The Four Phases of Your Mary Kay Stint

A former director remembers being “trained” on this as a new director. It is one of the many things that set off alarms in the back of her head. Sales direcotrs are being warned in advance of the exact path their businesses will take. Note the subtle brainwashing going on during phase three. The ex-director’s comments are inserted after each phase.

Four Emotions of our Business from nsd Rena Tarbet

Phase One: The first phase is excitement. You’ve caught the vision of where you can go and what you can do for yourself and your family through our Mary Kay opportunity! You don’t know or understand just how it will all come about but you just know that it will. Nothing can stand in the way of your pursuit of the Mary Kay dream – you’re ready to take on anything.

This is a dangerous phase. Riding that wave of excitement lends itself to making potentially disastrous decisions. As directors were taught to encourage potential recruits to sign their agreements while in this phase. We are taught not to let them think about it too long or get advice from husbands or parents. Why? The longer someone thinks about it the less likely they are to sign on the dotted line.

We are also taught to have our new unit members “make a decision on how they’d like to start their business” during this phase. I actually had a national tell me that the longer the new member takes to make a decision the smaller size inventory she will order. She said “There is a narrow window of opportunity and the longer she thinks about it the more narrow the window becomes.”

Phase Two: Then phase two hits – frustration. Things are not going as fast as you’d like them to. Can you relate to this? Of course you can! We’ve all been there. We get impatient with ourselves and our customers. We tell ourselves that no one wants to book a beauty show or buy Mary Kay cosmetics.

This is where critical thinking skills need to kick in. There is not a consultant alive that has not gone through this phase. The experience speaks for itself, if you find yourself in this situation–pay attention–this is life in a Mary Kay career. It is miserable, frustrating and very detrimental to one’s self esteem and confidence. You can’t help but compare yourself to all those other “successful” consultants. You find yourself wondering what you are doing wrong.

This is a common time to seek advice. As directors, we teach our consultants to seek the advice of someone we’d like to emulate. We teach our consultants not to discuss their frustrations with one another, only someone higher up than they are. We teach them to not give in to negative thinking.

Phase Three: Then comes phase three – the crisis point. Do you throw in the towel and shoot holes in your beauty cases or do you get your head on straight and work it through? Do you tell yourself that unit meetings are the last place you’re going since you have not done anything to crow about? Or do you tell yourself that unit meetings are where you need to be to get your act together? The right question to ask yourself is the last one – as hard as it me be to push yourself to a unit meeting, it’s the best thing for you and your Mary Kay career right now. You’ll actually be glad you went.

The brainwashing in this paragraph is astounding. “get your head on straight”, “get your act together”, “push yourself to go to your meeting” This advice comes from a top National Sales Director. The implication is that wanting to quit when the business is failing you is somehow wrong. This is a time when you should be listening to your instincts. Instead, all too often we take the advice of someone whom we think we can trust.

Phase Four: The last phase is recommitment. You’ve made it! You’ve recovered from the situation and you’re stronger for it! You’ve recaptured your dream, you’re excited again, and ready for the next obstacle.

One thing is certain – each time you slip into the frustration phase, your trip back to phase one (excitement) gets quicker because you know the way!

Words fail me here. I want to reinforce listening to your instincts and critical thinking. Don’t let your director or recruiter do your thinking for you. Each trip through these phases sucked us further and further into the pink fog. This is how we become emotionally invested in the opportunity. Eventually, when the fog lifts we can see the opportunity for what it is.


  1. EmmaLee

    When I first signed my consultant agreement, and my director came over to my house to go over my inventory options, she shared a similar thing with me. It was called the “feelings wheel”. I remember thinking at the time that I didn’t want to be a failure and quit whenever things just got difficult. Now I realize how cultish it sounds. FYI I’m including a link to the new consultant packet that contains the sheet in it (pg 7). As well as some other interesting tidbits!!!

      1. EmmaLee

        The best part is that on her website, she has “future national area”. How many directors does she have under her??? One! Hahahaha! And that one is the miserable DIQ that I joined under that signed up 4 family members in the last hour of her qualification (two were her mother and sister who had recently gotten out of the hospital after an almost fatal car accident). No, I am not making that up.
        But you know, “future national area” and all that….

        1. BestDecision

          My Director called us her “future area” when she had only 3 Offspring. Over 15 years later, and she’s still in the exact same place and still setting NSD debut dates over and over. Sad, yet hilarious!

          1. pinkvictim

            My wife has two active recruits, but she signs her MKrap emails, “Future Director”… 12 years in.

            Thought reform is more powerful than I would have ever imagined.

          2. enorth

            One near me lost her Cadillac nearly two years ago. But she’s now announcing, “I just ordered my second Cadillac!”

            Makes it sound like she never had the first one taken away from her. And, who would ever know, as 95% of her unit is new…it’s all how you spin it.

    1. enorth

      For things to do in your first five days it says:
      “Place your first product order. I will help you do this to ensure accuracy for the bonuses available.”

      She wants to “ensure accuracy.”

    2. Jamming Berry

      WOW! Maybe if I’d have received any kind of packet like this I could have sold more stuff and wouldn’t have been so much in the whole. My training consisted of my SD watching my son’s soccer practice with me and her organizing my boxes of skin care. Useful, but very minimal to say the least.

      1. MLM Radar

        Not likely. Practically everything on that list is there because it can be used against you to benefit your Director. It can be distilled down to:
        1. Order more inventory than you’ll be able to sell, and do it fast before you realize what’s happening.
        2. Recruit your friends – the people who should be your best customers instantly become your biggest competitors.
        3. Give your Director lots of personal information that she will use to persuade you to keep recruiting and buying inventory. “Your goal is _______. That’s exactly why you need Mary Kay!”
        4. Give your Director the chance to stuff your inventory with about-to-be-discontinued and limited edition items so you’ll have to order again soon.
        5. Introduce your Director to your whole circle of friends (the business debut) so that she can recruit them for herself.

        Your chances to win in that program are nearly zero. You got lucky and escaped, even though you didn’t realize it.

        1. EmmaLee

          I absolutely agree. This list is not about training you to make money. It is about getting the most out of you while you are still excited, before you realize you can’t make any money and fade out…
          The sad thing is I was so trusting of her because she seemed so nice and honest. She seemed like one of those “good directors” people sometimes try to talk about on here. The reality is that any director who follows the Mary Kay plan is not honest or kind. They might not realize it, but they are just users and abusers.
          I honestly feel bad for her and the DIQ that I signed under (that was under her). They really seem to have no idea what they are in fact doing to women.

        2. EmmaLee

          Oh that #4 is sooo true MLM Radar!!!! I hadn’t been a consultant more than a day when she was pushing me to give her the names on my list of friends so we could career chat with them. I was so uncomfortable doing this, but I reluctantly finally let her do a career chat with one friend over the phone, and after she hung up I told my friend, “don’t worry. I don’t want you to join or anything. She told me I had to do this career chat thing.” Luckily we’re still friends! For real, though! Keep your recruiter/director away from your friends! They won’t stop until they’ve tried to convince all of them to join!
          Oh, and as a side note, the friend that did the career call did it on my phone with me at my house. I never gave the director her phone number. She asked for it though! Over and over and over! So she could “follow up”.
          Trying to steal one of my friends as her personal recruit. Lame! Even after the friend said she was not interested at all. Repeatedly.

    3. Sister Havana

      I love how you’re supposed to do 3 career talks between days 5-14 but you don’t need to sell (or attempt to sell) anything until days 15-30. That says it all!

  2. raisinberry

    Rita Tarbet was notorious for training this material as a means to cut us off at the pass. By mentioning ahead of time what you are sure to encounter, she “protects” the IBC from using her reason and analysis. The average person will say to themselves, well this must be that “shoot a hole in your starter kit” moment.

    By the time you hit this, the NEXT company event is underway…paid for professional hype-ism to keep you squarely in line and away from the Debbie Doubters. Four to Six events a year, carefully choreographed to meet the mounting proof that you are losing money, squarely in the eye, and blast it away!

    Yes, some obstacles do require a stick-to-it-ness to overcome and reach the goal…but this is precisely the problem! When does enduring through mounting credit card debt in Mary Kay, ever turn the corner? Year after year, more debt, more inventory, more obsolete inventory, trying to get to “the big money”.

    We were all deceived…and MK NSD’s, are PRO’s at it.

  3. BestDecision

    When MK rolled out the New Consultant study they’d conducted, it was very eye-opening. At Week 6, new people rated their satisfaction with their business at the lowest point. The reason? They’d gotten through all of their family and now had to really work it like a business.

    Only no one wants what they’re selling.

  4. RiaJaize

    I like how it sets up the problem in Phase 2 — not making money — but doesn’t solve that problem in Phase 4. Instead, you’re just supposed to “recommit” to the cause even if you aren’t making any money.

    1. BestDecision

      Everything is geared towards calling you a loser if you don’t believe what you’re being told or that you try and don’t achieve. Even at the Director level, we were scolded and shunned if we uttered a word of doubt over a new contest or product.

      Here’s what’s soon to happen: MK is about to launch a charcoal mask. Other companies have had one on the market for YEARS. I bet close-minded, uninformed Consultants and Directors tout it as a “new and revolutionary” product and won’t admit there are others already out there. Origins, for example, has the #1 selling mask on the market. Bet MK touts theirs as #1 within months.

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