Find Out What Event Changed Mary Kay Ash’s Life

05-22-2017 8:47 AM

And what you can learn from it

Editor’s note: This message has been adapted from a book of essays published by Mary Kay Ash in 1990.

From Mary Kay Ash

All of us can recount events that forever changed the course of our lives. One such event for me was the first seminar of my sales career. At that meeting, I saw the vision of what I could become. And I never lost sight of it.

I had been with the Stanley Home Products Company in Houston only three weeks when they began talking about a convention in Dallas.

Perhaps you can relate. I had every reason not to go.

  • It was not in my city, and I had never been that far from home.
  • I had to be away for three days, and I had no one to care for my three children.
  • I didn’t have the proper clothes to wear, and I didn’t have the money for train fare, hotel or food.

But I was determined to go. I was not successful, but I needed to be. At that point, I was the worst recruit they had ever had. My Stanley part average was $7 — and we had to give each hostess a $4.95 mop and duster when we crossed her threshold! When you give away almost $5 and only $7, you’re in trouble! So, I decided I had to go to that convention.

However, the cost was $12, which covered a roundtrip train fare and three days at the Adolphus hotel. I went to every friend I had trying to borrow the money (and I lost a few in the process!).

Finally, one of my friends loaned me the money — but not without a sermon.

“You ought to stay home,” she said, “and spend that money on your children’s shoes, not going off to a wicked convention like men attend!”

So, I borrowed the money and made the necessary arrangements. Surely, I could learn from some of those who were successful.

I boarded the train with my Stanley case. I had dumped out the products and used the case for luggage. In it, I put my only other dress. No one had mentioned meals, so I also packed a pound of cheese and a box of crackers. They didn’t feed us, so I lived the next three days on crackers and cheese.

On the train, other Stanley sales members sang songs like “S-T-A-N-L-E-Y, Stanley all the time” and “That’s the slogan you will hear buzzing, buzzing in your ear.” I was so embarrassed I pretended not to be one of them.

Yet all that changed after the seminar started. I sat on a back seat in the auditorium and watched a woman be crowned queen and receive an alligator bag.

I decided that next year, I was going to be queen.

I heard several important things there including:

  • Hitch your wagon to a star (find someone to emulate)
  • Get a railroad track to run on (find a plan to use)
  • Tell someone what you are going to do (commit yourself)

I looked around and saw several thousand people there. So, I decided to tell the president what I would do the next year. I marched up to Mr. Frank Stanley Beveridge, one of the kindest, most benevolent men I have ever known, and said, “Mr. Beveridge, next year, I am going to be queen.”

He should have laughed at that funny looking little girl, but he didn’t. Instead, he took my hand, looked into my eyes and said softly, “Somehow I think you will.”

Those words changed my life. I could not let him down. I went from selling an average of $7 a party to being queen of sales that next year!

This can happen to you, too!