I cannot even imagine my life today, had I not chosen to join network marketing 12 years ago! After spending over 30 years in business development and sales in corporate America, I’d become much more cynical than I realized. My goal as a salesperson had always been to win the business over another company. Or, when I interviewed for a new position or a promotion, there was always a winner and loser—the person who won the job, and the person who didn’t. The competitive nature of that world conditions us to look at life in a very different way.

That’s why, when we talk about network marketing to people, initially it can sound too good to be true and cause people to think, “There’s got to be a catch.” When my daughter came home one day telling me why she was so excited about this new business she’d discovered, I truly believed it was not possible for there to be a legitimate way to earn such a fabulous income, with the freedom and flexibility network marketing offers, without their being some hidden downside. Unfortunately, this mindset has become far too prevalent in our society, and it’s one reason why we continue to see so many misconceptions about what our business is really about. It’s hard for most people to fathom a business that is all about empowering others to attain their dreams, with a financial structure attached that rewards you in direct proportion to your accomplishments. Yet it’s true. The concept of network marketing is brilliant and epitomizes the ultimate win/win business model.

The differences between network marketing and other careers are significant. The rules we play by are almost completely opposite of those in any other business. Instead of competing with or being threatened by the people we work with, we do everything we can to empower them! It’s no surprise then, that when you work in a community that thrives on lifting others up, you cannot help but become a better person—in every aspect of your life. Before I joined network marketing, I was so busy on the treadmill of life that I rarely took time to look up. I could barely take care of my own responsibilities, much less think about what kind of contribution I was going to make to the world. This business has definitely changed that. Network marketing is a playing field where ordinary people are able to create extraordinary things.

There is a famous story that exemplifies how I feel about our business. A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. Each time she saw a starfish, she would pick it up and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement. She had been doing this for some time when an old man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach. You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t even begin to make a difference!” The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!” The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

Now that I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel myself, I want to be that light for others. One starfish at a time, I get to be that messenger of hope, possibility, and abundance to someone who is ready for it. I never dreamed I’d have this kind of opportunity to make such a difference in people’s lives. I’m not even close to making the difference I know is possible and what that tells me is that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve made so many mistakes along the way because of my inexperience as a leader, but fortunately, as one of my favorite role models, Rita Davenport, says, “Network marketing is a personal development course disguised as a business.” Every day in this business we are given opportunities to learn to become a better version of ourselves. How we do anything is how we do everything, so whatever limiting beliefs are holding us back in our business are probably holding us back in other areas of life as well.

This journey has not always been easy, but it’s been more rewarding than I could have possibly imagined. Being in business with my daughter Lory has been a dream come true. She reminds me constantly that “how you spend your days is how you spend your life.” I used to live life waiting for weekends so that I could be with the people I love. Having the ability to fit my work around my life, rather than my life around my work, is priceless. Lory has taught me so much about how vital it is to dream and how to be in the moment instead of constantly being on the go. This business has enriched the quality of my relationships with my husband, daughters, grandchildren, and friends by giving me the freedom to control my schedule. I live life in a way I never could have done in my previous career. To me, there is no greater measure of success than being able to do something impactful and loving every moment. To have what we’ve never had before, we must become who we’ve never been before. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. We have to learn to spend a lot more time thinking about what we want our life to look like, rather than what we don’t want it to look like. As we learn to do that, we’ll create the life of our dreams and we will have become a much better human being along the way.

JANINE FINNEY was recruited into network marketing by her daughter, Lory Muirhead. Janine had spent over thirty years in corporate America, working in various sales and business development positions. Janine describes herself as having gone from being the biggest skeptic on the planet about network marketing to becoming one of its most passionate cheerleaders.

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