March 1999

The Last Word

Belly to Belly, Heart to Heart - Ridgely Goldsborough

The great Mahatma Gandhi once relayed a story to his young grandson. It went something like this:

One day on a beach before dawn, a man stood picking up starfish that had washed ashore. One by one he tossed them back into the sea. He knew that when the sun rose, it would dry the starfish out and kill them.

A youth walked up to the man and asked, "What are you doing?"

"I'm trying to save these starfish," the man replied.

The beach was littered with starfish, too many to count.

The youth exclaimed in an exasperated tone, "There is no way you can save all of the starfish. Surely you must know that. It's hopeless."

The man bent over, picked up another starfish and while tossing it back into the sea, quietly replied,

"That may be true, but still, to this particular starfish, it makes a great difference."

In our modern age of wiz-bang technology, e-mail, voicemail, fax back, the web and ever-active cell phones, it is often easy to forget about the one ingredient without which Network Marketing doesn't happen:


Fat people, skinny people. Jolly people, sad people. Many races, many colors, many backgrounds. Ever, always people.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against pagers or laptops, Palm Pilots or fountain pens that double as calculators. Still, Internet surfers should not forget that "Internet" is short for "inter networking," as in communication, as in just another way people talk to people.

At the end of the day, we still have to sign up a new person, teach them the business, console them when they're down, praise them when they're up, hold their hand, build their belief system and maybe even share a shed tear or two.

Tom "Big Al" Shreiter, my idol, once said, "To be successful in Network Marketing, you need only three people. You make them really solid, you teach them to get three, who in turn get another three who in turn get three more and so on. You can build a heck of an organization if you can get three good people."

Three good people. Easier said than done. Although rapid globalization is rendering geographical differences virtually meaningless, this same external globalization brings with it serious social problems of stagnation, isolation and the deterioration of human values.

Network Marketing aspires to internal globalization, personal growth that begins inside each person, spreads throughout an organization and develops into a vast network of strong, inner-motivated people. So how do we find the right people?

Sift, sift, sift. Coach, coach, coach. A painstaking, arduous process, true. But wait a second-- if we only need three people?!?

Ultimately, we still have to sit across the table belly to belly, trust our instinct and check in on our intuition. Is she the right one? Does he have the heart?

We may not be able to save all of the starfish that stray onto the beaches at exactly the same time, but maybe if we just picked up three and taught some others to get three who in turn helped a few more.... -- RG

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, The Last Word - March 1999, 888-UPLINE-1,


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