I read an interesting article from the book, Thinking For a Change, by John C. Maxwell that I would love to share with you in my own words. It’s about a lady named Karen Ford, who in the mid 1980’s, was a high school teacher who had an unexpected bump on the road of her life. Her second child was born with a heart condition that required her to stay home with him each and everyday to help maintain his medicines and quality of life. She found a company where she could supplement her income and began immediately working with Mary Kay, hoping to bring home $50 dollars per week to make up for her lost wages.
Ford became very successful in her new found career and began to build one of the biggest empires in the Mary Kay company in her day. She was bringing in over 650,000 buckaroos each year. Being a beauty consultant was becoming lucrative in many different ways for her. Allow me to give you a few take aways from this article that added inspiration to my life as a leader.
She Found Something She Loved Doing
In 1987, when she decided to go to work for Mary Kay, she found so much more than a 8-4 everyday mundane job to drag her through each and every week. Ford found a calling, something she loved and enjoyed doing. She uncovered a strength of hers to sell and connect with people. So she leveraged that to her benefit, and lit the industry on fire with her smarts and enthusiasm.
Too many people feel they are stuck in a position that they do not feel passionate about. A college major, career choice, or a relationship they are in, weighs on them like a ton of bricks.
If we are going to be the leaders that we need to be, we need to discover the passion in what we do. Here’s three things that I will mention shortly to help you do that:
- Remember why you started this career and list all of the positive items that drove you in that direction.
- Read inspirational books and quotes that will ignite a fire in your soul, and cultivate that flame as well. I personally love to watch YouTube videos that give me knowledge about leadership, salesmanship, managing. My favorite authors are John C. Maxwell, Jeffrey Gitomer, Zig Ziglar, and any biography of great leaders, in any industry.
- Maintain a close relationship with like minded individuals that challenge you, inspire you and help you broaden your scope, cause the roots of your life to dig deep, help maintain a vertical growth, and develop branches to benefit those around you.
If you are not excited, guess what? Neither will those people around you be! -Dustin L. Carr
She Devoted Her Life to Others
Karen made Mary Kay’s motto very personal, “In business for yourself, but not by yourself.” She began recruiting women to join the illustrious business and began building a mammoth like company. Karen didn’t recruit people, but rather she empowered women to devote their life to a cause.
No doubt, Karen Ford ascribed to the very foundation of Mary Kay, “God first, family second, and career third.” Only when a person is able to keep life into perspective, can we help others and prevent burnout. But once she built a foundation and had her priorities set, Karen began to develop a powerhouse around her and inspire generations to come.
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” -Zig Ziglar
Karen wasn’t just a leader, she was a leader of leaders. She developed consultants around her to be driven, knowledgeable, and successful. She didn’t hold them back and tie them down as if they were competition, but rather she gave them the “know-how” and inspiration, then unleashed them to blaze a trail and build an empire.
She Learned From Failure
Karen had scaled to the highest pinnacle of the company, so she thought. She wanted to attain the greatest honor within the company by earning the most coveted position, that of a National Sales Director. In 1995, however, to her dismay she was stopped in her tracks of moving forward and the breath knocked out of her. According to the article in John C. Maxwell’s book, the reason for this disappointment was because, “she had gathered a bunch of followers who simply were trying to carry out her dreams and goals, not leaders who could achieve on their own and rally others to succeed.” (1)
In my opinion it wasn’t the money that drove her, or she would have been satisfied with a cool $650K a year. She wanted more than that, she wanted to rise to the top. This devastating news crushed her and caused her to almost quit what she loved doing. You remember that old adage, “Quitters never win, and winners never quit!” Karen dove into her books and engulfed every known piece of material she could to enlarge her mind and inspire her to change her mentality. She didn’t quit, she didn’t lay down, she worked tirelessly to succeed and in 1998 she herd the phone ring, and on the other in was some of the sweetest words she had ever heard. She became a National Sales Director with Mary Kay.
I’m reminded so many times that right before success can come the greatest failure. Don’t give up, have courage, develop yourself and those around you. Succeed as a leader in all that you do! Change yourself and adjust if you need to, work on your weaknesses, and major on your strengths. NEVER SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRITY!
-Dustin L. Carr
(1.) excerpt from Thinking For a Change, Author John C. Maxwell, pg. 23