The juice of life is really one thing: progress. Knowing we are getting better, improving at any given moment, is a gift. For when we feel like we are moving even one millimeter forward, then we are in a place of joy. It’s the only emotion possible, for progress is life and life is beautiful.
It’s no different in business. There will be good days and bad, but if you believe and achieve even a modicum of success over the course of days, you’ll see the future as bright and the journey as joyful. It’s so easy to be successful it’s silly. Just get a few of your human flaws – distraction, procrastination, negative thinking – under control and you’ll see your business and your life heading in the right direction.
Progress is life. And life is a story.
Everyone has a story. I am Mark Brodinsky and this is Storytelling for Business.
Storytelling for Business: Driven to Succeed
“The days you don’t want to are the days you really have to if you want to reach your goal.” – Jay Shetty
In all transparency, the scheduled interview planned for this story with Robert Andrew Atchinson began this way, in an e-mail the morning of our talk: “Good Morning, Mark. Woke up with a terrible migraine. Can we reschedule?” I apologize for affecting your schedule.”
I offered to move the interview to the next day and not long after, I got another response from Andrew: “I took some Excedrin and feeling ok. Let’s knock it out today. I’m on the way to the office, got to push through.”
You see it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to what happens to you.
Andrew, (he goes by his middle name), is proof that despite the obstacles, you just don’t give up. The show must go on. And much like the muscle car Andrew is currently working on in his garage, Andrew knows he too must muscle up and persevere. He’s currently modifying a 69 Camaro SS, and Andrew says this monster car is giving him a real beast. “The car requires constant tweaking,” says Andrew. “It and the process is teaching me a lot about life, it’s all new to me.”
What’s not new to Andrew is finding a way to make it happen. Andrew says there’s a direct correlation between his time in the garage and his success at the place that really gets his engine running, his career with USHEALTH Advisors. Andrew currently serves as a Satellite Division Sales Leader for USHEALTH Advisors in the Plantation, Florida office. In the past four years, Andrew has personally issued nearly $2.5 million in personal business and led his teams to nearly $28 million in issued business.
But like any path in life, this one is anything but a straight shot to success. It’s literally gone north to south, south to north, and back again. That’s what gives life depth, the experience of finding your true center, even if that target keeps moving.
“I grew up in upstate New York and lived there until 2002,” says Andrew. “When I was 16, my parents moved to South Florida and I lived here for 10 years. But South Florida is not what I consider home for me. I like all four seasons, I like the cold and at the time, I missed my older sisters as well who were still living up north. So in 2011, I went back to New York to be closer to them and to reconnect with who I was as a person. I had lost that connection and needed to find my values again.”
“While in Florida I had started selling health insurance, and eventually as a broker with a different company, and I got caught up in a lifestyle of materialistic things – but I wanted to get back to a life with higher moral ground. I lost the purpose back then, but that’s what I love about this company now, to hear people and their stories and be of value in someone else’s life. Early in my insurance career, I was too much into the money, so I went back to where I came from to ground myself, and that brought me back to my purpose of helping people.”
Helping people, serving, and loving them up comes from a foundation Andrew says he got from his parents. Every life needs a good foundation, a way to stand on solid ground. “I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world, that I grew up with such a close family,” says Andrew. “My sisters were there to push me and I can’t say enough about my parents and how they raised us.”
After a few years back in his home space, Andrew headed south again, this time to Charlotte, North Carolina. “I had been selling insurance since 2009, but when Obamacare came on the scene, I figured I better get to a city where I could do something else, just in case insurance took a turn. Things did change, as Obamacare took hold across America, and so eventually, Andrew thought about getting out of insurance altogether. He was working as a broker and trading referrals with his friend Garrett Laughlin. Garrett had been working with a company called USHEALTH Advisors. And though it took nearly a year of persuading, eventually Andrew made the move to leave the broker world and come to USHA.
That was January of 2016 and Andrew says he’s never looked back. It’s been hard work but he says it’s a labor of love. Plus now, Andrew has the loves of his life, his wife Kacie and daughter Genevieve, (Gigi, for short), who are on the journey with him.
“I met Kacie in New York, she moved up there for a previous boyfriend, and then she moved back to Charlotte. I had reached out to her for networking and we became really close friends. We were not a couple at first, but we grew close slowly, which is what I really value, with no inclination of becoming a couple. We just enjoyed ourselves with no other motives, and now we’re so close and our relationship is so strong because of how it developed.”
After getting married, Andrew and Kacie brought their daughter Gigi into the world, although Gigi will be two in June, it’s an accomplishment Andrew still marvels about. “I think one of my greatest moments in life so far, and this may sound cheesy, is bringing another life into the world. To be part of raising our daughter is very rewarding and I consider it to be a very big accomplishment, to be part of that.”
Now there’s the challenge of work-life balance, helping to raise Gigi, while also helping to nurture Andrew’s extended family, the new agents who he brings onto his Satellite Division team. “I can certainly relate the accomplishment of raising my daughter with the joy of seeing other people come into this USHA opportunity,” says Andrew, “and then to watch them be successful. With the new agents, it’s also like raising children, and to be part of both is very exciting and rewarding.”
Andrew knows that both work and family life requires dedication, hard work, and a desire for excellence to be the best.
“I’m about leading from the front in all that I do,” says Andrew. “I try and beat everyone to the office each day. Starting the day at 7:30 and getting everybody focused and motivated, ready for calls to start at 8 am. I help with calling and dealing with recruits since we are always looking to bring new people into the opportunity.”
“Then I hit the gym for a mid-day break, a small lunch, and then at 2 pm I assist with training, then more recruiting, and helping people with appointments… anything I can do to help the agents who work with us. I try and get home before my daughter goes to sleep, and then spend one-to-one time with my wife. I make sure to have time with her, she’s just incredible. I definitely work parts of seven days and even on Sundays, I might make a visit to the office for a few hours to make my presence known. Nights and weekends are just as important to be there for the people that need us.”
When he can, however, the weekends are also for Andrew’s other passion – his cars – driving and working on them. In order to get his heart right, Andrew likes to get his hands dirty – to help the machine to run better, faster. Just like Andrew’s doing with his team, it’s all about keeping the engine running.
“I’ve got a Jeep gladiator,” says Andrew. “There were a lot of Jeeps in my house growing up and I love working on those cars. I’ve actually had twelve different cars since 2017. “Each car has a different meaning to me, so picking a favorite one is difficult. Each car is a stepping stone, not a status symbol, it more represents who I am at that point in my life.”
“Most recently I had a Porsche 911. The story of that car is, my dad was working on one when I was about 8-years-old. He pulled up to the house in a turbo red, Porsche 911. I said to him, ‘I’m going to own that car one day. In 2020, I found one, was able to buy it, and realized at that moment it was a childhood memory I always wanted to fulfill. I bought it in July and sold it in December. I didn’t do much work on it, just detailed it and thoroughly enjoyed it.”
“I’d have to say it’s that Porsche and my current muscle car, the Camaro SS, that brings back some of my best childhood memories. Some of my favorite times in life were waking up early and my dad taking me to a show and checking out the muscle cars. Now being able to own them myself and working on them with my dad – that’s the best part of it.”
Dreams matter and the work you do to make your dreams come true will undoubtedly touch the lives of other people since no one finds success alone. Life is a team sport, it’s a drive to survive and prosper.
“I hope that I’m remembered for giving to the people who are part of my life,” says Andrew. “My family, my agents, my friends… I’m always looking to put somebody else before my own needs. I don’t always excel at that, but I always strive to make it happen. My ultimate goal is to improve people’s lives, to leave someone else’s life better than I found it.”
Easy to say, not easy to do. But Andrew has his foot on the gas, his hands on the engine, and he’s working the system every day – that’s why he’s driven to succeed.
Until next time, thanks for making the time.
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