Finally there is an email circulating amongst Mary Kay sales directors with which I agree! I have heard plenty about “The Secret” and women using this as part of Mary Kay events and meetings. I am not in agreement with “The Secret.” It does not align with my Christian values, and I think it is a very simplistic, materialistic, damaging bit of teaching. I commend Priscilla McPheeters for standing up and conveying these thoughts so eloquently.
To: My NSD Friends
From: Priscilla McPheeters, Independent Elite Executive Senior Sales Director
I’m writing this letter to you regarding a movie that is being recommended by many in our company called The Secret. This DVD has been shown and utilized at many of our Mary Kay retreats and at sales meetings.
First, I would like to convey my deep respect for you all, for your position and for the immense impact you are having upon the Mary Kay world, and indeed, the world at large. I write this letter with humility as well as gratitude for all you do to perpetuate Mary Kay’s dream. I know many of you personally, and I honor you all.
I have watched this movie three times, and have taken several pages of notes in order to more fully understand the message it seeks to convey. Perhaps you have watched the movie; if so, you are aware that the ‘secret’ is termed the Law Of Attraction; the idea being: that everything that comes into your life, you have attracted by virtue of the images you hold in your mind.
While the video is professionally done and the music and imagery combine to make for a compelling experience, once the script is separated from the movie and analyzed, it is my opinion that the statements made by the film are not consistent with many of the principles upon which Mary Kay Ash built our company, principles long held to be fundamental to successful living and well understood. Indeed, it has almost become a proverb to state “the secret is… There is no secret.”
The men and women who teach these ideas in the movie maintain that “the universe at large is a grand genii saying, ‘your wish is my command; it is your holy guardian angel, your higher self… The universe is a catalog in which you simply place your order; it’s really that easy.’ ” They continue, and I quote, “Everything in your life, you have attracted… Car accidents, illnesses, disease, conflict… Yes, you have attracted it. This law, like gravity, works every time, with every person; there are no exceptions.”
They go on to assert, for example, that “disease is an indication that we have an imbalanced perspective and we are not loving and grateful” and that “disease cannot live in a body that’s in a healthy emotional state.”
My friends, let us consider the implausibility of this assertion. Did Mary Kay Ash “attract” her debilitating stroke? Did Sue Vickers attract the tragic situation which led to her death? What about the little Amish girls who were murdered last week? Were they not “thinking and feeling positive” that day?
The video teaches that “our feelings are a feedback mechanism to us about whether we are on track or not, whether we are on or off course.” If you are “feeling bad, you are off course and are doing the wrong thing.” One famous author asserts that his philosophy of life (and the way he got his 4.5 million dollar home) is “if it does not bring me joy, I don’t do it. Anything that makes you feel good, you should do. If it isn’t fun, don’t do it .” You should “follow your bliss… Your primary aim in life is joy and bliss .”
Is this consistent with what we teach in Mary Kay? What about your own path to the position you hold as NSD; the years of perseverance, sacrifice, sometimes tears of frustration, moments of discouragement? Yes, of course there is much joy and fulfillment along the way, but to suggest that you only work when you are feeling good is an insult to your hard work and discipline as a NSD. Do we teach our consultants to always trust their feelings? Do we want consultants to really believe that if they are feeling bad, they are “off course and are doing the wrong thing” according to the video? Do we want to reinforce the teaching that discomfort and pain are to be avoided at all cost?
There are many other aspects of the video which are troubling and which undermine the principles upon which Mary Kay Ash built our company. I will mention just a few.
It undermines the work ethic by asserting that success is quick and easily attained, “like ordering from a catalog”, simply wishing for or imagining what you want without any real accountability to others and not needing to overcome real obstacles and life’s challenges.
It undermines the principle of Go-Give which is based on personal sacrifice and helping others even when it doesn’t feel convenient and there is no tangible reward; indeed, it would appear to postpone or counteract the so-called Law of Attraction to redirect a potential customer or recruit back to their consultant rather than take them for yourself. After all, if the Law of Attraction has allowed you to attract this other person’s customer or potential recruit, then it would be ‘wrong’ to deny it.
The Law of Attraction, as explained in the video, makes no obvious mention of self-sacrifice or self-denial for anything or anyone. The Go-Give principle is built on the integrity of doing what is right, even when it hurts; this video purports to be based upon a universal Law of Attraction that overarches all other laws, as though it is fundamental to everything else (hinting, in effect, that it’s so fundamentally deep, that most have missed it and thus, the secret-ness of it all).
Yet, the statements taken at face value offer the unethical person or one with lack of discernment, a blank check, as it were, to manipulate other people and events to suit whatever they fancy, with no value judgment placed on the outcome so long as it makes the recipient feel good, blissful, happy .
The movie has a very hedonistic, materialistic bent (there is a picture of a man visualizing winning the $10,000,000 lottery; a little boy visualizing a bike he wants and finally receives as a gift). No mention is made of work, or discipline.
The movie is inconsistent with Mary Kay’s compassion for people… it is difficult to imagine her trivializing the suffering and tragedy in a person’s life by suggesting that they attracted their problem by not “feeling good, or by having bad vibes”, to use one author’s terminology.
They assert that we ought never to feel bad emotions, only good. Incidentally, “guilt” is considered one of the “bad emotions.” Does this imply that no one should ever feel guilty? What about the criminal who IS guilty? What if hurting others is what makes him “feel good”? Does this give him license to do so? No mention of right or wrong or moral authority is ever made. Indirectly, there is an implication that the only ‘sin’ is the sin against yourself when you don’t utilize this law in order to get all the “stuff” you can. (Yes, ‘stuff’ is an official term in the video.)
Mary Kay taught us that success is brought about not just by being positive, but also through perseverance, hard work, pushing through difficult times, by sacrificing our own agenda at times in order to help others. She often said “you can do anything in the world that you want to do, if you want to do it badly enough and you are willing to pay the price.” Certainly Mary Kay knew the power of mental discipline, focused goal setting, and faith in achieving the impossible. But her foundation was built on integrity and honesty, as she has been quoted: “Honesty is the cornerstone of all success, without which confidence and ability to perform shall cease to exist.”
Last, but certainly not least, for those of us who look to Biblical truth as God’s direct revelation of how we are to live, consider these direct quotes from the movie and how they line up with what you know to be true from Scripture:
“You are a magnificent creator; and you are here by your powerful and deliberate wanting to be here… when you begin to think properly, this power of attraction will guide you, sustain you, protect you, direct you; your job is to declare what you’d like to have from the catalog of the universe… you are a spiritual being; an energy field. You are God-force; eternal beings. You are source-energy; you are that which you call God… scripturally, we are the image and likeness of God; you have God potential and power to create your world.”
Pay special attention to the following quote from this movie:
“…there is no blackboard in the sky on which God has written your purpose, your mission in life. The blackboard doesn’t exist. Your purpose is what you say it is; your mission is the mission you give yourself… Your life will be what you create it to be and no one will stand in judgment of it; not now, or ever.”
In the movie we are encouraged to be thankful; but to whom are we to give thanks? The genii? The universe? Perhaps ourselves, since we are told that “we are that which we call God.”
Several of you have spoken with me about the movie, and mentioned that you could simply filter out the statements you didn’t agree with, or which you thought were counter-productive. Certainly, we all do that daily, in numerous ways and disciplines, as we seek to guard our thoughts and minds. I wonder if it hasn’t taken you years of hard work and experience to build those filters?
Is it wise to assume every new consultant or director has the ability to know which statements are helpful and which may not be helpful? If you take the time to discuss at length a book, or recommend an author, or suggest a video to those in your sphere of influence, will they not take it as your whole-hearted endorsement? The good is the enemy of the best, and mediocrity is served up all around us daily. As leaders, we have a responsibility to be selective and discerning, eve n as Mary Kay Ash was committed to keeping the highest standards possible.
I hope I have shared enough for you to at least consider more carefully whether or not this movie is consistent with our mission as leaders in Mary Kay. My prayer is that we will continue to build upon the cornerstones which have made our company great, that we’ll cherish and protect the legacy that has been given us, a legacy of dedication to high ideals, honesty, integrity, joy in the privilege of helping others, a legacy enriched not so much by what our leaders have accomplished, but by what they individually and corporately have had to overcome.
Thank you so much for giving me a few minutes of your precious time!
With gratitude and respect,
Independent Elite Executive Senior Sales Director