Everything Old Is New Again

Another week down; another week closer to my deadline. I’ve had some very full weeks starting from January, when I finally decided to bring my “A” game. I had no idea I hadn’t brought it yet, but certain things have elbowed their way to the front of my awareness that I had staunchley tried to keep benched though this playing season.

When I was a little girl, my mom would get me ready for church. I would put on one of my best dresses, little socks and black patent Mary Janes. My mother would make sure my face  was clean and carefully brush and braid my hair in two long braids. Then she’d tie my ‘for-church’ ribbons to the ends. She’d smile and tell me I looked very pretty. I’d look to my dad to see if he approved and he always smiled and said, in his soft and loving way, “Very nice.”

My older brother Guy always laughs and tells how he’d hear my mother tell me to go show him and my other brother, Dave, how I looked. I’d march into their room and stand just inside the doorway, hands on my hips and tapping my foot. “Fella’s,” I’d say, “Fella’s….” until they turned and said, “Oh! You look very nice!”. Then I’d get a smug look and spin on my heel and march back out, my unspoken request for admiration fulfilled.

I honestly had no fear I wouldn’t get it. When I put on my best clothes and had my hair fixed, I just knew the world was ready to be pleased with me. I felt like a princess. I loved the kind of skirts that swirled when I spun around; the higher the better. I loved my little plastic barrettes with the little poodles or bows (You know the ones I mean. The package that had the ones that looked like rectangle ears of corn. My own daughter had those.). I loved to wear tights and shoes with tap soles so that I clacked down the hall like the ladies with heels on. One Christmas my uncle sent me some clear palstic jewelry and some of those play heels that little girls love. I begged my mother to let me wear them to church and she did. I felt as beautiful as the dawn in my plastic finery and I made sure that everyone saw and commented on it. “Why, Ruthie!” the grown-ups said (that’s my family nick-name),” You look so pretty today! And what lovely shoes! You look very grown up!” I’m reasonably sure I preened.

When you were a little girl, didn’t you feel that way? Didn’t you love twirling your skirts and dancing with abandon just like any Disney princess? Weren’t you just sure that people could not help admiring your lovliness? I took ballet classes and wore my white tights and my black leotard and felt every bit the prima ballerina.

I love little girls and the no-doubt sense of their own beauty whether they love skirts and tights or shorts and sneakers. I could get just as dirty and mussed as my brothers, play army guys and pretend to be hunting, fishing or sniping and then go in and play dress up and have a tea party with my dolls. What I wore wasn’t the issue, it was how secure I felt in myself. I had dreams of being on stage and singing like Olivia Newton-John or Marie Osmond. Or being a fearless beauty like one of Charlie’s Angels or Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman or Lindsey Wagner as the Bionic Woman. You might’ve had some, too.

Then, of course, we get older and we are told by society, by convention, by well-meaning advice, or by harsh circumstances, that we are none of those things. We’ll never be those things, and it’s time to put dreams away. Slowly for some -much quicker for others- life unfolds in such a manner as we bury those ideas and desires and replace them with serious, practical thoughts. It’s for our own good and protection that we stop chasing those desires and ‘face reality’.

I had stopped dreaming by the time I joined Mary Kay. I had stopped believing in my ability to be anything special. I had learned to be content in my own little world, made even smaller after my son passed away. I was still grieving and every special day at the school where I taught was a reminder that one of my own children was missing from any celebration we had. I wanted to bury myself with my son. Inwardly, I had. It felt wrong to enjoy any part of life that he couldn’t be part of.

But Mary Kay reminded me of that skirt-twirling little girl I used to be. It offered a a much brighter existence than what I had been content to live. That little girl started to wake up and want to reach for those dreams again. Of course, I’d never be any celebrity I had dreamed of being, but maybe I could find a place of my own. I’m not talking about fame. I’m talking about a life less ordinary. Maybe I was made for success after all.

One of my biggest disappointments in this business has been the absence of any of my sisters in this with me. Mary Kay encourages family groups when possible. Why would you not share this with your family and friends? Is there anything better than sharing such a special journey with those closest to you? None of my sisters or closest friends have joined me despite my best efforts at begging. When I received awards and been recognized for any victories in Mary Kay, I’m most keenly aware of their absence. You want the best for those you love and I wanted them to feel special, too. No admiration or accolade felt quite right without their presence and, by extension, their approval . I would see sisters enjoying time together or working together and I’d feel a wave of homesickness for my own sister that would just about bring me to tears.

My problem was, I didn’t feel I really deserved it. I did not feel strong enough on my own to have any real achievements. I tried to keep that younger-me in check so she wouldn’t make me look foolish if I failed. I could always count on my sisters to keep me in line and tell me when I was about to embarrass myself. I did not feel approved.

Please don’t get me wrong, My sisters are some of my greatest supporters. They are my best customers and they buy from me regularly. My oldest sister gamely comes to events once or twice a year. My other older sister lives in Georgia, but she buys when she can and she always listens when I go on about my business. I bounce most of my ideas off her and it was she who first suggested I tell my much expanded and deeper “I” story which was the beginning of this series of blogs. My younger sister finally dipped her toe in the skin care and is giving it a try. My sisters are awesome. But I still miss being able to share the victories with them. It’s hard to convey the depth of your triumph to someone who hasn’t taken that step with you.

Enter my Mary Kay sisters. Since I started, I’d heard that term. I was a bit uncomfortable with it at first because it sounded a little cult-ish to me. I would say ‘fellow consultants’. That felt more comfortable. I loved my ‘fellow consultants’ but it was hard to use the term ‘sister’. Until I started doing this full-time, that is.

Doing this full-time has taught me that I am a part of a team. We count on each other for ideas, encouragement and help. I made the decision to go for director for my own goals, but also to help my own Director reach her goal of being a National Sales Director. It takes a team of willing women for one woman to reach each step in leadership and becoming a director is HARD work. I had to make a decision that is essentially life changing for me. But being on this team means I must bring my “A” game to the table because it’s not just about me, it’s about my efforts helping someone else. I want to be a part of this because my director has put so much into helping others just like me learn to reach and strive for their own potential. She has several offspring directors who are, in turn, going for National Sales Directorship themselves. She deserves this.

Last Saturday was our half-year awards (Mary Kay starts their working year in July) and my red jacket ceremony. I had seen red jacket ceremonies before, but I had forgotten some of the details. For instance, I had forgotten that the other red jackets gave the newest one gifts. Ususally something red. Plus, during the awards part I found out I was one of the “Queens of Sharing”, meaning I had shared this business with others, and that I was #6 in the top 10 of over 200 consultants in Marye’s unit! I was so surprised. I knew I was going to have my ceremony and get a prize for finishing my Focus 50, but I had no idea that I was going to be honored in any other way.

My director called my aunt (my recruiter) up to give a little speech about why she thought I was so special and it was such a beautiful speech, I was almost over-whelmed. I did have tears in my eyes by the time she was done. And so did my Mary Kay sisters. When I had my ceremony they were so warm and so full of congratulations that I almost cried again. They presented me with the loveliest gifts and spoke of how proud they were of me.

It was my husbands’ first time at any event and I looked up and saw him looking at me with such a proud smile. In that instant, that little girl who used to twirl her skirts and flit from room to room practically demanding the admiration she thought her due, was back. I felt truely lovely for the first time since my wedding day. Not so much on the outside, but inside, where it counts. Where all those dreams of being like one of the beautiful women I admired and wanted to be were buried.

And for the first time since I joined Mary Kay, I wasn’t lonely for my sisters. I felt, for the first time, that with them or without them, I had achieved something worthy. Mary Kay sisters don’t replace my own sisters, but I know that I have a different kind of family with my business. Women who do understand what I’ve been doing and reaching for and who’ve been taking this journey as well. They know what it takes and how it feels to hear ‘no’ after ‘no’ until the excitement and victory of a ‘yes’!  Hitting my goals and being recognized made me feel like the princess I used to think I was.

Long ago I was a little girl who had no doubts of herself and her place in this world. I locked her up and let the key to her get old and rusty and eventually lost. Without her, I felt old and lost. Mary Kay was the vehicle to showing me how to let her out and with it, my belief  that I could be something special.

Would you like to find your little girl, too? Or maybe you never lost yours but you like what you can gain from Mary Kay and the people you can meet. We’d love to have you, no matter what. You can join us even if you don’t live where I do; I can have team members in any state in the U.S.  Why not give it a try? I never thought I could even get this far, yet, here I am. Visit my website and check it out if you’re curious. I’d love to answer any questions you have and contacting me obligates you to nothing, but you may find you like it: www.marykay.com/lmcfarland92


My Own Trouble With Tribbles Part 2

Hello again! I’m so glad you came back! Were you as amazed as I was by what happened last week? I hope so; it was really incredible and I’ve not been able to stop sharing that story since.

Well, I promised to finish the rest of the story in this next post. There’s more, but not in the same in-your-face-miracle way as last week. No, this is about what I think that whole episode was about.

As I spoke of last week, we were struggling to make the food and gas we had last until the end of the month. I’m not very good at speaking of these things (mhmm: a tribble) and I tend to keep it as unspoken as possible. I do not like to share that kind of problem with people, mainly because I’m afraid of looking foolish and hearing them give me the ole “Well, you can always find another job to do while you wait for this one to pick up.”  advice.  Not that this is bad advice. On the contrary, many, and I dare say, most, of Mary Kay consultants, have at least a part time job while they work this business. For myself, I feel directed to work without a net; no safety harness and I can focus on what I need to do, where I need to go and how far I have to go to get there. Besides, I feel like was specifically required to leave my previous job. When I was working before, either my job or my business suffered. This wasn’t fair to my employer who was counting on me to do my job well, nor to the families I was working with. They deserve the best from their children’s care-givers. I was good, but I wasn’t bringing my best. Above all, the children deserve the best you can give.

Another reason I hate to reveal these things is, to put it plainly; Pride. Yup, my pride was wounded by people thinking I had made a mistake and I was not only incapable of making a go at this, but that I had quit a secure job to do it. And I was terribly worried they might think I expected them to do something to help me out. I’m always worried that my sharing a problem comes across as hinting for help. Nothing could be further from the truth, and they’re probably not thinking that, anyway. That’s just another tribble that keeps me over-whelmed in my own issues.

But the biggest reason I didn’t want to share it was the fear that people would not believe Mary Kay was a good opportunity. I was afraid that exposing my struggles would only lead them to commiserate on the outside while mentaly crossing this business off their list of things to try. As I first shared a few weeks ago in “How Linda Got Her Groove Back”, my greatest goal is to share this with someone for whom it could be life-changing for the positive. If all they see of my work is the money struggle, I can’t imagine them being too tempted to add that to their list of concerns.

So, how do I tie what happened last week to a particular lesson I needed to learn? You can probably already guess, but, just for kicks, let me share what happened at my retreat:

When I got the call from my uncle, I was relieved of the burden of worry I had been lugging around. I was determined to relax that weekend, have a good time and try not to think (or worry) about what I wasn’t doing in regards to my business.

The main purpose of that weekend was to rest and try and learn something new about our relationship with God. I had signed up for this retreat months ago and I was surprised how closely what I had been learning and doing so recently paralled with what each session was teaching. I felt that, while the synchronicity of my recent personal revelations and the retreat topics was cool, I wasn’t really  learning anything new. Unless it was, yet again, confirmation that I was going in the right direction with my life. Until the Sunday morning session, that is.

During that session, our teacher shared some shocking statistics about hunger in the world and in America itself. I’d like to share them because they hit me hard. First the world statistics:

  •    As of 2012 there are 7 billion people in the world. 870 million of whom suffer from hunger.
  • Hunger kills more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
  • 3 billion struggle to survive on the equivilent of $2 or less a day.
  • 1 in 4 (146 million) are undernourished and underweight.
  • 15 million children die of hunger every year. The World Health Organization estimates a child dies of hunger every 13 seconds


Pretty bad right? But that’s the world. We live in America, the top 1% of the world in wealth. Surely it’s not so bad here? Here’s America’s statistics:

  • As of the last census, America’s population is 315 million. The Feed America Organization estimates our hunger levels are the highest they’ve been since the depression.
  • 7.2 million households are food insecure. That means they are not able to afford enough food.
  • 6 million households had to ask for help, either from food boxes, church pantries or food banks.
  • 1 million seniors cannot afford enough food for a week and many survive on 1 meal a day.
  • 16 million kids will have 1 meal today. 1 in 7 will go to bed hungry tonight.
  • For the cost of 1 U.S missle, we could feed a school full of kids for 15 years.

As I sat there writing these figures down and trying to wrestle with the reality of those facts, I had a thought: “That could’ve been me.”  As hard as my family and I have struggled, it occured to me that we had never missed a meal. We had never run out of gas. We had never been evicted or had our utilities cut off. We had been stretched to the last penny, the last bit of bread, the last gallon of gas, but we had come through.

In the end, it was my Mary Kay business that had made the difference. A sale would happen, or a small commision check would arrive and be just enough to cover what we needed until the next time, when something else would be needed and a sale would come through.

I’ve been speaking of being successful as a means of being credible, but I believe God also wanted me to understand and identify with the many, many people in our very country who need a bridge to a better way of life. As hard as it was to hear that America was in such a state, I had to realize that, but for a hair’s breadth, that state was mine, and had been mine, for months.

In a moment, I understood more deeply than ever how much an opportunity like Mary Kay could mean to a family. I’ve said it several times, but it keeps hitting me every time I turn around; what Mary Kay brings is hope. This is my mission and this is my goal.

Every time I’m tempted to fall back into the habits of worry, uncertainty or lack of self-confidence, I go back and read these recent blogs. I go back and look at the statistics I wrote down. I’ve written them in a little notebook that I keep in my purse so that I can look and remember what’s fueling my fire.

When I make director, my unit will be the FireWalkers Unit. I decided that a while ago, but it just keeps getting more and more appropriate. I have an affirmation, too. I’m feeling really bold so I’ll share it with you: I am Linda McFarland, the excited, enthusiastic, motivated, firewalking, barrier-breaking, bringer of hope, leader of the FireWalkers unit!  (I’m most proud of the ‘leader’ part)

Today is the first day of February. I didn’t hit my goal for the end of January. I’ve re-set my sights on February 28th. There is NO wriggle room for this. I MUST reach my goal by then or lose the chance to cross the stage at Seminar as a new director and help my own director cross as a National Sales Director. This month is going to be fire alright, but the truely hard part will be after I go into DIQ. For now, I’m just going to concentrate on this walk and see if I’m more refined than ever on the other side.

If you like what I’m saying and making a difference is something you’d like to be part of, I hope you’ll consider joining my team. Or maybe you know someone who needs this as badly as I did. Or maybe you’d like to help me make the production part of my goal. You can contact me and find out more info at my personal website: www.marykay.com/lmcfarland92.  Contacting me obligates you to nothing, but I’d love a chance to answer your questions! Thanks!