We believe that we are all born with the feeling that we are special, having something inside us that makes us want to do extraordinary things. We want the world to look at us and say that we are somebody great. Somehow, over time, most of us let the world suppress those feelings, and we succumb to a life of monotony and ordinariness, settling for less than what we really believe we are worth. Many learn to make excuses to justify and rationalize their situation. Many blame their circumstances, our parents, teachers, bosses, spouses, children, and society as to why they are not who they think they should be and deserve to be. Sadly, so many people then just give up and settle.
What is living an extraordinary life? We think it is being free to do exciting things and go to interesting places, having access to what you most desire. It is becoming a person that many other people may view as special and is something that many fantasize about, but few actually attain. Turning your dreams into a reality takes discipline, focus, commitment and long-term thinking. Many people decide this is just way too difficult to attempt. What most people fail to realize is that living a life of mediocrity and regret is a much higher price to pay in the long-run than going for your dreams. Pursuing your goals and dreams with all of the opportunities and challenges, resulting in great victories and even daunting defeats, is a life definitely worth choosing, and it is this choice that separates someone from the masses of humanity living small, unfulfilled lives. A life of discipline, focus and commitment is the most exciting, fulfilling and gratifying life of all.
Surveys of the elderly reveal that if most of them could do one thing differently in their lives, it would be that they would have taken most risks, tried more things, and have simply gone for it more. This is a regret that people who pursue their dreams with an unrelenting focus never have.
We think of so many of the friends and business associates at HBW who made the decision to step out from the crowds and seek the opportunity to become a person of influence and somebody special. Many of these people came from backgrounds that would in no way indicate that they would have the chance to lead extraordinary lives. For example, we think of our close friends, Tom and Vickie Paley, who today live a life that would not have been likely given their adverse circumstances starting out. Today, Tom and Vickie are able to help take care of family and friends financially, support their church and charities that are important to them, while also travelling the world where and when they want, as well as owning homes in two different states and living an unusual life of freedom and success.
Considering Tom was born in south Texas in abject poverty, barely knowing his father, raised by an aunt and grandfather and didn’t even speak English until he started kindergarten (Spanish was his first language), it is important to understand how this happened. Tom is smart, has a great attitude and is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. Tom is a big man, physically and personality wise; he does not accept fear as a reason to give up. He knows that it is extremely difficult to succeed, but he also knows how bad it is to live in poverty and so he refuses to let adversity prevent him from achieving his goals. Tom, like so many people we know, embraces challenges in order to live life on his terms, free to be, go and do what he wants, when he wants. Tom credits HBW as a vehicle that has helped him accomplish many of the dreams that he has had for his family and for his life. We credit Tom’s heart, guts and incredible mind for his success. Here's a video featuring Tom on investing.
Ron Dortch from Richmond, Virginia, is another HBW hero and is an extraordinary man. Unlike Tom Paley, Ron is smaller in stature—but like Tom, he is long in heart, guts and brains. In one period of his life, Ron was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live, while at the same time his wife, Charlene, had just been laid off from her job and was seven months pregnant. Ron, not caring what the doctor’s opinion was or how great the present adversity, decided he was going to not just survive but that he would thrive. He has become one of the top agency builders and producers at HBW, earning a high six figure annual income for many years. He now enjoys good health, has total financial independence, a great family life, travels where he pleases and leads a rich, rewarding and successful life. Ron’s never expected anything to be easy, and he loves and embraces his work with an extreme discipline about how he runs his life.
All this would be less important if it were not for the fact that what we do for our clients at HBW is so important and life changing for them as well. There are lots of ways of making money that may not necessarily be in the best interest of other people. You could sell products that are mediocre, or somewhat of a scam, just to make a few dollars. Our products and services at HBW are among the most world class and are often unbelievably important to the lives of the clients we serve.
As an example of this, the following is a true story and one of the hundreds that we could tell about the difference we have made in the lives of our clients. One of our associates grew up in the projects in Chicago and worked like crazy to make it out and become successful in our industry. He had a friend, a young man in his thirties, still living and working in the old neighborhood as a barber. This man had a wife and three children and was making approximately $50,000 a year. Our agent, caring about this family, pursued that barber for two years before he finally convinced him to buy a low-cost term policy from one of our many fine carriers. This term policy was for $500,000 and was one of the lowest cost term policies on the market. The policy was sold and put in force in the month of January and sadly, this young barber, husband and father of three small children, tragically died in a car accident in March of that same year. There is a two year contestability period, so on a policy put in force so recently compared to the death, the insurance company has to do an investigation. After their investigation concluded, the carrier delivered a check to the widow in May for $506,000, actually paying her interest on the money during the time of their investigation.
This widow, who did not work outside the home and lost her husband and family breadwinner, had been further frightened by family and friends that the insurance company would not pay and had been filled with doubt as a result of her plight. Due to our agent’s diligent and persistent efforts this widow and mother’s world was greatly benefited.
Stories like these are repeated constantly in our Company and our industry by people having a dramatic positive influence on the lives of families. Whether it is low cost, high quality term life insurance products, wealth transfer policies for wealthy and older people, savings and investment vehicles that most average folks have difficulty acquiring, help with debt restructuring, living trusts and the many other important and necessary financial products, HBW has what people need. This is not theory or pie-in-the-sky stuff that may or may not make a real difference. We change people’s lives in a dramatic positive way; and we can rest well, knowing we make a huge difference in so many families’ lives.
In an effort to familiarize you with what kind of people a Company like HBW attracts, we would like to introduce you to more of our wonderful associates in the following few pages:
Jeff and Denise Crawford are living examples of what hard work, commitment, patience, kindness and teamwork are all about. Jeff has become the highest paid leader and producer at HBW as a result of all the aforementioned attributes, among many others. One of the things we at HBW most appreciate about Jeff is his consistent graciousness and gentleness to everyone with whom he associates. Jeff is a genuine example of doing everything in the clients’ and his associates’ best interest, always placing their concerns ahead of his own, which is a direct result of why he is so successful. Jeff’s motto is that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” We think that it is this attitude that attracts great clients and advisors to Jeff, because they really know how much he genuinely cares.
Jeff and Denise have seen many of their dreams become reality and have been able to do so much to help others in their lives accomplish amazing things. Lots of us have had the pleasure of traveling to many wonderful places and enjoyed amazing experiences with these two wonderful people, people who have become dear, close friends and HBW is the better for this association. It is such a personal joy to also see the close relationships that many of us have developed, as well as how so many of the spouses of our top people are not just partners with their spouses but also have meaningful relationships to the other spouses and Partners at HBW.
Jeff was successful prior to joining HBW Partners but his success has been significantly enhanced with us. We are flattered that we are often given credit for these types of success, but perhaps our greatest attribute in supporting Jeff is recognizing and appreciating that being extremely good natured and loving are qualities to be treasured. Jeff represents the values that we seek in advisors, associates and friends!
Another couple, Lou and Sandra Vaz, have been friends and associates for nearly two decades. Lou, another top producer and leader, is a Partner that shares the values we hold so dearly. Unfailingly kind, generous, self-effacing, patient and adored by his clients, advisors and home office staff alike, this association is precious to HBW and us, personally.
In addition to being a tremendous producer and leader, Lou has generously made himself available to producers all across the country to help them grow and improve in their businesses at no gain to himself. Seldom do you meet someone who no one says a cross word about, or whom never says anything negative about someone else. From our first business sponsored trip together 20 some years ago to the Island of Kauai, with Lou, Sandra and their son Colin, Lou has become one of my closest friends and associates. Lou is someone we count on regularly for guidance, support and leadership in helping our business proliferate.
Our shared values and experiences make working with Lou an absolute pleasure and honor. Lou is another person who had success before HBW. His achievements were significantly amplified after joining the team, which is gratifying, both corporately and more so, personally. While we would love to take credit, it is his warm, extremely likable and generous spirit that attracts success and even more, all the other great things that life offers--deep friendship and love.
Bill and Ellen Orchard-Hays are top leaders, agency builders and producers at HBW. What remains unceasingly fascinating to me is how we have been so blessed to form relationships with people like the Orchard-Hays’s. For example, Bonnie Hellenbrand and Ellen have an extremely close and loving relationship, both of these ladies remarkably sweet and adorable, and that Bill is a man of extreme integrity, competence and commitment who cares deeply about people in general and his clients and team specifically. Bill is one of our most valued and trusted advisors and friends, someone we count on for his leadership. Interestingly, Bill is one of those high caliber people that makes everyone around him better, just because of the man he is.
Bill and Ellen are another great partnership, working together to build a business and life of their dreams. Having had limited success prior to joining HBW, Bill has had explosive growth with us. He thinks it is because of the support we give. I know it’s because of the man that he is and the simple fact that he is appreciated and respected by us. While everyone, in spite of success, faces challenges in life, Bill and Ellen have a tremendous faith that allows them to handle the vicissitudes of life with grace and maturity.
Rick Harbus is one of the brightest, most decent, caring people in our industry. Regardless of circumstance you will never hear Rick complain, make excuses, blame anyone else or even slightly lose his cool. Rick is a complete professional who places the needs of his clients above all else, but he is an absolute pleasure to be in business with and our staff willingly bend over backwards for him. We am certain that his clients and associates feel exactly the same way.
Having been very successful prior to joining HBW, Rick’s success has been enhanced we believe by the strength of the relationships that he has developed here and how supported he feels. The truth is that he makes doing business easier because of the person he is and the values we share. One of the greatest aspects of this gentleman is his absolute willingness to help and support any HBW associate who seeks him out. This is a common trait among our top people and Rick exemplifies this great team spirit.
Because of his ethic and commitment, Rick has been able to provide a lifestyle for himself, his lovely wife, Tania, their five beautiful daughters and one son that is to be admired and aspired toward. Needless to say, that it is an absolute pleasure to be in business and have a friend like Rick Harbus.
Kevin and Ruth Imhoff are another example of the caliber of people that HBW attracts. They are an extreme case of great focus, commitment, caring and the constant pursuit of knowledge in order to build a world class business. Kevin understands the value of partnership and teamwork and takes a detailed approach to every client and advisor interaction he is involved with, leaving nothing to chance, as Raymond Berry always stresses. This high level focused approach to planning and training has given Kevin and Ruth the opportunity to build a life and a business of their dreams. Never satisfied, Kevin and Ruth are enthusiastic about relentlessly working to continually do more to help the people they serve and the family and friends they cherish.
Kevin is another of our advisors who was successful before joining HBW and who is experiencing greater success and personal freedom as a result of his desire to be part of a team that cares about him as much as he cares about them.
One of the marks of a great family is the children they produce. The Imhoffs’ are thrilled that their son, Jamison Imhoff, is now an advisor with HBW, and we are very proud to have him with us. Kevin and Ruth have become close, personal friends and it is an absolute pleasure to be in business with another family who cares more about the people they serve than themselves, making them even more successful.
Dave and Becky Veltkamp are the type of people you can bet your life on. If Dave says something, you feel like you can take it to the bank. Smart, committed and caring, Dave is the consummate teammate and Becky is the anchor that makes this couple so special. They emanate joy, kindness, caring and friendship and you immediately feel close to and trust them, without question. The reason they are so successful, in our opinion, is because they are exactly as advertised. There is no guile or agenda; they are just great people building a life and a business that they can be proud of. They are another example of true professionals.
As someone extremely concerned with health and fitness, Dave is one of our heroes for his commitment to personal health. Dave is definitely a one percenter when it comes to fitness and is an inspiration for us to continue to push ourselves in this area. The Veltkamps are another couple who are so easy to work with and such a pleasure because of their great values and character. These are the type of people that firms like ours and the clients they serve are genuinely privileged to know.
John and Cheryl Ehler are so genuinely sweet and kind that you might almost take them for granted. All John does is show up for work every day; solve people’s financial issues, love each other, their clients, their associates and never cause anyone a moment of distress or concern. This is all while making a lot of money in the process as one of our very top producers. John and Cheryl have formed close personal attachments to us at the home office, as well as many of our other top leaders. It is an honor to have John and Cheryl as HBW Partners in our business, and they set a wonderful example of how people with great values and integrity should act in business and in life.
It is our observation that John is another amazing person who doesn’t have an ounce of meanness or any agenda in his makeup. We have never heard a word of criticism from John or about him. Lastly, we would deem someone extremely fortunate to have John as an advisor and John and Cheryl as friends, and the Hellenbrands are very grateful to have them in our lives.
Bulent Erol is another wonderful HBW success story. Originally joining HBW several years ago, Bulent was first recruited to HBW by someone from a long distance, and he struggled to get a handle on the business with little support from his then recruiter. Deciding to eventually leave HBW in search of more support and a better opportunity, Bulent ended up at one of the big wire houses where he continued to have challenges.
Because Bulent is extremely determined and very intelligent, he reconnected with the HBW home office to work with people he knew were committed to helping him. We brought Bulent together with Lou Vaz, as Lou is a tremendous leader and this would afford Bulent a local mentor. Within a matter of a few months with Lou’s guidance and support, as well as Bulent’s great attitude and intellect, Bulent saw his income explode well up into the six figures and qualified as a Partner at HBW. Because of his success, Bulent and his talented wife Brooke are experiencing a lifestyle that they always hoped for and believed they could achieve. Having been elsewhere and returning to HBW gives them a greater perspective on how important business and personal associations are to becoming a success.
We are so proud to be in business with Bulent and Brooke because they bring such a loving attitude to everyone they meet and have a great commitment to their clients and associates. Having people like this at HBW is a pleasure and honor.
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