Tuesday, December 12

Assessing Your Situation Without All The Hype.

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I believe that MLM is the most equitable structure for distribution of products/services that currently exists in the capitalist ecomony.  Essentially, it’s the best system for doing what it does at this point in time.

Now, I know it has its critics and I know it has not lived up to the expectations that were touted in the heady early days, but I stand by my belief mainly because it gives the average Joe, (with or without the ‘e’) an opportunity for a slice of the big pie that might not otherwise be available.

But having had experiences in the past that you would rather not repeat in the future, I suggest that a solid appraisal of three things. We’ll look at them in turn :

  1. your current situation, without the rose colored glasses. Your current situation includes, but is not limited to (1) Your discretionary income. I don’t need to tell you that life costs. There are the basic necessities of life that are just part of the fact that in order to live you need to consume. (I won’t go off on a tangent about when consumerism turns to greed)
    Putting food in your stomach, a roof over your head and clothes on your body all cost money. In order to determine your discretionary income, simply total the costs of those essential items and deduct them from the income you receive for your family unit (which for the purposes of this exercise is a group of people who combine their income and expenditure into one common pool.) Now if you need a little help with just what to include a simple guide can be found at www.ineedabudget.info. It is free to use and if your currency is not pounds sterling, simply use the program to calculate the figures for whatever your country’s currency happens to be.

    Bottom line, whatever is left after allowing for all your commitments is your discretionary income. That is the amount of money you have freely available to you. What you do with it is your choice. (Again, not the place, but I choose to put some of that into a savings plan in case I find something in the future I would really like to buy.) But that’s all you have to work with. In our household we have simplified things. Each member of the family unit gets $50 per week from the pooled income to do with as they please. There is no accountability for that money, we can each spend it as we see fit. Easy.  And it saves any conflict when interests differ. In our situation $50 is an agreed amount, enough to be able to do something with if that is your choice, but not so much you can just throw it around without any consideration.

    So, once you have the amount of discretionary income you have available per week, month whatever, you can decide what you plan to do with it. Again, in my situation, I choose to put half of my $200 per month towards developing my internet presence and with a little research and careful selection I have four websites up and running. I also use part of that money to purchase resources etc. But then, each situation is different and you situation will be different from mine. But the bottom line is only use your discretionary income for any little ventures you might consider in the future. Don’t, for example, put yourself in danger of losing your home, because you just might.

    What really annoys me is the audacity of these self proclaimed gurus to question my commitment because I choose not to buy their extremely overpriced product. “If you truly wanted the success my program will provide for you, you’ll do whatever it takes to find the $2000 to purchase this program. If you’re not prepared to do that, you’re a loser.”

 Well, excuse me, but no thanks. I find you extremely arrogant and I choose not to work with you or have any part of the so-called success you are offering, particularly if in order to achieve that success, I have to become as obnoxious a person as you present yourself to be.”

(2) Discretionary Time. As with your finances, there are time commitments you have in order to lead the life you currently do. Its not just about the amount of time you spend working, its also about maintaining the relationships you have or developing the relationships you deem to be worth the effort. Now, for me, personally, I shudder at the concept of “quality time”. I see it as a justification for not giving your relationships what they need in order to be strong. I don’t believe there is anything to match just spending time with the significant others in your life, making yourself available to them. But that’s another topic for another time. The point here is you need to calculate the amount of time that is available for you to do with what you want. Time for which you are not accountable. In my own situation I am very fortunate to have a great deal of discretionary time available to me, about eight hours a day. I choose to spend that time, mainly working on material to place on my websites. In a sense it is work and I have disciplined myself to put most of that time into that pursuit. But I do it because I choose to and that makes all the difference. I wake up looking forward to the day that is before me. Not just occasionally, but every day. And for that I am truly grateful. Again, your situation will be different from mine, but the principal still applies. You need to be realistic in your allocation of time. It’s better to overestimate your other time commitments and that way,underestimate your discretionary time, so that if you do find yourself with more free time available than you expected, its a bonus.

Next phase in your self appraisal is

(b) an honest assessment and acceptance of your strengths and weaknesses (based on what has happened in the past) Okay, how well do you know yourself? How much time do you spend in reflection (which is quite different from wallowing in self pity) How often do you meditate, or spend time in quiet contemplation? It may well be that all these concepts are quite foreign to you. It’s not an issue. I’m just using those ideas as a lead in to what I’m about to say.

Basically, your success in life is directly related to focusing on what you do well and getting help for all the other stuff. It follows then, that in order to be successful, you need to know what it is you do well.
Chances are you do extremely well in the things you enjoy doing. The two go hand in hand The reason why you’re good at the things you do is because you enjoy doing them. The reason why you enjoy doing the things you do is because you are good at them. Makes real sense to me.

But, my friend,  there things at which you suck. Things that you do not do well. We all have them. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, or embarrassed about. That’s life. A problem arises, however, when you refuse to acknowledge your limitations.

I’m not talking about skill levels. I’m talking about who you are as a person. Let me explain what I mean. “Most of us have a rather large wardrobe of clothing. Some clothes we wear to the workplace, others we wear as we putter around the garden or change the oil in our cars. We wear one type of clothing to go swimming and something completely different to go to a wedding. Regardless of what we choose to put on, the clothes are fulfilling a function – a role, if you will. Their role is to help us fit in with others, work more efficiently, or simply clothe our nakedness. However, they often hide our true selves, our real natures. Only when we take these clothes off, as happens when we take a shower, do we catch a glimpse of our true identities, undressed, unfettered, unobstructed, unadorned. So it is with our inner selves. Some call these our spirits, characters, personalities, temperaments, or dispositions. Whatever you decide to call them, they’re a combination of attributes, characteristics and preferences you were born with and taught, all of which makes you a unique individual. That’s a quote from a book called “Standing Naked in the Shower” , by Nathaniel Bryce. Bryce goes on to expand on that and finds that there are basically four different personality types. Each of us is a combination of all four, in varying proportions, but there is almost always one personality which is dominant. In a nutshell there are:

The traditional types who want structure and order in their lives.
There are the creative types who want to be able to express themselves
There are the inquisitive types who are always looking for the answers to questions
and the thrill seeker types who are out to get as much excitement out of life as they can.
 

Of course, there is much more to it than that, but that’s enough information for me to make my point here. If your personality is strongly of the traditional type, chances are you are not much of a party animal, at least as much as if you were the thrill seeker type. On the other hand if you’re firmly in the thrill seeker pool, you’d probably struggle to, organise a meeting. I think you get the idea. Now, each of the different personality types has a role to play, and once you find the role that is best suited to you, you will take to it like a duck takes to water.

So using myself as an example, I have a fairly even mix of the creative and the inquisitive, but not much of the traditional and virtually no thrill seeker. In a nutshell I’m your classic nerd.  But I sit comfortably in that niche and would not want to be anywhere else. My wife, on the other hand is very much the traditional type, with a fair proportion of the inquisitive but very little of either the creative or thrill seeker personality. Needless to say we don’t go out much….er make that ever. The last time we went out was for our 28th wedding anniversary in October 2008. The main reason we went out then was because a couple of days before the actual date we made the final payment on our house mortgage. So, our ‘celebration’ for want of a better term was a quiet little dinner in a restaurant followed by a night in a flash hotel overlooking the ocean where we spent time enjoying each other’s company. Between us, however, we run a pretty good household, which when you break it down is somewhat like a small home based business. Just don’t try to register it as such with the taxation people!

Our son, on the other hand is very much the creative type, very much into music and if I might be a doting father for just a moment is pretty good at it too. I don’t necessarily share his tastes in music, but I can pick talent when I (in this case) hear it and da boyz got talent. I’ll share a little bit more of our son’s story in the next module, but, even though he is a young man, he doesn’t have much of the thrill seeker personality and doesn’t go to many parties or the like. In fact about the only time he goes anywhere is to hear a band that he’s particularly keen on if and when they happen to be in our part of the world.

The bottom line in all this is that there are different personality types across society, each of whom have had a range of different experiences that make up who they are today. What some people are good at is different from the things that others, with different personality traits do very well. Each is just as valid as the other, and its really time those who run or develop new MLM companies recognized that and made allowances.

Of the four types I mentioned, do you care to have a guess at which of them has fared the best in the traditional MLM companies? The thrill seekers! Now, I’ve given a bit of thought as to why this is the case. Let me share with you some of the attributes of this personality type and see how it might fit. This group are into success, well that fits.

 They enjoy challenges, so selling products and signing up distributors is the sort of thing they thrive on.

They are motivated by incentives and recognition. Well, excuse me, just look at the awards available and how the spotlight is constantly on high achievers.

They desperately want victory and will work even harder when there is some sort of competition, particularly if there is an exciting adventure for the winner.

They are not the sort to sit around, they would rather be doing and when they are active, stand aside in case you get struck by the whirlwind they create, because if their into something its boots and all. Now, based on research over quite a number of years in many and varied situations this group of people make up about 30% of the world’s population. And, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you, almost without exception, they make up about all of the three percent who are successful in MLM.

Chances are there aren’t very many of this particular personality type working through this material for two reasons.

  1. they don’t need to, they are part of the three percent that have made a success of it.

  2. (b) get involved in some stupid education program??  You’ve got to be kidding you’re better off chucking the books and just get out there and do it, learning as you go, rather than spending all your time learning how to do it.

So, if you are not one of “the anointed” does that mean you are doomed to fail at MLM?

No, it means you will probably have to either work harder, or smarter than those to whom the whole process comes naturally. The good news is by working smarter, you may well outperform those who choose to use the traditional methods of MLM recruitment, because you will become so much more effective.

You see, for all their success this particular personality type does not do so well on building relationships with people (where the creatives excell) or in the systems and organizational structures (which is the domain of the traditionalists) So unless the thrill seekers have someone in the background “picking up” after them, they can be a bit like shooting stars. I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of them in your time with MLM.

The next article, a personal strategic plan, will cover ways in which you, no matter how little success you have had in MLM in the past, can develop a system that makes the most of your strengths and covers for your weaknesses.

  1. what you really want to achieve in life. This third point in your personal assessment is more important than many people realize. Have you ever heard the phrase “If you have a strong enough why, you will find a how”

Now, its possible if you have heard it, it was something of a cop out by the person who said it, because basically they did not know now to help you achieve your heart’s desire. Essentially the saying is true, profoundly true. When you have a strong enough reason for doing something you will virtually move mountains to see it through to completion. All you need is a strong enough why. Well, I want to give you a simply little exercise that will help you find your why, your very reason for living. It is helpful if you can work with someone, and get them to ask the question, but if that is not possible you can write it down. All you need to do is ask yourself, or have someone ask you “What do you really want to achieve with your life?” You will provide an answer. Question2  Why do you want…..(whatever your answer was)  Question 3 Why do you want…..(your answer to question 2) until you  (a) have tears in your eyes, which means you have found your ‘why’ (b) you have asked or been asked the why question six times.  The only stipulation is you cannot answer the why question the same way as you did in a previous answer. If you take this simply yet profound exercise seriously you will find that one thing (and one thing is all you need) that truly gives your life purpose and meaning. Now, if that ultimate purpose and meaning involves money in any way (and there is every likelihood it will. (Money, or the desire for more money than you currently have will probably be the answer to one of the why questions)  

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