The middle class is suffering. Wages are sluggish, job security has vanished, employment satisfaction is low and the requirement to over perform in impossible circumstances is the new norm. We tell stories about the visionaries who break molds and create something new, fresh and invigorating. Movies are made of underdogs who conquered their plight, overcame their obstacles and elevated those around them. We laud the creators, visionaries and those who can provide hope. Business experts and talking heads call for passion, creativity and insist upon new leadership. We want great things in our lives to inspire us and we want them now.

I treat the idea of entrepreneurism with great respect and in my fleeting moments of solitude, I wonder what am I contributing to the advancement of others. What have I done to help others succeed? What more must I learn to positively influence those around me? What rough edges must I smooth for me to achieve my dreams and help others do the same?

In a recent breakfast with a mentor and friend (best selling author Jeffrey Gitomer), I had a mental breakthrough that was very illuminating. Straight and to the point, Jeffrey provided me an amazing perspective on success after I made a suggestion on a book to help network marketers when he said, “Jeff, I hear you, but it won’t work. You’re a smart guy, real smart. If you weren’t smart and capable I wouldn’t be with you this morning. While you may not lack intelligence and ability, I have more experience than you. I have been doing this successfully for a long time. Now this is what we are going to do…”

Even though my suggestions for the book were carefully planned, Jeffrey had real life experience with publishing. Jeffrey has made millions of dollars selling his books and training people around the world. I have had some real levels of success in my life, but to argue with his real life experience would be crazy. His comments helped me understand clearly that each level of success has another level of mastery and experience required. You cannot and will not advance to another higher level of success (and its typical increase in money) until you master the required steps before it.

In his book Linchpin, best selling author Seth Godin writes:

“What we want, what we need, what we must have are indispensable human beings. We need original thinkers, provocateurs, and people who care. We need marketers who can lead, salespeople able to risk making a human connection, passionate change makers willing to be shunned if it is necessary for them to make a point. Every organization needs a linchpin, the one person who can bring it together and make a difference.”

In contrast to Godin, in his book The E-Myth Revisited, Michael E. Gerber writes:

“The Model Will Be Operated by People with the Lowest Possible Level of Skill. Yes, I said the lowest possible level of skill. Because if your model depends on highly skilled people, it’s going to be impossible to replicate. Such people are at a premium in the marketplace. They’re also expensive, thus raising the price you will have to charge for your product.”

“The business model should be such that the employees needed possess the lowest possible levels of skill necessary to fulfill the functions for which each is intended. A legal firm ought to have lawyers and a medical firm should hire doctors. But you don’t need brilliant lawyers or doctors. What you need is to create the best system through which good lawyers and doctors can be leveraged to produce excellent results.”

Godin blasts Gerber’s assertion writing:

“If you build a business filled with rules and procedures that are designed to allow you to hire cheap people, you will have to produce a product without humanity or personalization or connection. Which means that you’ll have to lower your prices to compete. Which leads to a race to the bottom. Indispensable businesses race to the top instead.”

So who is right? I say they both are.

Every organization needs linchpins, leaders, artists and creators. However, who starts there? In fact, who in an organization is even willing to do what it takes to be a linchpin, leader, artist or creator. Even the best leaders need to master the basics before greatness comes. Babies crawl before they walk, butterflies transform from caterpillars, generals start as privates and leaders start as followers.

So what does this all mean? 

Depending on whom you ask, success in business and network marketing is said to come only to a small percentage of those involved. It does not matter how success is defined or if it only comes to one in five, one in ten or even one in one hundred. Decide to be the one.

Live a life filled with imagination. Care for people. Lead properly. Provoke thought. Become indispensable. Connect with others and shun the ordinary and mundane…
…however, crawl before you run, don’t eat meat before you have teeth, follow before you lead, learn before you teach and master the basics before you claim to be the master.

Be the one to create a path that can be duplicated by following a path others can follow. Be the one who provokes thought and imagination by learning from others who have done it before you. Be the one who breaks the mold by molding others. Be the one who makes a difference by learning what it takes to make a difference.

Learn and master the basics so you can Be the One.