Keep Playing: Thriving in the Storm When It Feels Impossible

“I’m worthy. I matter. I’m not who you say I’m going to be.”

I don’t remember when I began repeating this mantra, but I can tell you why I started – my father. Nothing was ever good enough for my dad. Whether sports, grades, or chores, I could never please him. As I recall my childhood, I don’t have ill will toward my situation, and I was happy for my friends who had a “picture-perfect” family dynamic. But I knew early on that things were different for me. I had to work harder and keep playing the game tougher than everyone else to prove I could make something of myself (even if he never believed I would).

My motivation was always, “I’ll show you!”

And it worked – for a while, at least.

I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Worcester State University and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Framingham State University.

After five years as a juvenile counselor, I needed a change and dove headfirst into the mortgage industry. Once again eager to prove myself, I decided I would do something unheard of to set myself up for the most success in the business.

I was laughed at when I told a few people what I planned to do, but I did it anyway. I called 20 top mortgage producers nationwide to pick their brains. People said it was a waste of time and no one would call me back. Amazingly, 18 of the 20 returned my phone call and were happy to engage in productive conversations with me! I went into this process thinking that I needed 100 pillars to build my business. Instead, I learned I only needed six or seven solid, reliable pillars to create something extraordinary in this industry.

I will always be thankful for the advice from these top producers 25 years ago. They helped me create a robust business foundation, setting me up for future success. However, the story doesn’t end there…


What If “I’ll Show You!” Stops Working?

We know we should always keep playing, no matter the circumstances. But what does that mean? Should we grit our teeth, yell “Watch me!” and white knuckle our way to success?

I’ll be the first to say that this was my initial approach. And, as I said, it worked for a while. My primary motivation was showing my dad I WOULD succeed. However, I was guilty of not thoroughly learning lessons and enjoying the view. Let me tell you from first-hand experience: It gets exhausting living your life trying to prove something to someone else. So, that boat eventually ran out of steam.

I’ve been with Fairway Independent Mortgage in Auburn, MA, for over 15 years. For 10 of those years, my numbers were stuck at 65 million. No matter how hard I white-knuckled and tried to push myself past that barrier, I couldn’t break through it. Talk about frustrating!

But in 2019, all that changed. I resolved to leave the angst and tension of grasping those numbers behind. While I have always cared about health and fitness, this would be the year I would focus more intently on my whole self. So, in 2019, I trained for the Ironman in six months and began a new journey within and for myself.

And do you know what happened? I broke through that “numbers” ceiling that was holding me back. In 2019, I reached 80 million… in 2020, 112 million… and in 2021, 132 million. I don’t share these numbers to brag about what I’ve done but to share how you can break through whatever barrier you see in your business!


What to Do If You’re Stuck

As I alluded to previously, sometimes you can keep playing but still feel stuck. If that’s you, I recommend creating a breakthrough somewhere else in your life. For me, that was a physical breakthrough as I trained for the Ironman and released all the angst I had been holding onto for so long. For you, it may be something else.

Next, appreciate running towards the goal for yourself, not for others. Enjoy the landscape around you as you strive to reach your goal. If you “stop and smell the roses,” accomplishing your goal will feel more rewarding than you imagined.

Lastly, take time to learn lessons, even if they come from failures. Remember that adversity – whether in business or life – will come. But you can overcome those adversities! The key is to get up, never give up, keep playing, and learn to thrive in the storm.


More Tools for Success

If you’ve enjoyed the “Keep Playing” blog, you’ll love my book Thriving in the Storm: Nine Principles to Help You Overcome Any Adversity.

Throughout its nine chapters, I walk readers through the personal experiences – in life, business, and fitness – that helped me create these core principles for overcoming adversity. Why simply survive the storm when you can thrive through it?

Want to get a quick taste of the book before ordering? Click here to request the book’s first 33 pages and a copy of the Thrive Daily Journal for free!