Many people who attend Dr. Misner’s keynote presentations congratulate him on his “overnight” success—which took more than 20 years of hard work. Very few people achieve success overnight, and even fewer can hang on to it. How many one-hit musicians are there? Sustaining success over time takes continuous work. Mark Twain claimed it took three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. Even people who seem to achieve success overnight have usually been working in obscurity for years.
You can watch Dr. Misner’s speaker’s reel and read more about overnight success on the Business Networking Blog.
Tell us what success means to you in the comments.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 228 -
Hello everyone and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, CA. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan, how are you and what do you have to share with us today?
I am doing great and today I want to talk about the myth of overnight success. It came as a result of me doing a blog at businessnetworking.com where I shared my speakers reel. I do a lot of keynote presentations. By the way, sometimes members are mistaken and think that I charge when I come to visit BNI regions. I never charge BNI to do keynote presentations. I do charge when I go to other organizations, but if you ever see me in your region, I don’t charge anything, including my travel.
I do a lot of keynotes for other organizations and I have a speakers reel that I posted up at businessnetworking.com and I think we will have the link in the podcast. During the course of speaking at organizations over the last decade, I have had the privilege and honor of doing keynote presentations and being the featured speaker at events across the world. I have never done this on the podcast- a good referral for me. It’s been over 200 podcasts and I never said that a good referral for me is someone that you know who is in charge of speakers for that organization and having me come out to do a keynote presentation in their organization. We can put them in touch with the people who handle my keynote presentations. That would be a great referral for me because it gives me a chance to go out and talk about networking. Of course, I mention BNI. I don’t do a big sale for BNI but I mention BNI and it’s great branding development for the organization.
As a speaker, I had somebody look at this speaker’s reel that they did for me and had somebody say to me how amazing it is that I achieved this kind of overnight success. Everytime someone says that to me, and I got it when somebody saw this video reel recently, I had to chuckle and say, “Yeah, I am a 20-year overnight success.” It took me 20 years to achieve any kind of success in my life. I really don’t think there is anything- there is always an exception. People say, oh yeah, there is someone who hit it big overnight. Those are the exceptions, not the rule. There are people that it happened to, but they can’t sustain that success.
It’s one of the reasons why people who have won the lottery- how many stories have we heard about people who have won the lottery and then they blow it all. They blow all that money. Why? Because they don’t understand how to manage money. They get this windfall and run it right into the ground.
So sustained success over time, I think, is where most people become successful. Very few people are overnight successes and hang on to that. I know it happens in the moves but I don’t see it happen in real life very much.
I asked for some feedback from members and readers of my blog. I would love to get some feedback on this podcast. Diana said on my blog that success takes years of hard work and patience. There is no such thing as overnight success. I couldn’t agree more.
There were several quotes. One that I had never heard before was by Mark Twain, who was quoted as saying, “It takes me three weeks to prepare a great impromptu speech.” That is so true. I think about that. To do a one-hour keynote, I will put in about 50-60 hours. I am not talking about a presentation where it is a sort of a state of the company presentation. Even then, I would probably put in 30-40 hours. But for a professional keynote presentation, I will put in at least 50-60 hours of work to do what looks like it’s just, you know, winging it- like I’m going off a handful of notes. But there is a lot of practice and a lot of preparation. Most successful people make it look easy, but it comes from a lot of work prior to that.
Another reader said he would love to find where opportunity meets preparation. I have heard that a lot. I really like that one. But one of my favorite things that was shared on this blog video was shared by BJ. BJ Shaw is the National Director in the UAE. He put this saying up about newly planted bamboo. The saying is that the first year it sleeps. The second year it creeps and the third year it leaps. That is so true because bamboo has actually been clocked to grow over 40 inches in a 24-hour period. Over 40 inches. Can you imagine that in a 24-hour period. But that doesn’t happen in the first year. It is after many, many years down the road.
I’d like to say that harder you work, the luckier you get. I think that’s really the secret to success. That is one of the reasons why in BNI I talk about systems and passion and applying these systems and being consistent in what you do. Being there week in and week out. Why do we do it every week? Because it is about building those relationships. And building relationships takes time. You have to be dedicated to it. We talked about this in a previous year’s podcast. You can’t expect to get a ton of business in just a few months. It takes time and ongoing effort if you want to be a success.
I don’t believe in this overnight success stuff. There are very few people I have met who have been overnight successes and have sustained that success over time.
I think it’s overnight for the people who are experiencing the other person’s success for the first time. So for them, it’s brand new, but for the person who is successful, I think they have to have been working on it for ages.
You bring up a good point. Somebody mentioned that in the blog, too. They said it really is a matter of perspective. You may not have ever heard about this person and all of a sudden, you hear about them and it looks like an overnight success but it really wasn’t. That person was working on it for a long time. And to me, success is about long-term. It’s not about short-term. You may have a short-term success, but can you keep it going? Can you sustain it over a long period of time? That’s where the rubber meets the road and it takes a lot of hard work- to sustain that over a period of time.
So if you have a chance and you’re listening to this podcast, tell us about your ideas of what it takes to be successful. I talk at length in a book that I wrote. It’s one of my favorite books that I did, Masters of Success. If you get a chance, take a look at Masters of Success because it talks about the things that I think it take to become successful in business and in life. Those things include passion, system, goals, vision, being able to deal with adversity, social capital skills. These are the things that you do long and hard and you are going to achieve some success. Share that with us. What do you think that it takes to be successful? We’d like to see it.
Great. Thank you, Dr. Misner. I really appreciate that. I just have to say that in the music industry, that is where you think you see the overnight success happening, but those people have been studying music for years. But anyhow-
They have. But what about those people that all of a sudden have a big hit. How many one hit wonders are there out there?
There are so many and they can’s sustain it. Even those who have a hit early on in their career- my point is maintaining that is a lot of work. No matter what it is you are talking about, maybe you are looking to get there a little quicker, but maintaining that success is as hard if not harder.
For me personally, it took many, many years to build my business. I see these kids coming out of college expecting to be filthy rich in a year or two. That is the exception, not the rule. It’s long-term commitment to hard work.
Agreed. Well, great.
Thank you, Dr. Misner. Well, I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by networkingnow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you again for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.