I knew it! MLM’s and Direct Marketing Companies ARE Cults!

Cult is the root of the word culture.  Multi-level marketing and direct marketing companies all have their own culture and family dynamics.  Yes, I said family.  Therefore, they are cult(ure)s.



Picture of my wife holding my newborn son.Here’s the thing, you were born into one.  Whether your family adheres to certain religious values or just specific societal values, when you put these factors all together, it identifies your particular cult.

As we grow in life, we face choices in direction.  Part of that is deciding where we fit into society.  Some have to make very drastic decisions like minimizing exposure to family because that particular culture is deemed to be a negative influence.  We find others more like ourselves with similar beliefs and value system.  This includes where we live, work and play.

The world is made of a multitude of cults.  We all need to decide which ones we will be a part of.  Being part of a culture gives a sense of security that comes from being surrounded by like minded people that you know, like and trust.



Most of us will be approached many times throughout our lives to join different groups and each will have it’s unique culture.

  • Corporate America (Canada?)
  • Family (Your life partner and their family)
  • Faith (or non-faith)
  • Team (Sports or academic)
  • MLM (Multi-level or direct marketing company)

Picture of cartoon people joining handsThey’re all cults, just different environments in various parts of our lives.  It’s importance to choose carefully as each has the potential to change you in ways you might never have imagined.

Corporate America may drain the life out of you with the demands on your time and lead to early death or make you resent getting out of bed in the morning.  Your life partner influences how you see the world and how you go about giving back to society.  Faith can lead to enriching the lives of your family and those around you.  Being part of a team may teach you how to compromise and MLM’s may lead to such personal growth that it changes you and everyone around you.

Choose carefully!



Just like corporations and churches, MLM’s are cults.  Every business has it’s unique culture.  Each has it’s unique value proposition, social structure, educational system and economic model.  Find one that fits with who you are and who you want to become.  Participating in this business model will change you, it’s inevitable.  

By Nicole Shapiro

By Nicole Shapiro

As in every area of your life, there will be individuals who will try to hold you back but unlike many other businesses, there will be more people who will help you to learn and grow.  

Find the group and opportunity who reflect who you want to become and join in that culture.  You may need to try a few different ones before you find the one that fits the best.  Much like dating until you meet that special person that makes you whole.

Some will try to tell you that you can’t be part of their group unless you commit to only working with them and no one else.

 Run as fast as you can!  They will try to dominate and control you rather than supporting your growth.  You likely won’t be able to mix the groups together because of competing values but you can participate in each on their own because you have found where they fit in your culture.

It’s up to you to define who you are and want to become.  When and if you decide to join one group exclusively, let it be your choice.  Not theirs.


Make it a great day!


P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for opportunity.  I’m thankful for friends.  I’m thankful for free speech.

What are you thankful for today?


Leadership and Lollipops

What on earth does leadership have to do with lollipops?  Watch the video at the end of this blog by Drew Dudley.  He talks about a special moment when he had shown leadership and actually been totally unaware.  It’s what he calls lollipop moments.


CoachesLeadership isn’t great moments when you achieve some grand goal like growing your network marketing team and reaching executive levels.  Your leadership started long before that when you were doing the little things.  

You may find yourself managing or coaching a soccer team and being that person one of the team can talk to when they are upset or don’t understand something.  You may be that person who gets involved in a community activity and helps to run an event or just provides support to others.  It’s all leadership.

An example of a lollipop moment is when you help someone in a way that affects them the rest of their life and you never even knew it happened.  One of those kids you were coaching may come to you years later and quote something you said to them that they felt was very profound but you actually forgot ever saying it.  You didn’t necessarily have a title but you showed leadership in meeting the needs of someone else without expecting anything in return.

I would recommend reading Robin Sharma’s “The Leader Who Had No Title”.  He does an amazing job of driving home how unimportant a title is.  They are usually just a reflection of productivity or achievement.  That’s not the same as leadership.


lollipopLollipops are a sweet yet simple treat that often goes unnoticed.  A lollipop moment is much like that.  A time when you do something without thinking.  To the recipient of your attention, it’s a sweet moment that they may well treasure the rest of their life and yet it was something so simple that you forgot it ever happened.  That’s a lollipop moment.   Again, watch the video below by Drew Dudley where he does a great job of explaining one of his lollipop moments.


What are some great examples of leaders?

  • Parents
  • Coaches
  • Teachers
  • Friends
  • Co-workers

10-28-2010 08;47;20PM_1And the list could go on.  Parents are the role models for their children.  The same goes for teachers and coaches.  You are still a leader to those children and young adults when they grow up.  The same for friends and co-workers.

Some of these people will come and go from your life just as you will from theirs.  When you are away from these people, what will they remember?  They will remember all of the little things like just listening when they needed to have a good cry or maybe reminding them that they are a good person when they are having a black day.

How you handle the little every day things and people in life determine whether or not you are a true leader.  Don’t underestimate your power.  It would be such a waste if you never realized you had it and never put your power and leadership skills to good use.

Leadership and lollipops.  Such a simple way to remember how great you really are.

Are you afraid of the dark or are you afraid of your own light?

Make it a great day,


P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for TED Talks.  I’m thankful for the time you took to read this blog.  I’m thankful for any time my words may be able to help someone else brighten their day.

What are you thankful for today?

Have you ever thought about “thinking out loud” with your own blog site?  Click the banner below to see just how easy it is!

Pure Leverage

You owe me!! (Not the brightest thing to say.)

Have you ever had someone say “You owe me!”?  I have to say that’s not the brightest comment to make.



man-carrying-boxCharitable actions require no acknowledgement or they are not truly charitable.  For example, you notice someone struggling at work and offer to assist them.  They accept your offer but don’t say thank you.  Yes, it’s rude but to come back to them and say “You owe me one” is worse.  What appeared to be charitable on your part actually had a price.  That’s not charitable.

I appreciated your help but forgot my manners.  When people are under great stress like someone struggling with losing a child, that can happen.  When my son was fighting cancer, neighbours brought food and helped in various ways.  I don’t remember if I said thank you for everything.  I like to think I did but there is no way I could guarantee that.  Do I owe you?  Yes.   Should you expect anything?  NO!!

I don’t know about you but when I hear “you owe me”, my back goes straight up.  If I had known there was a cost, I may have declined your offer.  When you expect something in return, it’s no longer a gift.  You’re fishing for something from me and I’m not sure if I’m willing to pay your price.



When I share ideas or offer assistance, I have no expectations.  I do have hope.


It’s my hope that:

  • I can provide a bright spot in your day to help put a smile on your face.
  • I can share resources and ideas that you can use to find whatever success means for you.
  • I may lead you to something that may improve your circumstances.
  • I may lighten your load so that you can focus on the important things in life.
  • You find it in your heart to #payitforward

I’ll be honest.  My giving is selfish.  I take pleasure in helping others find peace with themselves and finding their success.  It’s up to them to decide what that is.  When I see others achieve personal growth through something or someone I introduced them to, there is a sense of satisfaction for me.  Thank you is a great way to acknowledge the actions but not necessary.  I got what I wanted when you achieved your goal.

If you ever hear me use the words “you owe me”, please stomp on my foot or something!  It’s rude, ignorant and destroys trust.  Not really a great way to earn loyalty.


Make it a great day!


P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for all the people who have provided assistance or moral support throughout my life.  I’m thankful for the people that have allowed me to help when I can.  I’m thankful for every opportunity God gives me for personal growth.

What are you thankful for today?

Communication. Are you getting your message across?

Communication isn’t just words.  Sometimes the message is lost in the translation.  Just because you say it doesn’t make it so.  And, saying it louder doesn’t make it more so!  What can I do to help you understand what I’m trying to say?




criticismLanguage is more than English versus French or Chinese.  We communicate in far more ways than just the words we use.  Tone changes everything.  Do you remember your parents ever saying “Don’t you use that tone with me young lady!”?


How does it make you feel when someone is talking to you in a derogatory or belittling tone?  The resonance of their voice has increased and the tone is deeper.  It’s almost as if they grew twice as big and are towering over you.


You might consider reading Stephen Denning’s book The Secret Language of Leadership for some great advice on how to choose words that are more inviting and in a manner that is less confusing.



man-with-thumb-downWhat about your body position?  Have you ever heard someone say “Get out of my face!”?


Where and how you are standing, literally, can change the whole meaning of the message you are trying to deliver.  Fight or flight is a natural instinct.  Are you threatening me?


Imagine that you are standing talking with someone and all of a sudden you reach a sensitive point in a contentious discussion.  They cross their arms, lean toward you and the muscles in their jaw tighten.  Are you focused on the message or are you now trying to figure out what they are going to do next?


Mark Bowden has written a great book called Winning Body Language for Sales Professionals.  He has some amazing advice on how to be aware of how you are being perceived through your body language.



3D-Women-Question-02Having a good handle on why you do what you do can lead to much greater trust on the part of the people you are trying to communicate with.


Take some time to understand yourself and what drives you.  Why does your message matter and who does it matter to?  When your message comes from the heart, it’s more likely to be heard.  Be careful not to become so passionate that you overwhelm the people you are talking to!


I highly recommend reading the book by Simon Sinek, “Start With Why”.  The video below reflects the concepts from his book and Simon discusses why it’s important to understand people.  Especially in business.


Simon Sinek: If You Don’t Understand People, You Don’t Understand Business from 99U on Vimeo.


Say what you mean and mean what you say!

Take the time to:

  • Understand yourself.
  • Clarify your goals and objectives.
  • Identify your audience.
  • Learn the audience’s language, verbal and non-verbal.

Now you should be able to effectively communicate your message and get it across.  Get out there and say what you mean.  Make sure you mean what you say.


Make it a great day!



P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for beautiful spring sunshine.  I’m thankful for people who take the time to listen regardless of whether or not they agree me.  I’m thankful for differences.


What are you thankful for today?

Leaders, will you eat last?


Leaders are those who truly care about those who chose to follow them.  You make sure they eat first.

True leaders will appreciate this video and use it to help others to become leaders, not just “bosses” or “uplines”.  I highly recommend you spend some time on Vimeo and Youtube with Simon Sinek.  In my opinion, this could be some of the most valuable personal development time you ever spend.

Simon Sinek: Why Leaders Eat Last from 99U on Vimeo.

Make it a great day!


P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for leaders like Simon Sinek.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to share this with you.  I’m thankful for every day God gives me to try and make a difference.

What are you thankful for today?