For many that word and the action are uncomfortable. Yet it’s inevitable. Change happens, or you make it happen. It can define or redefine your life. By doing so, change becomes the next chapter of your story.
After all, everyone has a story.
I am Mark Brodinsky and this is The Sunday Series.
The Sunday Series (122): All In
Back and forth. Back and forth. The seemingly endless volley of paddle-to-ball, over the net, and back again, about as linear as it gets. On the surface it seems simple, but it takes patience and some skill to win the point, even greater skill to win the game. That’s ping-pong at it’s best. And the best player in that game in 1981 at his elementary school in Bowdoinham, Maine, was 12-year-old Ronald Leonard. Even a dozen years into his life, with patience and perseverance Ron was in it to win it, even though he had no idea of the changes to come.
Ron says his family comes from modest beginnings: “We grew up in the Northeast, my dad worked as an accountant by day, my mom as a waitress at night. As soon as my dad got home my mom did the 6-pm to midnight shift as a waitress at the Holiday Inn. It was all about making ends meet.”
While both parents provided for the family Ron says his dad was not exactly the model of health, smoking 2-to-3 packs of cigarettes a day, a habit his son later picked up… and one which would lead to another major change down the road.
It wasn’t long after his ping-pong success that Ron’s parents got tired of the cold in the Northeast and decided to move the family, Ron, his brother and his sister, down to Atlanta. After graduating high school Ron turned his back on a scholarship to Georgia Tech and instead decided to join the Navy and enter their nuclear education program.
Ron completed the program and got the chance to work on a nuclear sub. “My main responsibility”, says Ron, “was to maintain the proper water chemistry of the nuclear reactor on the sub. Most people are scared of nuclear, but you are only scared of what you don’t understand.”
What Ron did understand however, was the value of a dollar. While the Navy career was amazing, he learned it didn’t pay very well. Even after 12 years in the military he was only earning $40,000-a-year and with two young children to provide for he couldn’t afford to stay in any longer. Ron left the Navy and spent more then a decade in the nuclear waste industry, working in sales and making better money. But the job demanded a great deal of travel. Ron was rarely home, spending so much of his weeks “ping-ponging” his way across the country.
The demands of the traveling salesman can make it difficult to stay in good health and having learned the habits of the stress-relief of tobacco from his dad, Ron was following in his father’s footsteps. “I used to smoke a pack-a-day, and sometimes even drink a six-pack of beer a day”, says Ron. “But in 2007 my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and about six months later he died of stage-4. The following month I turned 40. I said to myself, ‘Ron your dad just died because of smoking, for anyone who smokes you are limiting your life.’ I realized that fact and with my new family with two small children it made me realize I must make a change. I quit instantly on my 40th birthday, March 10th of 2009. I never looked back. I don’t even crave it at all.”
Another change. Getting his lungs back in shape meant it was time to rise to another challenge. “I don’t do anything half-ass” says Ron. “Either I do it 100-percent or not at all.” So after quitting the cigarettes Ron got his body in shape as well. He started running and in the past few years has entered a number of races, including the New York City marathon, where in November of 2013 he finished with a time of 3 hours and 20 minutes.
“I realized the simple formula of staying in shape”, says Ron. “Don’t eat bad stuff and get up off your ass. All you gotta do is work hard, just do the simple things and you will have the results. I’m either all in or not in at all.”
While getting his health back on track Ron also entered into what became a very challenging business venture with his brother-in-law – to build a recycling facility for aluminum aircraft parts. The profit potential was tremendous, but it was tough to raise the investment capital, so in late 2014 Ron was looking for something else… another change.
While attempting the business venture with his brother-in-law Ron had to put his family on a COBRA plan from his previous employer. As he saw the plan ending, he needed to find other insurance for his family which was now residing in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Ron’s wife Christy had recently been diagnosed with a health condition for which she could go on Obamacare, but Ron figured for himself and his young son and daughter, there might be other options.
Ron’s son Aggie surfs nearly every day in Satellite Beach, Florida and that’s where Ron got to know the parents of other kids who surf, including Don Dente, who works with USHEALTH Advisors. Ron asked Don if he knew of a health insurance alternative for his family.
Don helped Ron come up with another option, and about a year ago Ron and the kids moved on to the health coverage and supplemental policies Don recommended through Freedom Life Insurance. With his analytical mind, Ron took to reading every single word of his policies and came to a conclusion: “These are the best policies I’ve ever seen in my life for healthy people”, says Ron. “Once I understood it all I knew the insurance was phenomenal.”
A few months later when looking for an opportunity to get back in sales, but keep his family in Florida, Ron reached out to Don again. “I sent Don an e-mail and a copy of my resume, telling him I wanted to change careers. He called me right away and said come to my office tomorrow at 10-am. Now I only knew Don from surfing. I had no idea it was actually an interview, so I showed up in beach shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops. As I entered, I saw a room full of people in business attire.”
The clothing didn’t matter, the opportunity was a perfect fit. That was January of this year. Ron got licensed in multiple states and just like he has done to train for marathons, he hit the ground running… training and learning. Ron got licensed in as many states as possible, watched the videos, the presentations and made a list of people to talk to. “I know how this works because I’ve got the product”, Ron says. “I listen to what Don tells me to do and I do it. I’m a model student. I’m the epitome of being coachable. I have a lot to learn and I’m still learning every single day. This is the career for me. I’m not here for a couple of years, I’m here for the long haul. Without a doubt this is the easiest thing I’ve ever done to help people, make good money and a good income with the best product I’ve ever been involved in.”
Ron obviously believes, having issued more than $1 million dollars in business in just six months and recruiting other family members to join USHA.
Through all his changes in careers, from military to civilian life, changes in marriage, health and life in general, Ron says he keeps a simple philosophy: “I’m nothing special, I’m just a normal guy who wants to succeed. Anything worth doing is worth doing bad until you get good at it. There is no secret formula. Be coachable, be willing to fail. Anyone who has succeeded has failed 1,000 times before they got good at it. I try every day to work smarter and be willing to be thick-skinned, take constructive criticism and take it from people who love you and want to see you succeed. I’m nothing special, I work the system. I have goals and I make the sacrifices. For anybody who is successful at anything it takes sacrifice.”
It also doesn’t hurt to think outside the box. Ron loves the company so much he recently spent the money to have his Porsche wrapped as a giant USHEALTH Advisors mobile banner. “People thought I was crazy”, says Ron. “But I bet the car gets me a sale or two every month. Like I said, I’m all in, or not in at all.”
Until next time thanks for taking the time,
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