“I’ve had choices since the day that I was born. There were voices that told me right from wrong.” – Choices, by George Jones
Too many of us allow life to dictate what happens to us instead of changing the way we think and realize that life happens for us. As Debra Salmans entered the core period of her teenage years, she had an epiphany—life would be about one thing: choice.
“I was sixteen and my family entered this educational- and experience-based training seminar called Lifespring. There were problems in my family and I went begrudgingly. My brother was already wanting to move out of the house and my parents were considering getting a divorce. My parents took us there and it changed our lives. We focused inward, not outward, and the big thing I learned was you had a choice in life. I realized choice comes from what and how we think—it’s between our ears—and that’s what life is all about.”
Once Deb learned her “secret” to life, she started making better choices—a practice to live by.
“The biggest gift to me when I was younger, after coming out of the sessions, is my mom saying to me, ‘Wasn’t it so much easier just to blame other people and point fingers for all of your problems?’” says Deb. “It made me laugh, because we talked about all of that during the training. We had to go through it for us and our family—it saved my parents’ marriage—and through it all, I realized people don’t make you feel a certain way, you get to choose how they make you feel. I grew up questioning everything and I’ve done my best to pass on the good, not the bad.”
Deb serves as a very successful Field Sales Leader for USHEALTH Advisors. She had thought that coming to the company and building a team would mean she would have to give up the life-coaching business she had created, but she quickly realized the exact opposite was true. After all, humans are humans everywhere you go, and everyone you will ever meet in your life is going through something, so everyone needs a fresh perspective on life.
“I thought I was giving up my practice coming to USHA,” says Deb. “But what I learned is you are always coaching. With over 50 people on my team, it’s all about what I and others are bringing to the table. I didn’t give up coaching, because I always have people coming to me who need my help, and I ask what I can do to help and serve them in return.”
Life coaching has truly been a life-long passion for Deb. After her courses at Lifespring, she ended up working for the company for 20 years as the Human Resources Director and was always helping with the training and volunteering to be a co-trainer or help the leaders actually deal with their own issues. No one is immune in life. Everyone, even those who do the training, need a helping hand from time to time.
Deb went on to start her own coaching program, ‘Imagine Choice.’
“It’s all about living consciously,” says Deb. “It was about helping people to realize they do have a choice, what they say matters, what they do matters, and it’s all a choice—it’s what we call life.”
For Deb, her own teachings and training helped her navigate her greatest fear, as it is with so many other people, in becoming self-employed and giving up the mindset of a “guaranteed paycheck.”
“It’s totally a scarcity mindset to think that way,” says Deb.
She said she wishes many more people could learn the lesson her grandmother taught her about money, which would put them more at ease.
“My grandma, my father’s mother, was one of the biggest influences on me in my life,” says Deb. “She would put a silver dollar in my hand and say, ‘You never have to worry about money.’ And then we would put the silver dollar into my piggy bank. In my mind, with that philosophy, I’ve never had to worry about money. My Division Leader, Harley Brown, says, ‘How come you never look at your paychecks?’ I tell him I just trust it’s going to be there and be available because of what I do, which is to help other people every day and that truly makes a difference.”
It is scarcity vs. abundance. It is mind over matter. It is belief, and it is faith.
“It’s a scarcity conversation to hear people who come here and say, ‘I have to have this [paycheck] or else I can’t do it,” says Deb. “They are not doing the one thing that will guarantee success here: belief. People question their validity, whether they make a difference and if they matter. When I do interviews, I can have two people in front of me and I can look at them and know that one of them will be successful here and one of them won’t. The difference is between their ears—do they believe they will be a success or not? Our job is to reinforce their confidence, have their back, and help them move forward.”
Deb believes if these prospective recruits look inward, reach deep inside, and if they believe, then most know they can do this—they just have to believe.
Deb keeps a message on her bedroom dresser: Believe. All things are possible if you believe.
Believe and then move forward.
“That’s why I love this company’s mission of HOPE,” says Deb. “It’s a true philosophy to live by, that what you put out you get back and for me, I had to take that for granted when I moved here to Colorado years ago. We moved from the very progressive area of Marin County, California to Evergreen, Colorado, and the mindset was different. When I came to Evergreen, I was like, ‘Wow.’ I wasn’t used to having people question whether they matter, and I had to shift my thinking and get people to believe in themselves.”
Deb had no choice but to believe and to believe in herself, as well as the universe or some higher power because not long before her move, she lost one of the loves of her life. At the young age of 40, her brother Bob was killed in a motorcycle accident.
But as Deb learned and has taught time and time again, at that defining moment, you have a choice to make.
“It was his time,” says Deb. “That’s what I had to hold in my mind. He had other things to do. I had to embrace that and not grieve too much. My brother died doing what he loved to do. He loved to ride his motorcycle. He rode a lot. It was one of those things you can deal with in a healthy way, knowing that everything and everyone has a purpose. He had a purpose, his death had a purpose, and moving on with it had a purpose. I always say he is one of the coolest angels up there. I miss him dearly on this plain, on earth, but he is helping otherwise. I think some people have a harder time with death and grieve forever. I chose to look at it as someone else is now looking over me.”
It also helped that for most of her life, Deb’s dad worked as a mortician, so death was a daily occurrence and reality of life. While she says her friends would make fun of her because of her dad’s occupation, Deb believed in what her dad would tell her. “In death, you have to have somebody take care of you. Life should be a celebration coming in and a celebration going out!”
Deb’s own philosophy in life led her to become a Practitioner Emeritus of Science of Mind, as well as being certified as a practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).
“Harley Brown says he’s never met a more positive person,” says Deb. “I say of all the choices you have in the world, why would you choose to think anything else? And if you don’t think that way, then fake it until you make it. I have a sign on my car dashboard that reflects into my windshield that reads, ‘Things are always working out for me.’”
Things have worked out for Deb, especially when it comes to what she describes as her greatest accomplishment, being a single mother and being successful regardless of those challenges. And then, after a 20-year marriage ended, finding Tim, who Deb says is the ‘love of my life.’
The mindset of strength, vibrancy, and abundance is what Deb has tried to instill in her daughters, Brenna and Shannon, as well.
“One of the best things I can share is what I told my daughter Brenna,” says Deb. “She was in the 2nd grade and came home to tell me the other girls in her class were always talking and laughing about her. I told her to go back to school tomorrow, put your hand on your hip, toss your hair back, put your other hand behind your head and say, ‘Man, if you are talking about me so much, then I must be pretty darn special!’ They never talked about her again like that. It helped make her feel more confident and better about herself.”
Working, helping, serving, and leading others to make the right choices and decisions is what Deb is doing every day at USHA. The goal is not to be a salesperson, but instead to be a decision consultant.
“I came to USHEALTH Advisors in 2013, right before the first open enrollment season, and learned quickly what I needed to do. What you do all day long is to educate your clients. I want to help them whether they can qualify for our benefits or not, and if I can’t help them with our suite of products, then I will give them to somebody who can help. It’s all about know, like, and trust. It’s not about the sale, it’s about how can I assist this person who truly needs help. One of my biggest successes comes from networking. I’m very social and I like to be social. Not just helping people but getting out there in the community and saying, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ I think being in the community gets people to know, like, and trust you as well.”
That feeling of trust also expands to Deb’s team at USHA.
“When I came here to USHEALTH Advisors, I brought eight ladies over with me from the other company where I was working. It’s how I built my team fast, and they trusted me to make the move. I made more than $100,000 in my first year here and I believe to become successful here, you have to have the mindset for success, utilize the tools they give you, and do the work. It’s why you need a champion to be your mentor or accountability partner, whatever works for you to keep your mind out of the muck.
“I tend to do that a lot for myself to pull myself up, and I like to attend the trainings here at the company as well, because I’m always open to learning something new. I believe in the three-foot rule. If you’re on an elevator with me, I’m most likely talking to you. I’m not trying to sell you but to find out what you do know and what you don’t know about the health insurance industry. It’s simply about being available, open, and honest. I’m an earnest type of person. I’m genuine and I’m interested in what’s going on with you and how I can help.”
And there’s a message Deb wants to share about how she hopes others can exist in this world: “To live life to the fullest every day in every way and be there for others. Life is simply about choice.”
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.