Find Your Passion
You cannot be inspiring unless you're inspired. —Mary Christensen
Direct selling is a personal growth business. Most of us are drawn to it because we want to improve our lives. Some of us dream of the financial freedom to do anything we want for the rest of our life, without counting the cost. Others dream of traveling the world, owning a ski lodge in the mountains, or sending our children to the best schools. The only limit to our dreams is our imagination.
Whether your dreams are financial, social, educational, or emotional, keep them alive with images on your screensaver or dream board. But focus your attention on the present.
The drawback to dreams is they have no time limit. When there's no deadline it's tempting to postpone taking action today. That's why we set goals.
Goals are the stepping-stones to our dreams. Each goal we achieve takes us one step closer to the lifestyle we dream about. However, each goal is also a destination in itself, one we can reach in a fairly short time. Whether it's paying a bill, buying a boat, taking a vacation, or eliminating debt, the maximum time frame for a goal should be twelve months.
Goals have an urgency that powers us forward, despite any doubts, disappointments, or distractions we encounter along the way. They stop us becoming discouraged or defeated when things don't go according to plan. They give us the strength to get back on our feet and back in the game after a knockdown.
As a leader you'll inspire many people to reach for their goals, but it starts with you. A goal you feel passionate about is the first step toward becoming an elite leader. You can always learn skills. The fire that will take you to the top comes from within.
WHEN THE FIRE GOES OUT
A few years ago, the owner of a direct selling company contacted me with a problem. His business had leveled off, and he invited me to his annual Leadership Retreat to remotivate his leaders.
Because the retreat was at an exotic destination I was excited to go, and I was even more excited when I arrived. One of the benefits of a direct selling business is visiting stunning locations, and the retreat was held in a luxury resort.
When we got down to business I asked all the leaders to share their goals for the year ahead. Most of the goals seemed uninspiring, and many of the leaders struggled to come up with any real goal. Over and over they repeated the same goal: "My goal is to help my team grow."
Helping others grow is not a goal. It's a strategy. Helping others achieve their goals is how we achieve our goals. We get what we want by helping others get what they want.
Everyone listened politely as each leader took her turn to speak. There was little of the energy and excitement that's the norm in a room of direct sellers.
I invited the most senior leader to share her goal, hoping she would step up and set an example. But her only response was to wave toward the others and say, "My only goal is to help all of you. That's what I'm here to learn."
Problem identified. This top leader's fire was extinguished, and her lack of inspiration was influencing the entire leadership group. No wonder the company was flatlining.
I knew what she was earning. The luxury car parked in front of the hotel had her name on its plates, and she was traveling the world on company-paid vacations. This leader was enjoying all the rewards that go with being the highest-paid leader in the company. But she had lost her fire.
When I asked for a personal goal she repeated the same message: "I honestly have everything I want. My goal is helping my leaders grow."
Somehow I had to dismantle the blockade of indifference that was choking the life out of the company. I tried coaxing her to share something a little more personal. After some thought, the best she could come up with was, "I need to do something about our backyard."
It didn't sound inspiring, but it was all I had to work with so I seized on it. "What will you do?"
"Well, we have a ranch-style house that's surrounded by woods."
One of her leaders chipped in, "It's amazing," and everyone agreed.
This leader had all the tangible rewards that money can buy. But we were still going nowhere fast.
"Tell me about your yard," I invited.
"We need to do some landscaping."
"Have you thought about what you'll do?"
She shrugged. "I guess I would like to make the patio area bigger. Maybe extend it the entire length of the house."
We were starting to make progress.
"Sounds great," I encouraged.
That's when I saw the first flicker of light in her eyes. "What I'd really like to do is replace all the windows with French doors so we could walk out onto the patio from any room in the house."
I was starting to picture the patio. "That would be fabulous," I said. Who wouldn't want to step outdoors onto a sunny patio from any room in the house?
The flicker in her eyes sparked as her goal took shape.
"And I want an outdoor kitchen-the full works. A barbecue, and a fire pit so we could entertain all year ..."
The spark was becoming a flame. "And a huge countertop so we could prepare everything outdoors."
The atmosphere in the room was heating up. Now there was no stopping her.
"And a pizza oven. If we had a pizza oven we could hold pizza parties."
I could feel it. Everyone could feel it. Smoldering embers, the aroma of baking pizza, good times ...
"We could hold our team meetings outside."
The room was on fire. Everyone was transported to the patio and everyone was inspired.
We were establishing the first rule of direct selling leadership: To be an inspiring leader, you must be inspired.
We should always be grateful for what we have, but leaders can never become complacent. When you're excited by your goals, your excitement fuels the fire in others. Leaders are inspiring because they're inspired!
Once we unlocked the gate, the goals started to flow. Every leader wanted another chance to share her goal. Some made us sad. We learned about a family in debt, a husband desperate to quit his job. Some made us laugh. A guilt-free shopping spree!
It was emotional and exciting, and it set the scene for the training that followed. My goal that weekend was to restart the company's growth, and my reward was receiving feedback that the company was back on the move.
One of your greatest joys will be helping others set and achieve their goals, but you can never lose your passion for setting and achieving your own.
SEVEN STEPS TO FINDING THE RIGHT GOAL
These steps will help you find a goal worthy of the time and energy you'll put into achieving it.
Choose a goal that makes your heart leap. Small goals will not inspire either you or the people looking to you for inspiration. If you don't feel an immediate, emotional reaction to the goal you've chosen, dig deeper until you find one that does light your fire.
If your goal doesn't immediately come to mind, these questions will help you find it:
* If I could make one personal wish come true, what would it be?
* How different would my life be if I had no credit card debt?
* Am I driving the car I deserve or the car I can afford?
* If I had $10,000 in the bank today, what would I buy with it?
* If I won a vacation anywhere in the world, where would I go?(Continues…)