Do You Want to Fall in Love with Your Business?

I know you are thinking…. “why be in business, especially direct sales, if you don’t love your products and your company, right?”  Most of us get into direct sales because we fell in love with the product, not because it was “easy money”.

Several years ago, I wrote a blog post about “Parent Your Business” where I shared what I learned in a seminar with Caryn Chow.  She talked about the need to parent our business with the acronym meaning:

P = Patience

A = A lot of Love

R = Resilience

E = Endurance

N = Nurture

T = Time Out

During the month of February our theme is LOVE, in all areas of our life.

 

Today we are going to talk about how your business is much like a marriage or a relationship (if you aren’t married, there are still some good tips so keep reading). Not only do we need to PARENT our business but we sometimes we need to fall in love all over again.

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On a leadership call this past week, I was taken back to a time when I had a vision of my goals.  An emotional link to them.  As the story of my journey to leadership was shared, I remember the passion and the emotions tied with reaching the desired goal.

So, here is how your relationship with your direct selling business mirrors a marriage. You have a passion for the products and the company. You are committed for the long haul. You are emotionally attached to the vision and the people. BUT just like a marriage, it’s easy to take your eyes off what you fell in love – maybe the company changes their compensation plan, discontinues your best selling product or your team stops producing which effects YOUR paycheck.  Life happens and the road gets bumpy….

Some will jump ship to another company thinking the “grass is greener” on the other side. Others will continue a downward spiral until their sales are gone, their team is lost and they just quit.  Then there are those who desire to find the spark.  Those who want to ignite the passion in their business.  Those who want to cast their vision into the world and see what happens. Those who want to fight for their business, no holds barred.

Staying in love with your business requires the awareness and determination. How often take stock of how you ‘feel’ about your business?  Negative Nellie is a sneaky devil and she usually shows up when you least expect it.  When the shine begins to dim in your love affair with your business, it’s time to take intentional action.

Here are five things you can do to fall in love again:

  • Create a list of 100 reasons to be grateful for your company. I know it sounds like ALOT.  It is BUT if you push all the way to 100 – you will see something happen.  Believe it or not, the final 25 will be the ones which truly touch your heart.
  • Make a list of all the people who have come into your life through your business. No matter what your reason for joining a direct sales in the beginning, the “sisterhood” is what is a big part of why people remain with their company.  It is a blessing many of us never expected or thought of.  Take time to ponder what “the sisterhood” has added to your life.
  • Review the income you have earned.  Remember, you are in this to make money.  So make a list of all the things it has provided for your family or you were able to pay as a result of the income you earned.  Kids activities, credit card debt, school loans, household bills… get the picture?

  • Look around your home and notice all the places you find your products. Consider how they make your life and your family’s life better.  Remember you are a walking billboard of your business.

  • Make one more list, “How I have grown and changed through my business.”  This one is HUGE for me.

Take time, preferably an entire day, to appreciate your business. When you do, you will remember WHY you fell in love.  Then you will be able to count the many reasons to renew the love affair. You will be refreshed with a renewed passion and ready to get back to work!

My love affair with my business may waiver when Negative Nelly stops to visit.  BUT I am cashing my eyes on my vision and ready to put a plan in place.  What about you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How To Create a Spark In Your Team

Whether you are in direct sales or are a manager in a traditional job, sparking excitement in your team or staff can be tough?  As a County Coordinator and then a CFO with non-profits, it was sometimes tough to get staff to see the BIG picture.  It was difficult to get them to buy into my crazy ideas.  In direct sales, as leaders, we (or at least I do) struggle with motivating my team forward toward reaching their dreams and goals,

I love this Vision recipe shared by Lynn Bardowski, the Million Dollar Party Girl, which is:

Mix 1/3 purpose with 1/3 passion
Stir in 1/3 crazy idea
Blend well and let it marinate overnight
Mix in massive action
Once you get clear on your vision ask yourself two questions: What does it look like? and How will I make it happen?

Here are some tips from the Party Girl, herself…

Empower: Empower your team.  Encourage them to come up with ideas, action plans, goals and most importantly…solutions. When people feel like they contributed to something instead of just following orders, they’ll be more likely to take ownership and act on them.

Educate: It took me a long time to get this one right.  As a boss, I was more about telling people how and what to do instead of teaching.  I eventually learned, it didn’t matter how it got done as long as it got done.  In direct sales, it’s the same.  Provide your team with the training to help them achieve their goal. There are lots to trainings out there, you don’t have to have all of the answers.  Use Zoom or Facebook Live so you can influence more people.  “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” Just because you have been saying things for months, someone else may say it and the light bulb may go off and they think it is brilliant.

Delegate: This is when I usually hear crickets.  People lack confidence and as a result, don’t want to share.  I have been trying to delegate things to my team in the hopes of building confidence and increasing engagement which help them feel like they are part of the team. Believe it or not, the time you gain by giving up the reins will make up for the stress you feel as you let go. It will all work out. Trust me.  I have been there, and done that!

Recognize:  I love to send “happy mail”.  A way to recognize individuals for their effort, progress, and results. Did you know each generation reacts to praise/ recognition differently?  Millennials expect immediate recognition. Boomers might feel uncomfortable – and even embarrassed – by the attention. That’s me!  A great rule of thumb is safety in numbers when you’re giving praise.

Communicate:  I am are you have heard it a million times… “The key to being a great communicator is to be a great listener”.   To build stronger relationships with you need to be willing to listen to their struggles, and their triumphs.

I have learned to meet my team where they are, and not where I want them to be.  There are many ways people learn so you may need to use a variety of channels to communicate: Facebook messenger, live video chat, voice message, text, postcards and in-person coffee meet-ups.  Don’t forget about GIFs and stickers, which are fun ways to communicate an emotion.

Appreciate: Feeling appreciated is a human need…which makes it a much higher form of gratitude than recognition. [Source: Huffington Post]

Happy mail to me is a great (inexpensive) way to show my gratitude and let people know how much I value them on the team. I send happy mail to my customers too.  It not only helps you to stand out in the crowd BUT it lets people know you care.

Evaluate: We have all done it.  Waited until the middle or the end of the month, to see where we are on our personal goals as well as those of a team member.  Checking in weekly, helps everyone to make a plan to reach their goal.  I share my numbers with my team to let them know I am a consultant just like they are.  I am hopefully showing them how to take risks with new ideas, embrace bumps in the road and the idea of working together so we all are successful.

Discover: Look for the hidden gems on your team. Get to know Consultants who were sponsored by others – their dreams, their goals and help them make a plan to reach them. Believe it or not, they might just be your next super star.

This holiday season is a perfect time to spark some interest….What are your best tips?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Does Anyone Appreciate All I Do?  

Thank you Proverbs31 and GLYNNIS WHITWER for today’s blog.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 (NIV)

After finishing a big project at work, I was pretty proud of myself. Although most of my part had been behind the scenes, I hoped someone had noticed. The next few days, I checked and rechecked my emails and texts, waiting for an “atta girl” or “well done” message. But none came.

While I was slightly disappointed, I didn’t make a big deal of it … that was until another person in the organization completed one small task as part of my bigger project and was praised effusively.

Although I joined my thanks in the responses, my heart became very sad when my name wasn’t mentioned.

The lack of notice hurt more than it should have. And over the next few weeks, my feelings got hurt with increased intensity, and I began to wonder if anyone appreciated all I do for them. It started at work but spread to home.

When my kids left shoes in the living room I’d just picked up, or my husband didn’t say thank you for dinner, the hurt grew.

When I finally broke down in tears one afternoon, I realized something had gotten mixed up. Why did my heart get bent out of shape when I didn’t get the praise and acknowledgement I thought I deserved?

As I took some time to think this through, it seemed like somewhere over the previous months, my desire to serve my Savior was overshadowed by a desire for approval from others.

Jesus taught on this very topic in Matthew 5 and 6. He gathered His disciples for a lesson on life in His Kingdom, which was radically different from the dusty streets of Galilee they knew. In this world, we do look to others for approval. But it’s very different in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus wanted His disciples to understand an important truth: God is always watching. Whether our work is on a public stage or done in the quietness of our homes, God sees. And when we do things with a heart to serve Him, He rewards us with His pleasure.

However, when we work with impure motives or just to gain others’ approval, that is our reward … temporary and superficial.

It seems our heart motive makes the difference. Jesus cut right to the core issue in Matthew 6:1: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (NIV).

The Jews were all about parading their righteousness in public hoping to be noticed, including praying with great spectacle. Jesus addressed that specific issue in our key verse, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

Jesus wasn’t saying don’t ever pray out loud; He was giving us the key to break our desperate need for approval. According to Jesus, we receive God’s approval in the secret places, when no one else knows what we’ve done.

As I looked back over that time when my feelings were hurt consistently, I realized I hadn’t spent much time in secret places with God. I hadn’t sought His approval.

I managed to read a few Bible verses before bed and whisper a few prayers during the day. But the truth was I’d neglected time with my Heavenly Father. I’d exchanged His whispers of approval for the inconsistent and fulfilling approval from people.

I needed to get alone with God, quiet the world’s feedback, so I could hear His voice.

And when I did, I realized that one word of approval from God is worth more than a hundred “atta-girl” comments.

The next time disappointment creeps up when I’m overlooked, or I think, “Why not me?” — I’ll see it as a little warning. It’s my reminder to go back to that secret place. To spend time with God alone.

That’s where I’ll get the acceptance my heart really wants.