Modern Lending Podcast | Future Business Leaders of America

Enter your text here...Alec delivered a speech at his high school Alma Mater, Corona Del Mar High School to the Future Business Leaders of America. He talks about how life can be a never ending group project, how life can be testing at times and how this all translate to business in the ideals of ownership and success.

Your snippet of this episode of the Modern Lending Podcast:

  • It's strange to go back to high school
  • Everything you hear about life in high school is a lie
  • Life is one big group project to the end of time
  • You have to take ownership of your success

Episode Transcribe

Alec Hanson:
So, this is really cool for me. It's been 20 years, literally, since I graduated from this high school. And I've been asked to come back and talk to the FBLA, the Future Business Leaders of America group about just leadership and what that means. That's going to be so much fun. I love talking to high schoolers because I remember being one, and I didn't know anything. I thought I was so grown up. Especially when I went to college, I thought I was so grown up. And I learned such a lot in my life. And it's just going to be a really cool time. So come with me on the journey, let's talk to some high schoolers about leadership.
Hi guys, my name is Alec. I did go to this high school, and I graduated in 2000, which is super weird for me to come on to campus today. Normally I come back to the basketball tournaments. I had to go check the little trophy thing to see if my little face was still there. CIF volleyball champions. Any volleyball players in here? Basketball players? One guy. So I've known Oscar for a little bit. He actually reached out to me randomly on LinkedIn a couple of years ago, maybe a year ago, and asked me to come by. It's fun to talk to you guys today, coming from this school. So I lived in the port streets and then my parents ended up moving down to the flower streets, kind of in Corona Mar. Anyone in those areas? Port streets is cool. I liked it.
And then I'm over on Costa Mesa now, east side Costa Mesa. Yeah, I live over there now. I'm officially old, I think. I'm 38. I got an eight year old and a six year old daughter, son and daughter, two Bulldogs. And yeah, I'm a Senior Vice President of Production for a mortgage company. Anybody's parents in mortgage? Yeah? You know anything about mortgage? It's a funny industry. It's gone through some crises. Anyone familiar with the recession we just had a few years ago? You were alive, it happened. But I do want to share with you guys, since you're in the Future Business Leaders of America group, kind of what it's like. And I want to start here. Do any of you guys have massive pressure on your life to be great? I see like alligator arms.
If you're in this group and your parents made you do it, you just do this. Yeah, that's fine. Look, if you're in Corona Mar guys, there's massive pressure on you. There's massive pressure on me. And most likely your parents are all very successful. Fair? And so the pressure on you guys is to be just as successful. And sometimes that transitions into good things, and sometimes that transition to really toxic, terrible things. Is that a fair comment? So I had huge pressure on me to be great at sports. Won CIF two times in basketball, we lost in the finals. Never forget that terrible experience. I went to UC Berkeley. Does anybody else got their school already figured out? By the way, who are you guys? Seniors? Juniors?

Students:
It's a mix.

Alec Hanson:
It's a mix. Okay, if you're a senior, raise your hand. Junior? Sophomore? Freshman? Man, the pressure is big on you guys, huh? That's good. Get into the FBLA immediately. Anyone have their college done, you know where you're going? Where we going?

Students:
UT Austin.

Alec Hanson:
Awesome. Where else? Anybody else got your college done? All right, so let me tell you the truth about business, life, and what you're facing. First of all, all of it's fake. All of it's fake. You guys hear me on this? Let's break it down. Who has giant Instagram followers or TikTok followers? I'm surprised you don't notice me, I'm huge on TikTok. It's really embarrassing. Everyone wants my autograph later. Look, the like culture and the Instagram life culture is huge and it pushes us into this fakeness. Everything in the world today is made up. Some human made it up. And I'm giving you that background because as you go through college and then into work, you're going to get hit in the face with a bunch of policies and procedures and best practices and expectations.
And you have to remember all of that's made up by somebody. You can follow it or not follow it. The other ultimate truth is, hard work is really all that matters. You can be really, really smart. I think I'm kind of smart, but my key to success was outworking everybody. My first year getting mortgage loans, I literally was 100% commission sales person. Does anybody's desire in their entire life to be 100% commission salesperson? You guys know what that means? Kind of? It means if I don't get a deal, I don't get paid and I can't pay for rent, or life, or anything fun. So I literally wandered around the streets of Orange County, and Corona Del Mar, and Newport Beach and talked to everyone I could and said, 'Do you need a loan to buy a house?" That was my strategy.
Really strong, really good. But the reality is a lot of people don't work very hard. So if you show up every day and execute, even if you're not the smartest person in the world, you will absolutely beat the competition. My first year in the business, I was the number one producer in the entire country. Now that doesn't mean anything to you, you don't care, you're never going to see me again unless you're on TikTok. But the only reason I was the number one producer in the entire country at 23 years old was because everybody else doesn't work very hard in life. You show up.
Here's my other encouragement. How many of you guys are going to be managers and leaders in the future? What else are you going to do? Nothing? You're like, "I don't want to talk to this guy." I really, really, really encourage you guys to spend a year in sales. One year of your life selling something. Has anybody done that today? Worked like an internship or a program over the summer where you were in sales? Guys, everything is sales. Think about it for a second. Who watched the State of the Union Address last night? Sales. All of it was sales. All of it was a positioning and a posturing and a convincing. We're going into an election year, it's going to be all sales coming at you. Did you watch the Super Bowl? Yes? Did you see the commercials? Sales. If you're a teacher at this school, what are you doing?
You're going to say educating, you're going to say teaching, but the reality is have you had great teachers and what you would consider not so great teachers? What differentiated it? What changed it? The way they came at you with the information. They either made it exciting or they're on their way out and they made it boring and they didn't care anymore. Does that sound right? I really, really encourage you guys to spend a year in sales. I don't care what you sell, just sell something. Vacuums door to door. Work for your parents' company and sell something. Most of you guys have parents that run probably big companies. It will absolutely redefine how you see the world because all of it... And again, this is totally my paradigm and my worldview, so take that for what it is. But so much of the world that you're going to go into is sales.
And so fast forward, from my number one producer in the country plaque, I'm now managing eight states. We do about $4 billion in mortgage production across the country. And I've got about a thousand employees helping me do that in local markets all across the states. So that sounds really fun and amazing until you realize you have to travel all the time, and that sucks, I don't see my kids as much as I want to and I got to fix that too. But I lay all this up for you because the foundation of sales absolutely transformed how I lead human beings. And I want you to see that theme as we kind of discuss and have some conversation today. I also am very open to you guys asking questions if you want real talk about anything that you're really concerned about. I don't want to just present a bunch of stuff to you guys and you walk away and go, "Okay, that was interesting."
I want you to kind of hear me and understand that I live over in Costa Mesa. The only reason I'm here is because Oscar reached out for help. You guys have a huge network around you of people that want to help you. You're in a really cool age and frame of life and mind stage where you can just be like, "Hey, I'm curious. What's that like?" Or, "Hey, can I get some help on this?" Or, "Hey, what's it like going to Berkeley?" You guys have a huge network of support around you, you should tap into it. So please ask questions if you have anything you're confused about or questions about.
I'll dive into some leadership stuff. Anybody watch Gary Vee? Gary Vaynerchuk? Yeah? The snake oil salesman? The one thing about Gary Vee I love that I know he's right on, is he leads with empathy and patience. You guys you're so young, you're not going to hear this right, but I'm just going to say it anyway. I thought I was old when I went to college. I was like, "I did it. I'm an adult." And then I thought I was old when I had my first job and I lived in my own apartment and I paid my own way. I'm like, "Now I'm officially an adult because I'm paying for my own life now." And then I had kids and I'm like, "Oh my God, I am not an adult. Please take me back to high school."
You guys, you have so much time ahead of you. Gary Vaynerchuk talks about it and I'll share it with you too. Patience is going to be your biggest asset as you go on to become the future leaders you want to become. And patience with other human beings is just as equally important. That empathy thing that you guys hear... How many of you guys, and let's just be bold, consider yourself relatively intelligent? Okay. We've got some people who are very insecure about their intelligence level. Okay. Keep them up if you're like, "I'm actually strong to quite strong intelligence." Good, good. Be bold about it. Fine. Be happy with it. God bless you. Use your intelligence. Combine it with work ethic and you'll kill it in the world. But here's the thing, if you're going to be a future leader, guess what? How many of you guys love group projects? Oh my God, are they the best thing ever? You love them? They're terrible. Aren't they terrible? Why are they terrible? Why?
Because nobody does anything except for you, right? Is that fair? Okay, you ready for the terrible truth? The entire world is a group project forever until you die. Guys, you want anything in life? You want to be a leader, you want to have inspire people, you want to do great things in whatever career you go into? Guess what? It's a group project forever until you die. Just get settle in. Because that's it. That's the patience and empathy for other people. If you consider yourself above average intelligence, a go getter, a hard worker, guess what? There are some people in the future that you're going to work with that are like, "Dude, this is my job. I just punch in, punch out, leave me alone. I want to go home at five."
Do you feel me on that? Empathy and patience and hard work, are what's going to drive you to the success. But also just realize guys, right now at your specific age... How many you guys have a side hustle right now? Like a real one. Anybody? What do you got? What are you doing? Okay, I like it. Anybody else have... What do you got?

Students:
I own a company.

Alec Hanson:
What do you do?

Students:
Gary Vee actually owns part of it.

Alec Hanson:
Does he?

Students:
Yeah.

Alec Hanson:
Big dog over here. I like it. So what do you sell?

Students:
Toffee.

Alec Hanson:
Actual toffee?

Students:
Yeah.

Alec Hanson:
Oh, candy.

Students:
Yeah, candy.

Alec Hanson:
Oh, I dig it. I got to get your Instagram handle afterward, I'll check it out.

Students:
All right.

Alec Hanson:
So I would really encourage you guys to go play in your free time. How many of you guys think you have free time? Guys, you have so much free time. How many hours are in a day? How many of those do you have control over? Well, not all... You're kind of forced to come here a little bit, right? You got some restrictions around you. Not all of you live on your own, I'm assuming. So you got some restrictions from mom and dad. But I'm telling you guys, the ultimate advantage is that when you realize... I'll tell you a story... My first job in the business before I got into sales was a receptionist. I sat at Michelson next to Whole Foods, or was Whole Foods, I don't know what it is now, over there. And I literally sat in the front desk. Some person would come in with the groceries, with their little loaf of bread, and be like, "Hey, can I get a loan for my house?" That was what I did. I sat there. $90 a loan. Killed it.
And what I learned though at some point was when you work in an office setting, guess what? They're terribly, terribly gross. People don't clean up after themselves, which you'll learn in college when you have roommates, it's gross. It's terrifying. And then like the kitchen in the back of an office, any office, is a war zone. There's things growing, there's things that sit in the sink for 72 days, it's actually terrifying. And I realized one day, I was clocking out at five and I'm like, "Why am I leaving at five? I can sit here all day, all night." I wasn't married. I didn't have anything to do. I'd just go home and watch binge Netflix or something. So all I did was I started to clean up the place every night. I made the place mine. And when it was mine, I put signs up and said, if you leave something in the fridge, I'm going to throw it in the trash. Somebody put it in the fridge, I threw in the trash, I was like, "What? Come at me. Let's just deal with it. You're gross. Throw your stuff away."
Ownership is probably the preeminent... Like if you point anybody that has success in their life and career, guess what they take? They take ownership of their results. You guys know the difference between a victim and an owner? Have you broken this down in your minds before? This is a very powerful topic. I hope to leave it to you because if you're going to be future leaders, you're going to have to figure out ownership. In those group projects where no one else is doing any of the work, your grade is tied to it. You have to kind of take ownership of it don't you, if it's going to get done?
The same thing happens in life. You have people who aren't very competent, people who don't want to be competent, and you still have to take an ownership of the result. Let me give you a good example. Who's in AP classes? What's the hardest AP class here today? I took six when I was here. I can't remember, they're all blurred my mind. What's the hardest one?

Students:
AP Chem.

Alec Hanson:
AP Chem?

Students:
[A-push 00:13:30].

Alec Hanson:
A-push? I'm like, I don't know what the pushing is, but I got... Okay. So, who is responsible for the grade you're going to get in that class? No, the teacher. That's perfect, though. That's perfect because that's the victim mentality. "It's not my fault, it's the teacher's fault." Do you feel me on that? By the way, that sucks if you have a teacher, you're like, "Oh, it really is." No, it's not, it's you. It's your fault. That's not fun to hear, is it? No one likes that conversation. Everyone's like, "I hate you for saying this." But it's the truth because unfortunately you get to walk around with that report card and go apply to your colleges, and you got the grade on there. Whatever's on there, that's you. They don't ask like, "Oh, that was the teacher." "Oh my God, I'm so sorry. You had this teacher."
Do you feel me on this? Ownership, empathy, patience. Guys, these are themes that will absolutely transform your leadership style and who you choose to become as you try to figure out this crazy thing called life. But I would really encourage you to go have some fun and start a business and start selling something and just be young and have fun with it. Does that make sense? Because guys, responsibility stacks up. I got an eight and a six year old. They're amazing human beings. I want to spend all the time I have with those two human beings.
My other priorities of driving forward my businesses and stuff now have to happen like late at night when they're asleep, Before, it was like at five o'clock when I got off work, I could do anything I wanted. Now I want to come home. I want to hang out with my kids. The priorities stack up on your life over time. But when you're young and you're you guys' age, man, just go have fun, and go play, and go explore and figure it out and make tons and tons of mistakes. You know what great leaders do? Let's ask this question before I go any further. What key words would you describe a great leader to have? What key characteristics would you say, "This makes up a great leader?" What? What do we got? This is when you have to talk. I can outwait you. Wisdom.

Students:
[inaudible 00:15:32].

Alec Hanson:
Huh? Flexible?

Students:
Responsible.

Alec Hanson:
Responsible. What do you got?

Students:
Confidence.

Alec Hanson:
Confidence.

Students:
Determination.

Alec Hanson:
Determination. What else? Patience. Yes, you throw my own words back at me. Someone's listening, I appreciate you. What else? Good leader, great leader.

Students:
Innovative.

Alec Hanson:
Innovative. I'll tell you all that stuff is relatively true. But when you try to find the actions of a great leader, I'll give you one indicator of anybody you look at to see if they're a great leader. Are they leading from the front and are they uncomfortable? And are they learning right alongside you? Guys, life never... We never stop learning. New things are coming at us all the time, coming at me all the time. My job as a leader is to be out in front experiencing it, trying it, failing at it.
Let me give you an example. In sales in my business, it was a belly to belly game when I started originating at 23 years old. The reason was because the internet hadn't really come through our industry yet. For example, if you wanted to find a house that was for sale, you could not go on Zillow or Realtor.com and find a house for sale. That's pretty common now, right? Everyone knows what those sites are? You couldn't do it. In order to do it, you had to find a real estate professional in the market and be like, "I want to buy a house over here," and they could tell you what's there because they had access to the data. You did not have access to the data.
Fast forward today, data is everywhere. You can see anything you want online. Literally. It's terrifying. The dark web, it's a really fun place to be. But it's radically forcing my originators to have to change, my sales people to have to change. And one of the things they have to do... The average age of my sales person is 52 years old. They spent 20 to 30 years in their job. They're super smart and they're super talented, and the modern consumer who wants to buy a house is totally ignoring them because they're on the phone. Does that make sense a little bit?
You can see how that would happen? So my sales people who are 52, like your parents' age, have to figure out how to go online and build influence with social media. How do you think that's going? Are your parents on social media? Not just to stalk you, but like on it for real? No, they're stalking you for sure, right? With their fake accounts, they know about your fake accounts. They're all there. What are your parents do online for work? Someone raised hand, do you know? What do you got?

Students:
[inaudible 00:17:52] .

Alec Hanson:
I love it. No, like on social media. Are they on Facebook or Instagram or TikTok? Are they on those channels working their business? No. No, they're not. I was just trying to see if there's one that I was like, "One person doing it." No, they're really not. Unless your parent is probably a real estate agent, then yes they are. But can you imagine the skillset change these people had to learn to go online and transform their business in a period of time. And as a leader, you can do one of two things. You can say, "Look, get online. Statistics say you need to be online. You need to grow a Facebook account. You need to grow your LinkedIn presence. You need to connect to all of the professionals and real estate agents, and builders, and home buyers, and community members so that when you talk about what you do for a living, they can find you."
So a leader can do that. Or a leader could show up and go, "You know what? I'm going to go online, I'm going to show you how to do it." And a real leader will do both. They'll tell you, but then they'll do it too. Does that make sense? So when you're looking at your leadership career or your management career, whatever you're going to go, you're going to take my advice, right? You're going to spend one years in sales selling something? No you're not, but I love you guys. Just go with me. Just nod. Just, "Yeah. Yeah, Alec, I'm doing it." One year in sales, sell something and learn what that's like. Because it'll translate into everything you're going to go into. Even if you're like, "I'm going to be an engineer and I'm going to build rockets with Tesla or Elon." Go into sales for one year. Yeah?

Students:
So you obviously advanced within your own company. How would you get a superior to notice you?

Alec Hanson:
Oh, such a great question. And thanks for being the first to do it. What's your name?

Students:
Sam.

Alec Hanson:
Sam. First of all, superiors or bosses or whatever you want to call it, they always recognize the top performers. I know every single one of my top producers. By name, I'm intimate with them, I know them. So yes, you can show up by winning. That helps. But one of the most incredible things you can do to show up for people is just to ask them for advice. Do you know how many people want to talk about themselves? All of you. Like you all just want to talk about yourself all the time. By the way, that's true for every human being on the planet. So if you just go to the boss... One of my successes in my career is that I went to top performers, top producers, top leaders and executives, and I literally said, "Hey, can I buy you a coffee? I want to know how to do what you do." Or, "I want to improve my skillset, can you impart some of your wisdom on me?" Every single time they say yes, guys. They say yes all the time.
Even I would jump up to the CEOs. I'm that little sales guy down here, 17 bosses between me and the CEO. And I'd be like, "Hey, can I meet with you? Will you teach me something? Here's what I'm trying to learn." If you guys just ask, the world opens up. It's crazy. Especially when you posture it like, "Hey, I need to be educated. Help me." Does that make sense? So you've got to win. If you lose, they'll coach you, but you're not getting promoted. And then the fascinating thing is every single time you take on new opportunities, man, the job changes dramatically.
When I was teaching loan officers how to go get business, it was easy, "Do what I did, let me help you." When I went up a level and started managing their managers, it was, "Lead like I led, let me help you." And now as I get up here, whatever this means, I try to be a lot more cerebral and strategic, but also don't forget to come right back down to human beings and be like, "How can I help you?" Guys, to grow as a leader, you have to help other people. Like, fundamentally. You want to be a great leader? Help people.
What other questions do you guys have? That was a really good one, Sam, thank you. What do you want to know? I gave you a ton of random thoughts that you're never going to remember. It's all good. Thank you for sitting through this. I know it's painful. But what you want to know? Yeah?

Students:
[inaudible 00:21:37].

Alec Hanson:
At Berkeley, I made up my own major, interdisciplinary studies, because I wanted to go to Haas Business School because that's what good boys and girls do, you go to business school or else you're a failure. Feel me on this? And I was there and I'm like, I hate calculus so much. This it's so terrible. Computer science and coding was just the worst. I have no patience. So I went to the counselor and I said, "Can I take all the business school classes I want and then combine it with other stuff I'm interested in?" They said, "Yes, we're a hippy school. No problem. All you have to do is write like a 4,000 page year end thesis." And I was like, "I'm in." And I made it my own major.
By the way, another pro tip for college, no one's going to want to hear this, but stack your freshman year and maybe your sophomore year with as many units as you can do. Stack it all. My senior year, I had enough credits with all my AP stuff that I graduated a semester early. So my dad was like, "Here's a check, go to Europe. You know, whatever, I'll pay for school." And my senior year I had class Tuesdays and Thursdays. Two classes. That was it. Because I stacked my freshman year full of units. Oh, God bless you all. Are we done?

Students:
Yes, we are.

Alec Hanson:
Okay. Last thing guys, last thing and I'm serious about this. I'm on LinkedIn, Facebook, yes Tiktok, although it's silly, and Instagram, but I'm also in Costa Mesa. If I can help you guys in any of your career path or choices, please hook up to me and let me help. All right> it's Alec Hanson. God bless, see you guys later.


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