David Manganello says you won’t accomplish what you want in life being mediocre. He should know, he’s always been Above Average:
“I think the most important thing is to find out what you are passionate about and go after it. That to me is the single biggest thing to help you be successful in what you do. If you are sort of successful at something and not passionate about it, you will only be mediocre…average. And nobody strives to be average.” – David Manganello
For 50 years now David Manganello has been anything but average and it’s been anything but easy. “I’ve always worked”, says David. “I started working at 14 as a kid and I have not stopped yet, I’m now 64. I will keep going as long as it’s fun and it helps people.”
Having fun and helping people, discipline, hard work and dedication. Growing up in New York, David learned some of these traits as a kid, sitting in the stands and watching some of the best – Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra. A lifelong Yankee fan, David got to see these legends do what they love at the highest level. It might be a game, but baseball is a metaphor for all of life, and only those who beat back failure time and time again earn a spot at the top.
After only a dozen years in the Big Apple, David’s family moved to Louisiana and eventually David found his way into the furniture business. “I worked for Levitz and Lohan’s and then went into my own business”, says David. “The furniture business was great until they started manufacturing products out of the country…it was very difficult to compete with that, so after the 8th year we got rid of the company and closed down. That’s when I went into insurance.”
Time to start over, after 20 years of selling furniture and at the tender age of 41. As David quickly learned sales is sales is sales and he thrived in the health insurance business as a leader of people. Help people and you win, because they win. Just like baseball, a business is successful when the team wins, and it doesn’t hurt to have some All-Stars to lead the way. On paper it’s simple, build your team, make your plan and ride the process. But as you know we make plans and God laughs, because often there are other plans in play.
In David’s story, in the midst of his plan, halfway through his insurance career, one of God’s children came calling. Her name is Mother Nature and her angry child – Katrina.
Living in New Orleans David remembers, though he says he would like to forget: “Katrina was tough. I kind of blocked it out because it was painful, probably the hardest thing to ever come back from as a family. It brought us to our knees. When you walk out of your home and you think it’s the last time you are going to see it it’s pretty painful.”
“It’s the only storm I ever evacuated for, personally we had a lot of damage to our house. We were away from home for about 8 weeks, but it took two years to get it all back together. Worse than that the entire area was devastated for a long time. It took a toll, we couldn’t work in our business because the building we worked in was under water. The insurance schools, (where agents get licensed), closed for six months. Most of my agents didn’t have a home to come back to, so they relocated because it was easier to do business out-of-town then to try and do anything in New Orleans.”
Bit by bit, piece by piece New Orleans was rebuilt, as was David’s health insurance business. “Little by little as the insurance schools re-opened we were able to recruit some people, build the office and continued to build” says David. “There is not any situation you can’t get out of by recruiting. You are always able to get out of it if you recruit. Good people gravitate to good opportunities.”
His focus on rebuilding, just like the city of New Orleans – helped David to recover from the devastation, to come all the way back.
Just like the high-class and sturdy furniture he used to sell – David looks to build solid teams. Post Katrina, and with his current opportunity at USHEALTH Advisors, David is focusing on what he does best, helping and serving.
“When recruiting I look for work ethic”, says David. “I look for what they have done previously and what they are trying to accomplish with a new opportunity – see where they are, where they’ve been and where they want to go. I think you have to find out what inspires people and hold them accountable to it. It’s work and a lot of people don’t like to work, because they are simply trying to pay their bills and that’s hard. So I ask them – if all your bills were paid, what would you want to do for fun for you and your family? Most of them say I would like to travel. I tell them what if I show you a way to pay all your bills and then put 1/12th away each month to go on a trip? Take a picture of the place you want to go, hang it up, show it to those closest to you so they can see what you are trying to do. Then I hold them accountable to that vision, it makes work a lot more fun.”
David has his own vision and goals and though he didn’t simply wish upon a star to make his dreams come true, he did find a great deal of inspiration in the place that does… Disney World.
“My first time to Disney World was with the grand-babies Max and Sophia” (ages 2 and 3), says David. “It was a unique opportunity, it’s like the training place for the human race. Everybody treats everyone else with respect. You can learn a lot from seeing the way people treat each other there, it’s like magic. I felt just like a kid when we went. The grand-babies had a great time and I had a great time!”
A little magic can weave its way into all of our lives if we simply follow David’s belief and principles of success, including breaking bad habits: “There is a very fine line between success and failure and that very fine line is difficult to define. People who fail give you all the reasons they can’t do it, people who are successful look for different ways to get it done. Successful people can be modeled, there are certain attributes of successful people that are common denominators. You need to do those things all the time so it becomes a habit and not a chore. It’s kind of like someone suddenly having trouble swinging a bat and hitting a ball. Under stress, people revert to bad habits because it’s comfortable. You have to change and do the right things even if it’s uncomfortable. Practice does not make perfect if you practice the wrong things, only perfect practice of the right things makes perfect. You get out of it what you put into it.”
David also believes we need goals in each area of our lives, that there are four segments to happiness: spiritual, physical, emotional and financial. He says if we constantly work on those areas they can improve, you can improve in any area of your life. “You can always get better”, David says. “When you stop improving you die, stay the same or go backwards.” As he leads his team at USHEALTH Advisors he reminds them to stay dedicated. “If you are not dedicated to the highest-paying profession in the world today, then change what you are doing, or change professions. If you are passionate and stay dedicated then you never work another day in your life. I’ve been blessed to find that.”
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.