As professional networkers, we cherish the idea of freedom, yet we often confine that idea to dimensions of time and finance. In this column, the top networkers in our industry guide you to an even greater freedom available to you right now—personal freedom—by sharing how they live the principles of the Revolutionary Agreements: Truth, Acceptance and Gratitude.

In this issue, we focus on Truth Agreement #3: “I agree to look within when I react.”

For Paul Basile, “looking within” means finding his own inner strength. For Michael Oliver, it means discovering that practicing what he preaches really works! And for Shannon Anima, it means going deep within to free herself from the stress of judging others.

Starting Over

Paul Basile faced insurmountable challenges, including a job in a declining business and a gravely ill wife. He finally left his job to be with his wife; she died four weeks later. He had every right to feel angry, frustrated and hurt. Instead, he looked inward.

“I needed strength to find the courage to start a new life,” says Paul. “I looked within to find the support, caring and opportunities I have within my world. It’s a big place; I am not alone. None of us is.”

Paul picked himself up, started his own business, wrote a book and eventually married a “wonderful, remarkable woman.”

“Outside pressures, influences and events may seem to dominate our lives,” says Paul, “but from within I find strength and the power to build relationships that help me through the rough times. I am a lucky guy.”


Practicing What He Preaches

Anyone who’s heard success trainer Michael Oliver share his wisdom in “Natural Selling” hears an easygoing, introspective man who gently imparts how to identify, question and change beliefs that hold us back. Acknowledging that we often teach what we need to learn, he recalls his early days of training, when his innovative selling approach faced resistance.

“Many distributors were extremely resistant to my ideas,” says Michael. “They were entrenched in their present views, even though they weren’t working for most of them! I felt frustrated and angry at those who might cause others to fail by their unwillingness to change.”

Later, Michael’s training and certification as an instructor with Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success taught him how to let go of his need to be upset.

“I realized I was as entrenched in my views as they were in theirs! After all my training in the value of understanding and accepting other viewpoints, it was eye-opening to realize that what I really wanted was for everyone to see it my way.”

Recognizing that his emotional response came from deep-down conditioning, he let go of the need.

“I teach people that real success comes from within, and I got to practice it,” said Michael. “Once I realized that the anger I was feeling was at my own inability to let go of ‘being right,’ my tension and frustration disappeared. It allowed me to become the calm person I am today.”

Michael Oliver teaches how to get anything you want by letting go of anything you want —and it works for him, too.


Mirror of Freedom

Shannon Anima has reached a level of financial success most dream of—yet her view of others who had attained similar financial freedom was not always kind.

“I was turned off by the images of sleek people in red sports cars splashed all over the advertising. Secretly, I thought my best girlfriend was signing her soul over to the devil by joining up with a network marketing company that tried to tempt prospects with pretty cars and pretty people.”

When tragedy hit Shannon’s health (and pocketbook), her friend took her into her exquisite new home (“complete with waterfall and ocean view”) and offered her the health products whose marketing had provided her this new wealth. Shannon accepted and when she experienced a rapid recovery in her health, decided to find out why.

“Despite my smug sense of moral righteousness,” admits Shannon, “I found incredible integrity in the science, the management of the company and the distributors. To my surprise, they were pretty much like me, with dreams and hopes and a genuine interest in everyone’s health and well-being.”

Shannon began her networking business with a certain humility. “I had condemned the graphic representations of people’s dreams,” she recalls. “But I started the business with dreams as well, dreams that money could buy: to provide my family with these nutritionals, to buy a more reliable car, own my own house again, save for my children’s education, donate to the Children’s Hunger Fund, and ultimately to take my family to Europe. These all took money just as much as someone else’s dream of owning a red sports car.”

Since that time, Shannon made a pact with herself to look within when she reacts.

“There are times I find myself irritated and unwilling to pick up my phone when that whiney downline person calls to tell me all the reasons the business isn’t working,” says Shannon. “Less than 24 hours later, I will find myself whining about something! I love the mirror this business offers. When I catch myself reacting to someone or something in my business with criticism or condemnation, I can look within to find that part of myself I’m condemning, or that needs more loving and growing.

“We can’t always choose our circumstances, and we certainly can’t choose someone else’s reactions,” Shannon adds, “but we can always choose our own reactions. In this choice, in this pause to look within, there is a moment of freedom.”

And that is a moment that can grow into a lifetime.

MARIAN HEAD is a network
marketing leader, Contributing Editor to
Networking Times
and author of
Revolutionary Agreements: Twelve Ways to
Transform Stress and Struggle Into Freedom and Joy.