Priscilla Harrison in Her Living Room

Priscilla, you have enjoyed phenomenal success in the network marketing profession and you have the lifestyle to prove it. What is the short, short explanation for your success?

Contrary to what some might think, I am no stranger to adversity. My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was in fifth grade. I feel the most important thing I learned from my mother’s 17-year battle with cancer was courage.She endured a lot of pain before the disease finally took her. Although we loved her and were part of her support structure, we couldn’t live her battle for her. The same is true for all of us; each of us gets to choose how to deal with life’s opportunities and adversities.

Because of this early life experience, I also developed an appreciation for holistic health as a core value. Eat right, exercise right, and think right. Without your health, many battles become unwinnable.

I also learned that money can be replaced; time cannot. There is a calendar attached to everyone’s life, and not a single day is to be wasted. This is a mantra I still live by. I live every day with a sense of urgency. If something needs to be done, there is no time like the present.

Early in life I also learned to respect the importance of money. Financial pressures can be crushing and as can health issues. There is no freedom to me without health and financial freedom. Both are important.

So your short, short answer is that being in network marketing enables me to achieve my financial and health objectives; two of my core values. The fact that this profession allows me to achieve my goals by helping others to do the same is a huge bonus!

In your opinion, then, would you say that the choice of network marketing company you attach yourself to is relatively unimportant? I mean if you have the right stuff, the right attitude, the determination to succeed, you can succeed anywhere?

No, I wouldn’t say that at all. If that were true, I could have saved myself a few years of disappointments along the way. For example, one of the first things I had to learn was that a great product, while important, is not enough. Let me give you an example.

My husband, Jim, lost his job as an airline pilot when his company, Braniff Airlines, went bankrupt. He obtained employment with Piedmont Airlines (now US Airways),which necessitated our relocating from Dallas, TX to Greensboro, NC. For the next eight years I commuted back and forth between Dallas and Greensboro, looking after my aging father, who lived Dallas. It was a flight attendant on one of these trips who introduced me to network marketing. It was a marvelous product that produced almost miraculous results. It seemed like a no-brainer, so I signed up. I never saw that flight attendant again. But since I didn’t know any better, I just repeated the same thing the flight attendant had done with me. Within a year, I was making more than I did as a dental hygienist. I guess some would make the argument from this that sometimes the less you know, the better you do!

That sounds like success to me, Priscilla. But you indicated there was trouble in Paradise. What went wrong?

Well, ignorance wasn’t bliss! There were several flies in the ointment. First, the product was great but not a consumable product; a single small order of the product would last for months, so the potential for reorder was small. Secondly, the top management of the business lacked successful experience in the network marketing profession. Both of these turned out to be fatal flaws and the company went bankrupt. I had a lot to learn about the meaning of due diligence.

Whoops! You went from hero to zero. Nothing like starting over. So this was your family’s second exposure to corporate bankruptcies. How did you handle this?

Hey, enough was enough. The first time, shame on them; the second time, shame on me. I wasn’t going to get burned again. I quit the network marketing industry and went back to dental hygiene. I then spent two years trying to relearn how to just “settle”; two years of trying to deny the ache to get back into the game again; two years of trying to settle for less than my true potential. There was just no place to continue learning, no place to grow. Finally, my husband Jim said to me, “Look, you were having fun, making money and meeting great people. When employees have a bad job experience, they don’t give up forever on employment. They just find another job. To me, this is like going to a bad movie. That doesn’t mean you’ll never watch another movie”. What Jim was telling me was that the problem was not with the industry; I had simply picked the wrong company. This was good advice, and I decided to give it another shot.

What went wrong this time?

In my first experience, I was ignorance on fire. This time I was more skeptical and lacked belief. I knew things could go wrong. My attitude was, this wouldn’t work, so of course, it didn’t. At some level, I knew that the problem began with me. So I began researching and reading about thinking, about attitude, about habits, about winning. I went to a two-day seminar conducted by Jim Rohn that truly changed my life. I will never forget two principles I learned and applied that day: we become what we think about, and we can’t control what others do. After that seminar I immersed myself in books and tapes of people like ZigZiglar, Brian Tracey, Tom Hopkins, and many, many others. I did this for months, and it probably took close to a year before it all came together for me. I went from a skeptic who couldn’t make anything happen to becoming Distributor of the Year and one of the top ten income earners for that company. When I changed, everything changed.

So why aren’t you still with that company?

(Laughing) That company is still in business today, but they changed their compensation plan in a way that destroyed the business opportunity for distributors. They did not grasp that those same distributors are the heart and soul of the whole enterprise. So it was time to move on and find a new network marketing home. I am currently with a fabulous company that understands and values people. As a matter of fact they refer to their distributors as partners and they show it in every thing they do.

Would you share with us what you learned through all these experiences?

I’ve learned that alignment of certain variables is the key to a successful network marketing career. I’ve learned from the school of hard knocks the five essentials to hit a home run when picking a company:

1. The ownership/executive management team needs to have successful experience in the industry. From that, comes a confidence that is not ego driven but success driven for all. They need to have a certain temperament that allows them to partner with the field.
2. Products that historically do the best in the emotional driven field of marketing are unique, consumable products that people understand and “want” versus complicated products that people “need”.
3. Systems and support from field leaders as well as corporate executives is critically important for long-term stability, duplication and success.
4. The Pay Plan needs to be doable and easy to understand without unrealistic structure and hoops to jump through to get paid.
5. Timing of when you enter into the life cycle of a company will determine your ease and speed of growth. In other words, find a company whose growth is in front of them, not behind them.

I think by this time I realized that there was nothing wrong with the industry, but simply that I had had a lot to learn about finding the right organization for me.

I would like to come back to your story. I have no doubt that if the right person, someone intelligent, motivated, even driven, is put in the wrong system, the wrong system will beat the person every time. But I also have to believe in the enormous power of the individual mind, the strength of character that success requires, the value of initiative, being proactive, self-discipline, and sheer determination. Along this bumpy road to success, Priscilla, what can you tell us about choices you made, choices that got you to where you are today?

Well, I can tell you, I have always had a mindset that made a difference. I never waited for success to come to me. I always believed it was my responsibility to make it happen. For example, when I was with my first network marketing company I was still a dental hygienist, and the battle began every day for me on my way home from the office–Priscilla, you need to make calls. I knew the only time I had left to devote to my new business was in the evening, and I knew I needed to make those calls. I didn’t always want to, but I knew that if I didn’t, nothing would change for me.

Again, shortly after signing up with my second network marketing company, I realized I was failing. I then made the decision to become a student of the industry, and a student of personal growth. I learned the value of one of Jim Rohn’s aphorisms: Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. In other words, what you learn in school has little or nothing to do with making money. You have to learn that on your own.

Little did I know that I had yet to experience my greatest triumphs and successes. Sometimes I think life is like a deck of cards. We know there are only four Aces in a deck of 52 cards, and we are all looking for the Aces. When we quit at something worthwhile, how do we know but that the very next card to be drawn would have been an Ace?

Priscilla, do you think that perhaps in life’s struggles, there are tipping points, critical moments when a single, particular decision can propel us forward on the road to success, or conversely, set us irredeemably back?

I prefer to think of success as a decision we make every day. For years I was a jogger. Several of my friends and I discussed it, and we decided that if we didn’t do it early in the morning, it just wouldn’t happen. So we got up before dawn, and we would run 4.2 miles every day before work. Let me tell you, it was pure torture to get up that early. Every single morning I said to myself, No more! This is the last time; I’m going to tell the others that this is my last day. For the first mile, we were stiff and said little to each other as we concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. I got through the second mile reminding myself that this was the last time I was going to do this. By the third mile, I started feeling good. By the end of the fourth mile, we were all high-fiving each other and saying we were going to do this for the rest of our lives. My point is that we all think about quitting. And that is okay. Just don’t quit today. I quit every day for fifteen years, but each day I continued in the activities and work that deferred the moment of quitting till the following day.

I have heard the word system bandied about a lot with regard to network marketing. What is that all about, and why is it so important?

Unless you want to waste a lot of time reinventing the wheel, systems are the only effective way to duplicate your efforts. It’s all about leverage; leverage of your time, leverage of you. When you have run out of time, you have essentially run out of future. In other businesses, if you don’t follow the system, you get fired. But in network marketing we have an all-volunteer army. The only consequence of not following the system is failure. If you allow that to happen, I guess you get to fire yourself. You self-eliminate.

My husband is a retired airline captain, so I will use a metaphor from his industry. On any given flight, there is a pilot and a co-pilot. They usually don’t know each other,yet two strangers come together and in the space of only one hour, are prepared to transport 300 people in a $300 million airplane at 30,000 feet altitude. That’s only possible with a system.

Although some distributors are very intuitive, the fact is that all have to master the system. It is a joy to connect people who have dreams, initiative, and willingness to follow a system that is bigger than all of us. The system is the main source of our success, and it never sleeps.

That makes sense, Priscilla. But what about the people? Isn’t this essentially a people business? Is there a magic formula for figuring out who will make it and who won’t? It is all about finding the Super Distributors, right?

I don’t think ‘Super Distributors’ or leaders are born. I believe we all have the seeds of success within us but it’s not what’s in us that counts. It’s what we can get out of us that counts. It may take time and certain circumstances to awaken those seeds but I believe it’s our responsibility to develop our God given gifts. The joy of this business is really leading people to find that hero within themselves. The best in this business all serve as mentors and coaches to others. Most of our new distributors have to learn a new way of thinking and trusting our mentorship, but they are accustomed to being employees. They don’t know how to employ themselves or nourish their own seeds of success. They are no longer paid to take orders from someone else, nor are they paid for their time. They are paid for results; they are paid to find, develop, and create other leaders.

The famous author Og Mandino was an alcoholic, lost his wife, contemplated suicide, and even bought a gun to do it. He ended up throwing his gun in the gutter, and staggered into a library where he found himself in the Self Help section. As the Buddhist proverb implies, “When the student is ready, the Teacher will appear”. What Og Mandino stumbled across in that library changed his life, because he was ready. He was ready to develop his seeds of greatness and plant them in all of us through his books.

Since time is our most valuable commodity and is always in short supply, what do you look for in new distributors in order to decide how much time to commit to their development?

Every leader of people has to learn to say no at times. Saying no to some people frees up time to say yes to others. Like the song says, you have to know when to “hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.” This is actually a critical skill that has to be mastered, because network marketing, like so much in life, is a numbers game. It is necessary to identify quickly who to spend your time with. There is no point in agonizing on the why some people don’t commit, why some people don’t show up, why some people don’t follow through, and why some people give up on themselves. It just is. They are what they are, and they do what they do. Love people where they are, and spend your time with those willing to step out of their comfort zone and grow. I love the saying, “Run with the runners, Walk with the walkers and Stop with the stoppers”.

Now lets talk about where you are now. You seem to have found your professional home, is that right?

Yes, thank goodness! Working with a great company on a great team makes a huge difference. I love what I do, and whom I do it with. All the dots are connected here. Everything makes sense and has a purpose. The success potential is huge.

It has been a long time since Jim and I have lacked for anything materially. There comes a time in life when your thoughts turn to other things, including your legacy. And in this business, legacy is all about the people you have brought along with you, the success in their lives and seeing their dreams come true. The relationships we have are a source of great joy.

Priscilla, some people are uncomfortable talking about money. Can we talk honestly about money?

Sure, why not? I like money.

What does money mean to you? It doesn’t come up in our conversations that much, so you obviously don’t flaunt it, but on the other hand you don’t seem particularly apologetic about living well, either. So what would you like to tell our readers about money?

As with everything else, I try not to over-complicate things.The poor can’t feed the poor. As Jim Rohn says, “life responds to deserve not need”. I like money because it permits me to do the things I want to do, to go where I want to go, to live the way I want to live. I have always worked, with my father’s strong encouragement, beginning with my early teens. I have never expected someone else to take care of me. Money gives me independence and the ability to help others, both of which are very important to me.

Priscilla, this is a good time to wrap up here. Thank you for sharing so much of your thoughts, experiences and philosophy. You are an inspiration to many, and a reminder of the world of the possible, a world of abundance, if we are open to it!