More than one self-help guru over the past century has espoused the philosophy, ďThe past does not predict the future,Ē as this statement relates to our behaviors and results. Itís a nice thought: people can change and be better tomorrow than they are today. True enough. Still, letís have a reality check.

The past usually DOES predict the future!

A person who is successful early in life will usually be successful later in life. A person who is filled with a million excuses for his lack of success typically will continue that pattern.

People, for the most part, are predictable. Most people curl up in a comfort zone and live there all of their lives. A very small percentage of people break out of their old habits and become champions.

Is it possible? Absolutely. But itís rare.

My purpose here is not to be negative. Iím a strong believer in positive thinking, but Iím an even bigger believer in critical thinking. Critical thinking tells us that most people will die with their music still inside them. Keeping this in mind will save you time and money building your networking business.

Having trained thousands of network marketing professionals over the years, Iíve found that one of networkersí greatest weaknesses is sponsoring mediocre performers and trying to turn them into champions.

Again, itís a nice ideaóand perhaps one out of 100 will make it. The rest will consume your calendar and drive you nuts.

The solution is to focus on people who have had success in the past; the more, the better. Chances are, their past success will predict their future success.

Itís all about confidence, behavior, and action. Nine out of 10 of these people will build a successful organization if you will lead them like the thoroughbreds they are. These people donít need to be motivated, they need only to be guided from point A to point B. You donít have to talk champions into wanting to win. Theyíll do that on their own. They simply need direction.

With a handful of champions in your front line, youíll be leading a serious organization of winners, as opposed to a group of whiners waiting for their groups to make them successful.

Hereís what to look for in a prospectís past that will help you predict his or her future:


What kind of attitude does he have about his current line of work? This information will go a long way in predicting what attitude he will bring to your organization when the excitement wears off and times get tough. Here is the critical thinking question to ask yourself: ďIs this the attitude I want from a major leader in my organization?Ē


How does she view the world? What is her philosophy of life and living? Does she see networking as a way to get rich, or as a way of enriching her life and the lives of others? Remember what James Allen said over 100 years ago in As a Man Thinketh: ďWe donít attract what we want, we attract what we are.Ē Do you want a leg full of people with this personís worldview? How she communicates her worldview of the past will tell you a lot about her worldview of the future.


What does the prospect believe about networking? What does he believe about being in business for himself? Have his beliefs changed over the years? Beliefs dictate behavior and behavior dictates results. If someone has achieved limited success in the past, check to see if his beliefs have evolved; if not, you can expect limited success in his future.


Most big achievers possess healthy egos, which can be a two-edged sword. Investigate her past results and you will have a good idea as to whether her ego helped her climb to the topóor kept her from getting there. Ego-driven performers tend to act as lone wolves and can be very difficult to coach.

Seek out the achiever who is driven more from spirit than from ego. You can easily make this distinction simply by having a short conversation with her on a typical day. The language we use reveals our level of consciousness; an overblown ego is one of the easiest mindsets to identify in conversation.


Great achievers come in two forms: The ambitious performer with a solid character, and the ambitious performer who wins at any cost. Find out what your prospects have valued in the past by asking probing questions.

Peopleís values rarely change. Chances are, if someone is both caring and successful, they will continue to be that way in the future. On the flip side, sponsoring a ruthless businessperson who values only success may cause you and your organization nothing but heartache. Decide what values you are looking for in a partner, then go with your gut.

After working with networkers all over the world, Iíve come to one conclusion: they are the nicest group of people on the planet. Most of the time, thatís a good thing, but hereís the exception: if you are willing to sponsor and seek to reform the mediocre performer over and over again, that willingness will prevent you from achieving your dream for you and your family.

Build your business first. Save the world later.


STEVE SEIBOLD is co-founder
of the Gove-Siebold Group, a training organization that helps networkers develop world-class
communication skills.