Your Four Phases in Mary Kay

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 directors are 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


  1. Lazy Gardens

    You know what that reminds me of? The stages of abuse …

    Excitement: you are wildly in love
    Frustration: you can’t seem to please him, tensions mounting
    CRISIS: He beats you up
    Re-commitment: He apologizes and promises it will never happen again

    You’re excited again.

    One thing is certain – each time through the cycle it gets quicker.

  2. cindylu

    It sure does sound like narcissism abuse. In most careers there are ups and downs. However at least you get paid and sometimes you even get promoted based on real accomplishments. With MK the goal post or rules often change. Products often change. There is no where to truly advertise. They over look those who find less than honest ways to meet unrealistic goals. I once saw a new consultant widely praised for her sales. She had rented space in a salon where she had the MK products fully on display. In fact she was using those products as part of her other real cosmetics business. I don’t recall any Directors questioning her methods. It was then their house of cards and misleading advice and training etc. sunk in. I got sick. MK didn’t care and so I quit. I seemed to suffer from some form of PTSD which now makes me wonder about the repetitive and misleading nature of this mlm.

  3. MLM Radar

    Why aren’t there phases called “Customer Base Growth” and “Sales Consistently Exceed Expenses” and “Inventory Loan Paid Off“?

    Oh, that’s right. I forgot. Mary Kay is about chasing dreams. It’s not a real business.

  4. Data Junkie

    These 5 stages might be more appropriate:
    – Denial: That your “opportunity” is actually a very elaborate scam
    – Anger: That no one supports you in this “opportunity”
    – Bargaining: To get someone, ANYONE to participate
    – Depression: That even begging your closest F+F won’t get them to participate
    – Acceptance: That you have been had

    Which stage are you in, hun?

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