Chase The Passion: It’s Just About… Life

passion picture

My advice for anyone is really make sure you are staying true to yourself . And no matter what you do figure out what would you be so passionate about doing that you would be happy doing it for ten years even if you didn’t make any money doing it… and that’s what you should be doing. And the funny thing is if you actually do something you are passionate about then work no longer feels like work. Every business has its ups and downs and the passion is what is going to get you through the tough times. Your passion is going to rub off onto your employees and have this rebel effect on your customers and your business partners and so I always advise people to chase the passion, chase the vision, not the money.

– Tony Hsieh

The statement above seems to have worked out for Tony. Know who Tony is? You should, only because he’s got this thing called passion down to a science. Tony Hsieh is the multi-millionaire CEO of the billion-dollar company called Zappos, the online outfit which offers free shipping BOTH ways on shoes, clothing and more. (I have nothing to do with Zappos, but the free-shipping both ways deal certainly gets the attention of my wife and daughters.)

I recently listened to an interview with Tony and you can tell he is a brilliant mind working around the clock to bring happiness to the world, via Zappos. He’s all about passion and we all can learn a lesson from the statement which started this blog.

tony hsieh

Look below at the core values for Zappos, they could apply to business or to the personal side of life.

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More With Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble

You can easily see why those ten core values could help guide you through a successful business, one you might start or run on your own, or your daily life — find the passion and pursue it with those ten principles as your guiding light.

Want more inspiration that this is the way to live, that this pursuit is worth it? Consider some of these inspiring thoughts from another blog I found about the same topic: passion. (

The most amazing experience in the world is working towards a goal that truly interests you, truly sets your blood on fire, and motivates you to do more than yesterday. If you do not build your own dream then someone else will hire you to build theirs.

The old saying; do what you love and you will never work a day in your life still holds true. Passion is something that allows you to remove the title of work from your actions. It is something that no one will ever need to tell you to get to work on. You enjoy doing it and can do it to the exclusion of everything else. There is no feeling quite like waking up to live a life that you designed from the ground up.

It is only when you are able to shift from the mindset of amassing things and objects to one of amassing experiences and memories that you will truly be able to chase and enjoy your passion. There will be nothing holding you back from achieving greatness at that point.

Passion is something that is given to us by a divine hand. We only have two choices; we can chase it to the end and eventually achieve greatness or we can allow it to burn out like a fire drenched with water. In the end, the choice is yours but I sincerely hope that you choose to fight for your dreams and make the world a more amazing place in the process.

If you are a baker then bake the best bread in the world. If you are a rock climber then teach people to master their fears and climb mountains. If you are a blogger then create the most amazing blog.  There is no limit to what you can do and once you achieve mastery, the world will beat down a path to your door.

It takes time and it takes PASSION!

By the way, this blog, It’s Just About… Life & The Sunday Series is just about halfway through its third year. There are more than 400 posts, (today is #414), including more than 70 stories of courage, hope and inspiration in The Sunday Series, which this month will also become a podcast. And – oh by the way – I don’t get paid for any of this.

It’s my PASSION. Just sayin’….


Until next time, thanks for taking the time.


Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Emmy Winner, USHEALTH Advisors (

Author: The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2: Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story

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The Sunday Series (73), with Mark Brodinsky

Resiliency. It is the ability to overcome challenges of all kinds–trauma, tragedy, personal crises, plain ‘ole’ life problems–and bounce back stronger, wiser, and more personally powerful. It’s important because this is what we need to do when faced with life’s inevitable difficulties. (

The way life comes at you, from all sides, it really is the only answer.  Face forward, fight, overcome and never give up.

I am Mark Brodinsky and this is The Sunday Series.

The Sunday Series (73): Eat, Pray, Love

dan and family

“My kids are very resilient. They have been my strength and my son dealing with his food allergies… they are just amazing. All my kids finished at the top of their class , they worked hard and they still work hard and I’m so proud of all of them. Daniel’s Dad would be so proud of him, how well he did this past year and a half, I was just feeling that pride when I wrote to you. So I just wanted to share, I was bursting with pride.” – Randy Berman Reisfeld

Pride is exactly what Randy was feeling when she reached out to me just a few weeks ago. Not only pride, but also to share her son’s story, one of great accomplishment for overcoming the hurdles to get where he is today.

Daniel Reisfeld recently finished his senior year as Valedictorian at Franklin High School in Reisterstown, Maryland. His speech centered around this one quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”

I might add a line… never forget, everyone has a story.

This is an excerpt from Daniel’s speech that day:

            “Hard work and motivation is the key to success. I know that I would not be at the point I am today without the work ethic and motivation that I have.  And for that I would like to thank a few special people. First, I want to thank my teachers, who have motivated me in the classroom to be the best student that I can be.  I want to thank my friends, who when school became stressful, offered a break to uplift my spirits. I want to thank my mother, who always encouraged me to do my best at whatever I did and always offered her support. I want to thank my sisters, who are always there for me whenever I need anything. And lastly I want to thank my father, who although is no longer with us, has given me the utmost motivation to get to where I am today and make him proud.”

A moment of pride, a sense of accomplishment and deep reflection.

Just 18 months prior, Daniel lost part of his motivation and had to regain his momentum, when his Dad Bill Reisfeld passed away after complications from kidney surgery. So even before his grand moment up on stage, Daniel and his sisters had experienced deep sorrow, but it’s not the only challenge Daniel has faced head-on in life.

dan and dad

For nearly all of his life Daniel has faced an enemy, one which will never completely retreat. He can battle back, but he cannot defeat it, at least until some miracle of modern medicine is created. Daniel has severe food allergies.

From the time he was only ten months old Daniel and he had a severe reaction to his mom’s breast milk, it has been a constant in his life…his body’s aversion and severe allergic reaction to certain foods we all readily consume: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, peas, sesame, mustard and lentils. If he eats these, he can break out in hives, swell up, stop breathing…and without swift treatment… much worse.

Daniel is not alone, 15 million Americans have food allergies, including those at risk for life-threatening reactions. It means constantly being on watch for what foods you touch and those you consume. Food is life, but for those with severe allergies, it comes down to a simple equation, don’t eat what could potentially kill you.

Daniel’s mom Randy says when Daniel was first diagnosed it was an eye-opening event for the entire family: “I’m an occupational therapist”, says Randy. “I was working with special needs children and there was a child I was helping to care for who had food allergies. I thought how could someone be that allergic to food? But when Daniel was diagnosed I learned a lot. And over the past 18 years the awareness, support and information surrounding this has been amazing. And Daniel has been amazing.”

Randy says from the time Daniel could speak, he was on top of his game, making sure others knew he had to be careful: “I remember even at the kid birthday parties he would tell his friends to wash their hands just in case they had touched a food which would cause him harm. Every step has been a big one, from preschool through high school. I thought it might be an issue, because of the allergies, for Daniel to socialize or to play sports, but he has never let it hold him back.”

She continues, “he played football, basketball, and baseball. Daniel talked with the coaches and let them know his situation. He made sure his friends were aware. In high school everything revolves around food. Sometimes Daniel would eat beforehand and then go out with his friends. He also joined the youth group, BBYO, (B’nai Brith Youth Organization), and his chapter friends would make sure they would eat at the places where Daniel could as well.”

dan bbyo

But some challenges seemed to big to overcome. Randy says Daniel never went to sleep away camp because she didn’t know how they would be able to feed him there. But with BBYO, there were overnight conventions Daniel wanted to attend, especially one in Dallas, Texas. She says she didn’t know how Daniel could possibly make the trip, but he really wanted to go, so he convinced her he would take his own sandwiches and his “safe” foods. Daniel made it work and Randy says he had the “best time”.

Daniel became President of his BBYO chapter and attended a leadership program at Capital Camps, a program which ran for three weeks, all that time away from home. Randy says if she knew now what is possible, compared to what she knew years ago, then Daniel could have easily attended sleep away camp, but the prevent defense kept her from letting him do too much on his own.

Daniel’s constant companions are two epinephrine (adrenaline) injectors, more commonly called “epipens”, an inhaler and Benadryl. Epinephrine is a medication that can reverse the severe symptoms of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. The flood of chemicals released by your immune system during anaphylaxis can cause you to go into shock; your blood pressure drops suddenly and your airways narrow, blocking normal breathing. In short, not treated properly in a timely fashion, the person can die.

Randy says on two or three occasions Daniel has had to use the epipen, including once when he ate pancakes he did not know were made with milk. He started having trouble breathing and started to swell, his airways closing. Daniel used the epipen and then followed “standard procedure”. This procedure after use of a epipen is to call 9-1-1 and take a trip to the emergency room for monitoring, mainly because of the secondary reaction, which can occur hours later and prove fatal. Just last year a 13-year-old girl  with a peanut allergy  went into anaphylactic shock and died after eating a nighttime snack at a California camp, (

Death from food allergies is not a common occurrence, but how many events in life which leave us all in shock are ever planned? So Daniel, just like millions of others with these allergies, must constantly be on alert.  Don’t touch, don’t eat, be aware.

When Daniel was younger Randy says he sat at a nut-free table in school, until he wanted to be with his friends. His friends learned to be careful, right along with Daniel, though there were a few instances of taunting, and one instance in high school sports, where as a prank, someone put crushed peanut butter crackers in Daniel’s locker. The family got the school involved, Daniel’s coaches involved and all was resolved. It’s no joke – a prank could prove fatal.

But situations like those are few and far between and Randy says Daniel’s closest friends are just incredibly supportive and accommodating.

dan and friends

Daniel is the biggest advocate on his own behalf. And as the best of the best always do, Daniel has overcome and refused to let his food allergies stop his forward progress. He has excelled in sports and academics.

dan playing sports

I see it fitting to let Daniel wrap up this story with his words.  I can’t think of a better way to end then with another excerpt from Daniel’s valedictorian commencement speech to his senior class. It takes someone with vision to lead, nothing worthwhile has ever been accomplished by those who think small. Daniel Reisfeld has decided to live the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson and encourage others to go in life “where there is no path and to leave a trail”:

“Tonight, we stop being followers and become leaders, forming trails that others will come to follow. Yes, I know that it may seem easy to take that first job you find, hold back your belief against a majority, or keep a genius idea tucked in your imagination. But is this the best that you can do?  Why take that first job you find, when you have the ability to be an entrepreneur of your own company? Why hold back your beliefs, when you can speak out and lobby to congress and create change? Why keep that genius idea tucked in your head, when you can help it become a reality and save millions of lives? All of these things are possibilities.  You just have to go for them.

Class of 2015, we are at a crossroads. We are now high school graduates and we all have unique opportunities that we can pursue.  Each of us has to decide in what direction we are going, and what opportunities we will take.  Are we going to take the easy path with markings all along it, or are we going to venture off the path and find out what else is possible? We are all capable of great things, but it is up to us whether we get to the place we want.  Like I said earlier, we are now the sole authors of our book and it is up to us to determine how far our stories may go. Be followed, don’t be a follower. Do what you want to do, even if means going off the beaten path.

Thank you and congratulations to all.”

dan speech

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

(To learn more about food allergies and for support, tools and resources visit:

Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Emmy Winner, USHEALTH  Advisors

Author, The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story

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End Of Your Nose: It’s Just About… Life

girl smell flower isolated on white background

The nose knows.

If you only get as far as the end of it, you’re not really accomplishing much at all. What the heck does that mean? It all comes down to you, the conversation you have with yourself, your perception of others and your goals. Your nose knows.

Read this:

“If you get the feeling or belief that you can’t make a mistake or that everybody is always successful, you won’t let yourself do things you’re capable of doing, or you set your goals so close to the end of your nose that they’re easily attainable. You never stretch to be what you’re capable of being. You need confidence or reassurance that you can attain the vision and reach the goal even when you don’t have the slightest idea how you’re going to get there at the outset.

How do you change your self-image? By controlling and changing your self-talk. Language has power over behavior. If you control your self-talk, you can use your subconscious to help you achieve your goals.”

The excerpt above is from, Smart Talk for Achieving Your Potential, by Lou Tice.  And it’s all about getting past the easy goals right at the end of your nose. It’s about stretching to go much, much further then you ever thought you could by changing the way you talk to yourself and your self-image, compared to who and where you are now – NOT COMPARED TO OTHERS.

Comparison to others is the thief of all joy. No one is perfect and just as Lou Tice says in that excerpt, if you allow yourself to think that way, that others simply have what you don’t, or do what you can’t, then you are finished before you even start.

That is until you have a smart conversation with yourself.

Get your head in the game – the word game and use words to overcome your brain’s core function: survival. Your brain has just one goal in mind, to make sure you survive, at the most basic levels. It doesn’t know what is positive or negative, it only knows what you feed it. It can only see what is at the end of your nose and then decide whether what it senses is safe, or dangerous and then make you act accordingly.

Taking risks, finding your why, reaching your potential means you need to feed your brain positive food – self talk.

I’ve lived it and continue to live it every day, for life is a journey, the only final destination is death. To get past my own challenge of stuttering, which was holding me back from my goals and dreams years ago, I had to feed my mind positive self-talk, the words, images and vision of seeing myself succeeding in situations which before I thought there was no way I could accomplish. Working on this changed the direction of my life – I faced my fears head on, and built a new reality – I got to be on live TV for ten years, a dream I had as a kid and one I thought was never possible. I became an author/blogger/speech writer and now do live speaking engagements. I’m in sales for god’s sake – talking with people every day about health insurance and using words which for most of my life I thought there was no way would ever come out of my mouth – in place of those words I would chose silence and avoidance.

Not anymore. I’ve trained my brain to overcome, I’ve trained my mind to think big, I’ve worked to face my fears and to prove to myself every day that “I can”. I am a stutterer but you would never know it, because I rarely think about it or show it – my self-talk and my self-image say otherwise. And as Lou Tice explains, “Whatever you repeatedly tell yourself with your own self-talk determines your beliefs and self-image, which affect your behavior. You become like that which you think about.”

So what about you? It’s your turn. It’s always your turn because there is no perfect time, remember we are on a journey and the train never stops until you reach the station – the end of life. The ride speeds up, it slows down, it gets off track and then it crosses back. Where are you going? What do you want to do? What are your dreams? And what are you telling yourself, what is the conversation in your head? What do you say when you talk to yourself?

Change the conversation and change your life. Look past the end of your nose and see your potential, then go out and live it.

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Emmy Winner, USHEALTH Advisors (

Author: The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story

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Seize Your Dream: It’s Just About… Life


We must move toward our dreams, they will not move toward us.
– Troy McQuagge, President & CEO, USHEALTH Advisors

OK. So what is your dream?

Have you taken the time to think about it? If so, have you taken steps to pursue it? If not, what are you waiting for? The right moment? It doesn’t exist. A sign? There is none. Timing? Last time I looked the clock was moving forward, are you?

We all have dreams, everyone does. It’s a matter of realizing your dream, your vision, and a thought process to get you where you want to go. Moving that dream from your mind, to paper, to strategy, to action, that’s the difference. There’s dreaming…and then there’s doing.

So what are you going to do about it? After spending a week with the best-of-the-best in Los Cabos, at a meeting for USHEALTH Advisors, it’s easy to see you are set up for success, so the only missing ingredient in the recipe for your better future, is action.

The goal is always to take away at least one thing you learned from your time spent listening to ideas and best practices which can propel your career forward. Sometimes it’s the smallest tweak, the one adjustment, the tiniest change in your strategy which can move you from good to great. Or in some cases, help you simply get you up off the mat and move in the direction of your dream.

Listening to Troy McQuagge speak at this week’s event, the one takeaway I am using to move forward is this: Be different. Never forget you/we are different. Live it, breathe it, share it.

Troy said:  “There is so much power in differentiation. There is no advantage to simply following the herd.”

Rarely have truer words been spoken. Being different, with a purpose, leads to absolutely incredible results for all involved. Think Apple and Steve Jobs. Think Under Armour and Kevin Plank. Heck, think of the light bulb and Thomas Edison. These people thought differently and have helped light the way for others.

People, including your prospective health insurance clients, love what’s different, as long as it is in their best interest. They don’t want to hear how you are just like everyone else, they don’t want to hear this is more of the same, they don’t want to listen to you clobber the competition. What they really want to do is to share their story, they want you to truly listen, (because most people don’t listen, they just talk, remember BE DIFFERENT), and then they want to learn how your unique approach can help them improve their situation. Change their lives and your life is transformed as well.

You are part of a unique culture at USHEALTH Advisors, where the Agent is King, where the people at the top, your leaders, spend their time thinking about how you can better serve your clients with new and innovative products and strategies. Help your clients to improve their lives and in turn help you to improve yours. For in the end, it’s the client that matters. Help Other People Everyday and then watch what happens as the universe conspires on your behalf. It’s not magic, but do it often enough, do it consistently and it will certainly start to feel like something magical is happening.

Be different. It works. If you don’t believe me, if you don’t believe Troy, then believe Lou Tice, author of Smart Talk For Achieving Your Potential:

“The only difference between average and high-performance people – those who constantly seem to get the breaks – is that they see more because they think differently. As you change the way you think, you change the way you are.”

It takes way less effort than you think to change one thing about yourself which in turn transforms you and your practice.

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is one small word. 


The extra call, the extra appointment, the extra drop-by, the extra networking event, the extra trade show, the extra effort to listen, not only to those around you, but when you are face-to-face with your future, or current client. Listen, truly listen and it all becomes easy. Commit to doing one thing different today. Start now.

As Troy said, “When your purpose becomes bigger than your problems and your determination becomes bigger than your fear, then you have a real shot! The only reason we can’t accomplish something is because of the limitations we place on ourselves. Go big or go home.”

So which way do you go? Going home is comfort, familiarity and security.  It’s all nice and easy, but no one ever did anything remotely interesting, or special, by taking the easy road. Those who forge a path for the rest of us, as you can do for yourself and your clients, is by doing the hard work. You know what is hard…to be different, to be consistent, to truly care for the outcome of other people’s lives. Be different, make a difference, then stand back and watch what happens.

It’s the mission, the vision of USHEALTH Advisors: Helping Other People Everyday. You know how that begins? By helping yourself to get better, to get in the game, to get out there, to share your message.

To Seize Your Dream.

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.


Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Emmy Winner, USHEALTH Advisors


Author: The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story

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