Blessing

“How Can I Help You” Leads to Blessing     

by Ivan Misner & Beth Misner

Last night Beth and I were at a black-tie event together. We were milling around in the ballroom lobby with about 600 other guests, waiting for the grand doors to open, when Beth noticed a diminutive lady looking around as if she were lost.

“I think she needs some assistance,” she quietly said to me. When she got closer to us, Beth caught her eyes and smiled reassuringly.

“Excuse me,” she said breathlessly.

“How can I help you?” Beth asked her.

“Can you tell me, please, who is in charge of the event?”

Instead of simply pointing to the ballroom and telling her that the event organizer was inside preparing the room for the attendees, Beth shot a quick glance over her shoulder as if to say, “Just go with it,” to me, and gestured to her to follow us. The three of us started to move toward the closed doors.

It was then that I noticed she was wearing a press pass. A cameraman with a video camera and gear bag slung over his shoulder was trailing along behind her.

What was this?

We entered the ballroom and gave the large hall a quick look-over. No organizer. Understanding that it would not do to just leave her and her cameraman in the room, we invited her to come up to the very front.  We showed her the table where the organizer could be found later on in the evening.

“I’m from NTDTV, a Chinese news affiliate out of New York,” she told us as we walked together to the front of the room. Now, it just so happened that my third book to be translated into Chinese, Masters of Sales, had been released the past week in the Chinese market. Beth simply could not resist the temptation to share that with her, as well as a friendly “nie-hou-ma,” to which she responded with great delight.

She then asked if it would be okay for her to interview me at the front of the room while we waited for the event organizer and the CEO of the event we were there to attend.

Hmmm, let’s see.

I paused for exactly a nanosecond before responding that it would be more than okay: “shiea-shiea,” Beth said, bowing slightly.

She spent the next 15 to 20 minutes interviewing me. We discussed networking tips, my new book, differences between American and Asian businesses, and a little bit about BNI. Please watch a segment of the interview below.

Therefore, it goes to show you that you just never know where that simple phrase: “How can I help you?” is going to lead. How have you used this phrase, and found that something fortuitous has happened?

My First Business

My First Business, a personal story

Beth and I own a property management company (this would be a good story to share someday). We’re in Galveston setting up a new property for lease. Therefore, we were walking through a Home Depot to get what we needed to make the property ready to lease. We were walking by these house numbers and out of the blue, she started this video about my first business.

As a 14-year-old, I started my first company to help a neighbor sell his stick-on house numbers he manufactured. I took over his sales of reflective numbers and I hired a sales team. However, I did so well, I made him tired and he consequently went out of business

Please watch this video about how I eventually launched my entrepreneur spirit by the numbers.

The Greatest Referral of My Life

If you’re familiar with BNI, the business networking organization I founded back in the mid ’80s, you may be aware that this year is BNI’s 30th anniversary and we’re honoring it with a celebratory video series.  Today, I’d like to share with you one of the videos from the series which is especially important to me because, in it, I talk about the greatest referral of my lifetime.

Throughout my thirty year career in networking, I’ve been privileged to receive more than a few remarkably noteworthy referrals–and I’ve seen and heard of some truly amazing referrals being passed to others.  However, nothing–and I mean nothing–has come close to being as remarkably noteworthy as this one referral which has changed my life in countless ways for the better and continues to define the center of my life.

After watching the video, I’d love to hear from you about what the greatest referral in your life has been up to this point.  I’m sure you have some amazing stories and I hope you’ll share them in the comment forum below–thanks in advance for your participation!

 

 

Home Is Where the Art Is

By Ivan and Beth Misner

"The Chess Match"

“The Chess Match”

"Rain Pillar"

“Rain Pillar”

What a turbulent two years we (Ivan and Beth) have been through. You know those times when things are moving so fast you feel like you are riding on a runaway horse and all you can do is hold on and pray he doesn’t take a sharp right turn? That has been us for the past little while.  We bought a small condo in Texas as our primary residence and moved some of our belongings there. We put our house in Claremont on the market, but left most of our things there, so it would show well. We did not stay in the house when we returned to California for work, preferring to keep it ready at all times to be viewed by prospective buyers. We hit the road for work and were gone literally more than we were home, so we didn’t really get to settle in to our Texas condo and “nest.”

When we moved our belongings out of the Claremont house, most of our things went to the Texas condo and some things went into storage in Texas, waiting for the day when we are traveling less and feel ready to have a house again (sigh).  Although we have a place to live, we both felt like we didn’t have a “home.”

Tree

“Beauty’s Privilege”

And then the artwork we had chosen from Claremont arrived at our condo in Austin.  As we started unpacking the paintings (some created by our very own talented daughter, Ashley Misner) and statues − familiar beloved friends − choosing where they would be displayed, a thought came to us: Home is where the art is!

We have some of our pieces in place in our Austin condo now. Just walking in the front door brings a smile and a sense of belonging as we see The Chess Match, Beauty’s Privilege, Rain Pillar and Wednesday on the Coral Sea, pieces we have collected together over many years and from many different travels.

For us, anyway, home IS where the art is.

Giving Thanks

Every day is a good day to stop and reflect on what we’re thankful for yet we often get caught up in the stresses of our hectic day to day grind and forget to take stock of the many things in our lives that we deeply appreciate and shouldn’t take for granted.

Here in the United States, today is Thanksgiving Day and I love this day because it forces me to take a break from my busy schedule and to take the time to reflect on the things I’m grateful for.  From my family to my business to my health to my network of friends, associates, and blog followers I have been extremely blessed and I would love to take this opportunity to give thanks and count my blessings.

I really appreciate you taking the time to watch this video and if it gets you thinking about what you’re thankful for, I would really love for you to share your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Gratefulness can be contagious so don’t be shy–share what you’re appreciative of no matter how big or small it may be.  Thanks! 🙂

13 Is My Lucky Number

Two years ago last Friday began one of the most depressing weekends of my life. My wife and I attended the Prostate Cancer Research Institute Conference in Los Angeles. Don’t get me wrong, they are good people trying to do good work. However, having been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer just a few months earlier and sitting through several days of sessions, I walked away incredibly depressed and totally devastated as to my options if they included surgery, radiation, cryotherapy or any other invasive procedure. The possible side effects of these alternatives just left me disheartened and miserable.

Photo courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I had been spending the months up to this conference trying to build my immune system and get my health in a strong place for when it came time for me to choose a more invasive protocol. After that weekend – I was left more confused than ever. I didn’t want to pick any of the choices they were discussing and the conference offered virtually no sessions on nutrition as an alternative approach. Okay, to be completely accurate – they did have “one” session on nutrition (that’s right – only one in a three day conference). Beth and I both attended that session. However, after about 20 minutes, it became painfully obvious that my wife knew more about nutrition and cancer than the medical doctor running the session! She actually answered several questions that people asked when the doctor was stumped a couple times. I remember at one point someone asked if certain types of nuts were ok to eat and the doctor didn’t know. Beth stood up and said that “nuts that were high in Omega 3 oils and low in Omega Six oils like Almonds and Macadamia nuts would actually support an anti-cancer diet. The doctor looked to the audience and said, “Yes, that’s right, I believe she’s absolutely correct.”

I left that conference more confused and more miserable than ever. All the discussions by doctors were about cutting, freezing, or poisoning the problem (and the body). All of which – had really bad potential side effects for a man.

I was numb for a couple weeks after this conference. I went through my days keeping my head down and trying to focus on being healthy and doing my job. Then something interesting happened. On my way into an ultrasound exam I spoke to my medical doctor by phone and he told me that my PSA had actually declined a clinically significant amount (after it had been going up every year for the last 5 years)!  I went into undergo the ultrasound exam a few minutes later. After the ultrasound images were taken, the oncologist shook his head and said, “I don’t quite know how to explain this but, the tumor seems to be fading. I’ve never seen anything like this. What are you doing?” All of a sudden – I felt a lot better. Maybe, just maybe, this nutrition thing alone might work?

Three months later, my Urologist told me about a new exam. The PCA3 (which is much less invasive than a biopsy and much better at gauging Prostate Cancer than a PSA). Based on my biopsy (which was a Gleason 7), he estimated that I would have had a PCA3 result of between 40 – 50 (serious). However, after 9 months of my health protocol, I scored a 26 (which is just over the borderline of what is considered problematic). At the same time, my ultrasounds were becoming clearer and clearer.

About 9 months later, I had another PCA3. Interestingly, the doctor made me come back in again a week later because he felt the results were inconclusive (I think he didn’t believe them). After taking the test again – I scored a 17. Well within the acceptable range.

I tell you all of this because last Friday, exactly two years after the most miserable weekend of my life, I spoke to the Urologist’s office having taken the PCA3 test yet again. This time, my score was my new lucky number – 13, which is considered good.

Hippocrates is considered the father of modern western medicine. He is revered by the medical community. It is his oath they swear to relating to the study of medicine – and it is he who said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Why then, is nutrition so under appreciated in the medical community today? It is a mystery to me. A few months ago I hesitatingly volunteered to speak to the PCRI conference about how diet affected my cancer diagnosis. I didn’t want to relive that weekend but I thought it was important to offer men some hope that involved something other than a scalpel. They politely declined to have me speak.

I have no products to sell, no paid coaching to provide, no money to be made. I donate all my profits from the book I wrote about my journey into health over to Cancer and health research. I am an unlikely proponent of diet and nutrition because I was at one point, the “poster child” for sodas and processed food. But results talk and mine is saying “13.” That has a much better ring to me than “surgery.”

For more information on how I tackled my journey with health, go to www.MisnerPlan.com.

I’d love to hear your comments.

Treat Loyalty Like Royalty

In this video, my lovely wife Beth brings up a phrase she has often heard me mention in many of my presentations and in various conversations over the years–“Treat Loyalty Like Royalty”–and she asks me to explain what exactly the phrase means to me.  Beth goes on to reveal that she believes just as strongly as I do in the importance of treating people like royalty when they’ve consistently shown you loyalty and commitment in one way or another.

Whether they are employees or people you do business with, if you treat others like royalty when they show you loyalty, your ‘return on investment,’ so to speak will be beyond worth your efforts.  After watching the video, I’d love to hear about some of your experiences where you’ve worked with someone who has been loyal to you and how treating them very well in return has been well worth your efforts . . . or, also, how you worked with someone who you were very loyal to, how they treated you like royalty, and how it paid off for both parties in the long run.  Please share your story/stories in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

What’s in It for Us?

When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer back in early 2012, I embarked on a journey to find a holistic way to treat it.  Though it wasn’t at all easy to find natural ways of treating cancer, I was lucky enough to have my wife Beth by my side every step of the way and, as a certified sports nutritionist, she has quite a bit of knowledge in regard to nutrition and holistic health.  With Beth’s help and the help of some very talented doctors, I managed to avoid surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy through a very specific diet plan. For me, the holistic approach worked and I am now in full remission.

My wife and I now share the diet plan which was responsible for my success in overcoming cancer via a website called MisnerPlan.com.  Recently, someone who heard about the site responded with overt suspicion and asked how we are benefiting from sharing this information.  “Yeah, but what’s in it for the Misners?” they asked.   So, what’s in it for us, huh?  Well, this video is our response to that question and in it we openly share exactly how we are benefiting from the Misner Plan and exactly what it’s all about.

After watching the video, please feel free to leave any feedback you have in the comment forum below.  And, if you know someone who might benefit from the information on www.MisnerPlan.com, Beth and I would love for you to share it with them.  Thanks!

A Burning Question for Richard Branson

Last year, My wife Beth and I posted a question on Facebook in search of the most creative and interesting answer.  The question was: “If you had an opportunity to ask Sir Richard Branson one question, what would it be?”

In this video, I reveal the best, most interesting question that someone responded with:

“What venture or company do you wish you had started instead of someone else, or what business did you have a chance to invest in but didn’t and now regret not investing in it?”

I go on to reveal the equally interesting (if not more interesting) answer to this question which I got lucky enough to receive directly from Sir Richard Branson himself during a visit to Necker Island.

Watch the video now for Branson’s answer . . . and, hey, you never know–perhaps this will be the answer to a question you get during a game of Trivial Pursuit somewhere down the road, in which case you’ll be darn glad you watched this video! 😉

I’m curious– what would YOU ask Richard if you could ask him anything?  As long as it’s not something like, “Richard, will you adopt me (even though I’m 57) and make me independently wealthy so I don’t have to work for the rest of my life?” (Ha, ha . . . :-)), then I’d love to hear what questions you come up with!  Please leave your feedback in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Give Me One Good Reason I Should Do Business With You

SHARK-TANKA few months ago, I started watching some episodes of “Shark Tank” and I got hooked!  There are some serious business lessons that can be learned by viewing the show and I saw one of them last week while I was watching a rerun from a previous season (it’s sad, I’m completely hooked now and I’m checking out past episodes).

There was an entrepreneur on the show by the name of Raven Thomas.  Raven started a food business called, The Painted Pretzel (pretzels covered with chocolate and other confectionaries).

She had a pretty good business and, according to the panelists (The Sharks), a product that was delicious. After a fair amount of discussion, Lori Greiner (one of the Sharks) got down to the end of the conversation and asked, “Why should we invest in you?”   I realized at that moment that this was the big question and I knew Raven’s answer could make or break the deal.  Raven replied to Lori with… “The main reason is that I have two little kids and . . . (blah, blah, blah, blah, blah).”  I immediately paused the show, looked to my wife Beth, and practically screamed “She just blew it!  She totally gave a relational answer to a bunch of transactional SHARKS!  They don’t care about blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, they want something closer to ‘show me the money’ than ‘I love what I do!’” 

Beth replied, “You have to know your audience when you are talking about your business.” Her statement was spot on.   Before I started up the episode again, Beth and I talked about how crucial it was for Raven to speak the language that the Sharks speak if she wanted them to invest in her.  She needed to speak a language focused on opportunity, growth, ROI, and cold hard cash.  Instead, Raven talked about how she felt about her business and how it related to her children.  Her answer failed to include anything at all that the Sharks would relate to as serious, analytical business investors looking for reasons to convince them Raven’s business would be a wise financial investment.

I resumed watching the episode so I could witness the train wreck which I was sure was about to ensue.  To my astonishment, Robert Herjavec gave Raven a “do-over” (I really like this Shark – if I ever have the chance to be a panelist on a business show, I’d like to think my style would be similar to his).  Robert looked at Raven and gave her a chance to give a better answer by saying to her, “Let’s do that again.She took a moment and said, “A good reason to invest in me is that I had to walk away from a $2 million deal because I did not have the capital to fill the order . . . and that door is still open.” This answer was a show stopper—it completely landed the Sharks’ attention.  Within a few moments, Mark Cuban (Shark and owner of the Dallas Mavericks) offered Raven $100,000 cash and distribution of her product at his stadium and at each location of the movie theater chain he owns!  She, of course, said yes to Mark’s offer.  As a result, she now expects that her company’s sales will exceed $1.2 million dollars this year!

The lesson to be learned here is that it is absolutely imperative to know your audience and tailor your comments to suit the people you’re talking to.  This is an extremely important lesson in both the business arena and the networking arena.  In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why I recommend that when you first meet people, you begin by asking them questions about themselves prior to speaking in length about yourself.  The more you know about the people you’re talking to, the better able you will be to craft your own message in a way that effectively resonates with them.

I’d love to hear either a success story or a horror story that you might have about people “knowing” or “not knowing” their audience.  Please share your story in the comment forum below. Thanks!

What Dog Sled Teams Can Teach Us About Leadership

My wife Beth and I had the opportunity to experience a dog-sled excursion while visiting the Ice Hotel in Sweden last year. While waiting to get onto the sleds and take off across the frozen river, we observed a very interesting behavior being exhibited by the lead dogs in each dog team.

Virtually all of the dogs in the pack were leaping and straining against their harnesses, barking, yipping, howling and generally making quite a ruckus. However, Beth and I noticed that the lead pair in front of each of the sled teams was quietly sitting very still, keeping a close eye on the mushers. There may have been the occasional woof from one of the lead dogs, but they were mainly on full alert, silent, and attentive, waiting for the signal that it was time to move.

Non-Lead Pack Dogs

Non-Lead Pack Dogs

I sat there for many minutes watching and marveling at this dynamic (click on the video above to view it for yourself). It struck me that this was a great metaphor for leadership in general. The lead dogs were observing and mostly silent despite the fact that all around them the rest of the pack was constantly barking, pulling, and straining on the lines.  The lead pair in each team had a single-minded focus: wait for the signal so that they could lead the pack out onto the trail.

Lead Dogs

Lead Dogs

 

 

Great leaders often do something similar. In business sometimes people get excited about something or other and begin to strain and pull, noisily expressing their desire to move in a certain direction or take a specific action, NOW. Sometimes they do it very aggressively.  However, a good leader remains alert and attentive, not overreacting to the chaos all around them. They wait for the right time and the right cue to move forward.  They are ready to lead the team in the right direction for optimum success.  Good leaders respect the process and provide trustworthy leadership in the work environment. They know the right time to move ahead and the right time to sit tight. They know the difference, because they, or someone they trust, have been over these trails many times before. The team may get excited, anxious or even demanding, and still these strong leaders remain steady and calm.

We noticed another thing on that sled ride. When the lead dogs stood up and prepared to respond to the musher’s cue to run, the rest of the pack got quiet and settled down. They knew it was time to get to business. They were ready to pull in the same direction.  When a team is pulling in the same direction, following a strong and calm leader who is observing the cues from others or following cues from his/her own experience, the path of the team will be true and sound. 

I had the realization that this metaphor really is perfect for business. Although any leader may “bark” from time to time, it is the strong, calm, and confident leader that is best at getting a team to follow.   The quality of the leader often determines the performance of the team.

Are there other characteristics and traits that you feel make a great leader or that you have witnessed in a highly effective leader?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so please share your feedback in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

Vitality + Health = Greater Success in Business

As this is a blog about business and networking, you may be wondering why some of my recent blogs have seemed to have a fairly apparent focus on health.  I think the video I’m sharing with you today should answer that question for those of you who may wondering.  Over the past couple of years, I have indeed become quite an advocate of the importance of health in regard to achieving success and there is good reason behind that.

In this short video, I talk with my good friend Lise Janelle, renowned success coach for companies & entrepreneurs across the world, about the role that vitality and health play in achieving ultimate productivity and success in business.

Lise offers three keys to achieving vitality and explains why it is important not only for business owners, but also for all of their employees, to focus on staying healthy and engaged in order for any given business to truly thrive.

After watching the video, if you’d like to find out more about Lise Janelle and how she helps businesses and people alike to achieve their full potential, please visit www.HeartAtWorkInstitute.com.

To find out more about the book I mention in the video, The Misner Plan: How We Healed Cancer Naturally with Food, Nutrition, and Healthy Living , please click here.  If you’d like to learn more about the Misner Plan, please visit www.MisnerPlan.com.

Do you have certain habits and/or tactics you employ to stay healthy?  Do you  have specific ways of making sure you stay connected to your core values?  I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts on this and, also, if you have questions pertaining to this topic, I highly encourage you to ask them!  I am more than happy to do a future blog addressing your questions and to consult with Lise about them in order to get you the best answers possible.

 

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