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Are You a Perfectionist?: How perfectionism can help and hurt your career as a loan officer

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To some extent, all loan officers should be perfectionists. Because they’re handling so many different details and clients in their day-to-day work, they need to have high standards and great attention to detail in order to accomplish things successfully. However, there comes a point where perfectionism can become a hindrance to your career. The key is to understand the ways that perfectionist tendencies become harmful and actively shift towards a healthy balance.


How perfectionism can help:

Perfectionists hold themselves to a high standard of work and have every intention of doing a great job. This thorough approach to being a loan officer is a great quality to have. It usually means they pay attention to even the smallest of details so that everything works out as they planned. This often leads to an excellent customer experience for their clients.


How perfectionism can hinder:

Perfectionism can also lead to a slew of bad habits and qualities. These qualities can hinder LOs from growing and reaching their business goals. Perfectionism can cause you to be inflexible and stubborn, set in your own ways and standards of doing things. This can make you seem narrow-minded to your team and closed off to new ideas. On top of that, a rigid attitude and high standards can cause your colleagues to feel like you expect perfection from them as well. All of this makes you harder to work with. The practice of setting unrealistic expectations can cause you to obsess over details and make you less productive in your own tasks as well. Perfectionism can cause you to fear failure, since you never want to make a mistake. This can cause you to avoid taking the right risks and trying new ideas. Fortunately, if you find yourself exhibiting these negative qualities of perfectionism, there are ways to break out of them and create new positive habits.


How to overcome perfectionism to achieve a healthy balance:


1. Stop waiting until you’re “ready”

When you set impossibly high standards for yourself, this can cause you to avoid acting. Perfectionist LOs might procrastinate on certain tasks because they feel they’re not yet prepared enough. This can lead to inaction and inefficient work. Don’t let your perfectionist impulse stop you from beginning something challenging.


2. Be vulnerable and take risks

Being a perfectionist can cause you to avoid taking any risks at all because you’re afraid to fail. But in order to succeed as a loan originator, you need to take some necessary risks and make yourself vulnerable from time to time. This could take the shape of targeting a different client base, for example. While you may not be experienced in marketing to this group, the payoff of trying new methods can be huge. You can also practice being more vulnerable with your team and colleagues. At meetings, don’t be afraid to share your own ideas, even if you’re not sure how they’ll be received or appreciated. Start challenging yourself regularly to overcome a perfectionist fear of failure.


3. Set time limits and deadlines for tasks

Instead of allowing your standards to dictate your schedule (and potentially cause you to drag out tasks), try setting limits on your time frames for each task. For example, in something like creating an email to send to a group of prospects, don’t allow yourself to overanalyze choices like font and layout. If you set a time frame for this task, you’ll be less likely to overthink the small details and become more productive. You can also set clear deadlines for tasks so that you’ll set yourself up to maximize your time.


4. Celebrate the small victories

When you exhibit perfectionist tendencies, you’re usually hypercritical of yourself. You might not think about acknowledging the smaller goals you’ve reached along the way because you’re set on achieving a larger goal. Instead of undermining your small victories, start celebrating all of your achievements. Give yourself a pat on the back when you’ve successfully closed a loan and made a client happy. Take a moment to commend yourself for a positive testimonial you received. In doing so, your positive attitude will propel you to continue progressing.


Many hard-working people tend to be perfectionists. They want and expect things to go well and meet their standards. When you want everything to be perfect though, the odds are that you’re setting yourself up for frustration. This is especially true in the mortgage industry, where many factors are outside of your control. A loan may not go through as smoothly as you hoped. A client may end up less qualified than you initially thought. Instead of keeping rigid expectations, aim to be flexible. Take some risks occasionally and celebrate when you’ve reached even the smallest of goals. Allow high standards to motivate you, but don’t let your perfectionism backfire.