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  • Writer's pictureMichael Santalab

The Co$t of the Cha$e

It's 4:55pm on a Friday afternoon, and 'You've Got Mail' pops up on my screen. I read the details of the email and, 'YES', I've just received the loan documents for my second ever loan application, for a client who, let's just say, was very 'difficult' during the entire process. The level of self satisfaction was as high as the tip of Mt Everest.

Loan approved, YES, but what I discovered a few minutes later, NO. Something just didn't feel right. I opened up the issued loan documents to double check the main details of the loan. I stared at the screen, feeling a hot feeling rise from my feet to the top of my head, whilst grabbing my phone to call my friend and mentor in the home loan space. He answered "Hey Mick, it's ten to five on a Friday mate, switch off!!"

The heat that rose from my feet prior to my phone call, repeated it's movement and with that, I began to dream.....literally!! The last thing i remember was looking at my phone, our conversation time displayed 44 secs.

This was the last thing i saw for the next 2 minutes.

I remember dreaming of being tired and having the best sleep at that moment and then, i WOKE up. I had collapsed off my chair, and crashed to the office floor. As i regained consciousness, I remember thinking, why for the life of me am I sleeping on my office floor?

Having some sense of what just happened, I got off the floor and looked at my phone and believe it or not, my phone displayed the same conversation running, with the display showing 2 mins 44 secs....I was totally out of it for 2 mins.

The good news is I was ok and all of the doctors said, "the stress got the better of me".

The question i asked myself over and over again, was WHY? Why did I engulf myself so deep in this work situation, with these pain in the backside clients, in the desperation to earn the $4,000 commission.

My life motto is 'Whatever I choose to do, I will go all in and beyond'. My wife will vouch for me when i say this, when i choose to do something, it tends to become an obsession and nothing else matters. What's interesting about this is, given my sporting history, this is a common trait a lot of professional sportspeople possess, because it takes an obsession and special mentality to succeed in the industry. In this case, my obsession became the commission payment. Not the client outcome, not my own happiness, not the fact I was providing for my family. So what was the $4,000 really for?

The reason I added the finance arm to my business was to make more money, right? Wrong. It was to provide my already established accounting clients an additional value add service that provided them with the ability to save $$$ through the home loan medium. The best part of it is I can do this without the client needing to pay me a cent, as all commissions etc are paid to me as the broker, from the bank of choice. WIN WIN !! I wanted to make a positive change to people's lives, and lets be honest, tax returns make it very difficult to do this, well, it can be done, but I'm not keen on spending any time behind bars.

Reflecting on what happened to me that Friday afternoon, my PERSPECTIVE on work and life completely changed. I took the focus off MONEY, something so hard to do when my life revolves around money, spreadsheets, tax refunds, GST, assisting clients manage their businesses.

Personally i very much dislike talking about money, but those 2 minutes I spent lying on my floor taught me 2 valuable life lessons:

1) Don't lose focus of your WHY, and

2) I will NEVER allow my work life to push me to the point of causing damage to either my mental or physical health, my marriage or my family.

Easy to say when you're a one man business operator, but trust me when i say, "You start your business to be in control and run it your own way".

Having money is great, it provides comfort and security, but the pursuit of it can lead to short and long term lessons learnt - good and bad.

Michael Santalab

"My ambition is to inspire, educate and provide value to my family, friends, clients or anyone for that matter"

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