darren-marioAnyone who has ever played a video game can tell you how good it feels to “level up.” It’s that time when all your hard work and energy has paid off, and you’re moving onto the next big thing. It’s an exciting time!

Whether you’re a Mario Brother or a loan advisor, we all have periods where we need to work extra hard to get to that next level. With the first quarter almost closed out and the second upon us, now is the perfect time to up your game and ensure your year is set up for success.

No more playing small. Let’s take your passion to the big leagues. Here we go.

Define the Next Level

What does that look like for you? Is it increasing your pipeline by five more prospective clients a month? Closing 20 percent more loans this year than last? Hitting a certain dollar amount of loans closed?

Whatever your goal is, you need to define it as specifically as you can. “Doing more business” or “getting better at social media” just isn’t going to cut it.

Come from a Place of “Yes”

Do yourself a favor: don’t be a barrier to your own success. You’ve defined a goal – and that’s great – but you need to make sure you’re willing to put forth all the time, energy and maybe even money it takes to make these goals a reality.

Part of doing this involves saying “yes” to every opportunity that may allow you to advance even a little bit closer to your goal. It may also involve saying “no” to anything that gets in the way. This includes distractions, diversions and your run-of-the-mill time wasters that make us feel productive when we know we’re not (say, checking Facebook for the third time this hour or mindlessly scrolling through newsfeeds).

Acknowledge the Doubts

Listen, if leveling up were easy, everyone would be doing it all day, every day. These goals are set because they require genuine effort as you work toward a path of success.

There are going to be times when you doubt yourself. There will also be those nagging “what ifs?” and “then whats?” This is totally normal. It’s also normal to acknowledge these fears and obstacles. This can help you overcome them as you’ll have thought through less-than-ideal scenarios that may hinder your progress. Once you do this, you can mentally address any barriers before getting back to the task at hand.

Find Accountability Where You Can

Some people thrive off of sharing goals with another. You can become each other’s biggest cheerleaders, coaches and pep talkers. You can also commiserate in any setbacks. If this is you, go for it! Find someone whose got your “level” of enthusiasm for crushing goals and team up to conquer them together.

If this isn’t your M.O., don’t worry. There are plenty of programs and apps that can track your progress and keep you accountable – even if it’s just to yourself. Strides, Habitica and Toodledo are a few of them, although you don’t even have to get fancy with it. Calendar reminders can alert you that it’s time to perform a certain task, or that your progress is due. Even spreadsheets and CRMs can help you track your quantifiable progress. The point isn’t how you remain accountable, it’s that you remain accountable.

Along the journey to your ultimate goal, you’re bound to have a few mini level ups. Take a minute to acknowledge these milestones, then adjust your timeline to ensure you’re progressing at the right pace.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

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