerable before them, they offered wholehearted support.

My advice for leaders is, it’s ok to be vulnerable!

Vulnerability makes you more authentic, more human, and more transparent. Do we live behind a white picket fence with three kids and a dog where everything is perfect? No, of course not. As a leader, we must lead by example, and when necessary, this means we embrace being vulnerable. In this way, your team, as is true for my team, will understand the genuine you. It is my goal for my team to always understand the genuine and honest Grant La Viale.

About the Author

Originally born and raised in New York, Grant moved from Northern California to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB and never left. Grant is married and the father of three children who credits fatherhood as having taught him much about life and himself. In his free time, Grant enjoys going to the gym in the early morning, going to the movies with his wife and family, and playing golf with clients and friends.Grant truly enjoys what he does and believe it’s the people and leadership separating us and strengthening us, based on his experience in both the mortgage and banking Industry. Grant stays true to his practice on importance of having a positive work culture and support structure in place, especially during difficult periods. He is committed to ensuring their clients and referral partners have only the best experience and advice possible.Grant is a non-producing area manager working with sales managers and loan advisers for the Central Coast and Desert Communities who live by integrity and sincerity.


What ARE Desirable Traits in a Leader?

We were moved by Grant’s willingness to be vulnerable before his team and even further before the readers of The Vision magazine. This caused us to wonder about other traits success-minded leaders exhibit. So, we asked the question. Here are a few quotes from leaders from the mortgage industry and across other walks of life describing traits in addition to vulnerability that lead to strong leadership and to the creation of leaders. 


“The first step out of the gate has to be knowing where you want to end up. What do you really want from your company?” ― Stan Slap

“Productivity and success are accelerated when we turn off the outside noise, shift the focus on where we’re headed instead of where we are, trust our decision-making process, and know our value. No one else can do the work for us and it’s a long and humbly process but nothing of value comes without hard-work, pain, and growth. ― Laila Khan

While we can’t control the results, we can surely make that effort, give our very best, and ride the waves of change as it happens.” Laila Khan “I say believe in yourself, in your people, and in your mission.” ― Naomi Kniep

“Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity.” ― Grant Laviale

“Relatable, empathetic, ability to communicate and set clear expectations.” ― Michelle Hughes Ho-Sang

“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.” ― Herbert Swope


“Leadership is all about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could; the most inspiring leaders are honest, authentic, empathetic, vulnerable, willing to take action, great motivators, resilient, visionary, ready to take risks and hold themselves accountable.” — Suha Zehl

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” — John C Maxwell

“Empathize, Empower, and Engage!” ― Tracy Kasper

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ― John Quincy Adams

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” ― Warren Bennis

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” ― John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Teach and Learn

“When listening be fully present… Not thinking about your response, giving credit and energy to taking in the information. In speaking decide whether the message is of value or simply being said to be heard.” ― Alexandra Erlich

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” ― Henry Adams

“I find this quote from 21st Century Leadership: Dialogues With 100 Top Leaders, ‘A good leader gives clear direction and helps people under his care to gain personal strength and resources so that they can solve problems successfully.’ resonates with me and many others.”  ― Jessica Peterson


Be Humble

“The most important trait of a leader is being servant. A leader should be able and ready to serve followers and should be a good role model because leadership should be by example. When you respect and protect your followers, they will accord you the same respect and protection. Be a risk taker, goal oriented, and adapt to change and make corrections.” ―  Sylverline Chinomso

“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.” ― Andrew Carnegie

“Positivity and Kindness are incredibly important traits to have as a leader.”  ― Janet Pagan

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” ― Sam Walton

Listen To Your People

“What is the most important trait a leader needs? Accepting others for who they truly are and putting them in the best positions for them to excel.  There is no one size fits all.” ― Laura Brandao

“To lead people, walk behind them.” ― Lao Tzu

“Listen, pause, think before you respond.” ― Cindy Beyer

“Reciprocal trust. When my team trusts me, they not only trust the ways I lead, motivate, provide direction and ideas, they also trust me enough to express themselves with their ideas and feel safe enough to coach up. People work smarter and harder when they trust and are trusted.” ― Lysa Beth Nelson

“The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” ―  Theodore Roosevelt

Strike a Balance

“A good leader should have the grace to listen to suggestions by others and the guts to make the hard decisions.” ―  Karen Deis

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor but without folly.” ― Jim Rohn

“As more and more artificial intelligence is entering into the world, more and more emotional intelligence must enter into leadership.” ― Amit Ray

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” ― Norman Schwarzkopf

Tackle Challenges

“Be relatable and empathetic. Strengthen your ability to communicate. Set clear expectations.” ― Michelle Hughes Ho-Sang

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” ― Henry Ford

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” ― Publilius Syrus

“Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity.” ― Reed Markham

Be Bold

“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” ― Ken Kesey

“A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” ― Max Lucado

Resilience: Building a Lifelong Career in a Cyclical Industry

Written by: Ruth Lee, CMB

After thirty years in the mortgage business, I call it riding the wave. On a yearly and seasonal basis, pipelines fill to overcapacity and we scramble to complete everything, then one day the flood runs out and we cast about for more business. There are tides and eddies, such as the new regulatory vigor of an incoming administration or a morass of appraisal issues with fires and floods. And still, many of us soldier on, year after year, decade after decade, knocking down problems only to find three more in their place. So why do some of us stay in the industry for decades? What makes a person sustain a career in such a fickle industry? Well, let me tell you, it is not luck and it is not character, it is resiliency.

Resiliency is the key ingredient in the cycle of adversity and recovery, and unlike tenacity or grit, it isn’t something you are born with; it is something you build throughout your career. The process of becoming resilient involves many qualities including positivity, self-reliance, emotional regulation, and self-efficacy. And while having resilience may sound like an innate skill, I have good news for you, it’s not. Resilience can be learned.
So how do you build resilience in a cyclical industry like mortgage? First by understanding what it isn’t. Resilience isn’t grit or tenacity; the ability to stick it out no matter what. It’s not about pushing through. It’s about bouncing back. For those of us who weathered the 2008 mortgage meltdown, sure we were tenacious, some would say to our own detriment, but we showed our resilience by bouncing back and achieving even more than we ever dreamed.

Evolving Resilience

You do not read a book and find resilience. It is something you build upon, growing it to become a pillar of your career. Let’s discuss a few of the important aspects of evolving resilience in the mortgage industry.

1st It is a state of mind. Resilience is marked by an unshakeable belief in your ability to cope with change. You understand you have the tools to handle any situation. Take a moment to inventory those qualities: adaptability, creativity, intelligence, humor, courage, assertiveness, and humility. You don’t think you can cope; you know you can cope.

You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending. – C.S. Lewis

2nd It is your network. No matter how full your business life is, you cannot be too busy to stay connected. Our world is full of opportunities, be they TikTok, SnapChat, LinkedIn, email, text, or whatever digital connection is currently trending. Your priorities may stand in your way but remember your network will be the reason you can adapt to weather the worst storms in your career. Resilience is a direct result of your investment in your tribe, in your ability to lean on them, and in having them lean on you.

I’m not sure if resilience is ever achieved alone. Experience allows us to learn from example. But if we have someone who loves us-I don’t mean who indulges us, but who loves us enough to be on our side-then it’s easier to grow resilience, to grow belief in self, to grow self-esteem. And it’s self-esteem that allows a person to stand up. – Maya Angelou

3rd When you feel out of control, the fastest way to find control is by helping others. We rise by lifting others. Helping others is empowering. Resilience is the act of identifying and harnessing your own power.

The key to life is resilience…. We will always be knocked down. It’s the getting up that counts. – Dominique Browning

4th The foundation of resilience is honesty. Honesty with yourself about your current position. Honesty with your network on what you need to survive and thrive. Speak your truth, don’t sugarcoat it. This means leaving your ego at the door. If you want to know who your tribe is, want to know who makes up the network discussed in the second point, speak your truth, and see who sticks around. Those are the people who secure a spot in your blanket fort.

I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me! – Dr. Seuss

5th Activate positive emotions and turn off everything bringing you down. I turned off cable news, and my life has been fantastic since. If someone is negative, I unfriend them. I don’t need to feed off or into their pessimism. As others mire themselves in adversity, nurture yourself with laughter, gratitude, and contentment.

Laughter is an instant vacation. – Milton Berle

And finally, seek meaning and purpose. Look for the big picture. Embrace your spirituality. By spirituality I mean that which is the process of developing beliefs around the meaning of your life and your connection with others. Without understanding and acknowledging meaning, you cannot find resilience; you are rudderless.

Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. – Buddha

The way I look at the mortgage industry in all its hectic glory is a chance to become better, to understand more, and to serve. While there are days I struggle to climb out of the weeds, ride the wave, and practice building resilience, every day I remind myself resilience is about bouncing not marinating. My reward? It’s in the highs. The highs are sweeter, clearer, and filled with meaning after navigating out of a dip in the wave.

About the Author

Ruth Lee is a well-known, highly published industry expert on mortgage operations, compliance, servicing, and technology. Having built and sold two companies in the mortgage industry, one a mortgage lender out of Austin and one a mortgage services firm out of Denver, Ruth offers a unique perspective on the marriage of sales, operations, and overall business growth.
Ruth graduated from Future Mortgage Leaders in 2007 and most recently co-authored the MBA’s Servicing Transfer Best Practices. Ms. Lee seeks every opportunity to consult and counsel on the practical implementation and impact of operational, regulatory, and legislative changes.
Ms. Lee holds a B.A. in Economics from Mount Holyoke College. She resides in Lakewood, CO with her husband Mike, her black lab Ned and two cats, Jefferson and Adams. Winter months find her and Mike riding every peak they can find.


New Kids on the Block are Far From New to the Biz

Written by: CaZ (Candy Zulkosky)

People’s Choice Mortgage is aptly named. Their success is predicated on being a family business committed to extending their family to include every client. Partners David Fasano and Shawn Hendricks, Sr. founded a mom-and-pop, one-stop mortgage shop with the intention of taking it nationwide. The plan was to nurture both employees and clients and grow into a nationwide corporate model while maintaining the feel and service of a family business. Three years later and the plan is working even better than predicted. Built on the 30-year-plus experience of the partners, the company has grown from the individual sales and operational efforts of the two founders to spread across five states and employ more than 40. Expectations are for those numbers to more than double by year’s end.

As David describes it, “We’re going from the mom and pop with me and Shawn and our kids, and the people who have been with us for 20 or 30 years, to spread across the country. We want the benefits that come from expanding to a national corporation but we don’t want the feel. We are not clock-punchers or babysitters, and we don’t micromanage. We have technology, computers, and phones. We can work from anywhere in the world. Our main concept is to mentor. We are approaching this business    as coaches bringing up the next generation to succeed in mortgage.”

In 2010 when the market crashed, David and Shawn shut down their business employing 120 plus. This was an eye-opening experience for the pair. They realized having to work under corporate controls meant they were simply not able to implement their own vision under someone else’s umbrella.

Again, according to David, “We were working at about 20 percent of our capability and talent. We realized the average age in this industry is around 58 years old. Everything is turning into technology. We decided to invest in a new generation of loan professionals. We saw all these tech-savvy young 20 somethings coming out of college with $50 grand in debt and no idea what they want to do or how they’ll pay off that debt.”

David and Shawn realized they had all the pieces in place to mentor and coach a young team, to teach them success habits and skills. Between them, the partners had everything they needed: licensing, credit repair, insurance, real estate, title company, marketing, and even the mortgage company to contain it all.

“We can teach these kids how to do any part of this business. We put them into all these different parts, let them experience every part of this business, and find out what they love. The minute we see the light go on, we’ve got them hooked. That’s where they are going to excel and that’s where we settle them in. We never hold anybody back.”

The concept may seem familiar to you. It is the same used to build championship sports teams: coaching, practice, repetitions, cross-training, and encouragement. David believes he and Shawn have hit on a recession-proof formula for business growth.

“If Shawn and I can run four companies and make money in all four, then why can’t we teach others to do the same? We have the insurance side bringing in residual income. We have licenses in real estate, brokering, and titling wherever it’s needed to run the business. Diversifying this way ensures these guys have enough money coming in to pay their bills and sustain their business during a downturn. We want our sales guys, everybody in the company, to follow this same path, if they are willing to go through the multiple licensing requirements.”

As impressive as these facts and numbers are, the real story here is the culture of this company and the remarkable commitment its leaders have made to the future of both their family and the entire industry. And this, of course, begins with the founders.

David Fasano does not fear showing his passions. It takes only seconds in conversation with him to be drawn in by his enthusiasm and positive outlook for the future of the mortgage industry. His partner Shawn, while quieter by choice, appears content to let David do most of the talking. Shawn Hendricks, Sr., however, is no less fervent in his commitment to bringing the next generation into the industry all while building a profitable business.

A few years back, David and Shawn looked around and realized they had been doing business the wrong way, or more to the point, they saw what they believed to be a better way. Their concept is considered by some to be revolutionary. It is, however, completely above board and runs according to industry standards following all rules imposed by the industry, including limitations on which parts of the real estate and funding transaction can be handled by whom. PCM is rigid in its insistence that the regulations are taught, learned, and followed.

Digging deeper into their concept, David describes the PCM model as teaching wealth building. PCM has made a real commitment to providing education and teaching their people how to protect themselves no matter whether the economy is up or down.

“We’re proud of the way everybody in our company communicates and works together. We’re one company running four different companies. It’s seamless. We’re under one roof and everybody knows what’s going on across the whole transaction.”

PCM controls the mortgage, the real estate, the title, and the insurance. This offers flexibility and the ability to deliver more for the client. The four companies are spreading across the country with the People’s Choice Mortgage company leading the way and Streamline Realty, Streamline Title, and Streamline Insurance following to create the full one-stop-shop client experience.

It has not always been a bed of roses as the company has grown. One of the disappointments came when a long-time employee left unexpectedly. It felt like a family member leaving and both David and Shawn considered this to be a failure on their part. The introspection following this, however, led to a major benefit for the employees: A renewed commitment was made to provide coaching to every employee who needs and wants it. Both David and Shawn see this commitment to coaching and training to be an integral part of the company’s future.

In the final analysis, education and coaching truly are the heart of People’s Choice Mortgage. The company is committed to coaching and educating its employees and spends money, resources, and time ensuring each employee has every opportunity to find their best place in the company’s broad service options.

The investment upfront is higher than one might find elsewhere in the industry. PCM considers this worth the price in time and dollars for the loyalty this engenders as well as knowing that they are being trained up in the PCM method. The company takes the concept of coaching even further, extending the same commitment to education to the client experience as well.

“We don’t deny anybody. I know I can’t legally say that, but in a real sense, it’s true. We develop everybody. We don’t deny you. We work with you to tighten up areas that are causing denial. We educate you on how to work within the rules to get approved.”

Years of experience have taught us not everyone who inquires is ready to be educated. Nor are they ready to take the steps necessary to ensure a successful loan is made. PCM has a solid process in place to weed out the lookers, to ensure both the client and PCM are ready to cross the finish line together.

PCM is proud of using state-of-the-art resources in the technology field. This operational side is where Shawn shines and it’s an important part of the future vision for PCM. For Shawn, it’s all about the customer experience and improving it by using the best products and software to deliver a smooth borrower’s experience. Personal touch remains a requirement, even in technology. PCM uses Zoom conference rooms to allow face-to-face, PCM-to-customer conversation. The plan is to continue with an 80 percent virtual office commitment even beyond pandemic.

David sums it up nicely in this statement:

“We’re really good at what we do. We’re all about education and transparency and fighting for our clients. It’s our job to save the client from the confusion and even deceit in the insurance, title, real estate, and mortgage industry. It’s not all about the money. It’s about what’s right. Doing the right thing. And treating people right. That’s our business philosophy. That’s how I feel and it’s how everybody at PCM feels.”

About the Author

CaZ, the Writer Success Coach, wears many professional hats all earned through experience as a professional writer, editor, coach, marketer, educator, and entrepreneur. Aside from her nom de plume when writing, she’s known as Candy Zulkosky and is the editor-in-chief of this publication. As the Writer Success Coach, CaZ specializes in supporting writers. She finds joy in helping others to write and experience the joys of being published. CaZ coaches writers whose skills and experience range from the novice to the multi-published author. She tailors the coaching experience to best fit the needs of each writer and business professional she works with.

On the publishing side, CaZ is a multi-book published author and has edited or assisted in bringing dozens of authors to both print and to the best seller lists!

CaZ is pronounced KayZeein case you were wondering.

According to coach Christine Beckwith of 20/20 VSC, PCM’s leaders put their weight behind their words. She had this to say when asked about the company’s commitment to coaching and personnel development,

“People’s Choice Mortgage and all of its members are incredibly dedicated to the growth of their firm. Each member who has placed themselves under the tutelage of David Fasano Sr and Shawn Hendricks Sr has taken their incredible gift of professional development with a deep commitment. This team puts in the work to hone their professional skills to the highest levels. All are participating in a progressive certification course building entrepreneurship tactical skills and developing best-in-class sales plus service.

That said, the thing that has stood out to us the most after hours of dedicated consulting is their vision for their firm’s future. It is clear they know the path they are on will take them to a future they envision for PC Mortgage and they are clearly willing to put in the work.” 


Written by: Jenny Mason

I will be turning 50 in a few days. Wow! As I write this, a wave of emotion flows through me and I fear I may pass out. How can this be? I am only 22. Honest!

Well, in my mind 22 is about the age I feel, and where I think of myself as a person. Reality does not always match vision, however. As I move this paper further out to read what’s written, a quiet laugh escapes my lips and I am forced to admit my vision at 22 was greatly different than it is today. Obviously, the physical difference 25 plus years adds is significant, but I’m not referring to the reality of whether I now need glasses. My vision of life and where I fit and where I expected to go is even more drastically different now than at 22 years of age.

Then my vision was about a life of success. Now it’s about significance. Then it was about how much wealth I could amass, how many sales contests could I win, how good could I look. Today my vision is about a life that includes a legacy. Today it’s about how I can impact someone else’s life in such a way it’s still impacting them long after I’m gone. Today it’s about what I want to be remembered for.

What would you say to your younger self if you could go back and give advice? I would tell myself, “Your worth is not determined by dollar signs or other people’s opinions. Your worth is only determined by the one who created you with a plan and purpose far greater than anyone can imagine. I would tell myself to relentlessly pursue fulfilling the vision gifted by the creator.”

Do not spend time staring into the rearview mirror. Do not dwell on thoughts like, Man, if only, or I wish, or I should have. Looking back will not move us closer to where we want or need to be. Looking back does not fulfill a future vision. Instead, it is the cause for a longer journey and one that ends far from where we are meant to be. It’s never too late, nor are you ever too old, to adjust your vision, make a new plan, and fulfill your purpose. The King James Version of Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

I believe your purpose is why you exist, why you do what you do. Your vision is what you aim to achieve, the impact you want to make. Your mission is how you plan to achieve your vision. Your values are the compass to help guide you along the path to your vision. Your goals are road signs along the way helping you progress in the right direction.

Each of us face times in our lives when we struggle with knowing and understanding our purpose, what are we passionate about, why we do what we do day in and day out, and even at times why we do not feel fulfilled. I know successful people who seemingly have it all yet are empty. Finding your purpose is a tool to live a happier, more fulfilled life. Living according to your values, feeling like what you are doing is worthwhile, making an impact leads to a life more abundant, one of significance. Once you have tasted significance, success doesn’t taste quite the same.

According to one analysis I read in The New York Times, “Only 25 percent of American adults cite having a clear sense of purpose about what makes their lives meaningful, while 40 percent either claim neutrality on the subject or say they don’t. Recent research reveals living with a sense of purpose, acting in accord with your most cherished values and goals, has numerous benefits for both physical and mental health. For example, feeling you have a purpose decreases your chance of premature death, according to a study of almost 7000 adults between the ages of 51 and 61. Amazingly, those without a sense of purpose were almost twice as likely to die in the four years of the study. Other studies show a sense of purpose promotes healthy behaviors and is associated with better physical and mental health outcomes. For example, a 2019 study by a team of British researchers found a sense of purpose also promoted happiness and a sense of well-being among adults 50-90. A recent study of seniors in a retirement community suggests that a sense of purpose might even alleviate loneliness.”

What can you do to find your purpose? Consider how you can help others. Researchers at Florida State University and Stanford found happiness and meaningfulness overlap but were different: Happiness was linked to being a taker before a giver, whereas meaningfulness went more with being a giver than a taker. Being the giver in a relationship connected people with having a more purposeful life. How can you serve others in a meaningful way throughout your life?

Another task you can undertake is to look back over your life and identify when you felt most fulfilled. When you look back, ask yourself what was it about those times you allowed yourself to openly express yourself because you were content? What did you allow to happen during those times because you felt such passion about what you were doing?

Sometimes this introspection is hard. If so, take a different direction and ask others what reminds them of you or what enters their mind when they think of you. Begin to take note of what people compliment you on. What comes easily to you and is noticed by others?

Another idea is to explore your interests, perhaps both within and outside of work. What excites you? What are your greatest strengths? What do you like talking about the most? What do you genuinely love to do? It should feel like you are rowing downstream rather than battling upstream. In other terms, work is required but constant struggling and suffering are not.

If you find yourself in a constant battle, constantly struggling or suffering you probably are not living your purpose. Fill in this statement about yourself:  My life is complete and ideal when I am____ (doing what, fill in with a verb). Don’t stop with one. List several verbs then identify the most important one. Write all the answers to these down and put them somewhere you can look at daily.

Clarify your vision, lock in your destination with goal setting, align your goals with your purpose and passions, become clear on your values, know why you do what you do, start taking actions to move you in the right direction. If an activity or goal isn’t moving you in the right direction, find a way to stop doing it or change it. Relentlessly pursue what sets your soul on fire.

About the Author

Jenny Mason is a regional business development manager with Movement Mortgage. She is 100 percent a servant leader building relationships, encouraging people, igniting passions, and adding value for all. Jenny is passionate about encouraging, serving, and inspiring people to overcome their limiting beliefs, to reach for the sky, excel more, ascend higher, and live life more abundantly personally, professionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually!

Jenny is one of the many incredible Coaches at 20/20 VSC.



On this episode Sue Woodard, Chief Customer Officer at Total Expert, joins Christine Beckwith & Jason Frazier to talk about her journey in the mortgage industry. Sue touches on the purpose behind her passion for helping people, taking chances, and the importance of sharing what you learn to help others.  

Christine Beckwith of 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching and Jason Frazier of Mortgage X Creative bring you the Mortgage X Podcast. Guests range from visionaries working hard to evolve our industry to meet the needs of the modern consumer to the industry’s biggest producers, advocates, legends, thought leaders, partners, and lenders.

After you listen to this great podcast, be sure to take a look at the January issue of the Women With Vision Magazine where Kelsey Rauchut was featured as the cover story!


Consumer inflation was tame in February, per the latest Consumer Price Index and Personal Consumption Expenditures reports. But in the coming months, inflation levels are expected to rise significantly, as the readings for the more current months replace the extremely low numbers from 2020. It’s quite possible to see the rate of inflation rise towards 2.5% – and it’s likely that this will influence interest rates to higher levels.

Why? As inflation rises, it typically causes mortgage rates to move higher as well. That’s because inflation is the arch-enemy of interest rates since it erodes the buying power of the fixed return that a mortgage holder receives. In fact, rates have already ticked higher this year as just the fear of inflation has had a negative impact on Mortgage Bonds and home loan rates. As a result, many people may now be sitting on the fence instead of moving forward with a home purchase or refinance.

This trending news tip comes from the team at MBS Highway.
An MBS Highway membership offers access to a wide range of tools, including their Buy vs. Rent Comparison, Loan Comparison tool, debt consolidation tools, daily coaching videos and lock alerts. 

Use this link to try the MBS tools with a 14-day trial. Try MBS Highway ;

When I’m thinking about branding, Superman really was one of the best branders out there.


Learn how Vonk Digital can help you leverage the New Way to build your brand, authority, and credibility with our website platform and tools. Visit us at

Read this vlog episode, if you prefer, on the Vonk Digital blog!

Vonk Digital, an industry leader in website and marketing tools for mortgage originators across America, is a proud sponsor and hosting partner of The Vision Magazine.

VISION SUMMIT will be a hybrid event. Attend virtually and/or attend LIVE following social distancing and other COVID related practices.

Register here

or visit the website for more information.


Have you checked out the 20/20 VSC website lately? Our dynamic, talented, and experienced coaches have their own page! Visit to read all about this amazing team.

The words 20/20 Vision for Success are not in the name of this company by accident. Coaching is about building a foundation for results and knowing how to step into action based on that foundation. Turning vision into reality requires trust that the bedrock beneath the vision is sound. Coaching with 20/20 Vision begins by building and strengthening your foundation and ensures that, as coaching progresses, you and the 20/20 team behind you remain focused on the vision for success.

This month’s book choice is a little unsual. But then, the author of the book is unusual in his own right. I love pretty much anything Matthew McConaughey does on screen, so it seemed an easy choice to try his writing. I’m glad I did. It is at times laugh-out-loud funny, charming, and a fun read. Kind of what I need at the end of a busy day writing and editing. He shares great stories and takes the reader on a wonderful ride through the human side of a public icon.

Here’s a brief outtake, all rights reserved of course.

“This is not a traditional memoir. Yes, I tell stories from the past, but I have no interest in nostalgia, sentimentality, or the retirement most memoirs require. This is not an advice book, either. Although I like preachers, I’m not here to preach and tell you what to do.

This is an approach book. I am here to share stories, insights, and philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it.

This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life. Adventures that have been significant, enlightening, and funny, sometimes because they were meant to be but mostly because they didn’t try to be. I’m an optimist by nature, and humor has been one of my great teachers. It has helped me deal with pain, loss, and lack of trust. I’m not perfect; no, I step in shit all the time and recognize it when I do. I’ve just learned how to scrape it off my boots and carry on.

We all step in shit from time to time. We hit roadblocks, we f*** up, we get f***ed, we get sick, we don’t get what we want, we cross thousands of “could have done better”s and “wish that wouldn’t have happened”s in life. Stepping in shit is inevitable, so let’s either see it as good luck, or figure out how to do it less often.”

Recommended READING

Be sure to catch these other great reads from Christine Beckwith. Feel free to go grab them now on Amazon! 

Breaking the Cycle is filled with engaging stories wrapped around a theme of power words and is an invaluable treasure trove of practical, hands-on advice. Jam-packed with easy-to-implement suggestions, you’ll read sage advice from two women whose diverse career paths literally write the book on how to create your version of success!

In Wise Eyes: See Your Way to Success, Beckwith tells her life story in a style that is real and raw, but brutally honest. Wise Eyes is a handbook for professionals wanting to walk a direct path to incredible success.

And in her most recent book, Win or Learn: The Naked Truth, Beckwith joins more than a dozen other C-Suite professional women from across the mortgage, real estate, and finance industry for frank discussions about what it takes to succeed as a woman in the top eschelon of business in today’s world.

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