Dear Brilliant Solutions Group Members,


I feel moved, as of today, to reach out to you weekly as an opportunity to share with one another great lessons in leadership. I hope to make this a regular part of our experience together. I hope this exchange will be something you value and find worthy of a moment of your time during each week.
I so often have the opportunity, as do many of you, to exchange ideas with great and wonderful people, read amazing books, and learn from those who have chosen to be teachable in their lives. I know there is never a time we’ve arrived and know it all. One of my most cherished gifts for the choice to be an essential oil leader is the priceless things I have learned. Many of them the hard way. I embrace that I am still learning and will yet learn many great and important things.
This last week I had the honor of being invited by one of our frontline leaders to go to Seattle and teach her team, our team, about leadership. She chose to divide up the days we had set aside and to train by rank. I loved that idea as I, too, am passionate about meeting people where they are and supporting from that place. Rank is a wonderful reason to gather.
The first morning of Day 1 we were blessed to spend time with some wonderful Executive rank people. We enjoyed our time together focused on the Belief Pyramid Level 2, belief in the company and the opportunity. We reviewed with expanded detail the BUILD Guide and the principles contained in its pages. We exchanged essential oil life stories that were relevant. We had detailed conversations about the comp plan, as seeing where the money comes from is a great part of believing IN the opportunity. It was a delightful morning!
Next, we spent time with the lovely Elite group. Here our focus shifted. We began our session together asking each individual this question: “What one answer to your business would make the biggest difference? So in other words, what question could you ask to solicit that one answer that would make the biggest difference in your essential oil business building success?” The questions varied quite a bit and we enjoyed the exchange of ideas that followed. Many found their answers in unexpected ways. We were gratefully fed and enlightened through marvelous exchanges with one another.
Finally, our last group was Premiers and Silvers and above. The night before, as I prepared to go to bed, I felt moved to read one of the 21 Laws from John Maxwell’s book. I evaluated which one felt right. It was Law 3 – The Law of the Process. It was perfect! What a wonderful way to set the stage for the time with these leaders.
The next day as we engaged in our training, we began by examining this Law 3. Within the contents of these pages rich with information, John Maxwell wisely teaches that “Leaders are Learners.” 
As I mentioned above, I love to learn. What that means is I am likely reading 4-6 books at once. Sometimes taking over a year to complete one book as I spread the process over time. I have come to appreciate the need to “go out” and “experiment upon the word.” I find by applying what I am learning, the principles become a part of who I am and what I do. If I read too much at once and fill my mind with an excessive number of possibilities, well, I just can’t retain it all, let alone put the ideas to work.
So, true to form, I am reading numerous books at present time. One that I have been reading for some time now is John Maxwell’s The 5 Levels of Leadership. I love it!! Here is a sneak peek. Level I is Position. In other words, we are necessarily someone’s upline. HOWEVER, that doesn’t automatically give us rights. We don’t just go marching into people’s lives demanding respect. We earn it. Hence, Level II. Permission. It is here on Level II that I would like to connect with all of us today. I have the opportunity, often, to mediate between uplines and downlines when disharmony occurs. I find that a demand for respect is often at the heart of the issue.
As I am reading all over in Maxwell’s book on these leadership levels, I found this magical chapter on How to Gain People’s Permission. I thought we might find some great ideas on how to overcome unnecessary disharmony if we began here. I will only be sharing the FIRST of the principles he teaches to gain permission.
1. Connect with Yourself Before Trying to Connect with Others. 
The first person I must know is myself – self-awareness
The first person I must get along with is myself – self-image
The first person to cause me problems is myself – self-honesty
The first person I must change is myself – self-improvement
The first person who can make a difference is myself – self-responsibility 
There is nothing more powerful than having a life while you are learning. Not only do I have my whole world of doT experiences, I am a wife and a mother. I love that I get to mentor with not only my essential oil friends, also with my husband and children. Oh the lessons to be learned!! Right now Jerry and I have a 9th grade daughter at our house. Her name is Chynna. Do any of you remember junior high? All our older teenage and adult children sure do. They keep telling Chynna, “its rough!”, “some of the harder years of life.” They tell her “this too shall pass” and “most of what your peers focus on now (popularity and a need to belong) becomes so irrelevant later. More especially after high school.” Well, as you can imagine, Chynna appreciates the validation and support. However, it doesn’t seem to lessen the pain.
At this stage in the “game” we/she is living at the heart of the matter. Will she learn? Will she get the necessary lessons of junior high? Will she choose to let it define her? And if so, in what way? As I have had the sacred opportunity to be her mother during these tough times, I have discovered the magic in all this for her. She is beautiful, smart, wise, witty, athletic, loving, sweet and deeply obedient and faithful. She really gets life on such a deep level that she easily sees through the games people play and doesn’t want to play. That wisdom has it consequences. Both good and painful. Easy to choose out of the games. East to judge the players. I feel her pain. I joy in her discoveries. I patiently remain detached from the outcome (in other words, let go of my tendency to want to control things and make it all better) and truly allow her to suffer so she can learn. I feel the lessons that await her are great. Like the kind that are the greatest one’s we can learn while we are on the planet. Will she love anyways? Will she lead anyways? Will she accept anyways? And so on. Most of all, will she extend that grace to herself, first. We cannot give away a blessing we do not possess.
There is a Stephen Covey book called “First Things First” that teaches principles of priorities. As we grow in our leadership goals and desires, we necessarily must learn to grow. In all of life, one of the greatest things we will ever master is self observation. Why? Because it is from here that the magic happens. The necessary discovery of self is a critical, critical part of our journey. To be a successful leader we get to make knowing self a first thing first. Otherwise, we will reflect all kinds of stuff onto our team and its members thinking they are the source of what ails us. Blame, resentment, regret will ensue. Rather, much can be avoided by following the example of great men in times past who asked Christ the poignant question, “Lord is it I?”
May we each, with the courage of our own 9th grader, embrace the necessary path of self discovery. May we see ALL that is happening TO us and WITH us as perfect. Perfectly imperfect. Love the process!!
My how grateful I am that I am learning amongst friends. Thank you! I truly, deeply love all of you!
Laura Jacobs