Sometimes running your direct selling business is like trying to find your way through a dark cave. You keep losing your way, wandering down the wrong paths, and bumping into walls. Wouldn’t a GPS be handy?
Here’s the direct seller’s version of a CAVE GPS to guide you through the dark and twisted world of inviting, recruiting, leading, and selling, past wrong moves and wasted effort.
C is for centering.
Centering yourself means developing mindfulness, the capacity to sit still and observe your thoughts and feelings without collapsing into them or running from them. The more centered you are, the less your emotions throw you off balance. Think of a fast moving merry-go-round. If you’re out on the edge, the centrifugal force can throw you off, but if you’re near the center, you’re far less affected.
Centering exercises like meditation train you to observe your mind objectively. From this skill arise critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and mental resilience—all vital qualities for direct selling excellence.
Start by spending a minimum of ten minutes each day quieting your mind. If you’re unfamiliar with how, I’ve provided a couple resources at the end of this article.
A is for assessing.
Your ability to assess a situation is tied firmly to your degree of centeredness. If you’ve been practicing silence, you’ll be in a strong position to evaluate how ready you are to take on your challenges. Your fitness changes day by day or even moment by moment, and time must be spent in self-reflection to explore with clarity and without delusion what might be standing in your way. Make sure to also assess team as a whole, the systems in place for building and maintaining a thriving organization, and the capacities of individuals on the team.
I’ve listed a dozen useful questions at the end of this article to guide the assessment process, and as with centering, this process must be conducted daily for a minimum of ten minutes, perhaps focusing on a different question each time.
V is for visualizing.
There’s nothing new about this step, although many ignore it. It’s not enough to have a written vision statement or mission statement. These are too easily relegated to the obscurity of a handbook, only rolled out to prove that all the “I”s are dotted. Instead, sit quietly and regularly, putting aside all demands of the current situation, and simply dream.
Especially today, with the stresses of business at an all-time high, it’s very easy to put aside working “on the business” when there’s barely enough time to work “in the business.” But, all great leaders know that this is the time that must be allotted for growth.
E is for engaging.
There’s very little value in being a centered direct selling leader with a clear assessment of your and your team’s limitations and a compelling vision if you haven’t engaged your team in carrying it out. The problem for most leaders is that they’ve been schooled in an unworkable paradigm. Everything they’ve done up to now has been about extrinsic motivation, providing punishment and reward as strategies for compelling action.
Yet all the scientific research points to intrinsic motivation as the driving force for accomplishment. If you want to engage your team in your compelling vision, you must engage their imaginations. Help them see the future that you see. Allow them to feel a sense of accomplishment in the execution of the plan. Learn about what excites them. What part are they most eager to play? What would they do within the necessary sequence of actions even if they weren’t being paid?
G is for gratitude.
Cultivating a mindset of gratitude has been demonstrated to produce increased productivity, happiness, wisdom, and health. The simple act of reflecting on what’s going right rather than what’s going wrong on a daily basis can begin to shift your focus to a more resourceful mindset and result in a more vibrant business. Besides, sharing your gratitude with those who’ve earned it has a remarkable impact on morale. Write a few quick notes of gratitude daily, and get them in motion!
P is for play.
One of the earmarks of a healthy organization is the presence of humor and playfulness. It doesn’t take long for an outsider to conclude what sort of team you are just by reading the playfulness index of the group. If I don’t see lots of smiles and laughter at a gathering, I know immediately that this company is in trouble. It’s wise to assume that your company’s predilection for playfulness is obvious to anyone in your orbit. So, ignore this at your own risk. If playfulness is missing, there are conversations that need to be had to restore healthy priorities, conversations about things like trust, expectations, and priorities.
S is for structure.
The very last thing you should be worried about is the structure of your day. It’s vital that you and everyone on your team have a healthy respect for time and know how to use it in a way that’s respectful, responsible, and realistic. But, without all the other factors discussed above, a team with the structure and function of a well-tuned Swiss watch will still fall short when compared with one that’s got its CAVE GPS working.
Simple adherence to a daily practice of awareness will enhance your leadership immensely. Using your CAVE GPS will light the way in the dark caverns of uncertainty and change, bring about greater confidence and insight, and make your work more fun.
In less than an hour a day, you can transform your organization into a top producing team. It’s never a lack of work output that keeps a company stuck but rather a lack of consciousness. Time spent “on the business” as opposed to “in the business”–that is time spent developing a stronger foundation rather than merely going through the motions– is the answer to flat numbers and unhappy reps.
Now, the question is, do you have the courage to step away from the battlefield long enough to learn how to use the new weapons?
- Do you have a worthy vision?
- Is it sustainable without compromise?
- How have you communicated it to your team?
- By what method do you evaluate their adherence to it?
- What’s your process for bringing them back to it?
- Is your environment emotionally safe? Promote transparency, authenticity?
- Is motivation intrinsic or extrinsic?
- What’s your personal commitment to meaning? Self care?
- How do you adhere to it?
- What value have you placed on presence, culturally?
- What is your solution for stress?
- What’s more important? Profit or mission?
If you’d like to take a more thorough assessment of your “unshakability” (capacity to function well under pressure) you can take Dr. Taubman’s Unshakability Quiz by clicking here.
Dr. Steve Taubman has dedicated his life to showing direct sellers how to thrive through their challenges and achieve more with less stress. He’s written extensively on the application of contemplative practices in stressful situations and has spoken throughout the United States on mindset mastery for goal-oriented home-based professionals.