Rise Above

“You must have some kind of vision. You want to be in the driver’s seat of your own life because if you’re not, life will drive you.” – Oprah Winfrey

For most of her life, April Clark was pretty good at taking the wheel and steering the course of her life. When there were speed bumps or roads closed, she went around, adapted, changed course and got back on track, driving straight and true toward the life she desired.

 

April let nothing and no one stop her. “I don’t like people telling me what I can and cannot do,” says April. It’s a war-worn attitude from a life of change and adaptation. “I started my education in Detroit, Michigan,” says April. “My family moved a lot. I was always having to meet new people and make new friends. My parents would rent a house, buy a home, get foreclosed, move again. To help get what I needed and help my family, I started working at age 12. My first job was a paper route, then I babysat 30 hours a week in high school, then I waitressed. I even worked two jobs while I went to college full-time.”

 

April believed college and a degree in business could be her ticket to financial freedom. She went out and secured a position at a local bank to make sure she had business experience and even got her investment license. There was just one problem, she couldn’t pass the calculus course in college to get a business management degree.

So when she was offered a promotion at the bank she declined, changed direction and steered her life’s course toward becoming an educator, and in a twist of fate and in the irony of life, she eventually became a math teacher, (minus the calculus). But coming out of college teaching jobs in Michigan were hard to find. So she and her husband David developed a new plan – to make sure they could change course, but stay in control.

April met David in the late 90’s and the couple married in 2002.  David ran a successful landscaping business in Michigan, but April also wanted to teach, so the couple did their research before making their move. “Based on the cost of living and climate, we made our choice and moved to Houston, Texas in 2006,” says April.  She explains that David, like herself, is a planner and the two believed they could stay in control of most everything in their path.

 

The move to Houston was a successful one, David’s landscape business grew from one crew to five crews and life was good. The couple experienced nearly a decade of abundance. April taught 7th and 8th-grade math at inner city schools in Houston, then college math, all the while assisting David with his landscaping business. The couple eventually welcomed three girls into the world, (now ages 4, 7 and 9), and all was going as planned. The Clark family was in control, or at least they thought so.

But then the rains came, and at the same time, an emotional storm rocked the family. “We thought we could make a plan and control everything,” says April. “But we realize now in life we can’t and that’s a hard pill to swallow.”

In 2015 and 2016 record-breaking rains put Houston underwater time-and-time again, the landscaping business drowning as the Clark family watched the water rise. “Landscaping jobs got delayed and it was tough to pay the employees,” says April. “We went through our savings and it was very hard on our marriage.”

 

Around the same time, the family suffered a significant emotional trauma which rocked them to their core. The comeback from that changed everyone and provided new insight and a new appreciation for what it is important in life. But as the slow healing process progressed, David’s business continued to struggle and the family was facing tough times.

“We had no money left,” says April. “My in-laws bought us groceries. We used every retirement account and all of our savings, other than one last small one.  But in March of 2017, after a search on ZipRecruiter April stepped into a new opportunity with a company called USHEALTH Advisors. “I knew to turn things around I had to change our lives in one area,” says April. “I felt like I had to make this work. There was stress on our marriage, our finances, on our family, on everything.”

USHEALTH provides affordable health coverage and other benefits to the self-employed, individuals and families. As April quickly learned, it also provided a culture of helping and a mission of HOPE, Helping Other People Everyday. It meant the world to April and her family. She brought the same work ethic she developed in her early teen years and in no time, with the help and support of her team, April was flourishing at USHA.  And it was just in the nick-of-time because life was about to change again.

August 25th, 2017: Hurricane Harvey.

Houston was completely devastated by one of the worst hurricanes to ever make landfall in the United States. The rebuilding continues to this day. David was already working a second job but was trying to keep the landscaping business going on the weekends. Harvey was the last straw. Time to start over again. Fortunately, April’s success at USHEALTH Advisors helped to turn the family’s fortunes around. Therapy was still ongoing from the family’s emotional trauma, but with the income, April was able to earn by helping and serving with USHEALTH Advisors she could keep the private counseling going and get the family’s financial fortunes back in the black.

“I love it here,” says April. “You get what you put in. It’s what I always thought work should be. I always thought if I worked my ass off, the world wouldn’t attack me. Too many times I was wrong. Anywhere else I worked I was making a paycheck and just getting by. But here at USHA, I see the ability to put my three kids through college and so much more, by simply offering these great products to individuals and families. The products are amazing, USHEALTH Advisors is amazing. The people at the home office…I don’t even have words for them. They are so caring and what they create for us to present to our clients, making sure everyone is taken care of and well-insured, it’s just great in every way.”

 

It’s been such a tremendous ride that David just left his job and is joining his wife at USHA. “David was on the company rewards trip with me in Cabo San Lucas in June,” says April. “He saw and heard our CEO Troy McQuagge speak. He saw people earning bonuses and stock compensation and realized he couldn’t pass up this opportunity. He said, ‘this is amazing’. David’s on his way now, taking his health and life licensing test this week.

“This company was my only hope,” says April. “I knew I couldn’t change my life just going back to teaching and making $50,000 a year, that wasn’t going to change anything. I’ve learned perception is everything, it’s how you look at things and approach things that will determine the outcome and whether it will be positive or negative, or somewhere in between.”

April says she got some great advice and learned a great lesson from her Division Leader, Mark Kahil. “The one thing holding me back at first was my mindset. Mark said he listens to positive videos on YouTube and he told me if I did it too, he swore it would work. I figured if it was working for him, I could try. That is when my business started taking off. I listened to videos and that was the change I needed. I went from thinking, ‘can I really do this too. I got this!’. I knew then it was going to work and that change allowed me to hit the company milestone of producing $100,000 in issued business in my first 13 weeks.”

Since her start with USHEALTH Advisors, April has issued more than $1,300,000 in business and now serves as a Field Training Agent, helping others to find their way. “I enjoy teaching others what I do because it comes to me naturally. I love to teach. I want to be remembered as a great teacher, an inspiration to others and the best mom ever.”

 

April and her family have learned it’s all about letting go, you don’t always need to be in control. Life happens and you must develop the strength to fight back. It might be financial struggles, family struggles, battling your own mind or a world full of negativity, or even for some, like the Clark family, the fury and the floods from Mother Nature. You’ve got to stay afloat.

April has learned there’s only one response – rise above.

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Your Storyteller,
Mark Brodinsky