"You have multiple sclerosis. With a case this severe, you will likely be in a wheelchair within ten years and dead within twenty."

I was twenty-seven years old and mother to a precocious two-year-old daughter when my doctor delivered this death sentence. Within sixteen weeks, the health club business I co-owned fell into an irreparable abyss. I found myself living on my brother-in-law's sofa, trying to piece my life together. At the lowest point in my life—six figures of debt, a single mother condemned by the diagnosis of a degenerative disease, and homeless—that's when I found network marketing.

At a time in my life when I had lost all hope, an opportunity was presented to me that promised to provide me with the time and financial freedom to heal my body and restore my heart. What I did not realize was that network marketing would also be a training ground for learning how to overcome obstacles in all areas of my life.

In network marketing many people quit too early because they encounter the first few obstacles, not truly understanding that the flame of leadership is forged in the fire of challenge. The truth is that to become an exceptional leader and create solid, long-term income, we must go through a series of tribulations that will serve to fortify our leadership. Success only comes after a period of struggle where our temerity is tested and our truest virtues rise to the surface.

Some of the challenges we all must face include attrition, apathy, self-doubt, criticism from family members, friends, or team members, the disappointment of people failing to keep their agreements, and distraction—both our own and those of our team members. Regardless of the type of business, all leaders face similar challenges. What makes it sometimes feel so raw in network marketing is that there is a greater propensity to take it personally.

I have faced every single one of these challenges and persevered to become a multimillionaire in our profession. With every great challenge came the heightened awareness that there was something more to learn.

To overcome any challenge, ask yourself: What can I learn from this? Have I faced this situation before? Who do I know who has dealt with this challenge before, and can I ask them for advice?

Am I committed to seeing this through?

If we choose to stay the course, we become stronger, more powerful leaders, able to teach our teams from a place of integrity and to overcome challenges with greater efficiency as our experience builds. If you are facing difficulty, then you most likely are on your way to achieving success.

Stay the course, focus forward, and make the decision to persevere—because the rewards of network marketing are much greater than any difficulty you can ever face.

SUSAN SLY is a top income earner in her
network marketing company, a mother of
four, and a devoted wife. An expert on balanced
living, she is a sought-after speaker and author
The Have-It-All Woman and Inspired to Win in MLM.