Mentally Tough

Sean Egelston will tell you himself, his family is a baseball family. If there’s one type of family to be, this might be it, since so much of the game is steeped in failure, as is life. But if you can focus on the little things, master the fundamentals, work as a team, celebrate the small successes, practice like your life depends on it and control your mind, you’ll come out a winner.

Be a baller and you can build a pretty good life.

Growing up in Missouri, Sean has been a baller since the early days, and he’s continuing that success as a Field Training Agent with USHEALTH Advisors, a subsidiary of USHEALTH Group, offering affordable health coverage and other benefits to the self-employed, individuals and families. Sean knows you have to play to win.

Sean signed on as an agent in early 2018 and it took him a little while to get licensed, so he continued to serve as a coach at a baseball academy in Houston, Texas. Then, he worked the USHA opportunity during the day and coached at night. Even doing that, he managed to write $206,000 in business in his first 13 weeks at USHA as a brand-new agent. It was his work ethic, determination and learning from failure that helped him get there. He even went after the division record—while on vacation.

“For his high school graduation, my son got a gift from his grandparents to go on a cruise,” says Sean. “We were all going as a family, but that vacation was happening in my 13th week with the company—the milestone goal for a new agent is to issue $100,000 of premium in their first 13 weeks—and while I was in the middle of the ocean, I tried to write one more application.  I wanted to break the 13-week Division record of $212,000 in issued business. I got it done, but there was a hiccup with the application. That application, if issued, would have broken the record but because I was out at sea, it was hard to correct it. I fixed it when I got back, but it was too late.”

Just like in baseball, sometimes you fail. In fact, most times you fail. So, instead you must build on your successes and get past the obstacles—think bigger, swing harder, focus.

Growing up as a baseball catcher, Sean had to handle some tough pitches but none so tough as in his own home. Sean had to field the attacks from his brothers. One brother is nine years older, the other is four years older, and they were pretty good at throwing Sean some serious curveballs. The boys loved to play pranks on their younger sibling.

“I was like eight or nine years old, taking a shower and minding my own business,” says Sean. “My brothers are yelling to me that I’ve got a phone call and to come and get it now. I grab my towel, wrap it around me and go to get the phone. Suddenly, the towel is being ripped off of me and I’m being pushed outside, the door locked behind me.”

Naked and afraid, such is life. Strike one.

“Then, there was the time I questioned why I had freckles and my brothers didn’t,” he says. “My brothers sat me down and spoke to me very seriously. They told me, ‘We’ve got to tell you something. You’re adopted. You were left on the front doorstep and to be honest with you, you were so dirty, and your name is really Oscar. Mom and dad wanted you to feel like you fit into our family, so they scrubbed you down and what’s left are the freckles on your face.’ I believed them—I was devastated. I even went into school that week for show-and-tell and told the entire class my story. My teacher then called my parents to say she was concerned. I never forgot that,” he laughs.

Getting to the truth, it’s never easy. Strike two.

Strike three and you’re out, but Sean made sure he wasn’t going to go there—he always goes down swinging.

The role of a catcher took its toll on Sean’s knees and legs. He had multiple surgeries during his college career and ended up moving to first base. But his expertise was behind the plate, so he didn’t do as well as expected. His older brothers, the same two who gave him a run for his money most of his childhood years, now had an opportunity for him, and it was no joke this time.

“Both my brothers were pitchers, had been drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and played in the minor leagues, though they never made it to the majors,” says Sean. “They ended up teaching at a baseball academy and told me I could make $20-an-hour as an instructor. So, I decided to do it. With 42 hours of credits to go to earn my college degree, I left and never went back to school.”

Instead, Sean immersed himself in the game of life.

“I did the academy for seven or eight years,” says Sean. “It was great because during the winter, we were rich teaching all these lessons but in the summer, we weren’t. I wasn’t making enough money, so I started looking for another opportunity. I was already married and had a son. My wife’s father was the general manager of his own insurance company, selling final expense life insurance policies. So, I went to work for him for six or seven years and financially we did fine, but it still wasn’t a steady paycheck.”

The parents of one of the players Sean coached asked if he wanted to be general manager of a Sonic restaurant.

“The parents owned 17 Sonic restaurants, so I did that for eight years until July of 2017,” Sean said. “Dalton was now a sophomore in high school and one of his good friends moved to Dallas. His parents started telling us how awesome the sports were in Texas and we should come on down.

“My thought process was they have restaurants in Texas too, so we can go there, and Dalton can play baseball—he’s a 3rd baseman—at a high level. As it turns out, I had a friend in Houston who had played for the Phillies and used to coach Dalton. He had his own baseball academy and convinced me to come there. He asked what I needed financially and told me we could do this.”

Sean figured the move to Houston would be a boost for his son and his wife, Teresa. Teresa had been dealing with different illnesses and the consequences of those illnesses, including adrenal insufficiency, for the past five years. She had spent 60 days in the ICU at one point, had to undergo at least half a dozen surgeries, and Sean says there were multiple occasions when doctors told him he should prepare for the worst. But since coming to Texas, Teresa is off the pain meds and doing better.

“She’s the toughest woman I know,” he says.

So, the Egelston family made the move to Texas and Sean started coaching baseball at the academy.

Then, the heavens opened.

“I started working baseball at the academy in Houston just one week before Hurricane Harvey hit,” says Sean. “What a welcome to Texas. It ended up being the worst winter in Houston in 20 years as well. Because of the extreme weather, the baseball thing never worked out like we thought it would. That got me looking around for another job.”

Sean was hired to work as a general manager for another Sonic restaurant, this time in Houston, but he really wanted a supervisory position.

“I kept telling them I’d get started after Christmas, but I never did,” he says. “I went looking for another opportunity, and that’s when I found USHEALTH Advisors. I was attracted to a few things, one being the income I could earn, the other being the flexibility to work my schedule. I still wanted to do some coaching and so April Clark, who was my Field Training Leader at the time, was a perfect fit. She was working in the office most of the day, but then went home to care for her family. The same schedule worked out for me as well. I’d spend most of the day in the office, then go home, grab a bite and head to the baseball academy. I’d work there until 7 or 8 p.m., then come back and work on the insurance until 10 or 11 p.m.”

Between May and the end of 2018, Sean ended up issuing more than $400,000 in insurance premiums and was promoted to a leadership position as a Field Training Agent. As last year progressed, Sean focused more and more on the insurance, and his time at the baseball academy became more like a hobby than anything else.

“I only teach one day a week now,” Sean says. “I love this opportunity. I’ve made more money in six months than any other job I ever had.”

Sean also has some advice for those just starting out: “You might struggle in the beginning, and think to yourself, ‘Do I want to do this?’ But then you have a good week or even a solid week, and it’s all good. To be able to help people and put them in a better place is obviously a good thing.”

And just like Troy McQuagge, CEO of USHEALTH Advisors, is fond of pointing out, income is the outcome of helping and serving—of doing it right.

Sean says he knows he’s got it right now. He’s in the right place, he’s in the zone—just like a good baseball player when he’s having great success.

“I’ve got a great example of how life has changed because of this company,” says Sean. “It might seem simple, but it makes a point. Recently, my wife went to get the oil changed in the car and she called me to tell me the mechanic pointed out one of her tires was split and we should really replace all four of them. In the past, I’d have to say, ‘Well, just do the one tire and I’ll find a way to pay for it. I’ll just be late on some other bills I have to pay.’ Now, I was able to say, ‘Honey just get it all done. Just do it.’ In a weird way, simply saying ‘just do it’ proves to me this is a pretty good gig.”

From Sean’s passion for baseball comes lessons to use throughout life, and he’s shared many of them with his son Dalton.

“He’s a gamer,” says Sean. “I keep telling him anything he wants, he can get to do if he’ll do all he can to make himself better. And if he can say and do that in anything he does, he’ll be successful.”

“It’s the same for my agents. It’s work ethic and getting through it. Based on what our family has gone through, I know you’re going to have down times, but you have to keep your head down just like a good hitter and grind it out. The outcome will then be just what you were shooting for in the first place. You’ve got to be mentally tough and push through.”

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Your Storyteller,
Mark Brodinsky