A registered nurse with a specialty in pediatric intensive care, Dr. Daria Davidson decided in 1984 to become a physician. She went into emergency medicine, and worked as a doctor for the next 20 years. For eleven of those years she ran a major level-one trauma center in Wichita, Kansas, much like the one on the TV show ER.

During that time, she worked over 100 hours a week and saw about 70,000 patients—not just in the department, but personally.At the same time, she taught almost continuously; she taught at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), was adjunct faculty at two colleges, was the doctor in charge of the education department at her hospital, and served on the board of the American Heart Association.

“The bottom line,” says Daria, “is that I was way over-committed.”

And then, in 1992, at age of 41, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Back then, my world was surgery, drugs and radiation. For nutrition, I would buy a bottle of vitamins—and it would last me four years, because I would never remember to take them. But when she was told that “cure” was a word she was never going to hear, it prompted her to start looking.

“I thought, ‘I don’t mind working hard—but I do mind dying for the cause.’ I needed to find a Plan B.”

But what could that Plan B possibly be? She couldn’t think of anything.

“So I said, ‘Okay, forget what it is. Let’s just imagine you have it: if you had a Plan B, what would your life look like?’ I made a list: if I had a Plan B, I would make the same kind of money I was making as a doctor, which was then about $400,000 a year. I would live where I want to live. I would work from home, doing most of my work on the phone or computer. I would be of service to the community, and I would travel and teach.

I made this list and thought, what on earth Plan B could I possibly come up with that would have this list as the end result?

If she had a law degree, she reasoned, along with being both a nurse and a doctor, she could create a valuable consulting business. It would take years, but at least it had a shot of giving her a life that looked like her Plan B list.

So in 1994, while still working full-time as an ER doctor, Daria put herself into law school.

Caught by a Product

The following year, she heard about a natural product that was allegedly beneficial for high cholesterol. She nearly dismissed it outright, thinking that if it weren’t a drug, it couldn’t possibly be effective—but something stopped her.

“I felt that it was my obligation to prove it had no value, rather than simply assume it had no value,” she recalls. “So I looked at the formulation and discovered it was a fiber blend. I could understand fiber well enough to see how this might actually work.”

She was impressed—until she found that it was sold through network marketing.

A doctor at her hospital had invited Daria to a “business opportunity” meeting, and she had declined without a second thought.

“A few weeks later, he asked if I’d gotten the video package he sent me. I hadn’t; he’d sent it to me at the hospital, where it sat in the mail room. I decided that I could not in good conscience reject it until I’d watched it.

She found the mail room and retrieved the video so that she could legitimately say she wasn’t interested.

“I started watching it, and everybody looked pretty good—but they always do in these things. Then something caught my attention. There was one guy who started talking about his results on the product. And I thought, ‘That guy is telling the truth. I don’t know about the rest of these characters, but that guy is telling the truth.’ And if that product was actually doing for him what he said it was, I needed to know more about it.”

Although she had been completely offended by the doctor’s effort to interest her in the business, the product intrigued her enough that she felt she had to look further.

“I had known people who’d been excited about network marketing, but I’d never personally known anyone who was successful with it. I didn’t really think it was valid. But after pondering it for a few weeks, I suddenly realized something: every single thing on my Plan B list was right here! I said, ‘Please God, don’t let the answer be network marketing!’ “

Jumping In

Daria was reluctant, to say the least. “I was fearful of hurting my reputation. I knew I would receive a lot of criticism from other doctors—’What are you thinking?! You’re a doctor, for goodness sake! You’re going to fall flat on your face! People are going to think you’re a joke!’ and honestly, I was afraid of failing,”

Nevertheless, she decided to do it. Knowing she couldn’t maintain her present schedule and take on anything new, she quit law school to start her new networking business.

“We always talk about how the barrier to entry in networking is so low, and that this also means the barrier to exit is equally low. You get in for 29 bucks, then two people tell you they’re not interested and you’re out of there. Well, when you give up a career path into which you’ve already invested a lot of money, and time and effort, that’s a pretty high barrier to exit! My commitment was pretty solid; it was not a shaky decision.”

Daria started working her new business in July of ‘95. She had just accepted a position as ER doctor in the Seattle area and moved there the first week of August—which meant that she knew absolutely nobody where she now lived.

“People often think, ‘Oh, it’s easier for you because you’re a doctor—all you have to do is put your patients on it.’ But I have never put a single patient on my products; in fact, when I meet someone I consider a prospect, I never tell them I’m a doctor. It’s just not duplicable.”

Still working full-time as an ER doc, Daria would receive a check for her hospital work once a month, and another check from her networking company. About two and a half years later—”specifically, in month #29”—her networking check was bigger than her doctor’s check.

“Here I was, 47 years old, and I had just bought for myself freedom of choice.”

For the next three years, Daria cut her medical practice back to four days a month. For the following three years, she backed it down to one day a month. In June of 2003, she quit her medical practice entirely. She was a full-time networker.

Secrets from the ER Room

Daria points out that in emergency medicine, time does matter.

“When you have a dying patient on your hands, you’re so busy trying to save their life, you can’t do anything but take care of the problem. But afterward, when things calm down, I would always ask myself, ‘Okay, how do I feel about that? Do I feel really good, really bad, pretty good or pretty bad?’

“This is not about whether the patient lived or died, it’s about how I performed. And which ever answer would pop into my mind, I’d say, ‘Okay, why did I pick that?’

“Why did I feel pretty good? Maybe it was because I called for an EKG and they were there within a minute, or the suction machine was where it was supposed to be. Whatever it was, I need to know, so I can make sure I duplicate that next time, or if there was a problem, so that I can avoid it next time for the benefit of the next patient coming through.”

When she started her network business, she says, she didn’t know what she was doing and was scared of all of it—so she decided to use her ER approach to self-evaluation.

“Every time I made an approach, I would first pat myself on the back and say, ‘Hey, good job, Daria, you made an approach!’—and with the next breath I would say, ‘Now how do I feel about that? Really good, really bad, pretty good or pretty bad?’ ”

And Daria points that in this exercise, “Okay” is not an option.

“You can’t grow on ‘okay.’ You’ve got to choose! Commit to one side or the other.

“So let’s say I say ‘pretty bad’—why did I say that? Because I sounded too mechanical, like I was reading from a script? Or because I could tell they were getting tense and I was making them uncomfortable? Or if it’s ‘I felt really good!’—then why, exactly?”

Daria practiced this routine rigorously with every single approach she did, and over the years, she came to feel as confident in the context of networking as she had in the emergency room.

Doctor of Networking

Meanwhile, the company Daria was with went through multiple changes in ownership, and issues arose that concerned her. She soon found herself wondering whether to just withdraw from all activity and treat her check as a passive residual, or actually leave the company and look elsewhere. In May of 2004, she made the decision to do it all over again.

Just as she had drawn up that “Plan B” list ten years earlier, she now drew up a list of criteria for what she was looking for in a network marketing company. In March, 2005, she resigned from her other company and, after examining about 25 companies, staked her claim in another company and started building afresh—and before long, she was back with a massive organization, working with people and asking herself, “How did I feel about that?”

And she has to admit: more and more these days, her answer is, “Really good!”


First, Do No Harm

My first board-certification was in Emergency Medicine. Years later, after really coming to understand the tremendous benefits of nutritionals and nutraceuticals, I have also now become board-certified in Holistic Medicine.

As a holistic doctor, I’ve realized that in a genuinely holistic practice, it’s not just about the patient, but about the practitioner, too. If I do something to harm myself while I’m helping you, then I have dishonored the process.

And this is also true of our networking businesses.

This business is full of kind, compassionate people of high integrity. Most of us will do everything we can to help other people—but too often, we are too willing to do injury to ourselves in the process. We accumulate a garage full of stuff that we’re never going to sell, or we have our wife mad at us because, “He’s spending every waking minute on that thing,” and we have nothing to show for it. We give away products instead of selling them, because we’re afraid they’re too expensive. But we’re supposed to be creating a volunteer army here—not the Salvation Army!

All too often, these same people keep running into a brick wall when it comes to reaching their own goals—because they don’t have a healthy relationship with money that allows them to see themselves as being successful.

So I came up with a mantra for this business:
Our job is to help as many people as we can without hurting ourselves.

It’s something like taking the Hippocratic Oath—”First, do no harm”—and applying it to oneself. Following and teaching that guideline allows me to work with all the good-hearted people who love to help others—and make sure they learn not to hurt themselves in the process. — D.D.