The Bees & The Wasps
I always say there are two types of women in this world: the bees and the wasps.
The bees are out and about — pollinating flowers, working together and making the world a more beautiful place. They are abundant and uplifting. The bees are happy, bright and bold.
On the other hand, the wasps are lurking around, waiting to sting. You know these types of women — the gossipers that sling mud and carelessly throw around hurtful words. They attack at the most unexpected times and they seem to know more about what’s best for you than you do. They can leave a sting that can hurt for days.
I’ve worked in the corporate world and as a professional in the direct sales space. Both environments had their fair shares of bees and wasps; however, the wasps seemed to appear more during my time in direct sales.
During my 10 years as a direct sales professional, I couldn’t figure out why other women cared so much about what I was doing with my life. My decision to leave corporate to go into direct sales drummed up rumors of postpartum depression, marital distress and job security. The truth was that after having my second son, I found myself extremely torn inside. I loved my corporate career, but the travel schedule left me feeling like an inadequate mom and wife. When I was away, I missed my kids, and when I was with my kids, I felt guilty for not working. I was torn up inside and needed to find a way to make my new identity as a working mom work. I aligned my passions for sales and leadership with a direct sales company and was able to have the best of both worlds.
This decision didn’t come lightly, and I would often ponder my worthiness — not because what I was doing wasn’t extremely fulfilling, but because of the stereotypes that came with “direct sales.” The truth was, I was making a bigger positive impact with women — in my community and in my family — that my corporate job ever allotted. But the nostalgia of my well-respected career in corporate America often robbed me of finding true joy in my very successful, six-figure career in direct sales.
A few years into my career in direct sales, I read a blog where a woman literally obliterated any woman who was pursuing a career in direct sales. It was probably one of the nastiest hate blogs I’ve ever read. And what was more surprising was the number of wasps — I mean, women — who had no problem posting stinging hate comments supporting it. As much as I wanted to just dismiss the blog, I found myself reading every single word of it, and my heart dropped with every vile comment.
I thought to myself, “Is this what others think of me?” I was mentally fit enough to realize that these women were the “Mean Girls” of my adult life, and that what they thought of me or any woman in direct sales was pointless. It was pointless and meaningless because I knew the truth.
In my last 12 years in direct sales, I have met the most incredible community of bees. Women who want to be part of a community of women who want you to succeed in life ... a community that nurtures your personal development, encourages you to dream bigger, work harder, make more money and do it all on a time frame that fits you.
I met Jane, a teacher with three children under the age of five, who couldn’t justify the cost of childcare on her $35,000 a year salary. She was a stay-at-home mom and was unraveling inside as she needed more. She stumbled on a direct sales beauty product she loved and, within a two years, doubled her teacher’s salary and made thousands of women feel amazing in their own skin.
I met Kristin, a high-powered attorney who made six figures and worked 60-hour workweeks. From the outside, you would have thought she had it all. The handsome husband, a power career and a luxury salary that allowed her any amenity in life. But guess what? Kristin wanted more. She longed for girl time, a community of women and spending more time nurturing her passion for fashion. Kristin stumbled on a chic accessories company and found herself. She never made a lot of money with her career in direct sales, but it filled a void and allowed her to find joy, community and creativity.
I met Susan, a single mom who has a son with special needs. Susan worked as an administrative assistant and needed extra money to make ends meet. An additional hourly job didn’t make sense as the cost of care for her son would have far exceeded minimum wage. She stumbled on a direct sales company that gave her the flexibility to build a virtual business that she could work at night. Not only was she able to make ends meet for her family, she became immersed in a community of women who truly cared for her and her son.
I met Taylor, a college-educated military wife whose husband had already completed three calls of duty in the Middle East. They had three children, and every two years, they moved for his job. Taylor loved supporting her husband and our nation and was so proud of being a military wife, but she missed having something that was just hers. Getting hired for a corporate job was second to impossible, because they knew she’d be moving every few years. Taylor found herself in love with a direct sales company — their product and their mission. It was the perfect fit for her and her family. She was able to move her business anywhere. And there was a silver lining. Not only did she make extra income to support her family, she helped other military wives do the same. For the first time in eight years, Taylor felt complete.
So here’s the deal…..
Regardless of how you feel about any woman in direct sales, you don’t have to go into business with her. You don’t have to host a party for her. You don’t even have to buy from her. But you can support her by sending her positive energy and love. We are women with many roles. We are wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, colleagues, leaders and friends. We are all doing our best to live fulfilled lives and manage the expectations of the roles we play.
My point with sharing these stories is this: Next time you start to roll your eyes or talk negatively about women in direct sales, try to remember that you are ultimately making the choice to be a wasp to some other woman who is doing her best to live a fulfilling life. No one profession is better than another, and there is always room at the table for everyone.
It’s always the right time to support other women. There is enough success for all of us. Together we are stronger.
Just picture the world of women filled with bees — working together, pollinating each other to bloom and giving each other the room to grow. Imagine less wasps and more bees. Which one will you choose to be?
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