As we progress towards the Easter season, my thoughts turn to the Last Supper. The accounts of that event describe Jesus telling the 12 apostles, “One of you will betray me.”
With one exception, the 12 immediately asked, “Is it I?”
As I caught hold of this idea, my thoughts turned to my new profession, network marketing. I rep a company that has as much going for it as any, and yet casual observation would cause one to believe there might be a problem.
Less than 3% of our active distributors generate enough regular, residual income to provide for their needs without supplementation from regular outside employment or other sources of income. And that result actually compares very favorably with other companies in the industry to the best of my ability to observe.
Failure hurts. One of my friends and team members told me by email recently that he was reassessing his professional life while licking the wounds he suffered in network marketing (at least two companies).
This experience gave me a chance to practice the Law of Least Effort. That law, from Deepak Chopra’s 7 Spiritual Laws of Success, recommends we practice accepting things, people and situations just as they are in the moment, practice taking responsibility for any part we may have played in creating any situation or circumstance, and practice defenselessness by abstaining from any need to defend ourselves, our actions or our point of view.
Now, to the question: Is it I? Is it my fault my team member failed? I have to answer, “No,” without defensive emotion, because others of our team are succeeding very nicely. My friend has had access all along to the same mentoring and training as the successful.
Is it the company? Did it fail my friend? I mentioned Wallace Wattles last week, and I’ll refer to him again now. In The Science of Getting Rich, Wattles correctly observes that people in almost every community are getting rich in almost every industry, trade, profession and occupation, while others are miserably failing, right alongside them. Since others are succeeding in my company, including me, it’s obviously not the company’s fault, either.
What about the network marketing industry? Is it a colossal, monumental, predatory failure as many claim? Don’t think so. First, surveys show that a significant portion of network marketers are very pleased with their experience, regardless of their level of monetary performance. Second, failure rates in business in general are high. When I practiced law, I recall to have read that 90% of businesses fail in their 1st 5 years, and 90% of those that survive fail in the next 5 years. That’s about a 99% failure rate within the 1st 10 years. My company’s version of network marketing fares pretty well by comparison, with a success rate of over 2%.
Whence lies the problem then? Mark J and Go90Grow fans know one possible answer: skills. Eric Worre fans and Big Al fans know the same thing. People who succeed at anything generally have skills that those who fail don’t. Did my friend acquire the skills? Perhaps not. Or, like I used to do, maybe he simply didn’t use them.
In addition, I think there’s something more basic at work here. If better than 95% of business attempts fail, no matter the industry, there must be a human nature issue present. Haanel, in Masterkey System paragraph 23-9, offers some insight. He says,
“The average person is entirely innocent of any deep thinking; he accepts the ideas of others, and repeats them, in very much the same way as a parrot; … and this docile attitude on the part of a large majority who seem perfectly willing to let a few persons do all their thinking for them is what enables a few men in a many countries to usurp all the avenues of power and hold the millions in subjection.”
If Haanel is correct, and I believe he is, business failure is the natural consequence of shallow, dependent thinking. I saw this in myself until recent changes from the MKE, the MasterKey Experience.
Haanel points out in paragraph 23-8 that Morgan, Rockefeller, Carnegie and others, because of their depth and independence of thought, became, for their time, “the wealthiest men in the wealthiest country on the globe.” How? Because they each made money for a great many people.
With my newly acquired thinking skills, I could see the accuracy of Haanel’s analysis. Carnegie, for example, made money for suppliers of capital, materials suppliers, laborers, managers, customers and governments. He did so by consistently giving them all more in “value” than what they gave him in exchange. This required significant insight, that which only comes from deep, accurate thought. Significantly, Carnegie did not keep all the resulting wealth for himself, but funded museums, colleges and other institutions. Thus, society also received more in “value” than it gave Carnegie. Every successful businessman in free society follows the same general pattern.
Back to myself as a contrasting example. Until now, I had not thought through the needs of the various stakeholders in my business. Fortunately, the “micro-franchise” system of network marketing already did much of the thinking for me. Shareholders are being rewarded with significant profits. Managers are earning nice salaries. Employees seem relatively easy to attract and employ. Distributors, over time, earn checks commensurate with their efforts. Customers continue to buy products because their “use value” exceeds the price, in many cases by a significant margin. The company initiates ongoing “give back,” charity or legacy efforts in the community, open to distributor financial and time participation.
That reassuring foundation, however, did not save my friend his pain. There must be some other area of thought or belief which holds an opportunity for improvement. I believe the most likely area is beliefs about power.
I have observed that the vast majority of people only use “positional” power. Very few use real, “personal” power. Positional power is derived from a position, role, attribute, skill or talent. I have a great memory, and I used to draw lots of positional power from that advantage. For example, a great memory gives me access to a good vocabulary and many facts. I drew significant self-esteem from that, especially in comparison to others. You can easily see examples of positional power in your own life. Your parent probably said more than once, “Because I said so.”
Personal power, in contrast, is a sense of one’s innate value. With that sense, I was able to reassure another team member recently that the most significant thing he brings to a business interaction is himself. After all, we, the essence of “I” within, endure, and our relationships endure. Homes, businesses, countries and, ultimately, even planets, are temporary. When we understand our own native value, we stand on the threshold of personal power.
That brings me back to Easter. We celebrate then the Atonement and resurrection of Christ. Jesus, the archetypical hero, faced overwhelming adversity, sacrificed himself in the abyss of the Atonement, and, with life in himself, came forth from the tomb the 3rd day resurrected into newness of life. As mentioned two posts previously, He offers a new life to us on terms of faith, repentance and obedience.
And, in essence, The Lord asks me, every day, if I will betray myself by denying my personal power. Fortunately, He also offers me grace to help me hold on my way through the adversity and abyss of my own “Hero’s Journey.” Almost every day now I see another facet of my new life manifesting, which gives me greater power to serve and offers me more to give.
Will that close the gap between me and the highest achievers in my company? I don’t know. I do know that each day I better control my thoughts and my emotions. My wife is happier, my children are happier, and I’m happier. Empathy expands and love deepens. Joy abounds. I feel very blessed as I celebrate each magical day, and I intend to bless as many others as my time and days allow.
I’m glad you’re with me on the journey.by