Education can mean different things to different people. First, there's formal education which involves attending classes at established learning institutions. Second, there's informal education which involves self-directed or mentor-directed education in a more informal setting. Both are important, but in the field of leadership only one is essential.

One of my early mentors taught me, "It's easier to teach a hungry person how to be sharp than it is to teach a sharp person to be hungry." A formal education can be a great help in building a leadership community, as long as a person's education does not fool him or her into believing that learning ends there.

Pride can seriously limit our growth. When we believe we have become experts, we stop asking questions; however, mentors only have answers when students have questions. The proper approach toward formal education is to bring this repertoire of skills and knowledge to the table with the humility to admit what we don't know.

Network marketing draws many highly educated people into the profession because many of these professionals were disillusioned after they were taught to go to school, get a good job with benefits, and live the dream life.

For those interested in titles and degrees, the reality doesn't matter as they happily march along in the charade parade; however, for those interested in a life of contribution, the false promises of the traditional professional path drive them to find an exit from the rat race. Network marketing is an ideal place for hungry professionals to be rewarded based on their leadership example, not titles or degrees.

Network marketing neither rewards nor penalizes based upon a person's formal education. Instead, our profession pays us based on our ability to serve others in their success journey.

People will not follow you based on your title, but they will follow you based on your example.

For instance, if a person has a doctorate but is self-centered, talks about himself constantly, and refuses to serve others, who would follow him in network marketing? On the other hand, if a person did not complete high school but has developed great people skills, genuinely listens to others, and serves others zealously, who wouldn't follow her?

Network marketing is the greatest educational engine in the world today, because not only does it teach specific skills, it also provides a real-life laboratory where one can hone and develop these skills to produce the desired results. Accordingly, a person's pay raise becomes effective as soon as they do.

Exploiters hate network marketing because lack of leadership is routinely exposed in the leadership laboratory of life. In contrast, producers love our business because they know they will be paid exactly what they are worth.

ORRIN WOODWARD is the author of
Resolved: 13 Resolutions for Life and
L.I.F.E.: Living Intentionally For Excellence.
Together with Chris Brady, he leads a network
marketing organization of several tens of thousands of people.