As networkers, it’s crucial that we listen carefully to our prospects’ wants, don’t-wants and needs as fundamental elements in forming each new business partnership. (Perhaps we should call what we do, “network listening.”)

During the enrollment process with a prospective associate, I always review the person’s dreams as clearly as I can. I then draw an imaginary circle on the table with my hands and point to these dreams as if they are sitting right in front of us. Then I reiterate my offer: “I will help you achieve that [quit their job, have more time with their family, or whatever it is] if you will help me expand my network by connecting with other people who also have dreams.”

Bumping Into “Why”

When I first became a professional networker, I was given countless chances to define my “why.” Everywhere I turned, someone else wanted me to hammer out my purpose for choosing this business model. I spent three days in San Diego with Dr. Denis Waitley, who is an expert in helping people discover their inner passions.

We went through numerous exercises, exquisitely crafted to help us “drill down” and identify our goals and desires. I began to feel an internal shift as my personal interpretation of the network marketing lifestyle began to take shape. In this business, defining what it is we are working toward is not an optional line item we can arbitrarily ignore. We must know where we are headed, both so we can steer our ship and so we can recognize the landscape when we’re getting close!

When I returned from the seminar, a fax was waiting for me. My upline mentor had sent me an exercise to help me identify my why.

I thought, Again?! Okay. Coachable new associate that I was, I reached inside one more time and answered each question to the best of my ability—and when I was finished, a huge light bulb went off in my head. I realized that it was only a matter of some time and effort before all of these dreams and goals became a reality. I began to feel my “why” moving toward me. It was suddenly real, albeit somewhat other-dimensional.

Drawing Your Dream Closer

Over the next few years, I continued to write long dissertations detailing my “why.” Many of us have been through this drill. Make it vivid, we are told. What are the smells, the feel of the air around you? Make it real!

After so many tireless hours of dream-building, I can now say quite plainly what it is that I have worked toward: to touch people’s lives, to travel and do sports on my own terms, and to leave a legacy for my children. I now rejoice in both the simplicity of my “why,” as well as in the manifestation of it.

Still, I have observed networkers follow after dreams that are so remote, there is no way to identify with them until they are tripping right over them. What if there were a scaled-down version of the Big Dream?

This summer, while kayaking around Lake Powell, I suddenly realized that I was closing in on the lifestyle of my dreams. I was flirting with my why. It is from this perspective that I want to urge you to begin drawing your dream toward you.

I know someone who is completely locked into his paid-by-the-hour day job. His dream is to walk away from the job he hates and build his own house. But since he rarely looks up to enjoy what life has to offer, I’m concerned that he may completely miss the step where he begins to manifest his dream by taking tiny tastes of it. Perhaps, if he were to take a weekend workshop in some aspect of home construction, he might get closer than he will by simply keeping his head down.

By contrast, one of my partners plans to sail around the world with her husband on her network marketing income. As part of their journey on the way to achieving that, they sail around the San Francisco Bay—getting closer to their dream with each whitecap they pass.

A Gradual Click

It does not serve us to hold our dreams at arm’s length until they are completely manifested. I think we need to live our why even just a little bit before it has come into full bloom.

If it is your dream to get a massage every week, start off once a month—and remind yourself that you are getting closer.

If it is your dream to donate $1000 per month to your charity of choice, smile as you give $100.

If you want a menagerie of exotic pets, go buy a turtle and name him something that affirms your ability to realize your dreams.

Many years ago, the Maharashi Mahesh Yogi (the founder of Transcendental Meditation) was asked if enlightenment comes gradually, or as a click. He responded, “It is a gradual click.”

I think it is the same way with realizing our why. Ease yourself into it. Let your vision of the network marketing lifestyle creep up on you. It’s not black and white, so go out and enjoy the gray.

You can energize your belief in your ability to craft this lifestyle-by-design by sidling up to your why. Make it real by living it one page at a time. If that is too ambitious, how about one paragraph at a time?

Flirt with your why! It might just flirt back.

ROSIE SPIEGEL is a speaker, author, 33-year veteran entrepreneur,
and professional network marketer. She is also the founder of Manifesting
Vision International, an organization dedicated to teaching professional networking
skills and providing leadership opportunities.