Identifying Purpose to Achieve Success with Christine Beckwith of 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching

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We talked with Christine about:

  • How she discovered “teaching” was her calling
  • How having a bird’s eye view of the mortgage industry allowed her to stand out  
  • Why she designed her business like “a hospital and a drug store”

About Christine Beckwith:

As a leading and award-winning mortgage industry executive sales leader, Christine Beckwith pivoted from sales to coaching in 2018. She is now the president, chief operating officer, and master coach of 20/20 Vision for Success Coaching. In this role, Christine guides loan originators and others in the industry to be successful entrepreneurs by offering them the professional and personal resources they need.

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Full Audio Transcript

Lauren (00:00):
Christine, welcome. We're so glad to have you here. So I don't even know where to begin because I feel like your bio is just so amazing. I mean, you're a coach. You've got your own podcast. You've written multiple books. Let's just start there. Tell us about how you got to where you are today. You have just had so much success, to be where you are right now. So I'd love to hear a little more about your story in the background.

Christine (00:27):
I grew up in central New Hampshire in this beautiful valley of the White Mountains. And I went off to college at 18 on a scholarship. So for me it was really, really important when I was young. I had to work really hard to get to school. And then while I was in school, I was the understudy of a female originator. And even though I was going to school for sports medicine and nutrition, I caught the bug for the banking industry. And if you fast forward 35 years, I've had a really incredible career within the mortgage industry and in the finance space. I would start out leaving college and not going into my field, going into the banking field, becoming a loan originator. I was processing and assisting loans, as I said, in my college years. 

Christine (01:19):
And I just loved it. I was very competitive. And if you look under the hood of my career, I would become a branch manager, an originating branch manager, and then later a district manager. And at the time that I became a district manager, there were not a lot of higher ranking women. In fact, I worked for H&R Block Mortgage at that time. And there had been no women who had been at that level. I would go on to become the regional vice president. When I became the senior vice president, I really got notoriety. I would end up closing that division for H&R Block during the mortgage implosion, which was an act of preservation toward the shareholder price on Wall Street. And I would write a book that became a bestseller called Wise Eyes.

Christine (02:05):
I wrote about my way to success, including the sad part of that story, which is the end, the demise of that leg of my career. And then I would take about 50 people from that local market to go work at a boutique shop to kind of weather the storm. And I got another call from Wall Street and was asked if I would be willing to do kind of the Warren Buffet thing, which is to build another mortgage firm with some people I had worked with in the past and combine my boutique shop with their shop in Jersey. Then I went on another 12-year ride building AnnieMac Home Mortgage with Joe Panebianco and the managers there, Ryan Kuby, Jason Leibowitz. And that brings you all the way to 2017, 2018, when I ended up retiring from direct management within the mortgage industry.

Christine (02:59):
I was turning 50 that year and decided to do this, which was by the way not a surprise, because I had a 10-year business plan to actually do exactly what I did, which was to leave direct mortgage management and launch a consulting firm. Along the way I became a writer for the national mortgage magazines. I became a published author. I have won a lot of sales contests; I would say I'm a fierce competitor. So what you see out there is a lot of hype, I think, around awards I received for competing in the area of sales and that sort of thing. And I guess along the way, I also broke some glass ceilings, more or less accidentally, because I just really was always, I hope, the best person for the job. But I had to trudge some paths that had not been trenched by women prior to me.

Lauren (03:56):
So you mentioned this plan that was in the works to start, the consulting business you have now. Tell me a little bit more about that. And when did you know it was just that right turning point to get this business going?

Christine (04:09):
So in 2006, when the downfall of H&R Block was occurring, I ended up taking the summer off. I had a great severance after being with them for so long, 12 years. And it was a crazy time; the mortgage implosion was happening and I was a little unsettled by the fact that I had just thought three months prior, everything was great. And then all of a sudden the bottom had fallen out. I had a baby in 2006. So it was really a good time to be in a position to be able to stay home. And I literally rented a home. I was living away from where I grew up and I rented a home back on the lake where I grew up. And it was just this surreal time where I just spent the whole summer not working.

Christine (04:54):
My mother actually had a brain aneurysm that summer. She survived it, but she was in a forced coma for a couple months. So I was very fragile. I had lost a 12-year job, put myself outta work. I had a new gig called motherhood going on. My mom was sick. And I think all of these things and I wasn't working and I'm a workaholic. So like all of these things were all happening at once. And so what did I do every day to keep my sanity? I would write. I just started writing. I was afraid I wouldn't remember all the things that had made me successful. So over that summer, as I began to write, I had no idea that what I was writing was my first book. I just wrote. And I wrote, it was like Forrest Gump of writing was growing in my life.

Christine (05:37):
Like I had decided to go out for a small run and then I just tapped into some geyser of writing. And so I would write and write and write and write and write. And as that summer wore on and I wrote, most people who do write, it's really a cathartic process. And I discovered along the path of encapsulating my success over the prior 10 years that I was a teacher. I thought, God, that's my calling. I'm a teacher. I like building education. I have a distinct relationship with it. I admire it. I respect it. I think I'm a good teacher. I get good results when I do teach, which is great. I can engage people for long periods of accountability time, I discovered. And so all of these things led to me deciding, gee, maybe one day I'll coach or I'll be a consultant.

Christine (06:34):
And I actually decided that summer what would be the name of my book. And I was spitballing names for my book and I was writing them down and I was testing them on Google and stuff and seeing what was out there. And then I did the same thing with a consulting firm. What would I name it? You know? And so I ended up paying for the domain vision of your success dot net. And I did not bring that website to life. I paid for the annual fees for that domain for 10 years before it would come to life. So true story, proof actually of that. And so everyone always says when the year 2020 came, everybody overused the phrase 20/20 vision for success. They're like, oh my God, like you named your company, because my company opened in 18 and they thought I was just on the bandwagon of what was happening.

Christine (07:29):
And I said, you know, I've always had this name and this name's gonna live way past the year 2020. I hope. And that's what I did. And so I just didn't know where it was. I had an image in my mind that maybe when I went to work for the next company, I would work for them for three to five years and then I'd start doing this. And then when I got to work doing what I was doing there, I thought, well maybe I won't be doing this till I'm 55. And then the perfect storm happened again for me in 2018 where I just really came to terms with it being the right time. And I will tell you, it was like a Seinfeld thing because I felt like I needed to go out on top. My career was still soaring. I was still winning. I was getting tons of accolades for my contributions to AnnieMac. I was winning industry accolades. I had won a top 50 women award from MPA magazine, which was prestigious. I had hoped to be there for 20 years in my career and to be named; I also knew I was coming of age at that point. So there you have it. I mean, that's kind of how it all came about.

Lauren (08:35):
Yeah. I liked what you were saying earlier too, about how you're able to work with people and coach them. On your website, there's some testimonials too about that, right? That you've got this real gift. And so that might, I don't know, I don't feel like that's something you can train. But I'd imagine that you've brought that into your coaching practice and helping people. I'd love to hear a little bit more about that too.

Christine (08:57):
Yeah. I mean, so all through my career, parts and pieces of my executive leadership, my regional district leadership, even branch manager is obviously speaking and training. And so I didn’t know I had a gift, I guess, for that until I would see the reactions of people when I would speak or do a class. And so by the time I would decide that this is something I was good at, I ended up really going through a process of evolution. The guys, you know, I was surrounded by 98.5% men for 32 years below me, beside me and above me. And as a result of that, I literally in the first decade of my career, was one of 178 originators and I was the only female. And one of 210 branch managers. And I was the only female.

Christine (09:55):
I mean, the numbers are staggering as to how few women there were in sales. If you went over to the operation side, closing, you know, underwriting, processing, the numbers were much better in those areas, but for sales, they were really stark. And the guys would say, oh, you're a cheerleader. I always seemed to have something; I was always quoting people. When I went to college, I wrote a thesis on interviewing Edgar Allen Poe. And I tutored in English and I was a young author too. I was published in Cricket, my magazine at grade school. I had an English teacher who thought I had good writing skills. So somewhere inside me, I felt like there was probably always that author, teacher, writer, trainer type of personality.

Christine (10:47):
I did the tagline for this company as emotional awakening through education. I believe that if you have an opportunity to sit down and teach a subject, you first have to provoke the audience into the belief of the subject that you're teaching. It isn't enough to explain what and how something works, but the why, why you should do it, and really tying in to what makes people soar. And so I'm a metaphoric teacher. I use tons of metaphors—it's in my regular language, my everyday language—to kind of get people out of their heads, out of their elements, out of their situations to sit in light of things that they're struggling with, like delegation and just scaling and all of the human evolution pieces.

Christine (11:44):
So it's not surprising, 20/20 Vision Consulting offers grief and loss counselors, health and wellness counselors. We're in the mortgage industry and we're doing financial forensics building out performers; we're teaching originators how to scale and be entrepreneurs; we're teaching formidable business planning, time management, economics, the whole gamut of banking and real estate finance education, but for a human. So we look at you as the pilot of your business and you might be going through something. And so we're gonna have the resources here to make sure you are healthy—mind, body, soul—as best we can. And then we'll get down into the tactical matter of running your business, because so many things that prevent people from being successful are the outlier type of things that are affecting them.

Lauren (12:34):
That makes so much sense. And when you're coaching these businesses, individuals, etc., are you helping to shape that strategy? Are you more trying to get down to the root cause of why, whatever issue, maybe it's a sales issue or personal issue? What kind of conversations are you having with folks?

Christine (12:55):
You know, it's funny, because when I started 20/20 and I started to really get closer to the day that we were going to open our doors, we spent 18 months prior building the first deck of curriculum. So we had some substance and content and I made it very tactically formidable, the entrepreneur that was building an origination system. I knew that's what would attract companies. I knew that's what would attract originating salespeople. It’s where I had spent most of my career. And I knew that my competitor very much had a box of training that they expected people to crawl into. And it had limits, like let's learn how to make cold calls. Let's learn how to convert leads. Let's learn how to talk to realtors. Let's learn how to do this. And it may have had a set or a couple subsets of educational tactical matter.

Christine (13:49):
And I thought, I'm not doing that. I'm going to build a college. I'm gonna build it on modern terms, meaning you can train anywhere in the world. The software that I would end up getting through LightSpeed VT is tagged the most virtual interactive training system on Earth, which is a bold statement. And it's the Lamborghini of software. And so I went for it. I'm like, this is gonna be a scalable company and it's gonna be customizable. And so I would tell you, we opened our doors kind of with the mindset that there are thousands of different types of people within our industry who are gonna walk in with a very unique set of health circumstances for their business. And we need to be a hospital and like a drug store at the same time.

Christine (14:37):
We're gonna have a resource center where we can send them to go get cold medicine and send them to get bandages and send them to get Tylenol. But we're also going to have on-deck doctors ready to work with those patients who have outlier conditions for their business. So we really do have a process. We figured it out. Clients come in and go through a formidable process of telling their story. Every person who comes here fills out something called the blueprint for success, which I authored; it's in my book, Wise Eyes, the first book I wrote. It has nine components of building out a business plan. And it's literally an eight and a half by 11 piece of paper. And when you're done, it’s a complete ecosystem look at your business. 

Christine (15:22):
There’s a first coach who’s gonna review that document with you and they are then going to prescribe your first 90 days. There is formidable curriculum that's occurring. You do go through orientation. You are given a syllabus just like school. You are given an app on your phone and laptop that allows you to attend live classes—optional—during the week with real instructors. And then you have the ability to do your one-on-one sessions with your counselors. And so all of this is occurring and you are self-advocating yourself into the right places based on us saying, okay, this is what we see the priorities for fixing your business are X. If you don't come bearing a lot of problems and you're just here to be at the gym and get more muscles and get more strong, get stronger, well then that looks like a different path. And so we can write a prescription for literally endless amounts of people. Because what we did is we built an enormous resource center with all these professionals here and experts. And so the neat thing is people pay membership dues here. And then we write the checks to the doctors. So instead of you getting billed for every doctor you go to, you come here, you pay a membership and talk to the doctors and not be billed. And it's under your membership and we take care of it for you as part of your membership.

Lauren (16:38):
Did you just kind of figure this out by going through the process? I mean, it's one thing to start a business, right? It's another thing to be able to design it to scale and then build a team to do that and have the systems in place. How did you do it? I mean, you're at a place right now where you can tell that narrative, right?

Christine (17:01):
Some of it grew organically and out of us listening to what the clients’ needs were. And so, like I said, we had a subset of curriculum built and we started with a small pool of consultants. Then we heard, oh, they need this, we need that. And we'd bring in this and we'd bring in that. And we followed the markets because we are economic advisors and we followed the companies. And we just grew and stacked the resources. We still are. We believe that keeping memberships alive here is happening from our evolution of content. We have a syllabus of live certifications that go on by semester. So we're not teaching live business certifications in the summertime or in January. And so just like following a college, there are classes going on all year long and study halls, by the way, also going on.

Christine (17:57):
So communities of people are gathering in our Zooms and they're being managed by audio coaches to talk through points. We set the discussion points and we put guest coaches in, and they come in, but for the actual live semester of certification, we have a registration over the summer. We show the topics for the fall and you can opt into up to three of the certifications with your membership. You also can go to the study halls. You can go to the monthly masterminds as part of your all-access. And the virtual training has over 200 hours of formidable training. It's a culmination of over 100 executive consultants. And the libraries are rich. You could literally go find something on anything. I think at this point we have over 20 hours of digital marketing strategy. We have 40 hours of financial forensic strategy.

Christine (18:54):
And so it's like going to the library; what are you here for? What are you studying to be? And so again, I guess because I started from a place where I said I'm not going to be trying to compete with the one-man coaching shops, I'm going to be trying to create a resource center for professionals in our space. And I still think we're the best-kept secret in our industry. And we have grabbed so much market share from our competition and are still growing at a pretty big pace. So I feel blessed. It's been a complex puzzle. I would say the hardest thing is that I once again entered a male-dominated field, consulting and coaching. So like I haven't had enough challenges.

Christine (19:41):
I decided to once again opt into that situation, which is crazy, but I just haven't paid attention to the noise. I've always believed that we as women could do anything we put our minds to. I think we are the best choices for many things. And I just set the gender talk aside. I had many people say what are you doing? I had people who were really scared that I was making a mistake or losing my mind because I was leaving a really great income in my previous job after the mountain I had climbed to get there. And they were like, what are you doing? You know coaching is saturated, nobody needs more coaches. I'm watching coaches starve to death out there trying to make it; there's a gazillion people who think they're coaches. 

Christine (20:33):
And literally when they said it to me, I'm like, well, you don't believe in me as much as I believe in myself, clearly in this conversation. I have something special and I'm gonna bring it and I'm gonna grow it. And whoever wants to come can come. But I always knew I had something and I'm not saying me personally, on an egotistical level. I understood the complexity in the mortgage industry and real estate industry. And I saw the holes. We do not have a school for loan origination. There are people who offer certain areas, but I just felt there's a need and there is a hole and I'm gonna go fill that. And so I just had a lot of belief in the idea.

Lauren (21:16):
Yeah. You had that bird's eye view. And so you could start to poke holes in it and see an opportunity for improvement. So, looking back, is there anything you would've done differently or even looking ahead, anything you wanna grow or expand?

Christine (21:31):
Yeah. So I'm still very strategic. I have always been strategic, competing in 12-month sales contests, or trying to be the best at something over a long time or win the number one spot or even the top 5% when they're giving out awards. And I would kill myself to get those, more because I wanted to test the limits of myself. I kind of consider myself kind of like a mountain climber. People ask all the time, why would you wanna climb a mountain? And I think I completely understand that mindset of like, I wanna know if I can do it, but it's scary. But I'm gonna learn everything I can. I just recently refurbished my great-grandmother's waterfall 1920s dresser. I know nothing about furniture refurbishing. But I knew this fragile piece, this dresser, which I have an emotional memory of my great-grandmother sitting in front of with her curlers and powder puff, big round powder puff thing that she had.

Christine (22:34):
I can just remember her sitting there making herself pretty and putting her lipstick on. And I was a little girl. And when she died at 86 years old, she left me this bureau. And so I'm saying this to you because I knew it deserved to have a shine put on it. And I knew it deserved an expert to do it. And I thought I could hire somebody to do it, but I could teach myself how to do it. And so I just YouTubed to death waterfall 1920 dresser remakes. And I watched about 10 to 15 hours before I made my first move. And then I started to do it and I'm gonna tell you, I have received offers. I also documented the process. I got on camera and said, I'm gonna do something I've never done. And I started posting on the weekends and people were tuning in.

Christine (23:17):
I had one weekend where I didn't post the progress over three months of this dresser. And I had people private messaging saying, are we getting an update on the dresser? We can't wait to see how it looked, and it came out incredibly. I had people make me thousands of dollars of offers. It has this beautiful 1920s woman on the front in stencil and it's mahogany and it's guilded. And I preserved the mirror. I took my time. So I say this to you, I digress, because I believe that I have the mind of a person who’s always examining and analyzing things. And I'm scanning. So right now, in 2022, we have a pivot in the market. We have an inventory issue on the purchase side. Interest rates have risen; we're at war. There's tons of equity.

Christine (24:11):
There's 32 trillion in equity and mortgage originators are suffering because they've been shooting fish in a barrel for many years, with the rate rates being low and an inbound type of sale that was already warm, driven by the consumer, just because of market winds and the winds in the sails of the economic markets. And it's a pivot this year, a hard pivot. The loan officers themselves aren't quite sure how to have the economic conversation about taking equity, especially with people that don't have debt and maybe have to raise their interest rate. And so we are here at 20/20 to help those people across America have this conversation. We're in classrooms, practicing this conversation overcoming objections. And it means that my firm also has to steady and stabilize itself because our client is a person that's declining in income right now, which is a direct threat to my consulting firm.

Christine (25:08):
And so what do you do? You look ahead and you say, where is the wind going? And you turn your sail. And so I am turning the boat of 20/20 into the corporate wind. And I'm saying, hey, you wanna retain your loan originators, bring them the answers—we have the answers. And we're gonna just continue to be here with the lights on, because we know there's gonna be some ships that are sinking this year and so on and so forth. So I think I'm just gonna always be out here, with a passion, competing, proving that by example even when I opened my business four years ago, I had a no-fail option because I was ironically entering a field where I was going to business coach people on how to run, scale and have thriving businesses in a new market where my business had never existed in a fishbowl with a no-fail option, because if I can't build 20/20, sustain it, scale it, how on earth would you hire me to tell you to do the same?

Christine (26:14):
And so that is the pressure I live with, but it's a pressure I'm happy to live with. And I would say finally, I feel honored to live in my purpose. I feel honored when tested with the idea that giving education meant more to me than receiving a rich, rich paycheck. That I actually answered that question with the greatest thing I could give back to myself in self-confidence and ROI. And that is that I am a good person and that I do have my priorities straight. And I am an integral person and I don't know that I always believe that about myself. So I think it's been really good for me to do this.

Lauren (27:04):
So this is so fun hearing about where you are today too. And just have one more question for you to wrap up.

Christine (27:10):
Yeah. This is fun. I'm enjoying it. No problem.

Lauren (27:12):
A simple question. I don't know. We'll see if it's challenging or not, but you could give a sentence or two to define success for someone? What would be your number one tip?

Christine (27:24):
Yeah, that's a really loaded question with a company name, like Vision For Success. I'm gonna tell you that to me, I believe that if you seek happiness as your number one goal in life, you're going to find success. And I don't know what that is for people. And I will tell you, I chased a lot of things for a long time that I thought were my definition of success, but my greatest feeling of success has come from finding happiness and aligning myself with what it is that makes me very, very happy. I think you gotta find your purpose in life. And I think we can do it in the mortgage industry and real estate industry too. You know, it's still the American dream. There are countries we get to see, unfortunately in this war, a bird's eye view of the suffering that is happening in the world and beyond the lens that we're getting to peek into.

Christine (28:26):
There are countries where children are growing up and clothing and housing and education are things that they seek. And I think we have to remember that those principle-based things are what humans really wanna have at the end of the day. Security. They wanna feel good about themselves. They wanna further their minds and busy their minds. And I feel really good to be in a space where we're giving the American dream, which is the shelter factor. And today I'm helping people make their businesses thrive through education. And so I feel like I'm really aligned in the right places to be principally based. I think our whole industry is in fact. I think finance is a wonderful space for people to really find their purpose. And that's it, we forget that part. I think that's why people that I managed soared—because I always made them remember what we were doing, not how we were doing it necessarily. It was why are we doing this? And that purpose truly propelled people in my mind and still does.

Lauren (29:41):
Yeah. It's that team effort. So, I hear you.

Christine (29:46):
Awesome.

Lauren (29:46):
Well, gosh, thank you so much for your time and, and sharing a little bit more. I know there are so many resources and books that you've authored and other quotes we'll make sure to include them in the show notes below, but again, I appreciate your time. Thank you for all you're doing in this industry and helping to inspire people to take purposeful steps forward to success, which is great to see you not only being a part of, but you've built an entire company around it. So thank you for sharing.

Christine (30:14):
Thank you for having me. I always feel so appreciative to find other businesswomen like myself that are out there that are helping us all share our stories. And it's fun to be reminded of the journey and to have a moment to look back, which I don't get to do every day. So these moments allow me to be appreciative and leave with gratitude. So thank you for giving me that moment as well.

Lauren (30:40):
Oh, absolutely. So, thank you again, and we'll be in touch soon.