Success Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
choices

Work Hard and Make Better Choices

Working hard is only the first part of success.  Making good choices is the second part.  It truly takes both to achieve success at whatever you do.

I knew someone who was constantly lamenting her “bad luck”.  She wasn’t happy with the various jobs that she had over the years, her personal life was a shambles, she was almost thirty, hadn’t completed college, and constantly had money problems.  She often blamed situations or other people for the various predicaments that she was in.  However, the glaringly obvious truth was that although she worked fairly hard, she continually made horrible choices.  One day she would complain about money and then the next day she’d buy something totally extravagant and completely unnecessary.  The next week she’d complain about not being able to get a good job while showing up to work an hour late for personal reasons (which happened regularly).

From time to time she’d talk to me about her issues and I’d point out the choices she made that led to the current problem at hand.  Each time she’d pay lip service to acknowledge the connection, but the truth is she never took ownership for the real problem – her choices.  She once lamented “why me, why me, I deserve better!”  I didn’t offer my opinion on this question, but what I wanted to tell her was that “everyone feels like they ‘deserve better’ at some point in their life – get over it, stop complaining and start really doing something about it.  Work hard and make better choices!”

I’ve had the opportunity during my career to work with thousands of people who have experienced varying degrees of success in their lives.  Success is not an entitlement. One of the recurring themes I see with these people is that they plan their work and work their plan. That is, they think through their choices, make the best ones they can with the information they have, and then work hard to carry those choices out.

The Secret to My Luck

Not long ago I was talking to someone I’ve known for years about the growth of my business and some other personal goals I’ve recently met and he said, “Man you’re lucky.  It must be nice.”

I responded to him by saying “Yea, I’m lucky, let me tell you the secret to my luck…”

“First, I went to college for ten years.  During that time, I started my own business and worked really long hours for two decades.  Along the way, I mortgaged my house a couple of times for the business and I wrote five books.  You too can have this kind of luck.  All you need to do is apply this kind of effort to whatever you do and you can be just as lucky.”

He laughed and said, “Okay, Okay, I get it!!”  Did he really get it?  I don’t think so, because he hasn’t changed his behavior or started making different choices.  If being successful was easy – everyone would have the success they think they deserve.

Working hard is only the first part of success. Making good choices is the second part.  It truly takes both to achieve success at whatever you do.

success

Success Is Not An Entitlement

Everyone wants some degree of success.  They might want it in different forms, but I’ve never met anyone who didn’t want to be successful in or at something important in their lives.  This is good because I believe that everyone’s entitled to pursue success; but, success itself is not an entitlement.

It is largely determined by our hard work and our choices.  I know many people who work hard but make bad choices.  It’s amazing how many of them think they deserve to be more successful because they feel like they’ve worked so hard.  On the other hand, I don’t know very many, if any, successful people who have made good choices but didn’t work hard.

Working hard is only the first part of success.  Making good choices is the second part.  It truly takes both to achieve success at whatever you do.

When I was the CEO for BNI, I knew that the choices I made were important to the business.  The decisions I made impacted hundreds of employees, franchise owners, and associates as well as hundreds of thousands of BNI members around the world.  I remember back then talking to a good friend and mentor about some tough decisions I had to make and my concerns about them.  He gave me some great advice.  He said, “Not every decision you make has to be a good one.  Just make sure that you make more good ones than bad ones and when you make a bad one – minimize the impact by fixing it quick.”

Wow!  This was great advice.  It’s advice that squarely hits the point about working hard and making good choices.  Not every choice you make has to be on the mark.  However, enough of them do in order for you to get the kind of results you want.  Some of my biggest lessons in business have come from my losses, not my successes.  Generally, neither had much to do with luck but instead, with the choices I made or the commitment I gave to the project.

It is not being lucky

For most of the 30 plus years of running BNI, I didn’t feel very lucky or incredibly successful.  It took time, effort, hard work, and fairly decent choices before I felt any modicum of success.  The problem is that many people want to go from point A to point Z and bypass all the challenges in between.  They work hard, therefore “deserve” the success they want.

Success is not an entitlement.   It’s not a “right” or a “claim” that we should have.  Oh, people have the right to “pursue” success – but that’s it.  Success is most often earned. It is not handed over because you are entitled.

I remember years ago when my son was nine years old I asked him, “Trey, what’s the secret to success?”  He said, in a young boy’s slightly bored sing-song tone – “the secret to success without hard work and good choices is still a secret, Dad.  Can I go out and play now?”

What’s in the Way Becomes the Way

What’s in the Way Becomes the Way

When I was a child, my teachers all had the same complaint: “Ivan talks too much.” What my teachers saw as a problem ended up being an advantage. My job is to talk to people, and I am paid well to “talk too much”. I was able to take what was in the way and turn it around. It now becomes the way.

My teachers felt that it was a problem for me in school. My mother, on the other hand, didn’t give me too much grief on the subject. While the teachers generally thought it was a roadblock to my learning, I think they may have been wrong on that. What my teachers saw as a problem ended up cutting an incredible passion: I love to talk.

The secret here is to take the thing that’s in the way and channel your efforts in a manner that makes that problem part of the solution.

Please watch this video:

In 1985, I had a massive thing in his way. I had lost a client and could hardly manage to pay the mortgage, so I started a referral group to help myself and my friends generate more referrals in a structured way. That group became BNI, bringing success not just to me, but to thousands of business owners around the world.

Successful people know how to focus on a roadblock and turn it into an overpass. I think the secret here for anyone is to take the thing that is in the way and channel your efforts in a way that makes the problem part of the solution. What are your achievements?

To learn more, listen to BNI Podcast #564

Episode 564: What’s in the Way Becomes the Way

What’s been in your way that you’ve turned into an advantage? If something is in your way now, how do you plan to channel it? Share your experiences in the comments.

My First Business

My First Business, a personal story

Beth and I own a property management company (this would be a good story to share someday). We’re in Galveston setting up a new property for lease. Therefore, we were walking through a Home Depot to get what we needed to make the property ready to lease. We were walking by these house numbers and out of the blue, she started this video about my first business.

As a 14-year-old, I started my first company to help a neighbor sell his stick-on house numbers he manufactured. I took over his sales of reflective numbers and I hired a sales team. However, I did so well, I made him tired and he consequently went out of business

Please watch this video about how I eventually launched my entrepreneur spirit by the numbers.

Never, Never, Never Give Up

As part of a commencement speech, Winston Churchill is believed to have once said, “Never, never, never give up!”

I love this quote-however, the left side of my brain says that when it comes to business, that’s just not logical. You must know when the time is to give up. Fortunately, my right brain often wins the battle on this issue. You see, I may not be smartest or most successful person in the room, but I am almost always the most determined.

I believe that if you have great information and feel confident in your vision and your goals, then you need to be a “dog with a bone” in your focus and never give up. I have applied that approach throughout most of my life.

In 1992, I completed the manuscript for The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret; over an 18-month period, I sent my manuscript to 45 publishers all over North America. It’s difficult enough to write a book-but to then send it out and hope someone else sees its potential the way you do, is even more difficult. I sent it out to 45 publishers and received 44 rejections–until number 45 came along. I was that dog with a bone; I was not going to give up until someone gave me a chance. In 1994, the book was published and since then, its been through four editions, translated in more than 10 languages and sold more than 200,000 copies.  44-rejections

A few months ago, I was going through some old files and I found the records I kept of everyone I submitted to, and it made me remember the determination I felt. Had I given up on number 44, I may have never become a best-selling author in multiple markets around the world. That, and many other experiences I’ve had over my lifetime, have led me to believe that if you are confident in what you are doing-never give up. Never, never, never give up.

 

 

The printed copy of World’s Best Known Marketing Secret can be found here.

The audio version (yes – we have it as an audio book!) can be found here.

Selecting Your Business Networks

This video is hosted by Entrepreneur.com and can be found on The Networking for Success YouTube Channel.

Networking is the perfect way to help take your business to the next level. But putting your eggs in one basket and depending on one networking group to satisfy all your needs won’t work–and that’s coming from the Founder of the world’s largest referral network.

We all select different people in our lives that satisfy various needs that contribute to our well being; our parents provide comfort and guidance, our close friends provide support and cheer, our business relationships provide trust and honesty. While these satisfactions may overlap from group to group, it’s important to have more than one person you’re leaning on for all your emotional needs.

It’s the same with your networking groups! While you may find cheer and honesty in more than one group, it’s important to spread your interests to gain a varied support system.

When selecting your business networks, you need to understand which types are available so you can make an informed decision. There are five types:

1. Casual Contact: A gathering on people from many different professions, usually in a mixer environment

2. Strong Contact: Usually only allows one person per profession, get together very regularly

3. Community Service Clubs: An opportunity to rub elbows with other very successful people

4. Professional Associations: Trade organizations that are very specific in purpose

5. Online: Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, where networking is constant

To better understand which group fits you best, watch the video below.

 

What is a Lifestyle Business?

LBSSummit_IvanMisner_FBWhat defines happiness and success? Everyone has a different answer, but I can tell you one thing that most would agree on: money does not solely define success and certainly cannot buy happiness.

I recently had the opportunity to speak at the LifeStyle Business Summit, hosted by Michelle Villalobos. In telling her own story, Michelle said she was climbing the ladder like we all do, but when she examined her life, she in fact wasn’t happy–and so she left to find her own path to fulfillment. She started her own business, making upwards of $300,000 a year–which society tells us should make a us happy–but that as time went on, she had actually become what she disliked most in people and became the boss she herself had always feared. She never gave herself any breaks or time off, and sacrificed her own happiness and health for a corporate lifestyle.

Two years went by and then Michelle realized she had to make a change in order to find true happiness. She wanted to run a business that revolved around her life and contributed something positive to the world–and she did, by changing her perspective, her business model and her definition of success. Michelle calls her new business model a “lifestyle business,” a term which I found fascinating as it resonated with some many of the concepts I talk and write a.

In a lifestyle business model, you have to determine which things are satisfiers and which are dissatisfiers. Keep in mind that while money can be a quick satisfier, it often doesn’t lead to long-term happiness. Long-term satisfiers can be things like opportunity, recognition and working in your flame (finding you passion.) I’m a real believer in following your passion and finding things that are new and innovative within that passion to keep the flame burning. Dissatisfiers include things like working in your wax (not doing what makes you happy), climbing the ladder and yes–even money.

A great example of this theory is a school teacher. A man or woman doesn’t become a teacher to make money, but to make a significant change in the world around them. I’ve known Wall Street executives who made millions, but admitted that their life was hollow.

I strongly encourage you to join me at the virtual Lifestyle Business Summit on August 11. Register here to not only hear me, but several other top business and lifestyle experts talk about finding what truly makes you happy in your professional life.

 

 

 

Thanks, But I Don’t Need Your Card

This video is hosted on the Networking for Success YouTube Channel, hosted by Entrepreneur.com.

Imagine you’re at a networking event.

I know, it’s a stretch. But work with me here.

So you’re mixing and mingling and start passing out your business cards like candy. Suddenly, someone hands it back you and says, “No, thanks.” This actually happened to a BNI Member. He wrote to me, astonished, and asked what I would do in his situation. Well, here’s my answer.

 

 

 

Premature Solicitor

Why Successful Networking is All About You…Kind Of

This is the first in a two part series.

Do you find yourself a networking event, standing alone awkwardly and wondering why you can’t hold a conversation? Do you wonder why others don’t seem interested in talking to you, while those around you are conversing easily and often? You wore the right thing, you have a drink in your hand and clearly you have no one to talk to–so why aren’t people lined around the corner to speak to you?

I hate to be the one to say it, but it has to be said–it might be you. Not the inherent you, not your personality or your reputation; but your body language and behavior can turn a stranger into a referral partner or into just another body in the room. If you want to make this networking thing happen, you have to know–

Are you approachable or alienating?

Here’s how to know if you are APPROACHABLE:

1. Positive Attitude: You smile, laugh and look like you are a pleasant person to talk to. Although this seems ridiculously simple, you’d be surprised how many people don’t realize their frowning or looking bored in conversation. Go look in the mirror and watch how your face changes when you frown and when you smile–you’ll see what a difference it makes!

2. Open Body Language: In the book Networking Like a Pro, I talk about positioning when a person is conversing with others. Instead of talking to someone in a one-on-one conversation, standing closely together with your shoulders facing squarely at one another, make sure your stance allows the room for someone else to approach and join in.

3.Congruence: Conduct yourself as if every person you meet is the host of the event, going above and beyond to make them feel good. Don’t over compliment or lay on the schmooze, but do make a point to encourage others in conversation and seem genuinely interested in them and their business.

 

Next week: Are you alienating?

 

 

 

Which Networking Style Are You?

This is the fifth and final video in the “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com. In this series, I expand on common phrases I’ve used throughout my 31 years of referral-based networking.

When you’re at a networking event, do you eagerly bounce around the room, chatting with various people and passing out business cards? Do you tend to seek deep connections by only talking to a few people for longer periods? Everyone has their own way of making connections and networking, and it helps to understand just where you fall in the lineup.

Knowing your networking behavioral style will help you capitalize on your skills–and maybe even identify some flaws to improve upon. Take a look at the video below to find out YOUR style and maybe the next time you’re at an event, you’ll be able to better position yourself for greater success.

 

How to make the Ordinary, Extraordinary

This is the fourth video in the “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com. In this series, I expand on well-known phrases I’ve used throughout my career.

Success is the uncommon application of common knowledge.

It’s common knowledge within the business company that success in business comes from having passion, systems, goals and vision, social capital and leverage. So if we all have the same idea of what it takes to be successful, why aren’t we all?

Give me three minutes, and I’ll give you the answer.

 

Thin

Are You Spread Too Thin?

“Are You Spread Too Thin?” is the third video in the “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com. In this series, I expand on classic phrases I’ve used over the years.

Do six things a thousand times and NOT a thousand things six times!

But what does that really mean?

  1. Focus on key priorities and making them perfect (or close to it) before moving on to other projects or tasks.
  2. Making your business the best at a few services, not simply OK at several.

Wait, I can’t give it all away! Watch the video below to get the full scope of the idea.

 

 

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