Putting myself out there

I never really knew what it meant to “put yourself out there” before.  I have had a pretty good lesson in it recently. It has not been a fun experience I must admit, and the reason it has happened has been a result of significant unpleasantness.  But the result will be a good thing.

Here’s a little backstory.  For the past 12 years I have been a residential mortgage lender.  I got into the industry after getting fired from a real estate company where I worked many days from 7am to 11pm building a service program.  They acquired a couple other real estate companies and had too much overhead, I was a victim of consolidation. Nothing personal, and I wasn’t jaded, they gave me a pretty nice severance I thought and sent me on my way.  Upon leaving that job I determined that being an employee was not a good fit for me and I had no interest in working for anyone ever again.

A friend suggested I enter the mortgage business.  It was 2001, and things were looking up.  He was making good money and thought I could too.  I talked to his boss, and they had a position for an account executive available.  I shared with his I didn’t care to be an employee.  I didn’t know even when I said that what he had available was for me to be an employee—until then.  He suggested I go be a loan officer.  So I did.

I knew nothing about the mortgage business and didn’t need to back then to be a loan officer.  I don’t remember being a little kid having any interest in the mortgage industry, and don’t recall saying, when I grow up, I want to be a loan officer and sell mortgages to people. But here I am.

12 years later, I am still in the business.  I have made a pretty good living, have received some national recognition and written a couple books.  I must admit, it hasn’t been such a bad career choice.

Just over two years ago I was working for a company and needed a change.  I am focused on spending my day doing the highest and best use activities, and the company I was with was not on board.  They liked the idea of having a full commissioned person doing support staff tasks because they were “free”.  I left and went to another company (a huge benefit of being self-employed, I can plug in to any company’s system to run my business) that promised me the ability to build a team so I could focus on what I do best and count on someone else to perform important, but non-revenue generating tasks for me.  Things started off great.  I didn’t get my assistant as expected, but was told I should try out things with-out one for a while, I might not need one, if I did, then I could hire one.  I had my best year yet.  The system worked, and I focused on my strengths.  One year later the VP of Sales that brought me in left.  When he did. So did the sales voice of the company.  I was back doing the same tasks I was doing at the last place I worked spending way too much time doing support tasks not sales tasks.  I actually had a processor come sit down in my office (at the time I was the 14th highest producer in the company nationwide) and tell me how it was my job to collect all supporting documents and re-enter the data in the system for her because it takes her time to do that.  The company would rather save the $30 they would pay the processor for that hour by keeping me in the office vs. selling, where I create revenue for them of $300/hour.  As I sat there I could hardly believe how much things had changed.

I found myself looking for a new company once again—for the exact same reason as two years ago.  And that was my fault.  I realized I was not emphatically specific with what I wanted and crystal clear what I was looking for.  The pain of switching companies (yes, I can do it whenever I want, that doesn’t make it pleasant) motivated me to make a move and never have to move again. So I put myself out there.

I didn’t care if people didn’t agree with me.  It didn’t bother me.  I actually welcomed it.  After all, if they didn’t like me, or share my beliefs, we wouldn’t make a good match, and I needed to know.  I didn’t want to find out after another move.  It was a bit odd.  I had people actually envy me and say, “Man, I wish I was so clear on what I wanted.” That seemed weird to me.  But now I get it.  I don’t think that people don’t know what they want, I think that they are afraid other people might not agree.

In my pain of making this move and significant desire to not make a mistake again I no longer cared if I was accepted.  That was a very big deal.  If I am not accepted I always thought that meant I was REJECTED.  No one wants to be rejected.  That feels really bad! But I wasn’t rejected at all.  I couldn’t be.  I was simply being very specific with what I wanted and who I am which put pressure on others to accept me and what I want so I could determine if THEY would serve me.  What a crazy revelation.

That was it.  That is when I realized what it truly meant to put yourself out there.  It is stating your beliefs and opinions with-out consideration.  It’s OK.  You have a right to your own thoughts.  Everyone does.  Accept it.  Accept the idea that others don’t agree and believe you don’t have a right to your own thoughts.  They can think that.  It doesn’t mean you don’t.

I made a stand and said things I have never said before because I used to fear people would disagree.  It’s funny, in writing this I changed the order of the last few paragraphs because there is a chance I might lose you once read on.  That entertained me.  I didn’t change the order because I feared rejection.  I changed it because I didn’t want to lose the intended outcome of the post.  Try being willing to have different ideas than others openly.  Stand for something on your own.  You are not selfish by stating what you with-out compromise. No one can reject you by disagreeing with you or because they cannot be what you want or help you get what you want, it just means you are not a good fit for each other, and thank God for you all to discover that now.

Here’s examples of me putting myself out there by sharing my views on a couple highly controversial topics. What makes them controversial? The fact that people don’t agree—which is perfectly fine.

I think gun control is stupid.  I think if everyone in the Aurora Theater had a gun that night there would have been a lot less people killed, if everyone at Virginia Tech that day had a gun more students would be alive today.  I know LOTS of people that disagree.  This statement upsets them.

I believe in abortion. I don’t think someone that is unprepared to be a mother for whatever reason should be forced to be one.  Not just the young woman raped by some scumbag or the strung-out drug addict that is too irresponsible for birth control, but any women that is unprepared to be a mother.  I happen to agree with Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt that the reason crime rates have dropped is actually tied to legalizing it. Once again, I know LOTS of people that disagree.  This statement upsets them.

Put yourself out there, your world will improve once you do.


Live the Dream!


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