Each month, “The Truth About Success” podcast interviews successful people from all walks of life to share their truths about success with you! Recently, we had an amazing guest with an extensive bit of knowledge to share. Mark Jones was born in London to parents from the Caribbean. His father was an electronic engineer from Guyana and his mother was a nurse turned entrepreneur, selling children’s books and educational products through direct sales, from St. Vincent. Mark followed in his parent’s footsteps and joined the direct sales industry at age 21. Over the past 26 years, Mark has worked in two direct sales companies and is currently the Senior Vice President for Europe, Africa and the Middle East for the Saladmaster company.
It All Starts With Family
Mark first shared a bit about his childhood with us. As the first British born generation in his family, Mark’s parents put a lot of focus into insuring that he had a good start and showed a lot of pride in bringing him up the right way. He had an amazing childhood mixed with fun and discipline. After his mom got sick when he was about 13, he did get into a bit of mischief; sneaking out, going to parties and “borrowing” his Dad’s car. However, because of the strong foundation his parents had built for him in his early childhood he was able to course-correct and get back on the right track.
Mark’s parents were very ambitious and determined to give their family a better opportunity in life despite their own humble beginnings. Their actions inspired Mark to follow that entrepreneurial path. He also took inspiration from the people around him. Growing up in a large Jewish community, he saw people selling suits, taxi drivers, market store owners and creating really good lives for themselves. He knew he wanted some of that! It wasn’t until his first daughter was born though, when he really got serious about a career path. Having your own child changes your perspective on life and he wanted to give her the kind of childhood that he had growing up, he know has four children he’s incredibly proud of.
Big Learning Curves
After discussing his roots, I prompted Mark to tell me about the beginnings of his professional life. He immediately said he’s had a lot of low points, but they’ve made him the man he is today. All of us need low points in our lives because those become our learning curves and the basis of our development. Do not overthink them though, take the lessons they’re providing and continue to move on. Through those lessons, Mark found out he was good at sales and connecting with people and that skillset could earn him a lot of money. Which led him to his next lesson, he needed to understand money.
Mark started purchasing things on credit and buying properties that he couldn’t pay for. At one point, he had three properties that were all up for repossession. That wasn’t a bright spot in his life, but he claims the secret to surviving that period was surrounding himself with positive people.
“Surround yourself with people that speak life into you,” advises Mark. It was very uplifting to him when people reminded him who he was and that he was better than the position he was in. He also used those people as a resource to better himself. He sought the advice of people who had more experience and learned how they navigated through tough situations to find their own success. Being willing to listen to the feedback of those people you trust is key. You need to not only be willing to listen but do the work too—you have to keep learning and studying.
Mark then shared another low point in his life with us. He understood the financial mistakes he’d made previously and was much more careful with his money. However, he wasn’t saving. He wasn’t prepared for any of the different eventualities come. So, when a recession hit, he couldn’t cover the overhead costs of his company, and ultimately had to dissolve the business. It’s something that embarrasses Mark today, but it was another learning curve that molded him into the successful person he is now.
A Life of Abundance
I asked Mark what drives him, as he’s had a couple big knockdowns in life, yet he got back up and kept striving to do better. He said it goes back to your why. God has given us all the potential to be good in this life. Mark believes that it’s his right to live in abundance, but in order to do so, he needs to do his part. Just like in nature, a tree will grow until it can’t grow anymore, Mark believes we should all do the same, you need to keep growing and growing and growing.
Also, it’s important to have a heart to give back. Life isn’t only about enjoying the finer things but being willing to touch as many lives as you can. As long as your heart and pocket are in alignment. Help where you can, and use your ability to bless other people, but don’t go overboard and put yourself in a bad position. One way Mark does this is by mentoring some kids in his community who lost their way for a bit and helping them find a better path.
How To Avoid Setbacks On The Path To Success?
I asked Mark what advice he’d give to people to avoid some of the same mistakes he’s navigated. He said you need to write a plan. Set a destination for yourself, be very clear about what it looks like, and keep reminding yourself where it is you’re trying to. Also, as Mark mentioned previously, seek advice. You are not an island, it’s okay to ask for help.
You’ve got to also understand in business that there is no positive without negative, and you’ve got to really embrace that. There is no success without failure. If you’re going to go on this success journey, understand you may be put into uncomfortable or difficult situations with difficult decisions. But don’t let your past failures stop you from today’s or tomorrow’s successes.
Anybody can be successful! It is a decision. In fact, Mark’s closing line was “nothing is beyond you.” And, that really is the “Truth About Success.” You have to be willing to learn, and grow, and reach out for your vision, your dreams, no matter what!