It could have been the emotional climax in a movie or novel. Yet it is true.

Feeding tubes and oxygen lines snaked out of Susan’s arm and nose. Looking at her friend, she said, “I’m dying now.” It was said with the intuitive knowledge from her long struggle and body’s waning resistance. The reply from her friend amazed me. She asked, “Are you afraid?”

For me, that brief exchange was an example of how I aspire to be: courageous enough to express my truth and strong enough to hear the truth. And then respond directly and compassionately.

I think that scene offers lessons for network marketers. Most people in this profession have at some point encountered a situation where they felt like they’d been hit with a ton of wet sand.

At that moment, your brain asks some lightening fast questions.

Is this the right profession for me? What will I need to learn and do if I continue? If I quit, am I a coward whose knees will buckle the next time I am faced with hard choices? Do I dare risk asking for help, support or coaching? I thought I had what it takes, but do I really?

Those disturbing and challenging considerations are the foundation for four key questions: What is true for me? What do I really want? Why do I want it? And what am I willing to do to make it happen? It takes courage to repeatedly face these questions.

Your answers to these questions evolve through life. Awareness of those changing responses keeps you feeling alive and vibrant.

The willingness to grapple with these questions will clarify your life purpose. How you go about responding to these questions both reflects and shapes your character.

Whenever I work with someone to overcome their fear to take action, I have tremendous respect for their willingness to face the demons lurking in their subconscious closet. These people may not feel brave when they say, “I want to get over this fear.” But in that moment, they are heroic to me.

Network marketing may be the only profession that places such a premium on learning business skills, relationship skills, coaching skills and personal growth skills. You have done your share of forced educational requirements, but it’s all electives now. Successful networkers embrace continuing education because it will help them answer the four critical questions about themselves. And it will build your success from the inside out.

Ongoing education enables you to shift away from ineffective patterns. New behaviors unfold and some fears melt away. Education is the grease that gets the cogs moving again. You benefit—heart, mind and soul—and your growth becomes inspirational for your downline.

Everybody wins, and that is the real heart of network marketing.

PETER PEARSON, Ph.D. is on the faculty of Networking University.