I think we’re all guilty of making things out to be a lot worse than they really are. It’s easy to become overwhelmed just thinking about all the responsibilities we all have in our personal and professional lives. A good dose of perspective can always shake you back to reality and remind you of what’s truly a problem and what’s nothing more than melodrama. I received a good dose perspective over the last 10 days.
It was 10 days ago when I started not to feel very well, I started experiencing chest pains. I didn’t think it was heart attack, why would a 52 year old, slightly overweight man with high cholesterol think that? To be on the safe side I went to the doctor and he put me through a battery of tests. I was right, no heart attack. The doctor wanted me to be thorough so they sent me off to get x-rays done on my chest. The next day the doctor called me and said, “Your x-ray indicated that you have a small nebular density on your lung. We believe it’s benign but we cannot rule out cancer. We’re going to arrange a CT scan on chest to get a better look, and from there we can determine what the next steps will be.”
Funny how everything changed from the moment I heard those words. (more…)Read More Add a Comment
It can be the most unnerving, and for some terrifying, experience. There are those who make it look so easy but I suspect their secret to success is the ability to suppress the fear and anxiety of public speaking. There are plenty of courses for those who want to become better at public speaking but no course is as valuable as practical experience. Presenting in front of a large audience teaches many lessons, and the lessons are usually painful.
There’s nothing more humbling than walking off the stage and saying to yourself, “well, that sucked”. I’ve done enough public speaking over the last few years to honestly judge my own performance. Really, that’s what public speaking is. Either you’re “on” or you’re not. There have been times when I’ve been in a middle of a presentation and I know it’s working. The words seem to flow, the pace of speech is just right and the audience is engaged. I measure audience engagement by Blackberry use. Then there are other times when I know I’m not connecting with the audience, and god forbid if I have another forty minutes to fill. That has to be one of the loneliest feelings in the world. There’s no teammate on stage that can cover for you. It’s just you and the audience wishing they were somewhere else.
Every time I go on stage to do a presentation I’m nervous. Not to any paralyzing degree but enough to get the feeling in the pit of my stomach, accompanied by sweaty palms. It doesn’t matter how many times I do it that feeling is there. It was no different last week when I spoke to a group of realtors in Oakville. For context, a great supporter of Merix, Mark Mighton, asked me to speak at event he was sponsoring. It was the Oakville Real Estate Association continuing education session, with some 250 realtors in attendance. The presentation was being held in a movie theatre. It was an interesting day to say the least. My morning started by doing the opening remarks at the CAAMP Symposium in Laval, Quebec. Off to the airport from Laval to catch a flight to Toronto so that I can make it on time for the presentation in Oakville. Of course the plane was delayed by an hour which means I would be cutting it real close. I’m providing ETA updates to the organizers of the event, and I know I was causing them some angst. As luck would have it I arrived with 10 minutes to spare. No time to decompress or really gather my thoughts, its show time. So I’m introduced by the host of the event, and I say “Thank you and good afternoon ladies gentlemen’”. Just then I noticed a woman, right in the middle of the theatre, dead to the world. I mean she is out cold, head tilted to the side, mouth wide open, she’s in a deep sleep. It’s funny what goes through your mind in about second. My first instinct was to laugh, and then I started to rationalize. “Christ, it can’t be me…I’ve been on for only 3 1/2 seconds”.
For 45 minutes I tried to avoid looking at the woman in a coma. That’ not an easy thing to do because I know she’s there and I’m wondering if she’s really going to sleep through entire presentation. She did. In fairness to the slumbering woman, when the audience clapped at the end of my presentation it startled her awake. She rose to her feet and joined the others in clapping. I made eye contact with her and mouthed, thank you. What a thrill for me. I received a standing ovation from one person in the audience who didn’t hear a single word I said.
Until next time,
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This is going to be pretty busy year for me as relates to travel. My work requires me to travel a fair bit as it is, but when I add my responsibilities as CAAMP Chair, well, Toronto’s Pearson International Airport will become a second home to me. I’m not complaining in the least bit. I signed up for this gig; therefore, I have to accept the responsibilities. It would be tempting to only visit cities where I have a personal interest (i.e. Merix volumes) but if that was my motivation I should have never campaigned and ran for Chair. The Chair has to separate his/her personal interests from that of the associations, and so it begins for me.
The CAAMP road show begins today with the first symposium of the year in Kelowna, B.C. It will eventually move across the country and I’m looking forward to talking to members in all regions of the country. (more…)Read More Add a Comment
Another CAAMP conference (Mortgage Forum 2011) has come and gone, and I’m looking forward to catching up on some sleep. The sleep deprivation has nothing to do with indulging. On the contrary, I was a good boy during the conference, and even if I was tempted by all the distractions logic dictated discipline. The meetings seemed endless during the conference, and no complaints on my part. I signed up for the gig. But I can take a deep breath now that the conference is over.
The Mortgage Forum 2011 was significantly different than the previous conferences. There’s always a risk in trying something different but when you balance that against what could be, well, you have to go for it. (more…)Read More Add a Comment
As you read this blog I’m sure you’ve noticed some changes. The look and feel of the blog has been completely revamped. A decision was made a few months ago to give the blog a face-lift. Why? That’s what happens when the person who manages the functionality of the blog, and was responsible for the creation of the blog in the first place, is a perfectionist. So if you like the look, it’s all Leeanne O’Brien, our Social Media and Communications Specialist. If you don’t like the look, it’s all my fault.
This blogging thing has taken me by surprise. (more…)Read More Add a Comment
“It is with great humility that I take on the role as the Chair of CAAMP. It’s a responsibility that I do not take lightly. The next 12 to 24 months are going to be “interesting” for our industry.”
Last week I officially took over the role as CAAMP Chair. It’s an interesting process to go through. I say that because I had 12 months to prepare, and when the day finally arrived it was almost anticlimactic. Upon reflection I realized the difficult part was being elected Vice-Chair. The Vice-Chair automatically becomes the Chair the following year, therefore, one has to campaign and be elected Vice-Chair. (more…)Read More Add a Comment
Rolling the dice is perfectly acceptable when you’re in a casino in Las Vegas. I know from first-hand experience that playing “craps” in Vegas can be a rush. For those of you who may not be familiar with the rules or finer points of “craps”, and would like to give it a try next time you’re in Vegas, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PLAY UNLESS YOU UNDERSTAND ALL RULES! Now that you’ve rolled your eyes and are thinking thanks for enlightening me Bozic, the fact is many do play without understanding all the rules. Why? Because that’s where the action is and where all the noise is coming from. The noise draws you to the table, and when you get there you think I want some of this. You find yourself placing bets, not even understanding what your odd’s are. You might even start mimicking the bets being placed by other gamblers at the “craps” table. You look down at the table and you’ve got all your bets covered. Come on shooter, make this a magical role. Then you hear the most dreaded words at a “craps” table, seven out…seven out. For those uninitiated that means all your chips are gone! That’s when you start thinking if you only had played blackjack instead you could have played for much longer. But that’s gambling and it’s a part of the experience. That’s okay for Vegas but maybe not so much so when choosing between a fixed rate mortgage and an ARM.
The reality is that many borrowers are rolling the dice today. I’m setting aside those borrowers that can withstand the rate variances, and have the stomach to ride out an ARM for 60 months. I just wonder about borrowers who truly don’t understand the rules of the game. I wonder if some borrowers are placing mortgage bets based on what their neighbor or co-worker did with respect to their mortgages. Maybe borrowers are being influenced today by advertising. The 50/50 mortgage is getting a lot of airplay today, and that product was designed for those that wanted to play it safe or safer. Maybe it’s all about today and they’ll worry about tomorrow, whenever tomorrow comes. Maybe all of the above plays a part in the decision-making process but the biggest influence is the brokers personal bias.
All I know is that at some point in the not too distant future rates are going up. The warnings and predictions have been there for all to see for some time now. For example, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney recently said the following, “Low interest rates today do not necessarily mean low rates tomorrow,” warned Carney. “Risk reversals, when they happen, can be fierce; the greater the complacency, the more brutal the reckoning.” There’s no ambiguity there, and I’m thinking he might be one of those people “in the know”. The way I look at it any five year mortgage, under 4%, is free money. It’s also 60 months of peace of mind for the borrower. I can’t help but think if borrower’s get squeezed by a rate hike, and then they ask you how did this happen, irrespective of the facts all they will hear is, seven out…seven out.
Until next time
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I’m sure that right now you’re saying to yourself thank goodness we have another blogger in the world because there’s not nearly enough of them out there today. I can’t say I could blame you if you thought that way, and so the question is why would I do this?Firstly, all the so called experts say you should blog. By doing so it enhances your company and personal brand, or so they say. Secondly, it’s a creative outlet. I work in a world of numbers, process, execution, risk mitigation and all kinds of other sexy stuff. To share my thoughts, opinions and personal tidbits does have some creative appeal for me. It will also push me to do something that I am not totally comfortable with, writing. Get me in front of a room full of people to do a presentation and I’m on. Writing a story that others may actually be interested in reading sounds like a challenge to me. The reality is that I enjoy a good challenge and if it ends up that mom is the only reader of my blog so be it. I know she’ll love it because she loves everything I do, and I’m her favorite. My poor brother is so delusional.
I hope it’s clear by now that my blog will have a lighter side to it. At times I’ll comment on serious issues relating to the mortgage industry.
But I have every intention to comment on my other passions, family, politics and sports. Hey, it’s my blog. Remember, there’s one person out there that will love it. Hi mom!
I’m off to dig through newspapers, the net and other information sources to come up with great ideas for a blog. You see I have plenty of time to do that right now because I’m in the the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, waiting for my flight which has been delayed by three hours, and counting. Me thinks there will be a blog in the future about Air Canada, oh, most definitely.
Until next time.
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