Week 22a – Travel Isn’t a Luxury, it’s . . .

“Travel isn’t a Luxury, it’s Homework for a Meaningful Life!” ~ Art Burleigh

I’ve always known that, and I’ve learned a lot in my travels around the world from many trips during my life and from all the fascinating people I’ve met along the way.  Just like with Og and with our MKMMA materials – it’s feeding your mind that matters most.  As for this week, it turns out that . . .

It was a bit of a blessing that we had a break week, as it’s been a whirlwind 10 days for me, getting ready for a 2 week trip to China very soon with my wife – coming up starting next Monday.  It’ll be a rather interesting challenge to see if I can even access our final MKMMA webinar, as it’ll start at 5:00 am on Monday, while I’m on a ship cruising up the Yangtze River, having just left the Qutang Gorge enroute to Shibaozhai, which is famous for its 100′ high pagoda built during the Ming Dynasty . . .

It’s one of the eight construction wonders of the world, built into the side of a rocky cliff face and constructed without the use of any nails.  It’s a vermillion, 12-story pagoda that was inspired in its design by the surrounding mountains.  Sounds pretty scenic, eh?

It certainly will be interesting to see if there’s a decent WiFi connection along that remote stretch of the Yangtze River.

Meanwhile, we’ve gotta get packing to be sure we’re underweight.  Got some new, super light-weight luggage and memory cards for our digital cameras today.  Og’s book is light, so I’ll be packing it along.  Maybe we’ll meet some very interesting people on this trip — we often do.

But there’s lots more work before we depart!

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Week 22 – What Values Matter?

What VALUES actually matter, in business and in life?

A few years ago, a man who was my sponsor in a network marketing company business, ended up with a huge chunk of my downline moved out from my organization and into his daughter’s organization.  This was a binary pay plan, and his adult daughter was at the top of his weak leg, on which his pay and rank was directly calculated.

The company “said” that they were “cleaning up the downlines and reorganizing things,” right after they’d hosted their first “big” leadership conference in over 2 years — which was attended by only 35 people.  Total.  Including the company execs and a few staffers.

Pathetic.

This downline “switcheroo” was done without consulting me.  I asked for it to be undone, and my request was ignored.  Under that pay plan, I’d “banked” almost a million points on my stronger leg, from which this big chunk of distributors was moved – so maybe the company execs and my upline sponsor figured this move wouldn’t “hurt” me at all.

It didn’t “hurt” me financially at that time.

But this unethical tactic demolished my valuable Belief in my sponsor and that Company.

t was amazed and disappointed that something SO unethical could be done so cavilerely.  And then I realized that this move was THE BEST IDEA any of them could come up with to build this guy’s weaker leg — and maybe assure him of more income and a higher rank.

This meant that neither he, or his daughter, or any of the company execs had a better idea to help this man build his team other than to steal a chunk of distributors out from under my strong leg (which was also his strong leg), in order to give him a boost in volume on his weak leg.

After a couple months went buy, I decided that they were all so unethical and misguided that they and the company would probably fizzle eventually, so i resigned and moved on.

Since then, and after a long search, I finally found my current company, which was proudly founded on these 5 Core Values . . .

  1. Being Humble
  2. Being Compassionate
  3. Being Authentic
  4. Being Vibrant
  5. And being Disruptive

I’m impressed with those core values and with their ethics and vision, and I’m in the process of helping them craft a document that explains what those 5 Core Values mean and why they’re so important.

It’s a refreshing change; and I think that thousands will be empowered by our business that springs from such strong, ethical values — propelled by inspiring vision and true leadership.

Real values matter.

 

Week 21 -Specialized Knowledge . . .

On my Franklin make-over work this week, I sure focused IN on “Specialized Knowledge.”

The value of seeking it out, digesting it, and applying it . . .

Last Thursday, my wife and I were up before dawn to make our late morning flight to Salt Lake City to attend our company’s annual convention.  It ran from Thursday evening through last Saturday evening.  LOTS of intense, excellent training by some very experienced, smart execs and field leaders — plus several very welcome special announcements.  Exciting, and well worth the investment we made to BE there.  Made many new friends and enhanced our relationships there with many field leaders and execs.

This past Monday, we dove from LA down to San Diego to be audience members all day Tuesday for Sonia Stringer’s acclaimed Recruiting Workshop for Women in Network Marketing.  It ran all day long and was live-streamed around the world to some 38,000 people.

We invested that day learning from network marketing icons:  our fabulous sponsor, Sarah Zolecki, Sonia Stringer, Pamela Barnum, Jackie Christiansen, Dr. Josephine Gross, Chris Gross, Aimee Christ, Remi Neustadt, Heidi Bartolotta, Michelle Fraser, Jules Price, Margie Aliprandi, Richard Broke, Kimmy Brooke and Loren Robin.  (more info on it is at http://www.SavvyNetworkMarketingWomen.com )

My colleague Richard Brooke summed up some key takeaways from that day with these astute insights:

  1.  Women Leaders are The Future.
  2. Women are Learners.
  3. Women Naturally Champion Each Other — more so than men.
  4. Live Streams are Cool.
  5. And his Wife, Kimmy Everett Brooke is “the Bomb.”  (True – I know!)

Richard trained on a really important concept, and his excellent article on that – “Listening Through Objections” – is here.

And, many days this week, I’ve caught Mark Januszewski’s excellent webinars promoting the Go90Grow training resource that’s recently opened up for its next session.  He honed in on a couple of key concepts and some simple recruiting language that I had never heard articulated so clearly — MORE specialized knowledge that I’ll be using.

More on that in another blog post . . .

Week 20 – Exploring Presence . . .

I was so inspired by the video TED talk that Mark recently posted by Amy Cuddy on the power of body language and the physical clues of confidence, that I went on Amazon and ordered her new book entitled “Presence – Bringing your BOLDEST SELF to your BIGGEST CHALLENGES.”

My wife “accidentally” clicked on Amazon’s Prime Shipping option a month ago, so now we’re signed up for that for this next year ($108.00 ?)  It does get us 2-day Free Shipping for every order – so Amy’s book ZIPPED to me, and now it’s in hand.

I’m really looking forward to exploring her new book and learning lots more about how I can bring more Presence to everything I do — AND how I can help others do the same!

 

 

Week 19 – Forgiving MYSELF & Forging AHEAD

As I continue to study “The Seven Laws of the Mind,” I focused in this week on the 4th law:

“The Law of Forgiveness:  To access the Divine and connect the subsconscious to the Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent Creator, we must forgive everyone and anyone to clear the channel.

“There can be no connection to the Diving mind where anger or resentment agains a brother or sister, justified or not, exists.”

And I concluded that “everyone” and  “anyone” ALSO includes ME — So I’m going to Forgive MYSELF!

I’m forgiving myself from being a “less than perfect student” in my MKMMA experience so far.  I’m forgiving myself for not nailing every exercise from every week on time and/or thoroughly.  I’m choosing to forge ahead imperfectly, and to continue to plug in and blog and keep connecting, observing and learning as best I can.

I listened carefully to the brilliant TED talk by Amy Cuddy* that Mark featured in his intro to Week 19, where Amy describes how her research on body language reveals that we CAN change other people’s perceptions – and even our OWN body chemistry – simply by changing body positions.  

And as brilliant as Amy presents herself in this TED talk, I was especially encouraged when she revealed her own challenges and frustrations with having to take several more years than her peers to finish up her degree requirements to graduate from college, and her huge lack of self-confidence as she forged into her graduate course work at Princeton (because she felt to unprepared and incompetent), and then . . .

Amy encountered a student in her class later on who was facing the same anxieties that Amy had had – in feeling like she “had no place being here.”  And Amy encouraged her, the same way Amy’s mentors had encouraged HER, years before, to muster more confidence, employ the empowering strategies of changing her own body positions, and participating in class in a positive, perceptive and empowered way!

I drew lots of lessons from all that — and it helps me to remember Og’s teaching that “I am God’s greatest creation!”

Onward!

*[Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are | TED …
Video for TED talk about nonverbal communication to one’s self▶ 21:02
>> https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_bod…TED
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. ]

 

Week 18 – Deeper Insights into The Hero’s Journey

I saw the new “STAR WARS – The Force Awakens” movie again last night, alone with 2 other people in a 300 seat IMAX 3-D theatre.  Wanted to see it there before it left the nearby IMAX screen, which it did today.  I felt it was a really smart investment of my time and $18.00!  (It’s taken in almost $2 Billion worldwide – so far!  And it cost about $200 Mllion to make.)

You may be as amazed as I was to see DOZENS of diagrams of “The Hero’s Journey” when you Google . . . The “Hero’s Journey diagram.  About 200 diagrams show up!

They’re all similar in structure to the diagram Mark’s been showing in our MKMMA lessons.  And it’s fascinating to realize that we are ALL somewhere along that path of the Hero’s Journey. Some accept “the call” to greatness – through accepting and even seeking change, engaging in new actions, attracting new “helpers” and knowledge and then applying ALL of that to create a new and better result.

Some of us refuse the call – or procrastinate (repeatedly?) in considering or accepting that call.

Considering HOW this all applies to the new Star Wars movie is instructive.  Many feel that the story structure of this movie is pretty darn similar to the original Star Wars movie story from 1977.  I agree.  Here’s how I think it all plays out in the new movie . . .

The KNOWN world is the desert plant, Jakku, where the scavenging female hero, Rey awaits the return of her family.  A story synopsis appears below, but here’s a short recap of the “elements” of the Hero’s Journey in this powerful and exciting movie . .

  1.  Rey and Finn and the new droid (carrying the star map of how to find the missing Luke Skywalker) all leave the Known World to travel into the Unknown when they make their escape from Jakku in the junked (but still capable) Millennium Falcon space ship.
  2. Helpers include ace pilot Poe, Fin, and then Han Solo and Chewbacca.  Later on the Yoda-like, super wise and Force-aware bar/cantina owner, Maz Kanata, provides insights, wisdom, Luke’s old light saber and inspiration to Rey – as she attempts to flee from an attack by The First Order troops and their evil leader, Kylo Ren.
  3. Rey and other key helpers forge through “the Abyss” of the destruction of Maz’s 1000-year old cantina/refuge and her kidnapping by Kylo Ren.  Many heroes and helpers cooperate in their efforts to safely deliver the special druid to General Liea, because she wants its map showing where to find her long-lost brother, the famous, powerful Jedi Knight, Luke Skywalker.
  4. Transformation happens when Kylo Ren kills his father, Han Solo in a bridge confrontation on Kylo’s Star Killer Base – and Rey steps into the new role of pilot and companion of Chewbacca on the Mellinium Falcon.
  5. The battle for Attonement comes with an attack by The Resistance on the Star Killer Base, with ace pilot Poe leading the mission to destroy it.
  6. Probably the “Gift of the Goddess” is both the successful leadership of General Liea and Kaz’s gift to Rey, via her companions, of Luke’s powerful light saber (which had also belonged to Luke’s father).
  7. The Return of the “Known” world becomes the arrival of Rey at the safe haven of General Liea’s Resistance Base.  And it’s from there, with the help of Chewbacca, that Rey sets out on her final quest (of THIS movie) to find Luke Skywalker – after a team effort by her s new, smart colleagues at the Resistance Base, to piece together the “big map” of where Luke has been hiding for a few decades.
  8. She successfully finds Luke at the very end, after a long heroic search

It’s an involved, fascinating and exciting Hero’s Journey!

If you want to read more about the powerful female hero that Rey portrays and it’s impact, here’s a blog about all of that, which I found fascinating:     

And here’s a helpful STORY REVIEW and access to a longer synopsis of the movie (more is posted at:   )  “The story begins thirty years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. The First Order has risen from the ashes of the Galactic Empire and is opposed by General Leia Organa and the Resistance, both of which seek to find the missing Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.

“In the midst of this search, new heroes rise in the form of Rey, a Force-sensitive scavenger from Jakku; Finn, a stormtrooper who defected from the First Order; and Poe Dameron, the best pilot in the Resistance. They are aided by Han Solo in their search for Skywalker and their mission to destroy the First Order’s new superweapon, Starkiller Base, which targets the New Republic and the Resistance for destruction.

“They are opposed by villains such as Kylo Ren, a dark warrior with a mysterious past; and General Hux, the commander of Starkiller Base. The film’s story will continue in Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX on December 15, 2017 and in 2019, respectively.”

Week 17HJ – The Virtue of COURAGE & Meeting the Challenge of a (Temporarily?) Closed Mind

One of my attempts at mustering the vital virtue of Courage met with the Closed Mind of a long-time friend this week.  I’ve known “Susan” for 20 years, and she prospected me for her “new” opportunity the other day to enroll under her with a 4 year old company that recently hit $1 Billion in cumulative sales with a very narrow product line in the skin care arena.

On her call to me, I mustered the courage to ASK HER a lot of questions, including about whether her company had a solid Customer Acquisition and Retention program in place that was working well.  That courageous question surprised her, and she fumbled for some sort of answer.  (Most companies don’t have ANY program in place for delighting and rewarding Customers.)

It’s a really important consideration these days — given this past year’s action by the FTC (US Federal Trade Commission) to close down and seize all the assets of Vemma, contending that they operated an “illegal pyramid scheme” — especially because the FTC felt that their ratio of their Customers to Distributors was very inadequate.

Bucking the strong odds against them (95% to only 5%), Vemma managed to reopen for business 6 weeks later, but only as direct sales company, essentially, with a newly and vastly discounted product line.  Virtually all of their leaders and most teams then left Vemma to seek better paying opportunities elsewhere.  See any lessons there?

Susan’s experience in MLM is solid – she’d earned over $200K a year with the company we both used to be with 18 years ago, and she’d had strong success in recent years with the jewelry company she’d joined 10 years ago.  But they changed owners along with the materials that their jewelry was made from, so she was annoyed (plus, her residual income there wasn’t solidly growing), and, without exploring any other options, she jumped at the enthusiastic prospecting efforts of her long-time lady friend, “Jane,” who has been out of network marketing for over 11 years, but was all “a gog” about 1 “new” product.  After a few follow-ups, Susan joined up with Jane, and started building anew right away under Jane . . .

So now, Susan is investing her credibility (and some money) and lots of time in a fairly young company, with strong sales, so far; but they have NO built-in Customer acquisition & retention program AND their product line is very narrow.  

If you’ve ever looked closely at the short list of network marketing companies which have reached $1 Billion in sales AND have then GROWN beyond that, they ALL have a fairly WIDE product line — which enables many more of their customers (and a slew of “fairly inactive” distributors) to remain interested and delighted with that company’s offerings, even if those folks aren’t building a biz with that company.

Think about this, cuz that LIST of big, long-term-success companies with over $1 Billion in annual sales includes:  Amway, Herbalife, Avon, NuSkin, Forever Living Products, Mary Kay, USANA, and Melaleuca.  NOTE that they ALL have a wide product line.  So, apparently THAT MATTERS a LOT.

But not to my friend, Susan.  At least not yet . . .

I know that her job in prospecting is to collect decisions, so I extended the speedy courtesy today of calling her back myself — to tell her “thanks, but no thanks.”  I told her that I respect and admire her and that I am concerned about her real ability to achieve what she says she WANTS (a long-term flow of passive, residual income, that grows and stays strong).

I could have ended the conversation there, but I risked riling her emotions . . . because I chose to muster the courage to point out to her (as gently as I could) that her new company’s very narrow product line and their lack of a viable Customer acquisition & retention program were potential signals that her desire to build strong and long with them could hit some serious obstacles.   I was walking now on thin ice . . .

We both knew that she hadn’t explored any other options but this one company that her friend, Jane, had invited her to join.  I reminded her that she had stronger leadership skills and more success experience than Jane, but even though she accepted my invitation to look at what I was currently doing, she insisted that she was “probably too invested right now” to reconsider the path that she was now on.

I understand.  Cuz for her to look more objectively at a different option would have required a LOT of new courage from her, which, we now see, she isn’t yet willing to muster/invest.  Here’s her (pretty speedy) text back to me this evening, after our chat late this afternoon:

“Art…. Thank you!! I came home, thought about ALL that you said to me, prayed and talked to (her husband) “Bruce!” I am not interested! It would be a waste of my time and energy to view what you sent esp since I have meetings tomorrow and Sunday with potential brand partners and a launch with a big networker on Tuesday! There is no need for further discussion! I respect you and I will pray for countless blessings with your business! Thank you for considering (my company)! Disappointed?? Never! I would not have been nor will I ever be in the disappointment of a ‘no’. Onward and upward! God bless you, my friend!!!😊. Hugs to you, too!!!”

I count 16 exclamation points there (= lots of emotional reaction, I sense).  I understand that my unexpected, audacious and (I thought) kind offer was too annoying for her to seriously consider at this time.  She’s telling me that she’s now refusing to access and review any educational resources about what I sincerely believe is a better, safer, and probably much more lucrative and long-term option for her.

So, I’ll tell her that “I understand” and that “I’ll be happy to help her down the road, if I can be of service to her later on.”

What else?  What would YOU do?  I’ll just keep the door open and move on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 17 – Get Well Organized . . . “Or ELSE!”

Whoa!  Attaining THIS virtue looks to be at least very time-consuming for me, if not rather tough.  But  . . .

It’s VERY important for me to do now, because not being Well Organized is probably costing me a fortune, since I waste time looking for things I need, and the info I want to use is scattered in too many places.

I’ve been “well organized” before – when I was younger – AND when I had less STUFF to deal with.  Now, there’s too much paper around my study and house.  And more books than ever before.  Sure, I’ve heard folks raving about a “paperless business world” – but I usually don’t like reading a lot of text on the computer.  Certainly, I don’t like reading lots of text on my PHONE.  So, I print things out.

I like to highlight almost everything I read – quickly and easily.  Plus, put notes in margins.  Easier to do that on paper, rather than on a screen.  But, I’m seeing there’s a price to that – so I gotta figure out a better system:  of prioritizing, of sorting, of filing AND of TRASHING.

Fortunately, on flipping open the cover page of my newest issue of The New Yorker magazine today, I saw a wonderful, colorful full page ad for Marie Kondo’s latest book “Spark Joy – an illustrated master class on the part of organizing and tidying up.”

It’s billed as the “Companion to the #1 New York Times best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”  It’s by this same author, and I read it some months ago. It was good.  Marie Kondo recommends a certain “correct order” for tidying up:

First, Clothes.  Next, Books.  Then Papers; then household stuff like cosmetics and bathroom grooming products – she calls these “Komono”.  Lastly, Sentimental items.

Whew!  I’ve got too many of each of those categories of things.  Plus, my wife does too.  I’m going to read this new book, “Spark Joy,” and then scan through Kondo’s first book, then encourage my wife to read them both too.  I’m betting she’d appreciate taking the important advice on all this via Kondo’s gentle and THIRD PARTY influential books – rather than from me.  Especially since I’m NOT an expert at this stuff yet – and Kondo IS!

I see others have accomplished tidying up.  I know others are much more well-organized then I am.  One of my goals is to have a Personal Assistant around a lot – so s/he can DO most of that tidying up and organizing for me — allowing me to do much more productive and income-producing activities.  THAT seems smart!

Marie Kondo asserts that if/when I declutter my home, I’ll be able to organize my world.

And I’m ALL for THAT!

I’m now much more “on the lookout” for how other successful and happy people achieve “sparking joy” by decluttering and becoming more well organized.  This will be a life-changing and challenging endeavor for me . . .

But I believe it’ll be WELL worth stepping up and achieving a tidier environment at home.

At least I know where everything is in our refrigerator, and I successfully purge out what should be gone from in there.  AND, the kitchen cupboards and drawers and utensil crocks are all well organized.  So is the freezer.  So, I’m encouraged to observe the start of my capabilities!  🙂

How about you?  Have you nailed this virtue yet?  If so, HOW?

 

 

 

Week 16 – KINDNESS

This week in our MKMMA Ben Franklin “Makeover,” we’re focusing on Kindness – both creating more of it in our personal lives and observing it more actively as we move through  the world.

This is a very interesting experience — because I found that when I focused my awareness on acts of kindness, I was more kind to others, performed more helpful tasks, and recognized many more acts of kindness in my family, with my neighbors, in my community and with interactions with my business colleagues.

This all relates, of course, to Og Mandino’s Scroll #2 on LOVE in “The Greatest Salesman in the World.”  Cuz if you’re going to be more Loving, you’re bound to be KINDER to almost everyone you interact with.  And THAT can have a lot of impact — because there are a few too many selfish jerks in the world, and sometimes they show up in my space too.

I’m being “kind” to myself this week too — in getting this blog post written and posted on THURSDAY, instead of around midnight on Fridays.  THAT’S usually rather stressful, so getting this blog out “early” is, for me, a remarkable achievement — so that relieves stress for me AND for my wife too.  Kindness.

One of the interesting areas of Kindness that I’m also observing (and trying to do more of myself) is LISTENING better.  I know that I honor others when I truly Listen to them, without an agenda, and without being preoccupied with figuring out what I’M going to say when they’re done speaking.  I’ve learned that when they’re done speaking, they usually really aren’t “DONE,” so I’ll often respond with simply, “Say more about that.” or “Fascinating.”

That surprises them.  And it draws them out more — so their communication becomes more complete.  AND, they like me for that act of Listening Kindness.  I’ve found that that’s unusual.

Another act of “kindness” I always do in whatever I WRITE is that I separate out my thoughts in PARAGRAPHS — which is nice for you, and everyone else who reads this.  It helps you read this piece faster, and it helps increase comprehension.  (It’s amazing that more people don’t paragraph more when they write, isn’t it?!)

What kindnesses have YOU seen this past week?  Or have you performed for others?

It makes a difference!   🙂

 

 

 

 

Week 15 – “Get ‘er Done” and DISCIPLINE . . .

In our MKMMA course this week, we’re starting to work through 13 weeks of sequential observation exercises using Ben Franklin’s famous list of 13 Virtues, which are needed by us all to increase our success.

Here they are – in no particular order:

  1. Discipline
  2. Kindness
  3. Self-Control
  4. Enthusiasm
  5. Courage
  6. Persistence
  7. Specialized Knowledge
  8. Imagination
  9. Decisiveness
  10. Well-Organized
  11. Taking Initiative
  12. Pleasing Personality
  13. and Kindness

And because Awareness is the beginning of change, and because “To have more, you must become more” (~ Jim Rohn), the process of becoming more Virtuous has huge benefits.

Since I need to change myself first, before I can hope to influence/inspire others to also change for the better, I focused this week on the virtue of Discipline – both observing how others exercise it, and how I do or don’t.   OMG . . .

There are SO many scattered people out there, not focused, not getting much done and, therefore, not creating much, if any, success.  I’m certainly inconsistent.  Sometimes I’m very disciplined. Other-times (too often?) I’m not nearly as disciplined as I’d like to be. I’m determined to change that – starting now and forging ahead into the future.

Quietly observing others around me more and more is really instructive – for ME. Just trying more to be increasingly AWARE lets me learn from the mistakes of others . . . AND from the few, great examples that my more successful friends and mentors demonstrate (almost continuously!

It’s both frustrating and inspiring.

A great, successful mentor of mine, Mark Yarnell, told me that his Dad always encouraged his son to live by 3 key sentences, made up of 6 words, 3 words and 2 words.  6 – 3 – 2 . . .

  1. Do ONE thing at a time
  2. Do it right.
  3. Finish it.

I applied THAT smart strategy to several tasks this week – and I got ‘em DONE.  There are a LOT more on my long list . . .