How do you define success? It’s a great question to think about and an even better one to share, since the answer is unique for each and every one of us.
For David Zalka all you need to do is check his wife’s diary, for it’s there that Cara helped to give life to David’s definition of success, without really knowing it. “Success for me is ensuring my family and I are happy and taken care of,” says David. “Success is having the feeling of zest for life.”
It’s a simple answer, preceded by a simple entry in Cara’s diary years ago. An entry she made back in middle school, a time when she was just rounding the corner into her teenage years.
Cara wrote down – I’m going to marry David. Think it, then ink it.
That single entry, when the two were just casual friends, was a premonition of things to come. Once they hit high school the friendship blossomed, the two started dating and David’s version of success was becoming a reality, a family would not be far behind. Married in 2010, the couple now have two children, six-year-old Brooke and 3-year-old Joseph, and a great life near Naples, Florida.
So what does a diary entry have to do with a successful business? Once you understand what drives you, it’s all about following your heart and knowing your definition of success. A great family and a zest for life drive David’s mission in life and even more so this year with USHEALTH Advisors.
For David, that mission is to wrap up the year at number one. Numero uno. The top of the list. The best of the best. The number one personal producer in the nation for this sales force of thousands who help other people every day to find affordable health coverage. It’s a company and a business which echoes David’s philosophy of winning by giving.
At the time of this writing, David is in the red zone, nearing the goal line and working the two-minute drill. He’s at the top, helping more people than anyone else in the country and now the goal is to bring it home… by never forgetting those who wait for him there.
“There’s definitely a balance thing,” says David. “It’s a double focus, this award, (to finish number one), and being there for my family. The biggest challenge is to just enjoy the family and balance my life. I was number two last year, and this year people are trying to catch me and take that number one ring. At the end of the day it’s all good, number two, number ten. But I’m competitive. I want this award this year and now that I see the finish line I’m not going to stop. My family drives me. They are my motivation to do so well and be able to do all the things I can for them.”
Growing up as one of four boys in a modest home in Miami, Florida, life for David has always been about family. “With four boys there was never a dull moment at my house,” laughs David. “My parents worked hard and did very well for themselves. My dad is a CPA, my mom has done a bunch of things, including being an aerobics teacher, doing Mary Kay sales, earning a nursing degree and a degree as a mental health counselor.”
After David’s “5-year college plan” and earning a degree in Business Administration at Florida Atlantic University, David says he didn’t really know what he wanted to do. So he started helping his dad with his accounting business and serving tables at an Italian restaurant. “I figured I would probably be offered a management role at the restaurant,” says David, “but Cara told me not to do it. She said I wouldn’t be home and would have to work weird hours.”
David knew it too. He knew the long, stressful hours of running a restaurant wouldn’t allow him to live his definition of success – being there for his family. But as luck would have it, just about the same time a high school friend, Garrett Laughlin, suggested David get his insurance license and join Garrett’s family of salespeople at USHEALTH Advisors. That was four years ago and now David can look back and reflect, even as he drives forward at a breakneck pace to stay at the top.
“I didn’t know anything about insurance,” says David, “or know what this was really all about. But I had some background in sales selling magazines over the phone back in high school. I was good at it, there was a point I was making $1,000 a week selling magazines. That was until the business shut down and the owners went to prison.”
Lesson learned. Find quality and stick with it. The agents, leaders and home office staff at USHEALTH Advisors have won award after award for quality and quantity of business, and as David says, “Troy McQuagge’s philosophy, (the CEO of USHEALTH), of helping other people every day, putting them in a better position and realizing that the agent is king at this company, simply breeds success.”
“I’ve evolved from working out of the house to enjoying a really nice culture at a big office and building a team – we just did $1,000,000 in production in a single week. I love being in the office, helping my agents, laughing with them and making it a fun place to be. I get up and I get to work early. I leave my house just before 7 am, get to the office, talk to my reps and start dialling by 8 am. Before I know it it’s 2 or 3 o’clock. The days fly by. I love it. I know what I’ve gotta do to be successful and I teach new agents to do what I do – literally do what I do – which is work and have success. I have been so successful up to this level because of my work ethic, consistency, my ability to adapt to customers and the ability to make them feel comfortable doing business with me.”
For David, it’s about being exactly who he is, no facade, just the honest truth. “I think people need to be themselves,” he says. “There is all this hatred out there in the world and it’s not necessary. I go to the mountains in New York every year with my family for three-to-four weeks, it’s the most peaceful place. Life is short, you’ve got to enjoy it. I want to just enjoy my life. I don’t have to have a big life philosophy – the most important thing is my family and my health. I love everything about my life right now. Everything is great. It’s not to say it’s always going to be great. But being honest, being true, being loyal, these are really good traits I try to live by every day and it’s working out for me.”
Sounds like a great entry to write down – in a diary of success.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.