In his lectures on ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,’ Stephen R. Covey asks a tough question and tells a great story …

Have you ever climbed the corporate ladder and found it was leaning against the wrong wall? 

Imagine a crew clearing a path through the jungle.  The workers are hacking away with their machetes, while the managers are making schedules and encouraging the machete wielders. 

The leader climbs the tallest tree, looks around and hollers down to the crew below, “Wrong jungle!”

The managers yell back, “Shut up!  We’re making progress!”

This is not just a great definition of workers, managers and leaders.  It’s also an insight into how we can stick with and even defend bad decisions just because they are ours.

Let’s say you want to paint your house green.  You go to the hardware store and buy the paint.  When you open it up at home, you discover you’ve bought red paint by mistake!

  • Do you say, “Oh well, I’ve bought the paint already.  It’s too late.  I’ll just go ahead and paint my house red.  This is the color I actually wanted anyway.”
  • Do you try to convince yourself that because you chose it, this red paint is actually green?
  • Do you spend endless hours sitting and staring at the red paint waiting and hoping for it to turn green?
  • Do you close the lid and put the paint in your garage and tell yourself that house painting is stupid and you’ll never be any good at it, and people always lose money by buying the wrong paint?
  • Do you blame the salesman for selling you the wrong paint and vow to never go there or speak to him again?

Of course you don’t!  You say ‘oops’, put the lid back on the can, go right back to the store, tell the salesman you made a mistake, get the green paint, and head home to start painting your house the color you want – green!

Now think about your choice of MLM company.  You joined to make some extra money, perhaps a lot of money.  After a few months, you find you are losing money instead.  You learn some skills but nothing changes.  But you say to yourself …

  • “I’ve already spent lots of money on this.  It’s too late.  I bought the tee shirt and learned the company song.  I’m going to stick with it.”
  • “This must be the right company because I chose it.  This is the company I’ve always wanted to work with.”
  • “I’ve had so much rejection, I’m going to take a couple days off and analyze the pay plan some more and make some new flyers and get back on those conference calls to improve my attitude and set some goals and get enthusiastic again and maybe they’ll get a new product and lower the prices … “
  • “This doesn’t work.  Everyone I talk to is losing money.  I quit.”
  • “Damn that Donna for getting me into this.  She’s making money from my autoship and I’m not making a dime.  This is a pyramid scam and I’m never going bowling with her again!”

Of course you do!  We all do! 

Why is that?  Why are we so smart when it comes to paint, but so stupid when it comes to our future?  It’s an expensive mystery.

We’ve done it ourselves, and we see hundreds of people stick with decisions that rob them of their money, time, enthusiasm, friends and dreams.  There’s no shame in admitting you’ve made the wrong choice, and then deciding to start over in the right company for you.  Every billionaire has done it several times.

Workers know when to have lunch.
Managers know when to keep on working.
Leaders know when to change jungles.

To learn more about MLM leadership, visit
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Bob and Anna Bassett

Tom ‘Big Al’ Schreiter’s 25 Skills
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