How to Find Work You Love

Oct 28 2015

A friend of mine passed away a couple of weeks ago. He was a young man, 33 years old. He and his wife were climbing Mount Kilimanjaro when a freak accident occurred and was killed by a boulder near the summit of the 19,000 foot tall mountain. His name was Scott Dinsmore, and I would like to share with you a very personal and special story.

In June of 2011 I nearly quit the mortgage industry. I had finally hit rock bottom. From 2000-2007, I had spent most of my career enjoying what I did, learning and growing. However after the implosion of the mortgage industry occurred in 2007, I spent the next 4 years going from one attempt to the next to unsuccessfully find success in our industry. By June of 2011, I had decided to throw in the towel. Although I was still working in the industry at the time, I was very much disengaged and had actually started working on a tech company idea I had on the side. It was at this moment, Ali and I began working together and my passion for the industry was reignited.

Until this time, I had gotten to the point where I did not believe I could do work I was passionate about in the mortgage industry anymore. I wanted to build a world class organization. I wanted to be creative and work within my strengths. I wanted to have a company that had core values and a Why. I wanted to build a strong culture and build a company that was second to none. And until June of 2011, I had felt like this industry did not offer that to me anymore. So I started looking elsewhere. It was at this time that I decided that I wanted to do something that had nothing to do with making money. I had just spent the greater part of the last 11 years grinding away at the mortgage business and I was very dissatisfied with where I was in my life at that point. So I decided to put on a TEDx event. For those of you unfamiliar with TEDx, I will explain what it is. TEDx is a community organized TED event. For those of you that do not know what a TED event is, I will explain. TED is an organization who’s mantra is “Ideas worth Spreading”. The non-profit organization was founded 30 years ago with the sole idea of changing the world by spreading new and exciting ideas. They have since grown to a worldwide movement with many inspirational TED talks at If you ever want to learn something new or be inspired, I highly recommend that you check out this site.

There are TEDx events all around the world every day. You can apply to put on a TEDx event in your home town. It is easier than you would think. The key to a TEDx event is the following: All the money raised from sponsorship and tickets has to go back into the event, speakers cannot sell from the stage, and you have to make sure you follow all of TED’s rules, which there are many. So in August of 2011 I decided to organize a TEDx event in San Francisco. We decided to put on the event at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. The event was named TEDxGoldenGatePark. We had decided that the theme for the event would be “The Pursuit of Passion.” Around this time I was looking at friends of mine who had found success in their respective fields, despite the odds, because they had followed their dreams and their hearts and had put themselves out there to live their passions, not just settle for mediocrity. I had decided to showcase a group of speakers who had done this as well. It took me and a few of my fellow organizers nearly 14 months to organize this one day event. We had to find the right speakers, a camera crew, volunteers to work the event, we had to sell tickets, organize food, get sponsors, etc etc .But after 14 months passed it was finally October 10, 2012 and we hosted the event. It was a magical day. One I will never forget. Some of the people who knew me well and saw my struggles over the past 4 years told me that day was a complete representation of what I was looking for during those years. For me the event was very therapeutic and cathartic. It represented a turning point in my life. One of our speakers was a stand out that day. His name was Scott Dinsmore. Scott gave a talk called “How to Find Work You Love.” He reminded me of a young Tony Robbins. Scott was very passionate about his message and had even started an organization called Live Your Legend. His goal was to change the world by helping people find their passions and to do work that they were passionate about. He said something in his talk that struck me:

“I Imagine a world where 80 percent of the people love the work they do. What would that look like? What would the innovation be like? How would you treat the people around you? Things would start to change.”

His talk really hit home for me that day. By this time I had left my job and was embarking on the journey that would eventually lead me to The Money Source just a few short months later. I knew that in my next venture `we would build a business that I was going to be proud of. I knew I was going to do my best to create an environment where our employees were engaged and loved their jobs and went above and beyond not because they had to, but because they wanted to. Scott was a beautiful soul. His talk that day went on to become a viral internet sensation. Over 3,000,000+ people have watched his talk to date and he has inspired millions of people worldwide with his message of finding work that we can be passionate about. I truly believe that we try to do this every day at The Money Source and Endeavor America. This is one of the reasons we are a Strengths organization. This is one of the reasons we are so focused on our team’s engagement. This is one of the reasons we want to Grow Happiness and Respect for our industry. I was truly honored to know Scott and to allow him to change my life. The world lost a shining star. Please join me in celebrating his life.

- Darius

Scott Dinsmore's "How to Find Work You Love" TedTalk

Video: How to Find Work You Love

Live Your Legend Website

In Memory of Scott Dinsmore

Topics: strengths, Grow Happiness, Darius Mirshahzadeh, Endeavor America Loan Services, TedX, How to Find Work You Love, TEDxGoldenGatePark

Finding Inspiration from Pearl Jam

Sep 10 2015

pearl-jam-bandThe beauty of a common vision and idea is something I have always found exhilarating. Whether watching a great sports team work collaboratively, or listening to a symphony play to perfection, it always astounds me when a group of individuals collaborate to make something beautiful happen.

I was listening to Pandora while running on the treadmill yesterday afternoon. I am part of Generation X, so my stations range from Guns and Roses to Daft Punk to Children’s Lullaby music (totally clutch for knocking your kids out on drives). When I work out however, I generally toggle between two stations, depending on my mood. Nirvana and The Notorious BIG (aka Biggie Smalls) always have my ear when I am in the gym. I feel like these two artist’s musical sensibilities define me as a person, and their genre of music always gets me fired up while I am in the gym.

On this particular afternoon I was listening to the Nirvana station and they were playing Pearl Jam live in concert. There was this great moment where Eddie Vedder was singing and he turned the mic to the crowd, who collectively took their cue and sang the entire chorus. I can’t remember the song or the exact lyrics but I had this unique moment where I thought to myself, ‘how cool would it be to be Eddie Vedder at that moment; to touch so many people with the words of your song to the point that tens of thousands of people would sing the words back to you in unison on a whim at a rock concert?’ While I was listening to this past moment replayed, I couldn’t help but think how this is a representation of alignment around a core purpose, or Why. (I know, I know, I have problems.)

Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder had struck a chord with their fans. This was a moment in which they were completing each other’s sentences in the form of sung lyrics. It’s hard to put into words, but it wasn’t just about the words they sang together, it was how they sang it that grabbed my attention. I felt as though I witnessed a moment long past where a group of individuals were aligned and each was sharing a piece of who they were together. This is what our Why is all about. It is not just about going to work, doing a job, or making a living. It is about uniting as a group to live our core purpose (aka our Why).

At The Money Source and Endeavor America, our Why is to Grow Happiness and respect in the mortgage industry. We have hundreds – if not thousands – of opportunities per day to do this. We do not get the glory of hearing ten thousand screaming fans respond to these moments when we as an organization collaborate and align to make this Why come to life, however we do get the personal satisfaction of knowing that what we do matters and that we are helping make the lives of those around us better, even if just for a moment. That is what it means to grow happiness and respect. When we all do this together as a group, well… I call that a thing of beauty.

Topics: The Money Source, Grow Happiness, Articles, Pearl Jam, Darius Mirshahzadeh, Endeavor America Loan Services, Eddie Vedder, Common vision

Four Easy Productivity Hacks That Will Relieve Your Overwhelmed Work Brain

Jul 09 2015

Just like the Starbucks mug merrily sloshing in your center console, the pace of modern life could be figuratively causing your cup, to run over. We are constantly asked to work on multiple projects while remembering our schedules, follow up with our team members while answering email, and plan ahead while the phone is ringing. Our brains are only human; it’s easy to stress over capability overload.

When deadlines or meetings are missed, we often chalk it up to a bad day, when in reality we might just be asking our brains to do too much. It turns out that because of the way humans mentally process events and reminders, the little stuff can have just as much weight as more important reminders or events. Fortunately, simple and smart productivity apps can take the weight of the little things off our minds, and allow us to have more productive, stress-free days.

First off—prioritize. As you’re browsing apps, think in terms of what will help jog your memory, aid in communication with others, or make managing your time easier. Ask yourself whether a hack could take care of an automation that doesn’t require human touch, or make important materials available on-the-go.

Here are four easy-to-implement tactics anyone can use to harness technology and improve your productivity:

Set Calendar Reminders for Every Short-Term Goal

Missed meetings or blown deadlines are only two of the downsides of not putting things on your calendar. The real productivity zapper is the fact that you’re always having to remind yourself about upcoming appointments or projects, which can distract you from the task at hand.

Liberate your mind from all of these distractions by putting your tasks for the day into a calendar with automatic reminders. Simple cross-platform apps worth a browse include Sunrise and Google Calendar. For help easily scheduling appointments, interviews and meetings, try downloading Calendly. This app allows you to send out a link to your calendar so recipients can view your availability and book themselves into your schedule.

You can also use calendar reminders to check back in on projects you have emailed to colleagues, as well as for personal reminders to make sure an immediate project is on track. Calvetica is great for this. It allows you to check off tasks as they are completed.

Keep an Idea or Project List on Your Smartphone

You don’t want medium or long-range projects cluttering up your daily calendar. Instead, set up a project list to refer to for ongoing goals and tasks. Your smartphone’s notepad will help keep you on track. To further breakdown the to-dos, Begin may be helpful. Like that sticky note or scrap paper you keep around to scrawl reminders, this app enables you to categorize tasks based on time needs. Unlike paper methods, you have no fear of losing your to-do list to clutter or a coworker who’s overzealous about recycling.

Project and idea lists are great to review when you have downtime while traveling or in between meetings. Having the list on your smartphone and at your fingertips allows you to add to it, review it, or revise it when a great idea pops into your mind or some spare time falls into your lap.

Check Subject Lines and Sender Before Diving into Email

Email can be the greatest communication tool or a total distraction depending on how you use it. Constantly scanning emails and answering them can throw you off task and break your rhythm. Pace how often you check your emails to every half hour, or even hour. Use email wisely by scanning the sender and the subject line before diving into email. If you know it can wait based on those two items, don’t even open it. Continue working on the task at hand. Don’t get distracted. Only interrupt your workflow for urgent email.

For an all-inclusive email productivity tool, check out the app Sidekick. It enables you to track when people are opening your emails, as well as to view in-depth profiles on the people opening them. If you tend to send and respond to emails from your bed at two in the morning, or send emails with timely material, you can schedule when you want emails to be sent.

Have All the Tools at Your Disposal to be Productive On the Go

Google Apps are a great all-around hack for general productivity needs when you’re on-the-go. They sync in real time with your online calendar, files and emails so you can stay informed and organized. For larger files, like videos, high resolution photos and project files, invest in a storage plan with Dropbox and download their app.

If you’re more familiar with airport terminals than your local streets, it’s time to simplify traveling to-dos, like printing tickets and checking your flight status. Download the apps for the airlines you commonly use. On iPhone devices, you can set your passbook to lock on your home screen so all you have to do is swipe and scan to get through an entire airport with just your phone and ID.

Topics: Google Apps, Sidekick, Productivity hacks, calendar productivity hacks, Ali Vafai, Email productivity hacks, Productivity, Smartphone productivity hacks, Calendly, Articles, Calvetica, The Money Source Inc., Endeavor America Loan Services, Dropbox, Begin, google calendar

What the Mortgage Industry Can Learn From the NBA

May 18 2015

Kobe&Tim San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan and Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant

I was speaking with Christina Harbridge, the amazing trainer that did our communication workshop at the Growing Happiness Conference in January, to do a debriefing on the event and the assessment she did with our team back in December. I asked her, “So what do you think?” She said, “Darius, you guys have an amazing team! I was really impressed with their engagement in the event and how much they care about the culture and the company. I noticed however that there appeared to be a theme in the assessment amongst much of your team. There appeared to be an US vs THEM mentality. If I could recommend one area for you to work on this year is to get your team to become ONE unit, ONE TEAM. Not underwriters vs sales, or vice versa.” I thanked Cristina very much and I realized that in our industry we have bred an US vs THEM environment. I have seen it everywhere I have ever worked. Loan Officers vs Processing and Underwriting. Brokers vs Underwriting and Ops. Sellers vs Correspondent Underwriting and QC. It is the age old story SALES vs BACK OFFICE.

In sales we learn that we need to push to make things happen. While in Ops we learn that we need to protect to the company and make sure that sales is not pushing on the wrong file. I believe that it is this mentality that if gone unchecked brings about much of the anguish and heartache that the mortgage industry is known for. Yesterday I was reading an article online regarding who is the best of the best in the last 18 years of basketball, Kobe or Tim Duncan? Now I barely know anything about basketball but it was an interesting idea so I checked it out. It started comparing their accomplishments:

Kobe Bryant – 19 season in the NBA , 5 world championships, 1 Season MVP, 2 Finals MVP, 11 First Team All Star Teams, 2 times scoring leader

Tim Duncan – 18 seasons in the NBA, 5 world championships , 2 Season MVP, 3 Finals MVP, 10 First Team All Star Teams, 0 times scoring leader, 1 Rookie of the Year

Pretty even if you look at the comparison, and based on these numbers one could probably make the argument one way or the other as to who was the better of the two players, the BEST of the modern era of basketball. I then read something that really stood out to me. It was an article quoting Kobe Bryant speaking about Tim Duncan from 2014: “I can’t express to you how much I’m jealous,” said Bryant of the Spurs’ sustained success, "I’ve been up and down.” Kobe went onto say “but the advantage that they've had, and that (Duncan) has had and been very fortunate with, is they've had the same guys since he’s been there. That really helps. You've got Manu there. You've got Tony there. Those guys have been through the ups and downs and they have that familiarity, and then they build with pieces around that. The same coach. The same system. Here, I've had to go through so many different coaches, so many different systems, it’s crazy. But I love watching (Duncan). What they've been able to do is something else.”

Here you have one of the greatest basketball players of all time expressing his envy for someone else in the League. Kobe has been incapable of keeping his team together. He has gone through many coaches and systems and team mates. It has not helped that Kobe is known to be all about Kobe. He makes more than twice what Duncan makes and this has hurt his teams ability to bring in other quality players and he has been known to be very difficult to work with, not considered a team player by many. While Duncan and his team have created a dynasty based on the one and only thing that matters if you want to reach the pinnacle of greatness, they have created the world’s best TEAM in the modern era of basketball. With Kobe it is all about Kobe. With Duncan it is all about the TEAM. This struck me as I read the article as I see this in the mortgage business all the time. My question to all of us at Endeavor and TMS is the following: “Who is your TEAM?” And secondly: “What can we do to become a team like Duncan and San Antonio in an industry filled with Kobes?”

Topics: Team, Grow Happiness, Articles, Darius Mirshahzadeh, The Money Source Inc., Endeavor America Loan Services, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan

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