Ever since joining a network marketing company, I’ve been told to duplicate, duplicate, duplicate. And you know what? I’ve never been able to duplicate any of my upline leaders.

Mind you, it’s not for lack of trying. I just can’t seem to be who or what they are. And as I began to realize this, a burning question occurred to me: Why should I?!

Aren’t we all unique individuals, all with our different ways of doing things? Shouldn’t we be encouraged to find our uniqueness and run with it, rather than put all our effort into trying to be something or someone we’re not?

As I look at all the super-successful people in network marketing, it seems to me that not one of them is really duplicable anyway! They are all amazing leaders and each of them has a spark, a special energy, which makes them shine above the rest. It’s that energy and determination that attracts people to them, and thus causes their businesses to grow.

Where do they get that special spark? Through personal growth. One thing I can say for sure is that since network marketing has come into my life, I have grown as a person in ways I never would have before. Network marketing truly is, as they say, a personal development course disguised as a business. And it’s not until we take the initiative to grow that our businesses, our lives and—yes—our finances grow along with us.

The question most leaders need to ask is not, “How can I have people duplicate me?” but, “How can I help this new associate find that special spark within him- or herself?

Asking the Right Questions

New distributors often ask their upline, “How can I be like you?” The leader, happy to help, shows them exactly what to do, but unfortunately, the results are not always the same.

The truth is, leaders often aren’t even sure how they got to the top themselves. So, they start looking for systems and methods that might just be what their new associates need to succeed. Sometimes these methods work; often they don’t. If we encourage people to be duplicates of us, and let people start putting us up on pedestals and idolizing us, we’re setting them up for a fall. As they discover that they are not their upline and can’t be their upline, they may get discouraged and start talking themselves out of the business. “Well, he is just smarter than I am…she’s a born leader, I don’t have what it takes…I could never do what he does, so I guess I’ll never be successful at this….”

They are asking all the wrong questions. No wonder they’re getting all the wrong results. What the new associate should be asking is this: “How can I be the best me to attract people to my business?”

Asking “How can I…?” gives us productive answers we never thought of before, because it is an open-ended question. The typical closed-ended question, like “Can I do this?” elicits only a yes or no answer—and for the beginner, it’s usually a “No!”

Here are some other questions to ask: “What unique qualities do I bring to the table that could help me be super-successful in my own right?” “What is my passion?” And, most importantly, “Why is this important to me?” Knowing why is what gives us the burning desire to succeed against all obstacles—in any business, not just this one.

All these questions are so important, but unfortunately, they are seldom asked. And when a new distributor isn’t asking the right questions, the leader misses an opportunity to empower him or her.

The Key is Personal Growth, Not Mimicry

I believe personal growth is the most important part of a network marketing business and that giving it attention should be the first step in building an organization—because it is only when we start encouraging people to grow that we will see new leaders emerge.

We might even learn something ourselves in the process. As leaders, we should want our new leaders to go further than we have gone. That is the best compliment a leader can receive.

Come to think of it, maybe we shouldn’t throw duplication out the window altogether. What we need to do is first duplicate our leaders in terms of how they pursue their personal growth. Ask your upline leader what he or she does for personal growth and development. I promise you, every successful person is doing something for personal growth.

It’s often said that “Leaders are readers,” and I couldn’t agree more. Find out what your leaders are reading and read the same things. Ask for a list of books they feel have been helpful in their success and then read each and every one. Also, ask your leaders what a typical day looks like for them, and yes, even duplicate their techniques—if they feel good and real to you.

If you want people to follow you, you have to be sincere and lead with integrity. In other words, you have to be honest with yourself as well as with others, and not be afraid to ask yourself the tough questions.

The first question might be, “Am I doing everything I can to be the best me possible?” If the answer to that question is no, then start reading books, listening to audios and attending seminars to open your mind to all the possibilities and opportunities. 

Your business will only grow as fast as you do. Isn’t it time you allowed yourself to be the best you you can possibly be?

MICHELLE SULLIVAN is a successful network
marketing leader and coach. She lives in
Burbank, California with her husband, Brian, and son, Ryan.