As I look back over the year, it was a year full of changes: Networking changed. Businesses changed. BNI changed. My family changed. The one thing that did not change: I had no regrets in 2020 on the decisions I made.
I’m sometimes asked some variation of a question about whether I have made any major mistakes that I’d like to have a chance to do over. Or, if I have any regrets about decisions I’ve made throughout my career. I always welcome that question but I generally re-position it in a way that I feel is very important.
Mistakes are your tuition to success, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes and paid a lot of “tuition” over the years. I’ve learned from those mistakes and I always endeavor to never repeat them, but I don’t have any regrets. I don’t have regrets because those mistakes have molded me into the person that I’ve become. You see, if you are clear about your personal values and you live a life striving to live those values to the best of your ability – you shouldn’t regret the decisions (even the bad ones you made when looking back) because you were being true to those values.
I think many people feel deep regret when they waiver from their values or make choices that were expedient and possibly not congruent with their inner beliefs. When that happens, we are likely to regret the choices we’ve made. As a rule, I have always tried to make decisions based on having as much information about an issue as I can – while making sure to get advice from the people I trust. Many times, that has served me well. Other times – let’s just say it was definitely a “tuition” opportunity.
Mistakes are ok. Paying tuition is good. Regrets – no thanks.
It has been an unusual year full of stress. Therefore, I have decided to take a break from my educational business referral marketing blogs. Instead, I have decided to take a moment to share a merry Misner memory to spread some holiday cheer.
Take a few minutes to watch and enjoy this video about a fond memory from one specific Christmas in the Misner family. So much has changed in our family since that Christmas Day, so long ago.
A Merry Misner Memory
The memory of building that Barbie DreamHouse years ago really stands out in my mind and makes me shake my head and smile all at once. I really had fun recording this video. It allowed me to reminisce and reflect on a wonderful memory. So many unforgettable and irreplaceable memories are made each year by families around the globe during the holiday season. I hope this video stirs up some great holiday memories for you.
Here are the 17 steps for building the Barbie DreamHouse. Note: NO words, only this blueprint.
How a Barbie DreamHouse is supposed to look. Mine had architectural and design variations.
I wish a very Merry Christmas to those around the globe who take part in celebrating Christmas tomorrow. Happy 2020 Holiday Season to all from the Misner family!
I hope you enjoy this holiday poem influenced by Clement Clarke Moore’s poem in 1822 about the night before Christmas. This poem provides our BNI members tips to restart the world by helping their fellow local small business owners struggling in 2020 from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is the week before Christmas, and all thru the town,
The pandemic is causing business owners to feel stressed and down.
We work from home while time passed by in such a flurry,
causing many small business owners still to worry.
The holidays are here with poinsettias in bloom.
However, this year’s holiday party is online using Zoom.
We, at BNI, want to remind you with Christmas so near,
that we are wishing your holidays are still full of cheer.
Tis the season of Giver’s Gain®, we know your spirits will lift,
while you are shopping online for that last-minute gift.
Keeping six feet apart, the lines are long in the mall,
after they ransacked the shelves and grabbed it all.
However, BNI® can help you with your shopping mess,
and help you to avoid some holiday stress.
Just log into BNI connect, and give another member a call.
They can ship to your family their gifts; big or small.
Who in your chapter do you know that needs more business?
Their storefront is closed and they are unable to share their wiseness.
If you know a BNI member like this, you know what to do.
Fill out a mobile referral, or send it online too.
Are you having a virtual party to celebrate the season?
Ask your guests to visit your BNI online chapter. Do they need another reason?
Tell them about the BNI’s philosophy of “Giver’s Gain”,
and invite them this week to your meeting. It’s that easy, no pain.
Did you enjoy my holiday poem, adjusted for this Covid-19 year?
2020 is almost over, 2021 will be a time to cheer.
Take a moment today to show that you care,
by clicking below to like, leave a comment, or share.
To all my colleagues in BNI, Let’s “Restart the World” in 2021 with these ideas to try. I wish you all, without reservations, Season’s Greetings, Happy New Year, and YULETIDE FELICITATIONS!
I have asked Greg Davies to write a guest blog for my website. Greg is one of my co-authors of the book, “Infinite Giving“. He is sharing the topic of “Thanksgiving”, which is a holiday occurring in the USA today. Even though Greg is from Great Britain, and never has celebrated Thanksgiving before, he is truly an expert on the gratitude effect.
This is a bit of a weird one, a blog about Thanksgiving from the co-author of Infinite Giving, the Seven Principles of Givers Gain, which was written by Two Brits and a Yank. Why is that weird, I hear you ask? Well, I can easily discuss the gratitude effect as explained in our book. However, I am firmly in the “Brits” camp and have not attended a single thanksgiving celebration in my entire life (as we don’t celebrate it in the UK). I found myself researching this iconic holiday for the first time. Here is Ivan’s Thanksgiving message from last year. Now at this point, I roll out the elementary school presentation.
The First Thanksgiving
In 1621, 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims gave thanks for a successful harvest with a feast that lasted for at least 3 days, etc etc. Fast forward a few hundred years and we have Turkey, Mash, Pumpkin Pie, and the now infamous Black Friday. What I would much rather do, is point out that the “First Thanksgiving” was far from it.
Yes, it is the most referenced and the one that was recounted by attendee Edward Winslow in the American tradition and yes….well….maybe yes, it was the first where Pilgrims and Native Americans sat down and shared a meal (the jury is still out on that one), but the fact is those at the Plymouth Plantation would regularly give thanks for many different gifts that were bestowed upon them. The early Pilgrims would offer days of thanks for blessings such as military victory, end of a drought, recovery of a sick community member, and in this case, a successful harvest. They had built into their culture that when something good happens you need to take time to recognise it and say thank you.
The gratitude effect is not new-age, it’s science.
We cover this in the book, Chapter 11 Principle 7, The Gratitude Effect. There are some wonderful examples in the book of studies that show just how powerful saying “thank you” can be.
Gratitude, like so many other principles of success, is simple, but not easy.
The Pilgrims built gratitude into their religion and daily lives, it became a pillar of their belief and a cornerstone of their community, and for us to adopt this simple act will take a habit defining decision.
The gratitude effect requires a life-long journey of developing our ability to be grateful.
While the above may sound a little heavy, the actual effort involved in giving genuine gratitude is minuscule, but to begin with, it just feels weird. Try crossing your arms the other way, if you normally go left over right, go right over left or vice versa, SEE! IT JUST FEELS WEIRD. This has nothing to do with one way being right and the other wrong, it is just because your neuropathways have formed, and by doing it the other way, you are forging a new path.
That right there is the point, we must choose to forge a new path. We must accept that it may feel strange to begin with, but stick with it and recognise all of the wonderful things that are happening to us and say thank you. Then, a new habit has been formed.
The gratitude effect doesn’t take much effort and costs little or nothing.
I am thankful for the fact that I was asked to write this blog. I am thankful that in the single most challenging year that we as a planet will (hopefully) face in our lifetime, I have forged some of the strongest friendships, met some of the most inspirational people, and been touched by the light of human kindness like I never have been before. I hope that one day, people will give thanks for the difference I have made to them, because the real question is not who’s in our story but whose story are we in? Whose life have we made a difference in? Happy Thanksgiving from England, the original home of the Pilgrims.
In 2019, I had the pleasure to tap into Santa’s wisdom and learn a few tips from Santa from his 300 years of running a successful global overnight package delivery business.
For over 300 years his business has continued to thrive, survive and even flourish, despite the effects of distribution challenges, advances in technology, Global warming shrinking the size of the north pole, growing competition, staff downsizing, elf labor unions, reindeer red-nose discrimination, fluctuating World economy, and a hit-and-run incident with a Grandma.
Could your business survive such challenges? Santa shared with me his powerful knowledge and experiences as the principal of his global overnight delivery service. In the spirit of Givers Gain, he wanted me to share with you the challenges of his business from legal altercations to temperamental reports from all those elves on the shelf:
C = Create Big Dreams H = Have Passion and a Plan for Achieving Your Dreams R = Really know what Your Customers Want I = Investigate Your Competition S = Schedule Everything and Stay on Time T = Train Your Team to Have Your Vision Too M = Make Sure You Protect Your Brand A = Attitude is Everything – Have Fun! S = Select an Outstanding Business Coach
You and your business will benefit by incorporating Santa’s wisdom and experience. As a result of putting these tips into practice, you can develop an outstanding business next year.
Networking is a lifestyle you need to incorporate into everything that you do. However, I also believe that you must HONOR THE EVENT. For example, networking at a chamber mixer is one thing, while networking at a church social is completely different.
What is Networking
I believe that networking is part of the process of developing your social capital. Building your social capital hinges on the development of meaningful relationships with other people. Since one should always be working on building meaningful relationships with other people, they should always be networking. However, that doesn’t mean someone should always be trying to “sell” something to someone, because that rarely facilitates the development of meaningful relationships. Herein lies the misinterpretation of the practice of networking. Some people think that networking means to be constantly “selling” your products or services.
To me, networking means that you should be constantly building relationships. The best way to build relationships is to help someone whenever possible. A good networker has two ears and one mouth and should be using them proportionately. Hence, if you understand networking to be the process that one uses to develop relationships and build one’s social capital – then it makes sense that someone should be networking everywhere – including the Church social. They key is that you must “honor the event”.
Honor the Event
Your networking must be different in a chamber meeting compared to a social event. In both cases you want to be making contacts, putting people together, helping others and building relationships. However, you should NOT be actively promoting your business in one of those two groups (hint – it’s not the Chamber). Instead, you want to focus on putting people together and helping others portion of the process.
Let me give you an example of what I mean:
Last year, I had the opportunity to attend a formal dinner put on by the “Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.” This was a black-tie social event, NOT a business networking dinner. Yet, I was able to make a great contact that ended up being immensely successful for me (and, I hope, for one of the people I met there!). At my table were seated a prominent senior partner to a major international law firm, a former member of the Beach Boys, and Buzz Aldrin. He was part of the first mission to set foot on the moon and now an entrepreneur as the founder of the ShareSpace Program! During the course of the evening, I mentioned to Dr. Aldrin that I was working on my book, Masters of Success. He’s certainly attained a well-known level of success and has some very strong feelings about the future of the space program so I thought he might be interested in sharing his thoughts in this new book. After getting to know each other better, I asked him if he would be interested in contributing a chapter to the book. He was! Consequently, he was one of the prominent contributing authors to the book.
So you can see that it is desirable to keep your networking goals in sight at all events and opportunities, without becoming a networking vulture, or someone that everyone else runs from when they see you coming! Honor the event; tailor your networking strategies so that you fit in without being tuned out.
The temperature is rising and so are your summer networking opportunities!
Every once in a while I hear a BNI member say that their chapter slows down during the summer months. I also know of many chapters that flourish in the summer with new members and referral growth! So why are some up and some down? It is a matter of gearing towards the season by refocusing on referrals during your networking activities? Build your business while traveling on vacation too.
What summertime networking activities are you attending? These may not seem like networking activities, however, you should still always be prepared.
Ball games or sporting events
Or just some summertime fun:
Golf, Boating, Traveling, Fishing, Hiking, Tennis, Sailing, Camping or Gardening?
Barbecue / Block Party Networking!
Whether headed to a holiday block party blowout or a more intimate birthday celebration for a colleague, barbecues are a great chance to meet friends of friends and expand your professional network.
Make the most of your family barbecue. Bring a few sample products to the barbecue to give out to family and friends. Who better to help spread the word for you? If you are so inclined, ask attendees to bring a new friend with them to the event. More than likely, some family members will show up with uninvited guests anyway. The more the merrier, right? Use these opportunities to get to know people and share what you are looking for. You never know who they know! But don’t break out in a sales pitch at a barbecue. Ever. People are there to have fun, relax and enjoy.
Pool Party / Picnic Networking:
Remember that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionately! Listen to what everyone is saying at your summertime activities. What topics are they mentioning?
Are they complaining about their business?
Invite them to visit your BNI chapter.
Are they excited about a wedding?
Share about those members in your chapter that are good referrals for them.
Do they talk about their home being too hot in the summer and it costs too much to cool?
Talk about your HVAC or solar member.
Do they want to remodel their home or need to move homes?
It’s Referral time!
Ball Game / Sporting Event Networking:
A great networking strategy is to get tickets to a local ball game or sporting event and invite BNI members and potential referral partners you know to introduce to each other. Whether your team wins or loses, great connections can be made!
Music Festival Networking:
The hills are alive with the sound of networking. Music brings people from all different types of professional backgrounds together networking through all of the music and dancing at a music festival will be a challenge, but it can prove to be invaluable. While each attendee might have a different background, many will have the same overall goal– utilizing networking to make meaningful connections and build their businesses. Every personal encounter is a potential opportunity for networking, so don’t overlook anyone.
Networking at Reunions:
Summertime is the time for both family reunions and class reunions. These are essentially a gathering of (potentially) dozens of people who, despite the fact that they took various different professional paths, automatically have a great deal in common and genuinely want to see one another succeed. So if you’re looking for a job, a career change, industry advice or even if you’re just hoping to network within your field, attending your reunion could be just the ticket. The question is not whether you should attend your reunion, but how you will network effectively at the reunion.
The FOUR hour “one to one” Networking Foursome!
If you are a golfer, find a fellow BNI Member who also plays golf. Set up a round of golf and you each bring a favorite golf playing client to introduce to each other as a referral source for the other BNI member. What a great way to solidify a top referral source and score a ‘hole in one” referral yourself with someone else!
If you do not play golf? Is there a summertime activity that you do that you and a fellow member can invite clients to attend? (Boating, Fishing, Hiking, Tennis, Sailing, Camping, or Gardening)
Any place you go with family, friends or strangers is a networking opportunity!
Bring Your Business Cards! Bring your fellow BNI members’ business cards with you to all your summertime events!
Remember Your Fellow Members and make a goal for one referral per event you attend!
Who have you met at these summertime events that you can invite to your chapter as a visitor?
Here’s to a GREAT summer in the Northern Hemisphere filled with lots of referrals! Those BNI Members south of the Equator can wait to use these tips in December or try to network on the ski slopes.
Your New Years just got a whole lot better. Now, you have an effortless and affordable way to enjoy “Who’s in Your Room?” in audio. I am so thrilled to offer you the opportunity to enjoy my latest book seamlessly through Audible, it’s about to become your new favorite audiobook.
Can you imagine living a better life in 2019? Would you like to surround yourself with more supportive people? There’s hope! You see, the quality of your life depends on the people in your life. The simple and powerful ideas in this book can change your life forever in the new year.
“Who’s in Your Room?” introduces you to the concept of your life being like a room – a room where anyone who enters affects your life…forever. Although this concept may sound frightening, this book gives you the tools and exercises you need to make a New Year’s resolution to take control of your room and live the life you desire in 2019.
So, head over to Audible now to pick your first Audible Original. After all, there’s nothing better to read — or listen to — for the new year than “Who’s in Your Room?”. If you’re still not convinced on the book, take a listen to an exclusive clip from the audiobook below:
Who doesn’t love going home for the holidays to visit family members?
It’s that precious time of the year when you have that annual visit with your siblings, parents, and various cousins. However, the holidays also bring together the toxic people in your life. The holidays are a special time, perhaps the only time all year they get to see our family members. However, these annual get-togethers are often fraught with trepidation because of the behavior of one family member. Many people have that drunk uncle you avoid all year, yet you have to spend Christmas Eve dinner with him. Others might have that cousin you have not spoken to in years joining you to open gifts together on Christmas morning. Your toxic family members often display behaviors that can irritate you and want you to kick them out of your life. However, remember that these people will be in your room for the rest of your life.
Even when people are out of your life they remain in your head.
Recognizing that people can never fully leave your room once they’ve entered can be unsettling. What do we do with our family members who don’t align with our values? How do we handle them? They’re family—what can I do? They may be family, and it’s true I had no choice on whether they are in my room, but I’m not going to let them run amuck in my space any longer. My mother taught me how to deal with toxic family members: “Well, we can’t quite kick anyone to the curb, but we can box them up and put them on a shelf.” That’s right, box them up and put them out of sight. Don’t let them continue to control your life. I also encourage you to thoughtfully reflect on the experiences and people you are “boxing up” and try to learn from them.
We all have a family member whom you want to put on the highest shelf you could possibly reach. So, how do you deal with difficult family members? They are people whom we love and don’t actually want out of our lives completely. Your goal will be to connect with your family members but only rarely and for short periods of time. That way, you still maintain a relationship but you don’t get “infected with drama or craziness,” The people may be welcome in your room, but their baggage does not have to be. Holiday parties can be perfect places to continue relationships with your toxic family members without getting sucked into the drama because these tend to be larger gatherings with lots of other family members, where you can chat briefly with them. However, you are not their sole focus for an extended time. Set rules for your gathering. Examples are, “No politics at the table” or “once you go negative, I’m done with you”. These types of people are draining, so it’s best to recognize that and plan accordingly. Visit briefly, be friendly, then move on to someone else in your room.
This is the premise behind the newest book, “Who’s in Your Room? The Secret to Creating Your Best Life” by Ivan Misner, Stewart Emery, and Rick Sapio. It would make a great Christmas gift to give to all your family members, especially the toxic people.
What do Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and “six degrees of separation” all have in common? They are all urban legends! Time to put the kids to bed. I don’t want to stir up any trouble with Christmas around the corner. What I do want to take issue with is the six-degrees thing.
You’ve heard that there are “six degrees of separation” between you and anybody else on earth that you would like to meet. Right? Amazing, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s just not true! Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but the idea that we are all connected through six degrees of separation is rooted in myth–not in fact.
The legend originally stems from several “small world experiments” conducted in the late ’60s by social psychologist Stanley Milgram, who asked participants in Nebraska to send a parcel across the United States to a stranger in Boston via people they knew. These experiments involved sending letters from a group of people to a specific person in another part of the country. The people were told to get the material to someone who might know someone who would know the individual to whom the material was to be delivered. This process formed a chain of connections linking the people together. It was, in fact, found that the letters that arrived in the right person’s hands took, on average, between five and six connections. Milgram found that there tended to be about six degrees of separation between the senders in Nebraska and the recipient in Boston. This part is true; however, if you look closer, you will discover the problems that exist within the blanket statement that “we are all connected by six degrees.”
First off, though the average number of links for people who got the material through to the final contact was five or six connections, the majority of the connections that were made ranged from two to 10 (the average was five to six). This means that roughly half took more than six and roughly half less than six. Well, you say, that’s the average and I would agree that there’s nothing wrong with addressing this concept by the average, but there’s one small problem. The overwhelming majority of people in all of Milgram’s studies never got the material to the intended recipient at all! In Milgram’s most successful study, “217 chains were started and 64 were completed–a success rate of only 29 percent.”
That’s right–a success rate of less than one-third of the participants! So what this means is that 29 percent of the people in Milgram’s most successful study were separated on average by six degrees from the final contact person. However, that means that 71 percent were not connected at all!
But wait, I’m afraid it gets worse. This was Milgram’s most successful study. In another of his studies, only 5 percent of the participants completed the chain. Therefore, 95 percent of the people in the study never made the link to the person they were supposed to connect to at all–ever! Don’t shoot the messenger, but I am afraid to tell you that we are not “all” connected with everyone in the world by six degrees of separation. We’re just not . . . not all of us.
So why would I, someone who has devoted most of his professional career to business networking, be telling everyone about the Achilles heel of this iconic concept upon which a lot of networking pros hang their hat? Well, there are two reasons. First of all, I believe this myth creates complacency. The thought that everyone is absolutely connected to everyone else on the planet by six degrees gives some people a false sense of expectation and thus lulls them into a sense that the connection is bound to happen sooner or later, no matter what they do. Second, and most important, the studies’ findings indicate clearly that some people are better connected than others. I believe that’s important because it means that this is a skill that can be acquired. With reading, training, and coaching, people can develop their networking skills, increase their connections and become connected.
29 percent of people who are, in fact, separated from the rest of the world by only six degrees.
Milgram’s work was revolutionary. It opened up a whole new world of discussion and understanding. It has, however, been romanticized. The mythical version of his findings does no good for anyone. It gives people a false sense of security or an erroneous worldview of the networking process. I believe we do live in a “small world” that is becoming smaller and smaller; and I also believe it is possible to be connected to anyone in the world by only six degrees. I just don’t believe that “we are all” connected by six degrees, and Milgram’s own findings support that.
The good news in all of this is that it is possible to be part of the 29 percent through education, practice, and training. We can be connected to anyone through the power, and potential of networking. In fact, by understanding that, we can set ourselves aside from our competition by knowing that being able to make successful connections is not an entitlement. Instead, it is a skill that only some actually develop. As for the 71 percent of people who are not connected and yet still believe in the six degrees of separation concept–keep the faith.
It’s fascinating how information can get distorted in the minds of the public and turn into urban myths. Just think about the myths: Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. What does this teach us about business networking? The answer is this: To become a successful networker, it’s critical to be a part of the minority of people who truly are well-connected. One final thought for your kids, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”
For many cultures around the world, today marks the dawning of the new year. People were up at midnight, full of energy, excitedly celebrating the clock striking 12:00 a.m.–the start of 2018. More importantly, it symbolizes the chance for people to start fresh and move forward in bigger and better ways. I would like to wish you a happy New Years 2018 with this personal message about setting both personal and professional goals and achieving them in 2018.
Every year, during the last week of the year, I take time off from work and Beth and I reflect on the passing year and strategically set new goals to accomplish bigger and better things with each coming year.
If you have not done this yet, take 30 minutes today to sit down and take stock of the good, the bad, and the ugly from the past year. Then, you can forge ahead in the new year with a fresh set of goals and a specific plan to achieve those goals.
You cannot hit a target you are not aiming at. So create those targets and work towards them.
Post a message here on my blog as to what your biggest goals are in 2018. I would love to read them.
I hope you take a few minutes to watch and enjoy this video. I shared a fond memory from one specific Christmas in the Misner family that really stands out in my mind. When I watch this video, it makes me shake my head and smile all at once. I really had fun recording this. I got to reminisce a bit and furthermore reflect on the joys, the stresses, and all the wonderful, challenging, unforgettable, and irreplaceable memories that are made each year by families around the globe during the holiday season.
A Merry Misner Christmas Video
With this video, I’m taking a break from my regular educational business/referral marketing videos. I’m taking a few minutes to spread some holiday cheer and wish a very Merry Christmas to those around the globe who take part in observing Christmas Day.
On behalf of Beth, myself and the entire Misner family, we wish you a Christmas full of joy and hope. May your heart be filled with the joy of giving. It is the “Givers Gain” expression of the love in your heart and the kindness in your soul.
I hope this video stirs up some great holiday memories for you and if you’d like to share any of your standout funny, heartwarming, entertaining or unforgettable family holiday-time stories, I’d love to hear them–please share them in the comment forum below. Thanks!