Clearly there is a place for rationalism.
As a company executive you already know your business lives or dies by your
ability and willingness to plan its future. It is imperative you define
your mission, examine your business environment, plan your objectives and
put your plan into action.
There is a time to take a cold hard look at reality, focus on the market
and achieve clarity on how you stack up against the competition. With
so many millions of dollars on the table and with so many people who will
catch your vision and look to you for leadership, you need to know what
Passion is Imperative
I realize that passion is no substitute for business acumen. It can't
replace principles, purpose or product savvy. But where passion matters,
nothing else will take its place - not intellect, not experience, not
opportunity - nada, zip, zero.
Tom Peters, the author of the best-selling business book, "In Search
of Excellence," noted that "Nothing good or great can be done
in the absence of enthusiasm." You can know everything about your
industry - buyer perception, package appeal, pricing, promotion and the
environmental impact of the product. This is all good stuff to know, but
if you don't love what you're doing, it's just a job. And you're just
another capitalist out trying to make a buck.
I guess there's nothing technically wrong with making money without passion
any more than there is anything technically wrong with two people being
married and never enjoying each other. It's not like a crime has been
committed or some creed has been transgressed. Life is just less than
it could and should be. If that's not wrong, it's at least sad.
You can teach a kid to throw a baseball, but you can't teach them to
love the sport. People can be taught to play the piano, but they cannot
be taught to love music. Yes, the business has to be in your brain, but
it's got to be in your bones and blood as well. A warrior's heart and
a will to win makes the difference between companies which score big time
and those which just endure. So call it soul, call it zeal, call it what
you will, at some point in this business, you gotta get hot!
Over the years, I've seen people start multilevel marketing companies
with not much more than a burning desire to succeed. They were not naturals.
They were not educated in the industry. They knew next to nothing about
direct sales. But, they had a passion for their business concept, mission
and product. That passion carried them until they did become proficient
in the other areas.
Passion empowers you to discipline yourself, stay focused, and defer
other pleasures until your dream comes true. In fact, your entrepreneurial
dream is your pleasure, your profession, your pastime. And when somebody
asks what you do, you can look 'em in the eye and brag about your business
like it was the Hope Diamond, the Holy Grail, and the Mona Lisa all in
one - the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Have a Purpose
A sailor was leaning on the deck rail when a shipmate stuck his head
through the hatch and hollered, "The ship is sinking!" The sailor
shrugged his shoulders and muttered, "So what? It's not my ship."
As annoying as they can be sometimes, I'd rather put up with someone
who gets a little too hyper once in a while than a person whose outlook
on life is, "So what?" There's nothing much more pathetic than
a person without purpose, passion, or preference. With nothing to do,
no place to go - and the rest of his or her life to get there.
Bertrand Russel, a prominent 20th century philosopher and social critic,
wrote, "The continuity of purpose is one of the most essential ingredients
of happiness." Beyond a need for food and shelter, security and love,
we require a reason for living.
It doesn't have to be grandiose or global, but it must be something significant.
Our lives must be intentional. We're not here to just take up space.
An interesting aspect of human nature is that we're never more alive
than when caught up in a cause that is greater than we are. It is absolute
being - our minds molded and our senses sharpened with a sense of mission.
As someone said, "The only true happiness comes from squandering
ourselves for a worthwhile purpose."
Associate with Passionate People
We tend to reflect our relationships. If your goal is to live with passion
and principle, then your closest associates should be passionate and principled
people. Their energetic, upbeat approach to life is contagious.
As a corporate executive, you should seek out corporate owners who are
already on track with the type of success you want. How do you meet them?
Join the Multi-Level Marketing International Association (MLMIA) and Direct
Sales Association (DSA), your industry's two trade associations and attend
their corporate conferences. Attend other regular events like "The
Entrepreneur Series" and "Starting and Running the Successful
When you meet someone who seems genuinely good, strong, confident, and
has attained the success you desire, make an effort to cultivate a relationship.
People with these characteristics are the kind of people you want in your
You just can't be around positive people very long before their optimism
starts to rub off. These winners in life will enhance your own efforts
to become a vital, healthy, happy human being and a successful entrepreneur.
Passion is a Choice
It was an early Monday morning and Adrian lay in bed with the covers
pulled up over his face. His mother came into his room and said, "Alright,
it's time to get up and get ready for school."
| From under the sheets Adrian muttered,
"No ma' I don't wanna go to school."
| His mother pulled back the blankets and
scolded, "Adrian, we go through this every Monday morning.
You know you've got to go to school."
| Tugging at the bedding Adrian whined "No
ma' I ain't going."
| Her patience wearing thin, his mother
commanded, "Adrian, you are going. Now get up before I have
to spank you!"
| "Ma?" Adrian sniveled.
| "Yes, Adrian?"
| "Tell me one good reason why I should
go to school."
| "Well to start with, you're the principal."
Being an MLM executive will be frustrating and stressful at times. Face
it, you will not always feel like you're full of fire and fortitude. Like
any other normal human being, you'll have days when your passion is running
low. Days when Murphy's Law is in full force. Everything that can go wrong
will go wrong - and then some.
If your attitude is founded on nothing but feeling, you will always be
subject to the ebb and flow of human emotion.
That's why you must choose - make a cold calculated decision to be a
passionate, pro-active person. No matter your genetic predisposition.
No matter your childhood environment. No matter your present circumstances.
In the same way that any philosophy is a life choice, living with passion
is a lifestyle selection. You choose to be passionate in the same logical
manner that you choose a software solution, convention location or product
position. You think it through, compare your options, examine the outcome
and calmly conclude, "My life and the lives of the people I care
about will be better if I am upbeat and positive."
With rational intent you determine, "Certain attitudes and behaviors
will effect my happiness. I will identify those attitudes and behaviors
and produce them." It all sounds pretty left-brained huh? Still,
that's what it comes down to though.
Michael L. Sheffield is the CEO of Sheffield Resource
Network, a full-service direct sales and multi level marketing (MLM)
consulting firm. He is also cofounder and chairman of the Multi Level
Marketing International Association (MLMIA). He and the Sheffield team
have assisted in hundreds of national and international MLM corporate
start-ups as well as offered a full line of services for established
direct sales companies. As the most noted expert on compensation plans,
he has been a guest lecturer for the DSA, University of Illinois, University
of Texas, Berkeley and Harvard Alumni Association. He has helped launch
over 200 new products marketed by direct selling companies around the
globe. He can be contacted at 480-968-6199 - 1805 N. Scottsdale Road,
Suite 7, Tempe, AZ. 85281 website address: www.sheffieldnet.com.
(Reprinted by permission)