“The instant you accept responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you acquire the power to change it.”
The quote above is from Ed Mylett, an inspirational speaker and host of the Max Out Podcast. Whether or not you’ve heard of Ed, anyone who has spent any time looking up at the leader board at USHEALTH Advisors, knows the name, Thomas Max Willett, known to everyone as Max, a superstar agent and the leader of Team Maxed Out.
Just ask Max how meaningful his run at USHA has been, and he actually lists it as his number one thrill in life so far.
“So I’ve done a number of things in life as a scholar, as an athlete, and within a family setting,” says Max. “Truly though, my greatest accomplishment is developing this team, Maxed Out. It really is. I have been captains of sports teams, I’ve won state championships, et cetera, but I haven’t ever built a 200-plus person organization with this type of culture and belief and success and income and impact in the community. So that is definitely my greatest accomplishment – stepping into leadership, growing a team, scaling it, and running the number one sales team in the country.”
It’s like success on steroids. As a personal producer Max has reached $10 million in issued business, one application at a time – and that’s in less than five years time – since he’s only been contracted with USHEALTH Advisors since November of 2018. Team Maxed Out has eclipsed $130 million in production… and still growing and going strong.
Those are history-making numbers in the health insurance space and an example of what’s possible when you put your mind to something and go all-in.
“I really feel like I found my calling and passion in being a sales leader.” says Max. “I love being an inspiration to young minds to bring them in here and show them how they can be successful and change their lives as well, and just continue to run with it and push the envelope… be innovative and grow as much as possible in this industry. Because there really is so much opportunity, and even with what we’ve accomplished, I feel like we’re only scratching the surface because there’s always something more. There’s always a higher level. So it’s been exciting to do it with people that are really like-minded and hungry and passionate as well. And you’re talking about the Jason Greif’s, the Brian Fuller’s, the Parita Patel’s, the AJ Baker’s, Chad Douglas, Taraina Phillips, all the people that have helped me over the years that have really just bought in to this USHA culture.”
“And I think the saying of, you come here for the income, but you stay for the culture, I really think it’s true. I think developing the culture and the belief that people find within themselves here, within myself, within the opportunity all the way up to our leader Troy McQuagge, is just a big differentiator in other types of sales opportunities that they really are fueled by the culture. Obviously we have an amazing opportunity with the residual income here. But yeah, I really think that wherever I’m moving forward, it’s going to be as a sales leader, and obviously this is the platform to do it. So I’m just grateful to be part of it, honestly.”
Gratitude is the attitude that changes everything and Max says he is more than grateful to his parents and for his childhood as a great example of working hard to get what you want.
“My parents have shown me a vision from day one,” says Max, “of what I want to be when I grow up in terms of a family that has morals and values of love, care and respect. We never had the most money and we weren’t broke either… my parents were architects. My father was a landscape architect, my mother was an architect, and worked in commercial and residential, and they actually designed and built the home that I grew up in my whole life. An important thing they taught me was just doing right by other people because people remember how you make them feel.”
“They really taught me to work for everything I ever got. There were no handouts. We never lived above our means at all. I started working at 13 years old. I’ve never missed a season of work since that age. I started as a golf caddy and then got into hospitality. And even when I had to earn my allowance as a kid, they taught me hard work and discipline, that you’ve got to work for everything you want in this world from an early age. I really appreciate that because I think some people that get the handouts as they come up, if they come from a more affluent setting, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it might actually handicap them when they become an adult and get into the workplace.”
“I think it’s important to teach people at an early age to just work for everything you want and then all the opportunities that are out there in the world, the belief that you can be whatever you want to be, allows you to dream big. Those are lessons that stand out to me from an early age. My parents always pushed the academics. I had to do all the homework before going out to play sports. And get the homework done first, if I wanted to play with the kids in the neighborhood. So we had to take care of business in terms of the academics and had to work for every dollar we got. They taught me how to save, taught me how to do the right things, family values, the real things that are actually the most important in life. All of that came from an early age. And they’ve been married for 40 years, that is an aspiration of mine, to have a relationship that can last that long. So I’m proud of parents and I’m very grateful.”
Max says growing up he also learned some great, but hard lessons playing sports at a high-level and the pain that can come from being told you have to shut it all down. If y0u’re mentally tough enough that setback can be a setup for a comeback… and the love of competition can drive ambition.
“You got to get up when you’re going to get knocked down because it’s going to happen over and over and over, says Max. “And the ability to overcome adversity not only if you lose a game or if you lose in a season or whatever it is, it’s the grit to keep going and get back up. But it was especially tough for me, when all of a sudden I couldn’t play sports anymore. In high school I separated my shoulder. I was playing football as a safety and I tackled the receiver, hit him hard, but I was the one who suffered a third degree separation of my shoulder. I was a star athlete on the team, and I’m out for the year. And that was right in the beginning of the season. It was a huge blow to my team. It was a huge blow to my mental state.”
“I suffered some depression because of it. I was only 16, at a very impressionable age where I felt like the thing I’m most passionate about, that I love in life was taken from me. And that could have been a time I chose to get with the wrong crowd or let my life go down the tubes. But I didn’t. I was in the physical therapy clinic getting better, cheering for my team on the sidelines in a sling, the whole season. And that really gave me the fuel to get back in there for the following football and basketball season. Play hard and play well. So I think some of the adversity I faced in athletics actually created some of the resilience that has helped me get to where I’m at within this career.”
To be resilient is, despite adversity, to live a life of power and freedom. At a young age Max felt that feeling on and off the football field, but even in the success he has had at USHA, he has too felt the sting of sacrifice, since hard work… is HARD work… and there can be a price to pay for success. While years ago the football injury brought about physical pain and Max had to develop mental toughness to get him through… in all vulnerability the business success has brought with it some serious challenges as well, which require emotional resilience to get to the other side.
“Another thing that was the biggest setback of my life, is my separation and divorce,” says Max. “And that inevitably came from the level of sacrifice that I gave to this career opportunity. It was ten years of my life that I was with someone, married for four, we got married at the same time I started this career pretty much, and I got divorced in 2022.”
“I was so into what I was doing here that I wasn’t as engaged in my family life as I maybe should have been or could have been. And I can look in the mirror and grow and learn from that. Divorce is always a two-way street, but that loss, that hardship, that emotional pain, and financial pain was something I had to fight through. And this opportunity with USHA gave me a great way to handle it, to become stronger from it. It gave me a purpose to show up every day for my agents and have a why and have something I’m passionate about, to fight through those hard times and help pass the time as well.”
As Max has learned, time can help heal the wounds, physical and emotional. The healing creates scars that others can learn from, if you are willing to share.
“I learned a lot in the process that I pay forward to others that are in relationships within my organization, or they have a spouse on the outside and their husband or wife is working and basically living here 70-hours a week. And now with what I’ve been through, I can really help that agent or that spouse at home on how to feel the right way and have the balance that maybe I lacked. Take some of my failures as ways to help educate others on how to be successful with having a work-life balance in this career. And that is something that I’m always open to speaking about and sharing about. I’m very open to being vulnerable. I’m the first person to say, even if you and I are having a conversation, and I said something wrong or reacted instead of responded, I’m the first one to look in the mirror and say, my bad. I did it wrong. Let me apologize and let me learn from this and do it better.”
We learn from the success and following in the footsteps of those who perform at the highest level, but we also learn from their failures, which are some of the greatest life teachers. It’s an honor to help others avoid the potholes and pitfalls that you once fell victim to, the ones that cost you time, money or more. Max says has some advice for a new agent, for despite his stratospheric success, he also knows what not to do when you are getting started in this type of business.
To put it bluntly, Max says you can’t half-ass it.
“Really in the beginning I did what I wouldn’t even allow a recruit to do now,” says Max. “And that is try and do two things at once. When I came here I had been working in the hospitality industry. I was coming in to the Tampa office at 8:00 AM, hitting the dialer all day and then leaving at four or five o’clock, changing in my car, in traffic, on the way to the restaurant and working in the restaurant till one in the morning. And that’s what I did for two, or three months. But then I started to really feel the culture at USHA and see the income opportunity here and see what was going on around me. And within probably about 60 days, maybe a little bit longer, I was one-hundred percent out of the restaurant, and 110% into USHEALTH Advisors. That’s when the switch flipped and I went back to the thought process that I am going to be all-in on this… just like I have done with anything I truly care about.”
It’s a heart-felt conviction to go after what you want and how you want to inspire others. Max say he wants everyone to know it’s his true desire to see others succeed, to experience the life of choices and freedom.
“It’s your ability to take the success you’ve made and help other people change their lives and maximize their full potential,” says Max. “It’s to open people’s eyes to what they can do and take my experiences of the limited mindset of the bartender, or whatever I did in the past, and break out of this box that we live in and challenge yourself and have the growth mindset. It’s taking the success that you’ve created as an individual and paying that forward to others to help them change their lives. If you’re not helping other people, you can have all the money in the world. It doesn’t hug you back.”
“It’s a very special feeling here. I’ve developed a family within USHEALTH, within Maxed Out, within this opportunity we’ve created. So what I would want to be remembered by is inspiring people to be the best version of themselves. Showing them the recipe on how to be successful, how to change their lives, grow their mindset and how to maximize their potential. That is what I’m about. That is what I exude. I did a speaking event recently and the biggest takeaway isn’t just what I said, it was my energy. It was my attraction ability based on my delivery, my articulation, yes, the substance behind what I said, but just the energy I was exuding to others and the inspiration and that they wanted to go lock in on and be the best that they could be because of how I made them feel.”
Like Max’s parents taught him it’s all about how you make other people feel.
“Dream bigger. People think, “I want to be a millionaire. I want to be a millionaire.” How many people think they would’ve made it if they were a millionaire? And then you get to be a millionaire and you just say, “Wow, wow. I’m on the second step and there’s a hundred steps in the world and I have so many levels I can go.”You should continue to have that growth mindset, to stay hungry, never be complacent and always know that there are more people you can help. There’s more of an opportunity that you can create and more abundance you can create – that’s the mindset I want people to operate in.”
“It’s just never sitting back and collecting. It’s always being hungry and always pushing forward and always being innovative. And to me, that next challenge and that next win is what drives me. I cannot sit back, even when I retire and collect. I just can’t do it. That’s just not how I’m wired. So always, I’m very grateful for all of the successes and wins and achievements along the way, but I’m always hungry for the next one.”
There’s always more to give, more people to help, no end in sight, until somehow, someday you’ve Maxed Out.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.