Waiting for Validation in Mary Kay

Written by Raisinberry

There appears to be a common denominator, in my opinion, with women who suffer the most from their Mary Kay career. I am talking about those who fell for it hard.

I think I might be on to something regarding why the whole recruitment scam, and subsequent huge financial loses, occur. Just being a part of Mary Kay for many long years, and watching those who stay far too long sucked in by “the dream”, as well as those who come here to recover, there appears to be a female characteristic that is being exploited.

It isn’t recognition, significance, or needing cash so much as a tendency by women to accept less than the best regarding their own lives. It is a learned behavior, born out of sacrifice, expectation and servanthood, that traps women into this financially predatory scheme. It is a willingness to accept the crumbs from the table, the lower wage, the leftovers, rather than draw the boundaries of what is personally acceptable and what is not.

In other words, the typical woman exploited in MLM schemes like Mary Kay, is used to being happy just getting a positive morsel and will wait at the table rationalizing until she gets another.

That sounds harsh but please remember, I, myself stayed too long at the fair.

Women with an accurate self appraisal would never be manipulated into doing something, over and over again that was destructive to their own future. But women are notoriously “givers” and are quick to sacrifice themselves for the sake of another. In the hands of a predator, women can be duped easily into taking on personal risk, by having unclear boundaries as to who they really are, and what they really deserve, especially if they have been raised with a deficit of attention.

Pleasing someone else appeals to that servant’s heart, and a negative self appraisal is quieted by a pop of validation. For example, selling even one item can send a rush up the arm that provides that quick fix of adrenaline and comfort that this woman needs. Recognition in the form of an “atta girl” is also a morsel of acceptance that she might go after to feel good and get a “fix”.

If she is used to getting very little attention, she lives on the toss offs of others in her life, grateful for even the slightest nod. Most women I know will say they feel undervalued in their families and under appreciated, and have come to “live” on very little in terms of validation. A woman who is underappreciated, either by her husband, her family or who was raised in any variety of abusive homes becomes a candidate for these types of fuzzy boundaries, often times hurting herself just to find approval.

Fuzzy boundaries are exploited by motivational, manipulative, money grubbing schemes masquerading as profitable businesses, because they “sell” recognition and significance. They promote class envy by leaving the wannabees out of the grander appreciation events. They play to insecurities, and bait the deepest longings of women to be valued and needed and important to a team or community. And to the extent that this aspect of femaleness is wounded in you, you will accept morsels of attention while you patiently wait for a tangible, solid solution.

That month end call to just “stretch” and do another $200 because we are “so close to the goal” is targeted precisely at you because you always come through. It is important to you that you are seen as a valued member. You do it to your own detriment, because your need is great. You want to matter. If you understood deeply inside yourself that you “matter” already, this silly act of financial madness would have no power over you.

These pyramids count on this weakness in women. They put in motion, an insecurity building game and then exploit you with your response to it.

If you get nothing else from this article, get that. They set the stage to produce insecurity in you, hoping you will respond by racing ahead to achieve significance and quiet the growing doubt. If there is any weakness in your self appraisal you will fall victim to it.

That is why some women, who appear angry and strong come here and just can’t get that you would be so stupid to have lost thousands of dollars buying Mary Kay products for stupid ladders or stars. These women have a low “servant” quotient and high self esteem. (Perhaps not accurate, just high). Having an honest self appraisal and a desire to do right, helping others and at the same time recognizing that there are sensible limits to helping others, are key factors in our recovery. We can not let this happen again.

When a company creates exclusivity the way Mary Kay does, it goes way past the “perks” of upper management in Corporate America. The romancing of prizes, suits and uniforms, cars, stage walks, name badge ribbons, special seating, special eating areas closed off from the non achievers, all contribute to a culture that thinks that dangling carrots produce the best results while creating discontent in a large segment of consultants.

Since the method to reach higher heights involves dishonesty, the underachievers are always in a self deprecating mode, feeling inadequate and insecure. As insecurity and self doubt grow, the desire to achieve rises, placing that woman in the crosshairs of her own personal integrity. Cheered on by her Directors encouragement, she “makes a way”. What she doesn’t know is that there is no quieting the doubt in Mary Kay because every achievement is met with another challenge and laurels you may have earned are soon whisked away.

There is no level in Multi-level that does not spit you out upon achieving it, in another place of comparison. You never “arrive” and you have been convinced by this method that you never should. Your life should be constant striving, because a “morsel” never fills. Each new level plagues the achiever with new dissatisfaction. You are a Senior Director? When will you be a Future Executive Senior? (Is there more a silly title imaginable?) You are a Cadillac Director? When will you be a trip winner? On and on, even to National. Are you an Inner Circle National? Or just a wannabee? So they race on, chasing morsels and crumbs thrown from the Tippy Top NSD or Director’s table.

The message is clear. You never measure up. Striving = significance. Oh if that were true. You were meant for so much more.

Your significance has nothing to do with a suit you wear, a pin you put on, a special seat you sit upon or which dining room you qualify for. If you were chasing any of that to once and for all, quiet that voice inside your head which says you are not where you need to be, release it. It is a carefully crafted manipulation to hook your wounded soul and extract your money, resources, time and talent. It is the M.O. of the multi-levels, all portrayed to be such motivational harmless fun.

Excellence in what you do is a reward that is real. It isn’t made of fake gold tone or plastic gemstones. It isn’t hype. It is quiet reassurance. It isn’t noisy, with tears and fanfare and crescendos. Learn to recognize the real thing, which is that your significance is in your very life, the fact that you think and breathe. The fact that you are. It is your honesty toward living that gives you all the security you need.

Pursuit of excellence will naturally get you where you want to go, without need of comparing yourself to others, captivated by envy and most certainly without stepping on and over others as you manipulate them into financial destruction.

Never again, give ground or attention to any voice that seeks to disquiet you by concentrating on your supposed “lack”. Recognize the manipulation -the bait- to make you feel “less than” others and dismiss it. And most importantly, never settle for morsels when your creator has prepared for you, a feast.

Mary Kaybots used to always say “raise your deserve level”. I think I now can agree with that whole heartedly. The best lies always have a bit of truth to them. You definitely need to raise your deserve level. Raise it so high, that Mary Kay and all the self serving MLM con games can never again stretch high enough to reach you. You were meant for so much more.


  1. Jeri

    This is amazing! This is what happened to me. I thought marriage and motherhood would fulfill me, but being a mother of young children is isolating and tedious at times. I was a stay at home mom, but wanted more. And the stories they told made me believe I could achieve anything I wanted in Mary Kay. I only made it a year and a half, I love math and numbers don’t lie. I lost a total of about $2000 in that time, a nice “tax deduction”, but I didn’t really understand what that meant. It meant that money was gone with nothing to show for it but a bunch of make up no one wanted to buy. Being a success in Mary Kay will never give you significance.

  2. Char

    A very profound article and self-reflection is always a useful tool. Thank you for exposing the “why” for some.

    As Mary Kay is supposed to be a financial endeavor, it is time for all ladies to put their hearts aside briefly, and think about the bottom line. Let’s cut to the chase and focus on facts and figures:

    99% lose money in MLM, and the remaining 1% are top liars. It is an inherently flawed method. Recruiting your own customers as your new competition for customers is absurd for a so-called “product sales business”. Don’t settle for crumbs, and don’t be a fool. And, please don’t aspire to be a “top liar”. You ladies are better than that.

    Mary Kay is MLM. The “dual marketing” crap is them trying to hide the fact they are an MLM company. Now why would they want to do that? See above.

    MLM Test: Can you endless-chain recruit in Mary Kay to move up the ladder? Is the main focus on recruiting “building your team”? Face it. You are in MLM ladies and that explains why people, other than MK consultants, avoid you if they can. Spend some time on anti/MLM subreddit to see how annoying and sad you are – while being an MLMer that is.

  3. Nanette

    I always feel like this is the major underlying reason that most people become consultants. I have no issues with self-sacrifice made from a place of well-reasoned consideration. This is something that is highly personal and individual (as a side note, I just want to make it clear that I don’t think that it in any way justifies sacrificing for the sake of MK or Directors or anything in that organization) but wouldn’t the sacrifices be better justified if they were to the direct benefit of your family or those around you in need?

    Mary Kay manipulates good people for the benefit of a few that wind up spending it all on houses with 8 bathrooms and some LV luggage. I also find it interesting that Mary Kay Ash’s mansion was ultimately demolished… created off of the backs of IBCs.

    Some of this might be true of most or all corporations, but at least when I go to a job every day I know that I have made an agreement to exchange my time for money and that is exactly what I get. For most consultants, they wind up paying to be a consultant if you factor in the time and extra supplies in addition to inventory.

    I will never forget the recognition that people would receive in achieving stars at the one sales meeting that I went to (wearing pants, by the way). It made me sick and sad to watch, but I remember one girl was SO PROUD and smiling. Before I knew better I was all “How did she make 1000+ dollars [or whatever it was] in sales as a new consultant?” I still remember thinking I could never do that and then all of a sudden feeling bad about myself. Little did I realize, she likely took out a loan or maxed out a credit card.

Comments are closed.