When you use an excuse for not accomplishing something or not completing a project, you are actually giving power to someone or something outside of yourself. Regardless of what happens today, absolutely refuse to use an excuse to get off the hook.
– Bob Proctor
No excuses, just results. Meet Taraina Phillips.
In this life we are given a great gift, one that can be a blessing or a curse, the gift of choice. Taraina has chosen to take that gift and do all she can to empower other people. That’s her choice.
But as in any life that’s fully lived, this wasn’t always the case. For Taraina, the past wasn’t full of abundance, it wasn’t exactly focused on other people, it was about scarcity and survival.
“When I first started with the company,” says Taraina, “and obviously, I always say that I came for the money, and then I stayed for the culture… but when I first started, I was battling scarcity, the thought process of being able to take care of myself, not having to depend on a man or anybody else to support me, not being afraid that I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills or become successful. And that was my definition as a kid, if someone’s successful, right, and making a six-figure income, well that was such a big deal.”
It was deal after deal after deal… and the hyper-focus to extract the income from those deals. It wasn’t something Taraina says happened all of a sudden… it was instilled in her from the time she was young. The ingrown worry of never having enough.
“I was acting as a child, because I grew up with my mom, who was an alcoholic, very dependent on my stepfather,” says Taraina. “And the words that she spoke to me all the time was, “If you’re not good, he’s going to leave us, and we’re going to have no money, not going to be able to take care of ourselves. And that resonated with me so much that it was in my core. So, the only thing I focused on for almost half of my life was not ever having to be in that position and nothing else mattered, which could be very harmful, to only have that as a goal. All I did was work and work some more and work some more. Been married several times, and my only definition of a good marriage, was measured by the level that I could support them or take care of them.”
But nothing in life is permanent, and once Taraina figured out how to become successful and persuaded a family member to join her in the insurance business, life took a change. Change is inevitable, but growth is optional.
“And once I was able to feel comfortable doing the sales process over and over again and feeling comfortable that I could actually achieve financial independence… then, I was able to do that with my sister,” says Taraina, “which was a huge challenge. It’s not only a big responsibility to figure out how to make yourself successful, but then to duplicate yourself. Then, I wanted to empower everybody to have that feeling. And at each time, I would see somebody in a recruiting pitch, or a woman that couldn’t take care of herself, or someone in a situation that felt disempowered or didn’t believe that they could be successful. Every single time that I was able to do it again and again, and again, and change that person’s perception of themselves and what they were capable of, it became very addictive.”
The addiction of making others successful, of giving and serving, has made Taraina THE most successful woman in USHEALTH Advisors history.
In fact, no one is even close.
To date, Taraina’s teams have produced well beyond $1 BILLION in sales. Not only are the numbers impressive, but so is the selflessness.
Taraina has relocated multiple times around the country in order to seed and build USHA Division offices. Three USHA Regional Leaders, Mara Dorne, Jason Greif and Andy Montague, developed their skill sets under Taraina. She currently mentors a total of eight USHA regions. And she is one of the highest career earners in USHA history.
No excuses, just results. And some very good introspection and a shift in perception, has forged the path for Taraina.
“Over the last, probably 10 years, the vision has changed,” she says. “It’s not all about how to get people to make a six-figure income, but how to actually help people realize what it is that they want, what is their why, how are they going to attain it? What makes them happy? Because most people walking around on this earth, they’re searching for something to make them happy. But if you ask them, “What makes you happy?” They don’t know. I don’t know. Well, how the hell is somebody else going to make you happy if you don’t even know what makes you happy?”
“And I think that’s why even in the leadership aspect of things, my focus and message has changed over the years from how to sell and how to close to what wakes you up in the morning? How are you communicating with people? What kind of energy are you putting out there? What are you attracting into your life? How do you envision your day going? How do you envision the next month going, concentrating on your big picture goals?”
What Taraina is now attracting into her life is what anyone who puts forth the effort and the love gets back… for what you give, you receive and for Taraina it comes down to caring.
“I give a sh*t,” says Taraina. “I hate to say this, but I have high levels of anxiety that I spend a lot of time working on. But people always say to me, “why do you still work so hard?” And I do it because I love it. I do it because I feel like it’s my personal responsibility to get it done. I want to continue to see people have the same opportunity that was given to me.
“I don’t think about this opportunity as a sales opportunity, where you can just sell anymore. I look at it as an opportunity for us to create an amazing place where people want to be, and where they walk in and they can feel good about themselves. They can feel good about somebody being there, uplifting them, motivating them. I feel like the world is a pretty nasty place a lot of the time. And if we can create an environment where people love and support, and care for one another, that it will breed great levels of success. Like Troy McQuagge says, (USHEALTH Advisors President and CEO), this is a people business. it’s not about sales, it’s not about hard closing. It’s a people business. And if you can get people to love and care, and feel supported by you for a long enough time, they’ll figure it out.”
Sometimes, figuring it out is the hardest part. As with any great story of success, it’s never a simple road, there are twists and turns and hardships to overcome. Taraina’s rise to success is no different, though she found the financial wealth she desired, it also cost her some priceless time and attention with those she loved… and even those she lost.
“There was absolutely no time spent in developing that emotional relationship with my former spouses or putting in time into knowing who I was or knowing who they were. When tragedy struck, when my husband Keith died, I went back to work pretty much the next day. And my rationale for that was, well, I’d rather be around people and do things that are going to be productive for me versus sitting home and feeling sorry for myself. A month after Keith died, my father also passed away. My dad lived with me for a few years and was there for me when Keith died. My father and I were very close and it was very hard.”
But a few years ago, as her emotional temperament and focus shifted, Taraina met a man who has helped change her life.
“My past marriages were all about work, succeed, get paid, make money,” she says. “I didn’t ever… until I met Leander, probably put time and energy being able to have that strong, personal relationship. Leander is very deep human being that has made me deal with a lot of the things in my life that I’ve just maybe pushed aside because they weren’t important to me. When I met my husband, I think I finally realized that there are other relationships that are important to take care of. So, spending more time developing my personal life has, I think, also helped me grow as a leader as well.”
There’s also the work Taraina has put into the relationship she has with herself, deep thought and inspection of why she does what she does, of why she wants to change the lives of other people at USHEALTH Advisors.
“My husband and I spend a lot of time thinking and talking, and understanding why I do the things that I do,” says Taraina, “why I interact with people the way that I do, which helps discover sometimes why positive things happen in your life. It’s important to sometimes think on and reflect on why the outcomes happen, so you can do more a bit right or maybe some of the things that you don’t address or recognize, and how they could be a hindrance if you don’t deal with them. So, he has been a great blessing to my life.”
And as for blessings, Taraina wants as many as possible to experience them, she’s hell bent on bringing others to the USHA opportunity and seeing lives transformed.
“A lot of times, to be honest with you, I’m looking for the people that have gone through struggles or were in the same situation as I was when I was younger, that they felt like they would never make a six-figure income. They didn’t really have anybody who believed in them a whole bunch, and something inside of them wants more. They want to prove to the world that they are capable of being successful individuals. They are coachable, looking for someone who sees the world that says, “Hey, I deserve a piece of this.” “This is an opportunity where you work hard now, so that you don’t have to work as hard later.”
“And there’s not one part of me that somebody would question that,” says Taraina, “because I’m passionate about it. I get excited about it because I look at every new person, and I look at their current situation, whether they’re making $20,000 a year or $150,000 a year and say, “That person could be me in five, six years making a seven-figure income. I’ve seen it been done over and over again. My stepson, Deshaun started with our company eight weeks ago, just hit his $100,000 AV milestone in seven weeks, has had two paychecks in seven weeks, over $5,000. That’s the child who was making $9- an-hour at a UPS store, and just graduated from high school. I know it can be done.”
“So, I get excited for every single person to be able to have that opportunity. I’m constantly telling people what we do, and constantly bringing people onto this opportunity because it’s what I believe. So, not everybody works out as you know, however, you got to put that same energy and effort into each person, because at the end of the day, like Troy always says, you have the grocery store test by running into them.”
To be great at anything, you must love it fervently and Taraina’s growth as a leader is in direct proportion to the focus and effort she puts into being the best she can for others. It’s one thing to be inspirational, it’s another to be aspirational, where you not only inspire, but others aspire to be like you. Taraina says she has learned so much from the man who lives as an aspiration for her, the man who created the USHA family, Troy McQuagge.
“I had seen Troy speak several times at our conferences with the company that existed just before USHEALTH Advisors. And I believed that he wholeheartedly loved and put the agents first. And when I heard he was creating this company, I wanted to continue to be part of that. I feel the same way today about Troy that I did then, that he’s always going to put the agent’s best interests first.”
“Troy doesn’t do this for the money at this point. He does it because he wants to see us succeed. And what he has, I believe, transferred into what I believe, also. And because of him I’ve created who I am, followed in his guidance and his vision of what he wanted to create here. And it’s worked, and I want to continue that for as long as I can.”
It’s all about thinking of the agents first, including helping to empower them, not coddle them, to help them believe in what’s possible. Taraina knows, as we all should, that true success is not overnight, it’s many nights, many days, weeks, months, even years before you see the true profits of your persistence and it’s more than just dollars and cents.
“I’m very honest with people, you’re not going to open a business up, and day one, you’re making a six-figure income. That’s not realistic. You go and open up any type of small business, and you have to make a commitment. You have to have a business plan, right? You have to put a lot of sweat equity into it and some money. If you opened up a pizza shop, you’re going to put in six months of non-stop weekends and long hours. And the first month that it doesn’t work out, you don’t say, “Just kidding, I’m going to close this bad boy down.” No, you dig down deep and evaluate your business plan, your location, your prospects, your pitch, what it is that you have to offer, and you improve it. And you keep on improving it until you can be the best that you can possibly be.”
Being the best you can possibly be brings Taraina back to one of her favorite quotes and a message she has for all agents, or prospective agents at USHEALTH Advisors, to encourage them to make this career their last stop on the journey of finding what works and what empowers them.
“If you’re tired of starting over, don’t give up,” says Taraina. “I say that because so many people want to find the magic bullet, the magic company, the magic person, and having great understanding of yourself and understanding that you can’t change anybody. The only thing you can do is change yourself and change your reactions, and change how you view it, change your emotion to it.”
“So if you continue to stop quitting, stop starting over, stop eliminating people from your life, and just work on you, it will all work out. And that’s what I tried to do, I don’t want to keep on starting over. I’m not going to run away from my problems. I’m just going to continue to grow myself because no matter where you go, there you are, right?”
“If you just continue to work on yourself and your skills, if you spend an hour a day reading about how to get better at social media, how to get more referrals, how to work your networks, how to talk better to people on the phone, how to show interest in the other person, care about what it is that they’re trying to achieve, if you just keep on working at being a better person every day, that’s going to transfer into having a better book of business, and having better relationships, and being able to grow into all that you can be.”
For Taraina, the journey and the mission is never-ending. Being able to grow, regardless.
For more of Taraina’s early life story read The Sunday Series here:
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.