5 Lessons Competitive Rowing Taught Me About LIFE and MORTGAGES
5 lessons competitive rowing taught me about LIFE and MORTGAGES is a very timely blog when thinking about Sacramento real estate loans. Having been in mortgage lending for almost 20 years now, I have seen a few things. Getting a mortgage is not a linear sales process, like ordering a burger and fries at your favorite fast food joint. It can be quick and reasonably easy or a complex layering of documents that require navigating dense and complicated underwriting rules. My job is to mitigate surprises and guide and educate my clients to the best possible result – which is easier said than done at times. As Forrest Gump so eloquently stated, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” Welcome to Real Estate and Mortgages.
I owe much of my success and longevity in lending to my other passion, competitive rowing (also called crew), Which ironically started the same year I began my career in lending and joined a small mortgage bank in Davis, California. I now realize how intertwined these two specialties have been and how much my success on the water has positively impacted my mortgage career and family life at home.
Crew is one of the most physically and mentally taxing sports you can do, and as a result, you learn to deal with adversity quickly and efficiently. And you must accept and internalize those lessons quickly. Otherwise, you risk hurting yourself and your team. So here are the five lessons competitive rowing taught me about life and mortgages:
#1) You Must Commit To Your Actions
In competitive rowing, this is made abundantly clear if eight guys in the boat don’t fully commit to applying full pressure at the catch (that is when we drop our oars in the water) and don’t focus on sustaining that leg drive through the entire stroke. Then the boat gets heavy, and we don’t go fast. When I am in the middle of a race, I can’t hide in the boat by giving less of myself, just as I can’t hide in the middle of a loan transaction. It’s unspoken – my team depends on me to do my part to ensure our client’s success. So if you want to achieve something, commit to it. And commit fully from the start.
#2) Things That Used To Be Hard Will Become Easier
Fear of failure is something I think is innate in all of us (well, most of us). Some of us choose to avoid failing by doing the obvious – nothing! But, with competitive rowing or providing a mortgage loan, we have no choice – we must perform or lose. The more focus I placed on getting better at rowing, the easier it became to go faster. If there is something you find challenging or scary in life, you should push yourself to the extreme of it. It will make the original action seem positively easy in comparison.
#3) Practice and Task Saturation.
There have been times when working on a loan file when a challenge presents itself. Maybe my loan was denied by the underwriter because my borrowers lacked enough reserves, or we missed a decimal in calculating the income correctly. Now our file is crashing and burning. We may have triple-checked the loan file, thinking we were good to go, only to be sideswiped by a small item we missed. Sometimes this is unavoidable and not something we could have predicted, but in many cases, we were so rushed and unorganized in how we packaged the file that we missed the most obvious thing. We didn’t have a system and process in place; we were not up on current guidelines and didn’t practice daily – until we got it right. Perfecting the loan process is the key to making it more natural as we then are more likely not to cut corners and check every contingency as if it’s second nature – this only comes from lots of practice (and discipline).
#4) Quality Over Quantity
Crew is a sport of incredible beauty and pain, of singular effort, combined with perfect teamwork. During a race, your body quickly burns its standard oxygen supply, and then it demands more, but less and less oxygen is available. Your body is still producing high levels of energy, but your muscles pay for it as they make more significant levels of lactic acid. It’s like heaven and hell are fighting as your brain and body try to deal with the chaos – Yet, through all this turmoil, there is this fantastic clarity that is present when the entire crew’s efforts can result in the calmness of complete cooperation. Its nirvana! That one amazing race will have you bouncing off the walls with excitement, and it fuels your passion for another one. This will not happen unless everyone on your team is in sync and on the same page. Quantity means nothing. It is the quality of whatever we do or experience that matters.
#5)You Don’t Need To Be The Best Athlete, Just The Most Informed
Unfortunately, genetics didn’t provide me with the prototypical rowing body, which is tall and lean. I am of average height and weight and never even thought about rowing until I moved to Sacramento and a friend told me about River City Rowing Club. I was moving from Huntington Beach, where my passion had been surfing, so water had to be in the equation.
When I started rowing with a novice team, I was surprised that it works your whole body; from your head to your toes. The seat in the boat is rolling, so you engage your legs, your core, your arms, and your brain. It also becomes quickly apparent that the sport is not just about stamina and muscle strength; but technique – perfecting the stroke and slide control to match those rowing with you, keeping your body centered, as not to rock the boat on its keel, while carefully placing the oar in the water at the appropriate angle, so it enters the water to ensure maximum time pushing the boat, to “grab” as much water with every stroke.
With repetition, good coaching, and a drive to keep learning, I quickly realized my lack of genetics was something I could work with and still be a successful oarsman. The problem wasn’t a lack of height or strength; because I was dedicating myself to something I was passionate about. As soon as I figured that out, I started winning more races and beating guys who were, without a doubt, much stronger than me. Again, it wasn’t a sudden gain in muscle mass that caused this improvement in my skills; it was simply that I became better informed about how to perform the task in question.
When I graduated college with a degree in Journalism, I never thought I would do mortgage banking as my career. And, now that I consider myself a true mortgage professional, I can see that competitive rowing has had a lot to do with my success and longevity in this career. I owe so much to rowing and my crew for keeping me strong and focused. You must believe in yourself and your ability to achieve what you set your mind to; otherwise, you don’t stand a chance of succeeding.
Please contact Dan Tharp directly for your mortgage information or to apply for a loan. Dan is a part of the Weintraub & Wallace real estate team as our preferred lender for over a decade. We can’t sing enough praises for Dan’s work our clients love him.