A true network marketing professional is a totally unique individual. We are natural leaders, givers, teachers, and mentors. We support, inspire, develop, motivate, and cheer on others while at the same time challenging the status quo. Often we do so much for others that we can lose ourselves in the process if we are not careful.
Our tendency to give and help can come with moments of realizing that we have enabled another person or group, or allowed ourselves to be taken advantage of, manipulated, and controlled. It is easy for people like us to give so much that we no longer have any personal boundaries. When that happens, we are no longer benefiting anyone; we can actually cause more confusion for those we are supporting on this journey.
Since I joined network marketing 5 years ago, I have experienced more personal growth than ever before—and for this I am grateful. The first 4 years of my journey were all about laying a foundation of building skills, knowledge, belief, and fortitude. It was at times a real challenge to be faced with criticism, ridicule, negativity, and judgment—most often coming from the people I loved and respected the most. Luckily for me, I was mentored by a strong group of leaders who warned me that this was part of the process.
This past year I focused on building a better me. “Spend more time on yourself than you do on anything else,” I heard frequently. At first I assumed this would be selfish of me; after all, I am married with 3 young children and a multiple 6-figure network marketing business. How would spending more time on me help anyone else?
I decided to listen to the leaders I admired and wanted to emulate—those who are walking the talk of what it means to be the best we can be. How do I work on becoming a better me? By reading personal growth books and taking time to honor my personal needs, including giving myself half a day to a full day each week to enjoy what I wish. I invest in personal growth seminars, hire personal coaches, and do something every day to build the “real estate between my ears.” I am responsible for my mindset; no one can do my “pushups.”
I have recently discovered that for the longest time I was not honoring my needs. I didn’t even know who I really was. I had become the Tara I assumed others expected me to be. I was somehow molded to fit into the status quo. I hadn’t even asked myself, “What does Tara really want out of this life?”
Quickly I found out that I was setting an example for others. Somehow assuming people would follow my lead, I came to realize that if they did, I would actually be setting them up to fail in a big way.
Always wanting to help, I was actually enabling people by doing things for them. I was extending that hand time and again, and as a result I often felt used and manipulated. Others started to expect that Tara would be there no matter what time of day or night. They didn’t respect me, because I didn’t respect myself. I became resentful, upset, and felt taken advantage of by many. What kind of example was it to be everything to everyone, but nothing to myself?
The light bulb came on only after I was asked to write this article, and I can’t even begin to tell you how liberating it was when I saw the light.
Today I tell others, “The journey to a better me never ends. It will continue until my very last breath.” I will be the best I can be simply by being me without ego, without expectation from others, without trying to prove something to the world. The best me I become will not need to look externally for acceptance, approval, or recognition. I have realized that I have the answers within, if only I trust myself. No longer will I blame another person for my circumstances, because it is up to me to own my part. I will no longer expect others to build my business—that is my job. When we become our authentic, whole self, we inspire others to do the same.
Since I am on a path of honoring myself by spending more time on me than I do on anything else, I am becoming a better person for everyone around me. I am a better mother, wife, daughter, friend, businesswoman, leader, and a better member of society. Every group I am part of becomes better when I become better.
Working more on ourselves to become better than we were yesterday is a gift to the world. It may feel uncomfortable to do at first, but it doesn’t take long to see how incredible each day becomes. Many look to us for permission, for guidance and for our example. If we forget about our own needs and we become defeated, others will do the same. This can have far reaching repercussions. We teach others how to treat us, but if we are not respecting ourselves, why would we expect anyone to respect us? Each day my kids and I say an affirmation we learned from a great leader in my company, Lynn Hagedorn: “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” My 3-year-old has been saying it since she was only 2.
Two books I highly recommend as a starting point for becoming the best version of ourselves are The Success Principles by Jack Canfield and The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwell. Enjoy the process and see you at the top!
TARA COOPER is a mother of 3, a former elementary school teacher, and now a multiple-6-figure income earner in a leading network marketing company. Liberating families is Tara’s ultimate goal.
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