The journey to personal excellence is one we all endeavor to experience in our lives. Many of us choose different avenues—either in career choice, or in the hobbies we choose—as a way to our personal development. However, as life’s realities start to hit us one-by-one, combined with our generally poor choices of responses to any given situation, we find ourselves getting truly dejected and slipping further away from this goal.

We are conditioned to believe we are supposed to get an education, serve in any capacity as a professional in a job, and retire with little or no savings. This belief structure has been thrust upon us. Many of us never choose to question it, even when we are presented with new methods to compress time, help us achieve the goal of personal excellence, and receive ample compensation for it.

Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a family that was used to breaking the mold. My father was a 4-time world billiards champion and still is a Guinness Book record holder since 1978. My mother was India’s first western operatic soprano. Both my parents encouraged me to go out and explore life so I could choose which avenue to turn too in my search for personal excellence and financial freedom.

I was born in India but lived my adolescent childhood in Southern California playing tennis and ended up turn pro after lettering at UCLA. I was taught discipline, dedication, dealing with failure, repetition, and adapting to change by Chuck Boyle, my tennis coach. He was an ex marine who fought 6 major battles in the Pacific Ocean in the Second World War He always told me, “Give me all you’ve got—and a little bit more.” These words were going to reverberate in my mind on my network marketing journey later on and would help me build a strong global team.

I joined the business in late 2005 as the ultimate skeptic, as I was already well off by conventional norms. I had experienced life as tennis pro and tennis coach. I had graduated from doing business in a variety of industries, from entertainment to and finance. I had a win/loss ratio of 51/49 in my favor. These experiences made me successful but selfish, and generally a real “jerk” at the time.

I was actually called to break the business plan down and find loop holes in it so my family and I could have the excuses not to start. I admit I was an arrogant, self-centered, self-absorbed person—a product of making it out there in the dog-eat-dog world. I was almost too proud to listen. I am so happy that something allowed me to overcome my personal pride and say yes to the best business model people are slowly becoming aware of.

Saying yes that day changed my life significantly. This business helped me understand so many things. The first two, discipline and commitment, took on a whole new meaning, because it was no longer about me, it was about we. The next questions that haunted me—or rather us—was, “Can the traits of these two practical foundation blocks actually be duplicated? Can the “we” really happen? Can the entire system we set up, called Faith, actually transcend boundaries and influence the hundreds of thousands of people who form today our global downline? Well, it did! It happened all because Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words, “Be the change you want to see,” became our mantra. To build a global organization, we all must be the change others can see, and then and only then will they follow.

While leading from the front, I had to make some hard choices which raised issues of personal integrity and helped in building an effective and efficient team. Network marketing allowed me to build this team based on philosophies that had been around since the beginning of time, but I could not see it because I was in reaction mode from building traditional businesses. Network marketing has taught me about selflessness as opposed to selfishness. It freed up time for me to personally evolve by thinking more clearly, by simplifying life, and by learning to say no (which at times made me unpopular). Shakespeare’s words, “To thy own self be true,” became critically important, teaching me to prioritize tasks, understand people better by deeply listening, and stay true to my word by applying discipline in thought and action. My coaches words, “a little bit more,” came back to motivate me, carrying more weight to help all the people globally in times of challenge.

When people started seeing these changes in me at a personal level, they began to believe in the business model and philosophy, and the vision we had imagined eventually became true. They started to commit time, duplicate the leadership values, and build with the integrity that eventually created successful teams.

These intrapersonal skills helped me in my life on a personal level with my immediate family as well. It has made me a caring husband, loving father, grateful son, and a better human being all around. It transformed who I was yesterday into who I am today—and I am still a work in progress.

I wish to thank the profession that has inspired and crafted my personal change. It has given me and our family more than we ever expected. It has allowed the leadership of team Faith to effect change in hundreds of thousands of people’s lives across geographical boundaries, ethnic and racial differences, and diverse cultures. It allowed us to implant the spirit of entrepreneurship, a personal career choice, into the very fiber of each individual’s life we touch, which in turn has been passed forward and changes more lives for the better. Together we continue to give the gift of financial freedom to each person we come in contact with by being the change we want to see and staying true to ourselves.

MARK FERREIRA is a network marketing leader from India who heads up an organization of several hundred thousand distributors in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. He is also an international tennis champion and innovative entrepreneur in other business sectors.

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