The Success Principlesstring(22) "The Success Principles"

In this video, I talk to my good friend Jack Canfield about Jack’s just-released updated edition of his bestselling book, “The Success Principles.”

Watch the video now to hear the truly amazing story of a man whose life was completely transformed as a result of following the principles in Jack’s book and to get both  Jack’s take  and my take on what it takes to be truly successful in any given area of life.

if you’ve read the earlier edition of Jack’s book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Please share your feedback in the comment forum below. Thanks!

To learn more about the newly released edition of “The Success Principles,” please visit www.TheSuccessPrinciplesBook.com.

The Top 7 Things I’ve Learned from 30 Years of Heading the World’s Largest Business Networking Organizationstring(119) "The Top 7 Things I’ve Learned from 30 Years of Heading the World’s Largest Business Networking Organization"

BNI-30-Year-Logo

BNI’s Official 30th Anniversary Commemorative Logo

30 years ago this past Thursday, I put together about 20 people in a small coffee shop in Arcadia, California for the very first meeting of BNI® (Business Network International).  The organization was run from a small bedroom which was converted into an office inside my house in La Verne, California.

The House Where BNI® Began

The House Where BNI® Began

I am humbled by the fact that today the organization has over 7,000 chapters in 60 countries with over 170,000 members world-wide.  In addition, we have over 30 BNI staff at HQ and more than 3,000 BNI Directors and Director Consultants working for the organization!

I don’t believe any of the two dozen or so people who were present at that first meeting fully realized that this was the beginning of something amazing. 

That realization came to me almost a year later between Christmas and New Years as I looked back in amazement at having opened up 20 groups during the year.  At this point I recognized I had struck a chord within the business community.  We don’t teach networking in colleges and universities anywhere in the world, and business people are hungry for referrals. They simply had no viable way to generate them regularly back in 1985.  It was during that week that I sat down and put together the outline for a plan that has evolved into what BNI is today.

I was recently asked by a BNI Director what the secret to this growth was.  I’ve taken some time to write down some of the key factors I think contributed to our success as my answer to his question.  These are factors you won’t find in most business books, and they weren’t taught to me in graduate school.  But I think they were critical to our success in this organization and they may be relevant factors to you, too.

BNI's Current Headquarters Building in Southern California

BNI’s Current Headquarters Building in Southern California

Lessons I Learned in Developing BNI:

  1. Set Goals. I know – everyone says “set goals,” but let me give you a slight variation to this concept.  I recommend you set three levels of goals.  By setting goals in this manner, you give yourself some flexibility in where you want to go over the next year (or years).
    1. High – set a goal that is a stretch. This is one that will be very difficult to reach, but it is definitely possible.
    2. Target – set a goal that you are confident you can reach. It won’t be easy, but it is definitely possible.
    3. Low – set a goal that if everything goes wrong, you are still confident you can reach this.
  2. Reverse engineer your goals. At each level above – where do you want to be at the end of twelve months from now?  That number would be 100% of your annual goal.  Now reverse that.  At nine months you should be at 75% of that goal.  At six months, you should be at 50% of that goal.  At three months, you should be at 25% of that goal.  Check your progress every month.  Stay on track.
  3. Do six things a thousand times, not a thousand things six times! I think one of the big mistakes businesses make is that they jump from one bright shiny object to another. For me, success has come by being like a “dog with a bone!”  I have taken techniques that I’ve seen work, and then I’ve done them over and over and over and over.  Six things, a thousand times.
  4. Create a larger vision. It’s never too early or too late to create a larger vision.  Create something that is a unifying concept for you, your employees, and possibly even your clients – something that resonates with people and creates a long-term vision for the company.  For BNI this began with our philosophy of “Givers Gain.”  It has been inculcated throughout the organization and has been the guiding force of our referral-marketing program.  It led to our vision statement of “Changing the Way the World Does Business” which is all about businesses collaborating and cooperating through our philosophy.
  5. Maintain personal engagement. As a company grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to be personally engaged in every aspect of the business.  That means you must make choices.  However, you must continue to be personally engaged as much as possible.  Technology has enabled me to stay engaged with members and directors (through my visitations, video messages, this newsletter, my blog, the BNI Podcast, our social media, and BNI Connect, to name a few). Nothing replaces personal engagement.  The more you remain engaged, the more your vision can thrive.
  6. Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice. One thing I’ve learned over the last 30 years is that I can teach people “how” to do something (including network).  I can’t teach them to have a good attitude, and I don’t have time to send them back to Mom to get retrained.  The only thing better than “ignorance on fire” is “knowledge on fire.”  If I can take someone who is on fire and teach that person how to succeed, our organization becomes unstoppable.
  7. Do what you love, and you’ll love what you do. As a business person, you are either working in your flame or working in your wax.  When you are in your flame, you are on fire.  You are excited and energized.  When you are working in your wax, you are drained and fatigued.   As a company grows, it is easy to get caught up doing more and more in your wax.  Find out what your flame is, and then do your best to work more in that flame.  Find people whose flame is your wax and put them in the roles you no longer love doing.  This will free you up to work in your flame.

I’d love to hear any thoughts, questions, suggestions, or observations that you might have about the BNI organization whether you’re a member of the organization or not and I’d also really like to hear any key lessons or tips for success which you’ve learned through your own experience in the world of business.  Please share your thoughts, etc. in the comment forum below–thanks!  

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Small World After Allstring(34) "It’s a Small World After All"

Why am I titling this week’s blog entry after a Disney song?  Just watch the video and you’ll find the answer . . . suffice it to say that even after 30 years of heading the world’s largest referral marketing company (BNI®), I’m still shocked at the fact that it really is a small world we live in and at how close the degrees of separation can actually be.

In this video, I tell the story of how I accidentally connected with a BNI member in Texas by phone when I was intending to call a completely different phone number–the result was completely unexpected and it just goes to show how small the world can actually be.

After watching the video, I’d love for you to share any stories you may have about interestingly unexpected connections you’ve made–please share your stories in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

A Merry Misner Christmasstring(24) "A Merry Misner Christmas"

 With this video, I’m taking a break from my regular educational business / referral marketing videos and 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.

Misner Family Christmas Day Gift-Unwrapping Mayhem of Christmases Past

Misner Family Christmas Day Gift-Unwrapping Mayhem of Christmases Past

I hope you take a few minutes to watch and enjoy the video because, in it, I share a fond memory from one specific Christmas in the Misner family that really stands out in my mind and makes me shake my head and smile all at once.  I really had fun recording this because I got to reminisce a bit and also 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.

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!

Happy 2015 Holiday Season to all from the Misner family!

 

How to Set Goals for the Year Aheadstring(35) "How to Set Goals for the Year Ahead"

As 2014 draws to a close, many people are beginning to think about what goals they would like to accomplish in the coming year. In light of this, I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you how I personally go about setting and achieving my own goals.

Watch the video now to get my top three tips on how to plan your goals and what actions to consistently take in order to achieve success when it comes to reaching your goals.  Also, I’d love to hear what tactics have worked for you in regard to goal accomplishment so please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Giving Thanksstring(13) "Giving Thanks"

Every day is a good day to stop and reflect on what we’re thankful for yet we often get caught up in the stresses of our hectic day to day grind and forget to take stock of the many things in our lives that we deeply appreciate and shouldn’t take for granted.

Here in the United States, today is Thanksgiving Day and I love this day because it forces me to take a break from my busy schedule and to take the time to reflect on the things I’m grateful for.  From my family to my business to my health to my network of friends, associates, and blog followers I have been extremely blessed and I would love to take this opportunity to give thanks and count my blessings.

I really appreciate you taking the time to watch this video and if it gets you thinking about what you’re thankful for, I would really love for you to share your thoughts in the comment forum 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! 🙂

It Never Hurts to Ask . . . Right?string(34) "It Never Hurts to Ask . . . Right?"

How many times have we heard people say that it never hurts to ask? Surely more times than we can count. 

Well, in this video, I explain why it definitely hurts to ask sometimes–especially if you ask to soon!  I share a personal story of a recent time when a stranger contacted me via LinkedIn wanting to connect and accompanied the connection request with a note asking me something which I found inappropriate to the point that I decided right then that I was never even going to consider connecting with her.

Watch the video to hear the story and to find out why I flagged the woman’s LinkedIn request as problematic on three significant levels.  Let me just say that this is ‘Networking 101’ and if I were her teacher, she would have gotten a failing grade–this is not the way to network!  Whether you frequently participate in face-to-face networking, online networking, or both, you’ll definitely want to hear this story so you never make the three mistakes that this woman did.

I’d really love to hear your feedback on this.  What are your thoughts?  Also, please share any similar horror stories you may have in the comment forum below–I’m looking forward to hearing from you.  Thanks!

Promote from Withinstring(19) "Promote from Within"

In this video, I explain how it can benefit both business owners and employees when business owners promote existing employees from within the company whenever possible as opposed to hiring outside individuals to fill higher positions.

In almost 30 years of running my international networking organization, BNI®, I have largely taken the approach of hiring new employees to fill lower level positions and then promoting them over time to higher and higher positions. To exemplify how this has proven beneficial, I tell the story of an employee I hired over twenty years ago as a receptionist who is now the third highest ranking executive in my company.

I firmly believe that actively looking for opportunities to promote people from within a company not only increases morale within the entire company, it also motivates employees to grow their skills and experience and perform at an increasingly high level.

What is your opinion on promoting from within a company as opposed to hiring from the outside whenever possible?  Do you have a story about an employee or employees you have promoted who have proved to be irreplaceable assets to your business?  I’d love to hear from you so please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Is It Appropriate to Network Anywhere–Even at a Funeral?string(62) "Is It Appropriate to Network Anywhere–Even at a Funeral?"

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

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

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

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

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

 

Your Contribution Lives Onstring(26) "Your Contribution Lives On"

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

MonBlog-RW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rest in peace, Robin. You will be missed.

Body Slam!string(10) "Body Slam!"

Business conferences, as a rule, aren’t extraordinarily exciting. They don’t really take your breath away.  The one I attended in Hot Springs, Virginia, in 2006 was no exception.  Mind you, it was interesting – but not much really exciting happened except for one particular evening.   A friend of mine witnessed someone desperately choking at a restaurant.  She calmly and professionally, walked up to the person and swiftly did the Heimlich Maneuver to dislodge the food.  I heard all about the experience from several witnesses who watched in awe, as our mutual friend saved the day.

ChokingBlog

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I vividly remember stopping to think about what I would do if I were alone, had something stuck in my throat and there was no one around to do the Heimlich on me.  At the time, I didn’t know anything about the chair Heimlich which would have made my experience and this story much less dramatic.  But I didn’t know it at the time, and so I sat with my thoughts considering what I might do.

I finally came to the conclusion that I would simply jump as high into the air as I could and slam my body onto the floor to force the air (and the food) out!  There, great.  Another problem solved.  Now, next thing to contemplate.  Seriously, that was about as much time as I thought about the “possible dilemma” which I would probably never face.

Fast forward exactly one month later to May 8th 2006.  I was sitting in my office working from home one afternoon.   It was well after lunch time and I was getting hungry.  I decided to heat up some left-overs from last night’s dinner.  I checked with my son who was way over on the other side of the house to see if he was hungry.  He said, “No,” so I proceeded to microwave the piece of tri-tip beef and some vegetables.

When it was good and hot, I took it into my office and sat at my computer working on whatever project I was working on while I absentmindedly ate my lunch.  The steak was really good, but it had some gristle that made parts of the meal a little difficult to chew.  I took a pretty big bite of meat, chewed it up, and swallowed.  What I didn’t realize, however, was that a tough piece of gristle was attached to the other half of the piece in my mouth I had not yet chewed.  So, when I swallowed the one piece, it pulled the other piece down in on top of the first.  As I’m sure you guessed by now, the steak was well and truly lodged deeply in my throat.

Yikes!  “What do I do,” I thought?  I reached for the phone to dial 911, however, I quickly discovered that when you have something completely stuck in your throat – you CANNOT make a sound.  Nothing, nada, zip, zilch.  You are completely silent!!!  “But wait,” I thought to myself, “I have this all figured out – I thought about this a month ago.  I’ll simply jump as high as I possibly can and slam my body on the floor.  Yea, that’s the ticket – I’ll do that – NOW!”

With that, I stood up, took a big step, launched myself into the air and slammed onto the floor.  Unfortunately, other than a couple of badly bruised ribs, absolutely nothing happened.  At this point, I was getting pretty desperate and feeling a little light-headed, so I quickly stood up, took two or three really big steps and LAUNCHED myself as high as I could into the air.  It was so high it would have made any professional wrestler proud.  It was in fact, a world-class Wrestlemania body slam – right on the floor of my office.

With that, the stuck piece of steak popped out of my throat, but it remained in my mouth.  I then opened my mouth and frantically gasped for a big deep breath.  Luckily, I was able to get a big gulp of air.  Unluckily, the steak was still connected to the rest of the bite by the stringy piece of gristle – it immediately got sucked right back into my windpipe!!! The thought flashed through my mind that this might just have been my very last breath.

I thought I was desperate before – now, however, I was incredibly desperate.  I wasn’t thinking very clearly, and I thought I would run upstairs to get help from my son.  Unfortunately, I managed to get only part of the way there before I could feel myself starting to get light headed and on the verge of passing out.  I saw the stairs and called an audible.  Instead of slamming into the flat surface of the floor, I would slam my body into the stairs while aiming my solar plexus for one of the stair steps.  I took a running start for the stairs and did what had to look like a Three-Stooges-like physical stunt, launching myself into a stair step that I was aiming for.  This time, the piece of steak AND its evil twin both ejected from my mouth in a manner that was reminiscent of the Exorcist.

I sat down on the stair that saved my life and coughed, coughed, and coughed – but more importantly, took long deep breaths of air.  My throat hurt, my head hurt, and I can’t tell you how badly my ribs hurt.  I sat there for no more than a minute when the phone rang.  To this day, I do not know what possessed me to stand up and answer the phone – but I did.   I answered it with the most grizzled, gravely, frog-like voice you could possibly imagine.  “H-e-e-ello,” I rasped.  It was my mother.  She said, “Hi honey, is everything ok?”

Now I have no idea why my mother called.  We spoke often but not every day.  She had no reason whatsoever to call me that afternoon.  But she did call me.  Furthermore, she sounded worried.  She said, “I just had this bad feeling and I had to call you to make sure you were ok.”  “I’m f-i-i-i-ine” I rasped out.   “You don’t sound fine,” she said.  “No, I’m good – just something stuck in my throat is all.  I’m good now.”  I never told my mother what happened that afternoon. 

But I sometimes think back to several moments surrounding this whole episode.  Why did that story about my friend doing the Heimlich give me pause?  What in the world possessed me to think about what I’d do if no one were around and I had something stuck in my throat.  And, how was it that my mother called moments after the episode and wanted to know if I was ok?

All of these are mysteries to my linear thinking, left-brained self.  But I think of them nonetheless. Needless to say, I have a new appreciation for each of the breaths I have left and that’s why I felt compelled to share this story with you today. 

Have you had an experience that has caused you to personally never take another breath for granted?  If so, I’d really like to hear it so, if you don’t mind sharing it, please tell us your story in the comment forum below–thanks!

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