Book Title: The Mary Kay Way: Timeless Principles from America’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur
Author: Mary Kay Ash
Publication Date: 2008
This book wasn’t really on my reading list. But someone gave the book to me. I’m glad I read it.
While I did find myself smiling a few times because of Mary Kay’s self-imposed “rules” (limiting her garden time because she may be seen covered with mud or forbidding herself from leaving the house without wearing makeup), I had to remind myself that Mary Kay started her business in a different decade.
Who should read this book? Every business owner would learn from the timeless business principles practiced by Mary Kay Ash. You don’t have to be an Independent Beauty Consultant to appreciate some of her words of wisdom. I’ll let her speak for herself:
“Each person whose hand I shake is the most important person in the world to me at that moment” (page 3).
“Some of the must successful leaders are also the best listeners…. Listening is an art. And the first tenet of the skill is paying undivided attention to the other party” (pages 39-40).
“Perhaps the best way to introduce change in a business is to keep one foot firmly planted on fundamentals and the other foot searching for better ways to streamline operations” (Page 98).
“Once success is achieved, a person cannot rest on his laurels” (page 148).
“Let’s face it, all of us have to do some unpleasant tasks in our work…. I cope by putting the most unpleasant tasks at the top of my list of things that must be done each day” (page 160).
When you read a book or listen to a video, do you every stumble upon words that perfectly describe a similar experience that you had? But you just hadn’t verbalized it yet? It happened to me as I read Chapter 21, “Less Stress.” Here’s an excerpt:
“People often say to me, ‘Mary Kay, in your present position—with so much responsibility—you must have far greater stress than you did back in the early days of your career.’ While many people seem to believe that the amount of stress an individual encounters increases in direct proportion to his or her responsibilities, I disagree. For me the stress was far greater when I had to worry about having enough money to put food on the table, pay the rent, and buy clothes for my children. The insecurities I endured from those uncertainties were far greater than those I now encounter in the executive suite. And although it has been years since we started our business, I haven’t forgotten what it was like to endure that kind of stress.”
Yes, I can relate to the money stress she experienced in the early days of her business. Not knowing where your next rent payment or grocery money will come from is an insecurity that is hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it. It’s a stress that eats at you, that zaps energy, that can create desperation. You feel as if you are always striving but never achieving. There are moments of hopelessness. There are moments of pain.
It is a stress that many business owners have walked through one or more times. I believe it makes you stronger because of it. You learn your frailty. You learn what it takes to overcome. You learn that mountaintops of success are so much more breathtaking because the valleys were so low.
Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you relate to what Mary Kay writes? Have you experienced this stress? Or are you experiencing it now?
Take heart. Be accouraged.
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