Sittin’ on the dock of the Bay

     “Watching the tide roll away–Ooo, I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay-y wa-astin’ ti-i-ime…”

      Well, the rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Also, I haven’t gone underground,  been sent up the river or fallen off the face of the earth.

      I could give you some really good excuses for my absence, but that’s just what they are; excuses. The holiday’s were enormously busy and I had been given some advice that put me at a crossroad as to my direction with my business.

     In November, we were blessed with a visit from our National Sales Director and our retiring  Senior National Sales Director. This was a big dog deal. These ladies are about as close to Mary Kay Ash herself as we’re going to get so this was pretty exciting. What made it even better for me was that we needed a venue for a special meeting  for just our unit and them and I was able to offer my mom’s house!  Thank you, Mom!

     Ladies had traveled from all over the country to take advantage of that weekend training ( including other sales directors) and they all came to my mom’s house! (There is just a bit of preening being done as I write that). I was really hoping to for a chance to share my idea with our NSD, Cindy Williams. This lady has been in the Million Dollar Circle five times so I was pretty eager to have a chance to pick her brain and get her opinion of my challenge program. I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be able to do that since visiting NSD’s usually have a very tight schedule and there were quite a few ladies that were going to be recognized for their achievements at the meeting. As it happened, she sat next to me during dinner and I had the opportunity to explain what I was working on.  I told her about how it hit all the points I wanted to cover; new customers, referrals, and the possibilities of new team members. I had to admit that it seemed to have stalled out though, and I waited to see if she would have any advice.

     She listened very carefully to everything I said, looking me in the eye and nodding . When I was done, she gently, yet bluntly, said; “Uh huh, well, honey, that’s never going to work.”   I think my jaw hit the floor and my eyes probably looked like they were going  to fall out and land beside it.

     She  reminded me that Mary Kay is a business of personal service. I was never going to see the numbers grow because I was pinning my hopes on other people’s committment to my cause. One of the basic tenets of our company is the relationship we develop with our customers. Mary Kay works because the consultants really do care about the people we service. The challenge-takers would not have the passion I have for the company and products, nor the  knowledge needed to let people know why our product is the best, and why they should spend their hard-earned money for what I was selling.

      I won’t say this didn’t sting. I had spent quite a bit of time and energy, and some other people’s graciously donated time and energy ( I’ll always be grateful, Carolyn!),  putting together packets and invitations and coming up with new bundles to sell every month. I was sure I had come up with a brilliant business plan that would sky-rocket me to success and inspire and help others reach success as well. I was so positive I had a winning formula, I forgot a basic truth;  you can’t re-invent the wheel.

     On the other hand, it was a relief to hear her say that. I could see that it wasn’t working and since I was so sure it would, I thought the problem was me. It was becoming a big, depressing elephant strapped to my back that I was needlessly struggling to carry.  How could I ever hope to convince anyone that Mary Kay was a life-changing opportunity when all they saw was my frustrated efforts? Yet, I trudged on, telling myself  that I would only prove the doubting voices in my head right if I gave up. Yeah, it hurt to hear her tell me the truth, but it was like the pain you feel when the splinter in your heel is removed.

     I was liberated from the need to continue, but my hopes were so dashed, it took some time to recover. I don’t mean to imply I ever considered letting my business lapse, I just needed to re-set.

     This same weekend, as mentioned, we were having a special training seminar. It was called a ” November to Remember.” ( ….C’mon, don’t boo. What would YOU have called it?)

     Besides our esteemed  Mary Kay dignitaries, we had another guest speaker who had come in from New Mexico.  Her name is Deb Erickson and she’s a life coach and motivational speaker. I have to say, she was phenomenal.  During the hour and a half she shared with us, I learned so much about myself,  I forgot to mourn the death of my program. In fact, I had the most amazing break-through: I found my unit name.

    She told the story of her own breakthrough and how, at the end of a week-long seminar with another motivational speaker, she found the courage to do a firewalk. What got her through wasn’t skill, but seeing the people who went before her celebrating on the other side and calling for her to join them. She wanted to be where they were. She wanted to celebrate, too. If they could do it, so could she. And she did.

     Well, I want to be where Cindy Williams is. She says (with a thick Arkansas accent) “Girls, if I can do this, then so can you.” All I have to do is walk across my own fire, so to speak. She did it; why shouldn’t I?  Therefore, the name of my unit will be the Firewalkers. I have to cross that fire and celebrate with those on the other side, then I can be the one encouraging others to cross. Apropos, is it not?

     First, though, I have to go back to basics and try to master those skills that are tried and true for every successful Mary Kay business owner. And try not be distracted by trying to build a better mouse-trap….