Oh To “Sit At the Feet” of a (Former) Mary Kay NSD

I never got into the idea of “sitting at the feet” of anyone, much less a Mary Kay national sales director. I am not beneath them, and therefore do not deserve to be sitting “at their feet.” Please. These were the musings of Allison LaMarr when she was a brand new, record-breaking NSD. (This was before anyone realized how making it to NSD was the beginning of the end for Allison… with plummeting earnings, eventual financial ruin, many failed business ventures, and a lawsuit by Mary Kay to follow.)

Allison Lee LaMarr (now known as Chaya Mushka Ben-Shabat, and married to one of the owners of an MLM called Seacret) was the one everyone was raving about because she made it to nsd faster than anyone in the history of Mary Kay.  This was proof that the Mary Kay business plan worked, if only you were willing to put in the work. (No word yet from Mary Kay about how the failure of Allison speaks to the failure of the “business plan,” of course.)

I’ll give Allison credit: she learned how to push big inventories fast and furious. Lots of women spent thousands of dollars to get Allison to NSD, and I don’t think there was any honor in that. But here’s what she had to say about it back in 2007. This is no different than what she pushed in the various MLMs she was a part of after Mary Kay. And it’s no different than what current MK nsds push today.

I have attached notes I typed from new NSD Allison Lamarr’s conference call for Go Give directors on Feb. 12…. I really admire Allison. She is one of the sweetest, smartest and most humble young women I’ve ever had the privledge to have as a mentor and sit her feet and learn. I am so blessed to have had this opportunity three times now and am truly in awe each time. She is an amazing person and I have confidence that she broke the record of becoming a national the quickest by doing it the Mary Kay way! Dar

Record Breaking – NSD Allison LaMarr 2-12-07

I think one of the things I have been spending a lot of time with my National Area is when you take OWNERSHIP and when you take the role of a victim!

Most people go through life assuming the role of a victim without saying it.

Who we are in life will determine the outcome of all the other projects we create. Our business is an extension of who we are in life!

If our life is a mess our business will be a mess. It is impossible to separate the two. We have to invest in fixing our head. Everything else will fall into place when we spend time fixing ourselves.

I want to share with you the answer to the most popular question I get asked. How did you make it happen so fast?

We all have our own story. None of us were born dreaming of Pink Cadillacs.

I have to laugh about how drastically my life has changed. In May I will celebrate my 4th year in MK! I hve not been in 4 years yet! Just 4 years ago, I was not even close to the person I am today. A MK career is personal growth on steroids! It helps us to create the person we want to be! Life is not about finding yourself – it is about creating yourself!

4 years ago I was just along for the ride in my life. I felt like my life was like a pinball machine – someone outside of me was pulling the lever and pinging the balls around – I had no control. Being a victim – I do not mean terrible things were happening that were so terrible – just not in control of my life!

4 years ago I was a brat – traveling around – working and going to school – no spare time or money – $30,000 in credit card debt in 3 years of marriage – student loans and miscellaneous – even though we both had good jobs. My Dad was a preacher and my Mom was a teacher – noble and worked every day for paychecks of the heart! They made a lots of sacrifices so that we never did without anything. I remember thinking growing up that I would never want to live paycheck to paycheck.

Boom – I woke up and realized that it was exactly what we were doing and if we kept following that course, I would keep working for 40 years and just keep getting a paycheck that would never get me out of debt. The person I got that paycheck from was controlling my income, my life and my future.

I said God, please show me the way – there must be more than.

I am so grateful that my consultant showed me the Big Picture! The whole Marketing Plan. All of It!! If you are just selling the Starter Kit, then that is what they will buy! If you sell them on a little extra money, then that is what they will buy into! If you show them The Big Dream, then they will make the choice for how much of that they want.

I wish I could say that I saw the whole dream that very first night. I did go home that night and say that I could be a National Sales Director in Mk!

I said it but it took me a few weeks to decide to even become a consultation. I banged my head against a brick wall as a consultant to achieve the success I wanted in my life. I am a very impatient person – I am a very stubborn person but I only have to learn the Lesson one time!

I have always had a teachable, coachable spirit. Always remember that school is never out for the Pro! If MK puts someone in front of me at a class or at a meeting or at Seminar – it does not matter what that persons accolades are, I know I have something I can learn. It makes me so sad when directors — based on our tenure in the company – they think they can make better use of their time than to listen – and learn. I think we should have the humility and the attitude to learn all the time.

I set goals for myself – I wanted to be a top director and I needed to be a successful one in order to walk away from my job.. I needed eight active to start DIQ — so I lined them up. I came into MK in May and held my business debut in June and wanted to be a DIQ by July 1 — but by July 1st, I had one team member and that was my mother! It was my very first Seminar — and I was in my Red Jacket. At Seminar, I fell in love with the look on their faces – they were so full of confidence, compassion, kindness, loving spirit, showed up because they were excited about their life and I wanted what they had! So I had to do whatever it took to get my life to look like they looked! That is where I knew I was Destined To Be!!

I fell in love with The Dream at that first Seminar!

What I had failed to realize is that before you can be a great Queen Bee you first have to be willing to be a great Worker Bee!

I came back and kept waiting for guests to show up at meetings and for hostesses to happen. It didn’t happen. Then I sent my goal for DIQ for August 1st and then September 1st. You know that once your HEART makes a Decision NOTHING ELSE IS ACCEPTABLE!

I started realizing how much time I was spending at work and at graduate school – I realized how much time I was wasting on a Plan B just in case MK did not work out. I took my annual salary, divided it and added up the time I was spending in graduate school and crunched the numbers and realized that in a 30 day time frame, I could flip that switch and could make more money in MK! I resigned from my job and stopped everything but MK!

What happened then – and I think what happens for a lot of people – is that I was totally paralyzed with Fear!

I went from having my busy days organized and being totally accountable to someone for every hour to no accountability. For six weeks I stayed at home in my pajamas and watched tv, made cute things and existed. I did things in my house and I could not figure out why I wasn’t getting it!!

Thank God, my director called me and invited me to come to the Fall Advance in Colorado. I was living in Tx and if you have ever bought a plane ticket for the next day, you know how expensive that can be! With all the credit card debt I had, what did it matter? I had to own it an take responsibility! So I went!

I went to the advance, and the Dream that I had caught at Seminar became a reality at the Advance. All the people became real to me in their blue jeans. The only difference between me and them is that I knew what to do but they were doing it!!! They had something to show for the information they had been learning. I made up my mind that I would come home and I would be the Worker Bee. I would not just conduct the orchestra! SNSD Cindy Williams taught me that There Is A Difference Between Doing Your Best and Doing Whatever It Takes!

I came home in October and went into DIQ November 1st. We did okay in November and $6000 wholesale production in December. You can make that kind of minimum production off one good Emerald Star Order, but you are not going to make any money existing as a $4 – 5000 production Director.

Am I going to be okay with that or am I going to wear The Suit and do Something Great?? There is a Difference in The Thinking!!

December 31, 2003 was the single most defining moment of my life – not just my DIQ! Instead of going out and celebrating, we decided to stay home. I already had so much to celebrate! I came into MK for abundance not just to scrape by!

Mediocre is Miserable!

I was suffocating in mediocrity at that time! You truly are just ONE DECISION away from the life you want to live! That day I drew a line in the sand and decided I would live ABOVE THAT LINE OF EXCELLENCE every minute of every day in every thing I do from that moment forward!

January became my final month of DIQ. We needed a lot of people to finish. We went from $6000 wholesale in December to $30,000 in January, finished DIQ, and we have never looked back.

I tell you this because I want to encourage you – not to brag – YOU literally are One Decision Away when it becomes your Defining Moment!

Success in MK is a repeatable process. Nothing is something you have never heard. Only 1% of my ideas are my originals. Clearly 99% I learned form someone else. I made a list of the people I loved and respected who were successful in MK and where I wanted to be and how I wanted to be. I looked at their qualities – do I have them? I am going to get busy developing those qualities? It is okay to be a Copy Cat – just Copy the Right cat!!

We went from zero in January as a new unit (32 active) to June 30 we went to Half Million and 175 active!!! All I did is that I clearly defined where I wanted to be at Seminar and worked to get there.

I looked at work that I was going to have to do to have that Half Million Ring. I would rather be buried alive with roaches crawling all over me than to miss the goal I said I would get! Did I work hard? Did I make sacrifices? You bet! But when you see the results and live with that level of exhilaration, you don’t mind the work!

When you work for someone else, you can walk away at the end of the day and forget it, but when you are an entrepreneur, you take pride in the project and the end result that has Your Name On It! You work until the job is done. When you work hard, you can play hard. Best hard work ever found!

Short term sacrifice for long term gain. What is the long term benefit that I am creating for my life? What is the price I will have to pay? How much do I want to get it done in a short amount of time?

Sometimes we want something and we are not willing to roll up our sleeves and do more? Sometimes doing more is not enough – we have to ask, What do I need to do Differently?

My mentors in this business never knew my name! I listened to their cds and read every thing I could every day and night! I learned from them from the cds! I had them everywhere! What could I do to create that power! We are constantly pouring our cup out and we have to keep filling our cup up and we have to keep refilling it over and over…

There is an important element of taking ownership for taking a seemingly Unpredictable Business and Making It Predictable! We can do that! How to keep working when others don’t? All businesses are seasonal/cyclical. All businesses are! Any professional will know the cycles of the year for their business. The obstacle is to maximize the high seasons and minimize the low ones. Make up in the high times. It is the ebb and flow of all business – not a flaw in the MK Business!

If you want to achieve that wild success we are looking for we have to own responsibility in our business. If you want more than just existing you have to be successful and pay like a business – you must treat it like a business.

What I want to encourage you to do for the next few minutes is — If you doubt – you MUST let it go. All the Training in the world will not help you unless you will let go of doubt and go to work and make this work for You!

Generational Traditions- we seem to create for ourselves.

I am what is considered Gen Y. My parents were brought up in the great depression and were taught scarcity and they taught their children to value security and to work hard. They were not taught Big Picture and Big Life. A lot of the baby boomer generation in our company learned the power of work ethic .What the generation X and Y can teach us is that you can have anything, be anything, do anything – it is all there for you!! Generation Y – asks Why? We should be called generation Why Not? We expect to have it all and achieve it all and be it all, but there is often a little gap between and what we sometimes failed to see is the work ethic from our parents. We think we have the silver spoon in our mouths and we need to take more pride in our work ethic.

Sometimes in MK we transfer that generational method…we get into DIQ and then we wait and expect success to come our way. Directorship is really the starting line – not the finish line.

Put on the hat and face of a new director and understand what renewed excitement can create. When you got The Suit, you earned your place at the Starting Gate! As Mary Kay said, you have arrived at the Banquet of Life but is up to you how much of you will reach for! There are no shortcuts. You can take as many detours as you choose to take along the way.

If strategy is not one of your strengths, become a student with someone who is strong in strategy. If personal business is not your strength, or the power of an individual close, the power of a strong interview – or whatever – become a student of someone who possesses those skills. Put yourself at the feet of someone who owns those skills…

Are you willing for that to become your short term sacrifice in the middle of the night to learn what you need to learn? If you clearly define what you want to be, what is the legacy you want to leave your family? Then you roll up your sleeves and go to work. Stop thinking and get on down the road!

Be on Purpose with those decisions and combine the work ethic that we have forgotten in this country! Complacency is the greatest threat we have in this business and in this country.

We have a joy and a privilege to get up and go to work every day. Create the shift in your mindset that the Decisions you make today can be the Decision That Changes Your Life! It can be the One Decision that makes Everything Possible!

You can get it if you roll up your sleeves and go get it!

Will you take advantage of it or will you be the victim?

That’s IT! That is what I have to say!

LuzAngelica Monohan: -Thank You Alison! So powerful – this applies to MK and to personal life! This was really, really great!!!

Q. What was your lifestyle like and what changes did you actually make when you stepped out of mediocrity?

A. Gloria Mayfield Banks said to make an appointment with yourself by 9a every morning – dressed – and out of the house! I was in PJ mentality and so I went our every single morning and did errands and went to Starbucks and made phone calls. After that I could come back home and even if I was not dressed up anymore – I was more productive. I had to get out of the house and out of that mindset. I literally followed everything that MK had put in place for us. If I wanted 20 new people in a month, then playing the company averages that means that I would have to be in front of about 100 people in a month to recruit one out of five. I held 4-6 appointments a week. I did it every week! I would look at my schedule – do I have enough appointments in my schedule to create that many recruits? My meeting could count if I had 3 or more guests there….if I had several unit meetings with 3 or more guests – and unit growth – if I did not have enough then I would hold massive numbers of classes to get the growth. Do I need more appointments or do I need to get more people to everything I do?

I eat, sleep and drink by my weekly plan sheet. I could not function for a day without it. I spend 15-20 minutes on Sunday night to make my plan sheet. You cannot change what you do not know. It keeps you accountable to yourself. 15 minutes planning the next week and every night my Six Most Important Things List and I do it just like MK said in her autobiography. I do that every night! I am the boss when I made the plan and when I wake up the next morning, I have to be the employee and do the work that the boss laid out the night before!

Q. Some people say you can do all this because you had no children. Please talk a little bit about this…challenges you had to overcome.

A. I do hear that a lot. We all have a different journey. We all have to decide who we want to be. God brought you here with your circumstances – no matter what they are! Do you know when you can work your business? When you can afford the time away? When I was working and going to school, my booking script would be – I hold classes on Tues and Sat night, which is better for you? On Friday, we had date night and I could hold two classes on my way home from school if I had to. I made all my booking calls on Sunday afternoon….all my follow up calls. Did I fit other phone time in – Yes! But Sunday afternoon was my uninterrupted phone time. You can make your situation work no matter what it is!

Success is always a Decision Away!! Thank YOU!!

Here is what we know now: Allison’s success in Mary Kay was not all that it was cracked up to be. She left Mary Kay and joined Bella Mora (another cosmetics MLM). Fail. (She failed both at the corporate level and as a recruiter.) She tried to market herself as a “coach” to people in MLM. Fail. She tried to be a recruiter for Seacret (another skin care MLM). Fail. But now she has seen success…. she married the wealthy founder of Secret. Win!!!!

5 Comments

  1. MichelleM

    There is such a sleight of hand being used here. All of these suggestions to be more productive are valid. However, they are being used to get IBCs to purchase makeup inventory that is impossible to sell at a profitable level, given the quality, time and expenses necessary to sell, and potential for unsold inventory. It’s like a beautifully wrapped package that is empty inside.

  2. coralrose

    I only skimmed this, but there was nothing useful there. Nothing about ingredients in the products, how to “get 20 people in front of you” like she mentioned, how to sell or recruit. It was just make a weekly plan, set a time for uninterrupted phone calls, dream big, buy CDs to learn more, and “Look how successful I am.” What a waste of time. People expected to actually learn something by “sitting at the feet of this NSD” and they completely wasted their time. And even Allison wasn’t successful.

    My former SD did this to us. She introduced us to the SD who happened to recruit our National SD and told us to ask a ton of questions and “sit at her feet and learn all we could from her.” She made it sound like we could also recruit some one who would make it big in MK and make us a ton of money. So we did ask questions. it went like this:
    “How did you meet Kay?”
    “She was at a party I was selling at. A friend brought her.”
    “what did you say to get Kay to join?”
    “I just offered her the opportunity and she loved it”
    “What about her stood out to you that she’d be a great consultant?”
    “oh I just knew. I went home and told my husband ‘I just recruited a future national'”.
    I think we asked for selling tips, and got none, either.
    So, basically, the recruiter just got lucky and had no suggestions for how we could duplicate her experience. She also bragged about how much money she was making. Just ridiculous.

    1. BestDecision

      For someone charging $400 for a workshop, Allison never did either Court of Sales or Sharing. She never taught on sales or recruiting, just how to build a big unit and train New Consultants.

      Just another example of how you can work your butt off, do everything you’re taught, and still not go far. The business is totally reliant upon luck.

  3. raisinberry

    Right. Look at most of the NSD’s. They had a superstar under them that pushed them up, usually one that had self esteem issues and worked for praise and validation. The mlm system breeds interdependence so that underlings feel responsible for the success of the leader…makes it real hard to exit.

    You have to either be a real sucker for manipulation or immune to using it yourself to reach the heights in Pinkdom.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      And some other NSDs who had a superstar pulling them up to be an offspring NSD (before the rules change) and then did nothing.

      The $10K bonus she gets every year for having NSD offspring was not a factor, of course. It was sisterhood all the time.

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