Betty Feng and her dog Bing once he retired

Betty Feng and her dog Bing once he retired

In my last post, I talk about dogs that parachuted into war. Bing was a dog that was given to the army by 6 year old Betty Fetch and her family. They could no longer afford to keep him because of food rationing. He was trained with other dogs and on one of his early missions over Normandy on June 6th, 1944 heavy anti-aircraft rained on the plane. Bing became was so afraid of jumping out of the plane on that they pushed him out with an encouraging boot.

Upon parachuting out of the plane, he landed in a tree, had to be cut down and was later wounded in action. He recovered and went on to have many missions and save many people.
He saved countless Allied lives. During a second jump into Germany, Bing was sent on a dangerous mission to look in a house. As he approached the house, he realized that there were enemy troops and sounded the alarm. His human teammates surrounded the house, took the Nazis prisoner and Bing became a hero. He received the highest military honor an animal can win in the UK for his bravery. After his death in 1955, he was buried in a special cemetery in London. If you visit Duxford, you can see a life-size statue of Bing, complete with a parachute.

How does this dog’s story relate to us today?

We each have unlimited potential. Some of us need a good kick in the butt to get us going, but once we choose to believe in ourselves we can do great things! We are trained to do great things, but when the time comes, we cower in the corner. We forget how great we are. I am thankful to the people in my life that push me to be more. The world is waiting on your greatness. Bing was just a dog that someone had to surrender because they could not feed him. No matter what your past story was, your future can be great. Live it! Be brave! If you are a leader, encourage those around you to live to their potential. If you are growing into a leader, listen to what those around you are saying. Understand that they are pushing you for a greater purpose!!

There is a great page with photos of these dogs here: parachuting dog photos

Did you know that during WWII, dogs jumped from airplanes with parachutes?? Doesn’t that sound crazy? I know a few of my friends (and family) that love the idea of jumping from a plane but for the majority of us the thought strikes fear in our hearts! Dogs instinctively like to be on the ground as well.

As June 5, 1944 transitioned into June 6, the 13th Battalion flew into Normandy. There were three planes, each loaded with 20 paratroopers and one parachuting dog. The planes bumped and creaked.  Heavy artillery exploded around the aircraft, but despite the explosions, Monty and Ranee (two of the dogs) remembered their training and behaved like veterans. However, the third dog, Bing lost his nerve and hid in the back of the plane, too afraid to move. Bing actually had to be thrown out of the plane! On the way down, his parachute got stuck in a tree, where he remained for two hours. He was wounded by German gun fire before troops were able to cut him down.

In life, there those who take the jump and those who don’t. What separates those two groups? I think it has to do with fear and how you handle fear.

Fear of the Unknown

You might not be happy where you are, but not being able to predict what is going to happen is super scary.

Fear of Failure

No one wants to fail, especially in front of others

Fear of Success

This one sounds crazy to me, but I know I have experienced it. What happens if this really blows up big? How will it change my life?

So how do you become more that Monty and Ranee (the dogs that jumped) rather than Bing. The one who got thrown out of the plane?

Here is some vintage video of some dogs parachuting solo!

Face your fears!

Sounds so easy right?!? There are many books that have been written on the topic of this and I won’t be able to address it all in a simple post, but here is my advice in three steps.

Identify what you are afraid of.

Logically mitigate any risks

Determine which fears are rational and which are not.

Make a move!

Decide if it is fear holding you back or if there are some good logical reasons. If it is only fear, push through it. You are an overcomer! The more you overcome fear, the better you are able to manage it.

(BTW Despite his injuries and the incident in the plane, Bing eventually distinguished himself in the field. I will talk about that in my next post!!)

Live your Dreams

Every successful person is someone who has failed

but has not regarded himself as a failure. John Maxwell

Another four years have passed and I find myself again staying up much later than normal, glued to my television, hoping that people I do not know will achieve their ultimate goal and receive a medal.  What makes us love the Olympics?  There are multiple things that drive one to watch, but mostly, I believe that we see a little of ourselves in each of them.  I could never fly through the air like Gabby Douglas or swim like Michael Phelps but there is something intriguing about them.  They are wholly dedicated to their sport.  They are driven, determined and passionate.

When you have a dream, you must follow it.  I remember almost 12 years ago, when my husband came to me and said he had a dream.  He wanted to build a MLM software company that would be reliable and a good value.  It took quite a bit of time and convincing on his part to win me over.  Ultimately, it came down to believing in his dream.  I am a realist and I knew that failure was a huge possibility.  I had a new baby, was not bringing in a salary and we had limited savings.   But when someone you love has a dream, you must support that dream.  I knew that if I said no, I was limiting his future and I could not live with that.

Twelve years later, I can look back and say, “Whew!  Good choice!”  But a dream does not come without failure.  We have done so many things wrong.  Thankfully, we have had some great teammates who have stuck with us as we have waded our way to success.  Many families of Olympic athletes make hard choices to support their child’s dream; they allow them to move away to train with a coach or they settle for a smaller home to pay the bills.

We all fail.  The important part comes after the failure.  Do we take a breather and hop back up on the balance beam?  I certainly hope so!  Those are the ones the world is cheering for!!

I am so honored this week to have a guest post by one of our commissions analysts, David Thompson.  As you read through his article, you will begin to understand why this department is crucial to ByDesign and our clients.

Inventory Loading or Front Loading, has in the past and even today cast a dark shadow over the Direct Selling and MLM Industry and for good reason. Inventory Loading is defined by Business Dictionary.com as “forcing or encouraging [the] purchase of large inventory by the agents or retailers as a condition of retaining agency status or qualifying for volume bonuses”.. In a 1979 lawsuit filed against Amway by the FTC, the FTC declared Inventory Loading as a practice which “[requires] a person seeking to become a distributor to pay a large sum of money for the purchase of a large amount of nonreturnable inventory”. In a more recent suit (Webster vs. Omnitrition, 1996), the Ninth Circuit court of appeals defined Inventory Loading   as “Occurring when distributors make the minimum required purchases to receive recruitment based bonuses without reselling the products to consumers”. In short, Inventory Loading is when a distributor is forced or feels they are forced to personally purchase large quantities of product they can neither use nor reasonably resell in order to join or maintain a status in an agency.

So what’s wrong with Inventory Loading? A good example is the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happiness. Will Smith plays Chris Gardner, a family man looking to make ends meet. In a seemingly “too good to be real” opportunity to make money, Smith’s character signs up for a direct-selling opportunity and invests his family’s savings into a large number of Bone-Density scanners. Smith ends up purchasing dozens of these scanners in hopes of reselling them for a big profit. This is the exact behavior of Inventory Loading; forcing reps to purchase product that they may not consume or cannot resell.  In the movie Chris Gardner never gains from the investment and eventually he and his son are left on the street. This example is a worst case scenario but still proves the point; Reps shouldn’t be forced to buy mass quantities of product, allowing the company to make a quick buck, while the chances of them achieving a dream come true sizeable revenue stream slowly leaves their sight.

As a Commissions Analyst, I’m constantly on the lookout for Inventory Loading qualifications in our client’s plans, but it’s not always something defined within the commissions plan itself. It can be hidden through the sly use of inventory with low volume and high volume qualification requirements.  We all have a direct impact on the Direct Selling and MLM Industry in working with ByDesign. Complete awareness of Inventory Loading, letting our clients know it is illegal and warning them when their plans and inventory encourage its practice will increase our clients’ trust in our expertise and help with the continued improvement of our industries image.

 

References: MLMAttorney.com, BusinessDictionary.com, DSA

Last week I promised you some interviews with great MLM/direct selling and party plan companies.  Every few weeks, we will highlight one of these great companies.

To start off the series, I interviewed AJ Deeds of Loving Works.  They are a relatively new company that just celebrated their second year in business.  When I first met AJ, I was very impressed by his dedication to his products.  He told me what a difference the products had made in his life and he wanted to share that with others.    When I asked him why he started Loving Works, he said it began as a way for him to provide products, tools and experiences that could help others  grow in body, mind, heart and spirit. He said, “When I met Dr. Kyle Morgan (formulator of the Weight Balancing System, Sleep Balancer and other products), Loving Works was the ideal platform to bring forward her amazing inventiveness and help others to grow.”

There are many different ways to sell products.  Why did you decide to go the MLM/Direct sales model rather than traditional retail?

We chose the MLM model for several reasons. When people lose weight quickly on the Weight Balancing System, friends and family want to know how they did it. A network appears naturally. In addition, helping families and individual households increase their sources of revenue matched our vision. When people have more resources, they have more choices and can better live a better life and fulfill their own visions.  As one household, then two, then ten make better choices, they affect a neighborhood, a town, a community, a region, a country. Want to change the world? Start by helping local people. You’ll change the world, or a significant piece of it, before you know it.

What lesson have you learned that has changed your life?/business?

The underlying message from the most successful network marketers is to never give up. Distributors who are successful could have never predicted what a difference a single day would make until they reached that day. We’ve found this applies to network marketing company leaders as well. We like to use the term “keep going” as that has been the mantra through many difficulties we’ve encountered in this business journey. Knowledge comes from applying learning gained via experiences that are based on mistakes. We know quite a bit as we celebrate our second year in business.

If you could change one thing what would it be?

Since you can’t change the past, it’s not important what could have been done. What’s important is what we are choosing to do right now, today. The experience of network marketing is truly about acting, about taking action. Plans are important. But taking rapid action to recruit, to communicate, to motivate is much more important.

How do you deal with change?

The marketplace, the technology, the channel all change very quickly. One must have both flexibility in method yet steadfastness in principle, in vision, to do well.  You can’t chase a dream as you’ll never catch it. You have to create the future you desire. Keep going.

AJ, Thank you so much for your time and sharing your wisdom with ByDesign Technologies and others!!!

Are MLM, direct sales and party plan executives money hungry scammers or are they generous and giving?  I think this a question that must be answered. The industry has been hurt by pyramid schemes and people who speak loudly but have little insight.   I think, as with most businesses in the world, there are definitely bad apples out there.  But as a whole, I have found that individuals that start or lead a direct selling company are very generous.

For the last twelve years, ByDesign Technologies has had the privilege of working exclusively in this industry.  In 12 years, you see a lot and you learn a ton!  One of the things I love about this industry is the executives that we get to work with. We have had the honor of working with some truly fantastic business owners.  These people are innovative entrepreneurs with a passion to make the world a better place.

We have such an important job!!  We know that companies are depending on our software for their success (and the success of their field)!

We serve startup companies, emerging companies and multi-billion dollar, public companies.  This  is a large range in company size.    Learning how to meet the needs of each has taken flexibility and time.  In dealing with these companies, we have found one remaining truth.   Regardless of the size of the company, the executives really care about their products and their teams.  They want high quality products and they want their field to be successful.    They want to help the field make a mortgage or car payment.(or more)  They want to empower people to become leaders.  They want to change the world for good.

What an awesome job!  We are so lucky to be a part of it.  In the coming weeks, I will be blogging some interviews with a few of these executives.  I think you will enjoy learning from them and seeing their perspective on this great industry.  Don’t miss it!!!

 

As I was thinking about this post, “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers kept running through my mind.  It’s an oldie but goodie, and I am probably giving away a little too much about my age and background by sharing it!  (my sons would be sooo embarrassed!!).  The Gambler, Kenny Rogers

Here at ByDesign Technologies (www.bydesign.com) we deal with all kinds of companies; mlm, party plan and direct sales.  Some are billion dollar companies while others are start-ups.  We have had the great pleasure of watching companies grow from absolutely nothing to huge successes and unfortunately we have also seen many crash and burn.  If things are not looking positive, how do you determine if you are in an uncomfortable learning or growth curve or if you are in a tailspin you won’t recover from?

Is there ever a time to throw in the towel?  Here are five ways to know it is time:

1) Have you invested more than you think you can possibly recover?

2) Are you no longer passionate?

3) Are working outside of your strengths?

4) Are you holding on so that you do not have to admit failure?

5) Have you tried everything you know to do and it is still not working?

 Deciding to quit  is never easy.  Some quit when the ovation is the loudest.  Others persevere to hear another!  The best advice I can offer is to seek wise counsel.  Ask someone who has gone through a similar situation and be honest with yourself.

Some trials we must walk through.  Some we are not allowed to quit on, like illness or the death of a family member. (though we would all like to opt out of those!!)   Others trials, like a job, a business, or a relationship give us a choice in our actions and reactions.  If you decide things are not going to work out, handle it with grace.  Give the decision a lot of thought and be completely at peace with the situation once the final decision is made.

Deciding to quit anything you have invested yourself (or your money) in is difficult but recognizing that quitting does not equate to failure is a great gift to yourself.

You can believe like Homer Simpson, “Trying is the first step towards failure,”  or Mike Dennison, “It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try.”

 Give me your thoughts.  How do you know when it is time to quit?

You have to try!!

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan

I love that quote by Michael Jordan.  A fantastic basketball player and a great leader.

Are you afraid to try?  Recently I was talking with my son and shared a quote with him from Wayne Gretsky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  We were talking about just trying.  Whether it is sports, work or just life in general, you have to put yourself out there and try.

At ByDesign Technologies (www.bydesign.com)  we are offering a Spanish class twice a week during lunch hour.  I have been attending and trying to learn.  This week, the professor said, “Ok, next week we will have a quiz.”  My heart sank, “a quiz?  This is not good, this was supposed to be fun…a quiz? I gave up my lunch hours for a quiz? I don’t have time to study, what am I going to do?!?”  Breathe…..Then I realized that it was ok, if I failed the quiz, at least I could say I tried.  I didn’t back out, I didn’t walk out, I didn’t kill myself trying to cram…I simply tried.

How do we balance what we want to become with who we are?

I believe it comes in the trying, the failing and the getting yourself up off the ground and doing it all over again.  As Michael Jordan said, that is why I succeed.

Lead and Follow

I believe that everyone can be a great leader.  Some might argue that there must be followers but if everyone led one, wouldn’t we all be leaders AND followers??

Here are my top 10 list of skills for good leadership

 

Openness-Good leaders listen to others.  They know people’s opinions matter and love to have their opinions challenged.

Encourager-A good leader loves watching their team and others succeed

Forgiving-a leader must recognize that holding on to hurt or bitterness hurts them and the organization

Risk-taker-a leader recognizes when a risk is worth it, takes it and encourages others to follow

Honest-a good leader is true to themselves and the organization and understands that transparency wins people over

Dreamer-Good leaders think about tomorrow and all the days afterward

Thankful-great leaders recognize that they can go nowhere without a good team and constantly remind their team how valuable they are

Humble-Good leaders are not self-seeking

Flexible-Leaders are open to new ways of achieving their vision

Hard working-No one becomes a great leader without investing time and effort into their mission.

What would you add to the list??? Leave me a comment and let me know.

I saw a great quote today by Tom Robbins.

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.”

I thought that this was exactly the point that I try to make to people, (but said so much better than I ever would have!!) So many times we get caught up in “the way we do it.”

Have you ever gone to church or a had a meeting you attend regularly? Have you noticed that everyone seems to always sit in the same seat? I am one of those that thinks it is fun to move around and throw everyone off.

We have a management meeting every Tuesday and my managers always come in and sit in “their” seat. If I get there early enough, quite often I will purposely pick to sit in one of their chairs just to throw the whole room off. We are creatures of habit. Most of us like to sleep on the same side of bed, have our coffee the same way and drive our car on the same road every day.

Sometimes those regular schedules or habits provide us with stability, other times it will kill us. There is another phrase I like that says,

“If you always do, what you have always done, you will always be, what you have always been.”

We should always be in a state of growth; personal, professional and spiritual. We should never be comfortable with the way things are because when we become comfortable, we stop moving towards greatness. How does one achieve greatness?? I think it is by staying committed to the decisions you have made for your life.

So many of us decide to do things (me included) and when the going gets tough, we give up.  I am sure many of you are like me and decided to “be healthier” this new year.  Sometimes at 6 am when I would rather be in bed than working out, it is hard to be committed.  When that chocolate brownie looks better than my salad, it is hard to be committed.  So, we must be flexible in our approach, sometimes I get up at 6:10 but I still get up, sometimes I eat a bite of that chocolate brownie…flexible, but still committed.

The same is true in business.  As a company we know our anchor, “To empower Direct Sellers worldwide with the best software and customer service in the industry.”  We have to constantly be flexible in how we view our “best practices.” Are there things we are doing that are outdated? Undoubtedly there are. We recently made the decision to not send out a printed manual. It seemed that as quickly as we got a new version printed up, it was outdated. While it is uncomfortable for us to give up this old familiar way of doing things, we must if we are going to be a state of the art company.  If we know what we are committed to, we can strive towards it.

Take the time today to examine your life and your position in your company and see if there is anything that you are really comfortable with. If so, look at it critically and find out if there is anything about it that is hindering your future growth. You might have found your sweet spot, but even sweet milk can go sour if it sits for too long.

Comfort and stability are good things but so are growth and flexibility. The balanced individual and company are able to create enough comfort and stability so that maximum growth and flexibility can be achieved. (over and over again).