Saturday, December 18, 2010

Amway: An Equal-Opportunity Business

In the mail today, amongst all the fun holiday cards and photos, we got the latest copy of Achieve Magazine, Amway's quarterly trade publication.

Inside was page after page highlighting the "Women of Amway." As an Amway Independent Business Owner (IBO) in North America, I was particularly pleased with this focus.

Over the years I have noticed and experienced that there is a segment of the Amway community passionate about empowering men. In and of itself, this is very good and necessary. Unfortunately, and unintentionally, some have done this in such a way that it has disempowered women, hindering them from reaching their full potential as people and as business owners.

Having an unmarried woman as our Amway sponsor, actively building her business, has been a helpful example that the  Amway business is an opportunity to all. And it's crucial that the corporation continue sending the message to all IBOs and prospective IBOs that women can--and already do--play a vital role in building Amway businesses.

How fitting to have Holly Chen with her husband, Barry Chi, on this cover. They currently hold the highest achievement level in North America with 70 FAA points (which basically means they have a honkin' huge, highly profitable business). In addition, as they have helped thousands of people make lots of money, they have achieved high pins in other Amway markets around the world, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Why is it fitting? Because Holly started the Amway business on her own. After she met Barry, he joined her. And while he was satisfied when they hit the Diamond level in 1986, Holly was not. So she has continued to be the one to take center stage, and take their business to where it is today.

This is the third time in 20 months that Holly and Barry have appeared on the cover of Achieve, each featuring a new level of accomplishment.

From Achieve's April 2009 issue, "If you want to learn about building a successful Amway Global business, just watch Holly Chen and Barry Chi in action. Holly is an amazing leader, mentoring groups of Crown Diamond, Double Diamond and Executive Diamond IBOs. Barry is a talented trainer, teaching them how to improve retail sales. Together, they are a force. We are fortunate to have them on our team."

They are examples of using one's passions and strengths, regardless of gender, to get the job done. How they have built their business is directly opposite the gender roles that all too many organizations have long imposed on couples--hubby shows the business opportunity and mentors while wifey focuses on retail.

Given the fact that other direct-selling business opportunities are women-centric, I understand why some in the Amway community wish to focus heavily on men. On top of that, Amway was founded as a partnership of two men--Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel.

Against that backdrop, then, it's especially important, and timely, that Amway has directed the spotlight squarely on Holly and Barry's business. Their story is a powerfully eloquent reminder that a successful Amway business is possible to anyone willing to do the work.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Amway Australia...You GET It.

This video from Amway Australia captures in two minutes how social media is the new word of mouth to the n'th degree.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Adults Say The Darndest Things

This two-minute video sums up every idiotic or inappropriate question or comment complete strangers have said to me...well, almost. I think my "favorite" was when a lady YELLED, across the street, as I am strolling my infants, minding my own business, "DO YOU BREASTFEED THEM?!"

Monday, November 22, 2010

No Turning Off Your True Self When You're Online

Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill
‎"When it comes to technology in general, and social networking in particular, the heart is simply revealed."

--excerpted from a piece by Mark Driscoll in the Washington Post.

While he is responding specifically to one issue of  Facebook and adultery, Driscoll's statement addresses a much broader issue relevant to us all.

‎"Impatient, angry people post flame-throwing statements in haste.

Boastful, narcissistic people post statements and photos constantly to ensure we do not ignore them.

Dissident troublemakers post trolling inflammatory comments, seeking to have the same effect as a hose on a bees' nest.

And the perverted pursue illicit connections, including adultery, as they enjoy posting and seeing sexualized photos and statements."

I can attest to the truth of those words, especially having actively engaged on the 'Net on different platforms over the past few years. My online dialogues with a wide spectrum of people have ranged from MySpace (just who is on there anymore?), Facebook  and YouTube to Twitter  and a wide variety of forums and blogs.

In that time, I've engaged in diverse (and hot-button) topics such as Amway, homeschooling, politics, religion, sports, family and money.

Are we all entitled to the occasional "off" day, in which we respond in a way that doesn't reflect our authentic self? Absolutely. But what is the pattern of how we engage with the world--both online and offline?

Years ago, I thought it was a given topic that caused people to respond in a certain way. But through engaging online with hundreds of people from many different walks of life, I've witnessed undeniable, and all too predictable, patterns emerge.

Driscoll's diagnosis puts into words what I've come to firmly believe: cyber-behavior truly is a matter of the heart.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Amway's Flawed 'Forever Pin' Practice

As I’ve chronicled around the Net over the past few years, there are many aspects of the Amway Business that I greatly appreciate and admire.

However, I have never been a fan of the Corporation’s practice that once you achieve a certain level of success in the business, you retain that title for the rest of your life. This is regardless of whether you maintain that level or drop off the face of the Earth.

Until yesterday, I had never seen anything in print about their practice. And now that Amway has explained the reasoning, in writing, my disappointment has deepened.

Over at a new blog, Amway Answers, here’s how the rationale is explained:

“In a way, we liken it to someone who has won an Oscar earned a Nobel Prize or even a Master of Business Administration degree. Similar to the presidency, these titles aren’t stripped away the year after new winners are chosen or a person graduates and no longer attends classes. It’s an achievement that stays with one for a lifetime.”

Comparing building a business to earning a degree is missing the boat. I can study the Amway Business, any business, and know it on a theoretical level, just as I studied my field for my college degree. But as we all know: There is a big difference between knowing and doing.

The other comparisons make no sense because with the Presidency, the Oscar winner, and a Nobel Prize recipient, it is understood that it’s only for a moment in time. In those worlds, there is only one slot to fill each year/term. Not so in the Amway Business.

If you are going to use that type of criteria, then Amway would need to say, “Diamond, 2005” or “Emerald, 1999-2008,” as examples.

“Allowing Amway distributors to earn – and keep – their pins is a form of non-monetary leadership recognition.”

This is a description of positional leadership--the lowest level of leadership. Positional leadership is used to describe the “Do as I say because I’m the boss, I have the title, I outrank you” way of leading. It is not true, influential leadership. It is the antithesis of how successful, long-term, pass-the-torch, Amway Businesses are built.

“It shows others what they, too, can achieve.”

Most people in and outside the world of Amway are under the mistaken impression that if someone is called a Ruby, then they currently have a Ruby business. If they have been referred to as a Diamond for the last 20 years, then they have had a Diamondship for 20 years.

So because of this Flawed Forever Pin Practice (F2P2), distributors have a distorted picture of what “achievement” means.

"People who’ve reached these levels of recognition are qualified to teach and inspire others to do the same.”

To do the same… what? Under Amway’s F2P2, one has to maintain a certain level for a mere six months to garner a life-long title.

I can understand a grace period of a year or maybe even two. But a Diamond, or any pin status, being conferred upon someone forever, without any timeline clarification, is disingenuous. If Amway were transparent on this topic, most of the bad business practices would go away.

Having so much attention placed on only achieving a pin:

*diminishes the integrity of that pin.

*makes asking “Are you a currently qualified Diamond, Emerald, Ruby?” seem disrespectful, with a don’t-ask-don’t-tell vibe to it.

* allows some currently non-qualifying pins, who are maintaining the illusion of being a current such-and-such to persist in deception. And their (positional) leadership with their organization is bad.

Bad for the people in their organization, bad for Amway, and bad for distributors who are upfront about their current level of achievement.

*has a chilling effect on those distributors who want to be honest. As an example, if I say something about my business, I am also saying something about my Upline’s business. If I give details about my current qualification, then I am (since my Upline’s pin level is based on my pin level) also revealing details about my Upline’s business.

*leads to some unstable “strategies” distributors have come up with in building their businesses simply to hit a high pin once, in order to achieve a coveted title.

*places undue and unhealthy emphasis on recognition rather than on things that should matter in a business, like profit and long-term income.

I’d rather have a stable Rubyship for decades, than a Diamondship that spans only a few years. But with the F2P2, Amway, intentionally or not, has trained us all to value the Diamond over the Ruby—regardless of their respective stability. And in doing so, Amway is damaging the DNA necessary for its long-term viability.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

John Maxwell's Five Levels of Leadership

Position-Permission-Production-People Development-Personhood


From the book Developing the Leader Within You

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Digital Communication Can Damage Relationships

In this bloggy, texting, email, instant chat, social media world, oh how we need to hear this.

I wish I didn't have to learn the hard way (more than once) just how foolish it is to "say" things that should either be said in person, or not at all.

This short video has many gems of wisdom on this subject...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Picture This: The iCook Wok from Amway

A couple of months ago, I had my eye on Amway's iCook Wok. The challenge was that I didn't feel that I had enough information to make such a hefty purchase, even with Amway's generous 180-day money-back guarantee on all their products.

A week later, an Amway employee and blogger, Gregory Gronbacher, touted the wok in one of his blog posts over at The Opportunity Zone. I suggested that since Gregory likes cooking, maybe he could do a video demonstrating the wok, since lacked sufficient information to "sell me."

Apparently I wasn't the only one with that recommendation, because here is the video--Gregory and his co-blogger Jennifer Iracki cooking up some lunch.

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ever Have One of Those Days?

Yesterday was not the best day in BridgettLand. I was physically tired, mentally exhausted, and emotionally frazzled.

The combination of being down on so many fronts rendered my spirit joyless. This had not happened to me in a long time. And over the years I've learned that it's much easier to guard against, than it is to recover.

However, I had not realized that certain circumstances beyond my control which I was about to endure on Monday, would require some extra protective gear. So yesterday I was...wiped...out.

The good news was that I had enough awareness to know that even though it all seemed very real, very oppressive, and very permanent, it wasn't.

I also knew enough to engage my will, rather than continue to allow myself to dig deeper into my little black hole that was sucking the life out of me.

Yes, BridgettLand can be a nice little roller coaster ride when the negative invaders gain too much territory.

In order to avoid my foe from getting a foothold in my mind, my weapon of choice yesterday was Aretha Franklin singing  "Accentuate the Positive".

Given all the other options I have such as prayer, a supportive husband, God's Word, the listening ear of my mom, it was amusing to me that a simple song, played more than a few times, was so effective!

It was amusing and also quite telling...sometimes we make mountains out of molehills. Sometimes that overwhelming circumstance is really of our own creation, in our own mind.

I've learned that turning around and not engaging with the garbage, and moving forward in the opposite direction towards the good stuff, seems to be the best response.

Life is too short, too precious, filled with so many possibilities and positives, to allow myself to get caught up in the muck and mire. And most of the time it's really as simple as this song says:

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium's
Liable to walk upon the scene

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Microsoft Tags...Have You Seen Them?

I was flipping through an Artistry catalog, and after having it for about a month and looking it a half a dozen times, I finally investigated the little colorful squares that appear on a couple of the pages.

These squares are called "tags." And the purpose, is to direct you to digital content like a video or a website.

How do they work?
*First you download the application on to your phone.
*Launch the app and scan the tag with your phone. Scanning means holding your phone a certain distance and then let the app "find" the tag. My phone gave a little vibrate when it captured the tag.

*Your phone will then take you to a web address which will, in the case of Artistry's Ultimate Confidence Campaign catalog, show a one-minute video.

I like the mobility that these tags provide, like being able to show a quick video on my phone, because the tags are now in my history that I can pull up anytime.

But I'm thinking that these tags (which could be placed anywhere, even on a billboard) have more impact for those who are high tech and more mobile, like the younger generations. Are their phones the primary way they go online? Are laptops so 20th century?

For more info, even on how to create your own tags, visit the Microsoft Tag website  at

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Power Brands--Artistry and Nutrilite

This is Part Three of our visit to the Welcome Center at Amway. Here is Amway Visit Part One and Amway Visit Part Two.

We then headed over to the Artistry section. It was a highlight of my visit. I really wanted to use this machine.
First, you want to sit comfortably on that black stool, unlike me. Then you rest your chin inside, close your eyes, and it takes five flash images. Within a minute or two, the computer screen displays your skin analysis. So cool!

Next we moved over to the Nutrilite section.
"By growing, harvesting, and processing plants on its own certified organic farms, Nutrilite is able to include a wide array of high-quality plant nutrients in its products."

Lots of information on the oldest (76 years) and largest ($3 billion in annual sales) global supplement company.

Lots of information on health and what factors (air, hydration, diet, lifestyle choices) contribute to the aging process.

My kids' favorite display was learning how a Nutrilite tablet is made, because at the end, you pull the lever and a gold coin pops out. They did it four times, giggling each time, before mamma had to distract them and get us all out of there before the Amway police were called.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


"Soccer is awesome."

"I had the most awesome cake today."

"You are an awesome mom."

So that cake, that soccer, that person inspires awe in you?

Awe is an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration and fear.

When we use  magnificent language to describe non-magnificent things, what words do we have left to describe that which truly is awesome?

Monday, August 2, 2010

MacGyver Mom

In the 1980s, there was a popular television show called "MacGyver". If you go to YouTube, there is a channel devoted to the show which says, "MacGyver is a series about a quiet and mild mannered secret agent who makes use of any mundane materials around him to create unorthodox solutions to any problem he faces"

MacGyver has been spoofed many times, showing him, under pressure and with a time limit, taking something like a bubble gum wrapper, a shoelace, and some spit, and turning it in to a high-tech radar device.

So in our home, my husband has dubbed me "MacGyver Mom" whenever I do something kind of along those lines.

My most recent MacGyver moment was when we were all heading out the door, in a rush to get somewhere, and my daughter's sandal broke. For whatever reason (real or in her head) she couldn't wear another pair of shoes. So MacGyver Mom grabbed the shoe, grabbed a stapler, and voilĂ , we were out the door in under a minute.

What is one of your MacGyver moments?

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Invent It.

This is Part Two of our visit to the Welcome Center at Amway. Here is Amway Visit Part One.

After The Ripple Effect, the lights came up, the screen disappeared in to the ceiling, and the wall behind it opened up vertically (kind of like Star Trek) to reveal a whole bunch of displays.

This one is loaded with video about manufacturing and R&D.

This wall is dedicated to Amway's One by One Campaign for Children.

It's incredible the millions of lives impacted by this program. And it's not just about the  money Amway gives ($112 million to date), though that's very important. It's also the volunteer hours (1.3 billion to date) contributed by employees and IBOs, ABOs, and Distributors since the program launched in 2003.

For current outreach, I keep up to date with Amway's One by One blog.

In the glass window on the left, are  various products on a conveyor belt. And that's my daughter checking out some Artistry skin care products she'll be using in a decade.

This display gives the 51-year history of Amway. You manually slide the screen across the decades.  Then you can choose a specific year within that decade to see what noteworthy events occurred in Amway's past.

And while Amway honors their  past, that is not their focus. The quote above the timeline says,

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." ~Alan Kay

(to be continued...)  Amway Visit Part Three

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Our Day at Amway: The Ripple Effect

On Wednesday, on our way back from Family Camp in Newaygo, Michigan, we stopped by Amway Corporation. After visiting, all too briefly, with some old and new friends, including all from The Amway Insider, we popped in at the World Headquarters Welcome Center.
On the second floor are the doors leading to Amway's President Doug DeVos and Chairman Steve Van Andel's offices.

Steve, just a few minutes earlier, had been touring the Welcome Center with some guests. While I would have liked to have met him, I'm glad we missed him. My kids were on a major sugar high from all the goodies Beth Dornan gave them, so he was spared their singing and dancing around the lobby.

Below, carved in to glass, with water cascading over these pillars, are the founding principles of the Amway Corporation.

Amway supports the fundamental FREEDOM of people to determine their own future, allowing them the time and resources to protect and nurture their FAMILY. Offering HOPE to individuals and the opportunity to receive REWARD in proportion to their efforts.

The Leadership wing of the Welcome Center acknowledges the distributors, IBOs, and ABOs from the 80-plus countries and territories where Amway operates around the world.

Along the walls are screens that one can search Diamonds and above by Market or by Pin Level.

The kids got comfortable in the 70-seat theatre

and we watched The Ripple Effect, a  five-minute visual story. Our lives form ripples. Our actions and decisions and words do affect others. What kind of ripples are you creating?

(to be continued...) Amway Visit Part Two

New Look = Messed Up Formatting

Yes, I am fully aware that some of the posts before this one look terrible.
I am using a new template from this day forward. And all posts before this one were formatted using a different layout/template.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SUPPORT: Often The Missing Ingredient for Success

Here is a two-hour talk condensed in to three minutes.

My favorite is his acronym for C.R.A.P. :)

While this is spot on info, I find that what is often missing in these recipes for success is SUPPORT.

And when I say "support" I'm not talking about providing more information to consume. Seventeen different ways of saying the same thing, packaged in twelve different formats.

I'm talking about accountability from another person or other people. Most people understand forced-discipline, but very few possess self-discipline.

Helping another person stay accountable to their goals is one of the most time-consuming endeavors. It is much easier to write a book, give a talk, hold a seminar, than it is to actively mentor someone.

And it's much less confrontive to read a book, listen to a talk, attend a seminar, than it is to actively be mentored by someone.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

What To Do With 27 Cents...

I received my lowest residual check ever. A whopping 27 cents. Actually the gross is 41 cents, but Uncle Sam took his 34% cut and left me with 27 cents.
There was an enclosed letter from SAG (Screen Actors Guild) explaining how I can donate my residual check. Great to see this. Oh, but wait...I would have to mail it out to donate it. Do you think I should pay 44 cents to mail a 27-cent check?
I don't, but obviously Entertainment Partners (the payroll company) and SAG did, each--EP to SAG and then SAG to me.