It is a very unique person that can take something that maybe millions try to do and find their way to the top of their field. I think we all are inspired to some degree when we see someone capable of this. That is why there are full shows and movies dedicated to greatness.
Here is the question I have asked myself. What makes someone the best, the GOAT .....the MVP? Not just in sports, or music...but in corporate America? I'm just an outsider looking in. Always in awe of greatness. Not good, not better, but the BEST.
In my mind I have the answer to this because I have gotten the privledge to witness this first hand. Not many people get my perspective on what it takes to see someone rise to the top of their field. I have been around "Ride or Die" since day one with my husbands career. Since he was in outside sales wearing holes in his carseat from sliding in and out of his car so much. I've been married to Mat Ishbia for 11 years and he is in my opinion and many others has become the BEST in his field. The MVP of his "sport" wholesale lending. This blog I'm going to discuss what makes Mat so successful from my opinion seeing him and hearing him at home and tie that into a huge sports night for Detroit Piston's fans with Blake Griffin dominating the court and scoring a career high of 50 points.). I wasn't always a huge sports fan outside of my own sports that I played but being married to someone who is has rubbed off on me.
(For anyone new to my blogs here is quick background) I played division 1 soccer for MSU on a full scholarship and was the all time leading scorer in history of my high school the year I graduated. I would consider myself a "better" player but never the best. I didn't have what Mat has on the inside driving me. I would work hard every single day. I would practice daily on my own and miss out on countless things but never had the competitive nature of "I will literally work until I drop" that Mat has about UWM. Also, for those that don't know this Mat did play for the national championship MSU basketball program in 2000 which is just incredible that at 5'9" he played with some of the top guys that went on to dominate in the NBA. Mat is the CEO of UWM (part of United Shore) when he started the company consisted of just 12 people in 2003. Today there are over 2,700 team members in over 600,000 sq ft of state of the art, Silocon Valley style, work space. UWM started as a name nobody in the industry knew to become the number 1 wholesale lender for 3 years in a row and what appears to be a 4th year after this 4th quarter wraps up.
The team of UWM is the #1 wholesale LENDER in the world. The BEST. Not just the best by a few loans or two. But nearly tripling the #2 company's total quantity of loans for the year. That is crazy!!! They compete with huge names like Wells Fargo, US Bank, Flagstar, and Quicken.
Other people or businesses are happy to make a profit and consider that a win but that isn't how this CEO sees it. If you ask my husband, Mat Ishbia, he will tell you priority number 1 is always looking out for what is best for United Shore's clients and team members. ALWAYS putting their needs in front of his own. ALWAYS. He has missed out on many things with me and the kids because he knows that 1000s of people and their families depend on him as well. Multiple that with Mat being by far the most competitive person I have ever met and an internal drive to be the best at all times. You have one very motivated human being. You have someone always pushing the envelope. Always trying to do better each and ever single day. He lives to win and win by more than he did the day before every single day he competes.
Just last week which is really no different than when he is in town he easily worked 85/90 hours. Started the week flying to DC for an event and out with clients and the UWM team in the evenings. Came back in town and not a second of extra sleep in the morning to recoup from the trip but up as always at 5am and out to the office. Side note: he never needs an alarm to wake him. Sometimes he gets up at 2am or 3am because he is so excited to get started on his day with so many ideas and things to do. Then off to Vegas to another mortgage event. Where he entertains and works with clients and his team until 1am or 2am in the morning. Then up again at the crack of dawn.
I ask Mat if he was tired when I had a minute of his time on the phone. His response is always the same. "I have people in the office and around the country that depend on me. People that flew in to meet with me today." When he is in town and just had a late night I'll tell him you should sleep in. He technically has nobody to report to but himself. I will tell him you are going to get run down. Let me tell you this. In 15 years of us being together he has NEVER once slept in on a work day. He has gone in with 101 fevers because people are counting on him. I tell him he is crazy. I tell him to stay home. But nope, always a bigger picture in his mind. "I can sleep when I can get home tonight. I can catch up on sleep this weekend." To top it off when he does get home he never acts tired. Always giving the other kids 110%. He just has this internal drive to keep going and going and going.
That winning mentality. The nothing is going to get in my way of getting me and my team to where we are going is the same competitive nature I witnessed for the first time ever at Little Caesars Arena last night. Which gives me a spark of hope for Pistons. (I never watched the bad boys play b/c I lived in Illinois growing up and like I said wasn't really into watching sports but I of course knew and loved watching clips on Michael Jordan.). I was thrilled by the energy and enthusiasm seen on the court last night. I saw passion, desire to do whatever it takes to get a win. I feel that WE got to witness greatness on the court wearing a Piston's jersey for the first time in years. I told Mat while we were at the game that Blake Griffin was dominating just like Lebron James does in this game. The similar style of playing so physically hard. Driving to the hoop solid like an oak tree and never getting knocked down even though he was fouled hard so many times. It was spectacular to watch. You could literally see the fire in his play that nobody was going to stop him.
After watching Blake Griffin have his best game of career last night while playing for our very own Detroit Pistons it got me thinking as the crowd was chanting MVP. First, Blake Griffin's attitude stood out to me. His response in his post game interview. You see Blake scored the game tying basket and the game winning extra point for being fouled. He scored a career high of 50 points. His response to the game in the post game interview was something like I need to go to the locker room and then go practice my free throws. (He had missed 6 earlier in the game.). Never once patting himself on the back. Never once feeling rewarded for his play. It reminded me so much of my husband's response to me after having the best month in company history, the biggest loan submission day. Mat would and still always tell me that nothing is a gaurentee for tomorrow. Tomorrow we have to go in and outwork everyone else. We have to get back to he grind. Get better on this, that, and this and that. More work to do. We can NEVER RELAX. He doesn't just say it, he lives by it. Like so many other greats after big wins they are right back out on their playing surface, practicing. Doing whatever it takes to get better. While the rest of the world might already think they are the best. It just is never the best enough in their mind.
The second things that stood out was in a game the week before. The Pistons won at the end of the game but they didn't run the play that was called by their coach. Again, even though the team won. The self accountability Blake Griffin had was amazing. You could literally read his lips at he went over to this team and again when interviewed saying yes they won but they didn't run the play correctly. The ownership of it all. As Mat so clearly says and literally has painted on the walls of the United Shore building. "BE A THUMB POINTER". Meaning take accountability. Don't blame others. Look inside yourself and see what you can do differently to be part of the solution.
Will Blake Griffin continue to have this level of success for the Pistons? I don't know because unlike my husband I don't know him off the court. I guess that is up to him and the fire inside. Based on what I have seen this season in his personality off the court in interviews and on the court with what appears to be the same insatiable drive I see at home with Mat then yes I would say it looks promising for him. With my husband who I have watched day in and day out for 15 years (married for 11) I would say based on what I have seen it would shock me to see Mat not be the best in anything he does. He has one speed in his mind and that is full warp speed.
The true formula for an MVP from my opinion comes down to this:
1. Insane amount of energy, passion, and enthusiasm. (Mat has the energy of a category 5 tornado every single day.)
2. Team that with an insatiable drive to compete, win, and be the best.
3. Multiple that by work ethic. In sports it is called practice, in the office it is putting in the work.
What you get is a champion. A standout in their field. An MVP. A GOAT