After 13 years of working around the clock in the Dallas real estate market, Kathy Aaron was financially secure—and nearly burned out.

“I had lost touch with my life,” recalls Kathy. “I thought, ‘There’s got to be a better way to live.’”

For her first vacation since she entered real estate, Kathy decided to go to Yellowstone National Park for two weeks and reflect—no phone, no schedule, no contact with the outside world.

“While I was there, I realized that I was living for everyone else’s reasons and not for my own. When I came back from that vacation, I was very disturbed: I knew I had opened Pandora’s Box. I’d discovered something I simply had to pursue: my future.”

Kathy felt particularly anxious and even a little desperate to make a change, because she intuitively sensed that unless she did something drastic, she would fall back inevitably into the old routine. With her children off to college, Kathy felt she could take some chances, maybe try something new, but she didn’t know what.

A week later, Kathy got a call from her former business associate Doug—the one who had been calling her about his network marketing company every week for 18 months. She had known him as a builder for years, but he’d gone bankrupt.

“To tell the truth, I’d been feeling sorry for him, that he had to resort to this!”

This time, instead of politely refusing or avoiding his calls, she listened. Despite her skepticism, Kathy couldn’t help thinking that just maybe networking was the kind of alternative she needed. Doug proposed that she join him at the next national event.

“That was his carrot,” Kathy says. “I could go to this event, see it for myself, and then I could tell him ‘No’ and be done with it.”

 

Full Speed Ahead

Contrary to her expectations, Kathy was utterly blown away by what she saw and heard at the convention. She felt her skepticism dissolve as she listened to people’s stories, and in talking about the business with some of the more
successful people there, Kathy realized she could do it—and probably quite well. On the plane trip home, she made the decision to resign from real estate and jump into networking with both feet.

“It was a calculated risk,” she explains. “I knew if I didn’t simply walk away from all the business I had in the works, it would suck me back in. It was a crucial part of the journey for me, knowing that there was no turning back. There was nothing tentative about it: I was full speed ahead. My first month in business, I made $9000.”

Kathy went on to reach the top level in several companies, driven in part by the ridicule she faced from people who didn’t understand her choice. The criticism just made her that much more determined.

“I made a commitment that I would succeed no matter what! As Les Brown says, ‘It’s not over until you win.’ That was my attitude.”

At the same time, Kathy says with the benefit of hindsight, not all companies are created equal. She joined her first company without considering other options. It was only over time, as she acquired more knowledge about the profession, that she learned how to distinguish solid companies from weak ones.

“It’s so important to believe in the products you market, and not to overlook quality in the excitement of exploring new possibilities.” Barring that mistake, she says, “If you believe you are capable of doing more and could get your arms around the right vehicle and take it to the top, you can do that in the network marketing profession.”

 

A Lifestyle of Freedom

Now Kathy’s goal is to set a company record
for the greatest number of people in her organization earning $100,000 or more in annual income. She envisions teams of people who are financially free.

One way that she fosters team-building to further this goal is by holding retreats for her group. She recently bought her dream property, 80 acres in Montana surrounded by 100,000 acres of national forest land. Near her house, she built a 4000-square foot training and retreat
center.

“It’s a true recreational paradise,” she says. “The land is absolutely gorgeous; there’s cross-country skiing, hiking, fishing and horseback riding. I love to have people come, have a great time, and see what it is they’re working toward, especially new associates—they see that this is possible.”

What they see is someone living exactly where she wants to live and working exactly where she wants to work—wherever she happens to be, but preferably sitting on her deck in the morning with a view of iron-rich Red Mountain (so named because it literally gleams red when the sun shines on it).

“I think people who can enjoy this kind of lifestyle are going to live a healthier life,” Kathy says. “Coming from an industry where I had no freedom, this is just a joy to me.”

Providing this environment for team members is also an integral part of the life purpose Kathy found in networking: to help people bring out their talents and find their own purposes in life. She sees network marketing as a support structure for that quest.

“I think personal development is more important than anything else we do,” she declares. “Network marketing is a way people can implement that into their business. It’s a great marriage. We often say that, ‘Life is the journey—
not the destination.’ I try to make every day count.”

 

 

 

Uma Outka is a contributing writer
for Networking Times.