Balance “Knowing” with Growing!
Practice Balance, Part 5.5 of 6
The final installment of the series on balance actually comes in two parts – to balance it out, so to speak! In both, I ask you to challenge yourself with an exercise; practice balancing ‘accepted wisdom’, ‘standard practice,’ and ‘convention’ with free-thinking, curiosity, a willingness to learn, and a results-based or performance-based approach to business and work.
Now, what do farming, gender issues, and business models have in common and what do they have to do with balance? Thanks for asking! Be forewarned – the answer comes with reading recommendations! (And we won’t get to gender issues until next time….)
Recently I was luxuriating in a fresh almond croissant at The Beaufort Bakery and Café (I recommend both highly!) and barged into a conversation since the topic was books. Two books to be specific, “Why Cows Learn Dutch” and “Why Cows Need Names,” (available through Kent State University Press and Amazon) and the author himself was present – Dr. Randy James. Dr. James is a credible expert. He received his Ph.D. in agronomy from Ohio State University and served as county agricultural agent in the Geauga County Amish Settlement, the fourth-largest Amish settlement in the world, for close to 30 years. He was also an associate professor for Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences until moving full-time to Beaufort six years ago. Agriculture continues to be the largest industry in the US with over 2.2 million farms. Randy’s writing debunks the myth that bigger is always better in American agriculture; he reveals that over 100,000 new small family farms have sprung up in the past few years despite media that implies small isn’t sustainable.
Surrounded by a factory-farm world, Randy advocates a business model that flatly rejects the dogma of economies of scale and instead focuses on the diversity, flexibility, and efficiency that only a small family farm can capture. Randy has a dry sense of humor and a strong backbone; he spent a career bucking conventional wisdom, becoming a (respected) outlier amidst his peers with their research focus on large-scale factory farming, calling out the fallacy of subsidies, and patiently demonstrating that there is real profit to be made in taking your time, choosing an animal for your herd based on knowing its attributes rather than just its number, and even doing things the old fashioned way!
Time and again his research, his observations, and his hands-on experience prove that small, independent farmers can be, and are, profitable in today’s challenging economy – without subsidies, huge loans, massive equipment budgets, and without a completely callous disregard for the very animals that are often at the center of human livelihood.
Now let me introduce another author who champions an unconventional, better way; Eric Worre wrote “Go Pro” about an industry that is neither well accepted nor understood. In an economy that no longer values seniority or loyalty, performance-based direct selling is an alternative business model endorsed by Warren Buffet and other leaders who view it as the career model of the future. Eric is another credible expert; he has been a leader in the network marketing profession for over 25 years, personally earned over $15 million, built sales organizations with more than a half-million distributors in over 60 countries, was president of a $200 million direct-selling company, co-founded another company, and worked as a seven-figure-a-year marketing consultant to the direct-selling industry. In other words, he’s no slouch.
He has shared the stage with Anthony Robbins, the late Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Denis Waitley, the late Stephen Covey, Tom Peters, Les Brown, the late Og Mandino, David Bach, Robert Kiyosaki, Harvey Mackay, Art Williams, Ken Blanchard, Tom Rath, Daniel Pink, Mark Victor Hansen, Jack Canfield, Jeffrey Gitomer, Tom Hopkins, and many other household names whom we admire and trust.
In 2009, Eric founded NetworkMarketingPro.com with an audience in 137 countries. He concludes each of his online training videos with his trademark statement, “Ladies and gentlemen, my wish for you is that you decide to become a Network Marketing Professional and you decide to Go Pro because it is a stone-cold fact that we have a better way. Now let’s go tell the world.”
Worre says “people need what we offer in network marketing but have been trained to resist opportunity in just about every form.” That has been my experience and it has puzzled me. Convention says that a job, even one you hate, makes more sense than going out on your own because it is “stable” and “less risky.” Is that the current majority experience? Standard practice says entrepreneurship is ‘good’ and means you invent something brand new, get the market to buy into your vision, and make a ton of money, retiring young and filthy rich. The media certainly paints that picture but the metrics don’t uphold the rosy image.
Conversely, nine out of ten people will respond with full conviction that network marketing (also known as direct selling or multi-level marketing) is illegal, is a pyramid scheme, and is not reputable. They disdainfully reject any offer and in this typical interaction will feel somewhat superior that they have neither been duped nor stooped so low as the clearly desperate slob who brought them the “opportunity.” Initial suspicion (which clouds or guards against objective listening) followed by the standard excuses of “I don’t have time, it costs too much,” and “I’m just not interested,” while sometimes reflective of true circumstances, are more often indicators of a person who’s succumbed to status quo, who’s lost curiosity or desire to actively shape their own destiny. Like the horse by the water trough, they are unable to recognize the very solution that – along with a professional “go pro” approach – provides the results they both need and want.
Here’s an illustrative example of someone conditioned from many sides to resist opportunity: a physician described his contempt for a nutrition network marketing business. For over a year he rejected learning anything about the product and the company, but as the data became harder and harder to ignore he had another concern. He said he feared judgment by his peers, he feared lawsuits, and he feared risking his credibility. Finally the clinical trial data was so overwhelming he worried he’d be accused of malpractice if he didn’t share the nutrition system with patients who desperately needed the results he was seeing! So he told his patients, “Look, I have to disclose I’m going to make money when I give this to you.” He said his patients’ responses were, “Doc, you’ve been charging me money for years and I’ve been getting sicker. Don’t you think I’m OK with you making money when I’m actually getting well?” That’s what it took to get him to undo his conditioning. Only when you balance what you “know” to be “true” due to accepted thinking with free-thinking and open curiosity will you be able to participate in the model of the future, a true performance-based, results-based business.
The challenge for each of us is to recognize our ingrained, knee-jerk, default resistance – whether we’re resisting the concept of small farms vs. large ones, networking marketing vs. traditional employment or entrepreneurship, or gender and lending (that we’ll explore next article) – and balance it with an inquisitive invitation: “Tell me more because perhaps there’s a side to this discussion that I haven’t been open to hearing previously.” I’ll paraphrase recent insight from a friend: ‘Without balance, without the ability to examine the story that’s been played over and over in your head, you think small, you act small, and you miss the very opportunity you’ve spent years longing for.’ Seeking such balance requires courage because, as Dr. James’ did, you buck convention. Today I challenge you to practice a balanced approach so you might grow new conventional wisdom!
Beaufort resident Jamie Wolf is the author of “Start Over! Start Now! Ten Keys to Success in Business and Life” available on Amazon with 10 accompanying guidebooks. She has started over a number of times and now focuses on helping people who are ready to Start Over with their health
and wealth through getting fit, feeling fabulous, and becoming financially free. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org