"Now, if you know what you're worth,
then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the
hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of
him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than
That quote never had an impact on me
the first time I saw the last installment of the Rocky sequels. I came
across it on a day I was searching the internet for something
inspirational. Something to lift my spirits above the painful, slow torture that mortgage
loan originating had become. Something to keep me from crossing the line
that I so desperately wanted to cross...
I had prepared a piece that I was
sure would ensure my place in the hall of blame. Yellow draft paper was
covered with vengeful words scribbled as I gleefully took sarcastic shots at
the collective IQ or value of different players in the housing industry,
federal government, politicians, banksters, etc, ad nauseum. I could
barely read my writing because my habit of hand to heart first drafts had
channeled some maniacal demon, hell bent on bringing down the whole
dysfunctional mess I believed housing had become.
The culture of blame is so easy to join! It requires so little
thought. No new perspective. None of that "putting yourself in
other people's shoes" touchy feely garbage that is so out of vogue these days... The more clever the insult, the more
vitriolic the language, the deeper I found myself drawn to abandoning the angst
of rational thought. I spent hours refining the anger, sharpening the
edges, ready to lash out at everyone
who was making it so hard for me to get what I knew I was worth.
Just as I was about to hit the
post button, I came across the Rocky clip.
"Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better
Those words resonated with a more
evolved version of my psyche, and after watching the scene about 25 times in a
row, I knew he was right. I continue to
watch it regularly and it made me think about what I wrote a few weeks ago
beginnings," and that we could use some ground rules. Here's one to get us started off. What are your thoughts?
Ground Rule #1: Blame Is Not Allowed
It has not been easy. I watch
customers struggle with a guilty until
proven innocent underwriting philosophy, with looming regulatory change
only likely to add more challenges as the media and politicians continue their
fifth year of mortgage industry bashing. On those really bad days, I fight the
reflex to aim that index finger (or perhaps another finger) at whomever I think
is more responsible for the state of housing than me.
I am retraining myself to approach
each loan with an attitude of respect for everyone I do business with. Reading
the posts and chats within this blog and other housing related sites I realize
how disconcerting it must be for
consumers to see so much infighting between people they know will be
working together at some point to get their financing done.
If that is obvious to me, it must be
obvious to the regulatory, media and political powers that be. How can
they seriously consider the pleas they hear to "get out of our business" if we
are handling our business with each other without respect?
The amazing thing about having
respectful conversations rather than accusatory arguments is common ground
begins to develop. The more I give the benefit of the doubt, hold back a
kneejerk response to a problem that develops, and respect that I really don't
know how tough it is for that appraiser, escrow officer, realtor, pricing desk,
investor, underwriter, to do their jobs, the
more I find things are getting better for both me and my customers.
Most of us have taken huge hits over the last five years just
trying to stay in business, constantly adapt, and still protect and educate our
customers. We've even learned to hit back.
"But it ain't about how hard you
hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving
It's time to move forward, and leave
the blame game behind.
"That's how winning is done!"