IT TAKES HEART
Growing for the Generations is a term Corrina coined. It aptly describes the vision she holds for her family and business. Family and business are intertwined and inseparable in her world. For Corrina, success includes knowing her family is going to succeed, with or without her presence.
Featuring Contributing Writer, Fobby Naghmi
Lessons of a Bass Player
“The true measure of leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” The moment I read his definition, I felt a pressure lift off me, a weight I had placed on myself. I thought leaders told others what to do, how to do it, and when it needed to be completed.
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.
Featuring Contributing Writer, Laura Kay Sheely
Connecting With Carl: A Snapshot of True Leadership
Carl was a leader with no title. He fully embraced his hometown and continuously looked for ways to support the business owners, tourists, and community around him. He needed to have no defined authority because he was authentic and transformational.
Featuring Contributing Writer, Ruth Lee
Diary of an Executive: Escape from Beeps, Dots, and In-Your-Face Notifications
Every year, I take some time and really look around my desk, my house, and my life. I catalogue the untidy bits I’d like to set straight, the goals I have for making it better, and I identify stuff that is past time to make it go away. Unlike Marie Kondo, the premiere home-and-life organizer, there are items for me which make the cut despite the joy they bring.
Featuring Contributing Writer, Suha Beidas Zehl
Fortune Favors the Bold!
Flash back to 2005, when two young entrepreneurs, Eddy Perez and KP Patel, with $1000 and a dream, started Equity Prime Mortgage (EPM). Their defining moment came during the height of the financial crisis in 2008, when the two entrepreneurs realized they had to go all in if they wanted to save their business.
Featuring Contributing Writer, Jenny Mason
Achieve Escape Velocity — Cross Out of the Comfort Zone!
One of space travel’s biggest challenges is achieving escape velocity. The same is true with people, except for humans, velocity is less about getting into orbit and more about maintaining enough momentum and thrust to resist and break through the forces pulling us back and keeping us trapped in our comfort zone.
n this edition of The Vision we have embraced a theme of celebrating leaders and leadership. Ray Befus, Laura Kay Sheely, Fobby Naghmi, and Jenny Mason each share incredible stories coming from their distinctly different perspectives. Fair warning, the Coaches ConnXion by Ray Befus may bring a tear or two and tongue is for sure in cheek with Jenny Mason’s V Factor piece. You may see a surprising side of Fobby and I promise you, it’s a great read. Laura Kay’s piece on leadership draws from her upcoming book release, The 52 Mindset, which launches in mid-February.
In her publisher’s message, Christine Beckwith, has shared her thoughts about our cover profile of Corrine Carter. I will add what a joy it was getting to know her better as we prepared this issue. I encourage you to take time out and read this amazing heart-centered leader’s story.
We are introducing two new columns in this issue. Be sure to read both of these great articles today and watch for the continuing columns in future issues of The Vision!
- Ruth Lee brings us the Diary of an Executive. She will offer short, topical items, likely humorous, about business and life.
- Meet The Pros will feature a different mover and shaker from across the industry. In this issue, Suha Zihl kicks us off in high-style with an invigorating and warm profile of EPM.
Eyes on News offers a fast look at tips and reports from across the mortgage and real estate industry. Thanks to Barry Habib and his MBS Highway for providing us the latest tips.
We are setting out in a new year still dealing with societal issues no one could have predicted. In these digital pages we will bring you the voices we hear and see across the industry. We hope you enjoy each of the features and stories presented here and in each issue. We are already working on the April/May of The Vision and looking forward to Spring. And of course, before then the March/April issue of the Women With Vision Magazine will publish. Be sure to subscribe to both. Thank you to those who’ve already subscribed to both magazines and please go share the link!
Please enjoy today’s issue and share www.TheVisionMag.com 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.
Here we are just a few weeks into 2021, and I see so many professionals working so incredibly hard and it’s truly inspiring. I often talk about what fills your cup and for me it’s knowing we’ve built something people need and want. To be surrounded day in and day out by people who want to help one another is truly incredible. I feel so grateful to God for the blessings I am experiencing. After two-plus years we are seeing the fruits of our labor blossom. This magazine has become a place for professionals to not only spotlight their stories but also to receive information pertinent to their businesses.
This month’s cover is special to me; Corrina Carter and I met a couple years ago at an AIME event in Miami, and I interviewed her from the Shred Media booth with Josh Pitts. She was charming and passionate, well-spoken, and I knew then what is reality now. She is someone who wants to soar and is leading her business like a pro. She is a shining example of the broker channel and she looks to fill her gaps with resources, and she is sharp and intelligent about how she runs her business. I predict Corrina is one to watch for future growth and success. I have my money on her!
We hope you further enjoy all the contributors’ stories and the video clips, the NEWS from MBS Highway, and the wonderful articles surely will leave you inspired.
WRITE FOR US
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.
Written by: CaZ
The term Mom-and-Pop Business is rarely used to describe a highly successful mortgage origination company, but it certainly fits for Corrina Carter’s CMS Mortgage Solutions, and only in the best and highest use of the phrase!
Corrina found a home when she started out in mortgage 23 years ago. Then, fifteen years ago she opened the doors to her own company and more recently, made the decision to purchase a property and carve a home away from home for herself, her staff, and her clients.
“I’m proud of the home we built here. We’re in a condo office community and everything we need is here, including the kitchen sink. When COVID hit, staff were disappointed they had to work from home. They get the same pleasures working here they get at home. We like to make their work experience feel more like home than corporate offices.”
Growing for the Generations is a term Corrina coined. It aptly describes the vision she holds for her family and business. Family and business are intertwined and inseparable in her world. For Corrina, success includes knowing her family is going to succeed, with or without her presence.
“My family has joined me. Most are in some fashion a part of the business. My son helps me run the operations, my daughter handles accounting, and other family members help me on an assistant level, with tasks I can’t get done during the day. Even my mother runs errands when we’re not under COVID restrictions.”
Corrina’s vision also includes ensuring her staff has the tools to grow within CMS and can use their time with CMS as a stepping stone in their own careers, whether it means opening a business or moving into a more challenging position.
“I am not afraid of somebody coming on board with me for a year or two years or three years and becoming more successful than me. I opened CMS because I wanted more affordable options for my clients and the freedom to create options for myself, my family, and my community. I think one of our greatest successes is we’re supporting for generations.”
There were many doubters in Corrina’s youth. She freely admits to being the rebel who did things her own way and always looked outside the box for the path forward. This mindset, which is, in large part, what has ensured her success, presented a challenge to her family, most of whom were tradition-bound, choosing what Corrina dubs, the “old world” dynamic. There were no entrepreneurs before Corrina in her family. Her son was the first person in her family to graduate from college. Her nephew was the first in her family to make a career in the military. Today she embraces these differences and recognizes that as she’s grown and evolved into a strong leader and entrepreneur and her son thrives as an entrepreneur, others in her family prefer the relative security of being the nine to five team members rather than the leader.
“My family has grown up together. I’m not saying I taught them; life has taught us and we’ve learned to work together as a team. Having my family in my business reinforces every day my personal goal to make sure my family succeeds.”
Corrina has been a sole owner and woman-operated business since opening CMS Mortgage Solutions. In the early days, she found it challenging to gain the respect of the men in the field. Today, while it is easier for a woman to sit at the table as an equally qualified and respected business owner, the challenges continue with a slightly different spin.
When she was younger and starting out as a business owner, it was necessary she present herself as older, more experienced.
“I remember when I used the grandma card and how I discovered it by accident. One day at a networking event I was among peers, about 10 of us, eight older men, all white, me a relatively new business owner, and one other female who was an assistant. Basically, I’d felt their disdain and could see they did not count me as an equal. I had to take a call and leave early to go pick up my grandson. When I mentioned why I was leaving, suddenly I was of interest to these guys! They wanted to know how old I was, how long I’d been in the business.
Immediately, I found my respect card punched full, and that respect card came from one word, which had nothing to do with mortgages. Grandmother. The lightbulb went off. It was like one of those V-8 commercials you see on TV as I realized I’d been working all this time and opened my company and did everything I could think of to gain their respect, when what do you know, all I had to do was become a senior in their eyes.”
Today, the market has changed and evolved. Corrina is older and more experienced and finds many customers are looking for a team of younger, hip financial advisors, complete with cool shoes and cool clothes.
“In the past ten years as we’ve revived the mortgage industry; it’s become easier for women. Even so, it’s still 85 percent men leading our industry. Women do have a bigger voice at the table and we are not afraid to speak up. The challenge is to find that balance between the junior and senior.”
An important benefit and personal strength Corrina brings to her clients and the mortgage world is embodied in this quote, her favorite, from Maya Angelou:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Corrina is dedicated to the concept of building strong teams and leading by example. She brings team management into every part of her life. She runs her house as a team and the office as a team. Learning how to treat others as you want to be treated is a philosophy she embraced early in life and one she continues to both live by and teach. To Corrina, team means delegate, not dictate. Everyone has assigned roles to manage tasks within their own positions yet also shares tasks and assignments as a team member. This duality ensures smooth interaction and production occurs across the team and facilitates the high level of client service Corrina requires of her staff. In addition, it’s an ideal training ground with experienced pros able to nurture novice hires.
“No matter how young or how old, no matter how much experience a person comes in with, they bring value. Just because I have 23 years’ experience doesn’t mean a nine-month experienced person can’t bring something to the table. I’ve seen this played out time and time again and when the team considers all perspectives, it benefits all members. As a leader, it’s up to me to know the strengths and weaknesses in my team. And then to make sure people are in the roles that build to their strengths.”
Corrina’s leadership skills are appreciated both within her organization and within the industry. She and CMS have a stellar reputation and receive rave reviews from clients and colleagues alike. We share a comment here from Christine Beckwith, President of 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching:
“I have had the pleasure of working with Corrina on her business and what stands out about her is how engaged she was from the very start. From day one she has read every email, she has taken all steps suggested, she has listened, acted, and executed. She comes with the proper questions, she assesses her business with transparent honesty, and she genuinely runs her business like a CEO. I have full confidence Corrina will have a long run of great growth and success!”
When asked what, in hindsight, she might have done differently in her business and personal life, Corrina does not hesitate to say, “delegate more.” Learning to delegate without dictating and delegating to the right people at the right time are lessons Corrina admits she is still mastering. She believes learning to delegate is often more difficult for women, especially heart-centered women like herself who tend to naturally adopt a motherly role, even in business. She considers having a softer side to be a benefit but knows when to close out emotion and play hardball.
“I’m half and half, and I tell the guys in my business they have an advantage because most guys find it easy to shut the door on work and sleep at night. It’s not that they don’t care, they just know how to cut it off a little faster. Women are what we call EBs, emotional bitches. We bring the heart into it and when we have to get tough, we’re called EBs. When I hire, I talk about these things. I ask how quick are you to turn the other cheek or how quickly do you cut things off? Or how quick are you to pick things up and move on? In this business, we answer to rejection, guilt, and pressure every day. Men and women both have to know when to embrace their EB nature and when to shut down the EB side.”
“One of my passions is to educate people on why I do this, how to do it, and to get the younger generations involved. You know, we don’t even teach how to write a check in high school anymore. I had to teach my son a couple of years ago how to write a deposit slip. Of course, he had to teach me how to use a mobile device for banking, so we laugh about it. For me, business is about staying on a steady, strategic path that includes bringing new ideas and new people into the industry. There’s room to feed us all and, especially for those who are hungry, there’s room to learn from their peers. The sky is the limit. It’s important to bring up the next team. I think 80 percent of us are phasing out in the next five years because we’re 50 and older.
My main goal for my business is to stay on the path we are on and to strategically get more people involved in the day to day, meaning building the foundation and structure to keep it going. I want my family to be able to do this after I retire in 10 years. Or maybe eight. Or six.”
There are few regrets in Corrina’s life today. Perhaps the most poignant is having to choose, as a single mother, between spending more time with her children or building a strong future for them.
“I was always worried. I needed the dollar as a single mom with two kids. I didn’t delegate as much as I could or should have. Instead, I worked harder and longer hours. I was the only single mom in the neighborhood with a house and two cars. It was a trade-off.
I don’t like what-ifs, but if I had to name the one thing I might change, it would be to hire an assistant sooner. I am learning I’m addicted to my work. I think I could have created a better balance and would not be so addicted right now. I’ve learned to delegate more. I couldn’t do that before. I think that’s the lesson you learn in business, especially if you’re a workaholic.
I don’t think I can stop unless I know my family is going to succeed without me. Whether I’m retired on the beach or I’m not here on Earth, my family’s wellbeing and future are what drives me the most.”
As might be expected, work is pleasure for Corrina. And having brought her family into the work environment, fulfillment is even richer for her. She does have a hobby, however, one her family teases her about because it’s not quite what one would expect. Her hobby started 16 years ago with the birth of her grandson. Being his grandmother has been her hobby ever since. Corrina believes her grandchildren provide the balance she needs in life. Now that Jayden is growing up and about to start driving, Corrina has another hobby falling into place, her granddaughter Shalyn, who will be five in February.
“My daughter has worked for me three times. She’s been fired twice. Once she quit. My son, who has worked with me for five years, had to convince her to come back to work with us. That’s been about three years now. It’s afforded her a good lifestyle with the kids. She is definitely a nine to fiver and likes having structure in her work-life. My son is the entrepreneur who is running my company with me. He opened a title company a year ago, so he is actually running two businesses.”
Corrina has come a long way from being a runaway at 12, an institutionalized 14-year-old, a pregnant 15-year-old, and a 17-year-old senior in high school caring for a two-year-old while working two jobs.
“My parents never supported me financially. They were always there for me and told me when I was not doing the right thing. They never let me or my kids be homeless, but they insisted that I provide for my family and I did. You know, before my dad died three years ago, it was like my best friend came to work with me every day. Family is my why, my everything.”
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Written by: Ray Befus, Executive Coach
Each month I facilitate 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching’s (VSC) Emotional Intelligence (EQ) mastermind conversation in which our students explore diﬀerent facets of emotional intelligence and its profound impact on their success in sales and marketing, operations, team building, and leadership. 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.
Some men and women in the workplace still downplay emotional intelligence as a squishy, touchy-feeling, soft skill for people who lack street smarts, mental toughness, and technical expertise.
Repeated studies across decades and diﬀerent industries reveal the truth. Characteristics like self-awareness, empathy, the ability to listen deeply, to initiate diﬃcult conversations, to avoid giving unnecessary oﬀense, to build rapport and trust, to motivate and hold people accountable in ways to bring them to life are as important to our success as our IQ.
More to the point, if two individuals share the same IQ, education, experience, and opportunity, the woman or man with the higher EQ will make more sales, gain more promotions, make substantial more money over the course of their career, build stronger and more productive teams, and achieve much greater respect and influence within his or her organization and industry.
Your emotional intelligence and mine will diﬀerentiate our personal brand, move us from judging people to understanding them, keep our emotions from hijacking our ability to think clearly and respond thoughtfully instead of reacting or flipping out under pressure.
You and I, along with everyone in our organizations, all our potential customers and our present clients are emotional beings, and anyone who tells you, you shouldn’t bring your emotions to work lacks intelligence. This way of thinking was common during the industrial revolution in which people stood for 8- or 10- or 12-hour shifts on an assembly line, putting two screws in a widget—one after another, after another, after another. Managers who considered emotions irrelevant to getting work done treated people like gears in a large machine. This perspective of emotional life wore people out. It didn’t stir anyone to adopt an owner’s mindset and give the very best of themselves to their team. People learned to work for money, not for purpose or fulfillment.
Times have changed and no one will put up with being treated like a gear in a machine if they can find another alternative. You and I and everyone else on our teams are bringing their emotions to work and, their emotions empower their work. People who minimize emotion and emotional intelligence create a low ceiling over their own success.
Let me use this short article to shine a spotlight on the power of your Emotional Why to focus your decisions, energize your work, and boost your tenacity to overcome challenges and achieve goals. When people don’t follow through on their New Year’s resolutions, or stay focused on reaching their goals, when they quit under pressure, its often because they have never tapped into their emotional longings or they have lost this deep awareness somewhere along their professional journey.
Emotion anchors, empowers, and sustains our clearest focus, our strongest eﬀorts, our boldest risks, and our greatest achievements. We recently marked Martin Luther King Day in our calendars. What empowered Dr. King’s life and leadership? He had a dream! And when he described his dream on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the summer of 1963 in a strong but trembling voice filled with deep emotion, the entire nation felt the emotional why that empowered his life and legacy. And we’ve never forgotten it.
If you asked me, “Ray, what has kept you going as you launched your coaching enterprise, overcame unexpected challenges, persevered through unimagined tests of character, and kept pushing yourself to move forward? What has brought you to this place where you’ve achieved an enviable measure of success in your career?”
It’s Still About the Dream
My answer would be and is, “I have dream that stirred me the first time I imagined it, a dream that still stirs me ten years later. If I go there, I can still tear up, swallow hard, feel the longing to experience its fulfillment.” This dream is my emotional why.
My wife married me during our college years. And then we went on to graduate school where I took several years to earn a master’s degree. That was in a period of ancient history when research papers had to be typed on typewriters. My beautiful bride spent those challenging years helping me through grad school by working during the day and typing my papers late into the night. I have remembered mental snapshots of me sitting at my desk in the bedroom writing anxiously, with a pen on a yellow pad, and her sitting at the kitchen table typing furiously. And for the 100-page thesis I had to write so I could graduate, the typing had to be perfect. Errors could not be corrected; pages with a single mistake had to be re-typed. While I wrote over a hundred pages; she certainly typed several hundred pages for the project.
When I graduated, I bought her a beautiful ring; a large sapphire surrounded by diamonds. She still wears it. I’ve never gotten over her generosity, kindness, patience, and commitment to helping me through those years as well as the succeeding decades. She’s always given more than she has taken.
And so, when I had the opportunity to develop this coaching enterprise and I set out to make more money and enjoy more flexibility than I had in the earlier chapters of my career, I began to dream of making my wife’s older years, truly golden years. I decided I would do whatever it took to make her dreams come true: travel, buy/build a beautiful home, freedom to go wherever and do whatever she desired. I decided to make my career as an executive coach a grand thank you to my wife for a lifetime of support.
That dream motivates me every morning when I wake up at 4:00 am to begin my race into a new day. It’s why I keep pushing; I refuse to quit, I rise after falling, and I keep asking for help. I have a dream. I work one day at a time for those moments when she smiles at me and even tears up over a special surprise, an unexpected weekend away, a gift that revealed I had been studying her evolving interests. I work for her smiles, tears, laughter, and pleasure. Her joy is my emotional why.
Find Your Emotional Why
How do people like us lose 50-100 lbs., push themselves uphill to change and grow, risk embarrassment and failure to develop new abilities, stand up to criticism and move forward anyway with both humility and courage? How do men and women in the real estate and mortgage banking industries build successful careers and businesses while living their best lives now?
They have a dream. They carry in their imagination a finish-line moment in which they are surrounded by family and friends. In their mind’s eye they can see the people they love standing around them, telling stories and laughing. Their laughter comes from such a deep place the tears easily flow. In this vision they’ve gathered to celebrate this person’s remarkable growth, achievement, and example. It’s the dinner party of a lifetime, the celebration of an impossible dream come true. This vision of a future finish line moment is the emotional why that focuses these dreamers’ decisions today, energizes their work, and boosts their tenacity to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.
Do you want to take your own energy, focus, strength, and tenacity oﬀ the charts, and create a dream worth living for? Do you want to take your team to new levels of engagement and retention? Start taking them out for lunch, one at a time, and asking them about their personal dreams. They may need your help in recovering their dreams or creating a new dream for their season of life. And then you can ask them how you and your business can help them reach their dreams through your work together.
One unusually successful company in my hometown has created a culture of helping their employees reach their personal dreams through building their business together. And the morale within the company is well known across the region.
Here’s a truth you can take to the bank, “When we lose our why, we lose our way.”
Take some time to drill down into your dream. Pause long enough to imagine your finish-line moment. With your imagination, envision the people you love celebrating your example and achievements. Imagine their tear-filled eyes, their smiles as they step forward to draw you into a warm embrace. Feel yourself flush, shudder, or tear-up with emotion. That is your emotional why stirring within you, surging up, and ready to empower your success in this New Year.
"Do you want to take your own energy, focus, strength, and tenacity oﬀ the charts, and create a dream worth living for?"
“When we lose our why, we lose our way.”
“I have dream that stirred me the first time I imagined it, a dream that still stirs me ten years later. If I go there, I can still tear up, swallow hard, feel the longing to experience its fulfillment.”
Written by: Laura Kay Sheely
You may be a one-person sales machine or already leading a team of people. No matter where you are, thinking as a leader needs to be at the front of your sales strategy and presentation. Always. Leadership is not about a title, but rather a way of living your life and supporting people around you in ways to make them want to follow you.
My husband’s grandfather, Carl Oehl was known as the Bürgermeister of Amana, IA. Carl could be seen waving to spectators at festival parades, tapping the beer keg to kick off the annual Oktoberfest events, and was often consulted about how Amana could continue to remain relevant in the Iowa tourism market. On weekends he could be found sitting at the local meat market or buzzing around town in his golf cart greeting locals and stopping to chat with the visitors.
Carl grew up in a small German village and worked in the meat shop as his first real job. When he retired after many years in the restaurant business, he still wanted to connect with people so he started going down to the meat market every weekend when the tourists flocked to the town. As he met people from all over the world, he asked their name and birthday. Then, with their permission, he added them to his pocket datebook and promised to call them on their birthday. Each morning he would wake up and look to see whose birthday it was and give them a call. Sometimes he would sing them a German song or simply say Happy Birthday from Carl Oehl in Amana. He was delighted to start each day celebrating with the new and old friends he had made.
When Carl passed away, we found his datebook sitting by his bed. He had kept it with him all the way until the end. Months after he passed, I was working in the Chicago area, and when I told someone where I was from, without knowing who I was, they said, “Oh yes! Carl from the meat shop used to call me every year on my birthday.”
You can only imagine how I felt his legacy living on through the conversation.
Carl was a leader with no title. He fully embraced his hometown and continuously looked for ways to support the business owners, tourists, and community around him. He needed to have no defined authority because he was authentic and transformational. He made people feel special simply by remembering their name and date of birth.
Carl’s legacy reminds us recognition of people matters on both a personal and business level. We cannot simply be looking up or focusing on titles in our organizational structure to see leadership. To be a true leader you must be looking all around you for opportunities to build others up. As leaders, it’s important for us to understand people need help, guidance and, at times, simply a listening ear. The power in being a leader does not come from a title. As Carl knew during his time sitting in the back corner of a small-town meat shop, people simply needed his smile and a story about how they could take their Amana experience out into whatever world they were living in.
Transformative and Authentic
Transformational leadership and authentic leadership role models have similar characteristics, and each requires a common connection or emotional tie between the leader and the followers. In transformational leadership, people are changed and transformed to believe the leadership direction given. This leadership style includes emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals.
Within the transformational leadership approach, we find people are inspired to do better at their jobs and captivated to follow the charismatic leader. They are also more open to following a broader vision which has been set forth for their work. The leader is attentive and engaged in the needs of their followers.
Researchers Warren Bennis and Burt Banus have identified transformational leaders maintain a clear vision for the future, focus on social architecture, create trust in their organizations, and deploy creativity to positive self-regard. For transformational leadership to work, leaders must be strong role models and display behaviors their followers are attracted to. They must always have a higher vision and motivation to draw the followers. Full commitment to the mission is critical for followers to maintain their motivation and to perform above and beyond expectations.
Authentic leadership, like transformational leadership, requires leaders to be real and authentic with their followers. Leaders must have self-knowledge, self-regulation, and self-concept. They must be relational and focused on how they are connecting with their followers. These leaders recognize this type of leadership must be nurtured and cannot necessarily be fixed to a timeline or deadline.
When leaders exhibit these behaviors and decision-making abilities, we are drawn to follow them. They can often send a message about needed change and recognize when change is possible. They influence the decisions of followers in an emotionally connected way.
Keeping a leadership mindset will set you apart from your competition and draw customers to trust your recommendations. Remember, there are opportunities to help others on their own journey to success. Being a leader in your field does not require a title. It only requires you do and act on what is best for your community with every possible interaction.
Written by: Ruth Lee, CMB
Every year, I take some time and really look around my desk, my house, and my life. I catalogue the untidy bits I’d like to set straight, the goals I have for making it better, and I identify stuff that is past time to make it go away. Unlike Marie Kondo, the premiere home-and-life organizer, there are items for me which make the cut despite the joy they bring. Because they are a duty and a responsibility, I organize according to this whole adulting thing I was caught up in after college.
I sit at my desk with my notebook(s), sticky notes, Outlook, Gmail, browser, company application(s), Excel, Word, Adobe, and often an LOS open at the same time. Restarting my computer is a five-minute process of naming, renaming, and saving or saving as, bookmarking, and sometimes just shutting it off and hoping it shows up in my restored docs because I have a zoom meeting in three minutes.
In these days of living in the rona, my trappings now include a webcam, a light ring, ‘cause it really makes a difference, and lots of dog and cat treats to chuck down the stairs when the critters encroach on a call. Nothing like a cat’s pucker-up in the webcam to really make you look like a pro.
This year, holidays in the rona became stay-at-home events which included a LOT of online shopping, self-help reading, becoming creative on the culinary side (fennel kind of rocks, just sayin), and thinking about how to wrangle myself into a more organized and productive executive who is moving forward not just marinating in last year.
I start with my go-to: challenge my assumptions. Do I really need email on my PC, laptop, tablet, phone, and wrist when I spend a GIANT amount of time inside my house within feet of all those objects? As my only real tether to the outside, I feel this weird Pavlovian attachment to them. But they aren’t making me stronger, better, or faster. I have discovered all these extraneous devices are making me anxious.
I read this great piece in a Harvard Business Review article about turning off all the beeps, dots, and other notifications. And I will say, while I still have twitchy moments, there has been no catastrophic loss of knowledge or productivity from me deciding to actively check communication rather than passively being poked by the universe every time someone hits reply all to a stupid meme, or there’s a new trunk show on Moda Operandi.
My first inclination is to go back to my roots. I’m thinking I’ll hit my organizational challenges 80s style with the Day-Timer. It’s a solid approach, right? But is it for me? It’s like Ginkgo Biloba; if you can remember to take it, you probably don’t need it.
So, not 80s Day-Timer, let’s bring it into this century. What about virtual? With all the new digital Day-Timer-like solutions out there, there are plenty to consider. I’ve recognized for me it’s not about how great or easy their process might be, it’s about how I condense, receive, and prioritize information.
Instead of going tactical, I’m going with strategic. There are many solutions, and I am going to go with an open and creative process based on some of the best minds and opinion givers on the topic. Here are the top three benefits coming out of my research:
Automate. If you can automate a repetitive process, do it. Don’t wait. In the moment when you identify the “thing” you do over and over and over again, whether it is your signature block or marketing or routing a purchase advice, get on YouTube and watch someone else do it. Follow along and make it a part of your life. There are so many tools, apps, and widgets available. You need to be alert and open to bringing digital tools into your solution.
Outsource. In the Gig economy, you have unlimited options and access to smart folks at really low prices. If you wish you had someone who would be patient enough to completely update your database, let me tell you, there are people who will do it! And they will do it for a surprisingly low price. If you are sitting on an anxiety-filled heap of deliverables, be creative and think about how you can chunk parts of it out to get it done. For example, I recently had a proposal and needed an infographic. Like a dumb, dumb, I researched. I chose a platform, and I took the tutorial. I watched their videos and YouTube videos. And for $75, I later found someone on a Gig site who did it better and faster.
Control the input. Email, text, Slack, Teams, Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn. Just listing them took a long time. But for many of us, these tools are a part of our daily lives, and to ignore them is not optional. While I did not think it possible, I am following the sage advice to control it. I now check my communication channels twice a day and put the devices away at the end of business. It is possible! And wonder of wonder, no one dies. If they really need me, we can use this new and exciting method of communication I’ve rediscovered a passion while living in the rona; talking with people on the phone.
Despite doing my routine Google searches to find productivity tools, which I am sure I will try and potentially offer feedback about in the future, these three tips: automate, outsource, and control the input, will be my strategic productivity mantra for 2021. How about you?
Written by: Suha Beidas Zehl
Flash back to 2005, when two young entrepreneurs, Eddy Perez and KP Patel, with $1000 and a dream, started Equity Prime Mortgage (EPM). Their defining moment came during the height of the financial crisis in 2008, when the two entrepreneurs realized they had to go all in if they wanted to save their business. And it’s exactly what they did. They threw their entire savings and the kitchen sink into the organization because they needed capital to grow.
Flash forward to 2021, where from a humble startup with two employees and their $1,000, EPM has now grown to become one of the leading American mortgage lenders in the United States with offices across the nation, 462 associates, and still growing.
The path from 2005 to 2021 was filled with challenges and speed bumps. But it was also filled with opportunities and wins, and their journey is what has made EPM the success it is today.
Walking across the floor at the company headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, one cannot help but notice the upbeat atmosphere and truly happy associates who greet you at every turn. There is a vibe here, an atmosphere so vibrant, engaging, and welcoming! The walls are painted in those vibrant colors and inspirational quotes are hung throughout the offices. Inspiration is everywhere you look. And at any point in time, you may see Eddy walking up to an unsuspecting associate with his bright red megaphone to surprise him/her.
And that’s what EPM is all about: we are truly a family with a sense of community and camaraderie, promoting a diverse, inclusive, and fair culture helping bring people together. We value and respect one another; but more than that, we actually like one another!
From its early days, the company set out to be different from other employers. Everyone here is passionate about helping our clients succeed, and every associate is asked to subscribe to the 23 core company fundamentals, including “do the right thing, always”, “honor commitments,” “deliver results,” “bring it every single day,” “listen generously,” “speak courageously,” and “keep things fun.” The last one is key to our success! At EPM, we love to keep things fun; it’s just the EPM Way.
Everyone at EPM realizes the influence and consequences of what we do every single day. We understand the impact our work has on our customers: the homebuyers, the brokers, our industry partners, and each other. Our associates work in a collaborative, entrepreneurial culture; they are encouraged to bring fresh ideas and creative solutions each and every day. They are empowered and rewarded to think differently, which is so refreshing!
Another key to EPM’s success is our team’s drive to be life-long learners, to evolve and improve both personally and professionally. Our employees are encouraged to take a greater stake in their own health by offering them resources dedicated to their wellness. A new gym was built at our headquarters to make sure employees have an opportunity to work on their fitness goals and improve their health. Throughout the office, there are quiet areas where associates can sit, read, or reflect. Initiatives like EPM+ and Go365 offer our employees new ways to experience wellbeing, confidence, and satisfaction. Everyone is encouraged to volunteer in their own communities by creating community connections and making a positive impact. As one employee states, “when leadership says they care, it actually shows in their actions.”
EPM shows it cares in many other ways as well: by launching Kazoo our employees experience incentive programs, by offering leadership development opportunities such as EPMx21, by organizing broker success summits to help our broker community, by inviting industry and thought leaders to educate and inform our associates on topics ranging from professional growth to mental fortitude and everything in between during EPM’s weekly Empower Hour Live! These are but a few examples of the initiatives the organization is undertaking to promote employee engagement and fulfilment. Really, everything we do at EPM is all about personal and professional growth, evolution, learning, and creating an environment where collectively we are making impactful relationships and delivering results.
Our commitment to community service AND to standing out from the crowd is further reinforced by the influencers and experienced ambassadors we are partnering with including David Pollack and Ric Flair. David has strong ties in Georgia and his foundation is focused on creating a nation of healthy families. Ric is edgy, exuberant, and walks to the beat of his own drum. Both David and Ric embody the soul and spirit of what makes EPM well, EPM. Woo hoo!
As Eddy our CEO says, “EPM was founded with a simple goal in mind: to be a resource and voice for financial empowerment.” We are dedicated to improving people’s lives and helping our customers achieve their life-long dream of homeownership. At the heart of EPM are our two guiding principles:
- Empower People More
- It’s about Lives Not Loans
Every employee lives and breathes by these principles. Everything we do as an organization is governed by them, and they are truly the cornerstone for our company’s continued success.
Written by: Jenny Mason
5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Blast O…
It’s a New Year. There are likely new projects on the horizon. Have you checked to see if you have enough fuel to reach escape velocity? Will your energy and umph be enough to break through your (doo-do-doo-do-doo-do) comfort zone? (Apologies to the late Rod Serling.)
All kidding aside, determining velocity is a key factor in planning for growth, whether it be aligned on the personal or business front. Escape Velocity is an aeronautic term describing the speed needed to break free from a gravitational field. Rockets must go fast enough and far enough to escape the pull of gravity or they will be trapped in the earth’s orbit. One of space travel’s biggest challenges is achieving escape velocity.
The same is true with people, except for humans, velocity is less about getting into orbit and more about maintaining enough momentum and thrust to resist and break through the forces pulling us back and keeping us trapped in our comfort zone.
What does it take to improve our velocity?
To create thrust, you need fuel, and to maintain thrust, you need to know how much fuel is necessary and what kind of fuel is most effective. Is your tank full? Or are you running on E? What did you fuel up with today? Does your fuel set your soul on fire?
Let’s look again at science to answer these questions. Engineers have practices they follow to continually improve their processes and chase out risks. When we apply their lessons to our own processes, the results lead us to the higher velocity we desire.
Look at your plan. Are you expending your energy on the tasks to move you closer to your goal? What is holding you back? The clearer and more specific your goals are the less time it will take to accomplish them. Achieving escape velocity requires a definitive roadmap to ensure you have the fuel it takes to fly.
The best engineering process is a cycle in which engineers repeat steps as often as necessary to come up with the best solution. Take it in stages. Create a roadmap to focus on smooth transitions leading to greater heights. Use the ABC Plan. Make it Achievable, Believable, and Committed.
Be sure your roadmap identifies strengths, weaknesses, and risks. Achieving escape velocity with a rocket built in a garage requires a plan to first get it OUT of the garage. Identify the roadblocks that could arise and prepare to adapt when you hit one. When an accident threatened Apollo 13, Gene Kranz was said to have focused his team by saying, “Let’s work the problem people.”
Visualize yourself soaring high and achieving escape velocity fast and problem-free. How will you feel? What will you do? How will those around you benefit? Visualizing your successful breakthrough is the best defense to put up when roadblocks arise. Make a habit of visualizing yourself where you want to go. It will help you push through.
The greater the expectations of accomplishing the goal the higher perceived velocity! Create positive expectancy. Take phrases like Can I Get There out of your vocabulary entirely. Replace with phrases like When I Get There. When negative thoughts come a’ knocking say, “You can’t come in.” Negativity can kill velocity, sending you into a comfort zone orbit.
Be sure you commit to the resources needed to fuel your velocity. Find mentors, coaches, and trainers. Read books, find the information you need to help you accomplish your goals.
Keep each step small and attainable, leading you to the next one, with each one you gain more confidence, power, thrust, and velocity. Consistency is key. Losing one day a week can be a 20% hit. A high sprint isn’t helpful if you can’t sustain it.
Create time sensitivity. Keep a movement journal. Jot down what you do to move forward mentally, physically, and spiritually every day. Give yourself a fist pump and a loud WOOHOO!
Are there routines causing you to rev your engine with no forward motion? Often, we live on autopilot, stuck in the comfort zone where the same routines repeat like a snooze button. The next time the alarm rings, shut it off and begin your countdown! It’s time to focus on pushing out of what’s comfortable and embrace new challenges.
It’s time to cross over into the Growth Zone.
Ready? Let’s restart the launch countdown!
5. 4. 3. 2. .1. BLAST OFF!
MORTGAGE X PODCAST
Create, Captivate, and Convert with Kelsey Rauchut
On this episode of the Mortgage X, Kelsey Rauchut joins Christine Beckwith and Jason Frazier to talk about how taking risks, being positive, and having a roadmap are major keys to success in this business. Kelsey adds how building a circle of positive people, being who you are above all else, and leading with the relationship are at the heart of what she does.
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.
GLIMMER OF HOPE FOR HOMEBUYERS
There’s a glimmer of hope for homebuyers struggling with low inventory around the country!
Housing Starts were up 5.8% from November to December according to the latest data from the Commerce Department. Perhaps even more importantly, the number was even higher for starts on single-family homes, which are in such high demand from buyers looking for more space. Single-family Starts were up 12% from November to December and nearly 28% annually. Building Permits were also on the rise for single-family homes, up nearly 8% from November to December and 30.4% year over year.
Being able to clearly articulate market and economic news like this to your clients is critical to becoming an Advisor they trust to help them make the right decision for their family.
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, daily coaching videos and lock alerts. Use these tools and more to become a trusted advisor and help turn prospective homebuyers into clients and build referral relationships.
Use this link to try the MBS tools with a 14-day trial. Try MBS Highway ;
VISION SUMMIT will be a hybrid event. Attend virtually and/or attend LIVE following social distancing and other COVID related practices.
This is a newly confirmed date, so add or change it in your calendars! Tickets go on sale February 8.
20/20 VISION FOR SUCCESS COACHING
Have you checked out the 20/20 VSC website lately? Our dynamic, talented, and experienced coaches have their own page! Visit www.visionyoursuccess.net/coaches 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.
A business parable about how companies can achieve remarkable results by helping their employees fulfill their dreams.
With disengagement and turnover on the rise, many managers are scratching their heads wondering what to do. The fictional company in this remarkable book is grappling with real problems of high turnover and low morale. When the managers investigate what really drives the employees they uncover the key to motivation isn’t the promise of a bigger paycheck or title, rather it’s the fulfillment of crucial personal dreams.
Matthew Kelly explores the connection between the dreams we chase personally and the way we engage at work.
Embracing the power of The Dream Manager fosters awareness of the concept and facilitates change in the way we manage and relate to people instantly and forever. This book comes highly recommended by several 20/20 Vision for Success coaches, including Ray Befus and Christine Beckwith. They and we ask, What’s your dream?
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.