Ivan Misner, Author at Dr. Ivan Misner®
The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction has been used for thousands of years by some very successful people. Jack Canfield, the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series and a good friend of mine, is one of them. He wrote an excellent book called, “Jack Canfield’s Key to Living the Law of Attraction”. I believe that it is important to maintain “positive thinking” and to attract other positive people during these days of negativity while quarantined in this great pause. I even included this years ago within the official “Code of Ethics” for BNI. Therefore, all BNI members pledge to “have a positive and supportive attitude”.

Our Beliefs form an Attraction with Others

We are limited only by our beliefs. The most successful people I see in life are those who move past limiting beliefs and move toward meaningful beliefs. Our beliefs can be very powerful. Therefore, our beliefs that are most meaningful to us are also the most powerful. This power is magnetic and forms an attraction with others.

The Law of Attraction is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life. This belief is based on the idea that people and their thoughts are made from pure energy, and that a process of like energy attracting like energy exists through which a person can improve their health, wealth, and personal relationships.

Hope is more powerful than fear. It is that little voice inside, whispering to you about what “can be” when everyone around you is screaming about “what can’t be.” During these days of negativity, while quarantined in this great pause,  you need to maintain your positivity with hope. Hope plus a plan, plus action, will lead you successfully through these times. We are part of something bigger than ourselves. We can use the power of hope to restart the world with our actions.

Don’t Just Dream, Take an Attraction Action

According to Marcia Wieder, CEO and Founder of Dream University, in business, dreaming is a serious business; it’s the driving force for transformation and without vision, many companies fail. Therefore, we must all “Dream Big”. However, a dream without a plan is just a fantasy. It is your thoughts about believing in your dream which will lead to achieving your dreams. The Law of Attraction is powerful. However, the word “action” is part of the word “attraction”.  When you practice the Law Attraction, it is important to take action to achieve your dreams. You cannot make improvements through thought alone. Transform your own life, both personally and professionally, by taking action and contribute to making the world a better place.

I do not know what our future holds, but I do know that we can definitely influence it with positive thinking and forming an attraction with others that also have a positive and supportive attitude.

favorite places

Thoughts About My Favorite Places Take Flight Like Birds

Recently, Beth and I were sitting on our balcony at our Beach Condo in Galveston, Texas talking about where our favorite places are on the planet. Beth pulled out her phone and thought people may like to know where my favorite places are to go in the world. This is a question people do ask us because we travel a lot. On one airline alone, I have flown over 2.3 million miles.

Beth videotaped me answering the question. “Where is my favorite place in the world?”  Below is the video of the conversation I had with Beth.  I think people might find it interesting. Consider this as part of my G.A.I.N.S. exchange as I share my “interests” with you.

The things you enjoy doing and the places you enjoy going can help you connect with others because people are more willing to spend time with those who share their interests. Knowing other people’s interests makes it easier for you to help them in some way. Therefore, let them know your interests as well. If you and your contact share many of the same interests, it will strengthen your relationship. 

Where are my favorite places in the world?

You can watch the video above to learn where my ultimate favorite place in the world is located. You might be surprised by my answer. Here are a few other favorite places on our list:

  • Galveston: Relaxing at our beach condo. Now and then, the local birds take flight, rise up, and soar above our heads.
  • India: We have a lot of members in India and I enjoy visiting with them.
  • Necker Island: We enjoy spending time with Richard Branson on his private island.
  • Paris: We enjoyed the two months we spent in France for our 25th wedding anniversary.
  • South Africa: We did an amazing safari together at Camp Jabulani.
  • Sydney Australia: Beth loves Sydney. It is one of her favorite places, but not her number one place. Can you guess where Beth’s ultimate favorite place is? Listen to the video for her answer.
  • The Great Barrier Reef: We explored it from a small ship.

COVID-19 has changed our travel life. We look forward to the days when we can travel the world again. Visiting these favorite places we mentioned, and also exploring new places we have never been to before. By sharing this video, we know we will receive many invitations to go visit and revisit many places all across the world.

Therefore, I suggest that you add this question about your favorite places when discussing your “interests” as part of your G.A.I.N.S. exchange. Download a copy of the GAINS exchange profile form. People will get to know you better when you share your favorite places in the world during your one-to-one meetings. Please share below in the comments your favorite places in the world too.

recession

I Refuse to Participate in the Recession

Since starting BNI in 1985, I have navigated my company through three recessions. Now,  we have entered our fourth recession due to COVID-19. Along the way, I have learned that your mindset has a lot to do with how one navigates a tough recession economy successfully.

The 1990 Recession

The importance of having a positive mindset became clear to me during the recession of the early ’90s. I was attending a large networking event. As I walked around the room, I discovered that almost everyone was completely fixated on how horrible things were. It was incredibly depressing. I found myself meandering until I saw someone standing in a corner observing all the distraught business people in attendance. I walked up to him, introduced myself, and asked him what he did.  He told me he was in real estate. I prepared myself for the onslaught of horror stories, but instead, he said that things were going well for him.

Naturally, I was surprised and replied, “You said you were in real estate, right?

“Yes,” he said.

I asked, “The real estate market has dropped significantly here, hasn’t it?”

“Yes,” he said with a slight grin.

“And you’re having a good year?”

“I’m having my best year ever!”

“Your best year!” I said in amazement. After thinking for a moment, I asked him, “Is this your first year in real estate?

“No,” he replied with a laugh. “I’ve been in real estate for almost 10 years.”

I asked him how he could be doing so well, given the condition of the economy. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a big button that reads:

I Absolutely Refuse to Participate in the Recession!

“That’s it? You have a button that says, ‘I absolutely refuse to participate in the recession,’ so your business is booming?” I exclaimed.

“Well, it’s not just the button; it’s the attitude that goes along with it, he told me. You see, he went on to explain, “during difficult times, there are almost always opportunities that exist, and if you want to succeed, you have to focus on those opportunities.”

“OK,” I said. “School me a little on this. What kind of opportunities can there be right now when the real estate market has taken a nosedive?”

“Two big ones,” he replied. “First, there are real estate investors who buy properties to rent and lease. I’m going to them and encouraging, ‘Don’t be one of those people who come to me a few years from now and say that you should have bought that property when I showed it to you. Let me show you a duplex that you can get a steal on today’.” He paused to take a sip of his water, and then continued, “Besides, there are still first-time home buyers in a down economy. I’m going to them right now and explaining that they couldn’t afford a house a year ago, but they can today. Now is the time to buy while the market is low.”

He was selling more real estate than ever while others in the room were obsessed with the recession economy and the drop in prices. And yet, he was making a killing. He wrapped up by telling me the button represented the attitude and the action that one must pursue when times are tough. He said he was at ease with the recession because many of the people in the room would be transitioning to another business while he became focused and they simply froze in fear.

The Great Recession (2008)

His is not an isolated story. I have seen this happen during all three of the past recessions I have experienced. Years later, I met someone who had left his employment, cashed out his retirement money, and decided to become an entrepreneur. He started his very own moving and storage business. Beginning with one truck, a storage facility, and an office, he opened his doors and was excited to start his journey. This was in early 2008. Just as he joined the ranks of entrepreneurship, the Great Recession came crashing down on him.

He was devastated.  All his hopes, dreams, and cash were about to evaporate. However, he had a similar attitude to my real estate friend. With a positive mindset, he increased his efforts and immersed himself in networking groups to build his word of mouth. At the same time, he integrated self-storage programs into his business to help people who consolidated homes during this time. This was one of the few growth areas during the recession.

The bottom line was that he also refused to participate in the recession.  He was focused on solutions while other people were frozen in fear.  He came out of that recession larger and stronger than he was when he and his company went into it.  You can find him today with many trucks and multiple locations around the country.

The COVID-19 Recession (2020)

Entrepreneurs have two problems this year. First, COVID-19, and now, a recession. What I know to be true is that if you focus on the problem, you will be an expert on the problem. Focus on the solutions that will get you through both struggles.

A powerful mindset begins with the belief that you can find solutions to the current situation. Belief is that little voice inside you whispering to you the things that “can be” while everyone around you is screaming about the things that “can’t be.” The right mindset, along with a plan of action, will lead you successfully through these turbulent times. I for one am going out today to make more buttons that say: “I Refuse to Participate in the Recession.” I invite you to do the same.

hunting

Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting

Over the years, I have observed that most business professionals go about networking the way our cave-dwelling ancestors went about hunting for food. If I could impart one piece of wisdom regarding networking and getting more referrals, it would be this: Networking is about farming for new contacts, not hunting them.

Premature Solicitation

Has a complete stranger ever solicited you for a referral or business? I call this “premature solicitation.” I have been its victim many times. Years ago, I was speaking at a networking event, and before my presentation, an unknown person approached me and said, “Hi, it is a real pleasure to meet you. I understand you know Richard Branson. I offer specialized marketing services and I am sure his Virgin enterprises could benefit from what I provide. Could you please introduce me to him so that I can show him how this would assist his companies?”

I replied with the following response: “Hi, I’m Ivan Misner. I am sorry. I do not think we have met before. What was your name again?” That surprised the man enough to make him realize his solicitation might have been a bit premature. I continued to explain to him. “I regularly refer people to my contacts, but only after I’ve established a strong, long-term relationship with the service provider”. He thanked me and moved on to his next victim.

Over the years, many people have shared with me their frustrations about strangers who pounce on them at networking meetings and ask for business. However, occasionally someone will share with me that they approve of using “premature solicitation”. Here is one example that I received:

Hunting Networkers

“I don’t happen to believe that you need a relationship with the person you are asking first. What you must have is a compelling story or product/service that would genuinely benefit the referral. The fact that you had not cultivated a relationship with the person has become irrelevant because, more importantly, you had been in a position to help [your contact] benefit from the introduction. If it’s of genuine benefit to the person being referred, I don’t see the problem. Who am I to deny my contacts something good?”

The relationship is “irrelevant”, according to this person. It does not matter if I actually know or trust someone. As long as the person has a worthy product, I should not “deny my contacts something good.”  I absolutely disagree, and I would ask anyone interested in business networking to keep the following in mind:

  • Networking is not about hunting.
  • Networking is about farming.
  • It’s about cultivating relationships.
  • Do not be guilty of premature solicitation.

Farming Networkers

This kind of networker is also meeting people. However, they build relationships first, instead of just adding names to a contact list. They are building referral sources to people that were referred to them by their strategic alliances. Proper networking is about taking the time to cultivate relationships. Use networking opportunities to first meet people, Then schedule additional times to connect and build trust with them. Do not ask someone for a business referral until you feel confident that the person knows and trusts you.

Networking is indeed like farming. Commit to mastering what it takes to efficiently and effectively harness the potential in your “relationship crops” and you will reap a bountiful harvest of mutually satisfying relationships and sustainable growth in your business.

Networking Group

Secrets of a Successful Networking Group

To help your networking group be successful, I have identified four important tips to consider when inviting visitors, selecting new members, and encouraging mentoring by your experienced members. Please note that in BNI® we call our networking groups “BNI Chapters”.

1) Invite Qualified Visitors to Your Networking Group

In any strong networking group, inviting qualified visitors is important. These groups become stronger because they tend to select new members who are more experienced in their profession. Seasoned professionals are more likely to have an already established network. Therefore, qualified visitors quickly become “qualified members” because they are more likely to pass qualified referrals to their fellow members using their own established network.  Furthermore, inexperienced people tend to pass leads as new members while they are building their network. There is a big difference between a “lead” and a “referral”.

2) Induct Experienced Members to Your Networking Group

When giving referrals to others, you want to ensure that you are recommending someone who is experienced at what they do. This is a trait that is even more important to your networking group than inducting someone just because they are well connected to the community. Do not gamble upon inducting new members who are inexperienced in their professions even if they have sizable networks. Therefore, I highly recommend that all of our BNI chapters’ Membership Committees take the time needed to fully vet and assess the level of experience of all applicants before inducting them into your BNI chapter or networking group.

In a 2002 survey of networking group members, 74 percent of networkers owned their own business. Furthermore, about one-third of business networkers were older than 50 while only 10 percent were younger than 30 years old. This would indicate that the average age of a business person in a networking group is older and more experienced than some would expect. Therefore, I firmly believe that business professionals with more experience are more likely to benefit from joining a networking group and using our referral-marketing strategy.

3) Strike a Balance Within Your Networking Group

A successful networking group should strive to seek a balance between “old pros” and “newbies.” Groups with only experienced older members can become “stuck in their ways” of networking. They also tend to stop inviting visitors to the chapter. They either claim that they have already invited everyone they know over the years or they often do not perceive visitors as being as important to the business as they once were. Meanwhile, a group made up mostly of inexperienced people can be too frenetic as they tend to pass more leads than actual qualified referrals.

4) Encourage Mentoring Between Experienced and New Members in Your Networking Group

In a successful networking group, I have observed effective mentoring between the experienced members and the newer members. Therefore, networking groups become stronger when the experienced members take newly inducted members under their wing in a mentoring relationship. The mentoring does not need to be a part of a formal training structure. I suggest just scheduling a few one-to-one’s between these two members. Take a little time to coach the new members on the finer points of word-of-mouth marketing. It is a real win-win.

As entrepreneurs become increasingly informed and educated about the tangible benefits of growing their business using a structured word-of-mouth program like BNI, many of them are seeking out a local BNIonlineTM chapter to visit virtually during an upcoming Zoom meeting. Therefore, I believe this is valuable information for entrepreneurs who are considering actively participating in a BNI chapter. If you are already a BNI member on your chapter’s current or future leadership team, incorporate these tips to grow your BNI chapter as a successful networking group.

Leads Referrals

Leads are not Referrals

So, what is the difference between referrals and leads? When I attended networking groups many years ago, they encouraged us to pass leads among us. However, in BNI, we believe in the power of referrals. These two words may sound alike as they both seek out new clients for the person you are referring to. However, there is more than semantics in the difference between leads and referrals. It is important to understand those differences so that we give and receive only qualified referrals, rather than leads.

Leads

A lead is a contact that may come from any number of sources. This contact is generally not expecting your call. If a Realtor gives an insurance agent their new home buyers’ contact list, they would be considered leads. Unfortunately, the prospects are not expecting a call from the insurance agent. Therefore, it is not much better than a cold-call. The agent will most likely receive a cold response from the phonecall.

Referrals

A referral is the opportunity to do business with someone who is in the market to buy your product or service and who has been told about you by a mutual friend or associate. In other words, they know who you are and what you do when you contact them. It is stronger than just a “lead”. The prospect has talked to your mutual acquaintance and is generally expecting the call. Hence, they are “referred”.

A common misconception about the difference between leads and referrals is that a referral is guaranteed business. This is not the case – as always, your business is your responsibility. Once a referral source has given you a contact name, it is up to you to do the rest. A qualified referral is an open door to put your best foot forward. A referral is better than a lead. You can use the name of the referral source to open the door.

Qualified Referrals

Are you passing qualified referrals to your networking partners based upon these three criteria?

  • When someone expresses that they may be interested in a product or service, have a conversation with them to determine if their needs fit the services offered by the person or organization you have in mind.
  • If the needs do fit, share with the potential referral that you know someone who may be a fit to help them and explain how you know your referral partner.
  • If the potential referral appears receptive to this connection, ask if you can share their contact information with the person who can provide the product or service.

Qualified referrals have been previously vetted by the person giving the referral. There is reason to believe the product or service is desired by the potential customer. The effectiveness of your referral network in providing you with quality referrals depends on the amount of work you do to develop the sources in your network.  A referral is almost always better than a lead. But don’t forget that there are many levels of a referral which depends on the development of the relationships that you nurture.

Different Levels of Referrals

The levels of referrals vary in quality according to how much involvement your referral source has invested in preparing the referral for you. The more time and effort your referral source puts into qualifying, educating, and encouraging the prospect before you become involved, the higher the quality the referral should be. Conversely, if your referral source only passes a prospect’s name to you, most of the work of developing that prospect into a customer falls on you, and the likelihood of turning that prospect into a customer diminishes significantly.

The best referrals you can give are the referrals where the person is expecting their call. Let them know that this person that you are referring to them is going to be giving them a call. Then when the potential client does call the business you are referring to, they will get a warm reception. That sure beats the heck out of cold calling any day of the week.

Right Questions

Master Networkers Ask the Right Questions

People like to talk about themselves. Furthermore, people refer business to people they like. Therefore when networking, remember the quote from the Greek philosopher, Epictetus (c. 50 – 135 AD). “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”. When networking, give yourself the time to truly listen to others when they are explaining what their business is all about. Everyone has a story, so find out what their story is.  By listening to them explain their story with genuine interest, you are making a real connection with them. With this initial introduction, you are building an atmosphere of trust and rapport right from the start. All it takes is asking the right questions when you are networking with someone for the first time.

Here are the five right questions to ask when networking that will keep the conversation rolling, set you apart from other networkers, and eventually lead to referrals:

1) What do you like best about what you do?

“What do you do?” is one of the first questions most people ask when networking. Therefore, when somebody begins their networking with the statement about “what they do” with me, I usually follow-up with, “That is interesting. What do you like best about what you do?” This leads to a deeper understanding while you learn about their business as the conversation flows naturally to the next question.

2) You mentioned that you were in [industry]. What got you started in that field?

This question allows them to talk about their personal history and goals. Furthermore, you learn what sparked their career interest and led them to where they are today. It also provides insight into their dedication to their profession and how proficient they are at it. Finally, as the relationship builds over time, you begin to see ways that you might be able to provide referrals to them for their products or services from people you know. However, you need to understand how and when they network their business.

3) Where else do you usually network?

I determined years ago through personal research that people who say they are successful with networking spend on average 6.3 hours per week networking with others. Furthermore, the people who say that networking doesn’t work for them reported spending on average less than two hours per week networking. So the people who are out there and they’re successful at this, they’re networking in other places, so asking this question is a great way to find out good places to network (in addition to OR along with BNI). Therefore, this question is a great way to learn about other networking events in your area that you may be missing. Finally, this question is a great opportunity to refer them to visit a local BNI chapter meeting (online or in-person) near them or to other networking groups that you are in. Now that you are building rapport with them, it is time to learn about some of the current problems they are experiencing in their business.

4) What are some of your biggest challenges?

This question strengthens the rapport you have with them. It is an opportunity to give them a referral when they share with you their current challenges. You can say, “Hey, I know somebody who might be able to help you with that”. Please remember that this is NOT an opportunity to sell to them. Do not attempt to close a personal deal before the two of you have established your credibility between each other. At this stage, it is only an opportunity to find ways to help them.

5) How can I help you?

Only ask this question if the conversation has gone well so far and you believe that this person is someone you would like to have in your business network too. If not, do not ask this question. However, being helpful is the best way to start building a solid relationship. This final question demonstrates that you have the other person’s interests in your mind and that you are willing to help them to grow their business. Therefore, it is an excellent way to build the credibility necessary for a valuable networking partnership.

Asking the right questions is really about earning trust and gaining rapport with a new contact and doing it as quickly as you can. Therefore, asking these five questions when networking can help you become a farmer and sow the seedlings for building strong relationships over time with others. If you need additional questions to ask, here are ten great questions to ask someone while networking. Furthermore, these would be great questions to pose during your next one-to-one meeting. Finally, I would suggest that you take the time to know your own personal answers to these questions. They are likely to be asked of you in return.

Growing Forward Together

Growing Forward Together World Tour

It was very exciting to present the BNI Growing Forward Together World Tour over the past three days. Furthermore, this event was the first live global event in BNI’s 35-year history. On July 14th, 15th, and 16th we streamed live in over 70 countries on Facebook and YouTube. Thank you to all of the BNI members, directors and visitors who joined in this historic event

The broadcast was open to businesses, entrepreneurs and business executives focused on leapfrogging the “lockdown recession” and doing more and better business in 2020 and beyond. The presentations were watched so far this week by nearly 45,000 viewers worldwide in twelve different languages.

During each broadcast, I shared my vision for the future as well as my insights for business growth and personal success. Furthermore, I talked about refusing to participate in the recession and how BNI and its 270,000 members are taking action leading businesses around the world to foster global business recovery with business growth and professional success. Therefore, now is the time to thrive!

I want to thank the CEO of BNI, Graham Weihmiller, for his inspirational vision for the future and much more. Furthermore, I also want to personally thank the BNI marketing team for the planning, the marketing, and the amazing execution of this global event. For example, watch this fantastic video their team created to promote the event on social media.

 

 

Different people, different places, different countries, different faces, different cultures…

We all speak the language of referrals, growing forward together.

In case you missed the LIVE event, would like to see it again, or want to share it with others, here is the presentation in 12 different languages:

Chinese Subtitled Version        Thai Voiceover Version         Japanese Voiceover Version

Vietnamese Voiceover Version           Portuguese (Brazilian) Subtitled Version

Spanish Voiceover Version  Portuguese (Portugal) Subtitled Version   German Version (Pending)

Italian Voiceover Version       Spanish (Spain) Voiceover Version       Bulgarian Voiceover Version

English version below from Day Two

BNI brings so many people together across so many boundaries for such a productive purpose.  Therefore, we build meaningful relationships and extend our hand to help others grow, and they in turn help and support us in the essence of Givers Gain®. At BNI, we are Growing Forward Together.

Ruin Reputations

Giving Referrals Can Ruin Reputations

Referral marketing is the most effective form of advertising. However, many approach referral marketing with an “Old Faithful” attitude. All they have to do is just show up weekly to their networking events and referral business to them will simply erupt regularly like this geyser. What they do not realize is that once their trust in you evaporates, so does the water. In referral marketing, your trust and your reputation are on the line all the time.  Therefore, you need to do what you say you are going to do. You need to be professional and do what you can to not ruin reputations with others.

When you give a referral, you give away a little bit of your reputation.

While giving a good referral will enhance your relationship, a bad referral will hurt it. This is extremely important when referring someone to your client or customer. If the person you referred does a poor job, your relationship with your client will suffer. You may even lose that customer due to the lack of trust they now have in you for giving them that bad referral. Now the geyser is dry.

Therefore, the biggest risk in referral marketing is not the person you are referring to someone. The biggest risks are the referral giver’s reputation and the risk to their business relationships with others. Get to know the people you are referring to others. Find out as much as you can about the services they offer. Plus, make sure they have integrity. If you do not take the time for this, your reputation is at risk. Finally, never give good referrals to people who do not want them or cannot handle them with the same integrity and professionalism you use with your clients. Do not be this guy. You do not want to refer someone to your client, and your client is expecting a geyser. However, the only result your client experiences is a dripping faucet in the middle of the night instead.

Everyone can Ruin Reputations

However, I am not saying that you accept 100% of the blame and responsibility for the bad referral. Referral marketing is more than just you. Everyone is involved in a threeway referral relationship. The person being referred to your client can do himself permanent damage by performing poorly or dishonestly. He agreed to a service contract or sales transaction with your client. What expectations has your client had in the past when working with you? You can share these same client expectations you experienced with the person you are referring to your client.

Even your client has some responsibility for the bad referral. Your client needs to clearly explain to you the exact service, product, or assistance they are looking to you to help them to find the right person to refer to them. Therefore, their expectation should be reasonable. If they are looking for a “small fountain” when discussing the possible referral with you, they should not be expecting a “large geyser” later on when working with the referral. However, they should also not be receiving a “little drip” either. Especially if they prepaid for the “fountain”.

Even Old Faithful is not as faithful as it used to be.

Tourists visit Yellowstone National Park in (mostly) Wyoming, USA every year to see the Old Faithful Geyser for its frequent and somewhat predictable eruptions. Rumors claimed that the eruptions occur hourly. People speak of the average time between eruptions. This is misleading and these rumors could ruin reputations with the tourists expecting to view the geyser based upon an exact schedule of when the geyser will erupt next. The mathematical average between eruptions of Old Faithful is currently 74 minutes, but it doesn’t like to act average! Intervals can range from 60-110 minutes. The world’s most famous geyser, Old Faithful in Yellowstone, currently erupts around 20 times a day. These eruptions are predicted with a 90 percent confidence rate, within a 10-minute variation. I do love a good statistical report to end a story.

Networking Fundamentals

Networking Fundamentals

What is the one secret to success?  It is a question I receive often. The one secret is… there is no “one” secret.  Therefore, how can entrepreneurs achieve success? To be successful, there are four networking fundamentals that a business owner needs to focus on.

The Networking Fundamentals to Grow Your Business

  • Be Selective
  • Continuously add people to your network
  • Seek Engagement
  • Share Stories

The Secret to Success

Over my career, I have observed people with different personalities, backgrounds, and behavioral styles achieve success in life. Many times I wondered if there was a reoccurring theme running through their success stories that would clearly illustrate what creates success. Therefore, when I interviewed average business owners and entrepreneurs over the years, I asked them what they felt their secret to success was. They generally told me things like vision, goals, passion, persistence, and systems.

I then asked many highly successful people who had obtained great wealth or personal success in business, sports, or science. They generally told me that their secret to success involved things like vision, goals, passion, persistence, and systems. Sound familiar?

Everyone I interviewed or wrote about regarding the secret to success – from Buzz Aldrin to Erin Brockovich, from average businesspeople to undergraduate college students – gave me virtually the same answer. So if we all know what it takes to be successful…

Why are we all not as successful as we would like to be?

The truth is there is no great mystery. Very often, “success is simply the uncommon application of common knowledge.”

When you hear successful people talk about the secret of their success, have you noticed that you rarely hear any real secret? What you do hear about is their unwavering adherence to some system or approach they believed in and followed with intensity and determination. Successful people focus on the goal and work through or around everything else. In sports, this is called “keeping your eye on the ball.”  They do this with a passion and a vision.

Success comes to those who have not only a passion and a vision but who also have persistence and commitment to perform the fundamentals over and over, continuing to work and learn until they can perform these networking fundamentals flawlessly. In the end, we already know what our goals are and how to achieve them. This is common knowledge, and it’s been around for a long, long time. Success is learning and practicing the four networking fundamentals.

life

You Are Not the Dumbest Thing You’ve Done in Life

If you ever feel like you’ve done a bonehead thing in business or life, this story might make you feel better.

The most memorable television interview I ever did in my life was my first “live” interview — which was very nearly my last live interview.

It was early 1995, and my first major book was hitting the shelves coast to coast. A cable station had invited me to talk about it on the Fairfield County Exchange morning show in Connecticut, right across the border from New York.

My publicist called me before the show and said, “Don’t forget that this is live. Completely live. Whatever you say will go on the air (this was long before the notorious Janet Jackson disaster – now everything is tape delayed). She also added that “They want you to do something visual for the show.”

I thought, This is networking, not lion taming. What can I do that’s visual? Run up and down the aisles handing out business cards? So I thought I’d put together a “tool box” with “networking tools” inside — badges, cardholders, and the like. Kind of goofy, but it was visual.

Somehow it didn’t feel like it was enough. So while the New York area Executive Director for BNI, was driving me to the show, I came up with an idea. “Lance,” I said, “what do you think about a magic trick?” I am an amateur magician, and I have a trick where I hide some flash cotton in my hand. I wave my hand, and a flame briefly flares up out of it. I happened to have it with me and I said, “Here’s what I’ll do. We get to the end of the interview, the interviewer holds up my book, and I say to her, ‘Careful! That’s hot!’ And then I take it from her, and whoosh! Flames shoot out of it.”

“Yeah, that’s good!” said Lance.

A little while later, I was sitting in the green room at the studio. It was a large cable station, and the show was a big, 90-minute show with 10 guests or more. I was sitting there with Lance and a bunch of other people, watching the show on a monitor, waiting to be called, when this guy dressed like a Native American walked by. Then another guy walked by dressed like a cop. Then another guy, dressed like a cowboy.

Someone joked, “Gee, it looks like the Village People!” Everyone laughed and we all agreed that wasn’t likely. Then I heard the on-air announcer say,

“Next on the Fairfield County Exchange”

The Village People!

life

life

and (long-pause with less excitement)

Dr. Ivan Misner to talk about networking.

 

I panicked. “Lance,” I said, “I’m gonna die here!”

I thought, better juice things up a notch. Make a bigger flame. So, I stuffed some more flash cotton into my palm.

The Village People went on. I watched them on the monitor. They were great! They were fun! They were hysterical! They did “Y-M-C-A,” shaping the letters with their bodies, of course. They were visual! The audience roared, screamed, jumped up and down.

I thought, I’m going on after them? Are you kidding me, I’m going to bomb, I’d better use a little more of that flash cotton.

The Village People kept the audience jumping and screaming for more. The show fell behind schedule. I knew my interview was going to be rushed. I was up next. I had the cold sweats.

The producer came over and said, “Get ready, we’re going to have to rush you on and mic you up.”

“Okay,” I said. I took another pinch of flash cotton (just for good measure) and followed him out of the room.

As the Village People came offstage to a rowdy standing ovation, I was seated in a chair in front of the cameras, half-facing the host and hostess. I was holding a copy of my book and I wanted to prepare them for what I was going to do. I said to the hostess, seated immediately to my right, “Hey, listen, when we get to the end of the interview, would you hold this up? Then I’ll say — ”

At that moment, the director, who could hear us through her headset, walked over to us and said, “No, no, no, I don’t want her holding the book up. We have a JPG of the cover, and we’ll show it in another shot.”

As soon as the director walked away, the hostess turned to me and saw that I was panicked and said, “I’m the host, I’ll decide. What do you want to do?” I started to explain the trick. As I got to the same point in the first attempt to explain, the director came back and said, “I told you, I don’t want her holding the book up! Okay, we’re on LIVE in five, four, three —”

The hostess whispered to me, “Just go ahead and do whatever you’re going to do. I’ll follow along.”

So we did the interview. I thought it was kind of a lame interview with the toolbox thing, especially following the Village People, but I knew we’d have a great ending.

As we finished up, she said, right on cue, “I have here a copy of Dr. Misner’s book.” She held it up. The director scowled.

I said, “Careful! That’s hot!” I reached over, took the book from her, and opened it up. And WHOOOOSH! a gigantic flame shot up. Huge, I mean really big. A much bigger flame than I expected and the book caught on fire.

The hostess screamed, “AAAAHHHH!” and she jumped into the lap of her co-host, waving her arms and hollering. The director was holding her head, yelling “Cut! Go to commercial!” The cameramen were blinded by the flash and came out from behind their cameras. I stomped on the book, trying to put out the fire. The audience laughed hysterically. Apparently I made quite an impression – just not the one I was hoping for!

The hostess, still sitting in her co-host’s lap, said, “Oh, thank God I didn’t swear on live television!” Her co-host looked off-camera, snapped his fingers, and yelled, “Wardrobe! new pants for her, please!”

I looked over at Lance who was just off stage. He put two thumbs up and said, “Now, that was visual! But we should go now.”

In most places around the world, I may be considered an expert on networking, but in Connecticut, I think I’m considered an arsonist. So, no matter how embarrassed you may feel by some stupid thing you’ve done in life – just think of this story and you won’t feel so bad.

difference

Make a Difference in Someone’s Life

My previous blog this week was about the 2020 Misner Leadership Scholarship winner, Jenna Valdez. My wife and I have been issuing these scholarships since 1999 to worthy students at Gladstone who have been actively engaged in leadership during their tenure at the school. When we issue the scholarship each year, we ask the recipient to help young people when they are an adult. We ask that they continue to be a leader by contributing to others in the future and to make a difference in someone’s life.

The leadership experience I received while at Gladstone changed the direction of my life. It was an integral part in helping to shape the person that I would become as an adult. It laid the foundation for many of the choices I made in college and throughout my professional career. There were individuals in my life who made a difference in my life. In this five-minute video, I tell the story of how one of these people really made a positive impact on my life. Back in high school, he helped to shape me into who I am today. He believed in me and gave me a chance when it seemed that no one else would. I learned from him to take time every day to make a difference in someone’s life.

Who made a difference in your life?

It is important to recognize the people who have made a difference in our lives. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge and understand how they positively impacted us. It can help us to gain clarity about ourselves as individuals about our personal values and ambitions. There probably is someone you can immediately call to mind who has impacted you and really made a difference in your life. Whether it happened recently or during your formative years, they made a difference in your life. Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was.”  Therefore, I firmly believe that our teachers, educators, and mentors play a huge part in helping us to get from where we began to where we want to go.

Please share your story below about a person you are grateful to. Let us know how they positively influenced your life and made a difference in your life. I would love to read your story about someone who impacted you in a way that helped you get where you are today.

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