I continue to work with the materials I have, the materials I am made of.
With feelings, beings, books and events, I am omnivorous.
I would like to swallow the whole earth.
I would like to drink the whole sea. — Pablo Naruda, 1974

These words from the magnificent Chilean poet, Pablo Naruda, have always called to my soul. I became a teacher at age 19 to share my passionate love of learning with others. For nearly 20 years, I taught in classrooms from kindergarten to university, served as principal and then school counselor. When I wasn’t teaching (or adventuring through the mountains, rivers and oceans of the world), I was taking courses, reading and soaking up any wisdom and experience I could. Eventually I had several degrees—and lots of student loans.

After a positive experience with some nutraceutical products, I became an “accidental networker,” enthusiastically recommending the products to others. With a little encouragement, I decided to sign on, read my company manual, made a list of 200 names and…then what? My upline were off enjoying their residual income, living lives of travel and meditation. I needed help.

So I embarked on an extensive educational safari. Every tape series fed me new ideas to try; each weekend seminar provided motivation to fuel the next advancement. Every book I read was amply highlighted, then lent to downline or excerpted to newsletters. Whenever my business plateaued, I’d take another seminar. Fast and fun—and I was finally paying off those student loans!

I’ve observed that those in my downline who advance in the business are those who take courses, listen to CDs, get onto conference calls and attend conventions for educational upgrades. Of these, a small portion are “perpetual students” who never act on their new knowledge. If you are one of this esteemed group, don’t despair—just commit to taking action on one idea from your latest book or seminar. One action daily will pay your Amazon.com bills and more!

Last month, I committed to a year-long educational program. I confess I was not only excited when the 50-pound box of CDs and books arrived at my door, but a bit daunted, too. However, while you can take the teacher out of the classroom, you can’t seem to make her retire—and I have been sharing my CDs, books and knowledge with my downline, my crossline and my children. I play motivational CDs while chauffeuring the kids to swimming lessons, send out new ideas in e-mails, recommend books to friends, and invite my dearest on my seminar excursions.

Even better than just being omnivorous is being omnivorous and sharing the feast!  

SHANNON ANIMA, M.A., B.Ed. is a network marketer,
author and founder of the Million Blessings
Foundation (www.millionblessings.com),

a not-for-profit organization created to raise
awareness and money for children’s safety and healing.