“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.” – Unknown
Feel like quitting? Feel like giving up? Feel like it will never work?
Stop feeling and just get to work.
Ennku Tafara is a walking, talking testament to the spirit of perseverance, defying the odds, beating the obstacles, and never giving up.
Ennku graduated from college in December 2019 and started applying for work in the field for which he studied, psychology. But the opportunities he saw out in the marketplace made him feel like he was literally, going crazy.
“A bachelor’s degree in psychology does not really do much for you,” says Ennku. “I had one of two options. I had been in school for pretty much my whole life, 15 or 16 years. So I kind of looked at it and I was like, “Okay, well, I can continue with education and go get my master’s, or I can find some employment.”
“Well, a lot of the employment opportunities that I was applying for at the time, psychology degree, four years, realistically you’re looking at a human resources position. You’re looking at $20,000 to $40,000 a year. I knew where I lived I was going to need more, so I started applying for a lot of things.”
“I grew up in Vegas. I was born in New Jersey, moved out here to Vegas when I was five.”
“And so most of what I know is from Vegas and the Vegas hustle. And so I clicked the random apply button. Someone contacts me back and says, “Hey, we’d like to have you come in for a group interview.” I didn’t know what it was. It said something about a sales position. I had never done sales before. I didn’t really know what it was, but I had a few people, like my brother, and I had a few other friends that were pushing me to try and do what I call pressure sales, where you sit at a little kiosk, you’re selling little headphones in the malls. It’s a hustle.”
“I didn’t want to do that because it didn’t really sit right with me, because you’re really just trying to get as much from them as possible, and the product itself wasn’t the best. However, I wanted to try some sales because I know sales was always that thing that helps grow you overall as a person, not just with monetary gain, because I was never really that type of person, but to help me grow and help with things like confidence and self-image.”
Ennku took the leap of faith and contracted with USHEALTH Advisors, saying he really didn’t know exactly what he would be doing and so when he went home to tell his parents about this new opportunity, they were less than thrilled.
“My parents are from Ethiopia, so a lot of what they know and their thought processes are because of where they grew up. So for them, I come home, I tell them I got a one-hundred percent commission job. Let’s just say they weren’t the most excited, right? I’m sitting there and telling them, “Yeah, I saw some checks, younger people, like myself, doing really well. And they’re like, “What do you think that you just found? This is a scam. Don’t do this. Go back to school.”
“It was interesting. It was at the point where no one was really like, “Hey, you should try this.” It was one of those times where I always wanted to try something and not give up when it got difficult. I felt like a lot of times in my life that’s something that I consistently did. I said, “Let me just put my all into it and see what comes out of it, because realistically, at the end of the day, I can always go back to school.”
If you only ever do the things that are easy, life is hard. But do the hard things and life can be easy. Yet Ennku had no idea how hard it was going to get.
“It took me four tries to pass the state licensing exam, then within about a week, right as I’m about to start, Covid shuts everything down, so now we’re training on Zoom, and we’re expected to be on there at 5 am, since it’s 8 am on the east coast when you can start making calls to people. But Zoom trainings were tough. When we finally get back into offices I haven’t made much money at all.”
“But I was there 5:00 AM on the dot, usually didn’t leave until about eight o’clock, or nine o’clock in the evening. And that was not four days a week, not five, that was seven days a week. It just got to the point where when you do something a certain amount of times it becomes a habit. For me it was like, what else am I going to do? I didn’t really know anything else.”
Three weeks after getting back into the office, Ennku was on his way to work when he was part of a four-car collision, where the lead car blew a tire and the ripple effect caused the three other cars to crash as well, including Ennku’s. He was ok, though he had significant exterior damage and interior, because his air bags deployed.
“We had just gotten back into the offices, I haven’t made money in three weeks, working over a hundred hours, crashed my car, and don’t really know what I’m going to do when I get home. This is it for me. And I still tell the story to this day, and it’s crazy how this works out, another agent who had started with me as well happens to come driving along and offers me a ride. He could tell I wasn’t feeling good about things at all, but as we’re walking back to his car, he points to a homeless guy under the bridge and he says, “That’s actually rock bottom for you. Whatever you think right now is really not as bad as it’s made out to be.” So I took that, I went home, talked to my dad, got a rental car and got back into the office.”
Not long after the car accident, Ennku got a call one day from his brother about a good friend they both knew.
“Our friend rented ATVs. And unfortunately he got into an accident, and died, at the age of 23. That’s what my brother was calling to let me know. At first I thought it was a joke, I couldn’t believe it. It was hard to wrap my head around and I guess it was just like that saying, everything happens for a reason. I was on my way to trying to hit my $100,000 milestone in the first 13 weeks of production at USHA. For a bit I didn’t care anymore, but then I used it as motivation and hit the milestone, by the skin of my teeth, issuing $101,000 in annual volume. For many it might be a small milestone, but it gave me hope to look around and say, okay, maybe I can do this, right?
But fighting back after the car crash that nearly derailed his early career, the loss of his friend that hurt his heart, and still hitting an important production milestone, even all of this was not the turning point of Ennku’s time here at USHA.
Still in his first six months with the company, Ennku got to experience the start of open enrollment in November, the best stretch of time each year at USHEALTH Advisors, thought it wasn’t the best for him.
“Going into the first week of open enrollment, I’m watching people write a lot of business, helping a ton of people. And I go into it and I believe I had two applications, both of them got declined, lucky me. And I made nothing. I made absolutely nothing. So as soon as I thought I was getting somewhere after hitting my milestones, making progress, it was like, nope, come on back, come on back. There were just more growing pains, more to learn, humbling.”
But heading deeper into the month, and closer to Thanksgiving, Ennku found his real motivation. For some reason life seems to bring us to our knees, so we can prove that we can rise up again.
“My dad, who I was living with, has always had health related problems. But he is always been in and out of the hospital. It was kind of like a recurring thing. He had a heart attack back in January of 2020, but also kidney problems, and neurological problems. But he was still functional. One day he complains that his chest was aching and he goes into the ER, so they put him in intensive care. And this was during the time where the ICU rates were skyrocketing because of Covid, so we couldn’t go see him. I spoke to my dad on Thanksgiving and he sounded normal. Thankfully, a few weeks went by and we’re like, all right, at least we haven’t gotten that call yet.”
“The first week of December they put my dad on a ventilator, which means things aren’t good. Because of Covid restrictions my family and I are fighting to see who can see him and who can’t. On December 8th, they take him off the ventilator. December 9th he passes away. And that for me, I mean the entire time frame between November 1st and December 15th, which was open enrollment at that time, my first open enrollment, I still never even left the office for any extended period of time. And I don’t say that to say I don’t have emotions, it was to say that I knew the old me would have crumbled, and not done anything, just given up.”
“However one thing that I was able to do, because of the habits I built in this business, was to keep going. It’s similar to when people in sports lose a significant other, they lose someone close to them and they still get right back up and the first thing they do is go out and play the game. It’s just something to get your mind off of it. And that’s all that I was doing. So that last week of open enrollment was probably the turning point in my career and my life, because that was, still to this day, the best week that I have had in my career at USHA. I believe I wrote like $101,000 in volume the week my dad died, and issued $82,000 of it and got a really good check that week. Honestly, looking back on it, I don’t know how I did it.”
Sometimes you don’t have to know, you just have to… do. It’s in the doing that we accomplish things we never thought possible, despite the obstacles, the setbacks, the soul-crushing defeats and losses. If you can find a way to keep doing, you’ll keep going and that will make all the difference. We can’t forget it’s the ones we look at as crazy, who change the world.
Today, Ennku has issued nearly $2-and-a-half million in personal business and he is showing the way as a leader, serving as a Field Sales Leader for USHEALTH Advisors and leading his team to more than $5 million in production!
Starting his career in the early days of Covid, wrecking his car, the untimely passing of a great friend, then his father’s death, all in Ennku’s first ten months as an USHA agent… and yet, here he stands, stronger than ever and on a career path toward greatness.
It’s proof that surviving our darkest moments, lights a path for others to follow.
Ennku sums it all up: “It got to a point where I was like, look, no matter what happens, this is what I need to do. And as you focus on one thing, everything else, all the distractions, seem like a blur to you, right? For me, just when it might not seem way too hard, whether it’s this career, or whether it’s anything that you’re doing in life, when you feel like it might not be worth it, when you feel like you want to give up, keep going… because you don’t know how close you are to actually accomplishing what it is you truly want.”
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.