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December 1999

 

Ten Years of Upline

Success By Association - Denis Waitley

After 25 years studying the most successful Network Marketers in the world, I've concluded the greatest benefit in joining a Network is the role-modeling and internalization of excellence habits between downline distributors and their upline mentors.

The personal transformation of common people into uncommonly successful human beings is, perhaps, the greatest benefit from joining and sticking with a Networking organization. Success by association is the hidden secret to the highest of high achievement.

Think back to the people who have had the most influence on you. You'll likely find they have been people who really cared about you-- your parents, a fine teacher, a coach, a business associate, a great friend. Guess what? The only people you will influence to any great degree will be the people you care about. When you're with people you care about, their interests (rather than your own) will be uppermost in your mind.

In my own life, my grandmother was my greatest early mentor. I rode my bike 20 miles each way every Saturday just to mow her lawn and let her positive attitudes and wisdom rub off on me.

Growing up in a poor family, it didn't take me long to find out that role-modeling takes place subconsciously, by observation, imitation and repetition. At Annapolis, I networked with other midshipmen like Ross Perot and Apollo astronaut Bill Anders. I picked up all my habits, good and bad, from my associations. I learned good grooming, posture and discipline at the U.S. Naval Academy. I learned courage, goal-setting and resiliency in my flight squadron as a naval aviator.

I gained many positive lifestyle habits from my wife Susan, who is proactive, considerate, reliable and totally honest. In the 1960s, working for Dr. Jonas Salk, I learned the importance of a constant thirst for knowledge and to always ask, "Why?"

Both success and failure are habit-forming. Habits begin as offhanded ideas and observations. Then, with practice, they become layered over time like steel cables to shackle or strengthen our lives.

Habits are also like comfortable beds, easy to get into but difficult to get out of. Like submarines running silent and deep, your habits may not be apparent until you try to break them, but habits are really never broken. They are substituted or replaced by new and better behavior patterns. This replacement comes with imitating and internalizing the lifestyles of the significant role models in your daily life.

Examples of the power of daily role-modeling are everywhere. Frank Sinatra learned his superb breath control in singing from band leader, Tommy Dorsey. Helen Keller became a phenomenal individual because of Anne Sullivan. Plato learned from Socrates. Jesse Owens credits his winning of the long jump in the 1936 Olympics to a tip given him by his top German competitor, Luz Long. In the middle of the competition, after Owens had already fouled twice on takeoff, Long showed Owens how to correct his take-off. The result was a record-breaking leap of over 26 feet, which stood for more than 20 years.

My grandmother told me, "Plant apple seeds and you get apple trees; plant weeds and you harvest weeds. Plant the seeds of great ideas, and you will get great individuals." She convinced me that the seeds of greatness are not dependent upon gifted birth, an inherited bank account, intellect, beauty, ethnicity or status. The seeds of greatness are attitudes and beliefs that begin in children as almost unnoticed, delicately transparent ideas. Then with years of practice, they become character traits that guide our entire adult lives.

I asked Grandma what I should plant in myself, so I could have a great life. She told me to model my thoughts and actions after men and women who have been creative in their service to others. There are plenty of them in Network Marketing!

Here are what I call the Five Revelations of looking upline for direction:

Revelation One: Why not you, too?

  If you stay dedicated and involved in an inspirational and nurturing Network, and spend quality time with successful upline distributors, you will never be the same again.
The people at the top in this business are common people who have become uncommonly powerful in terms of their relationships and material accomplishments. Top achievers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, backgrounds, educational levels, and job descriptions. 

The greatest lesson is that if your upline can get to the top, so can you!

Revelation Two: "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck."

If it flies like an eagle and acts like an eagle, it's an eagle! The top upline leaders were uncut gemstones that got polished on the way up. Observe them closely. What do you like most about them? How do they dress? How are their manners? How sincere and friendly are they? How do they communicate with others? What can you learn from them? What habits and actions can you emulate? What do you have in common with them? What makes them uncommon?

Revelation Three: Treat personal and professional development as equally important traits.

When I began Networking with successful MLM distributors, I noticed something very revealing. They had more fun at meetings than most corporate executives. Their personal habits tended to be healthier. Their children often accompanied them to major functions, and I noticed the kids beginning to catch a more positive spirit by osmosis. Most significantly, spouses were treated as equal partners, sharing recognition at meetings and at award ceremonies. This is rarely done throughout the world in corporate, institutional or governmental environments.

The personal enrichment gained in Networking, over a period of months and years with others who share similar goals and dreams, will be worth more to you than all the mansions, yachts, motor homes, luxury cars and vacations combined.

If you stay dedicated and involved in an inspirational and nurturing Network, and spend quality time with successful upline distributors, you will never be the same again.

In one year, your lifestyle will experience a permanent, positive change for the better. This alone is worth every rejection and criticism from skeptics, every meeting where only three who promised they'd come actually show, and every disappointment and setback you're bound to experience as you attempt to build your own downline.

Revelation Four: Value must be internalized before it can materialize.

I have never met a single top Network Marketer who didn't bolster his or her core value by reading the best non-fiction personal development books and listening to the best audio programs on a regular basis. The people who read the most are the most successful, regardless of their occupations. Network Marketers have voracious appetites for devouring self-help books and tapes.

Books, tapes, newsletters, computer programs, on-line services and seminars are the tools to build a magnificent empire in your own mind. Read the books recommended by your upline. Listen to condensed books on audio in your car, and while you are exercising or doing chores that don't require concentration.

Read biographies of individuals who have overcome enormous obstacles. You receive both anticipated and surprising benefits. Not only is it better to learn from others' experiences, rather than your own trials and errors, you'll soon discover your communication skills improve, your vocabulary will become richer, your fear of risk and failure will diminish.

Revelation Five: Look up to those beneath you.

In addition to looking upline for guidance and role-modeling, realize that someone in your own downline has more potential for success than anyone in your Network.

David Ogilvy, the creative advertising genius, gave each new department head in his organization a matrioshka, the painted Russian doll with five progressively smaller dolls nestled inside. His message to his new executives was in the last little doll: "If we hire people who are smaller than we are, we'll become an organization of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people bigger than we are, then we'll become an organization of giants." That is precisely what Ogilvy and Mather became: one of the word's largest and most respected advertising firms.

By helping everyone become successful, you demonstrate the most successful traits of high achievers. The financial rewards are by-products. The beauty of networking is that you never know, when you help someone succeed, what the real potential of your association is. Instead of selfishly trying to build your own empire, you are helping everyone you meet to build their own dreams and solve their problems.

On a stormy night many years ago, an elderly couple entered a hotel lobby and asked for a room.

"I'm very sorry," responded the night clerk. "We are completely full with a convention group. Normally, I would send you to another hotel that we use for our overflow in situations like this, but I know they, too, are full."

He paused for a moment and then went on, "I can't imagine sending you out in this weather again. It is not a luxury suite, but you can stay in my room. It's clean, and I'll stay here and finish up some book work in the office."

The distinguished-looking man and woman appeared uncomfortable at inconveniencing the clerk, but graciously accepted his offer. When the man came down to pay his bill the next morning, the clerk was still at the desk. He said, "Oh, there will be no charge for the room. I live here full-time. The room is already taken care of."

The older man said, "You're the kind of person every hotel owner dreams of having as an employee. Maybe someday I'll build a hotel for you."

A few years passed, and one day the hotel clerk, still at the same job, received a registered letter from that man. His comments reflected his vivid recollection of that stormy night. He invited the hotel clerk to visit him in New York and enclosed a round-trip ticket in the letter.

Arriving a few days later, the clerk was met by his admirer at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street where a magnificent new building stood.

"That," explained the elderly man, "is the hotel I have built for you to run."

"You can't be serious," said the clerk. "What's the catch! Why me? Who are you anyway?"

"My name is William Waldorf Astor, and there's no catch. You are the person I want to run this hotel."

That hotel was the original Waldorf-Astoria, and the young clerk who accepted the first management position was George C. Boldt.

No matter what the endeavor, whether it is a personal or financial goal, a career or community goal, set yourself the ideal of helping as many people as possible to win. The secret wealth in Network Marketing is in the integrity of your human relationships.

By helping others succeed every day, your own success is guaranteed. It's the greatest lesson I've ever learned.

DENIS WAITLEY is a popular author, speaker, and business-builder with nearly 30 years' experience in Network Marketing. He and John Milton Fogg recently toured Asia with a program for entrepreneurs entitled "Networking in the New Millennium." This article first appeared in the April 1996 issue.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Success By Association - December 1999, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com

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