This is an amazing time to be a woman, especially in North America. The options for women are growing and we have more opportunities than ever. After reading Sheryl Sandberg’s best-selling book, Lean In, Women, Work and the Will to Lead, I wanted to share why I chose network marketing as my career, as it is so incredibly valuable for women and leadership.
Gratitude Tip: It has not always been easy for women, and pay equity and discrimination still exist, however the good news is that ‘the times they are a-changing’ and it’s never been a better time to be a women. Often we take for granted what our fore-mothers had to overcome in order for us to have the freedom we do as women today. We can express our gratitude through leadership and inspiration to our fellow women.
In the book, Sandberg speaks of gender inequity and the challenges for women who want to rise to leadership positions. Things have really changed for women who want to create amazing careers and have a family but there are still many trade offs to be faced. We have some advantages here in Canada that our US neighbors do not, such as up to 50 weeks of paid maternity leave. That itself can be a challenge for many women here as well.
Here are my Top 5 challenges of career oriented moms and how network marketing (NWM) offers an alternative solution. A caveat – I support whatever decision you make for you and your family – I am simply sharing my opinions on my choice of career and parenting. I have a lot of respect for moms who take care of their kids full-time – that would be far more of a challenge for me than building a business.
1. Missing out on building a career and advancing financially and personally. One of the biggest challenges I have heard from more career-oriented moms is that they miss working and contributing not only to the household expenses but to those beyond their immediate family (by staying home with their kids). This can be especially difficult when women have advanced degrees or have children at a later age and had already built significant careers. Sandberg mentions that ‘Forty-three percent of highly qualified women with children are leaving careers, or “off-ramping”, for a period of time.’ (pg.98). For me, building a solid NWM business before I had my daughter has allowed me to not only contribute significantly to our household expenses, but also the opportunity to advance, to learn every day, to grow personally and professional too.
2. The rising cost of day care – With the average costs in Canada of $600 – $2000 a month (who pays only $600???) it sometimes makes it challenge for both parents to work outside the home. Sandberg counters this with the fact that even if a woman is just breaking even by returning to work, she will be rewarded in the future as her earning potential grows (pg 102). My suggestion? Create a solid residual income with a NWM company before maternity leave allows you to have additional income to either supplement day care costs to return to work, or to work from home on your network marketing business.
3. Feeling guilty for spending too much time at work – For those who do return to work after maternity leave, there is often a feeling of guilt associated with not being able to be there for your children. Missed dinner times and soccer games, not being able to pick up a sick child or using vacation days to stay home when a child is ill. There is still a badge of honour associated with putting in more hours at work. According to Sandberg, ‘Employees who make use of flexible work policies are often penalized and seen as less committed than their peers’ (pg 130). So even if your office allows flex time, this can still be seen as a lack of true commitment. What I love about my NWM business is that I can be home with my child if needed, I can create my schedule to fit around her activities and I have the freedom to choose when to spend time with her.
4. Lack of stimulating adult conversation – This is true for women who do end up making the choice to stay home and leave a career. As Sandberg puts it ‘I know a woman who gave up her career as a lawyer to be a stay-at-home mom….insists that her husband…asked her “How was your day” (when he got home from work)’ (pg 118). Many women feel disconnected from other adults when they are the primary care-givers at home. What I love about my NWM biz is that I have a great balance between working with a team of amazing, like-minded adults and time for How To Train Your Dragon too!
5. Loss of a leadership role – This can happen in two ways: First a woman can decide to go back after maternity leave, but because she has been gone for up to a year, she may end up having to take a role that is not at the same level as before. This becomes even more challenging if she chooses to have children close together in age. Second, for women who choose not to go back at all, they lose their chance to work with a team of any kind and the opportunity to develop their leadership. Sandberg shares the story of Debi, who turned down a leadership role at a bank but turned it down as her daughter was only a year old – (subsequently) it took her ten years to get back to that level (pg 101). With NWM I’ve had the opportunity for personal leadership and also to help other women to develop their own leadership as well. In fact, I’m surrounded by amazing female leadership every single day.
Sandberg also devotes an entire chapter on mentorship titled, ‘Are You My Mentor?’ (ch. 5) about how women are seeking mentors and sponsors to further advance their careers and professional lives. When you join a NWM biz, you have the opportunity to work with a mentor, often a woman, who has paved the road to success and is willing to show you the way. This is what I love most about my NWM biz, working with other amazing women and men to create more leaders, that in turn can lift up and mentor others.
It’s up to you to choose who to partner with, but this is a very important decision to make. I chose to partner with USANA Health Sciences and our tribe, Holistic Lifestyle Creators and I am confident that these choices have been an integral part of my success. I share my story in my book 30 Days of Gratitude. I am most grateful for my mentor, Leanne Jacobs, who has paved the way for thousands of women and men world-wide.
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