8 12 2009

For those of you who were in Anaheim this past weekend for the ACN International Training event, you no doubt came away with tons of great information. This was my third event this time around in ACN. They’ve come a long way from the first one that took place in 1994. That one was held in Las Vegas at the Flamingo Hilton in a conference room that held about 300 people. This past weekend over 15,000 people were in attendance at the Anaheim Convention Center. I’m going to venture a guess that this will end up being the last International event ever to be held in a convention center.

  • Darren Hardy, Publisher of Success magazine,  delivered a great keynote address on Sunday morning.
  • Pastor Kevin Boyd was spot on during the Sunday morning worship service with his message on “The Road to Prosperity.”
  • SVP Darin Dowd provided everyone with a visual illustration of the recruiting process that will forever have us looking at gum ball machines differently.

But one of the most significant “aha” moments came for me during newly-promoted SVP Debbie Davis‘s talk on Sunday morning. In her training on “Timing and Leading by Example” she said,

“Personal development is the meat and potatoes of ACN. The money is the gravy!”


Debbie could not have made this point anymore clear. ACN is a personal development company with a compensation plan attached. First comes the personal development, THEN comes the money. You can’t have the gravy without first making the turkey.

So what does this all mean? It means that if you want to succeed on a major scale in ACN, then you need to work on yourself first.

So many people focus on what they want to HAVE. What we need to focus on first is who we ARE. That’s the essence of personal development. Working on yourself and the person that you are.

This has been one of the great life lessons that I have had to learn the hard way. Success in life is not so much dependent on my external circumstances as it is on the person I am becoming in the process. “Being” is more important than “having.” In a materialistic world, what a revolutionary concept!

No one exemplifies this more than Debbie Davis. I was there in 1993. I remember what Debbie was like. She has always been one of the “gosh darn” nicest people you will ever encounter in your life. In fact, back then she kind of became the unofficial ACN Mom to every rep in the company. Debbie was the person you ran to when you needed encouragement. Debbie was the person you went to when you needed a hug.

Watching Debbie Davis get promoted to SVP on Saturday night and then train on Sunday made me realize just how far Debbie Davis has come on her 17 year journey with ACN. She has worked on herself as much as anyone else I have ever seen. Debbie Davis is a leader’s leader.

There’s a saying that goes, “if you wanna have what successful people have, you have to do what successful people do.” What Debbie Davis has done over the past seventeen years (and I suspect over her lifetime) is focus her own personal character and development.

First comes the meat and potatoes, then comes the gravy



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.


20 11 2009

I saw the movie “Amelia” recently. It’s the story of Amelia Earhart, who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean (a feat that had only been accomplished by Charles Lindberg at the time).

In the movie there is a scene where she has been flying all night over the Atlantic, and is growing weary. She begins to nod off and then gets a second wind and tells herself, “Come on Amelia, if Lindbergh can do it? YOU can do it!”

As I watched that scene, I couldn’t help but think to myself that this is exactly how it is in ACN.

  • If Jeff Weber can do it? You can do it!
  • If Mike Bisutti can do it? You can do it!
  • If Jennifer Dowd can do it? You can do it!
  • If Spencer Hunn can do it? You can do it!
  • If Craig Kotter can do it? You can do it!

The fact of the matter is that no one in ACN is trail blazing their way to Senior Vice President. It’s been done before. These are NOT unchartered waters. Follow the proverbial “yellow brick road!”

There is no need to reinvent the wheel here in ACN. Just do what those who have gone before you have done. If you have an original idea? Take a cold shower…it’ll go away!

14 days left until Anaheim.


17 11 2009

It’s been four weeks since I have added anything here online. I have had so many thoughts and ideas run through my mind in that time. But as I mentioned in that last post, I have also had life get in the way. My Grandmother is still holding on (for those who are interested).

One of the absolutely great things about ACN is that you have the opportunity to “start over” at any time. Ten days ago, I decided to do just that. I have recommitted to my goal of Four Star RVP by November 7, 2010.

The image that you see to the left is what I look at on my cell phone screen every day. It’s easy for me to look at it and disregard it. So that’s why I decided to share this here in this public forum.

This is scary. I am risking humiliation. But I am steadfast in my commitment.

This post isn’t a long one, but I felt the need to put it out there. See you in Anaheim.


19 09 2009

We recently began a new Saturday Training in Glendora, CA in the conference room of an executive suite that one of our ETTs leases for his other business. I say this because I don’t believe that we will fit in there much longer. We have a Regional event (featuring Nathan Goldberg YES!) next week, so we’ll shut down for that. Then I think we’ll be able to hold Saturday Training in our current location for maybe two more Saturdays.

76 days left calendarI created a calendar for our group which I believe makes it incredibly clear just how important and fleeting the next 76 days are. I passed it out today and invited everyone to check off the days every night, so they would constantly be reminded of the urgency of going to work.

I also recreated the ACN slides that Tony Cupisz put together. All the information is still the same. It’s just laid out in a much more aesthetically pleasing and impactful way. I’ve been a corporate trainer for years and the overwhelming majority of PowerPoint presentations that I see are absolutely TERRIBLE. Your presentation should enhance your message, not BE the message. If all you do is stand there and READ the slides? No offense, but what the hell are YOU there for.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Seems like there are at least a thousand words on far too many of the slides in the ACN Saturday Training deck. So we’re implementing the new slides at our training. Are they more effective? Time will tell.

75 days left til Anaheim.