Seeing the forest with the trees

Lately, I’ve been trying to take a long look at life. Seeking to step back and get a wide-angle shot of what I’m doing and where I’m going.

This thinking brought to mind a saying one of my college professors had. He taught a course on how nations related to each other. Every once in a while he’d point out that a country’s leaders had focused too much on details and failed to see the big picture.

“They couldn’t see the forest for the trees,” he’d say.

Sometimes I feel like that. I’ve got all these things going on in life that need attention. And often each of them has multiple facets, each requiring time and effort.

I like all the various areas of my life. I need or want each of them. But I need and want to know how they all connect.

When looking for answers it’s always best to first ask questions. Here’s five that I’m pondering:

What is the most important thing I want to accomplish with the rest of my life and why? Or as I friend so eloquently put it, “When you look back on your life, what do you want to see?”

What are the reasons for all the various things I do? In other words, why do I do the things that I do?

What are my priorities? Among these various things, which do I need to do more than others? Which do I want to do more than others?

Who benefits and how? When I perform these tasks, what is the result?

What do I get out of each? How do the various things fit into my life’s purpose, my mission, my reason for being?

I’m still working through all this, but I feel certain that as I consider these, the pieces of my sometimes puzzled life will start fitting together.

Steve DeVane

Finding the keys to life

posted in: success | 0

The other day I got out my keys to unlock the door at my office. While looking for the key to the door, I noticed an old GM car key.

I don’t remember where I got that key. I suppose it went to one of our old cars. I have no idea which one.

Why is it still on my key ring?

Don’t know.

Perhaps at some time it held some special meaning to me. But if it did, I don’t have a clue what it was.

Or maybe I just forgot to give it to whoever bought one of our old cars. If so, I expect the person just paid a buck or so and got another key made. They had to have at least one key to the car or they wouldn’t have been able to drive the car.

Seeing the unknown key, made me take a closer look at the keys on my key ring. On my key ring are nine keys and one of those keyless entry things.

Of the nine keys, I know I need four — one to my car, one to my wife’s car, one to my house and one to my office.

One of the keys is to an old briefcase that I don’t use anymore and is never locked anyway.

I don’t know what four of the keys fit. The above mentioned car key and three keys that look like they might be house keys.

One of them might go to my parents’ house, but the other two probably go to one of the places where we once lived. But I’m pretty sure they don’t go to the house from where we just moved and we lived there about 14 years. In other words, I probably haven’t needed those keys in at least 15 years or so.

The keyless entry deal doesn’t work anymore. Don’t know why it’s still there.

So, of all the junk on my key ring, I could get by at most just five keys. About half the stuff can be removed without harm.

All of this got me to thinking about my life. How much useless junk am I carrying around for no good reason? How much stuff in my life serves no good purpose?

From time to time, we need to take a look at all the baggage in our life. Perhaps a good chunk of it is doing nothing but slowing us down.

How many keys in your life no longer fit? Perhaps you’ve long since unlocked those doors and need to move on.

Steve DeVane
This free mentoring program is a key part of my business and my life.

Learning along the journey

posted in: success | 0

I’m leaving soon for a mission trip with my church. We’re going to another country to help build a room for a church and lead a Vacation Bible school for the children.

In preparation for the trip, one of our leaders talked about some ways we could make the trip a success. It occurred to me that her suggestions also made good advice for life.

First, we’re supposed to realize that we’re the outsiders. We’ll be in a different culture. We shouldn’t expect the people there to be just like us. Instead, we should get to know the people, love them and listen to them.

In our everyday lives, we might not be visiting a separate culture, but we still need to understand that other people are not just like us. Other people come at life from a different perspective. Try to look at things from their point of view and you’ll understand them better and have a much better relationship.

Taking the time to get to know people is always worth the effort. Listening to their stories is a good start on learning to love them.

Another suggestion for our trip was think about what we can learn in every situation.

In life, we should seek to be constantly learning. Every experience is a teacher. We need to only look for the lesson.

We were also told to think about how best we can serve other people, how best we can help them succeed.

Serving other people is always a good strategy. When we help other people, we’re always the better for it. Helping them succeed moves us forward on our journey to success.

Steve DeVane
When I need to move forward, I read Success in 10 Steps.

Marketing with no agenda

posted in: no agenda, success | 1
Is it possible to be a marketer and have no agenda?

That question has been on my mind lately.

At first it seems the answer is no. After all, isn’t a marketer’s agenda always to market his product or service Doesn’t marketing something mean you’re trying to sell it? And if you’re trying to sell something, that’s an agenda, right? defines marketing as “the act of buying or selling in a market” or as “the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.”

How can someone involved in that have no agenda? Is it possible? If it is possible, wouldn’t it be futile. How could someone with no agenda market anything.

In the midst of my contemplation, I read a definition of marketing by Joe Vitale. “Marketing is sharing your love for what you do with the people who will most celebrate hearing about it,” he said on his blog.

That’s a great perspective on marketing. Let’s take a closer look at it in light of whether or not it’s possible to market with no agenda.

First, Vitale says marketing is sharing your love for what you do. Is it possible to do that with no agenda? Absolutely.

Sharing is not selling. When you share something, you don’t need an agenda. The focus is on helping another person.

Furthermore, you’re sharing the love you have for what you do. You share because of your love, not because of greed or other negative motivations.

Vitale further says that you share with “the people who will most celebrate hearing about it.” That’s the key. You’re not sharing with anyone and everyone. You’re not hitting people over the head with your products or trying to cram your services down someone’s throat.

If you’re sharing what you love with people who want to hear about it, there’s no need for an agenda.

So find what you love and share it with people who will love you for sharing it with them. No agenda needed.

Steve DeVane
This marketing system taught me the value of having no agenda.

The recipe for success

posted in: business, mentoring, recipe, success | 0

My wife makes this great hash brown potato casserole that is out of this world. She takes some hash browns and mixes in some butter and other stuff, then puts them in a pan, tops them with bacon bits and cooks them in the oven.

They are good. I mean, they are real good.

She often cooks them for family reunions. When we’re going through the line, one of the first things I look for is those potatoes, because I’m hoping there’s still some of them left.

Often there’s not. I hate it when that happens.

My wife got the recipe from someone she knew. I was thinking the other day about how my wife follows the recipe. If I’m going to the store, she tells me exactly what she needs for that recipe. Then she puts in exactly the right amount of each ingredient and then cooks it for just the right amount of time.

She does all that because she has a recipe. She knows if she follows all those steps the casserole will come out just right.

It’s the same way in our life and in our business. If there’s someone who’s successful and is willing to show us the way, all we have to do is follow their directions. Do what they do and we’ll have the success that their having.

I spent years floundering in my network marketing business. I knew successful marketers, but their success didn’t translate to my success.

Then I found this free mentoring system. The networkers I met freely shared their expertise and their time with me. People who had absolutely no stake in my company showed me the path they had already taken to success.

For a while, I couldn’t believe it. I kept waiting for the manipulation.

It never happened.

I kept saying to myself, “What’s the catch?”

Never was one.

Finally, I got past my disbelief and started doing what my mentors showed me to do. Now, the success I had missed is coming my way.

All I had to do was follow the recipe.

Steve DeVane
This free e-book was the first step in my recipe for success.

Avoid strategies that don’t work

Several years ago, someone I trusted in network marketing suggested that I buy some leads to help build my business.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Earlier, I had made the list of family and friends as I was taught to talk to about the business. When that didn’t work, it sounded good to have a list of “pre-qualified” people to call.

So I bought leads.

And I made calls.

And I bought more leads.

And I made more calls.

Didn’t work.

Now I know why.

My friend and mentor, Michael Dlouhy, studied hundreds of networking companies. He’s been in the business more than 25 years.

In this video, he explains why buying leads doesn’t work.


Steve DeVane
This free mentoring system taught me what does and doesn’t work in network marketing

Push your business to its limits

I was reading a thread on a personal development forum about Dean Karnazes, an endurance runner. He gives his advice for pushing athletic performance to its limits. A lot of what he says is great advice for our business life.

Karnazes says to be audacious. Any goal worth achieving involves risk, he says.

We networkers often get stuck in what is called “analysis paralysis.” We find something we think will work, but we want more information. We want to be sure.

So we sit and waste valuable time and energy searching for more information. If that time and energy would have been put up into the process we were considering, we would have been far ahead of where we are. And if we were going to put the time and energy into researching it anyway, why not put that time and energy into moving forward.

Karnazes also says to flirt with disaster. He pushed himself to near death to find out that he was strong enough to survive.

Less than a year ago, my business was near death. I was getting nowhere fast. I was nearly spent. Then I came across this business system which turned my business and my life around. I wanted to throw in the towel, but I pushed through that wall. I took a chance that’s paying off.

Karnazes also says to promote yourself. His high profile motivates him because he knows his family income is dependent on it.

We network marketers sometimes look for ways to build our business with a low profile. We think we can stay in the background.

Network marketing is not a sales business, but it is a relationship business. We have to make a name for ourselves. You do this by simply sharing what you know and helping other people.

The beauty of building a business this way is that the more we help people, the more we better ourselves and the more we better the profession of network marketing.

One thing I liked about Karnazes’ advice is that so much of it seems counter-intuitive. For example, he eats lots of junk and has cut back on his sleep.

Sometimes we have to go against the grain in order to reach our dreams. To some it doesn’t make sense for network marketers to help people in other companies. People in competitive mode look on others as adversaries instead of what they are – our colleagues.

Take a chance. Be an endurance networker.

Steve DeVane
This free e-book changed my perspective on network marketing.

Choose your own adventure

posted in: MLM, network marketing, persistence, success | 0

A few weeks ago, I bought a box of Louis L’Amour western novels. He’s one of my favorite authors, and I was happy to find several of his books that I had not yet read. In the box were several books by other authors.

As I was looking through them, I noticed one from a series of books called, “Choose Your Own Adventure.” I had never heard of the series, so I took a closer look.

The cover said there were multiple endings to a story that put the reader in the old west. I showed it to my son, who took an interest when I started reading him sections and asking him which choices to make. We had a good time as he talked about each decision as we progressed through the book. When we finished, we started over making different choices as we went.

Today, my wife and kids went to the library. My son excitedly showed me that he had found three more “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. One book about space has 44 possible endings. In another, the reader is on “the planet of curiosity. It has 15 exciting endings. A deep sea adventure has 42 possible endings.

My son has already read two of them. He told me about some of the choices he had to make along the way.

Sensing one of those elusive “teachable moments,” I said something like, “You know, it’s the same way in life. We make choices that determine our future.”

As I thought about my life, I see I’ve made good and bad choices. I can’t do anything about the decisions I’ve made in the past, but I can focus on choosing the best path forward from here.

In his book, “Think and Grow Rich,” Napoleon Hill devotes an entire chapter to decision. He says successful people make decisions quickly and are slow to change from that course. In effect, those who decide succeed. Those who don’t decide fail. Those who know what they want, get it.

Forget the mistakes you’ve made in the past, but remember the lessons you learned. Decide what you want and go after it with a burning desire. Persist until you get it.

Steve DeVane
This free e-book taught me how to make better decisions.

Overcoming fears on the path to success

posted in: MLM, network marketing, success | 2

Earlier tonight, I was reading Steve Pavlina’s personal development blog about switching to a 100 percent raw diet. I admire his commitment and the general reasoning behind his move. Two sentences in a section on dealing with social issues struck me.

“Every time you stretch beyond the social conditioning, risking the rejection of your peers, you simultaneously serve as a powerful example to them,” he said. “You help other people awaken to the knowledge that they can exceed their current performance levels.”

This not only applies to changing your diet, it fits perfectly into how we promote our network marketing business. Let’s be honest, MLM doesn’t have the best of reputations.

Some folks have the wrong idea that it’s some kind of illegal pyramid scheme. Other people have been burned by MLMers who pressured them to buy unneeded products or resources. Some distributors have wrongly thought that the way to make their company look good was to make other network marketing companies look bad.

I believe we can turn that around. By presenting a positive perspective and telling the truth about our companies and our products, we’ll peel back the layers of disinformation and dishonesty.

I know that I have often been needlessly concerned about what people would think about me being a network marketer. To paraphrase Pavlina, by stretching beyond my social conditioning and risking the rejection of my peers, I serve as a powerful example to them.

Moreover, with that risk comes reward — self-confidence. Since, I’ve been involved with this mentoring system I’ve grown as a network marketer and as a person.

This reminded me of a quote one of my coaches once told me. The quote has been wrongly attributed to Nelson Mandela, but it’s actually from a book called A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Overcome your fears and help liberate others.

Steve DeVane
This free e-book helped me overcome my fears.

On track to success

posted in: MLM, network marketing, success, teamwork | 0

I heard a story the other day about two owners of horse-racing stables. Seems the two had been heated rivals for years.

One of the two had the idea to hire a professional jockey to ride one of his horses in a big race. When the race started it was clear the horses from the two stables were far superior to any other horses in the race. They opened a huge lead over all the other horses.

As they neared the finish line the two horses hit each other, knocking both jockeys to the ground. The professional jockey got his wits about him quickly, climbed in the saddle and raced to the finish. When he got to the winner’s circle, his boss was furious. The jockey looked puzzled and said, “Why are you mad? I won.”

The owner said, “Yes, you won, but you’re on the wrong horse.”

That’s the way it is sometimes in network marketing. We can’t reach success because we’re on the wrong horse.

Sometimes, that horse is our company. If the company doesn’t have integrity or other key characteristics, we’ll get tossed off before we reach our goals.

Sometimes that horse is our training. If we’re taught the wrong things to do, it doesn’t matter how well we do them. Some strategies just don’t work.

Sometimes that horse is our friends and family. If we listen to negative thinkers who are constantly dragging us down, it’s like running with concrete blocks tied to our feet.

Sometimes that horse is our own “go-it-alone” attitude. It’s kind of like the dog in this video. The dog is chewing on a bone and sees his own back paw approaching. The dog thinks it’s leg is another dog, growls at it and eventually bites it. No one can succeed in network marketing without a team.

The key is to find a proven system that works for anyone. That system needs excellent training, great teamwork and positive reinforcement.

Find a system that works for you, and you’ll be much closer to the finish line of success.

Steve DeVane
This free e-book put me on track to success.