Rochelle Brown thought her story might not resonate, quite the contrary. You can learn something from Every Breath She Takes:
It all changed while in college when Rochelle Brown witnessed a young lady suffering a severe allergic reaction, struggling for air.
As the respiratory therapists came to the rescue and helped the girl to breathe again, Rochelle experienced her own breath of fresh air, she knew her life could and would be different. Prior to that moment she thought she knew what she wanted – to be a pharmacist – but suddenly everything changed.
With her own labored breathing and tears in her eyes Rochelle called her mom to tell her the news. She would not be completing the pharmacist program for which she had enrolled in college – she was going to make a change. She wanted to be able to talk to patients, to touch patients, to help rescue those in need. She knew she couldn’t experience any of this as a hospital pharmacist simply distributing medicine. Instead Rochelle realized she was addicted to a new drug – the drug of giving, of saving lives, of making a difference in the moment when it mattered the most. Rochelle told her mom she was going to become a respiratory therapist.
While it was a “180” from where she was heading in her career, for Rochelle it was the perfect fit – because to get to know her is to learn that helping others to breathe easier – by giving of herself, no matter what the situation – is simply ingrained in her soul.
It was no surprise Rochelle finished in the top of her class as a respiratory therapist.
“This all came very easy to me, to help people in their time of need, either near the end of their life, or in some tragic situation and to be there for them and their families. It’s a thankless job, no one really thinks about the respiratory therapist that much when things are going wrong, many times they don’t even know you exist by the time they see the patient. But you don’t have to hear thank you to know you have made a difference.”
Rochelle continues, “I’m not good at thank you’s anyway. I’m doing my part as a human, I’m part of your story, not for the glitz and the glory. You are in this life and this world and God put you in a position to do better for others. It was ingrained in me as a child, you just do it.”
Just doing it is what Rochelle is all about, for herself, for her family and for everyone she comes in contact in her life. In all transparency when Rochelle and I first started speaking she thought because her family was “normal” and she came from a “normal” upbringing that there was no story to tell. Except what you come to realize in life, especially as you take a look into your own journey, it doesn’t mean you have to go to the depths of some intense life event to know your life has incredible meaning and worth to others. Some of the most inspirational stories of all are of those who simply were born to give, and by doing so inspire each and every one of us.
Besides, a battle with courage is just around the corner in this story.
It’s only been four years since Rochelle and her husband Joshua made the move which changed their lives forever: leaving home. Growing up in a close nuclear family in New Lebanon, Ohio Rochelle never thought she would be far from her tight-knit family. Her parents are high-school sweethearts, been married for over 30 years, and Rochelle says they taught her and her brother “all about giving back and being more, to leave things and people better than they found them”.
Rochelle says she never thought she would be leaving the comfort of closeness she felt by being nearby to her parents, even as a wife and mother of two little boys she was never far from them. But when Joshua got an offer as a robotics engineer in middle Tennessee the couple had to make a decision, should they stay or should they go.
After a trip to Tennessee where Joshua was officially offered the position, Rochelle says the couple drove home to Ohio nearly in silence, praying quietly for the answer, to know if this dramatic change was the right one. Rochelle says, “I finally looked at Joshua and asked what are we going to do? He said, ‘I think if we don’t go we will be miserable for not taking the chance.’”
Telling her parents was the hardest thing she had to do says Rochelle. “I spent 28 years in one place. I started crying. My mom and my dad are my best friends in the world. My dad said if this is what you are supposed to do, then this is what you are supposed to do. My mom got quiet, but stayed strong for me. I appreciated their support – and I still do more then ever.”
Rochelle and the boys, 4-year-old Ethan and 2-year-old Colin, stayed back home in Ohio while Joshua got things set up in Tennessee. And once she and the kids made the move as well – there was another change Rochelle couldn’t have seen coming.
She wanted to have the time to be a mommy and be there for her boys. After arriving in Tennessee Rochelle knew she probably couldn’t work as a respiratory therapist because of the crazy shifts she might have to endure as the new kid on the block. So Rochelle set up a few other job interviews. But after the first one she went on, the other two no longer mattered. Rochelle had found the place she wanted to call home.
“I never saw myself on the other side of healthcare, but I listened to this woman Taraina Mccants tell me about this company and how its sole purpose was helping and giving, and it spoke to me. I canceled the other two interviews and called my husband to tell him I was going to be an insurance agent. He said, ‘you are crazy, but if that’s what you want to do, then do it.’”
That was 2012. Fast forward four years later and Rochelle is one of the top Field Sales Leaders at USHEALTH Advisors. And to know how much Rochelle loves to give – it’s the perfect fit.
“As a leader I’m now in this business to help others help their own families. It gives me a level of responsibility which keeps me going even in the times I might feel lost, knowing I’m responsible for their lives. Watching agents come in from their brokenness, whatever their story might be, we all have one, and by doing so I learn more from them each day then I can ever teach them myself. This company gives me the opportunity to impact other people’s lives more than just taking care of their health insurance and it is really important to me.”
“I worry. I’m a worrier, it comes from always being three steps ahead. I struggle with making sure everything is taken care of and to make sure everyone is happy and healthy and doing well. I go well out of my way to make things better and I worry that everyone is OK. I’m good at taking on other people’s stuff. Self-image and self-worth is something you always have to focus on. To help me I have a worry-cross, made out of wood, engraved with my favorite verse – Be Still and know that I am God. It fits in the palm of my hand and is something very dear to me.”
From the simplest of desires comes the ability to help others live out their own dreams. This is what Rochelle strives to do each and every day. Giving is living and Rochelle was quite simply born to run on this foundation and to lift up others who enter her life… that is true inspiration.
“My parents taught my brother and I to be honest and truthful even when it hurts”, says Rochelle, “to be careful and true, you never know what little thing can impact one persons life dramatically.”
“I feel like everyone around me has these tragic stories and I don’t. But you can be a person who impacts people’s lives truly by choice, not just because something bad has happened – because you choose to be a servant and choose to help them with their stories and how they impact you. You can choose to stay on your path, or you can rise above it. Whatever your life story is – whether you think it’s a tragic story, or abnormally normal – I think mine is very normal, I’m blessed to come from a tight, nuclear family. Whether you face something grand and have to overcome the world, or if you are just the girl next door, you have to find a way to be the best version of you because others deserve the best that you can give. Take your experiences seriously and whatever your gift is you should be using it to get better and be the best version of yourself all the time.”
You can talk the talk, or you can walk the walk. Rochelle does both. Think your “normal” story doesn’t matter? No one is normal. Everyone is different, but parts of us are all the same inside, the goal of his human existence is to use the best parts of you to bring out the best in others. Rochelle Brown proves it every day – by giving she is living. And for all of us that means the world is a better place to be.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.