Mike Zell: Measuring Success, Perseverance, and Overcoming Challenges

About This Episode

Go With John as he chats with Mike Zell – an incredibly successful Loan Officer, as well as a Preferred Lender for Stanley Martin Custom Homes. In this episode, Zell offers his perspective on what success means to him and the importance of perseverance. John and Mike also discuss how the lending business has changed over the years, advice for new lenders, and how to overcome challenges throughout your career.
Mike’s Website


[00:00:03] Hey, today, we’re really excited to have Mike Zell in the studio with us and we’re going to be chatting with Mike about how he got his career started. Mike is also going to tell us some of the things he would do if he was getting started in the industry today. I hope you enjoy.


[00:00:25] So I’m really excited that you’re here and I’m sitting here today with with Mike Zell and you’ve got some great stories. And, you know, one of the things that I am most excited about talking about with you today is how you got started in the lending industry, because one of my goals for this show is to try to get the message out there to the younger folks on on what we all did to get here where we are because people see us and they’re like, wow, it’s people will say to me sometimes, boy, John, it’s easy for you to go to work every day.


[00:00:59] Look what you have. And I’m thinking, well, it is a struggle to get here. Absolutely. And people don’t realize. Absolutely. They really don’t.


[00:01:06] Yeah. So, yeah. And the way we did it, because you and I did it probably about the same way is not the way you can do it today. So we’ll talk. So tell us you have to adapt. You do have to adapt. That’s correct. And you have some great ideas we talked about before the show. So you’ll you’ll bring those in. So tell me how to tell me mean so you’re in the lending industry. So tell me the story about how you got into the lending.


[00:01:31] Where were you in life? How old were you? What was your level of education?


[00:01:36] Give us a little background. Well, I graduated from Virginia Tech in March of 1978 with a business management degree, and that’s where I started. My family met my wife, at Tech lived down there for 11 years, had two kids, got there in 73 and had two kids. And I was in business with a couple of friends of mine. We had a couple of stores in town. We sold the stores and then I went into real estate. So I was selling real estate about 83 to 85. And my family, I was originally born and raised in Alexandria and my family was still up here. And Jean Merrill is no longer with us, called me up and say, Hey, Mike, do you ever consider going into the mortgage business? And I said, well, thought about it being in real estate for the last couple of years. It’s always you know, I’m always interested to try new things and the average sales price of a home back then, in the early 80s, back when interest rates were 21 percent, was fifty six thousand dollars. I had a wife, two kids, a dog, and my wife was making eight thousand dollars a year. Yeah. And I was on commission is real estate work and open houses literally every weekend. Right. To get my customers right. So anyway, so I came back up, interviewed Mr. Merrill and he said, when you want to start, I said, well, where’s my territory? He said, well, your territory is Prince William County. You’ve got to remember back in the 80s and 70s when I was raised not much in Prince William County and I said, why Prince William County? He says, because no one else wants it.


[00:03:08] And I said, OK. So he threw in my last book at me, multiple listing service book. Back then, it wasn’t computerized, right? It was about two inches thick. Yep. And he said, here’s your territory. Have at it. That’s bad. I was scared to death. Yeah. So I moved up here with two thousand dollars in the bank. Two small children, wife and a dog, rented a townhouse in Prince William County in Prince William County, close to your territory in Prince William County. Yeah. And then I started knocking on real estate doors. Right. And I mean, I did the shotgun approach.


[00:03:41] I hit every real estate office on a continual basis, seven days a week. And Stafford and Prince William County didn’t go above the Oregon River. Right. You know, wasn’t allowed to.


[00:03:52] Right. So so by doing that, you start meeting people, you start meeting people. And really, when you start doing that and you’re brand new, you really get nowhere. Right?


[00:04:00] It takes a while. Right. So it was a while, but what is a while?


[00:04:02] So I had a I had a six month, two thousand dollars a month guarantee. Right. You know, again, it was a draw against commission. Right. And I knew that I had to make something happen because when I came up here, I had about two thousand dollars in the bank and couldn’t really rely on family. They didn’t have the money, you know, to assist. So I had to hit the ground running. Right. And it just so happened when I came up here in eighty five, there was a little bit of a refinance boom going on and I immediately went from zero to 60 in a matter of what seemed like days. Right.


[00:04:37] And all of a sudden had a pipeline of 120 loans in it.


[00:04:40] I did not have a clue what I was doing right because my training was basically thirty days. Right. And the mortgage business, there’s a huge learning curve. Yeah.


[00:04:50] So and back then, sorry to interrupt you, but back back in the day they didn’t give you the kind of training that you would get today.


[00:04:56] There’s no training, right? I don’t know. Do you didn’t even need to get a license did you.


[00:05:00] Did not. Do you. Did not you were taught basically a little bit about process. And I had all the lingo down because I was in real estate for a couple of years. So I had all the lingo down. So I knew what was happening. But I’m a big marketing person, right?


[00:05:11] And the one thing I’ll tell anybody is if your name’s not on it and you’re out there marketing it for yourself, it’s a waste of your time. You have to brand everything. With your name and your company’s name, yeah, and that’s the way people know you. Yeah. So I started doing that, branding everything with my name or having things may spend money out of my own pocket, which you have to do. You got to speculate to accumulate and just started moving forward.


[00:05:37] I was marketing. I learned how to how I learned a lot. I learned how to teach classes. I taught financing classes to new realtors. I gave seminars, first time homebuyer seminars, anything that I could get in front of the people in front of the realtors and show that I’m giving the realtors a benefit and the builders benefit. Right. The builders right now in my career are literally ninety nine point nine percent of my business.


[00:06:06] Right. And, you know, I’ll jump in and just say you are probably one, if not the most well-known construction lender in the industry in northern I, I, I, I appreciate you.


[00:06:19] And, you know, I’ll circle back in a second, but it’s kind of funny how you became one of the, you know, preferred lenders Stanley Martin Custom Homes because your name just kept coming up and coming up and coming up. You know, people people would come in and they would say, oh yeah, we’ve we’ve met with my exell. And, you know, finally, it just didn’t make any sense to not have you as a lender, you know, because you’re you’re you’re really just kind of didn’t have a choice.


[00:06:43] Well, I appreciate that. But one thing, one thing and I have been in management. I retired from management a little bit less than four years ago. I spent over 30 years in management, but I never, ever, ever gave up producing loans. I was producing loans the whole time. Right. But when I retired from management, what I used to hire loan officers, number one, I would tell them a job like this, it’s it’s not a job. It’s a lifestyle. Right. I agree with it is it is seven days a week, 24/7. You have to be there when the realtors and builders need you at the open houses and make yourself available. Mm hmm. And I also told them one big thing.


[00:07:19] I said, if you’re in this job to chase a dollar and you’re just focusing on the money, you’re going to fail. Right? I tell them, focus on your customer right now, focus on what the customer needs, what their desires are, and then focus on the builder and the realtor and provide a service. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Don’t go to them. Ask you. Show them what you can do and they will come to you. Yeah, that’s true now. So true in order to do it for 35 years, which is how long I’ve been doing it, you have to adapt to the changes. When I first started, no fax machines, I carried a 12 pound cell phone. Yeah. Which you had on your shoulder. I remember those. We had pagers. Yep. OK, so I’m dating myself. Yeah. But there are a lot of people who are no longer in the mortgage business because they were unable to adapt all the changes. And it’s the same in any business. Hmm. I tell everybody now get on as many websites as you can. Builder realtor. It’s all about the social media. Right. Although I don’t do Twitter, I am on social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, various other sources. But you need to adapt, right. And you need to move forward and don’t let the discouragement and you’ll have faced a lot of rejection get you down. Yeah.


[00:08:35] Yeah. Well, let’s let’s talk. I definitely want to go back in a second and talk more about your start. Right. And pounding through that first, because so many people I think, get into a field when they’re young and they try it out for a little while and they they they run into some resistance and they give up and they just say, well, it’s not for me. And what they don’t realize this is the way it is. It’s this is the way everybody gets its baptism by fire, you know? So so when you were when you were starting, you went out and you hit the open houses. You were going into the real estate offices and you and I talked about this. You can’t really do that anymore. They don’t they don’t let you just walk in like you used to, but you would go in and leave fliers, introduce yourself, meet people, and you would do as much networking as you can. I think now you could go out to broker opens. Right. And walk in and meet realtors.


[00:09:24] And you and I still do. Yeah, exactly. At sixty six years old. I still do. Yeah. That’s because I enjoy it.


[00:09:31] I still believe there’s face time that’s needed, especially when you’re dealing with builders, especially when you’re dealing with your, you know, high producing customers and your customers. Right up until the covid-19 I went to all my closings. Right. Made sure I was there if I could be there. Yeah.


[00:09:47] I followed it up and also gave my customers a nice little closing gift.


[00:09:53] Yeah. Again, you’re very good at that with my name on it. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s self branding. That’s great.


[00:10:02] So when you were when did you start to feel like you were having some success.


[00:10:06] When, when did you feel like. So how many years were you in the industry wearing out your shoes before you started to feel like, wow, you know what, this is really going to work?


[00:10:16] So you had some luck with the reify boom, but then what was next? Well, your only first of all, you’re only as. Good as your last deal with realtors and builders and in any business, so to be quite honest with you, and this may sound funny, and I think it’s one of the things that have kept me going all these years, I never really believed up until maybe five years ago that I was successful.


[00:10:41] Mm hmm. Doesn’t matter. You know, it didn’t matter how much you make. Right. You know, if you if you value if you if you rate yourself by yourself worth, which is bad, you know, I rate myself by the job that I do. And I take everything personally as far as loans and my customers. And I’ll be quite honest with you, it took me literally 30 years to say.


[00:11:05] I’m following successful, right, but that’s what drives you forward, absolutely, that’s what drives you forward. Absolutely. And I’ve seen it time and time again.


[00:11:14] So many people get discouraged. They leave the industry because they listen to the naysayers. It’s very, very tough. Anything that anything that’s worthwhile doing is going to be tough and you just got to stick with it. I told my loan officers when they were going through downtimes, you know, slow times, whatever the case may be, and they were doubting themselves. They were doubting themselves because a lot of what came to them was what I called background noise. They hear what the competitors are doing. They hear this. They hear that. Do you know how many competitors I’ve seen come and go in the last 35 years? Yeah, how many and how many says, oh, you know, outrageous. So much better than yours. This, this, that another. And it’s that way in any industry you have to adapt and you have to grow. And yes, you know, if you are with a bad company at some point in time, you will have to make that change. But you have to decide that yourself. Right. But I’m not saying put on your blinders, but try to ignore the background noise. Yeah. Put your head down your eyes forward and just keep forging ahead.


[00:12:11] Yeah. And then build the relationship, I think, with the people, with your customers and follow up with them. Keep your own database. Right. And then when that is a different company, you got to let them know.


[00:12:20] That is correct. Always follow up. Always follow up with your customers. Yeah. It’s a little bit difficult nowadays. Your database is not your own. It belongs to the company you work for. Right. So it’s it’s difficult to take it forward with you. But if you do a good job for your customers, I have customers call me just the other day I did a long form. Eleven years ago. Eleven years ago. And they called me and said, you did our last construction loan and we’re ready to build another house. Nice. So but I get calls like that frequently. Yeah. You know, and that’s because, you know, again, forget about the money you’re going to make because you’re going to make a lot of money. Yeah, but the customer care about the customer. Look at them. Don’t even think about the money at that point. They care about the customer, care about your relationships, take care of those. Take care of one loan, one deal, one customer at a time. Yeah. And you will do fine. Absolutely.


[00:13:22] Michael Schnitzer here, president of Stanley Martin Custom Homes. Stanley Martin Homes builds thousands and thousands of homes a year. We are able to dovetail on our parent company and offer very affordable prices with a boutique level of service. To learn more about our prices and floor plans, please visit our Web site at We build on your lot dotcom. That’s we build on your lot dotcom.


[00:13:55] So let’s talk about covid. What a crazy, crazy curveball, huh?


[00:14:02] You know, I mean, it’s it’s it’s like we’re cruising along and you and I work together in a in a loose format.


[00:14:09] Right. So I’m with Stanley Martin Custom Homes. Everybody knows. And you’re you’re one of our preferred lenders and we’re cooking along.


[00:14:16] And then all of a sudden, really without any notice, we’re all locked up in our basements.


[00:14:23] How did that how did that impact you initially? What was your like, initial reaction to the whole covid situation?


[00:14:31] Well, it’s none of us really knew how to react to it. I’ve always been a person. It’s I’ve always been a person who liked to go into the office whether I needed to or not.


[00:14:41] But it has taught me, as well as a lot of people that, you know what, we can do this job at home. It does not need to be to some degree as face to face as it used to be, although I still believe you need some face time, you know, one on one with your with your referral partners. But we’ve learned to adapt, and that is what we all do.


[00:15:03] Well, you use that word a lot. And I can appreciate if you don’t. Yeah.


[00:15:07] If you don’t adapt, you will fail. Yes, absolutely. And you just can’t put your head down. Oh, my gosh Covid’s here. You know what? Adapt. Yeah. And keep moving forward. But in this environment, keep moving forward safely. Right. So we have all adapted. I think there’s going to be I think this has been a huge awakening for the country as a whole in the fact that we are doing things now and it’s force companies to move ahead. Years. Right. Were they weren’t before. Right. And so I think a lot of the folks with the you know, the office spaces, the the bricks and mortar that we’ve see a lot of offices, I think you drive through the parking lots here and different other states, they’re empty. Yeah. So people are getting used to working at home and I’m not sure that we’re not going to see a large percentage of the population on a go forward basis. Right. Working at home. Right. And think of how much money this is going to save. Businesses, yes, you know, the the the like, for example, you know, the companies who run out these office spaces, right, when in actuality they really don’t need them. Yeah, exactly.


[00:16:16] Now, that’s true. It does shift the burden a little bit because I think you and I are both seeing that folks now are working from home. They’re they’re educating their kids at home. And now they’re realizing and this is part of the reason behind the housing boom we’re experiencing right now is we can’t live and work in this house the way it is. We have to move. So, you know, but I think there’s a lot of folks moving further out from the city into bigger homes. And you’re right, they’re going to get comfortable in their new situation. And when the offices open up again, they may not want to go back.


[00:16:48] Well, and and I’m currently building the house myself and the office. I have our own building. I’ve got desks that go up and down. You know, it’s state of the art office. And when I go into the office.


[00:17:02] Exactly. If you don’t need to.


[00:17:04] Yeah. So now are you on the phone most of the time or are you doing video conferencing? How are you approaching business with covid?


[00:17:11] Some of my customers want to do video conferencing. Very few the majority of them are just on my Web site there. I’m on the phone. There are my emails and we get it done. We don’t we don’t miss a beat. There are some people, I would say less than probably one tenth of one percent actually want to meet me in person. Yeah. You know, at this point, they just they they just don’t they would rather they would rather meet, you know, one video or they are actually very few people want to meet on video. Right. I agree that. Yes, people it’s just email and website and phone.


[00:17:49] Yeah. And we did you know what, before covid we you and I and our customers, we had lots and lots and lots of phone conferences and they actually, I think, work out better. You don’t have the technical challenges, right. Of video glitches or folks trying to get on to a format. Maybe they use Skype and you’re using more and more teams or somebody is using, you know, Google Hangouts and you have all the different formats. So the so the phone we can all pick up and dollar number and get the conversation going.


[00:18:18] So take a look at what you just said. That’s how far we’ve come. Yeah, just since covid-19. Exactly.


[00:18:22] I mean, it has it’s been one of the worst things, but it’s been possibly one of the best things, not only, you know, to a degree as the economy moves forward, but it’s also been good for families. Yeah. Because it’s brought a lot of us together.


[00:18:35] Yeah. Yeah. So so, you know, now we have a new world, we have covid, we have social media, we have the, you know, the Internet, electronic communications. We’re not using faxes or twelve pound cell phones anymore. So what are some of your advice to the folks out there that are trying to get started in life and they can’t really expel the shoe leather like we did? Right. You can’t go out there and especially now with covid, you’re really stuck. So how how would you approach it if you were starting a business today?


[00:19:10] I would. First of all, you have to do the shoe leather, but not on the shoes. The shoe leather has got to be got to be in your head. Right. So you’ve got to learn and you have to be social media savvy. Absolutely, positively. Take as many courses as you can. Learn as much as you can. As I said before, be on as many builder websites, realtor websites. Your organization will have his own website. Right. You know, that should be at the bottom of every single one of your emails, you know, that you send out and your signature. It should be a very good website. So, again, you’re still doing the same thing. You’re still marketing. Stay in touch with your referral partners, your business partners at least once a week. Right? If it’s by phone, if it’s by email, some people don’t like to be called. I don’t have time and some people don’t want email, but find out what their preferred method is. Right. And send out when you when you send an information, send out usable information, something they can use in what they do.


[00:20:11] Your information is good. I appreciate that. Yeah, that’s what it is. I actually look for that. Yeah.


[00:20:16] I mean, you know, it’s, it’s always nice to receive. Well if you plant this in your garden this year. Yeah. You know, you’ll get this color flowers. Right. Well that’s all well and good. Yeah. But it’s not usable in what you do. And we’re in a especially the Northern Virginia area. Maryland area. DC area. Yeah. It’s a high powered area.


[00:20:35] You got a lot of fast moving folks and they want to know what’s going to help them in their business if you do that and you don’t even have to ask for their business. Right.


[00:20:46] But if you do that, you will become a part of their referral source. And I get emails all the time. I got to last week some of the articles I sent out thanking me for those articles and how it helps. And I’m one realtor. She’s she’s a top realtor and Virginia McLean. And she says your emails are really the only one. I really read because they all pertain to what I do.


[00:21:08] Yeah, you could hit that. You are good. And that’s because I sold real estate and I’ve been doing this for so long. Yeah.


[00:21:13] And I’ve often thought when I retire, maybe going back into selling real estate for a team because what I enjoy even way back when. Yep. Yeah.


[00:21:20] Yeah that’s cool. So, so yeah. I think, I think one of the most important things is also get on the phone with people as much as you can. There’s something about, you know, we can’t we can’t do face to face like we used to, but there is some emotional or mental connection that you get when you get on the phone and you hear somebody’s voice in you and you speak with them.


[00:21:42] And there are a lot of folks out there, a lot of young people who don’t do the phone right. I tell processers closer’s other people in our industry and other industries, please pick up the phone, call the customer and stop all these emails. You’ll get it solved in a minute. Right. And they do. And I’m telling you, it works know do not be afraid to talk to the customer. I think there’s so many people, especially young people, coming up nowadays.


[00:22:15] So video game oriented, so inner, they’ve turned inward and it’s fine with the video games and things like that. But they’re not really used to conversing with people. Right. You know, they’re they’re just used to sitting in their own little world. You’re going to be in the business world unless you’re going to be a researcher or sit in a room somewhere and, you know, write your programs and do your it, which is fine. You’re going to have to have that connection. Yeah. You know, because a lot of your personality comes across with your voice, whether they ever meet you or not. Right. Right. And so a lot of that depends on.


[00:22:49] Yeah. And I think that goes back to to experience. Right. It’s never going to be easy. The first time you pick up the phone and have to talk to somebody. But you know what? The easiest thing you can do is ask them questions and let them do the talking and take notes. And, you know, that’s a great way to get started in a new relationship, especially if you’re younger and you don’t have the experience chatting with people.


[00:23:11] Let them talk to you, listening to what your customers saying. Exactly. You’d be surprised. Exactly.


[00:23:21] Like what you’re hearing on the Go with John show, please share it with your friends, they can sign up and go with John Dotcom.


[00:23:33] I’m going to shift gears on you now. So let’s talk about tell me tell me about Mike Zeil. So you’re building a new home and in a hurricane, potentially in a hurricane zone. And and that’s exciting. So tell us about it to tell us about your new home.


[00:23:51] And so so you’ve already told us you’re 66. So what what kind of a home are you building?


[00:23:57] Well, it’s all in one square. It’s all in one square. In one square. All in one on one floor. It’s about twenty five hundred square feet. Yeah, I’m downsizing quite a bit. Yeah. You know, had the big houses all that, it’s you know, I don’t know that I’ll ever retire because I enjoy what I’m doing, but I’m tired of the yard work. I want to travel a little bit, do things that I haven’t haven’t been able to have been able to do before I got married in January. Congratulations. And a lot of people said, you know, gosh, you’re 65 years old getting married. I said, what’s wrong with that?


[00:24:32] You know, you move chronologically, maybe one age. But, you know, if you have to stay your mind as you stay young, you’ve got to keep going.


[00:24:38] Never lose hope. Right. Never lose hope that, you know, that that that that is going to work, whether it be your job or relationship. Never lose that hope. Yeah.


[00:24:47] Oh, well, life’s all up and down anyway. I mean, it’s. Yeah, yeah. Yeah it is. It is indeed. Yeah.


[00:24:53] So I, you know, I ride motorcycles. I had a I had an Indian trike built on motorcycles. I love classic cars. I’ve had those so I’m downsizing quite a bit.


[00:25:03] Do you have any classic cars now. I do not. You do not.


[00:25:06] Last one I sold was a nineteen sixty nine Corvette. OK, that was one of the five brochure cars in 1969 and bought it at Barrett-Jackson.


[00:25:19] Yeah. Back in 2009. OK, so soldat how long did you keep it. I probably kept that. Probably five years. OK, like that. OK. And then had a lot always been into motorcycles, have an Indian motorcycle track that I had built, which is very nice. And I have to hold them up anymore.


[00:25:42] Yeah. Which is always good. Right.


[00:25:45] And it just and my my wife loves it. Yeah. And I just, you know, stay busy, stay physically fit. Work out. Yeah. Through long walks. Don’t jog anymore. Yeah. Joints hurt too much. Yeah.


[00:26:00] But other than that and just you know, enjoy the beach area and and just keep doing what I’m doing.


[00:26:06] Right. Right. Get up every morning to get some look forward to. Yeah. Every day.


[00:26:10] Yeah. That’s good. That’s yeah. That’s exactly what Lillian Jorgensen my mom says. Absolutely so. So tell us about. So we’ve talked a little bit about your career and how you got into it. And so were there any big, huge challenges that you faced in your career that were just seemed just so insurmountable that you didn’t know how to get through it?


[00:26:38] Well, I think one of the biggest challenges I went through were all the mergers that I went through earlier in my career. That’s got to be frustrating. It was very frustrating to you, because whenever a merger takes place, you never know what’s going to happen. And they typically leave you alone for about a year. Yeah. And then all the changes start. Yeah. And the changes a lot of times weren’t that good. Right.


[00:26:58] And so you have to make and you have to make internal decisions. Gosh, you know, it’s difficult, as you well know, to build a business because basically you’re self-employed. Right. And you know, the customers are not given to you. Mm hmm. So do you think do I have the energy to go out and do this again? And but then you finally realize and this really helped me a lot through all these mergers, good and bad. Mm hmm.


[00:27:22] Is that the people are not using me because of who I work for. The people are using me because of me. Right. And because of the service and the care that I give these right there customers. Right. So and that that helped a lot. I mean, it was the the company’s just one day they say, you know, we’re we’re closing the doors. Mm hmm. And that’s literally or we’re selling the mortgage company or the bank is selling the mortgage company.


[00:27:53] We weren’t going to give us any notice. Yeah, no, we’re selling the mortgage company and the president of the mortgage company walks in and says, guys, I’ve got my golden parachute. You’re on your own.


[00:28:03] Mm hmm. That’s tough. That’s tough.


[00:28:07] And literally shortly thereafter, within a matter of days, it was like, have a nice day. And when you’re young and you don’t have a brand and nobody really knows you, and that makes it even and that more difficult that occurred that occurred the first than the first seven years that I was in business about how many times. That particular situation occurred twice. OK, but again, I went through been through nine mergers. Wow. You know, and that’s and that was difficult. Haven’t been any lately. And if I could find some wood, I would knock on it. But yeah, you know, but I mean, but, you know, it could happen again. And if it does, will adapt. Move forward.


[00:28:50] Yeah. And go on from there.


[00:28:53] As I said, always adapt, always adapt and look ahead. Keep moving forward.


[00:28:57] You’re going to have struggles and you’re easily found if you search for Mike Zel.


[00:29:02] Well nowadays, poof, there you are. It is so much easier.


[00:29:05] Yeah, it is so much easier. I’ve had the same cell phone. I can’t remember how long. Yeah. And people can Google me. And I have a number of people who said when I was with the other bank for 11 years. Yeah. They said, well, you know, I, you know, you do my loan so and so and I found you and I’ve had that a lot. A lot. And again, it goes back to customer service, caring for your customer. Yeah. And do something with that customer.


[00:29:29] That’s that’s memorable. Yeah. From a service standpoint. Yeah. Yeah. You know, just because something’s difficult, whether it be the customer’s difficult, the loan is difficult, their situation is difficult. Do your absolute best to work it out. Yeah. And the customers in this particular environment that you helped through this particular environment and the president of our bank even came out and said this and I’ve already had said this. They will be your customers for life.


[00:29:57] Yeah, you’ve got them. That’s true.


[00:30:00] That’s true. So when you retire, what’s next?


[00:30:05] You say you’re going to maybe sell some real estate, right? I know this cycle well. I walk on the beach.


[00:30:10] I don’t know that I can ever retire because, you know, everybody I talk to that has retired. Yeah. First of all, I have some people that say, well, you know, I’m as busy now as I ever was.


[00:30:19] Right. But the majority of people that I’ve talked to that are the stress levels that you and I have been at. Yeah. Over the years. Yeah. And they just retire. Retire. Yeah. They say their toughest part with retirement is not feeling productive. Hmm. I can see that. Not feeling productive. Yeah, I can see that.


[00:30:42] And the a lot of folks that have been under the stress levels of you and I’ve been over the years don’t live a long time after they retire, right. Yes. That goes back to having hope and always looking forward.


[00:31:02] Never, never lose that energy or that drive to move forward, because no matter the situation, you can always work it out to some degree. Absolutely. It’s fantastic.


[00:31:15] Well, Mike, anything you want to add, you’ve told some great stories, some great lessons. We all know you’re a great lender. We all know people can find you just by searching Mike Zell on the Internet and up comes your picture. So any anything you want to add or throw out there to the folks that might be listening in about anything at all about life, any life lessons, any?


[00:31:41] Well, I, I, I think the life lessons again with me, I have a very, very positive spouse.


[00:31:51] She’s actually taught me a lot. I’ve known her for 14 years. We’ve only been married since January. Right. But she’s she’s taught me a lot. She’s a very, very positive person and she’s taught me to be positive. I always call myself a realist. I’m not to say that the glass is the glass is half empty, but I always look at, OK, this is the best that can happen. Now, how do I plan for if the worst happens. Right. Always have an option. Right. Always have a plan. Right. You know, doing everything well, the best is always going to happen. So I’m not going to worry about the other. Always have a plan.


[00:32:25] Yeah. I like always, always have a plan. I’ve always had a plan B, always have a plan B.


[00:32:30] I love that. I love that. And when you get to be at this point in your life like I am my plan B, I’ll just retire. Exactly.


[00:32:39] That solves that. Well, listen, Mike, I really appreciate you coming in.


[00:32:42] It’s been awesome chatting with you and look forward to continuing our working relationship and knowing you as you continue to progress through the next stages of your career in life.


[00:32:55] Well, thank you, John. Me as well. And I’ve always enjoyed our relationship and your smiling face.


[00:32:59] I’ve never seen you down. Even when I talk to you on the phone when you were in your car accident, everything else I couldn’t tell.


[00:33:05] Yeah, we just talked about that. Yeah. Just keep moving forward.


[00:33:10] Yeah. Yeah, I get it. I didn’t always get it when I was younger and that’s what I’m trying to do.


[00:33:15] Part of what I’m trying to do with this show is to talk to folks like you who’ve been through this struggle, who know that you just got to get up and do it every day and you have to pay for your success in full.


[00:33:30] In advance, that’s correct, let me just add one more thing where you go and this is a life lesson I learned and regret to this day. I had I have three wonderful kids, of course, are all grown. And I never thought I would say I have children that are in their 40s, but I do anyway.


[00:33:45] I used to coach Little League football for my two boys and back then we didn’t have the computers and the email and everything that we did. So we did everything in person.


[00:33:57] And I actually, after coaching the football for a couple of years, actually stopped coaching because it interfered with my applications in the evening. Mm hmm. And I regret that to this day, if you have children, even if you don’t have children, get your priorities right, because people say, oh, I have my priorities right.


[00:34:19] Well, a lot of folks that do what we do and that have these stressful businesses and, you know, do well, do not. And it’s not God, family and work.


[00:34:33] It’s usually work and it goes from down there. Right. And if you’re that way at some point in your life, you’re going to have regrets. Mm hmm. And I do have that. I do have that that I regret. But as my grandfather used to tell me, I’ve never seen an armored car follow a hearse to a cemetery.


[00:34:55] That is absolutely correct. And that’s fantastic advice. And I appreciate that advice. And I’m trying to take it right now. And it’s not easy. It’s not easy. Covid has certainly pushed it along for me. You know, I know that my kids appreciate that I’m home on weekends now, and that’s never happened. You know, I’ve been I’ve been with my kids every single weekend since covid.


[00:35:21] And before that, there was always somebody who needed me.


[00:35:25] And, you know, amazingly enough, life is continuing. You know, business is continuing. The meetings are continuing, the sales are continuing. And, you know, my my family’s situation has improved drastically. So I appreciate that advice very much. Absolutely. Yeah. Major, always a pleasure. Always a pleasure with you, too, buddy. Thanks for coming in.


[00:35:52] Hey, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Go with John Show. Please subscribe on the podcast platform of your choice and keep up with our latest episodes and what’s going on with the show at Go with John Dotcom. That’s go with John Dotcom