Americans are Too Selfish
What if I told you that I had wanted to get 80,000 people together in the USA to help grow each other’s businesses? Would you think Frank was crazy? Would you say it is impossible? Would you say to me, “Frank, Americans would never do that, they are too focused on themselves, they are too independent, they are too selfish”?
Well, they’re not. For the last 36 years, hundreds of thousands of American business owners and sales professionals have worked together under the banner of BNI to live a Givers Gain life and to make a difference in each other’s lives. For over one-third of a century, Americans with their entrepreneurial spirit have been thanking each other for referral business through BNI.
Frank’s Great Memory
A few years back I was at a BNI chapter meeting. Toward the end of the meeting, which is when everyone “gives back” to the chapter, a gentleman stood up and shared a big event he had going on that day. He told the chapter of an appointment he had that morning to close the largest deal ever for his company. It was NOT a BNI referral. It was something he had been working on himself for over 3 years. He was just so excited and proud of finally making it happen he wanted to share it with his “BNI family.” When he finished telling of his accomplishment the room went wild. Everyone stood up, applauded, hollered, shook his hand, and hugged him.
As I watched this happen, I thought, “This is amazing. Where else does this happen?” Where do you find a group of people who receive no benefit from your business yet are truly excited and happy for your success? How crazy is it to have a group of people who want to help you grow your business, success, and desired lifestyle? After, he said his family didn’t even react as his BNI chapter did.
I am Thankful
It hit me hard that morning how lucky and thankful I am for this lifestyle I lead. Through BNI I have built a community of people who are focused on growing their business by first helping others grow theirs. A community of like-minded people who believe, live and practice Givers Gain.
In 2021 I am thankful for every Nurse, Doctor, Firefighter, EMT, and Police Officer that risks their lives every day for me. Someone they don’t even know. I am thankful for my wife that has put up with me for 30+ years. (God Bless Her!) I am thankful for the person I am today because of my Mom and Dad. They were amazing people and parents who taught my sisters and me the value of hard work, respect, honesty and giving to others. The amazing part is that they didn’t talk much about giving to others, they just did it. My sisters and I learned it by watching them live it.
Finally, I am thankful for a man back in 1985 that decided the way for him to make more money at his business was to put a “referral group” together using the philosophy of Givers Gain. A simple idea, that became a Global Network called BNI, and for 36 years has been, “Changing the way the world does business.”
My life has been affected in ways that Dr. Misner will never know. That my family will never know. But I know. I know that I am a better person today than I was 28+ years ago when I first became a member. Thank you, Dr. Ivan Misner, and every leader I have met in BNI that has made me the person I am today.
Frank De Raffele Jr. | BNI Hudson Valley Regions Executive Director