Stories from Chicken Soup For the Network Marketer’s Soul by Bill Hyman

Bill-HymanA Little Guiding Light by Tommy Wyatt

A Little Guiding Light by Tommy Wyatt
I was never particularly spiritual when I got started in network marketing back in the spring of 1998. At a relatively immature age 33, to that point, my life revolved around men’s league softball, my wife of five years, Michele, my black lab Boomer, and my low-paying job as a sports editor at a weekly newspaper in my hometown. I’ll never forget the night that all changed. I was skeptical, even borderline cynical, about network marketing when my friend finally beat me down and got me to show up at his company’s opportunity meeting. I’d never been to one before, but I was pretty sure that it was some type of scam and that I wouldn’t be interested. I was wrong on both counts.  NULL My life changed forever on that March night as I filled out the distributor application and wrote out a check that I knew I couldn’t cover until next payday. My upline was nearly as raw as me, and my training was brief. But the advice I got that first night turned out to be priceless and the message was clear; never, never, never quit. No matter what happens. Whether it was through a profound intelligence, or a lack thereof, I still don’t know to this day, but my resolve was tested very early and I somehow stayed the course. It was my second week in the business when I got a call at work from my friend Jim, who was one of my new distributors. Jim wanted me to drive to Cape Cod with him to introduce the business to his sister there – who had invited twelve friends to her house. That was great news, except that Cape Cod was a five-hour drive from my home in Connecticut and to get there for seven o’clock, I’d have to leave work at two. And that’s what I did. A pair of MLM rookies, Jim and I arrived at his sister Kim’s house by 6:30 and proceeded to set up a flip-chart in the living room. Being that neither one of us had ever done an opportunity presentation, we made a quick executive decision that he should do it – being his sister’s meeting and all. So we got all set up, chatted with Kim and her husband, and waited. And we waited. As 7:00 turned into 7:30 we waited. As 7:30 turned into 8:00 we waited. As Kim called each of her friends and asked their answering machines where they were, we waited. Of twelve invited, and confirmed, guests, none showed. Oh well, we thought, at least we’d get one new distributor. Wrong. The “blow off” was too much for Jim’s sister so she didn’t sign up either. Instead of making the five hour drive home that night, Jim and I decided to treat ourselves to a lobster dinner. We were, after all, on Cape Cod. We’d crash for a while, get up at 3 am, and make it back to work for nine o’clock the next morning. After a six pack of cheap beer, and a belly full of lobster and steamers, Jim and I sat in the parking lot, looked up at the sky and laughed at each other. As we made light of our network marketing ineptitude and laughed hysterically, I remember noticing one star very bright in the sky. “We’re going to be huge in this business, buddy,” I said to him. “Because anyone else would quit right now.” And just a few weeks later, Jim did. It was brutal driving home in the wee hours that morning, and I was a mess when I got into work late at 10 am. After my fifth cup of coffee, I took a call from my cousin Jeremy, another of my very first distributors. His voice was filled with excitement and it snapped me right out of my daze. Jeremy and his father, my Uncle Jim, had rented out the back room of a bar and had invited over 50 people to come hear about the business for 7:00 that night!!! YES!!! The only challenge now was that they lived in upstate New York, a three-and-a-half hour drive from my house. I had left work early the day before, shown up late today, and was on ZERO sleep. So, of course, I accepted the mission, and left work early again. Nobody would make the trip with me, not even my sponsor, but the thought of showing the business to 50 people kept me wide-eyed the whole way down. I mean, 50 people?! They told me the odds were 3-out-of-10 at the training. That would be 15 new people and I would be promoted right away!! Gosh, this stuff is easy! So I pulled up to the parking lot at the bar and met Jeremy at the front door. We went inside where I found the perfect angle for the flip-chart and subsequently set it up. I had made copies for 50 people so I made some nice piles on a table near the front and even put out a nice sign-in sheet, so I could track all the guests and get back to them later. “Are you sure you told everybody 7:00, Jeremy?” “Yep.” “Are you sure you said TONIGHT?” “Yeah.” “Where’s your dad?” “He was tired.” “HE was tired?” It was far less humorous that second night when 7:00 turned to 7:30, and 7:30 turned to 8:00. I drank half a warm beer as we waited until 8:30 and I realized I could maybe make it home by midnight if I left right away. So I packed up my flip chart. I packed up my copies. And I folded up my untouched sign-in sheet and loaded it all into my car out front. As I walked back to say goodbye to my cousin, I leaned up against the outside of the bar, my back to the wall. Not sure whether to laugh or cry, I read the inscription on a stone archway out in the street. It read, “Home of the Square Deal.” I could only chuckle. And as I looked up into the sky I noticed that bright star again; the one from the night before. This time, though, it was not only the brightest star in the sky – it was the ONLY star in the sky. I began to laugh out loud. “What’s so funny?” my cousin asked me. Not acknowledging his inquiry, I pointed up at that lone star and laughed again. I waved my finger at the star and scolded, “Is that all you’ve got?” I laughed again. “If that’s all you’ve got, I can take that. That’s nothing!” I called my sponsor during my 200-mile ride home, and finally found a pocket where I could get cell phone reception. “We’re going to be rich, partner!” I shouted into the phone. “How many signed up?” He asked. “How may SHOWED up, is the better question!” I replied. “And the answer is NONE! ZERO BABY!” I laughed some more. “Why do you sound happy about it?” he asked me. “Because anybody else would quit right now.” And my cousin Jeremy did. During the 3,285 nights that followed, that star in the sky became my network marketing upline and trainer. It became my companion during the many late nights I drove around the northeast in my car to-and-from potential opportunity meetings, some good and some bad. The night I walked out on my full-time job forever, we celebrated together. I nodded my head and smiled up at her on the nights both my daughters were born. When things went super well, like big promotions, awards, and obscene paychecks, I gloated in front of my star. She’s seen me cry a few times too. During the seemingly-devastating times, like when my company went bankrupt and my income stopped, I shouted profanities into the night sky. But, there she hung, stoic and strong. I’ve spoken with her in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Dublin, and Hamburg. I’ve seen her smiling down on the skylines of New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, and San Francisco. I’ve even winked at her from the exotic beaches of Mexico and all over the Caribbean. Today though, I mostly talk to my star from the back porch of my estate in the woods of Connecticut. My now eight-year-old daughter, Sydney, named her ‘Rose Butterfly’ and we sometimes talk to her together. Throughout my network marketing career, whenever I’ve needed her, my star was always there for me when nobody else could be. She’s been my friend, my counselor, my leader, even my mother. I sometimes think that star was put in the sky specifically for me. Is that so crazy? Don’t we all need a little guiding light once and a while?

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