Red Nose Day

What better what to celebrate a normal Thursday, than by putting on a red nose?

Trust me, it’s for a good cause–no–a GREAT cause.

Red Nose Day brings awareness and fundraising efforts to children’s charities across the globe. At the BNI Foundation, we support children in education, so this movement seemed like a great fit for us to support. Nonprofits such as charity: water, National Urban League and Save the Children will benefit from 100% of the proceeds raised through Red Nose Day.

Tonight, NBC will host a special featuring live entertainment from well-known celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon and U2, all while fundraising for children living in poverty.

Beth and I hope you tune in and donate to this very worthy cause. And meanwhile, enjoy this clip of us donning our own red noses!

Will You Take the Givers Gain Challenge?

Givers GainThis time of year always leaves me very reflective. Since it is Thanksgiving here in the United States today, I just want to take a moment to talk about something near and dear to me – Givers Gain.

I have a lot to be thankful for, from my wonderful family to my striving business networking organization. Thanksgiving isn’t the only day that I’m thankful, but it certainly is one day that gives me a chance to relax and enjoy the things that I am thankful for.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again – Givers Gain is a standard, not a sword. By giving to others, in all aspects of life, ultimately I will reap the benefits. However, looking at others and judging their actions against Givers Gain will never benefit anyone. After 3 decades of keeping this standard close to my heart, it remains just as true.

That being said, I have a challenge for you all. Go out sometime in the next week or so and do something selflessly for others. It could be for someone close to you, or a complete stranger, or a group of people. Whomever you do something for, do it with only their best interest in mind.

Share with me, either through this blog or on my social media, what happened when you were truly selfless. I’d love to hear your stories.

difference

Whatever You Do, Make a Difference

Sometimes it’s easy to wonder if anything you do makes a difference in the world.  When I feel like that I remind myself of this story adapted from a story by Loren Eisely:

A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them.  In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

What do you do to make a difference, even a small one? Leave your comments in the field below!

3 Tips for Putting the Butterfly Effect of Networking in Motion

IvanRichardBethSome years back, I posted a blog detailing how my introduction to Richard Branson was completely the result of the Butterfly Effect of Networking.  In thinking about that blog post, it occurred to me that an important part of the reason I was able to make such effective and rewarding networking connections was the way that I thought about, and therefore went about networking. Here’s what I mean by that . . .

While it’s important to know the right things to do while networking, it’s equally important to start thinking the right way to make your networking efforts as successful and dynamic as they can be. This involves altering your mind-set. Here is an up-close look at some elements you’ll want to include in your mind-set to ensure networking success:

  1. The law of reciprocity or Givers Gain® approach.

Don’t approach networking thinking ‘I did this for you, now what are you going to do for me?’ Instead, remember the old adage Give and you shall receive? The law of reciprocity takes the focus off of what you stand to gain from the networking relationship, and in doing so, creates bonds based on trust and friendship. Put it to the test. You’ll be amazed by the outcome.

  1. Diversity in networking.

Look for groups that don’t target people just like you. In this way, you’ll broaden the net you seek to cast for referrals.

  1. Farming mentality.

It’s a long, drawn-out process to go from seeding a field to harvesting the crops and there’s no quick return. But, when you spend time and take care in building relationships, your networking will yield extraordinary results.

Approaching networking with a mentality that focuses on the process of cultivating referrals will create the results you desire. Make an effort to spend more time strengthening your friendships with those whom you wish to have as part of your networking circle and you will certainly make more and better connections.

Do you have any tips for developing a networking-friendly mindset which positions you for success?  I’d love to hear from you, so please leave your thoughts, comments, and ideas in the forum below.  Thanks!

Don’t Be a Networking Nuisance

Today, I’m excited to share with you a fantastic guest post from my colleague, Founder and CEO of CareerHMO, J.T. O’Donnell.  J.T. is dedicated to helping job seekers from all walks of life to land their dream job and an important aspect of what she coaches them on is networking.

In this video, J.T. explains how not to become a networking nuisance and the number one tip she offers is relevant to all networkers in every part of the world–not just those who are networking for the purpose of finding a job.

So, take a few minutes to watch the video and if you or anyone you know is looking for a job, I highly encourage you to check out the CareerHMO website and all of the free videos on their YouTube page–the educational content they offer for job seekers is some of the best I’ve ever seen.

 By J.T. O’Donnell, Founder and CEO of CareerHMO

I was speaking to a group of job seekers recently about the “new rules” of networking and the following question came up:

“I’ve connected with a lot of people and they’ve all been very helpful in giving me advice and answering my questions. Some even agreed to meet with me for informational interviews. But now, I just don’t know what to do next. I can’t ask them for more help, and I don’t know how to keep the networking going. What can I do to keep them engaged without them feeling like I’m nagging them for help in finding a job?”

This is a common problem job seekers experience. Nobody wants to be seen as a “networking nuisance.” Especially people looking for work, since networking is the number one method for getting a job these days.

What’s the answer? It lies in the scales of justice.

Read More: http://www.careerealism.com/networking-nuisance/ 

 

Learning to Use the Law of Reciprocity

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici

Put simply, the law of reciprocity in networking means that by providing benefits (including referrals) to others, you will be creating strong networking relationships that will eventually bring benefits (especially referrals) to you, often in a very roundabout way rather than directly from the person you benefit.  This makes the law of reciprocity an enormously powerful tool for growing your own business’s size and profitability.  Below you will find four very important things to remember as you learn to use the law of reciprocity in your networking efforts.

Tip No. 1–Giving means helping others achieve success. What is your plan to contribute to others? How much time and energy can you spare for this? Do you actively seek out opportunities to help people? You could volunteer to help out with something that’s important to someone in your network, offer advice or support in time of need, or even work hard to connect someone to a valuable contact of yours.

Tip No. 2–The person who helps you will not necessarily be the person you helped. Zig Ziglar says, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” In other words, what goes around comes around. If you focus intently on helping others, you will achieve success in the end.

Tip No. 3–The law of reciprocity can be measured. It is a myth that networking cannot be measured and, in my latest book, Networking Like a Pro, my co-authors and I use the Networking Scorecard Worksheet, part of the Certified Networker Program offered through the Referral Institute, to measure networking. If you apply the law of reciprocity, you will see your weekly total networking score gradually rise.

Tip No. 4–Success takes getting involved.  You have to do more than simply be present to be a successful networker. If you join a chamber of commerce, become an ambassador. If you join a BNI chapter, get involved in the leadership team. If you join a civic organization, get on a committee. The law of reciprocity requires giving to the group; it will pay you back many times over.

A master networker understands that, although networking is not the end but simply the means to growing a business, service to your network of contacts must always be uppermost in your networking activities. Once you have established a solid reputation as someone who cares about the success of others, the law of reciprocity will reward you with an abundance of high quality referrals.

Make a Good Living While Serving a Greater Good

All of us are in business to make a profit. But if that’s the primary driving force in business, we become mercenaries to that process.  I believe that I should serve a greater need than simply to make a profit. I believe that business can be honorable.  It can make a difference in individual lives as well as communities.

Small business is the engine that drives many of the economies around the world.  Small business doesn’t have the resources of large corporations.  However, if they network together – the sum of the whole becomes greater than the individual parts. Well-designed collaboration based on an effective system and strategy can lead to small business success.

However, in the final analysis, the true foundation for success rests in an organization’s culture.  In fact, I believe that culture eats strategy for breakfast.  An organization needs a sound strategy to succeed but, it needs a great culture to excel.  For me, that approach has been about creating core values around a culture of collaboration.

Core values establish culture. It’s never too late or too early to think about your core values in business and in life. Here are my core values:

  1. The Philosophy of Givers Gain®(What goes around comes around).
  2. Building Meaningful Relationships
  3. Lifelong Learning
  4. Traditions + Innovation
  5. Positive Attitude
  6. Accountability

I believe that it is possible to make a good living while serving a greater good. The core values I have tried to apply in my life and in my business have helped to create a culture of collaboration within the context of building a business. This approach is not only a great way to get business, I believe it is an even better way to do business.

Business can be honorable. It can be something that improves people’s lives as well as supports and helps local communities. It can do so, by not only helping to generate more business for one another, but by giving back to the community, mentoring others, immersing in a culture of shared learning, and by collaborating with others.

I have a big hairy audacious goal (a BHAG) for businesses around the world. I believe we can “Change the Way the World Does Business” and we can do that by incorporating core values into our business that support collaboration and positive meaningful relationships.  

We are coming up on the 30th anniversary for my company (BNI) and I believe that our focus on these core values, philosophy, and vision are responsible for our 30 years of consecutive growth. Through strong economies and serious recessions – my organization has grown year in and year out for 30 years without exception.  Few organizations can say that.   I think that is a testament to our approach to doing business.

Have you given thought to your organization’s core values? If so, share your company’s core values here. I’d love to hear your comments.

 

 

Is It Appropriate to Network Anywhere–Even at a Funeral?

In this video, ask you to consider whether or not you think it’s appropriate to network anywhere, any time, any place . . . even at a funeral.

What do you think? Do you think networking at a funeral is a good idea?  Chances are, most people reading this will answer with something along the lines of, “Heck no!  Passing out business cards at a funeral would be completely inappropriate–not to mention offensive”

Though I certainly agree that passing out business cards at a funeral would likely be one of the worst networking faux pas one could make, I am not necessarily in agreement that it would be inappropriate to network at a funeral.

What do I mean by this?  Well, you’ll have to watch the video to find out but I will tell you that you very well may change your thoughts on the appropriateness of networking absolutely anywhere after you hear the personal story I share about networking at a church function.

Do you have any stories, thoughts, or experiences relating to forming significant networking connections in places that at first seemed to be inappropriate networking venues?  If so, I’d really like to hear what you have to say.  Please leave a comment in the discussion forum below.   Thanks!

 

Bob Takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Just last week, I took the ice bucket challenge which has gone viral in social media and is sweeping the U.S. by storm.  After I posted my video, several people e-mailed in asking if my sidekick Bob (check out photos of Bob here) was going to take the challenge so I asked him if he was willing and it turns out he was happy to comply. 😉

The purpose of the ice bucket challenge is to raise awareness and raise research funds for the neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  While the ALS Association’s rules for the challenge require either getting a bucket of ice water dumped on your head or making a donation, many people appear to be doing both and that’s what both Bob and I did.

As the rules for the ice bucket challenge state that you must nominate three additional people, Bob has nominated his friends Waldo (of “Where’s Waldo?” fame), the Elf on the Shelf, and Big Bird.  Bob says he’s looking forward to seeing their ice bucket challenge videos and that although the rules state that they can always simply donate $100 to help ALSA research for a cure for ALS if they don’t want to dump ice water on their head, he’s hoping that they’ll choose to do both.

So far, the ALSA has raised over $42 million through the ice bucket challenge and Bob and I are proud to be a part of that.  If you’d like to donate, you can do that by hitting the easy-to-find “donate” button on their website.

If you have taken the ice bucket challenge, or if you have or know someone with ALS, we’d really like to hear about your experience.  Please share your thoughts in the comment forum below so, together, we can help raise awareness.

Your Contribution Lives On

The news of Robin Williams’ suicide stunned me last week. He is someone we collectively feel strongly personal about, as if we knew him as a friend. And the situation that apparently led him to take his own life – depression – just left me feeling like I had been sucker punched.

MonBlog-RW

And then it led me to some deeper and more profound thoughts. Albert Pine, an English author who wrote in the early 19th century said, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains unchanged and is immortal.” There is no doubt that Robin Williams has left a mark on our world. I have spent hours laughing through one of Williams’ movies, a comedy show or even a simple interview, and I’m sure you have, too.

To paraphrase Pine, I would say the following: What we do for ourselves ends with us.  What we do for others lives on.

I certainly hope that what I do for others will live on. This shattering event has given me a moment to pause and take a look at how I have started a movement within business with the purpose to change the way we do business.

I’m so serious about this movement that I have adopted as my motto: “Changing the Way the World Does Business®”This change comes by implementing a shift in the focus of how we go about growing our businesses – from a dog-eat-dog, competitive model, to a how-can-I-help-you, collaborative model.

One of our business colleagues said recently about our mission that “we know referrals are our purpose, but impacting someone’s life is our calling.”

When doing business with the “givers gain” philosophy gets really embedded in practice, there’s a huge movement from “transactional” to “transformational relationships,” and both people and business take on fresh dimensions of trust and creativity that can’t be measured with mere numbers. That ethos and experience, multiplied in viral fashion, changes the face of business, which in turn impacts lives in positive ways.

Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, wrote, “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.” This Givers Gain business focus started when I was just 28 years old and has provided me with a rewarding and long career.

I think we can all use our loss of one of America’s great comedians and actors to start a conversation about what our contribution is going to be that will live on past our life span. I would encourage you to design a fulfilling life. Whatever you are, be a good one, as my friend Stewart Emery says.

I sincerely hope that somehow Robin Williams had a sense of the contribution he made to our lives before he left us, all too soon.  

Rest in peace, Robin. You will be missed.

Do You Have Excessive Helper Genes?

I recently met with several members of my company’s Executive Management Team in Croatia and it was there that I had the opportunity to film this quick video with Frederick Marcoux, a good friend of mine who is also the National Director for BNI in Australia.

Frederick has an interesting concept that he likes to call “Excessive Helper Genes” and in this video, he talks about why this concept is at the very core of networking.  Frederick explains that having Excessive Helper Genes is a key trait in those who excel at networking because they are constantly building trust and goodwill with those in their network.

I really like this concept because networking at its center is built around helping others; if we maintain a focus on helping, we can network absolutely anywhere at any time.

So, do you have Excessive Helper Genes? . . . Do your Excessive Helper Genes perhaps need a boost?  What can you do this week to strengthen your focus on helping others?  Please share your thoughts 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!

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