April 30, 2008

MLM Article: The Accidental Role Model

This article was just too good not to post here... at the very bottom of this article is a link to my own role model story.

The Accidental Role Model by Barbara J. Winter

During my daughter Jennie's last year in college, she called me with a startling accusation. "You've ruined me," she said."What do you mean?" I asked while bracing myself for the worst.

"Well," she explained, "my friends are all writing their resumes and going on job interviews. I can't do that." I breathed a sigh of relief and said, "I know. I did that on purpose."

After years of working unhappily in traditional jobs, I started my first homebased business the year that Jennie went off to kindergarten. Right away, it became obvious that my daughter was reaping the rewards of having a happier mom. I was having such a good time in my new creative lifestyle that I became a better parent. I also would find little business projects for Jennie to help with, like putting stamps on a mailing. She loved it. We were growing something together and she was proud of her contribution.

Although I started my entrepreneurial life out of a desire to find more joy in what I did, I also didn't want Jennie to grow up with the negative messages I'd grown up with about work. We can't really model what we haven't learned ourselves, of course, but we can be conscious about the messages we're passing on to our children. "Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on children than the unlived lives of their parents," warned psychologist Carl Jung.

So, naturally, I'm excited when I see a parent make positive changes for themselves -like Rob McCarthy. Rob and I knew each other for years before we met. Rob worked for a large video and audio production company where I bought my seminar tapes so he was the guy I'd call when I needed to replenish my inventory. One day I called to place an order and was told that Rob no longer worked there. A month later, Rob called to tell me he'd moved to a smaller company and wondered if I'd like to move my business there. I promptly made the switch.

Then the same thing happened. I called to place an order and was told that Rob had left. A few weeks later, I got another call from Rob saying he'd decided to start his own business. "Congratulations," I said. "Where's your office?" He explained that he was running it from home and planned to create a mobile studio. He sounded excited and said it was a new experience for him to be home alone all day.

"Do you have kids?" I asked. He told me he had two. "You probably don't realize this, " I said, "but your working from home is going to have an impact on them."
"Besides being around to drive them places after school?"

"Most kids get a really negative message about work" I explained. "They don't understand what it is that their parents do. They just see them leave in the morning and come home tired and crabby. By the time they get ready to work themselves, they have a rather bleak picture of what's in store for them. But if you're working at home, love what you do, and involve your kids in it from time to time, they're going to get an entirely different idea about work." "Wow," Rob said. "I never thought of that."

I cannot recall one single adult that I knew as a child who was joyful about their work. Is it any wonder, then, that many of us grow up thinking of work as a miserable life sentence? I'm optimistic that many young people are going to get a different message as more of us become committed to doing work that we love, and doing it in front of our children. Although some people decide to start a homebased business in order to spend more time with their families, I suspect that few realize that sending a positive message will be a side benefit-one that will have a lasting impact.

When Jennie was about eight years old, she decided that she wanted to go to Disneyland and decided to organize a yard sale and sell her old toys in order to fund this adventure. Her entrepreneurial spirit was already showing her how to solve problems creatively. I wish I had learned that lesson early in life.

Whether you know it or not, you may be more of a role model than you realize. A few years ago, I spent six weeks as a Junior Achievement volunteer teaching fourth graders about the free enterprises system. On my first day there, I confessed that I knew nothing about nine-year-olds.Then I told the kids that I had my own business, but I didn't have a store or an office. After I'd explained my one-person operation, I asked the class if any of them knew someone who was self-employed. At least two-thirds of them raised their hands. I suspect that wouldn't have happened even a decade ago.

I was heartened by the number of my fourth graders who had an entrepreneurial role model in their lives. It is not a responsibility to take lightly. "There is no power on earth," said Booker T. Washington, "that can neutralize the influences of a useful life."

About the Author: Barbara J. Winter is a Las Vegas-based writer, speaker and entrepreneur. She is the author of Making a Living Without a Job and the publisher of Winning Ways newsletter. She conducts seminars throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. You can learn more at www.joyfullyjobless.com

That article kind of makes you stop and think doesn't it! My own "role model" story was really one more of perservence, but now that I look back at I was teaching peservance by doing what I did. http://quikonnex.com/channel/item/24834

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