A record 111.3 million people watched while the New York Giants and the New England Patriots battled back and forth during Super Bowl XLVI. There were heroics on both sides of the ball, and no one knew until the final minute who would win the game. Hundreds of stories have already been written about this contest, and analysts will be talking about it for years to come. But ultimately, one story may eclipse them all: the story of the walk-ons.
Not everybody in the NFL can be a first-round draft pick, and some perhaps won’t even be a draft pick at all. On the 53-man rosters for each team, some players get drafted and others are brought in. But the New England Patriots had seven players who were not drafted or brought in, who joined the team as “walk-ons.” These players tried out for their positions despite not being recruited or sought out.
They were signed with no promise that they would see any playing time. They would be used on practice teams and not given the time or attention that others received. Their salaries were modest compared to those who were drafted.
The New York Giants had eight walk-ons who found a home on their roster. The process of “finding a home” in life and in business bears a striking similarity to that of professional football.
Against all odds … Success is possible!
Danny Woodhead remembers the 20-hour drive back home to Nebraska after being cut by the New York Jets. Kevin Boothe took it hard when he was told he wasn’t good enough for the Oakland Raiders. Dave Tollefson was cut by two NFL teams. Benjarvus Green-Ellis knows what it feels like to not be drafted at all. Many of those players had been cut multiple times by other teams. For various reasons, those teams were not right for them. They encountered bumps in the road, detours, setbacks and snubs. But once they arrived at the Giants or the Patriots, they found that those teams’ strategies were perfect for their skills.
On Super Bowl Sunday, all of them were on the sidelines of football’s world championship. In the end, it didn’t really matter how they got there.
Melaleuca Success Stories: A Legacy of Walk-Ons
Much like the walk-ons of the NFL, many Melaleuca Marketing Executives have faced frustrations and disappointments in previous business ventures. They “walked on” to their Melaleuca business and soon learned that they just needed the right vehicle and their hard work in order to succeed.
A Home for Walk-Ons
From his days at two Fortune 500 companies, Frank L. VanderSloot realized the “little guy” had few opportunities to get ahead. Unless there was an inheritance waiting or a clear path through the labyrinthine world of corporate America, Frank knew, obtaining real wealth was impossible.
So, when he started Melaleuca in 1985, Frank realized he could develop a way to give the little guy, the walk-on, an opportunity to really succeed.
Under Frank’s leadership, Melaleuca would compensate those who referred real customers—people who worked hard and helped others succeed as well. With a truly rewarding business model based on real customers purchasing products because they want and need them, Frank’s new company began attracting good, honest businesspeople—the nice guys who may not have finished first before—who came to Melaleuca to pursue their dreams. He had created a place where walk-ons could have a fair shot at achieving their goals.
Frank Charts the Course for Continued Success
For the last 27 years, Melaleuca has been a home for hundreds of thousands of Melaleuca Marketing Executives.
People came to Melaleuca by the thousands. Some who were leaders in other companies came to Frank saying that they could bring thousands from their “downlines” with them. They expected concessions and special treatment.
But he gave them the same treatment he gave to the “walk-ons.” There were no special deals or concessions. They came anyway, sensing that Melaleuca really was different.
As Melaleuca surpasses the billion-dollar mark and expands its global presence, it continues to be guided by its Mission Statement: “To enhance the lives of those we touch by helping people reach their goalsSM.” Twenty-seven years after Frank came to Idaho Falls, Idaho, he continues to chart the course of Melaleuca serving as its CEO. To Frank, those 14 words in the Mission Statement are a commitment to values that represent a company built to last for a lifetime.
Were you to analyze Melaleuca’s Marketing Executives, you’d discover that many of them defy the normal profile of people who achieve success in business. Many are starting over as senior citizens. They come with a lifetime of experience, and put to rest any doubts that people in their golden years can be very successful.
Some came after having been in a dozen companies who over-promised and under-delivered. Now, they feel they have a genuine opportunity with Melaleuca. Some leaders in Melaleuca have never had much formal education but graduated from the school of hard knocks. They make a great contribution.
Melaleuca also has moms who invite thousands of other moms to join them, enabling them to stay home with their children. They have a proven avenue for helping mothers make thousands of extra dollars without leaving home.
All of these people find that through thick or thin, in economic booms or recessions, Melaleuca is a constant and unchanging force in their lives.
Many of these folks are walk-ons—little guys—who finally found a company that matches their values, and is worthy of their trust. When they arrived, they discovered a company that is changing the game, that is giving them the tools they need to win.