19 04 2010

A long time ago, I heard:

“Money doesn’t change you, it just magnifies who you already are in the first place.”

I had an epiphany yesterday. I’ve done alright in life, but it’s been awhile since I was “ahead of the game.” I’ve had my share of “daily bread,” but it’s been awhile since I have felt the blessing of God shower upon me.

And that’s when it hit me. Money amplifies who you are in the first place. Truthfully? If I had to look at the man that I have been over the past few years, I wouldn’t want that man magnified.

Change is hard. But the banner above says it all: “If you want life to change, YOU have to change.” For the first time in a long time though, I’m not at a crossroads where I need to start all over again. I’ve changed. I’ve adopted disciplines and routines that are positive and advantageous. I realize that though, that there are new disciplines to incorporate into my life.

I’ve been a very selfish, self-absorbed man. God has given me a gift thru ACN. I get paid to be professional relationship builder. That’s what a networker really is after all…a relationship builder. It’s perfectly suited for my temperament. People are attracted to “what’s in it for me.” I know this, but I’ve neglected it. I need to invest myself IN people. I need to take more time to find out ABOUT people and what I can do FOR them.

In this business of networking, we need to find out:

  • what troubles people?
  • what keeps them up at night?
  • what their life is like right now?
  • what are their living circumstances like?
  • what’s missing from life?
  • if they could change any part of their life in the next six months, what would that be?

And then we need to give a damn enough to find opportunities to fill those needs.

Sometimes ACN is the answer. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes people need a friend to talk to. We can be that person to listen to them. More people are lonely than care to admit it.

Sometimes people need supernatural intervention. We can be that person who offers to pray with and for them. When was the last time you asked someone if you could pray for them? When was the last time that someone offered to pray for you?

The world needs more relationship builders. We need more people who will listen and invest themselves in the lives of others. We need more people who are willing to make themselves vulnerable to ask how we can best pray for others.

That’s the type of man that deserves to be magnified.



25 01 2010

We all have “beliefs,” things that we hold on to as tenets in life. Some are public beliefs, things that we state openly. Sometimes these are things that we really believe...and sometimes they are things that we say because we know that it’s the socially acceptable and responsible thing to do (don’t text while driving…unless it’s a REALLY important text).

Then there are our private beliefs. These are the things that we tell ourselves that we believe. Sometimes these are the “shoulds” that we feel will make us happier, wiser, thinner or healthier.

Finally there are our CORE beliefs. These are the things that we actually act upon. What we “do” in life is really a reflection of our core beliefs. These are the proverbial “lines in the sand” that we won’t cross.

While I can’t speak for everyone, it would seem that when I was young, my core beliefs outnumbered my private and public beliefs. As I grew older? I tested the waters and put many of my “core” beliefs to the test. Sadly many of the good ones transcended to “private” or even “public” levels.

Core beliefs lead us to move. Sometimes they cause us to takes leaps of faith. That’s where the trapeze artist comes in. There are two roles in the trapeze play. One is that of the “flyer,” this is the person who swings back and forth and eventually lets go of their swing, soaring thru the air, waiting to be caught.

The second role is that of the “catcher.” The catcher hangs from their legs and awaits the “flyer.” The catcher’s role is to do just that: CATCH the flyer. The catcher must be strong, steady and dependable. While the flyer seems to get all the props for their daring, it is the catcher who is ultimately responsible for the success of the feat. The catcher is often the unsung hero in this act.

There are three things that the flyer must do in trapeze dance:

  1. They must LET GO. You can’t soar thru the air if you won’t let go of the swing.
  2. They must WAIT with outstretched arms. There is that moment in the air when all is at stake. Success (being caught) and failure (free falling) are both possibilities at this instant, and make no mistake about it, it is but an instant. But that moment must seem like an eternity when you are the one who is flying.
  3. They must BE CAUGHT.

All great leaps of faith require these steps. Having kids? Getting married? Starting your own business? Mustering up the courage to talk to someone who intimidates you?

Make no mistake about it, the flyer must have absolute confidence in the catcher’s abilities. In ACN, every time a new rep puts their contacts in front of an expert, they are letting go and waiting. As experts, are we doing a good job “catching” our flyers?

Beyond that, who are you trusting to “catch” you? I was reading in the book of Galatians this morning and I came across the following verses (Galatians 6:7-10):

… A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…

As I read thru this verse, it struck me that “letting go” refers to the sinful nature that leads to destruction. The “waiting” part is the part where we do good to those around us. “Being caught” is reaping the harvest.

I will admit that I have grown weary of “doing good” far too many times in my life. As a consequence, I have been forced to hang in the air far longer than I should at times. I have no problems letting go. As Tom Petty once sang, “the waiting is the hardest part.” I grow weary and I bring back my outstretched hands. and then? I fall to the safety net below. Thank you LORD for that safety net!

And once again, I am letting go of the security of the swing. I am soaring thru the air. I am ready to be caught….


24 12 2009

O holy night!

The stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining,
Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth…

Tonight is Christmas Eve. I find myself sitting and pondering the above lyrics to my favorite Christmas song. I’ve known what it is like to lay in “sin and error pining.” And I have had the good fortune of knowing what it is like for my soul to “feel its worth.”

There is a stark difference between “laying in sin and error pining” and having your soul “feel its worth.” It’s the difference between feeling lost and being found. It’s the difference between wandering aimlessly and having purpose.

As I stop and think about the bigger picture of my career with ACN, I can’t help but think about how “helping souls feel their worth” has become a bit of a mission statement for me. The world is filled with people who are hurting, souls who are pining to know their own worth. Not being able to keep a roof over your kids head can make you doubt your own worth. Not being able to put food on the table can do that too. Not being able to provide your loved ones with Christmas gifts can dampen that feeling of worth as well.

There are a few things that I have learned full well in this life. First, the verse in “O Holy Night” has it right. A soul can only know its worth after “He” appears. “He” is, after all, the creator of life and the universe.

The second thing that I have come to grips with, is that “He” often appears and manifests himself thru other people. An old mentor of mine was fond of saying that “we are often the only Jesus that some people will ever see.”

If this is so, then it follows that “He” can appear to others thru us. By extension, we can be used as vessels for helping the souls of others “feel their worth.”

A third observation that I have made, is that in every interaction that Jesus has with people in the Bible, He always looks to meet the physical needs of people He encounters before He deals with their spiritual needs. EVERY SINGLE INTERACTION!

  • The woman who was hemorrhaging? He stopped her bleeding.
  • The blind man? He restored his sight.
  • The paralyzed man who could not get down to the healing pool? He made him walk.

That’s where the power of ACN comes into focus. We have the power to meet people where they are at, and to help meet their “physical” needs. There’s an old adage that “people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” I can’t think of a better way to show someone I care for them, than by helping them meet their physical needs.

In meeting those needs, we have the opportunity to demonstrate the love of Jesus as He so often did in the Bible. We may be “the only Jesus that some people will ever see.” A lot of people “talk the talk” about their faith. ACN provides us with an opportunity to “walk” that talk.

On this holiest of nights, I am thankful for the mission to which I have been called. I hope that as you read this post, that you will consider the ways that you might be used in 2010 to help souls feel their worth. I can assure you, there is no more noble calling.

Merry Christmas to all. He has appeared. May your soul feel its worth.


2 12 2009

One of the great works of art is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. The piece is typically referred to as “The Creation of Adam.” In his book, God is Closer Than You Think, author John Ortberg sets the scene brilliantly:

“Before Michelangelo, art scholars say, that standard paintings of creation showed God standing on the ground, in effect helping Adam to his feet. Not here. This God is rushing towards Adam on a cloud, one of the “chariots of heaven,” propelled by angels…It is as if even in the midst of the splendor of all creation, God’s entire being is wrapped up in his impatient desire to close the gap between himself and this man. He can’t wait. His hand comes within a hairbreadth of the man’s hand.”

…God is as close as he can be. But having come that close, he allows just a little space, so that Adam can choose. He waits for Adam to make his move.

Adam is more difficult to interpret. His arm is partially extended toward God, but his body reclines in a lazy pose, leaning backward as if he has no interest at all in making a connection. Maybe he assumes that God, having come this far, will close the gap. Maybe he is indifferent to the possibility of touching his creator. Maybe he lacks the strength. All he would have to do is lift a finger.

Ortberg goes on to make the point that “All it takes is the barest effort, the lift of a finger.”

The lift of a finger.

All at once the concept strikes me as absurd and yet painstaking close to home.

The Anaheim International is two days away. I feel like I have let not only the last 80 days slip thru my fingers, I have let the last 120 expire without doing what is necessary to redeem them.

I have spoken to dozens of people in the last 80 days. I have done one-on-ones, two-on-ones, PBRs and Saturday Trainings. I have double digits of people coming to the International, but they are all in two legs. I have a third leg that is completely non-productive. I won’t promote to Team Coordinator until that leg gets to 200 customer points.

I am a man of faith.

I am also a man who has lost his way on more than one occasion.

When things are going well, I work hard to have daily “quiet times” with God. I may sit down and read a little scripture and reflect on that in a journal. Other times, I’ll read a book on faith and journal about that reading. I did that for the first time in two months yesterday (and again this morning). When I looked at my journal, I realized that when I journaled in September? It was only one day that month. It was only two days in August. Before that? I sat down for my quiet time TWENTY-ONE times in July.

Wanna guess when I had my greatest momentum in ACN ? For those of you who guessed, July, give yourself a hand.

I often am shy about talking about my faith. Partly because I fear turning people away who might otherwise be uncomfortable with the subject. Partly because it’s just easier to live my life in my own selfish and undisciplined ways if people don’t think to hold me accountable for my own values.

But there is no escaping the subject of “faith” if you are in ACN. There is a large worship service on Sunday morning at 7 a.m. at every International Training. And it seems that every single Four-Star RVP and SVP who gets promoted, attributes their success to their faith (except those who are French Canadien LOL for REAL have you noticed? Or is it just me?).

One of the most uplifting and inspiring SVP promotion speeches I have ever heard was delivered by Jennifer Dowd. She makes a few poignant references to being like Noah and needing to build your own ark. She points out that Noah was an amateur and had no idea what he was doing. She then contrasts that with the building of the Titanic, which was built by professionals (and we all know how THAT turned out)! Jennifer then points out that the difference is that God was in the equation with Noah and the ark. Noah built the ark for God’s purpose.

Which brings me to the last 120 days. I’ve been going about things all wrong. I’ve been building things for MY purpose. My paychecks have suffered for it, and those of my downline have as well.

I can be an incredibly selfish, self-serving man at times. It is hard for me to admit that. In fact, I do so right now with great shame and embarrassment. Coincidentally, this morning Tiger Woods issued a statement essentially admitting to some shameful and embarrassing behavior himself. Maybe it was seeing Tiger “man up” that has prompted me to sober up and get my head back on straight. Maybe it’s the fact that Christmas is three weeks away and we won’t be able to celebrate it with presents the way that I had hoped. Maybe it’s a concession that doing things “my way” has not helped me get any closer to establishing that third leg that I need to get to Team Coordinator.

But I’m taking a stand. I am committing my work here in ACN to God’s purpose. It really doesn’t make any sense to me to do it just for “myself.”  That’s not the way I’m wired. That’s not the way God made me. I know that God can and will turn things around for our business. All I have to do is “lift a finger.”

Two days until Anaheim.