So what does self-discovery, yoga, an article about direct sales, and my work in network marketing have anything to do with anything? Well, reading the article started connecting some dots in my life that I hadn’t yet connected. The underlying theme in the article is all about what I’ve been working through for quite some time now; How to deal with fear and doubt. If you haven’t heard Jim Carrey’s Maharishi University School of Management commencement speech, might I recommend giving it a listen? It’s a remarkable story about overcoming fear and opening ourselves to greatness. I love listening to this when fear and doubt start creeping in. He speaks to something we can all relate to, fear. I share quotes from this speech in the yoga classes I teach often because it is just so real for all of us.
"Now fear is going to be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much... You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about the pathway to the future, but all it will ever be is what's happening here, the decisions that we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare ask the universe for it... It's about letting the universe know what you want, and working toward it, while letting go of how it comes to pass. Your job is not to figure out how it's going to happen for you, but to open the door in your head, and when the door opens in real life, just walk through it. Don't worry if you miss a cue, because there's always doors opening. They keep opening... And why not take a chance on faith, as well. Not religion, but faith. Not hope, but faith. I don't believe in hope. Hope is the begger. Hope walks through the fire and faith leaps over it." ~ Jim Carrey
I write about, and share my experiences here, because I can’t be the only one feeling this way. Perhaps my experience is something to which others can relate. We find connection in knowing that we are not alone in our thoughts, feelings and insecurities. This, and I also find writing to be therapeutic. I started writing my blog posts because there is something freeing about putting it on paper (virtually) and putting myself out there. I figure that if what I write is read by even only 3 people, perhaps one of those 3 will relate to what I’m saying and feel less alone ("The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is." also Jim Carrey). Sharing some of this stuff isn’t easy. It's vulnerable. It's time consuming. It’s taken me over 2 weeks to write this one post. I would start writing and not a minute later, delete what I had written. Putting ourselves out there isn’t easy; But to share my experience with honesty and vulnerability is worth the difficulty. So here it goes. And while I will fill you in on context, this post really has little to do with relationship marketing, or self-discovery, or love, or yoga, and everything to do with showing up in life. Bear with me while I get to the point…
If you are turned off by conventional direct sales and relationship marketing, that’s okay, so was I. I had one bad experience with someone who was pushy and wouldn’t stop bugging me, and that’s all it took. I figured that’s what all direct sales companies were like. I also had this preconceived notion of companies taking advantage of desperate people by getting them to buy inventory they would never sell. Of companies signing people up and leaving them on their own to learn how to sell questionable products. I figured if a product was legit, it would be sold on a store shelf and therefore any product sold through direct sales was questionable. I was stuck on this idea that the top 1% were the only ones making money at the expense of those poor hopeful people who got duped into signing up as distributors. While unfortunate, I’m sure there are plenty of direct sales companies out there that fit the descriptions above. What I didn’t realize, is that not every direct sales company is the same. Just like not every corporation is the same, nor is every small business the same. There are some companies that value their employees above all else, and there are other companies that offer little to no benefits and capitalize on all work of others. Relationship marketing was something I had not really been exposed to, something I avoided, and something I never considered I would be good at because, well I’m not a salesperson. So this leads me to how I became involved with network marketing at all…
The Love Story
Age was starting to take parts of my face hostage and I kept seeing these amazing before/after pictures posted by an acquaintance (Tim) on Facebook. Apparently this cream was magic and reduced fine lines - so probably too good to be true, right!? But here, my hope for results outweighed my skepticism. I also kept seeing him post about "Real Science," which as a scientist, was a bit intriguing, so I reached out to Tim to see if I could try the product. I shared with him my reluctance as I wanted to make sure that if I bought the product that I wouldn’t be pressured to buy more if I decided to stop buying it, that I wouldn’t be pressured to sell the product, and that I wouldn’t be pressured to come to "silly parties." So I met Tim at a coffee shop to get the sample bottle. We spent about 30 minutes chatting and catching up. Having come from the same home town, we had a lot of the same acquaintances, but couldn’t remember how we knew one another. We just knew one another. Well, the coffee shop closed and we weren’t done catching up, so we walked to the lake and sat on a park bench where we talked for another hour or so. Funny thing is, that we hardly spoke about skin care (little did I know, that’s really what the business is all about – what business and life should really should be about - connecting with people). I took the bottle and on my way home thought of how fortunate it was to have just found who would be my new best friend in Chicago. Remember, this is around the same time that I had found yoga. I was practicing presence, and with eyes wide open, it’s amazing what you see and what is put before you. I used the product as directed, liked how it felt on my skin, placed my order, and returned the bottle to Tim after a week. As fate would have it, our first date was at that very same beach and falling for one another was inevitable. I eventually stopped using the skincare line as I wasn’t using it consistently enough to be paying for it, but continued supporting him in his endeavors with the company. I guess my forehead wrinkles were less of a priority. I thought, give me something that will take away my dimply thighs, and I’m all over it!
My Initial "Why"
I enrolled in yoga teacher training and did my thing, while Tim did his. It was becoming harder to understand why he would want to work so hard and not get immediately paid for his efforts. He kept saying it would eventually pay off and that these things take time. He trusts the business model, trusts the CEO, and trusts the company. He would go to parties, monthly regional trainings, all while not making a lot of money. We even had a few heated conversations about it, because I just didn’t understand it. I have always worked jobs where you put in time, and then get paid for that time. So the idea of investing time and money to grow a residual book of business was foreign. This means you have to trust in your efforts and trust that you will get paid for those efforts. So yeah, if I’m being honest, it evoked a little fear and judgment on my end. I guess I felt somewhat protective of Tim because I loved him and didn’t want to see him get taken advantage of. Moving on, eventually the body contouring product came out and I had to give it a try. My thighs have always been one of my physical insecurities. I can be super low in body fat, but still have dimply thighs. I’ve had them since I was young and have always hoped to find a way to make them look smoother. We were preparing to go to Florida on vacation and so I ordered a bottle and started using it. I was very rigid about my before and after pictures. I wanted to make sure that my results reflected the same conditions that we used for my before pictures – same lighting, same weight, same time of day, etc. We took my first round of after pictures after 3 weeks and I was absolutely blown away (my results can be seen here). After another few weeks we took my 8 week after pictures, and again, the results were amazing. All those times I thought people were doctoring these before/after picture I would see online … I had to eat my words. After such amazing results with the firm, I started using the night and day creams on my face with consistency every night, and also saw great results with my face. My intuition was pulling me toward the opportunity and I starting thinking about how much easier it would be to support Tim if we were doing the business together. I had learned a bit more about the company at this point, and the company culture and mission of ‘making people better’ aligned with all I had been working on – in both life and in my yoga teacher training program. So I signed up and invested $500 to become a brand partner. I made my investment back within 2 months, and started organizing and hosting those silly parties. Little did I know that it would bring so much happiness, love and friendship into my life. Little did I know it would involve so much personal growth… Little did I know that my why was all about the desire to connect with others.
For those of you that don't know my history, it goes like this… From studying psychology and behavior, to the desire to work as a substance abuse counselor, to thinking I wasn't cut out to be a substance abuse counselor, to entering a graduate psychology program, to study addiction in rodents instead of people, to studying neuroscience, to working as neuroscientist studying depression, anxiety, attention deficit and Alzheimer's Disease, to realizing my passion had shifted, to working to create a roll to fit this passion dedicated to refinement, replacement and reduction of animal use in research, to working in that role for the past 5 years, to finding yoga, to enrolling in yoga teacher training, to teaching yoga, to investing in becoming a network marketer... see, I never planned to do any of this really. Relationship marking, included. Nor did I think that this awesome skincare company I signed up with months ago would end up distributing this proprietary supplement for brain health, circling me right back to neuroscience. I mean think of this... my first Nerium conference and who shows up on stage at this skin care gig? Princeton neuroscientists! Haha. That was my "God moment"... I was certainly on the right path. And who knew I would wear so many hats before the age of 40? Listen up 20 year-olds that are stressing out over identifying what you want to be you grow up! Here's a bit of advice, stop trying to figure it out, and just BE. Then there are the more personal roles I play as a daughter, sister, friend, aunt, niece, partner, kitty-mama, puppy-mama, turtle-mama, god-mama… No matter how many hats we wear, under all of them is the one thing that could hold us back from all of the goodness - from opportunity, from love, from experience, from joy, from faith - and that one thing is fear. Fear of not being enough, fear of failure, fear of what others think, fear of the unknown and even fear of ourselves. These are fears we all encounter on a daily basis. They're showing up every day to test us, to try us, to hold us back which is why this is one of my favorite themes to incorporate into my yoga classes - whether I'm teaching or practicing, the yoga mat is the perfect place to practice presence, practice letting go of the mind chatter, getting out of our head space. See, fear isn't really an emotion at all, but rather created from the ego-driven mind. Fear is a set of stories our mind tells us, a result of ego driven thinking and hypotheticals – just ghosts. There is a reason that the greats like Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle teach presence. With presence, there is no mind chatter and no conscious thought. And without conscious thought, there is no fear. But let’s be practical, we all think. We all question. We were preprogrammed and gifted to do so. Technically the only species with the ability for metacognition, or thinking about thinking – we were preprogramed for fear! I know!? Pfft…
My Ever-changing "Why"
I have been asked about it countless times, so let me touch on pyramid schemes? Don’t most of us (myself included) work in companies and corporations with pyramid-shaped reporting structures and a top level office of executives making a whole lot more money than we are? The big difference is in the compensation and marketing plans of the companies. Pyramid schemes are illegal, but most of us with conventional jobs report into some similar shaped organizational structure. For some reason, it seems that those closest to us can often be the most judgmental and the least supportive. It’s unfortunate, because it is those closest to us that we most want to share our experience and happiness with, right!? I could go on and on about my own initial misconceptions about how only the top 1% make money, and perhaps those close to me want to make sure I’m not being taken advantage of, but by now I have met so many people making significant money with the company that all of my own misconceptions have been squashed. I’ve met many who are making supplemental income and are thrilled with that extra $1000/month and others who keep at it and are growing a residual book of business making $30,000/month – it all depends on how much you’re willing to put into it – how hard you’re willing to work, how consistent and persistent you’re willing to be, and how much you’re willing to show up – every day (that Slight Edge philosophy). I’ve met so many wonderfully positive people who aren’t even in this business for the money. They are in it to be a part of something good, something positive. People actually enjoy helping others succeed? What an amazing environment to be a part of! No matter what and with everything in life, there are always going to be people that judge, that criticize, that don’t show support, and that don’t understand or see things the way we would like for them to. Why is that many look for the bad in something before seeing the good? Why do we look for doubt, without reason to doubt? Why do we focus so much on what is wrong, rather than what is right? I mean, how often do you pick up the phone after work to call your partner or friend and say, “hey, so and so was so wonderful and happy today and it just made my day!” No, we are more likely to pick up the phone and say “so and so was just so awful and negative today that it ruined my day!” It’s an interesting concept to think about really. We tend to be more affected emotionally by the bad because we try to explain and justify – we move into our head space to try to understand it. Even the field of psychology traditionally focuses on identifying dysfunction or the identification of what is wrong with people. So as a trained psychologist and neuroscientist, have I been programmed for skepticism and pessimism? Geesh, I’ve a lot of work to do! Positive psychology, examines happiness, and how ordinary people can become happier and live more fulfilled lives. I like this side of psychology MUCH better! Doesn’t everyone want to be happy? When something good happens, we don’t even try to explain why. We just feel happy! So really, happiness trumps fear! Take yoga, for example. It is often when we get out of our head space, letting go of the ego and thus the fear that our physical practice evolves. Many of the challenging poses we never thought we would be able to get into like arm balances and inversions come naturally when we are present, 'egoless', and fearless. This could apply to anything in life really. When you are living with presence, and open to goodness and happiness, fear has no place to go. Your energy changes and since you are putting out positivity, that’s all you will receive in return. So as soon as I was able to stop basing my experience in the context of misconceptions and fear of what others might think, as I was able to balance my skepticism with truth (science), as I put my ego (and thus fear) away, as I stopped letting the fear and negativity use the space I have reserved for happiness, my business started growing and began to be enjoyable.
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
When I stopped allocating energy to trying to convince those who were judgmental, and trying to share with those who were cynical, my energy changed. When I opened myself up to goodness, the good started happening. See this caused my entire energy to change. I constantly need to remind myself that negativity, criticism and judgment are simply a manifestation of fear. I remind myself that what others think is really none of my business. I remind myself that it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with their own ghosts (assumptions, fears, etc.). All I can do is stay true to myself and come from a place of goodness, sharing only positivity. Not everyone is going to receive it, because fear and ego are really good at standing in the way. With yoga, with network marketing, and with life in general, I try to associate with others who are motivating and encouraging. As Jim Rohn says, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Not to say that we completely cast away those in our lives that are negative, but if you want positivity and goodness in your life, you set boundaries with those who are negative, and invest more energy in those who are positive.
The state of yoga, as defined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjuli, is yoga chita vritti niodhah. This loosely translates to mean that yoga is the veil or filter (chitta) through which we return our thoughts (vrittis) to their original source (nirodhah). Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations or turnings of the mind. Yoga is a state of mental peace. So yoga helps me to practice putting my thoughts away, and in turn my fears disappear – even if just for one moment. In the same light, we put our ego away, because without conscious thought, and in the true state of presence, the ego cannot exist. I encourage everyone to practice presence and see if you notice a difference in your state of being. With presence and balance, fear and insecurity will undoubtedly be lessened. But back to reality, because we can’t live on our yoga mats and inevitably, people and experiences affect us. We still have to show up in life; and fear is going to be a player in our lives. So as I said, this really has little to do with network marketing, or yoga, or self-discovery, but everything to do with living from a place of vulnerability. Anything that puts us at risk of judgment from others. This applies to everyone! Who hasn't, at one point in life been in that place of vulnerability? Both the article from Huffington Post and the Jim Carrey MUM speech speak the same truths about 'putting it out there, letting the universe know what you want, and letting go of how it comes to pass'... Paying no attention to the haters, or the man behind the curtain, so to speak. We work to show up, every day! It's just showing up and staying true to your own vision, dreams, beliefs, and goals. Showing up and staying true to our authentic selves. Regardless of those that criticize, fail to understand or turn their backs on us. Showing up requires vulnerability! But when we're able to do this, consistently, every day? Our eyes are opened. Our hearts are warmed. Our lives are enriched. Our ability to love is deepened. We are able to connect with others and the world around us with presence. We put ourselves dead center of the middle of abundant opportunities and endless joy. I was unable to sleep the other night and woke up to see Wayne Dyer on the television. I woke just in time to hear him say “Living with fearlessness, means living with divine guidance… allowing the universe to pull you toward your dharma.” Simply put, living with awareness and presence will put you exactly where you are supposed to be. It’s not about the outcome, it’s about letting go of control of how we get there and being open to how it shapes us along the way. “What we see is a result of how fearless we choose to be.” It’s about showing up - fully and unapologetically engaged in the moment. That’s all we have to do, is show up with an open heart and open mind. Never in my life have I met so many people willing to show up and put themselves out there with vulnerability. One of my favorite quotes from the Jim Carrey speech: "But to find real peace, you have to let the armor go. Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Don't let anything stand in the way of the light shining through this form. Risk being seen in all your glory."
Gratitude to those of you who took the time to read my entire post. Here’s to all who are showing up every day, who “risk being seen in all their glory”… Live Happy!