opportunity Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Mr. Romero

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.

Summer Networking

Summer Networking Tips

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.

  • BBQ
  • Block Parties
  • Pool parties
  • Picnics
  • Ball games or sporting events
  • Music Festivals
  • Reunions
  • Parades
  • 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)

The GOAL?

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.

Marcos R. Martins

Co-creating a More Collaborative Society – by Marcos R. Martins

International Networking Week: “A New World of Opportunity” stories from various international BNI leaders

Submitted by Marcos R. Martins

National Director – BNI Brazil

Marcos R. MartinsEverything started in 2002, when I was in USA in a business trip and I was invited to a BNI meeting. It was winter, a dark cold morning when we arrived at the meeting place. We were very well received by the chapter members, and we kept an eye on the dynamics of the meeting. Frankly speaking, my first impression was that the meeting was an American thing made for American people. Because my focus on that trip was elsewhere, so I didn’t give continuity. Everything changed five years later, in 2007, when I was working with Executive coaching based on the development of Networking skills, so I remembered that experience with BNI. Searching BNI, it caught my attention realizing that this organization had doubled in size in the past 5 years, going from 2,400 chapters, 50,000 members in 20 countries to 4,900 chapter and 110,000 members in 44 countries. I also noticed that South America was the only continent without BNI presence. I immediately contacted BNI head office in USA, and the rest is history.

Now, 10 years after my first BNI training in January 2008, we placed Brazil and South America in the BNI maps. Today, there are 130+ chapters and 5,000+ members in 8 States and 70 cities in Brazil. These numbers are important to illustrate the growth of BNI in Brazil and around the world, but the best was about to come. BNI’s essence are the people. They are the ones who build those numbers and make the difference in our lives. Therefore, it’s not hard to imagine what happens when those people decide to help each other and recommend business opportunities to one another, in other words, to practice the reciprocity law. The Givers Gain philosophy permeates the BNI organization. If I give you a business opportunity, you’ll be interested in give me business in return or to somebody else in our chapter. Only the ones who are a part of BNI are able to understand the transformational power of the Givers Gain philosophy. That’s the beauty of Networking. We never know where it will take us, the doors that potentially will open in front of us. This philosophy may appear simple, but it is not obvious. Very few companies have such a strong culture as BNI.

What if I tell you that this organization and its strong culture has changed my life, professional and personally?

And has been doing the same in the life of thousands of people around the world? It seems too good to be true, right? As the CEO of BNI Brazil, I’m suspect to talk about it, but what can we say about the hundreds of members and directors here in Brazil who has witnessed the change that BNI has done in their lives and companies? They say that BNI leveraged their sales in 50%. Others say that 80% of their clients come from referrals of their chapter members. There are those who say they have completely redesigned their companies through strategic partnerships with other BNI members. Not mentioning many cases where professionals and entrepreneurs come to thank me, saying that because of the business opportunities received through BNI they managed to avoid shutting down their companies during the economic recession. How grateful it is to receive this feedback! To know that we are making a difference in people’s life is priceless! This is what motivates me to keep waking up every morning searching the expansion of BNI to reach more and more entrepreneurs all over Brazil.

Highlighting only one aspect of this transformation provided by BNI, for the first time in my professional life I was able to align my professional and personal values. I don’t have to be someone at work and someone else at home. Those who have already worked in big companies know what I’m talking about. When someone gets this alignment, simply, work stops being a burden and starts being a journey with purpose. During these 10 years leading BNI Brazil, the experience has shown me that in a bigger or smaller scale, people are being touched by BNI, members, directors, employees, also have given us the same feedback about this experience of alignment between values and purpose. Working in a collaborative way for the good of the others makes all sense to us in BNI.

A new world of opportunity

We know we are building together something much bigger, we are not just fostering more business to BNI members, we are contributing to transform people into better professionals, we are catalyzing business efforts to improve local communities where BNI is located. We are changing the way the world does business. BNI brings out the best of human being. As Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, says, the BNI Organization haven’t helped only the evolution of mentality from competition to collaboration, but, more important, the evolution of mentality from collaboration to co-creation. Nowadays, if companies like Uber and Airbnb are in the vanguard of collaborative economy, BNI organization went beyond that, it was not only visionary materializing the collaborative economy more than 3 decades ago, but also as the precursor of the co-creative economy. Where all stakeholders get together to build a greater good for society. Literally, they live the profit with purpose mind set. It is not enough serving the stakeholder with good products, good services, good salaries and good profits – all of that combined effort needs to be grounded in a higher purpose, positively impacting society in which this organization is inserted. Of course, we from BNI, seek to grow our companies’ profits, but we know that at the same time we are co-creating a more collaborative Society where fierce and predatory competition (scarcity mentality, which divides and subtracts: for one to win, other has to lose) gives place to “coopetition”, in other words, cooperation between people and companies, generating more business opportunities for all, as well as strategic partnerships between peers and / or competitors. This is the mentality of abundance, which sums and multiplies for everyone to win. This is the BNI organization in action. Be welcome to the world’s largest referral organization, where a new world of opportunity is waiting for you.

Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week 2019!

Marcos R. Martins National Director – BNI Brazil

International Networking Week 2019

International Networking Week 2019®

International Networking Week 2019® is an initiative of BNI®. International Networking Week 2019 will feature a number of networking events across the world!

The 2019 International Networking Week® is just around the corner. Therefore, it’s time to build a powerful personal network. Invite your best client to your BNI chapter or to your networking mixer during February 4 through 8, 2019. Check out the promo video for next year’s International Networking Week®. #BNIINW19

Are you planning on participating in the 2019 International Networking Week®

Therefore, join us for the 12th Annual International Networking Week® on February 4-8, 2019.

This Year’s International Networking Week 2019 Theme: “A New World of Opportunity!”

Please watch this video to learn about INW and how you can invite your best client to your BNI chapter during this week. In addition, opportunities occur anywhere for referrals.

The goal of International Networking Week® is to celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses across the world. Therefore, simultaneous events are held globally to celebrate International Networking Week®. In conclusion, for more information or to promote your local networking event please see internationalnetworkingweek.com

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