success

The Real Secret to Success Isn’t Really a Secretstring(54) "The Real Secret to Success Isn’t Really a Secret"

Over my career, I have observed people with different personalities, backgrounds, and behavioral styles achieve success in life. Many times I wondered if there was a reoccurring theme running through their success stories that would clearly illustrate what creates success.

The Secret To Success 

When I was interviewing average business owners and entrepreneurs for my book, Masters of Success, I asked thousands of them what they felt the “secret” to success was. They generally told me things like: vision, goals, passion, persistence, and systems.

I then asked many highly successful people who had obtained great wealth or personal achievement in business, sports, or science. They generally told me that success involved things like: vision, goals, passion, persistence, and systems. Sound familiar?

This made me very curious. I was teaching at a California State University in the Los Angeles area. I asked hundreds of college students what they thought was the secret to success. These were all undergraduate students in business with little or no real-world business experience. What I found amazing was that they also said success involved things like: vision, goals, passion, persistence, and systems!

Everyone I interviewed or wrote about regarding the secret to success gave me virtually the same answer. If we all know what it takes to be successful, why are we not all successful?

What Makes Someone Successful

I have found that many people are looking for some mysterious and ever-elusive secret to success beyond what they already sense to be important. The truth is, there is no great mystery. In fact, very often “success is simply the uncommon application of common knowledge.”

When you hear successful people talk about the secret of their success, have you noticed that you rarely hear any real secret? What you do hear about is their unwavering adherence to some system or approach they believed in and followed with intensity and determination — an uncommon focus on something that less successful people simply take for granted or pay lip service to.

Even when the ideas are easy to understand, they often don’t get implemented. People think there must be something more. After I presented a keynote speech in Sweden years ago, a woman in the audience came up to me and said, “Everything you said makes so much sense. Much of it was about things that I’ve heard were important to do, but I never did them because they seemed too simple. I thought there had to be more to it than that, that the road to success was much more complicated and daunting. So I wasted valuable time looking for some secret”. Then she said, “I don’t understand why people often find it easy to make things so difficult. Myself included”.

Success comes to those who have not only a passion and a vision, but who also have a persistence and a commitment to perform the fundamentals over and over. They continue to work and learn until they can perform these fundamentals flawlessly. In the end, being successful is not about being different or having secret knowledge. In the end, everybody knows what the goal is and how to achieve it. This is common knowledge, and it’s been around for a long, long time. Success is about knowing these things and achieving them without giving up, making excuses, or getting sidetracked. 

success

The Three Laws for Entrepreneurial Successstring(42) "The Three Laws for Entrepreneurial Success"

After four decades in the business world, I have found that three laws truly summarize an entrepreneur’s recipe for success: Passion, People, & Process.

Passion: The 1st Law for Entrepreneurial Success

First, you must be passionate about what you deliver to your customers and clients. Nothing great in life has ever been accomplished without passion. This starts by making sure you and your team are working in your flame and not in your wax. When people are working in their flame, they are on fire. It shows in the way they act, and it shows in the way they speak about what they do. When people are working in their wax, it takes all their energy away. You can see it in the way they act and the way they speak.

Not long ago, I had someone say to me they were training people in their company on how to do something very important. After they did the training about 10 times, they were getting bored. That worried me at first because it sounded like “training” was this person’s wax. So I asked him some questions. He said he really enjoyed the training, but teaching the same material over and over caused his boredom. He didn’t know what to do about it. I told him two things:

  • Sell the Sizzle

The next time he does the training, recognize that this might be the 11th time he’s done the presentation, but it is the first time that particular audience has ever heard it. I asked him to think about how excited he was when he was the one learning this content for the first time. Embrace that feeling and make sure the team feels the excitement of learning this content for the first time as well.

  • Re-live the Story

Storytelling is an important part of teaching your team new ideas. Make sure to “re-live” the story – don’t just “re-tell” the story. Re-living the story gives you that same excitement as when you first experienced it or heard it. It is that kind of passion that you need to apply to your business.

I saw him about a year later. He had now done the training dozens and dozens of times. He told me that my advice completely changed his approach and the people in his company who went to his training came out supercharged about the organization. It gave him great joy to see the “lights turn on” when he trained employees. This is what happens when you are passionate about the service you have to offer.

People: The 2nd Law for Entrepreneurial Success

People are the next piece of the formula. They are the most valuable asset for virtually every company in the world. People drive the engine of a business. To me, this means at least two things:

  • Constantly pour into your team

Help them improve their performance by supporting them through training and mentoring. Entrepreneurs who make sure their people receive proper mentoring are going to be more successful. We all have people in our lives that are “in our story.” These are people who have given us little nuggets of help or major support in some way. These are people who helped us be a better version of ourselves. A great entrepreneur, however, recognizes that the true measure of mentorship is not who is in our story, but rather whose story are we in? Whose life have we changed in some way to help them be a better version of themselves?

  • Be a culture champion

An organization’s culture is the secret sauce to great companies. It is the DNA of an organization. Make sure that the core values of the business are infused into the hearts and minds of the people throughout your organization. If you have healthy organizational core values and you strive hard to share them and live them, you help to form a team of people who will be loyal to the organization’s values as well. When this happens, make sure to treat that loyalty like royalty in the organization.

Process: The 3rd Law for Entrepreneurial Success

Lastly, it is about the process. Having good systems in place allows people to engage in their passion to deliver quality performance. The process is important. Systems are important. Here are two thoughts about the process:

  • Collaboration

While process and systems are important, it is also important to understand that you must apply the processes more like Mandela than Attila. In other words, don’t be a tyrant in the application of your systems. When I was 13 years old, my mother gave me a paperweight which is still sitting on my desk to this day. It says, “Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” She told me this was about collaboration, not manipulation. It was about working with people to help achieve success for everyone.

  • Innovation

Check your processes regularly. Don’t be enslaved to old practices. Many times, I’ve seen companies create incredibly cumbersome processes that are demoralizing to people in the organization. Here, it is important that the entrepreneur listens to their team when they say that a process is complicated. Have mechanisms in place to ensure communication. I have found that having advisory bodies in place representing the people who perform the work, as well as those who receive the service, truly helps to deliver a better product. I also recommend that you go in and actually perform the process yourself to see what they see. That can truly be an enlightening experience.

If you create an organization that executes well in these three areas: passion, people, and process; you will be a force to reckon with. You will become a leader in your industry, and you will create an amazing enterprise.

choices

Work Hard and Make Better Choicesstring(33) "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 Entitlementstring(29) "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 Waystring(35) "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 storystring(35) "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 Upstring(27) "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 Networksstring(32) "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?string(29) "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 Cardstring(40) "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 Ofstring(56) "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?string(31) "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.

 

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