As a leader, I’ve had the privilege of coaching and training so many direct sales consultants. They came from all walks of life, socio-economic backgrounds, and an even bigger age span. Each consultant has been different. We’ve talked about things from fear to filling your calendar to setting goals to life balance. Each coaching conversation was different, but a consistent theme among them all is success. How do you define it? How do you know if you’ve made it? What does failure really look like?
Recently, I was chatting with a direct sales friend, and she mentioned that she felt lost in the direct sales world. She didn’t feel the drive that other people felt to push harder and do more. This sweet lady felt content to do exactly what she had been doing for years now and didn’t see a reason to change. Yet, she felt bad about not feeling that inner tingling superwoman feeling when she attended her recent convention. As we chatted, she mentioned that her upline was puzzled by her. WHY didn’t she want to achieve more? WHY was she happy just staying put? I’m betting if I asked her if she felt successful, she would say no. Why? Because she hasn’t earned all the awards, been at the top of the career plan, or hit crazy big goals.
Y’all, let’s dig in for a sec. I think we’ve got a problem in the direct sales world and society in general. Direct sales companies define success using different metrics that I’m sure are there for a reason – specific personal sales volume, specific team structures, or incentive trip achievement. As a society, we define success as making it big – CEOs, movie stars, etc. Larger-than-life beautiful people doing big things. Is that REALLY success? If you ask those people if they are successful, what would they say?
THE PROBLEM WITH SUCCESS
I think we have a problem with our definition of success. According to Dictionary.com, success can be defined in several different ways:
- the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like
- a person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.
Notice something about these definitions. They both involved attaining something, whether that’s wealth, status, or position. So, according to the definition of success, you aren’t successful unless you’ve held a certain title, earned a specific position, or hit a set level of wealth. That begs the question, are you successful if you NEVER hit these ambiguous levels of wealth, title, or position? Let’s take a look at another piece of the definition.
- the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals
Aha! THIS one gives us a MUCH better picture of success, IMHO. It gives the sense that someone is moving towards a goal and actually HIT the goal. They have arrived. There aren’t any undefined levels or positions, just completion of one’s goals. What if those goals aren’t lofty and full of big titles and accolades? What if the goal is to simply provide for your family? What if it’s to pay off debt? What if it’s just building something that you can call your own? Or maybe making new friends? Is this person still successful?
When we start talking about goal setting and success in our direct sales businesses, we must recognize success at all levels. This doesn’t mean just the people walking across the stage for doing the super awesome stuff. This also means the mom doesn’t have to work outside the home and stay home with her babies. This means that girl now has the confidence to show her face on a FB live video. It means that warrior who has consistently and systematically used their biz income to knock out debt and change their family’s future.
Friend, here me on this one. YOU get to define what success looks like for YOU. No one else gets to tell you what that looks like. All of our journeys are different. It’s okay to give yourself permission to stay in your lane and do your thing.
I’ve known so many people who tear themselves down because they haven’t hit a specific title or reached a particular level in sales, but this one thing doesn’t define success in your business. If this is you, for all the love of all things, stop it. You aren’t helping yourself or anyone else by beating yourself up over this one thing you didn’t earn. So how do we evaluate if we’re successful or not? How can we work through deciding what success means for us?
DETERMINING YOUR WHY
We hear people talk about their why ALL the time in this business. What’s your why? The first time I heard that I thought, “What in the world does THAT mean?” First of all, it seemed like REALLY bad grammar, but when I stepped back and considered it, it made a whole lot of sense. I needed to consider why in the world I wanted to add a business to our already crazy schedule. What did I hope to gain from it? What would it do for my family and me? My why was pretty basic in the beginning. I just wanted to get out and socialize with adults and $500 in income so we could travel more as a family. And done! I hit that in my first month.
Have you ever really considered your “why”? Have you really pondered what your business means to you? Friend, this is the first step to measuring success. Your why has to be crystal clear. It has to be powerful enough to motivate you to do the things you need to do. Your why has to be the thing that drives you each and every day to touch your business. It has to be stronger than fear, frustration, and fatigue.
I can hear some of you already. What if my why isn’t some big thing like a trip or a specific achievement in my company? Look me in the face right now. Well, not really, but really. Listen, your why is YOUR why. It doesn’t have to be something that other people see as big. It can be something YOU see as big because NO ONE gets to determine your big thing except you.
Back to my direct sales friend that was on the struggle bus. Her “why” is helping people, loving on her customers, and providing them with some value around her product in their homes. That’s a pretty amazing why if you ask me. It speaks of selfless service to others and genuinely investing in people. That’s what brings her the most joy. Her why is something to be proud out loud about because it defines who she is and what she values. When you’re thinking about your why don’t fall into a comparison trap. Your why is yours and yours alone. Your goals are yours and yours alone—end of story.
If my friend’s why is helping people, loving on her customers, and providing them with some value, then how in the world does she measure that and determine if she’s successful? That’s easy. Could she set a goal of reaching X number of customers with her product? Could her goal be to provide weekly education about something related to her topic in her customer group? Could her goal be to develop an ebook or email course on how to do something related to her product? The possibilities are endless here, but the process remains the same. Dig deep and determine your why then brainstorm what goal/thing/process/response would help you achieve it.
Now I know it may sound like I’m coming down on those people with the ribbons down to their ankles or the ones that get the big awards. Don’t misunderstand me here. I was one of those girls. I had the long ribbon train. I had the awards. I earned the trips. I had big goals that were driven by big why’s.
THE OTHER GIRL
Before we leave this whole discussion of success, I want to say something about that girl. Just like you aren’t wrong in having a why that brings you joy and drives you to be a better consultant, leader, or person, that girl with the big goals driven by an even bigger why isn’t wrong either. Just like you, she gets to determine her journey and her path.
I’ve been on the receiving end of the looks and the comments that I somehow cheated the system. I’ve been told that other people couldn’t do what I did because I was special, gifted with a certain type of personality or skill level. I’m gonna be frank for a second. If you’ve ever thought those thoughts or said those words, you’re wrong. What you don’t see when that girl walks across the stage is the endless hours that she devoted to working her business. You don’t see the nights she stayed up until 3 am because stuff had to get done. You don’t see the time she spent reading and learning to make sure she mastered those areas of the business she struggled with. That girl on stage worked hard to get there. She made strategic choices to fulfill her why. She did the things she needed to do to make it happen.
Just because your goals are unique and your why is in a completely different lane doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with either path. They’re just different. Both of you can achieve a measure of success determined by you. Both of you can celebrate each other without jealousy, disdain, or accusing one or the other of anything immoral or unethical. We can all learn from each other. We can all celebrate each other. There’s success out there for everyone. You just need to get it.
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Mary Haynes is a highly successful direct seller turned direct sales strategist and coach! She loves helping direct sellers streamline and scale their businesses using simple, tried and true strategies. Her goal is to reduce the overwhelm so you know what to do and when to do it in your business. Mary is also a homeschooling mama that lives in sunny Florida with her husband, 4 kiddos, a dog, and various other backyard animals.
Hey, I'm Mary!
My passion is helping you simplify and streamline your direct sales business using tried and true systems that reduce overwhelm and help you reach your business goals even faster! Find out more about what we do here.
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