… A week that finds many of us reviewing goals set 52 weeks ago, and setting new ones for the 52 weeks that lie ahead.

For some it’s a first glance at a dusty goals sheet, or worse, a thought exercise, as the goals never made it to paper. If this is you, then you may not have achieved or be able to recall your original goals.

It’s a fact that regular review of written goals, and a regular re-writing of said goals, exponentially increases the odds of success. And sharing our goals with others, regularly, also stacks the odds in our favour.

What is success?

For (too) many in this industry ‘success’ seems defined by a specific number: funded mortgage volume.

Indeed a question put to me repeatedly this time of year is ‘What’s your target?

In my mind I answer ‘happiness‘, ‘balance‘, ‘the love of a new kitten‘, but I dare not utter aloud such fluff.

No. No. No. It must be a number, a great-big-honking-mega-super-number, and it needs to be more Big, more Hairy, and more Audacious than whatever was accomplished last year. Because Growth, BHAG’s, and numbers, numbers, numbers, are what it is all about!

’Tis the season and all that…

And so Mortgage Brokers across the land feel this (self-inflicted) pressure to have a specific ‘mortgage volume’ goal written on a piece of paper.

Well, here’s a secret I’ve never shared: I have never started my year off with a mortgage volume goal. Not once.

(Two partial exceptions:

  1. 2009 began with a very specific income goal, which I wrote down, dissected, and achieved inside nine months.
  2. 2014 was another year of no specific mortgage volume goal, but by September it was clear that things were rocking and in fact $100,000,000.00 was potentially a real year-end result. I stayed focused and made it happen, more because I like round numbers than anything. Ending at 98.7M would have driven a part of me around the bend.)


It’s true; during goal-setting week, I do not write down a specific volume target.

This seems to surprise people, but it’s just never been the focus of my energy.

In years gone past I’ve not admitted this, out of concern for sounding trite, arrogant, stupid, or a mix of all three. I either glossed over it when asked, or replied with, ‘A bigger number than last year‘ or some other hollow sentiment. No more weak sentiment. Here’s a direct answer…

All goals boil down to systems and process.

Jump back to exception #2 above. The year was 2009 and I had a specific income goal. How did I achieve and exceed it? It had everything to do with deconstructing the number down to its tiniest parts. It meant creating a stack of smaller goals, the only type I ever set — small and thus achievable. Then it was a matter of obsessing over them daily, as a bird does its eggs. I mean obsessing. I would write out concepts and ideas nightly, and develop and refine the technical aspects daily.

With better systems and more refined processes, bigger goals (e.g., income) take care of themselves.

In a nutshell:

  • 2009 target income: $160,000
  • Average commission: $2,000.00 net.
  • Quantity of files required: 80 (6.66 per month — whoops, maybe go with 84 as an annual target as this equals 7 per month)
  • Map out weak/strong months (i.e., Feb 4 files vs. June 12 files)
  • 20 calls made generated 4 leads, which meant 2 applications completed, which meant 1 file funded.
  • February was weak, because few calls were made in December.
  • It’s already January, whatever I do today will not pay off until March/April. Will I starve before then?

I better make 20 calls per day and catch up fast.

Each bullet point above spins off a list of another 5 -15 bullet points for thought and action.

There is no single magic bullet. There is no ‘one big thing’.

There is only the dozens, perhaps the hundreds, of small nuances around how we approach each action in each minute of each and every day. Collectively the small pieces add up to one big by-product; 100M+ in volume.

In 2018 I will strive to do a better job sharing these nuances, as that is my focus – building better Brokers.


But what about mortgage volume?

For better or worse, your mortgage volume each and every year is either an intentional, or an accidental, by-product of your systems and process.

Goals matter, writing them down matters, sharing them matters, but more than these basic steps it is how small you then break down each goal. It is detail that matters. What you want to do is huge, and anything huge is done one very small step at a time.

A giant goal achieved is not the result of one big success, it’s thousands upon thousands of small successes stacked on top of one other. Layered, interlocking, creating a foundation for continued growth.

Writing down ideas about efficiency and process improvement, then implementing the ideas and executing at the highest levels, this is what truly matters.

Not the number.

Focus on taking excellent care of the small actions, and the bigger number will take care of itself.

In essence simply be a little bit better version of yourself each day.

That specific goal (a better you) unlocks every other goal you may have.

Happy New Year!