How Honest Are You About Business?

by | Jun 26, 2009

Note: I’d intended to get this entry up yesterday (Thursday). Sorry about the delay. I just plain forgot.
I’m willing to bet that every reader of this newsletter aspires to being honest. Some of you may even feel that your commitment to being honest is what makes self-employment hard, especially when it comes to marketing and sales.
It’s certainly not difficult to find examples of dishonesty in business. But I wonder why we, who are clear that honesty is not optional, would choose to base our idea of business on behavior we reject?

A Losing Perspective

When we focus on the underside of the business world, we make ourselves victims of a system that doesn’t exist.
Sure, there are dishonest business people. There are sleazy marketers. There are greedy salespeople. So what? There are also honest, classy, and generous people in every facet of business and marketing. When we make ourselves victims, we lose.
One cost of relegating commerce to the moral dung heap is that we fail to promote our work with vigor and clarity. Another cost is that we abdicate our responsibility to shape the systems, practices, and media of commerce and to infuse them with dignity, meaning, integrity. And perhaps the highest cost of all is that we cast ourselves as helpless victims, which is a bar against every sort of growth.
Start the Flow
If you are serious about making a living doing the work you love, start the flow that connects you with people who need your work. You open the conduit in three ways:

  1. Make your gifts visible and useful at minimal cost to yourself and optimal benefit to others.
  2. Showing your real personality and perspective so people who resonate can find you.
  3. Getting support to work through the mental, emotional, spiritual, and material issues that invariably arise as we grow.

For years I conspired to keep myself in genteel poverty because I thought it made me a good person. No, let me be even more honest. I thought it protected me from being a bad person. I was living a miserly existence that had no inherent dignity or virtue. Righteousness and fear kept me small and anxious. Other people’s needs were a threat because, after all, I barely had enough for myself. Every day I gathered evidence that there is not enough to go around.
One day I woke up and saw that my own hand on the tap. Sure, external circumstances influence how much I prosper, but the only one controlling how much of the available prosperity flowed in, through me, and out again was me. I resolved to start the flow.
It worked and it still works. (And no, it’s not always as open as it could be, If you had to be perfect to thrive, I’d be broke.)
Into Action
The moment I realized that I had been restricting the flow of well being, I knew with utter confidence and clarity that I could expand it. That’s not an overnight job, but I have to tell you it’s a lot more fun to work on increasing your capacity for joy, compassion, wealth, pleasure, and support than it is to concentrate on being stuck or victimized.
If you have a stack of business building tools gathering dust on your bookshelf, it’s time to pick one and dust it off. It almost doesn’t matter where you start, only that you do.
If you don’t have a program or tool that is inspiring and practical, check out The Ultimate Entrepreneur Toolkit before midnight PDT, Friday, June 26.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy Another Program
Last night I received a heartfelt request for advice about whether or not to buy the toolkit. Believe it or not, my answer was no! Read on to find out why.

Dear Molly,
I am sorry to bother you but I wonder if you might offer me a bit of help. I HATE asking for help but this email you sent really got to me (in a good way).
I’m so excited about this tool kit (I think the “O” part of this is so exciting b/c I love to write) but I’m feeling too scared to buy it. It’s not the money, but I was in Amway (I’m not saying anything bad about Amway).
It’s just that I spent SO much money on tool kits and seminars and I guess I didn’t have the right mindset and I was in it for several years and well, I still feel like the biggest failure – like how can I think this tool kit might help me be my own boss and enough make money to live off of- but I want to!
I read your newsletter and love it (and I read most of one of your books 🙂 and I have grown I think and am even more organized now but I’m still scared to fail myself.
Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom you or someone on your staff could provide me.

My Response

My honest thought?
Another collection of tools, no matter how valuable, will not help unless you have structure and support. It is incredibly difficult to hold the big picture that the details at the same time, and to grow an income, that is what we have to do.
I’d rather see you save your money and invest in a community of support like Shaboom County or Mark Silver’s Oasis. Then, dive in. Introduce yourself and tell folks what you want to create. You don’t have to know where to start, we will help.
Then, when you have support to help you focus and follow through, investing in tools and programs makes sense. But you won’t have to invest in a heap of them all at once.
Now, if you have the resources to buy The Ultimate Entrepreneur Toolkit AND join a community, do it. The Toolkit is an incredible bargain and most of the products are phenomenal. But again, even the greatest products won’t help you if you don’t have support and structure. You just can’t do it all yourself.
I hope this helps, and thank you for trusting me to answer honestly.

PS: I am allergic to businesses like Amway. I know they work well for some folks, but they make me nuts. I have never been able to make a dime in network marketing. 
Bonus: An Honesty Exercise
Set aside 15 minutes to reflect on an aspect of your business or work that has been troubling. Set a timer and write answers to the following questions at least until the time is up. If you are stumped by one question, move on to the next one, then come back to the one you skipped. Keep your pen moving (or your fingers keying) even if you have to write nonsense to do so.

  1. What do I know about the way I look at business that I’m pretending not to understand?
  2. What am I afraid of? How did I set that up?
  3. What’s my responsibility for this? (Responsibility = ability to respond.)
  4. What do I want, really?
  5. What do I have to offer, really, whether or not I am ready to give it?
  6. What’s in the way of my being honest with myself?
  7. What’s in the way of my being honest with others?
  8. From whom am I concealing my real concerns, motives, or beliefs?
  9. What would happen if I told the truth?

Some of these questions may feel uncomfortable. Good! That’s a sure sign that you’ve been keeping something from yourself. Keep asking these uncomfortable questions until you can face the answers squarely. Chances are that other people know or suspect what you’ve kept from yourself, so do yourself the favor of letting yourself in on the secret.
Honesty is not kid stuff. It’s hard work. When you are tempted to wimp out, ask yourself if you can afford to be the last to know the truth.