Run Your Business Like A Business

How many of you entered this business, either as a real estate agent or a mortgage originator, because you liked the freedom it afforded you? My guess is that most of you did. It’s wonderful to be able to set your own hours, develop your own method of doing things, not have a limit on how much you can earn, and generally work without anyone staring over your shoulder. But that freedom you desire so much doesn’t come free.

What most people don’t realize is that when they choose to become an agent or originator they are also choosing to become a business owner. Unfortunately, not many of us understand what that entails. We’ve come from a corporate environment or maybe we’re fresh out of college. Either way, we’ve grown accustom to having other people tell us what to do – we have an employee not an owner mentality.


Develop a Business Model

If sustainability is your goal then you must begin to think like a business owner. You need a business model that defines goals and activities. You need to have the metrics in place to measure the efficiency of what you are doing. You need to understand the return on investment (ROI) of your time and money.

For example, most people in this industry don’t know where their referrals come from. Is that marketing plan you spent hundreds on bringing you referrals? Or is working your database consistently the main generator? You need to be able to answer these questions if you hope to build a sustainable business. You need a predictable model.

Predictability comes in measuring activities and efficiency rates for getting referrals – the lifeblood of this business. What happens far too often is that we get lazy when times are good. We become reactive order takers; too busy to maintain the activities that will keep business coming to us when things slow down. And when business does slow down, we quickly fall into a scarcity mindset.

It takes discipline to keep the scarcity mindset at bay. It takes having a plan that you work the same way regardless of how busy you are. It takes doing activities that you know will generate business consistently no matter what. If you stop working your plan, your plan will stop working. It’s really that simple. This business is all risk, all the time. You must be actively focused on earning partner referrals from the very beginning. If you build a predictable referral model, and you keep the discipline to work it even when you are busy, you can create sustainability.


Key Components of a Good Business Model

A business model for sustainability starts with an effective business plan. Research states that only about 5% of people in the mortgage and real estate industries have any kind of business plan, let alone one that is effective. There are 3 major reasons why you need a business plan.

First, it allows you to share your strategy, priorities, and specific action steps with your spouse, significant other, management team, and partners. You want others to support your business plan so you need to share it with them so they can align their actions with yours or at least understand when you might have to put in that 60 hour week.

Second, it helps you to deal with displacement. When you consciously decide to spend your time or other resources doing a particular thing to move your business plan forward, you’ve also consciously decided not to do something else. That is displacement. Being aware that you’ve already made these decisions keeps you from falling into distraction traps.

Third, it is the primary vehicle by which you grow your business and in turn develop new business alliances and referral partners. Here is where the metrics start to pay off. They give you the data for what you should be doing every day and help you understand the levers that control the desired output you want.

A solid business plan includes the following:

  • Business vision
  • Production and activity goals
  • Levers (where you get business and how you plan on increasing those resources)
  • Non-negotiable activity plan
  • Marketing plan

I also include my I AM Statements for business as a reminder to focus on mindset as well.

Triggers and Reactions

It’s no secret that the real estate and mortgage business are filled with problems. It can be frustrating because the majority of problems you face are outside your control, i.e. low appraisals, repair issues, buyers who get cold feet. These are what I refer to as “triggers.” A trigger is an event or thing that causes an emotional disturbance within you – fear, envy, scarcity, anger, frustration, etc. Triggers may also cause joyful reactions but most people don’t need help dealing with the good stuff.

Respond vs React

Triggers that cause negative emotions tend to cause us to react, usually in a negative way. This can come in the form of distraction, anger, projection or anything else that doesn’t serve us long term. What we need to learn is to identify our triggers upfront and then have a plan or an approach in place so that we choose to respond rather than react. Reacting is allowing the emotion to guide your actions or behavior. You might yell, shut down, or send a nasty email. Responding, on the other hand, is waiting until you have assessed the situation and calmed down before you take any action.

A Plan for Response

In all cases, except those that actually threaten our lives or the lives of others, we want to be responding not reacting. A person who gives considered responses rather than flying off the handle when something goes awry is a person who is well-respected, easy to work with, and easy to refer. When something triggers you, use this four step process for calming your reaction and giving yourself space to respond.

Step 1 – Become aware you are triggered.

Acknowledge that you are emotionally disturbed, i.e. you are angry, you are frustrated, you are sad, you are depressed, you feel hopeless, and have a choice to either react or respond. Keep the emotion from becoming a long-term feeling. Getting aware that you are not your thoughts, you are not your emotions, will help you remain detached from what your body has been patterned to do based on your past experiences. Having space between your emotional reactions and how you handle them will allow you to be more in control.

Step 2 – Identify what preference is not being net.

Triggers only occur when your preferences aren’t being met. Most preferences are created by our ego and really aren’t as important as they seem. It is an ongoing journey to manage our preferences and triggers. The fewer preferences we have based on other people’s actions or behaviors, the more joy we’ll have in life and our business. That’s not to say we can’t have standards and boundaries. They simply need to be clear and agreed to by the people we do business with. Then everyone knows what to expect.

Step 3 – Recognize your hallucination.

If you figure out what your hallucination is when your trigger isn’t met, you will understand why it is bothering you so much. Your hallucination is the worst-case scenario that you are worried about. The goal again is to have a plan that enables you to respond, not react and to admit you are hallucinating. Figuring it out helps make it more predictable. So many of us immediately go to the worst-case scenario as soon as something doesn’t go as planned. We start thinking we’re going to lose the client forever, or worse yet, we’re going to be a total failure and not be able to provide for our family, even when the situation had nothing to do with us and was totally outside of our control. What I encourage you to do when a trigger causes you to hallucinate about all the bad things that are going to happen is to state the trigger out loud. Say, “My trigger is X because my preference of Y isn’t being met, so I’m hallucinating that Z is going to happen.” Just the act of saying it out loud is often enough to see the ridiculousness of what your trigger is causing you to feel.

Step 4 – Avoid or grow.

The last step, and certainly the most important, is to decide to grow through the trigger or strive to avoid it. Let’s take for example a preference for not getting stuck in traffic. When it happens you could choose to grow through it. You could use the time to raise your energy and do a mini meditation, you could be more grateful, be more present, listen to a podcast, or do something else that allows you to grow and become more patient. You could even make calls to prospects and referral partners.

Or you could avoid it. You could say I’m just not going to drive at this time of day, or I’m just not going to take this route because you don’t think there’s any way that you could grow through it. That’s okay. My hope would be that you would always try to grow through it first. But we all need to give ourselves permission to draw the line when we simply can’t.

Importance of Trigger Management

It’s important to manage triggers because triggers are what derail people every day. Triggers cause individuals to become ineffective and produce negative energy. No one likes to work with or be around someone who has negative energy. It causes a domino effect. Maybe you get a couple of triggers strung together. Now you’ve had a bad day. Then you bring it home and you’re not present with your family because you’re still dwelling on those triggers and negative feelings. You don’t exercise and you don’t take care of yourself. Without the ability to manage your triggers you end up creating a whirlwind of chaos.

The goal is to bring joyful energy into every situation. I love this quote by Brendon Burchard from The Power of Personal Responsibility:

“The power plant doesn’t have energy, it generates energy. Similarly, we don’t have an attitude, we generate one.”

Our energy and attitudes have to be generated every single day. Allowing our triggers to drain our positive energy and replace it with negativity and self-doubt does not serve us.

Business Systems

A system can be defined as a procedure, process, or method, or course of action. Systems are put in place to achieve a specific result. They are the critical building blocks of your business. When effective, they work together to provide results that are consistent, measurable, benefit your client, and validate and enhance your value proposition.

For your business to be successful you need to have a processing flow that is documented from start to finish. You can create massive opportunity but if you don’t have a solid plan to handle it you will not convert well or create the experience needed to ensure your clients come back and refer you to other people.

Regardless of whether you are in mortgage or real estate, your business system should be made up of three parts: opportunity – which is how you prospect and nurture leads, pipeline management – which is how you handle deals in progress, and database management – which is how you keep in contact with your past clients and mine them for referrals. Within each of these sections you have what I call blueprints or recipes. These are the written step-by-step formulas that you use to accomplish the things you do.

Unless you work for a really unique company, it is unlikely that these written systems will exist in your company. I’m constantly amazed that our industry lacks this level of professionalism and the technology required to succeed. In most cases it will be up to you to determine how you like to work and what is effective. If you aren’t by nature a person who has a lot of discipline and structure in your business, writing out these blueprints or recipes – how do I handle leads referred, how and when do I communicate during the process, and how do I stay in touch with my database after closing – will give you a consistent method of performing these tasks.

Once you have documented systems in place then if you have a support team, you must communicate with them exactly how they supposed to work. Then if things don’t work as planned you’ll know if the system needs to be tweaked or if clearer communication and teaching of what is expected is required. The beauty of a blueprint is that you can modify or change it.



An important aspect of prospecting is creating an experience and process flow for how you handle any lead or referral. Whether on the phone or in person you should decide ahead of time what discussion flow and tools you’re going to use. You will also share this with anyone that refers business to you so they know what to expect as well. This business system is all about how you handle new leads. It is a blueprint or recipe that contains everything about what to do when you receive a lead. It should ensure that every time you are presented with an opportunity you go through the same ritual. This should include an incubation plan based on where the prospect is in the buying cycle. If your CRM or customer relationship manager, doesn’t have call, email or text campaigns built you should invest in one that does or create your own.



You need to create a process flow and communication system that you can use once a deal enters pipeline. You know exactly what it is you are supposed to be doing every step of the way. You know what your role and responsibilities are as well as the roles and responsibilities of others. You know the deadlines you need to stick with based on contingency removal dates and close of escrow dates. Managing your pipeline with consistency is the key to ensuring your database will come back to you for future loan or real estate needs and refer clients to you. All communication should be layered with your Referral Efficiency Script (request for 2 referrals per year) and allow them to provide feedback.



How you manage your database long-term will determine how successful you are in creating a sustainable business. If you receive 2 referrals from every person you do business with and convert 50%  into closed sales, you will already have built a predictable flow of business that will stay consistent. Building a system that you commit to upfront will ensure that in any market you follow through on obtaining as much business as possible.

An effective and efficient way to manage your database is to choose the right Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) that does the follow-up and tracking for you. It takes into consideration your marketing plan and holds you accountable. Having a CRM that sends emails, tracks interest rates, market values and includes direct mail will make it easier to stay in touch. It should also tell you when clients have birthdays and transaction anniversaries so you have an opportunity to call them.

If you don’t commit to having business systems, your business will run you and you will not have replicable results. Customers want to work with people who are methodical and yet relational. You need to build a business where you offer both!

I AM Statements

One of the things that works for me in maintaining a positive and successful mindset is to focus on a series of I AM statements every morning. These are statements that describe who I need to be in order to run a sustainable business and cultivate the energy I need to keep me disciplined and undistracted. For example, I AM patient, I AM clear, I AM smart, I AM grateful, and I AM courageous.


Our Brains are Not Hardwired

Scientists used to believe that our brains were hard-wired. That once we reached adulthood we were stuck with what we had. But then, after many more studies and testing, they discovered that the brain is more “soft-wired.” It is possible for it to evolve and change as the information and sensory data we feed to it changes.

The most remarkable thing is that it will evolve and relearn even when we are giving it information that may not yet be reality. It seems the brain can’t actually distinguish between an actual event and an imagined one. That’s why our dreams often seem so real. So by learning to control our thoughts we can deliberately rewire our brains to make ourselves more successful and fulfilled. We can learn to have success mindsets. Simply seeing ourselves as successful is the first step to eventually making success a reality. That’s also why so many athletes use visualization to help them perform at a much higher level.


The Power of I AM

The brain’s ability to learn and respond to imagery is exactly what makes I AM statements so powerful. Start by taking a hard look at your mindset. What areas do you need to change or improve in order to have a mindset that is geared for sustainable success? These are the areas that you want to build “I AM” statements around.

For example, if you have a mindset that says I can’t be successful because there is always too much to do, I’m constantly overwhelmed, then you may need I AM statements like these: I AM organized. I AM prioritizing my business daily. I AM not distracted easily. Or if you have a scarcity mindset, you may want I AM statements like: I AM prospering. I AM confident. I AM surrounded by abundance.

I encourage you to spend a few moments reviewing your I AM statements every day so that you internalize them. This is the quickest way of reprogramming your brain to build, and believe in, a mindset that has you focused on becoming the person you want to become. Then include daily non-negotiable activities in your business plan. They should remind you of the new you and what this new person can do, not what the old you with the old mindset would done.

To help get you started, here’s a series of I AM statements geared toward business:

I am ready for this day. I am equipped and empowered. I am not going to let anyone steal my joy. I am focused on things that are in alignment with my goals or mission. I am focused and clear on what I need to accomplish today. I will not allow triggers to disrupt my plan.

Nurturing and Creating REALTOR® Relationships

Nurturing and Creating REALTOR® Relationships

As you probably learned in Marketing 101, it costs less and takes less time to retain the customers you have than to go out and get new customers. The same holds true with your REALTOR® relationships. The more REALTOR® relationships you can retain as referral sources the more successful your business will be.

REALTORS® are humans and like all humans, they want to know that you value them. Keep in mind that other lenders are targeting them as well. The most important way you can show that you value them is by staying in touch, especially after they have given you a referral. Staying in touch doesn’t mean simply a “how ya doin’” phone call or email. You should schedule regular meetings with them where the sole purpose is to discuss how you can help support their business. I know it sounds counter-intuitive that you’d want the meeting to be about supporting their business when you really want them to support yours. There is a saying that givers get. So start by giving. The business will follow.


Lunch and Learns

A great way to stay in front of your referring REALTORS® is by hosting regular lunch and learns. To be successful, make sure you select a topic that is relevant to their business and that you practice your presentation before you arrive. REALTORS® refer to people they can trust. If you don’t come off in your presentation as a professional who understands the business and the challenges they face, then they aren’t likely to trust you or refer to you.

Here’s an easy recipe I use for organizing and presenting a lunch and learn.

  1. Choose and research a subject
  2. Create your guest list
  3. Choose a venue (your conference room or a meeting room at a restaurant)
  4. Create and send an invitation, evite, or Facebook event
  5. Follow up with phone calls for RSVPs
  6. Prepare your PowerPoint and handouts
  7. Order lunch and drinks
  8. Hold the event
  9. Follow up after to obtain feedback and ideas for the next one




My guess would be that you currently don’t have enough referring REALTORS® to reach your goals. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. I break REALTORS® I want to add into two categories: Prospective REALTORS® and Targeted REALTORS®.

Prospective REALTORS® are either listing agents you had a successful transaction with or agents that you have just met. Targeted ones are those that you haven’t done business with or met yet. You have either heard good things about them or were referred to them by someone else. You can also target REALTORS® by their production as well.

The first step in deciding which agents to go after is to identify your ideal agent. Look at your existing list. Which agents refer most often to you? What markets do they specialize in? How many years of experience do they have? Identifying your ideal REALTORS® will ensure that you only pursue those that you will enjoy working with.

Listing Agents – by the far the easiest to convert since they’ve already worked with you on the sale of a home. When you make your welcome call to them, tell them if you meet close or escrow date you’ll be asking them to commit to meeting you for coffee or lunch.

REALTORS® who are personally referred – also easier to book meetings with since you have credibility as a result of the referral. I always ask the person who referred me to email an introduction explaining why they are recommending me.

REALTORS® at open houses – this can be a great way to add Prospective REALTORS®. It’s easier than cold calling. Just be respectful if there are potential buyers or sellers in the home.

REALTOR® office meetings – are a good way to meet multiple agents at the same time. Not all offices are closed.

There are many ways to approach new agents but coming up with your own unique recipe will make it easier and replicable. I recommend letting them talk about 90% of the time at your first meeting. Encourage them to share their goals and how they typically do business. Ask what is important to them in a lender. Knowing this information will allow you to formulate the unique value proposition that you bring to the relationship.



I like to believe that everyone’s ultimate vision is to lead an extraordinary life. By that I mean doing what you love and loving how you do it. And I’m not talking about just what you do for a living but what you do in every aspect of your life. You give your vision and yourself a roadmap to achieve the life you want when you write goals. These are the things that will propel your vision forward. These are the things that will let you be heard. As you achieve them you will create more joy and ensure you are living in alignment with your life vision. Only about 5% of all loan officers and real estate professionals write their goals down so it is no surprise why average productivity is so low.

When you write out your goals, you’re creating an external representation of your internal desires and reinforcing their value. Setting tangible goals allows you to break the big dreams of your vision into bite-size, achievable steps. But more importantly, goals hold you accountable. They get you out of that “if only” rut that so many of us fall into: if only I had this or if only I had that, I’d be happy. You can’t allow “shoulds” into your vision and you can’t allow “if onlys” into your goals.

Part of goal planning is becoming that person who is joyful and happy today even though you haven’t yet achieved your total vision. Goals allow you to celebrate your successes along the way. Celebrating is important. Celebrating reinforces your commitment. And more importantly, it re-patterns your brain to strive for more successes. To be effective goals should be S.M.A.R.T.

Specific – get exceptionally clear about what you are going to accomplish. The more specific you are the easier it is to accomplish a goal and celebrate it. So rather than saying I’m going to lose 20 lbs. this year, you could say I’m going to stop drinking soda today.

Measurable – set goals that you can measure. If you can’t measure it, then it isn’t specific enough. You can’t celebrate what you can’t measure. Don’t assume because one of your goals is a feeling, i.e. I want to feel more gratitude, that it can’t be measured. It can. All you have to do is assign your feelings a scale where maybe 1 is I feel no gratitude and 5 is I feel gratitude for everything around me. Each day you give yourself  a number based on how you feel.

Action Oriented and Realistic – nothing gets done if you can’t take action. Make sure your goals are realistic and within your control. If you have to wait on someone else to do something before you can accomplish your goal then you’re back to relying on “if only.”

Time Sensitive – is something is going to get accomplished is must have a non-negotiable deadline. Set it and hold yourself accountable to it.

Your vision encompasses your entire life, so your goals need to do so as well. You’ll need to balance your goals in four categories: Business, Financial, Health, and Family/Relationships. Make sure that the goals in one category are not in conflict with the goals in another.

So create a couple of short-term (3 months) and long-term (12 months) goals in each category. Next identify the top action steps you’re going to take to accomplish them. Then finally, you need to identify what you want to avoid the most – these are your away values. To make it easy for you I’ve included a goal worksheet that you can use here (insert link here.).

Away values are the things you are patterned to do that no longer serve you. They are the things that will cause you to self-sabotage and not achieve your goals. Examples of away values might be passivity, perfectionism, or judgement. Write these down next to your goals so you don’t lose sight of them. It seems like it would be easy as figuring out what we want but we also need to keep sight of what stands in our way.

Every day I recommend that you review your goals so that they are set deep into your subconscious and conscious mind. At the same time review your away values. Were you able to keep them from interfering in the action steps you needed to take today to achieve your goal? If not, how will you keep them from interfering in the future? It is only when we are vigilant that we are able to re-pattern our brains to lead an extraordinary life and actualize our full potential.



Before you can fully develop your goals and plan, it’s important to discover what you really want. What is it that would truly make you happy? What is it that would allow you to live an extraordinary life and have a successful business? The dictionary describes a vision as an aspirational description of what you would like to achieve or accomplish. I would add to that definition a description also of what you would like to feel. The clearer your vision the easier it is to choose the right things to do now and in the future.

The key in this definition is YOU.  Your vision must be a reflection of what you desire for your life. It is okay to be self-centered when defining your vision. It cannot be made up of “shoulds.” You know, I should do this, or I should do that. Shoulds are things that others want you to want. They may or may not be what you desire for yourself.

Your vision must be in alignment with your core values. This too may take some self-examination. Often the values we hold are the values that have been instilled in us by others. We may have outgrown them, they may no longer serve us, and we might just have to let them go.

So before deciding on your personal vision, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who do YOU want to be?
  • How do YOU want to feel?
  • What are YOUR core values?
  • What do YOU want your legacy to be?


  • Understand deeply why you want these things
  • Make a commitment to achieving them

The keys to creating a compelling vision statement are to dream big and use concise language. It is a living, breathing testament to how you will live your life so it should be written in present tense. There is no right or wrong way to write a vision statement. It just has to be in alignment with the overall life you want to lead. It must resonate with you. If you don’t get excited every time you read it, then it isn’t truly your vision.

Don’t short-change the process when it comes to describing your vision. Take your time. You may need to revisit old triggers, traumas, or disappointments before you will know exactly what your new life-purpose will be. My suggestion is to write the first draft of your vision then put it in a drawer. Let the words percolate around for a few days. Then bring it back out and read it again. Does it still resonate or has your subconscious brain shown you some new enlightenment? Revise it if needed, then put it away again. Do this as many times as required until you get that feeling of excitement when you take it out again to read.

I have a form that I use when I am working on my vision statement. You can find it HERE. Once your vision statement excites you, once you can clearly see yourself living this extraordinary life, it is time to commit to making it happen. It is so important to take control of your own business destiny or years will pass and you will regret it later.

Mindset and Core Beliefs

If we want to be more successful in our business and personal lives, and sustain that success year after year, we must constantly and consistently be aware of our mindset. So what do I mean by mindset? I define it as the core beliefs an individual has about life and business.

Uncovering Your Core Beliefs

Core beliefs begin in childhood and develop over time. They are the essence of how we see ourselves, other people, the world, and the future. Our core beliefs often stem from the values of our families and the communities we grew up in. They can be so deeply rooted as to be rigid and inflexible. This inflexibility leads us to focus on those things that support our beliefs and dismiss or ignore evidence that contradicts them.

Many of us don’t know what our mindset is because we’ve lived with our core beliefs so long that we are no longer consciously aware of them. But you can shift your beliefs. You can challenge your thinking and replace it with thoughts that serve your greater good.

One of the easiest ways to begin to uncover those core beliefs that no longer serve you is to pay attention to the words that come out of your mouth or the unspoken thoughts you are having. Are you always complaining? Are you quick to place blame? The more you pay attention to the negative things you say or think, the more you can ask, “Why am I feeling this way?” Emotions and the feelings behind those emotions are the keys to discovering what you truly believe. When you understand what you believe and why you believe it, you have the ability to change that belief for the better.

What Makes Up a Successful Mindset?

Mindset is a major component in determining success. Identifying and changing the core beliefs in our minds can eliminate the uncomfortable emotions and sabotaging behaviors that we’ve used as compensating strategies all of our lives. You can either control your emotions or they can control you. I’m not saying that it’s easy. It’s not. But if we show up differently and be committed and intentional every day about staying in our new mindset you will have success.

Here are some of the attributes of a successful mindset that I’ve discovered can make a significant impact to your success. Concentrate on these and watch your business start to bloom.

  1. Growth minded – nothing is fixed, nothing is hard-wired. As far as your business is concerned you can do better, you can become stronger, and you can manage your thoughts and emotions so that they serve you instead of you serving them. You can grow through any problem or roadblock and know when it is time to avoid certain things or set new boundaries.
  2. Purpose driven – you know your “why?” Why, out of all the occupations you could have chosen, did you decide to be a loan originator? If your why is because you want to make a lot of money then you won’t sustain success. Money motivation is not long-lasting.
  3. Value driven – you know what your values are and they are unshakable. For example, if integrity is one of your values and someone asks you to do something wrong, you won’t do it no matter what. Your plan is made in alignment with your values to ensure you have your priorities straight and will feel good about what you are doing.
  4. Business minded – You must have goals, a business plan, and the discipline to work the plan. Without a plan you will miss out on opportunities and have no idea how to replicate or increase your success. You need to have a budget and understand your return on investment (ROI). You have to be accountable. You should wake up every morning and do what you say you’re going to do whether you feel like it or not. Discipline not motivation is what makes for a sustainable business.
  5. Priorities are straight – you know what is most important. You know if you keep your priorities in line then you will be happy in your work. When you look at your calendar and checkbook is it reflective of your real priorities? Are you spending time and money on the things that are most important to you?
  6. Focus is on abundance not scarcity – The freedom in this industry can lead to a mindset of scarcity. A person with an abundant mindset says the pie is just going to keep getting bigger for me. I’m always going to have everything I need. If I lose a client, I’m going to get two more. Unless you are in a mindset of abundance you will attract things that may make you worry and suffer.


Defining Success

The dictionary defines success in many different ways: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose; the attainment of popularity or profit; a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity; the outcome of an undertaking.

But whose aims, whose purpose, whose prosperity is it that we talk about when we talk about what success means to us? Most people define success through their accumulated life experiences, by comparing themselves to others, or by listening to friends and family tell their versions of success. If we define our success by what other people think or feel, if we tie our success to their aims, their vision or popularity or prosperity, we are setting ourselves up for suffering, a loss of joy, and failure.

Tangible Result or Feeling?

What constitutes success for each of us is as different as our fingerprints. But in my experience there are basically two types of individuals when it comes to defining success: those who define it by tangible results and those who define it as a feeling.

If you’re a person who defines success by tangible results then you may say things like: “I’ll be successful when my paycheck is x amount, or I’ll be successful when I close x number of deals every month, or I’ll be successful when I make top producer.”

Conversely, a person who defines success by a feeling might say things like: “I’ll be successful when I no longer have to worry about money, or I’ll be successful when others are envious of me, or I’ll be successful when I’m not anxious about when I’ll get my next referral.”

The one common denominator in both definitions of success is that they take place sometime in the future. There is no appreciation for the successes of here and now. Why is that? Why don’t we celebrate our successes every day? The answer lies in our brains.


Our brains could actually be working against us when it comes to being successful and recognizing that we are. Fortunately our brains aren’t “hard-wired” as neuroscientists once thought. They can evolve and change as the information and sensory date we feed to them changes.

What typically happens is that once we’ve achieved “success” our brain immediately kicks in and says – nope, not good enough you have to do better, etc. The brain moves success further and further out because that’s the behavior we’ve taught it in the past. Maybe we’re always comparing ourselves to others. Maybe our family and friends do the comparing for us. Maybe we’re trying to live up to others’ expectations. Maybe we’ve been made to feel “not good enough” on more than one occasion. By allowing others to define success on our behalf, we’ve taught our brains not to celebrate success in the here and now but always be reaching for something more.

A Harvard study in 2007 proved that the brain can’t distinguish what is real from what is imaginary. That’s why our dreams can often feel so real. By learning to control our thoughts we can rewire our brains and how they handle success. Simply thinking and seeing ourselves as successful is the first step to eventually allowing ourselves to celebrate success in the present moment and not constantly put it off to the future.

Rewire Your Brain for Success

This isn’t something that will happen overnight but here are a few things you can begin to do today to rewire your brain for success:

  1. Resist the urge to use self-defeating language. You know things like, “I’m so stupid,” “What an idiot,” etc. Find one positive thing you did every time something doesn’t go according to plan and tell yourself that instead.
  2. Control your environment. Surround yourself with people who are positive and supporting, not negative or demeaning.
  3. Get used to using superlatives. For example, instead of saying, “I’m fine,” say “I’m awesome!”
  4. Don’t say “I am busy,” or “I am overwhelmed.” You can’t feel successful if you are complaining.

If you take control of your thoughts, if you are conscious and consistent in thinking positively and proactively, then you will begin to experience success. The quicker you can start to celebrate the small stuff, the faster your brain will rewire itself toward success as a natural part of your life.


Giving Thanks – Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so grateful for all the opportunity that the mortgage and real estate industry has provided for me. I am truly blessed getting to work with so many people that are committed to making a real difference in the world. I hope that you and your families have a wonderful day celebrating today! I appreciate all your support for FTSS and hope to bring you more wisdom in the upcoming year!


Happy Thanksgiving!