“Wealth inequality is a massive problem that starts in the school systems”, Christopher Molina of CrossCountry Mortgage and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

The best way to develop great habits is to be very intentional about making time to learn them. When Coronavirus broke out around march, my new habit became waking up at 4:30 AM. I knew that a new economy would bring time sensitive opportunities, and you have to develop habits that enable you to capitalize […]

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The best way to develop great habits is to be very intentional about making time to learn them. When Coronavirus broke out around march, my new habit became waking up at 4:30 AM. I knew that a new economy would bring time sensitive opportunities, and you have to develop habits that enable you to capitalize on those opportunities. Looking back on how our business has doubled this year, it’s safe to say that learning new strategies and constantly refining the business plan, was a direct result of waking up every day at 4:30 AM.

As a part of our series about “Optimal Performance Before High Pressure Moments”, I had the pleasure of interviewingChristopher Molina.

Chris Molina is the Originating Branch Business Development Manager of The Ryan Brown Team at CrossCountry Mortgage. Chris has successfully helped build this branch into the #1 Mortgage Company in Palm Beach County.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

My mother escaped communism at the age of 18 and came to this country with nothing. My father escaped extreme poverty in Honduras at the age of 23 and also came to this country with nothing. I fell in love with finance at the age of 12 when I won the stock market award during a class competition for who could pick the stock with the highest return. It was at this moment that I made a decision to base the rest of my life on a career in finance. I was raised by a single mother and my older sister, so being the man of the house from a young age, I always had a strong desire to provide for the family. I moved to Florida on my own at the age of 16, and went on to study finance and play soccer at Palm Beach Atlantic University. When I got injured at 18 ½ years old, I went right into finance.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as an entrepreneur or business leader? We’d love to hear the story.

Two people, the first is my mother. The 2nd is Ryan Brown. When I got injured playing soccer, I was contemplating my decision to get surgery and keep playing, (which would require sitting out for 18 months to heal) or jumping right into business and chasing my dreams. Just one week later, my mother informed me that she lost her job, and needed help. My mom was a single mother, and my father was nowhere in sight, so having an intense desire to provide for my family, I decided to take a leap of faith and chase my dreams in order to one day be able to alleviate my mothers suffering. I packed a suitcase, went homeless, and with only 200 dollars in my pocket, I took a bus to Miami. I printed out over 80 resumes at FedEx, and went around to every skyscraper in Brickell and the financial district, until I needed to print more resumes. When the skyscrapers closed, I would then go to a hotel lobby with free wifi, to continue reading and applying for jobs in finance till about 2am. I would then go sleep at a park near the beach when the hotel would kick me out of the lobby, and wake up around 5am at the crack of dawn, using a public restroom to brush my teeth, and the ocean to shower. Those were some unforgettable nights that molded me into the relentlessly hardworking and humble man I am today. By the grace of God, I got a call from Network Capital Funding Corporation, a mortgage company downtown Miami. They had a training program where they would pay you to obtain your National Mortgage License (NMLS) while working in their call center during the day, and studying for the NMLS test at night. Once you had the license, you were officially a Mortgage Banker/Loan Officer. The test had only a 20% pass rate, but I studied relentlessly and by the grace of God I passed. I then began to think bigger and began searching for Loan Officer positions at the best companies in the nation. I remember reading about a man named Ryan Brown, who was in an article for being top 40 under 40 in palm beach county, former president of the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals, and who was a complete legend in the mortgage business. He was also a Christian, and a family man, a true role model. I didn’t want to work anywhere else, so I cold called him until he interviewed me, and allowed me to be a loan officer at his branch. I have been his top producing loan officer ever since, and two years ago he promoted me to Branch Business Development Manager, a partnership that has led to us becoming the #1 lender in Palm Beach County, and has put us on the mission we are currently striving toward: Becoming the #1 Branch in the United Stated of America.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

Never give up, program your mind for success, hang around people that are better than you. Find the #1 person who is doing what you want to do and go work for them. Be a diligent student of your business and focus on helping other people. If you can help other people grow their business, they will want to partner with you in your business, and when you partner with other great people, the sky is the limit. That is how massive companies are formed. When you have many highly talented people who are better than you and who have the same vision and the same mission, your business will explode exponentially. When everyone wins, you win. You cannot grow your business by being selfish, that’s why some companies stay small and others grow to massive proportions. The more people that succeed around you, the more you succeed. Think big, work like hell, never be selfish, never be satisfied, and give something back.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

When I was17, I read the 10X Rule by Grant Cardone. That book completely changed my life.It drew the thread from where I was at 17 to where I want to be when I die. It helped me reverse engineer the rest of my life.It gave me purpose and unlocked my ability to think big. It also fundamentally challenged me to take massive action, to make my goals 10X bigger, and to apply 10X more action then I think is required in the pursuit of the goals. Also, this book will always have a special place in my heart because I was born on October 10th, and X being the Roman numeral for 10, I guess you can say I was born “10X”! 😊

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

Early on, I lived by the words of Warren Buffet “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction”. This resonated with me because I always chose to be around those who inspired me. From soccer teammates, to like-minded finance individuals. Who you surround yourself with is everything, and ultimately determines what direction you go in life. Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future! I also live by the quote of Eric Tomas, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” This quote helped me get through those dark days in the very beginning when I had nothing but a dream.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people? Currently, we are the #1 mortgage company in Palm Beach County. Our next project is to become the #1 mortgage company and branch in the United States. We’re helping people every day achieve goals of home-ownership and acquiring assets through property.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As a business leader, you likely often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to cope with the burden of stress?

In moments like this, I’ve always reminded myself about a 3-step process that Lebron James uses in high pressure situations. The first step is to take a deep breath. Your body is like a machine, and you’re breathe is the electricity that flows through it and allows it to operate at peak performance. The second step is to tune out the noise. You have to put yourself in the mindset of a racehorse with blinders. A racehorse never runs a race without them, or else they would be paying attention to the thousands of screaming fans in the audience, and other horses around them. Instead, the blinders allow them to enter peak performance and only see the target. It’s the same in business and high-pressure situations. The third step is to simply take the shot. Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, has a famous quote, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career, and that’s why I succeed.” In business, when you are in the moment, you have to detach from the result. You have to breathe, tune out the noise, and just take the shot, because if you don’t, you’ll never make the shot.

Aside from being able to deal with the burden of stress, can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?

In moments like this, the first strategy is I always remember where I came from. I close my eyes and I think about those very first days of my career, being homeless at 18 while working 21 hours a day and only sleeping 3 hours then becoming the youngest mortgage banker in America and landing my dream job, all of which happened within a one month period. I say to myself, “I’ve done it once, I’ve already overcame insurmountable pressure, and I can do it again.” The second strategy is I keep a list of the 10 most common high-pressure situations in your industry and business. I have an excel spreadsheet dedicated to this alone and I constantly work on improving these strategies based on day to day experiences. This tip alone can take anyone’s business to the next level. Being able to go back and learn from every high-pressure situation is the best way to prepare for those in the future.

Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques, meditations, or visualizations to help optimize yourself? If you do, we’d love to hear about it.

Absolutely, I have always been a big believer in mental programing. The first thing I do in the morning when I open my eyes is, I listen to a personal development audio and write down my goals simultaneously. Science shows that our brain is most susceptible to take in information during the first five minutes of the day. That means that 0.5% of your time will determine the other 99.5% of it. I take this very seriously because it completely optimizes the trajectory of the rest of your day and allows you to excel under high pressure. I also get to the office 2 hours early every day, and role play handling high pressure situations. Over time, I have developed scripts of exactly what to say in different scenarios, and by practicing them every day I can honestly say they don’t feel high pressure anymore, in fact I look forward to those scenarios and I train our sales staff on these as well.

Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?

The last thing I do before I leave the office is I plan everything I am going to do the next day, but the single greatest technique I have ever learned is one that Ryan Brown taught me. Start every day by focusing on gratitude. Every morning, everyone on our team goes around, and we share one thing that we are grateful for that day. By doing this, everyone develops the gratitude muscle, and it gets stronger and stronger over time. As Ryan Brown says, “You can’t have a grateful heart, and bad attitude at the same time.” Working with grateful people drastically reduces the stress and pressure of your business by clearing away distractions and zooming in on what really matters in life.

We all know the importance of good habits. How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

Have a coachable heart. Habits are everything. As Warren Buffets says, “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” Being coachable is the single greatest habit I kept from soccer. You should never feel like you know it all. You need to always be seeking ways to improve your knowledge and skill set. As you grow, new skills are required, and you must adapt. I always ask Ryan what I can do to get better, and I always execute. From my first day working for him, he put me in professional coaching with the #1 Mortgage coaching company in the nation, the CORE Training inc. Because I had exposure to this training from the very beginning of my career, I had an open mind, and no bad habits. I was able to fully surrender and immerse myself in the strategic tactics of the top producers in the nation. This, I can say with full confidence, has made the biggest impact on my business.

What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?

The best way to develop great habits is to be very intentional about making time to learn them. When Coronavirus broke out around march, my new habit became waking up at 4:30 AM. I knew that a new economy would bring time sensitive opportunities, and you have to develop habits that enable you to capitalize on those opportunities. Looking back on how our business has doubled this year, it’s safe to say that learning new strategies and constantly refining the business plan, was a direct result of waking up every day at 4:30 AM.

As a business leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

Flow is a vital state you enter when you completely abandon the concept of 9 to 5, and take full ownership of the 24 hours a day in front of you. Weather it’s Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, or Alexander the Great, they all had one thing in common when they laid the foundation of their legacy. They all had 24 hours a day. When I was homeless and working 20 hours a day, going skyscraper to skyscraper with my resume during the day, trying not to let the rain get to me by night, and showering in the ocean in the morning, I always felt happy, and I never felt tired. It was do or die, and every moment was precious. I was in a flow state. When you are in the pursuit of happiness, and you are doing it for more than just yourself, you will enter a flow state. As Eric Thomas says, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” Your ego will vanish, your WHY will become crystal clear, and time will fly by you. From my experience, to enter flow state you just have to develop and obsession of your current objective, take a deep breathe, and go after it.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Wealth inequality is a massive problem that starts in the school systems. I do not come from much, and no one ever taught me about money. I had to go out and learn it on my own. I know for a fact that if your family doesn’t teach you about money, the schools definitely won’t. And that is the biggest problem, because if it were not for my soccer ability, I wouldn’t have had access to private education that by luck had a stock market club, and changed my life. I have been to public and private school, and in both, we spend far too much time having to learn things like algebra that 95% of people will never use in the real world, but we spend 0% of our time in school learning about real world concepts like credit, income, wealth, and personal finance. Because of this, the lower class is at a distinct disadvantage. I would inspire a movement that thrusts modern education into its own renaissance era, and completely empowers the lower class to bridge the income gap. It’s very possible, but it takes a village to raise a child and we need someone to stand up and lead this change. No one has done that so far, so this is a massive opportunity.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would love to have breakfast with Elon Musk. Given that he is a self made man who completely revolutionized finance by founding which later become PayPal, I would love to pick his brain on what a mortgage company would look like if he made that his life passion. I wonder what technology and software Musk would create that would completely revolutionize the mortgage industry. He uses a “first principle” approach derived from physics to discover fundamental principles about his business ventures, and no one does that in the mortgage industry. It would be a dream come true to have this conversation with him. After all, my goal in life is to own the worlds largest mortgage bank. I couldn’t imagine anyone better to break bread with.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can follow my life on Instagram. Cmolina10x

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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