Commitment – Saifallah Hayek

The only limit to your impact is imagination and commitment. – Tony Robbins

Saifallah Hayek can narrow it down to one word – commitment – going all in on what you want. We could start and end it all right there, but how did Saif, (as he likes to be called), develop that simplistic thought?

That’s where the story begins. But why bury the lead? Saif is an all-star at USHEALTH Advisors right now. With still half a year to go, and out of 4,000 agents at USHA, Saif is ranked #6 nationally, with more than $1 million in issued health insurance policies.

But big success is never an easy road, and Saif’s start at USHA, just like his early years of life, is filled with many unsettled moments, and without a solid foundation on which to stand.

We all come to the place we are honestly, because we are the ones who took the steps to get us here, right or wrong. Those steps are seldom smooth, most are rocky and uneven. Saif knows first-hand what it’s like to feel unsteady.

“I was born in Illinois, but my dad came from the Middle East. We went from living just outside Chicago, then living in Jordan in the Middle East, then to North Carolina, and then back to the Chicago area.”

“For the first four years of my life I spoke zero English,” says Saif. “I spoke Arabic only, and then not until I went to pre-k, was when I started learning English. When I was about seven my mom took me and my siblings, and we moved to Jordan. We lived there for a year and a half because my dad was really tight on finances. He couldn’t support everybody, so he was like, let me just work as hard as possible for those two years. Then we ended up moving back to the Chicago area, and we lived there for another two or three years.”

“Right before fifth grade, my dad just made up his mind to finish school. So he went back to a university in North Carolina where he knew one of the professors, he got his PhD, and then he was looking for jobs back in the Chicago area. So we ended up moving back to Illinois. It was the middle of my freshman year in high school when we moved back and I’ve been here ever since. I never had a solid group of friends until late in high school.”

“It was tough, but I didn’t really have a choice. I was always a kid who would try to fit in as much as possible. Growing up, especially in North Carolina, I would change schools every single year. We were renting apartments and then the family was getting bigger and my dad would keep trying to upgrade to a new apartment. And we’d change schools because of it. I think I went to four different schools within about four and a half or five years. I was just all over the place.”

With the challenge of different cultures, countries, states, and friend groups, Saif craved stability and a solid footing to build his life. But life is here to teach you and from your biggest challenges, come the greatest life lessons.

Saif learned one of those lessons and embraced it, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

“I mean, I’m grateful for it,” says Saif, “because, I think situations that put you out of your comfort zone are situations that you learn from the most. If you’re comfortable, you don’t learn. And I was constantly uncomfortable. I would hate going to school, but at some point I had to make it work to where I enjoyed it, because either I’m going to hate every day of my life, or I’m just going to try and extract the good things out of it and make it something I look forward to. Whether I had a lot of friends or not, even if it was a couple here and there, I made it work. I always had this type of mindset.”

“I don’t know if I was born with it or at what age I developed it, but I get uncomfortable at a certain point, and then I’m like, you know what, I’m just going to have to deal with it. It’s like a mind shift where I have to almost force myself to love being uncomfortable, and it makes things a lot better. Then take that same mindset into an industry like this. It’s not easy for somebody to come in and just make a bunch of bonuses and a lot of money, but once you love what you do and you understand that you’re actually making a difference in people’s lives, it gives you a passion for it.”

Passion will get you going, but your purpose will keep you growing. Yet nothing in life that’s worthwhile, no matter the passion and purpose, is ever easy. And while Saif has found a home at USHEALTH Advisors, before he even walked in the door he realized he might be biting off more than he could chew… or simply biting at the wrong time. 🙂

“To be fair, it was almost like an accident,” says Saif. “Because I was on my way to the interview here. I was supposed to be on time until I actually got pulled over – for eating while I was driving. So I ended up getting to the pitch for the company like 30 minutes late. I walked in and there was nobody on the floor, so I was just sitting there waiting on one of the couches. And Grace Ha, who is a Field Training Agent, walks by and she looks at me, and says, “Are you here for the interview?”

“So she walks me into the pitch but it was almost over, so I really had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t find out that it was full commission sales up until the time I got offered the job, and then I took it. That was a Wednesdasy, but I was like, “Oh, yeah I can start Monday.” I had only been working at a hospital about four hours a week, going to school and l wasn’t making much money. I came into the Chicago office on that Monday and they’re talking about the values of the company and the income opportunities. And I thought this is something that I can see myself doing. And if there are all these agents doing this who are really successful, then there is no reason if I spend all this time with them every single day I won’t be as successful too.”

It’s a cliche – if they can do it, so can you. But it’s the truth. If someone else can make it happen, despite the challenges and obstacles life will put in your path, then you can too. Saif’s experience was no different than most who try something new.

And he soon realized that failure is simply success deferred.

“Honestly, I was just going with the flow,” says Saif. “I wasn’t really all into it. I just knew I have to do this to start making money. That was my perspective coming in. I was like, even if this doesn’t work out, I am still in school and I’ll do my marketing gig on the side, so this job with the health insurance is just an extra stream of income. That’s all I thought of it when I first started.”

Still living life the same as when he walked in the door, Saif felt scattered, unsure, and trying to find his way. He was repeating his past where life was always a surprise.

“I had been here for three and a half, maybe four months, and what changed for me was I was looking at my paychecks and thinking I’m working 60 hours – and sometimes I’d work 70 or 80 hours – and I’m barely bringing home anything. It took me six weeks from the day I got appointed as an agent, until the day I wrote my first application. So I was looking at my progress and I thought, this is not good. I know the problem can’t be the system because the system’s working for other people, so there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be working for me. Right then I gave myself a deadline and I told my parents the same thing. They were also concerned. My parents would ask me, “Are you sure you’re doing the right thing? You’re spending all this time here and you’re not making anything. So, what are you doing?”

“Eventually the doubts start getting in your head. So I told myself, okay, either I’m going to hit my $250,000 annual volume milestone or I’m just going to quit. It’s one or the other. And I changed. I was still working a lot of hours, that didn’t change, but I was actually doing the work because it’s not about the hours that you work, it’s about what are you doing with those hours. So I was listening to a lot of trainings. I was calling a lot more people. I was tracking myself, and that was a big part for me. I would track the nitty gritty details of my pitch, my presentation, my calls, whether it was how many times did I say, “um”, to listening to my tonality on the phone, and more. But at that time I was already eight weeks in to the company’s 13-week milestone goal of $250,000 AV, but still far away in production at $65K.”

“Five weeks to go. And then things started to click with me and suddenly I was doing $60k, $70k weeks back-to-back. And I ended up making it happen. “I think I wrote $280,000 AV in my first 13 weeks. And so I stuck around and I’m still here. But until I gave myself a deadline, and I really, really committed myself…that’s when things started to change.”

Now as a Field Training Agent, what advice does Saif have for the new agents coming in the door at USHA?”

“First they get to know my story,” says Saif. “I guess I was really bad at the beginning and when I started really committing to the work I do, that’s when I started being the Saif that everybody knows now. So the new agents know, they have an idea of who I am. And then once I introduce myself, the main advice I give them is I try to make this career relatable to them.”

“For example, there was one person who we hired who is 19-years-old, and the first thing I told him, I said, “Oh, you’re 19, man, I wish I started at 19. Do you realize the opportunity you have right now? If I were you I would be here in the office, a lot. All the hours you’re awake, I would basically be here and grind. And you have to commit yourself.” “I talk a lot about commitment. If you are in this opportunity, you have to be all in. Your work has to be intentional. You have to be genuine with the work that you do. If you’re not genuine, it’s not going to last. You can’t come here and just make fast money because you want to make a lot of money. Everybody wants to make a lot of money, but you have to be passionate about helping people. If you don’t have the client’s best interest at heart, you’re not going to last here. But if you genuinely care about all the clients that you talk to and you have their best interest in mind, well, then you have a passion for what you do now. It’s very easy to commit then.”

But it’s not just a commitment for Saif, that action coincides with another word, one that when you wrap your head around it becomes a direction for life – because it’s important in all that we do, or don’t do – that word is awareness. You can’t fix what you’re not aware of and you have to be aware to see what steps are necessary to build success.

“I was definitely making a commitment to turn my life and my business around, says Saif. “But commitment is a very vague term. I don’t think it’s one thing when I look at what I was doing before I was producing versus after I was producing. It’s two completely different things. When I wasn’t producing it’s because I wasn’t working as hard. I wasn’t focused. I would be listening to music at work. I wouldn’t pay attention during trainings. I wouldn’t take notes. I wouldn’t review my phone calls. So I wasn’t really doing anything productive at all. And then almost overnight, I just started trying to do everything I possibly can. So it’s almost like I was suddenly doing as many right things as possible. And that resulted in the production in my career you see right now. So now it’s changed. I’m coming in on time. I always set a certain amount of appointments. It’s every day where I text a certain amount of people.”

“I always work my CRM. I always train myself. I always track my production. I always think of new ways to do things, and I’m always being critical of my work and I’m always sharpening my tools in as many areas as possible. I wasn’t doing any of that beforehand. And I would say if I take away some of the things I’m doing right now, my production would drop a little bit and if I take away a little bit more, the production drops again. But the more I do the right things, the more my production goes up. So it’s a combination of everything.

Commit, then you make progress and make an impression. Saif is not running the Top Ten as a personal producer at USHA by chance, it’s only because he took the chance, took the leap of faith, and then turned around and eventually believed in himself and his abilities, and developed the work ethic to back it up.

So how do you get to that type of production? How do you get to that level of success? How do you get to a place where plenty of agents in the company are looking up at you?

It’s simple, you give.

First and foremost it’s Saif’s family.

“I have three siblings,” says Saif. “They’re all doing different things. “My sister, who is 21, she is in school studying children’s education. She wants to be a teacher. And my brother, he’s 17 years old. He’s in high school, but he also started a little side hustle business, which is car detailing. He actually told me the other day that he went door to door knocking for the first time to drum up business. I thought that was pretty cool, so I role-played with him and he sucked,” laughs Saif. “So I gave him some pointers. Then I have a younger sister, she’s nine, just finished third grade.”

“I love the idea of giving back,” says Saif. “And for me, for example, with my team, I try to give back as much as possible to them. Whether it’s helping them out with one-to-one appointments, with anything they’re struggling with, or just helping them out with purchasing more state licenses, or giving them more money in leads. But seeing a difference and making an impact in somebody’s life is probably the biggest thing for me. Because when you come in and make money on your own, it’s great. But then once you see your impact on other people, that solidifies a sense of purpose.”

“And in the future, I would want my legacy to be raising children who are also duplicating what I’m doing in their own way. Because then a hundred years later, I want that to be something that lives on. That’s the only way that you can keep your message and your work alive, is if you give and pass it on to other people.”

Giving, living, and caring are attributes everyone can strive to master.

That’s called making a commitment to life.

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Your Storyteller,

Mark Brodinsky

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