By Darius Mirshahzadeh, CEO of The Money Source
As a young child, I idolized Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was a GOD to me. I remember sneaking into my grandparent’s family room late at night to watch HBO and I’d see him in Commando, Terminator 1, Raw Deal, Conan the Barbarian and of course Predator. I was probably too young to be watching these movies, but Schwarzenegger was the embodiment of leadership and heroism for me.
This is probably why the idea of Inspiring Leadership stands out to me when we talk about our Core Values. Leadership is not a position. Leadership is not a title. Leadership is not a plaque on the wall. Leadership is not a job. Being a leader is who you are as a person. Schwarzenegger always played the leader in his various acting roles. He did so with an ease and charisma that made him a household name. Despite recent personal issues, Schwarzenegger represented so many things we value here in America: hard work, success, strength, sacrifice, and determination, to mention just a few. Even better, he did it all with an amazing Austrian accent that is mocked by many but revered by all, simply because he embodied these values.
My father told me something when I was 16 years old that I have never forgotten. I asked him, “What is your best piece of advice for me for when I grow up?” His response is burned in my brain. “Only listen to people who you believe are more successful than you are.” I did not know what that meant at the time, but it resonated with me and still does to this day. I think what he was trying to say was to find a mentor and make sure they are qualified to give you the advice you will need.
I recently watched a great TED talk by Tai Lopez titled “The Law of 33%” that Lauren Jara’s husband, Fabian recommended to me. It is all about how important it is to find mentors. One of the things Tai suggested is to find mentors by reading books. I also think you can find mentors by watching talks. I have included the link and highly recommend you watch this talk.
Recently, I saw Mr. Schwarzenegger give a commencement speech for Emory University. It is one of my favorite talks of all time. He speaks about the six things that made him so successful. Every time I watch this talk it gives me goosebumps. I suggest watching it before you go workout or even while you work out if you want to get really motivated.
I love these six rules. Although I do not believe that all apply to every situation in life, I do believe on a macro scale they are all applicable to being successful. I often think of these rules when I see how we, as a company, have grown from a one man operation to nearly 400 employees in just a few short years. In 2011 and 2012, our Founder and Chairman Stavros Papastavrou did not let all of the barriers to entry in the correspondent space stop him from being successful. With limited resources, limited capital, and the odds very much against him, Stavros used many of Schwarzenegger’s rules and made our company into what is arguably the fastest growing lender in the USA.
In our market space there will always be someone out there who has more capital to burn, more resources than us, and a larger appetite for credit and regulatory risk. That is just the name of the game. We will have to go out and compete against these companies in any channel we choose. It is on us to be better. I believe that five of these six rules apply in our business. The only one I would disagree with is “break some rules,” for obvious reasons, of course. But the other five rules apply to us at TMS and EA without a doubt. We need to trust ourselves and trust our TEAMS. We need to work like hell and be better than our competition. We need to not be afraid to fail and to learn from our mistakes, as that is the only way we will get better. We need to ignore the naysayers and stay focused on what we are good at and what makes us a unique and special team. We also need to focus on giving something back. Whether it is as a company or to our individual communities, we must always remember how fortunate we are and to share that fortune with others. I am proud of our Ronald McDonald House team build that is happening nationwide this month, as well as the Red Cross Philanthropy Project last month. Giving to those in need is something we should always seek to grow.
I will finish this month’s article with an excerpt from the Schwarzenegger talk that I simply love and think embodies who we are as a company from top to bottom.
“Muhammad Ali, one of my great heroes, had a great line in the ‘70s when he was asked, ‘How many sit-ups do you do?’ He said, ’I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.’
That’s what makes you a champion. That’s the way it is with everything. No pain, no gain. So many of those lessons that I apply in life I have learned from sports, let me tell you, and especially that one. And let me tell you, it is important to have fun in life, of course.
But when you’re out there partying, horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard.
Someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. Just remember that. Now, if you want to coast through life, don’t pay attention to any of those rules.
But if you want to win, there is absolutely no way around hard, hard work.”