Fail Your Way to Success

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 3.45.05 PMOne of the first things you learn when you start your direct sales business is that rejection is a huge part of your experience. You have to learn to get comfy with failure, to embrace it and actually invite it in for tea. I promise, you'll get more no's than yeses, pretty much from day one. If you can't make yourself understand that those no's have nothing to do with you and move on from them, you won't last long in this profession.

Did you know there are some truly great failures in our history? Babe Ruth, one of the greatest baseball players ever to play the game, struck out 1330 times on his way to hitting 714 home runs. I've heard Jack Canfield tell the story about how he and Mark Victor Hansen shopped their first "Chicken Soup For the Soul" book to literally hundreds of publishers who turned them down flat before they finally found one person who "got" their idea and agreed to publish their book.

I'll bet you didn't walk the first time you tried. Hopefully, whoever taught you to swim didn't toss you in to the deep end the very first day. That's because every great success comes through a series of failures. Nothing worth having is going to fall into your lap without a lot of effort and a few failures on your part. That's just the truth.

So how do you get comfortable with failure? Here are a few ideas:

  • Remember that when someone tells you "no", it usually means "Not now." Don't give up at the first "no" you hear.
  • Being perfect in our profession is actually a bad thing. Think about it. If you do your presentation perfectly from memory, any potential recruit leads in your audience are probably going to think, "I could never do this." If you make a mistake or use notes to stay on track, you look more "human" and they just may think, "I could do this (maybe even better than her)."
  • Follow up is the key to failing your way to success. I once "struck out" for over nine months with someone who had asked me to follow up with them, leaving a message every month and feeling like an idiot every time I called (but calling anyhow). In the middle of the ninth month, she called ME back, thanking me for continuing to follow up. Turns out she had two children starting college and life had been insane for her. (Who knew, and it was not about me!)
  • Your gremlin (that little voice in your head that tells you lies about the world) will always tell you it's about you or your fault. Don't ever believe your gremlin. It's a complete and total liar, all the time, no exceptions.

Be willing to fail and be willing to let go of what you look like or what anyone thinks about what you're doing. As long as you're working toward your goal, how you look or how long it takes is not important. What's important is that you keep going, failure after failure, until you succeed.

So, what do you think?


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Julie Anne Jones is direct sales corporate consultant, coach, and trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific language and tools for success in direct sales. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read more blog posts, visit her at