"Why not me?" I didn't come up with this saying. I actually stole the concept from my number one role model in chasing dreams. My husband, Mat Ishbia. If you don't know him well you are missing out. He is a dream catcher. He knows what it takes and I have been blessed to witness his greatness. The wholesale mortgage bank United Wholesale Mortgage (known by its parent company United Shore) he guided from 12 employees to over 2,300. I witnessed every minute of it first hand.
I need to tell you a little more to really understand who Mat is.
He was an amazing basketball player. Not born into a huge athletic build like most division one athletes. Yet at 5'9" a small white jewish kid from the suburbs with unrentless grit and drive managed his way to walk on to Michigan State University's division one basketball team. A program during his time there lined with some of the best players in the world from Jason Richardson, Mateen Cleeves, Zach Randolph to name a few. He wasn't just the guy at the end of the bench but a scrappy player counted on as teammate to help bring the team energy and work ethic up in practices and games. The years my husband was at MSU the team made 3 NCAA final four appearances. Not to mention captured one National Championship in 2000 under the coaching great Tom Izzo.
That is not the end of the story for Mat. It goes on but this time you don't need to have any athletic skills what so ever to do what he did next. I guess you could say anyone has it within them....that is set a dream and capture it.
Mat and I were dating when his company United Wholesale Mortgage was not ranked in the top 500. I think back then they were not even making any money. There were 12 employees. He was in outside sales. He would drive around Chicago suburbs all day meeting his accounts. He hustled so hard he wore a hole in the side of his carseat and the side of his pants from sliding in and out so many times a day. He made me every couple months before bed jot down his goals in a journal. I'm telling you this man had the wildest goals. I thought he was crazy. I never said it but boy did I think it. I mean he told me he wanted to be the number one wholesale lender in the country. He would tell me "Why not me?" His company was over 500 rankings away. Nobody knew them or him. I never said a thing. Just wrote it down and thought he was nuts. Aren't dreams like that for the companies that are already in the top 25 I foolishly thought.
Eventually in outside sales he started bringing in more business then anyone else at his office so he hired two people and started managing them in his sales techniques. He started making changes to the way things were done in his office. People started to listen because the evidence that he knew what he was doing was in his sales numbers. He took risks. The industry national model in wholesale mortgage banking was outside sales people only. Mat never had an issue going against the grain. He said I'm moving everyone inside. It makes more sense. They can contact more accounts this way each day and always be available to their clients. He turned the company paperless. He took risks on hiring more underwriters than what his current underwriting needs were. He said all these other competitors don't get customer service. I am going to blow them all away. I will spend more money upfront on having more staff so our files can be done more efficiently and with better service to our customers. I will give them a white glove experience like they have never had. Mat's gut told him that it will be than eventually make up for the extra expense of having more staff per loan than other companies. Oh boy was he ever right. Changes like that happened left and right. Mat eventually moved his way up from accountant exec, manager, head of sales, president, and finally CEO. His track record in company growth unlike anyone in the entire United States of America. He says his success is because he has the best people working with him at his company. They all have a positive attitude. It is the culture at United Wholesale Mortgage that is unlike any other. He has created a giant family there. People genuinely care about one another. They have real friendships both inside and outside the office. He is the leader and his vibe and energy is contagious. You can feel it through the brightly painted walls of the building. He has created magic.
Would you believe today he has over 2,300 people in his office. He is the number wholesale lender in the country for the past three years. Bigger than Flagstar, Quicken loans, and US Bank to name a few. Can you believe it!! I saw the grit, the drive, the relentless passion. I saw all the things Mat missed out on by keeping his eyes on the prize. Do you think NBA players get to miss a game because it is there daughters birthday or take off the game early. No....I'll tell you they do not. If you want to accomplish great things your focus must be sharp. Your trust in yourself on point. But above all else Mat leads by example. He talks big and performs even bigger. When he says this company needs every single person to get where he is going he means it right down to the check out person in the cafeteria. He treats every human in his office with the same level of respect whether they have been there 1 day or 10 years. His dream didn't happen over night. It took years and years of perseverance. Never ever keeping his eyes off the prize. I watched hurdles come in left and right. The kind of things that stop people from going after their goals. Annoying things that came up but he never stopped moving forward. He never paused to pat himself on the back. It is the most unbelievable thing I have witnessed.
We all pause time to time and day dream about greatness. But how often are we actually brave enough to go after what we want with all we have. Summer of 2018 he is moving all 2,300 (I'm sure it will be 2,500 by then) everyone into a newly renovated state of the art 600,000 square foot building in Pontiac, Michigan.
I will ask you the same question I have asked myself. "Why not you" ...."Why not me"? I want to model. I have wanted it my entire life. At 37 am I too old? At 5'6" am I too short? My body had 3 pregnancies and 3 c-sections...is it no longer good enough? I am a mom of 3....can I really do it all? I am not built like a Kardashian with a huge chest or butt. I have no implants in my body? Will fitness products and designers still want me? These are my hurdles.... I just don't even care about them. I too have my eyes on the prize. So you can take your 6 feet tall 20 year old models and line them up right behind me. I am going after this with all I have. So if I live to 100 I have 63 more years to see if I can become a nationally known name in the modeling industry.