Dear 2021string(9) "Dear 2021"

Dear 2021

I ended the year of 2020 with a humorous graphic on my social media that said:

“I don’t want any trouble from you. Just come in, sit in the corner, don’t touch anything, and keep your mouth shut”.

2021 is now half over. We are moving from ‘The Great Pause’ to ‘The Great Acceleration’.

What are your takeaways from the first half of 2021?  What was something positive that you learned so far?  Give some thought to this question and write down your observations.  I believe that this type of reflection will help us all to recognize the good that took place during a tough year. #2021

BNI Founder’s Day

The First Annual BNI Founder’s Daystring(36) "The First Annual BNI Founder’s Day"

In April of 2021, I announced an idea that I have been contemplating for some time: a special day of one-to-one meetings with BNI Members from around the world. More than 170 requests were received, and sixteen Members were selected to meet with me to ask any business and networking questions they had.

Last week on June 24th we had the first BNI Founder’s Day, an enjoyable and fun day of exclusive meetings with amazing BNI Members that I was honored to meet. It has been quite a while since I was able to have 1-2-1 meetings with Members and I found the questions and conversations to be very refreshing.

I want to say Thank You to the following BNI Members for their contributions in helping to establish this new tradition.

Elbert Or, Philippines
Chandana Bandara, Sri Lanka
Mahadevan R, India
Praveen Samuel, India
Soaham Panse, India
Jayant Agarwal, India
Michel Smeets, Belgium
Piotr Muszynski, Spain
Faye Goodwin, South Africa
Ilaria Salonna, Italy
Marjanne Deelen, Netherlands
David Whitehouse, UK
Ryan Sarkkinen, USA
Phyllis Whetsel, USA
Libby Bigolin, USA
Ingrid Misner, Canada

I invite everyone to join me in having a day filled with your own 1-2-1s next year when the second annual BNI Founder’s Day is held on the last Thursday in June.

BNI Founder’s Day

2021 BNI Founder’s Daystring(24) "2021 BNI Founder’s Day"

Welcome to the 2021 BNI Founder’s Day. Later this week, I start a new tradition at BNI. I selected 17 BNI members from around the world for a one-to-one meeting with me on June 24th. These seventeen BNI members represent eleven different countries. I am looking forward to these 17 individual one-to-one meetings.

The 2021 BNI Founder’s Day

It is going to be an amazing BNI Founder’s Day as I have one-to-one meetings with our BNI members. Furthermore, I am anticipating great questions from the BNI members during our one-to-one meetings on Thursday. The purpose is for BNI members to ask any business or networking-related questions during their meeting with me. Congratulations to those who were selected for a one-to-one meeting on June 24th.

187 requests were submitted from my April 15th blog. Thanks to the more than 170 additional BNI Members who also submitted request forms.  I wish I had the time to have a one-to-one meeting with all of you. Founder’s Day will become an annual event on the third Thursday of June every year. I recommend that you reapply again next year (starting in 2023, it will be the last Thursday in June each year).  Therefore, I will be planning to schedule another day full of individual one-to-one meetings with BNI members from around the world. The 2022 BNI Founder’s Day will be on June 30th, 2022. Look for the announcements in mid-April 2022 and submit your request form to my assistant by mid-May.

Celebrate Founder’s Day by Scheduling One-to-One Meetings this year on June 24th 

I invite all my followers to help me celebrate BNI Founder’s Day 2021 globally by scheduling several on June 24th too.

Your one-to-one meetings should be both structured and social. The more you can find overlapping areas of professional and personal interest, the more successful your one-to-one meetings are going to be. The Gains Exchange form (Available on BNI Business Builder for BNI members) is an effective tool for discovering these common interests. There is a direct linear correlation between the number of one-to-one meetings conducted and the number of referrals. Those who do three or more one-to-one meetings per month give and receive twice as many referrals as those who do one or fewer one-to-one meetings in a month. More One-to-Ones equal more referrals.

BNI Founder’s Day, on June 24, 2021, is an excellent opportunity. Schedule your own one-to-one meetings with your fellow chapter members or even BNI members from around the world. Reach out and invite other business owners and professionals to have a conversation with you to learn more about their business. Share your G.A.I.N.S. profile and ask some questions. It can be a great way to build and strengthen your business relationships.

BNI Master Connector

BNI Master Connector YouTube Livestream Eventstring(45) "BNI Master Connector YouTube Livestream Event"

It was very exciting to be a panelist during The BNI “Master Connector” YouTube Livestream Event on Tuesday, May 18th, on the BNI TV YouTube channel. If you missed the event and want to watch it, click here.

Thank you to all attendees who sent me their messages. The comments from this third global event were just as positive as our first event: Growing Forward Together, and just as informative as our second event: Restart the World. Thank you to each of the BNI members, directors, and visitors who joined us during this worldwide event.

About The BNI “Master Connector” YouTube Livestream Event

I want to thank BNI Chairman and CEO, Graham Weihmiller, for hosting an engaging panel discussion about becoming a Master Connector. I also want to personally thank the other two panelists for participating in the discussion: BNI Uganda National Director, Diana Ninsiima Kabuuka and the President of Membership Services Inc., Robert Skrob.

The event was open to businesspeople and entrepreneurs worldwide to help them build their business in 2021. During the panel discussion, I shared my vision for the future as well as my insights for business growth and personal success. We discussed how BNI and its 279,000 members are teaching businesses worldwide to foster global business recovery. Building strong relationships and empowered networks will lead to professional referrals and business growth. We shared ideas on how entrepreneurs can effectively build strong business relationships that can restart and ramp up their businesses.

Become a Master Connector

Master Connector is a BNI global initiative to help businesses and people connect. We hope that the tips we shared will help your business navigate through challenging times. Ultimately, we can build our relationships to create empowered networks and give referrals to others. Different people, different places, different countries, different faces, different cultures; we all speak the language of referrals, as we become Master Connectors.

If you are not a current BNI member, we invite you to visit a local BNI chapter and begin the process of building meaningful relationships with the other professionals at the meeting. If you are looking to grow your business, we can help and support your business in the essence of Givers Gain®. To receive an invitation to a BNI chapter in your area, simply click here.

During the livestream event, my fellow panelists and I featured the benefits of becoming a Master Connector and helped attendees understand that the person who builds trust by giving referrals and bringing visitors to their BNI chapter, is the person that experiences the greatest growth. Everyone learned how they can become a Master Connector by building strong relationships, giving referrals, and putting the “Connector Effect” to work in business and in life.

“The Connector Effect”

Viewers learned about the Amazon best-selling book, “The Connector Effect”, which I co-wrote with Graham Weihmiller and Robert Skrob. In this book we describe how using “The Connector Effect” can make business more lucrative, rewarding, and fun.  This book supports the broader business community with tips on how to become a Master Connector.  Use this link to download your own Kindle version of the book.

Connect at BNI Global Convention 2021 – Master Connection

Learn more about the content available to Connect. Master. Grow. by attending BNI Global Convention October 6-9, 2021. BNI is excited to offer two ways to participate, either in-person in Miami, Florida or virtually.

  • Connect to Master Connectors near and far through easy-to-use technology.
  • Master skills from industry leaders with a flexible schedule to meet your needs.
  • Grow through the Master Connections you are creating with the other attendees.

Tickets for the BNI Global Convention 2021 are now available. Click here to register.

Thanks to the BNI Marketing Team for the planning, marketing, and execution of another amazing livestream event. I also want to personally thank the BNI Chairman and CEO, Graham Weihmiller, for his inspirational vision for the future. BNI brings so many people together and connects them with each other for such a productive purpose.  With BNI you can become a Master Connector too.

 

introvert

I am an Introvertstring(17) "I am an Introvert"

Back in 2009, Elisabeth and I were sitting around the kitchen table talking when I made a comment about being an extrovert. She looked over at me and said, “Uhh, honey, I hate to break it to you, but you’re an introvert”. I smiled and said, “Yeah, sure, I am an extrovert”.  She then looked at me quite earnestly and said, “No, really you’re an introvert”. But, I am a public speaker and founder of the world’s largest networking organization.

I cannot be an introvert

Elisabeth insisted that I was an introvert. She proceeded to share with me all the ways that I have introverted tendencies.  All the examples she gave were true, but I still couldn’t believe I am an introvert.  On the other hand, we were married for over 20 years at that time. She knew me pretty well. Therefore, I found an online test to see where I was on the introvert-extrovert spectrum.  The test said that I am an “introvert / situational extrovert”I was something of a loner who was reserved around strangers but very outgoing in the right context.

This revelation gave me the insight to improve how we network at BNI

  1. As an introvert, I am naturally uncomfortable meeting new people when networking. However, BNI uses a structured meeting agenda that enables our members to meet new people comfortably either online or in-person. Therefore, I feel more comfortable when meeting new people at a BNI meeting.
  2. As an introvert, I am naturally uncomfortable introducing myself at networking events.  However, I ask the local or national BNI Director to assign a liaison when I visit BNI events.  This person walks with me at the event and introduces me to as many people as possible.
  3. As an introvert, I am naturally uncomfortable circulating the room at networking events. However, I realized that volunteering to be one of my BNI chapter’s visitor hosts allowed me to circulate more comfortably during the meeting.  This led to the concept I used many times of “acting like the host, not the guest“. I recommend that article to all my fellow introverts out there who are also uncomfortable networking.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you can be good at networking.  Both have strengths and weaknesses. If you can find ways to enhance your strengths and minimize your weaknesses, anyone can be a great networker.

Intuition in Business

Is There Room for Intuition in Business?string(40) "Is There Room for Intuition in Business?"

Is there room for intuition in business? Yes, most definitely. Decades ago, I may have thought differently. Over the years I have changed my opinion and believe that intuition can be another tool in the business tool belt. The definition of intuition is the “direct perception of truth or facts, independent of any reasoning process; it is an immediate apprehension or a keen and quick insight into something”.

The Intuits’ Intuition

Years ago, I read a science fiction book that talked about “intuits,” people in their society who seemed to understand things instinctually. Intuits were thought to have this incredible ability to have immediate cognition of a situation. But the truth was, the intuits developed the skill to quickly assemble the facts, analyze the data, and predict probabilities based on their field of expertise. The book was science fiction. However, it made a statement that resonated with me. It said something that flies in the face of the definition above. It said intuits trained for many years in very specific fields and that it wasn’t an instinctual understanding of an issue but it was about quickly using reasoning given their amassed understanding of particular issues. In the real world, that’s basically what predictive analytics do using computers today.

Instinctual Intuition

Having reconsidered my opinion on instincts, I noticed that as I acquired more experience in my field, I found myself better at assessing issues quickly and having a “gut feeling” about the direction I should go. What I had presumed was instinct was — at least in part — quickly assessing the situation given my amassed knowledge of a particular subject.

What some people think of as “instinct” might be this amassed knowledge applied rapidly. I recently had someone drop me a note about a particular challenge he was having. I gave him some advice and in an email response discussing the resolution of the issue, he said I had assessed a particular problem accurately and concluded by saying, “your gut instinct is amazing!” Truth be told, it was partly intuition but predominantly my years and years of seeing situations like this and quickly assessing the problem and offering a solution. In my very own narrow field, I looked like an intuit.

Follow Your Intuition

Growing Forward Together

Growing Forward Together World Tourstring(35) "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.

student loan

How My $5,000 Student Loan Became a Multi-Million Dollar Businessstring(65) "How My $5,000 Student Loan Became a Multi-Million Dollar Business"

Before I tell this story, let me say up front – I used the student loan in this story to pay tuition.  That said, let me tell you how that led to a multi-million dollar company.

Most people know me as the Founder of BNI.  However, I actually started a property management company three years before I started BNI.

My $5,000 Student Loan

I was recently going through my old files and ran across the paperwork for an old student loan that I took out during graduate school.  It was 1982, and I had applied to USC for a doctoral degree.  I really wanted to do my Ph.D. there, but I also had to figure out how I would pay for it if I was accepted.  Several years earlier, I had been accepted to Occidental College for my bachelor’s degree.  I was offered a 50% scholarship to go there. However, I couldn’t afford the other 50% (nor could my family).

Therefore, I went to a community college and then a state college, because that’s what I could afford (by the way, they were great schools).  Although I didn’t know how I could pay for the doctoral program at USC, I didn’t care. That was my big goal. Therefore, I applied and I was accepted.  I received a couple of small scholarships. However, I still had to pay the lion’s share of my tuition myself.

At the time, I had a full-time job in Los Angeles. However, I wasn’t making enough money to cover living expenses and the doctoral program.  So, I took another job. Working as many hours as I could so I could save up enough money to pay for that semester’s tuition.  I discovered that one semester at USC cost me more than my entire bachelor’s degree!  But that was my vision, and that’s what I worked towards.

I worked the two jobs AND I applied for a student loan of $5,000 to help pay for a semester at the university of my dreams. Having no idea if I’d get the loan, I applied. I worked to make the money in case I didn’t get the loan, however.

Well, a few months later (right before I was to start at USC), I was approved for the loan!  The thing is, I had also saved $5,000 from my extra work to pay much of the tuition in case I was not approved.  So, I had $5,000 in cash and $5,000 available as a student loan.  What should I do?  Should I use my $5,000 cash to pay for school, or should I take the low-interest loan for school???

Well, I knew I couldn’t keep working long hours for the next several years. Therefore, I decided to take the low-interest loan and use the $5,000 in cash that I had earned and applied it as a down payment on a condominium.  And that’s where my journey began in the investment property business.  You see, I flipped that condo a few years later for a larger house.  I then flipped that house a few years later for another larger house, which I then flipped for another two homes.  Eventually, I flipped those two homes to pay about 50% of a commercial property that I was building in Texas!

The original loan allowed me to take my $5,000 in cash and turn into a $1.8 million dollar commercial property. Of course, my wife and I made other cash investments over the years. We turned this little company I started into a multi-million dollar business with nine commercial properties and dozens of tenants.  All of this happened because I got a $5,000 student loan. I worked really, really hard to earn money and invest it – not blow it on things that wouldn’t matter decades later.

This is a story about the use of leverage and the commitment to discipline. 

Leveraging your money and using discipline can lead to incredible success.  I used leverage and discipline later to help build the BNI business.

By the way, I paid off all my student loans including interest years ago.  It was a proud day for me.  However, four weeks later, I got a letter from another university that read: “Congratulations Dr. Misner, your daughter has been accepted to our school.  You can go to this portal to make the tuition payments on her behalf.”

This time around, I didn’t need student loans.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2019 Video Messagestring(31) "Thanksgiving 2019 Video Message"

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. There is no time like the present to pause and acknowledge the people that we are grateful for. Please click here to watch my personal video message about Thanksgiving then take a moment today to show appreciation for and to return gratitude to others.

Giving thanks every day, not just on Thanksgiving.

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

Mr. Romero

Ivan’s Whystring(12) "Ivan’s Why"

There has probably been someone in your life—a coach, grandparent, teacher, aunt, or spiritual mentor—who’s made a difference for you. It may have been when you were young (it generally is) Or it may have been recently. It may have been a positive experience, or it may have been very negative. Either way, it is your “why” for what you are passionate about.

I’ve certainly had people who have made a significant difference in my life. One of those people was my freshman high school teacher, Mr. Romero, at Gladstone High School in southern California. Mr. Romero taught history, and that class was the one that selected the student council representative for the freshmen. I had run for student council numerous times in junior high school and was soundly defeated each time. The elections weren’t even remotely close. In fact, I came in dead last every time. Each election was a humiliating experience that left an indelible impression on me. So, by the time high school rolled around, I had no intention of running for student council again. Ever!

Welcome to Gladstone High School

The first week of freshman history class, our teacher, Mr. Romero, asked all the students, “Because we pick the freshman student council representative from this year’s history class, are there any volunteers for the position? Who would like to do it?” Nobody volunteered. Finally one of the prettiest, most popular girls in the class said, “Oh, Mr. Romero, you know, I would do it, but I’m just so busy! I don’t have the time to do something like that.”

Mr. Romero replied, “That’s OK, you don’t have to do it. But if no one’s interested in volunteering, as the teacher, I get to pick. Are you OK with that?”

The students came back with cheers: “Yeah, yeah, yeah—you go ahead and pick!” So the teacher looked around the class, paused his gaze at me, and, looking me straight in the eyes, he said, “Ivan, I’ll bet you would love to do this, wouldn’t you?”

I replied, “Well, um, well, yeah, I kind of would, Mr. Romero.” My momentary elation was immediately squashed when the entire class, almost in unison, moaned, “Oh, no. Not Ivan!” Even the too-busy popular girl stood up and said, “No, no, Mr. Romero. You know what—I’m actually not that busy. If you’re going to pick Ivan, I can do it after all!” Of course, while she was saying all this, I was thinking, Hello. You all see me sitting here, right?” But I couldn’t actually open my mouth to speak. I just sat there, quiet and embarrassed, holding my breath. Have you ever had a moment like this? When you felt so small you just wanted to slip underneath the carpet? That was how I felt at that moment.

It’s important to put this experience in context. Today, I’m an author, speaker, and fairly successful businessman with franchises on every populated continent of the world. But remember, this was happening to me as a young thirteen-year-old boy. I lacked confidence, I felt like I didn’t fit in at all, and I couldn’t get a chance to prove myself at something I really wanted to do. Just imagine, for a moment, how humiliating this was for me. I didn’t have the advantage of peeking into the future to know where I would end up. I have to tell you, it was a raw, exposed moment.

Somehow, Mr. Romero understood that, and he gave the ever-popular girl a withering look and said, “No, you had your chance to volunteer, and you didn’t take it. So I’m empowered to pick a representative, and I pick Ivan. He’s the student representative! Now, open your books and turn to chapter two.”

Student Council

Despite the grumbles rolling through the classroom, Mr. Romero’s decision was final. I was the Student Council Representative. My teacher believed that I could do a good job. I took a deep breath in and knew I would work hard—really hard—to prove him right. When the year-end Student Council elections came around for the following year, I decided to do something I had vowed to never do again: I ran for Student Council. That same class who loudly protested my appointment voted me in for another year, by a landslide! As a matter of fact, I won every election in high school after that—Student Council, Activities Director, Student Body President—every single one. It all started with Mr. Romero seeing something in me that I had not been able to see in myself. His giving me that chance allowed me to prove myself. This infused confidence in me, and that made a huge difference in my life. I gained leadership skills and learned responsibility by being involved in those school projects that I had to take from the beginning to the end. Mr. Romero positively influenced my life by giving me the opportunity to succeed. He didn’t do the hard work for me, but he opened the door for me. He gave me a chance to excel, to succeed, and to show what I was capable of doing.

The Man I Am Today

Years later, I knew this was an important experience in my life, but I never realized how seminal it truly was to the man that I would become. It wasn’t until a few years ago at an Asentiv seminar that I came to realize that my entire life’s work was in fact, a reflection of what Mr. Romero did for me as a young man. We were all studying our Emotionally Charged Connections (ECCs) to understand why we do what we do,

Every book I’ve written or business I’ve started has been an attempt to give other people an opportunity to succeed, to excel, and to accomplish what they want to accomplish in life. I can’t “make” someone successful. Only they can do that. I can, however, provide the system, the process, and the opportunity for them to achieve their dreams. I have been continuously reliving what Mr. Romero did for me, and I never even knew it—until I looked deeply into my “why.”

Your “why” is the most important thing you can figure out right now. It is the reason you do the things you are passionate about. If you don’t know that, you can never come full circle to completely fulfill your dreams.

30th wedding anniversary

30th Wedding Anniversary Thoughtsstring(33) "30th Wedding Anniversary Thoughts"

Yesterday my wife, Elisabeth, and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary together in the Champagne region of France.  We just left a BNI Conference in France and wanted to take a couple of days to celebrate alone.

This gave me time to reflect on the many ways she has been such an amazing life partner and I wrote down some of the things that I’ve said about her over these many years. She is the greatest referral of my lifetime.

Here are just a few 30th wedding anniversary thoughts:

  • You bring color to my black & white world. 
  •  I make the living and you make the living worthwhile.
  •  President John Adams always depended on Abigal Adams as his advisor and confidant. You have always been my “Mrs. Adams.”
  •  It’s hard being me – without you.
  •  You are always the most beautiful woman in a room.
  •  I am a compass and you are magnetic north. I will gravitate to you wherever you are.

She is my bride of 30 years. I wish her another 30 years together.

30th wedding anniversary

 

 

Wine O'Clock

Wine O’Clockstring(18) "Wine O’Clock"

Take a little Wine O’Clock time for YOU!

Life for people in this day and age is crazy busy. People will take up every spare moment in your life if you let them, so it is important to create a life that has “margins.” Build free time, family time, and personal time into the margins of your day-to-day existence. If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. You’ll be happier when you create margins—we promise. Schedule time to relax.

I have scheduled time to relax. Beth and I are taking a vacation this week with my good friend and co-author, Stewart Emery, with his wife. We have been enjoying this week together in Bordeaux France sipping wine and enjoying the sights.

In this video, we discuss “Margins”. You create “harmony” in your life by creating space in your life. Harmony is the access to the things that really matter to you and being fully present; while avoiding those things that do not.

“Who’s in Your Room?: The Secret to Creating Your Best Life”

This is the premise behind my newest book, co-authored with Stewart Emery, and Rick Sapio. We believe this book can change people’s lives. Learn the secret to creating your best life.

https://tinyurl.com/WhosInYourRoom

Whatever you are in life, be a good one. Experience the best the world has to offer. Opportunities will open up for you when you do.

CHEERS!

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