Break Free From Your Cage


By Todd Duncan

Do you know who can give you everything you have ever wanted in your life? The answer is simple: You can.

In his book, Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable, renowned athletic trainer Tim S. Grover discusses the lion. When put in a zoo, Grover writes, a lion maintains its killer instinct but is unable to act on it. If released, that instinct i s unleashed and the lion quickly reclaims its king-of-the-jungle status.

Grover explains that many humans find themselves trapped in cages of their own making — because of “bad advice, low self-esteem” and “tortured thinking” over what can or can’t be accomplished. The bars of the cage, he explains, can strengthen over a lifetime as paranoia over potential bad outcomes leads to perseveration and inaction.

By breaking free of that cage, Grover concludes, humans can regain their “killer instinct.” So, what’s stopping you?

As a mortgage loan originator, can you be reasonably successful by just following directions and staying within the lines? Sure. That’s what most people do. But if you’re talking about becoming a top producer, if you want to be unstoppable, you have to learn to put aside everything you’ve been taught — all the restrictions, limitations, negativity and doubt.

The most important work you will ever do is the work you do on you.

Look at your reflection

To begin, ask what you see when looking in the mirror. For many people, the mirror is their cage. There is great power when you realize you are the problem — and greater power when you realize you are the solution.

To change the person you see in the mirror and to get out of your cage, you must go through three phases:

Awareness. This is your current reality. It’s doesn’t matter how you got here, but you are here, and that is the truth.

Acceptance. You may not, and probably will not, like it. Before any change can occur, however, you must own it.

Action. The catalyst for change is taking new, different and improved action. This step unlocks the cage and gives you access to a new-and-improved reality.

In a quest for success, in and out of the mortgage game, there is no finish line. It doesn’t matter where you used to be. What matters is where you are, and where you want to be. Several steps can be taken to ignite the fire inside of you to get everything you want out of business and life.

Increase curiosity, and sacrifice

There is no such thing as impossible. There is only figuring it out.

Many mortgage originators wonder why it is that some agents and borrowers say “yes,” and others say “no.” The reason is related to the connection that is made. By connecting with people at a deeper level, the odds of getting a positive response increase. Those connections can only come through curiosity, which is the gateway to growth.

You also need to be willing to give up to go up. Are you willing to pay the price to go from where you are to where you want to be? It’s hard to be better. A person who loses 60 pounds had to give up something. Similarly, originators who want to double their business have to give up something.

Whatever you want in your life, there is a price. Originators have to work harder than their competition. Maybe that means losing high-maintenance, dramatic clients. Maybe that means giving up tasks that don’t produce income. Maybe it means giving up time with friends who don’t feed your dreams.

Maneuver and focus

Write your life plan in pencil and be prepared to pivot. There are always things that are not going to go according to plan.

First, rethink failure. It is necessary for success. If you are not succeeding at the level you want, there is a strong chance you are not risking or failing enough. Success is the byproduct of learning lessons and not repeating the mistakes.

Second, be nimble enough to shift your strategy. If originators know the daily number of conversations needed to secure an application, and halfway through the day realize they’re losing ground, it’s time for a pivot. Find one action you can take the rest of the day to make up for lost ground, and execute on it. Too often, landmines take people off course.

Your focus, meanwhile, can do more for your success than any other single action. Just like how you can start a fire by focusing the sun through a piece of glass on something flammable, you can fire up your mortgage career the same way.

What would happen if you focused your call activity for 30 days, or if you focused your borrower consultations on making emotional connections? What would happen if you delegated lower-level activities instead of handling them yourself, or if you conceded that “multitasking” is impossible, and all you are really doing is switching between tasks? What if everything that typically interrupts your day could be tamed and order put to it? You and your career would be on fire.

Plan and be accountable

It’s hard to have faith in your future unless you have a plan for your present. With that plan comes power.

When you trust a plan, you have confidence in your vision, know your purpose and know your necessary daily steps. Mortgage originators who want to close 200 loans in a year, for example, may know that they must talk with four potential buyers a day. They must convert one of those to an application, which will then close in 90 percent of cases. Without knowing those numbers, you cannot trust the plan, because there isn’t one.

Finally, you must be accountable for your actions. This is the most powerful decision you will ever make. If you could have done it yourself, you would have done it by now. Don’t let life’s circumstances take over life’s disciplines. Success requires support.

Any person succeeding at a higher level than previously attained has engaged some program of accountability. See it as your friend and not your foe. That’s why personal trainers and financial advisers matter. They help their clients remain accountable.

There is zero downside to accountability. You just have to be willing to open up, be a little vulnerable and see it as fuel for your success.


This article originally appeared in Scotsman Guide.

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