Where attention goes, energy flows. That’s a fact. If you’re not paying attention to something, it is irrelevant or less significant than whatever it is that has your attention. But have you considered what that really means?

I talk to loan officers every day who share what’s not working in their businesses. Then when I ask what they’re doing, I hear things like, “I’m waiting for my referral partners to help me,” “My laptop has been on the fritz so I can’t follow my leads”, “I don’t know how to set up an online app,” etc. Where is the investment in those scenarios – in the referral partners or in waiting? The leads or the laptop? The online app or lack of personal technical expertise?

Now I’m not saying that these aren’t real-world concerns. It’s just that when we dig a little deeper, we can see that what the loan officer is focusing on is showing what they value – and, in these cases, it isn’t the things that will move their business forward.

In our business, we work with investments all the time. But do you stop to think about where you are investing your energy, time, focus and resources? It’s like the homeowner who spent tons of money to update their kitchen but their curb appeal is a disaster – are they really looking to sell their house? Or like the client who has a great credit score and wants a house but goes gambling every weekend to ‘hit it big’ and loses their down payment money to the (casino) house.

Of course, we are holistic beings, meaning that every part of our lives affects every other part. You can’t say you are abundant when you are counting your change for gas money. The same thing is true for your business. You can’t say your business is successful when you aren’t investing in it. The cool thing is that you can understand why you aren’t investing in your growth by looking at what you’re currently investing in… make sense?

So, are you investing in relationships or just reaching a number for weekly conversations? Are you investing in processing systems or in technology that you’ll put to work when everything else is perfect? Are you investing in the right people to help you or are you willing to wait until you have the money to do it?

I’m not saying to over-extend yourself without a plan. I’m also not saying that what you’re doing is wrong. All I’m looking to do here is to raise the question: what are you invested in – really?

Here is a quick exercise that might help you see your values more clearly. Grab a piece of paper and write out your top values. Write these fast, in five minutes, because those will be what’s top of mind for you. What do you value? Write it down. Once your five minutes is done, if you’re like most people, you’ll have somewhere in the neighborhood of eight to fifteen values. Now, on the left side, rank them in the order of priority – one is the most important to you and the lowest number is the least important. Once you’ve done that, on the right side, rank them again but, this time, rank them as to how they’re actually showing up in your everyday world. This is where the magic happens because you may find some surprising gaps.

For example, if Family is your #1 ideal value but you work late hours and weekends, or you’re single and want that to change but you’re not socializing, or it’s been a few years since you’ve visited your folks, Family might show up as #8 in your real-world values. That’s a big gap, and it shows that you are not investing in what you believe really matters to you OR what you think is really important is not what’s really important for you. Look for gaps of 3 points or more as clues to where you might want to check yourself.

In this business, people and relationships are the backbone of what we do, and that includes the relationship you have with yourself. You need to understand your values to know who you are and how you want to grow your business; where you spend your attention is how you know what you really value.

The same holds true for your clients, by the way. If you have a client who says they’re ready but isn’t working to clean up their FICO, or a referral partner who isn’t referring, you can see that there is a misalignment between what they’re saying and what they’re doing. Their “investments” (time, relationships, resources, results, etc.) are showing what they value. Now these might be temporary setbacks! But they are also a good way to open a conversation to find out what’s really going on… that kind of conversation, based on values and honesty, is what builds (or lets go of) relationships.

And if it means letting go of a relationship, that’s ok. You want to be surrounded by people who are a fit for you and your business (unless you’re ok with superficial relationships).

That’s the slippery thing about values – there is no right or wrong. There is only clarity and whether something is working for you (or not).

So pay attention to where you are putting your focus to learn about what you really value. If it isn’t what you think it is or what you want, you can choose differently going forward.

Carl White, Chief Officer of Coolness
Article Originally Posted on LinkedIn

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