“Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be” – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
You’ve got to live right here, right now—just ask Paul Rishty. He believes in that concept whole-heartedly, and he also says we must have the conviction to “live our now” in the right way.
“We know the right thing to do,” says Paul. “The biggest challenge is doing the right thing every time because if you do the right thing, everything always turns out OK in the end, whether in work or whatever you do in life.”
What Paul does is serve as a Satellite Division Sales Leader for USHEALTH Advisors (USHA), a subsidiary of USHEALTH Group, offering flexible [AC1] health coverage and supplements to the self-employed, individuals, and families. It is a company and a culture that won Paul over because of one word: HOPE.
“Back in 2012, I was taking a year off from the corporate world and I was getting bombarded by job offers from these insurance companies,” says Paul. “I was deleting every single one, but then I noticed one company that talked about its mission of HOPE, Helping Other People Everyday.”
That acronym and those words caught Paul’s attention, because they reinforced the same words that his dad, Jack Rishty, a former life insurance salesman, had spoken to Paul years ago.
“My dad did life insurance as his second career,” says Paul. “When I got out of the military, he wanted me to come work with him. I had always likened life insurance agents to snake oil salesmen. But my dad said to me, ‘I’m not a salesman. I’m helping these families because they’re going to need it one day.’”
As it turned out, father knew best. It was the truth for Jack and turned into the mission for Paul, aided by his career with USHEALTH Advisors and the influence of one other special man, CEO for USHA Troy McQuagge.
“Troy is one of the most amazing men I’ve ever met in my life,” says Paul. “It was at the Leaders Meeting when I heard him speak for the first time, and I went up to him after and introduced myself. I told him, ‘That was the most inspirational speech I’ve ever heard in my life.’ Troy’s heart is as big as the moon. We, the agents and leaders, are his life. He didn’t have to come back out of retirement to lead this company, but he did. He loves us.”
Paul says he has tried to copy the culture in his office that Troy has created in the home office for USHEALTH Advisors.
“I preach to my agents and they drink the Kool-Aid,” says Paul, laughing. “But you have to, to be successful. My agents are always watching our satellite division production numbers every week, and they pull together for the good of the team. When you play for the team, with the team in mind first, then everyone does better individually.”
These are lessons in leadership, teamwork and adapting to change that Paul learned early on in his life, since he spent years in private school “dressed in a blue blazer, gray pants, striped tie and a patch on the elbows of your jacket just like everyone else.” Then, he had to learn to adapt to life in public school.
“That was a tough one,” says Paul. “Talk about feeling like a fish out of water. You go from the cocoon of private school into the mainstream of public-school life. It wasn’t easy.”
So, to regain structure, Paul did what anyone who desired order and discipline in his life would do—he joined a military school.
“The Citadel—wow,” says Paul. “It feels a hell of a lot better looking back on it. Graduating from that school was one of my greatest challenges and, in turn, greatest accomplishments in life. You go through a lot of crap that freshman year—it ain’t easy.”
Paul joined the Air Force and then served in the Reserve[AC2] . However, divorce and the responsibility of training for the Reserve on the weekends meant little time to spend with his daughter, so it led Paul to turn in his papers shortly before President Bush declared war in the Gulf in 1991.
“It was disappointing to leave when I did,” Paul says. “You spend all that time training and preparing, then you don’t get to go to the super bowl of military engagement.”
Instead, it was off to the corporate world, but more time to spend with his daughter, Dana.
“My greatest accomplishment in life is my daughter,” says Paul. “I think that work and all the other things, athletics, etc. that we do on this planet—that’s gravy stuff. What we are here to do is bear and raise children the best way we can. At the end of the day, that’s what counts.”
But what counted during the day was the work and for three decades, Paul worked in corporate America—first in the aerospace industry in California and then later, back home in Maryland to be near to his dad who was diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, Paul’s dad lost his battle with cancer in 1997.
Eventually, Paul ended up in the computer sciences industry with an IT job, far from his zone of genius.
“I didn’t know anything about IT,” laughs Paul. “But being in the military, you learn to be successful at whatever you are challenged with, so I learned what I needed to know and ended up running big contracts for the federal government. But then I got out of IT and got a contract with the Department of State, helping to run the contracts for visa information services with call centers all over the world—places like Istanbul, Budapest, Rio De Janeiro, and England.”
Life circumstances brought Paul back out west to Colorado and a job in the insurance industry, but it wasn’t on the front lines. It was in the back office and meant constant travel.
“I didn’t know what the hell I was doing,” says Paul.
So, he decided to take a year off and in 2013, he discovered USHEALTH Advisors.
“Again, it’s the mission of HOPE that attracted me to this opportunity,” says Paul. “It’s what I say in my recruiting pitches to prospective agents. This company is all about servitude. Just like my dad preached to me, I’m not a salesman. My clients and agents can sense that my heart is with them. I’m going to do what is best for them. My agents are still my biggest challenge to get them to believe in themselves, to realize what’s possible and to realize their dreams.
“I don’t know what I did right in life to have this opportunity cross my path, but I thank God I did. I get so much job satisfaction helping my clients make sure they get the right policy, but I get even more job satisfaction watching my agents’ dreams come true. I am changing their lives and they, in turn, are changing mine.”
Case in point: Paul’s life journey brought him back east to Florida, and his very first client in Florida became his golf buddy. Paul now runs the Brandon Florida Satellite office for USHA. Paul started trying to recruit his buddy’s son, Austin.
“It took me eight months—and a ton of golf strokes—to get him to take the leap,” says Paul. “He’s made more money than most 25 or 26-year-olds make, and he’s now a Field Sales Leader with 25 agents on his team.”
Lives changed, but to create the change is an inside-out job. Work on you and work on the business—both with determination, dedication and an intense focus on who you are, where you are now and where you would like to go.
“We are big on reading here in my Florida office,” says Paul. “Most of the guys read, and one of my personal favorite books is one that if you read it can change your life forever: ‘The Power of Now,’ by Eckhart Tolle. It teaches you that you can’t live with your head in the past, pissed off, or focused only on the future, afraid of some catastrophe, or what bad thing might happen. You must focus on, ‘What am I doing right here, right now?’ That’s the only real truth you have—the now.”
“Nothing ever happened in the past, it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future, it will happen in the Now.” – Eckhart Tolle
Paul also preaches that to be successful, you must take this seriously and put in the time. Success is always the sum of the parts. Little by little, you build a bigger business and a better life. In 2018, Paul finished runner-up as the Top Builder in the nation at USHA.
“I have one of the highest conversion rates in the region of newly contracted recruits into agents,” says Paul. “I scare them in the presentation meeting, because I won’t contract anyone unless I believe they are all in and understand the expectations. My significant other, Sherry, helps me with the recruiting, but I follow them all the way through, studying for the health and life license and getting appointed with our company. But I won’t let the recruit make the jump unless I’m confident they are going to kill it and have the financial legs and the work ethic to do what is necessary.”
Success comes with a price tag and the rent is due every day. Paul knows those willing to pay the price will prosper. Putting HOPE first is a big deposit into that account, just as he has done with his own life and those closest to him do every day—like his daughter, Dana.
“I’m so proud of Dana,” says Paul. “She’s a good kid. She’s a teacher, and I have a lot of respect for teachers. They are underpaid, and we put a lot of faith and trust in them. Dana’s a great teacher. I don’t get to spend as much time as I like with her because she’s out in California, but I’m trying to get her back east more often. I’m also lucky she still thinks I’m Superman.”
And if there is one thing Superman has always fought for, it is truth, justice, and the American way. In other words, doing things right.
“The thing I believe in the most is doing the right thing,” says Paul. “Do the right thing every single time and everything will work out in the end, even if you don’t think it’s working out right now. Just do it right every time.”
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.