Having failed at MLM is not your fault. Hopefully, having read the first article in this series you now agree with me on that one, but I want to take a step back and broaden that a little and let you know that failing at something is a good thing. Woah, what did I just say? Failing at something is a good thing. Let’s unpack that for a moment or two and see whether I can undo all that negative programming you have been subjected to.
Failing does not make you a failure, all it does is show you an area in your life that you have not yet achieved full competence. That’s all. Nothing more.
Basically it is the Universe’s way of saying, ‘still got a little work to do before you get on top of this one’. In fact, if not for the failures you have had in life, you would never learn anything.
That might sound a little harsh, but it’s true and I’ll prove it to you. Think of something you do well. It might be driving a car, or maybe you’re a public speaker or a brilliant typist. Or it may be something totally different, but I want it to be something you are very good at. Go on, its not bragging, I’m asking you to THINK about it. Think about that skill you have for a moment or two, then answer this question for me…As you exercise that skill do you learn anything? Chances are you either said no straight away, or if you are a perfectionist you might have thought of one or two little things that have, for example improved you ability only the slightest bit. But in the main, the answer is no.
For example, if you are an experienced driver do you even consciously think about what you are doing when you get behind the wheel? If you are a brilliant typist, do you stop and think about where the letters are? No, of course not. So it follows if you only do those things you are good at, you won’t learn anything much at all.
Now, put the shoe on the other foot. Think of something you are not very good at? Say, for example you have just taken up golf (you foolish person ) and you want to improve your game, and if you’ve got no intentions of improving your game, why did you take it up in the first place? Anyway, back to my point. To improve your ability you will probably take lessons, you’ll practice your new skills, making small adjustments when things don’t quite as you had planned and over a period of time you will get better at what you are doing. And in the process you will do a lot of learning.
In fact, you will be using those same skills you exercised when, for example, you learned to walk. No baby just gets up and walks. There is a process all babies go through as they learn to walk, which includes lots of failing. But, and here is a major point you need to burn into your mind, BY USING THE KNOWLEDGE YOU GAIN FROM YOUR FAILURES AND MAKING APPROPRIATE ADJUSTMENTS TO COMPENSATE in a very short period of time you learned a very difficult skill of balance and co-ordination. Just to emphasize the point, let me tell you what did not happen when you first failed at your attempts to walk. You DID NOT crawl across in the corner, hang your head in shame and say to yourself. I failed, I’m a miserable failure, I’ll never walk. Nope, you hadn’t learned that trick yet.
Okay, so I’ll say again the fact that you failed at MLM is a good thing. The only question that is left then, is have you taken the opportunity to learn the ‘POSITIVE’ lessons that can come from that? I don’t need to ask if you’ve taken the negative reinforcement on board. That pretty much goes without saying. But have you learned anything new out of your experience? Well its about time you did! Let me give you a number of things I learned from my experience in MLM and see whether you can relate to any of these.
I learned that life often gets in the way
When I first joined an MLM company in the early seventies, (that’s 1970s not when I was in my 70s just in case you were wondering) I had some success, particularly in selling the products. Wasn’t real flash on the sponsoring, which limited my ability to reach the heights of those I saw each week at the meetings I attended religiously. Now these were the people who, in the main, had got in on the ground floor when things were new and fresh. Most of them, had businesses they could leave to be run by their employees while they focused on building their MLM. When the time was right they either sold off their businesses at a huge profit or put someone they trusted in charge of it and went full time into MLM.
Now, I do not begrudge them having what they had in any way. What I want to do here is show the difference between those who were held up as the people all of us wanted to be like and the reality of my own situation.
At that time I was working full time, I had just moved out of home and was engaged to be married. All of those things, quite rightly took my time and my focus in other directions than my MLM business. I was, at best, inconsistent in my efforts. Customers were left wanting, I wasn’t well organised with my paperwork I made promises I couldn’t keep etc. etc. All because I was totally unrealistic in my expectations. There was no way I could live the kind of life all those ‘successful’ people had. I just didn’t have the wherewithall or the backing. More importantly, I had not developed the mindset of a millionaire. You see, and this one thing that was sadly lacking was any real training on how to get from where I was to where they were. Oh, there were the prosperity books and the affirmations and the “fake it till you make it” attitude. I was able to subscribe to all that stuff intellectually, but I wasn’t able to experience it in my heart. And there is a huge difference between the two.
I learned that people do things for their own reasons, not other peoples. My second experience with MLM happened a little more than a decade later. At the time I was living in a country town. I had been accepted into training for Christian ministry the following year and I knew that money would be pretty tight for me and my family (at this stage we had one five year old and a baby less than twelve months old)
There was a fairly committed MLM person who was a member of the congregation I was involved with. We got chatting one day and long story short, I signed up. (same company I had been in 14 years earlier) We came to an arrangement where I could take over those customers she had who were also members of the church which I did and we would work together to sign up some distributors with a “this is a practical way you can support me in my training for ministry” approach. Well, the strategy worked. In the four months I had before I left to move back to the city to take up my studies I signed six distributors. (not great in the overall scheme of things, but far better than I had done previously) I went off to theological college rejoicing.
The money trickled in for about the first six months, then dried up completely. I went back to the town and followed people up and the bottom line was, because I wasn’t there revving them up their ‘enthusiasm’ waned to the point of non existence. Without fail they all told a similar story. The people they approached either to sign up as a distributor or to buy the products were not motivated by the fact that by purchasing this product you will be supporting this friend who is training to be a Christian minister. You see, I had not provided them with a system they could duplicate with any real authority. The people I has sponsored had come on board to support me because they knew me well and wanted to help us out. This was the vehicle I had suggested was the best way to do that. But when they tried to follow my example they fell flat and became quickly dissillusioned.
As to my efforts in the city, I learned very quickly city people are way less friendly and much more sceptical than their country cousins. I failed again.
I learned that trying to be someone you are not doesn’t work…
One of the things scepticism does is put you on alert. It’s as if all your senses (including the ones we don’t normally acknowledge) are on edge. That means people can pick up in an instant whether or not you are being genuine. I have learned in the past few years that I am of the personality which values integrity extremely highly. I really struggle trying to be something or someone I am not (except when I acting on stage, but that’s not what I am talking about here.) That makes me very easy to read, particularly by people whose defences are up and their senses heightened. On the other hand, when I’m in a situation where I feel comfortable people often express how it’s hard for them to know what I’m feeling unless I verbalise it.
So, a valuable lesson I have learned is ‘be myself’. I think the world would be a better place if we all learned to “be yourself” You are okay just as you are in fact who you are is your gift to the world. If that idea makes you cringe, then, my friend you have some significant work to do and I as a start I invite you to visit one of my other sites entitled “so the world can live as one.com, particular the section entitled “I know I’m not the only one” The website details are in your worksheet for this module.
Okay, the fifth lesson I have learned in a round about way is
People are not rejecting you, they are simply not interested in what you are offering.
I have always had real problems with rejection, probably always will. Without going into the gory details, my mother rejected me while I was still in the womb. The reason was that she had already lost two babies due to the Rhesus incompatability factor that was still an issue at the time. Her coping mechanism was to distance herself from me so she wouldn’t be as devastated when (not if, but when) I was taken from her. That distancing got even more pronounced when I became critically ill at age three with a kidney condition.
So, when people say no to me, it hurts, big time. Simple solution I think to myself. Never put yourself in a situation where people can say no. Have you ever tried that? Doesn’t work, not unless you have become a total recluse and that’s nigh on impossible (although come to think of it, I’m about 70% of the way there.)
Now, as with my earlier lesson I have been able to subscribe to this whole thing intellectually, but I struggled with it emotionally until somebody said to me, “put the shoe on the other foot’ Think of those times when you have said no to something someone has offered you. Did the person making the offer come into your consideration at all? When you said no were you rejecting that person or were you saying no to the offer they made. Okay, so why should other people saying no to you be any different? That helped me put the whole rejection thing into a new perspective. I still don’t cold call people, but then I don’t have to because there are so many other ways in which I can get people to come to me…
At the end of the day there is really only one thing I would like you to gain out of this article and that is: Every experience is a learning opportunity. Make the most of those opportunities and move on to bigger and better things. No doubt you’ve heard the saying ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Well your experience with MLM hasn’t killed you. Whether or not you are a stronger, wiser person because of you experience will very much depend on whether you made the most of those lessons that were there for the learning.