After an encounter with a Portuguese Man o’ War jellyfish, Dr. Misner was advised to apply vinegar and meat tenderizer to the spots. This solution seemed both too simple and too improbable, but everyone else he asked offered the same solution. By the time he was willing to apply it, he was having heart symptoms. When the EMTs came, what did they do? Applied meat tenderizer and vinegar.
So how does this apply to networking? If you assume you know better than the people who have the experience, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes, and some of them will be painful. Don’t dismiss ideas just because they seem too simple. Learn from the people who have the experience.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 259 -
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 where are you?
Hi Priscilla. Doing great. I am still in Australia visiting BNI chapters. I love to visit BNI chapters and meet members. That’s where I am last week and this week.
Great. What do you have to share with us?
I have a different podcast. Normally, my podcasts are very specific with how-tos and maybe interviews with somebody about how to do something. But today, I have a story. The story really applies to why make all the mistakes? To become a great networker, you learn from other people’s mistakes and successes. There really are tried and true networking techniques that are so simple that seem like they would just be ineffective. Many times, we try to evaluate them and improve upon them, complicate them- that’s often called feature creep, where we add stuff to an idea that is already pretty good working.
So there was an experience I had on this once while on vacation really kind of reminds me of how we try to make some things harder than they really are and we aren’t as successful as we want to be in the process. I’ll tell you the story and I’ll give you the moral to the story as I wrap up.
Quite a few years ago I was in Hawaii and was enjoying the ocean. Unbeknownst to me, the water was actually pretty thick with Portuguese man o war, which are highly poisonous. I felt this stinging sensation across my chest. I wiped my chest with my right wrist- that’s important- my right wrist and arm. I lifted my arm up out of the water and I look at these tentacles that were dripping off of my arm. I followed them with my eyes and about 8 feet away from my body was this Portuguese man o war jellyfish that was huge. I was kind of alarmed. I shooed the tentacles off my wrist and I swam to shore as quickly as I could.
I ran up to the first hotel employee that I could. It was some cabana boy who was serving drinks to people by the pool. I said, “Hey, I think I have been hit in the chest by a Portuguese man o war. What should I do?” He said, “Well, are you feeling any pressure in your chest?” I said, “No, no.” He saind, “Okay, here is what you need to do. Go to the market that is just off the lobby. Ask for some vinegar and meat tenderizer. You are going to want to spray the vinegar on your chest and then shake the meat tenderizer onto the same spot and rub it all around. And you’ll be just fine.”
I thought that was really bizarre advice. He was way too calm. I had just been hit by a Portuguese man o war. He was way too calm and it seemed way too easy of a solution- and kind of goofy to be honest with you. I honestly thought this guy was doing his version of let’s goof on the stupid tourist. We can see if he actually does it. Maybe we’ll get pictures or something. I just thought he was crazy.
So I said thanks a lot, walked off and spotted a hotel employee not too far off. I kind of jogged over to him and I urgent told him that I had just been hit by a Portuguese man o war. I showed him and he went, “Yeah, that looks like a Portuguese man o war. Are you feeling any pressure in your chest?” Okay, just like the other guy asked. I said there was no pressure. He said, “Okay, what you want to do is go find the market. It’s right off the front desk. You want to find some vinegar and meat tenderizer. Spray your chest with the vinegar and rub in the meat tenderizer and you will feel a lot better. You’ll be just fine.”
I wasn’t at all reassured. I thought these guys had a staff meeting about how to goof on the tourist. I didn’t believe him, and I ran to the hotel and saw the hotel manager. I thought the hotel manager would give me the straight scoop. He is not going to give me the nonsense. I ran up to him and said that I had been hit by a Portuguese man o war. He said, “Yeah, that looks like a Portuguese man o war. Are you feeling any chest pains, any pressure in your chest?” I said no I wasn’t feeling any pressure in my chest. He said, “Okay. Fine. Just run down the hall. There is a little market. What you want to do is get some vinegar and meat tenderizer and spray it on your chest and then powder yourself up with the meat tenderizer and just rub it in.”
I finally thought he can’t be serious. Alright, I know this is a joke, but I’ll do it. So I reluctantly went down to the store and I just knew there were guys back there laughing at me about it. I figured they were looking on the cameras down the hall and they were all laughing. So I entered the small market off the lobby and I started searching for all the chargrilled products. While I am looking around, I start to get shortness of breath. Suddenly and really quickly, I began to experience this crushing weight on my chest. It was horrible. I started feeling like it was a heart attack.
I was thinking oh my goodness, I am having a coronary. As I stumbled out of the store, which was literally just a few feet down the hall. I stumbled down the hall, got to the front desk and literally dropped to my knees and went flat on my back clutching my chest. I was saying to call 911. They called 911, the paramedics were coming. No kidding, there was this little girl standing by me. I am in the middle of the lobby here, okay?
Imagine a lobby in Hawaii. There is this guy in a bathing suit, a beach porpoise in the lobby, clutching my chest. I am in agony. This little girl points at me and says, “Look, Mommy! Look at the man on the floor!” She was like, “Stay away from that man. This is what happens when you do drugs.” I was like, no not drugs, it was a Portuguese man o war.
The paramedics rush into the scene. They finally get there and are going to give me the real medical attention that I need. After they find out what happened, the paramedic opened up his lifesaving kit, and I knew that they were going to pull out a defibrillator. I was making my peace with God at that time and bracing myself for a big jolt. Instead, he pulled out- you may have guessed it- a spray bottle of vinegar and some Adolf’s meat tenderizer.
He then proceeded to spray the vinegar and sprinkle the meat tenderizer on my chest and thoroughly rub the mixture around. Within seconds, Priscilla, seconds, the excruciating pain began to subside. Within a couple of minutes, other than just a little pain where the stripes were- and remember, I used my wrist to wipe the tentacles off, so what happened was the tentacles were right on my wrist, so it mainlined the poison into me.
But after the vinegar and meat tenderizer, the pain was virtually all gone. It turns out that what I thought was a big barbecue joke on the tourist is a well-known cure for some jellyfish strikes. Not all but some. Meat tenderizer contains an enzyme, I think it’s pappin, which breaks down the toxin proteins and neutralizes them. And the vinegar is sort of the vehicle to put it into the bloodstream. The combination has a very, very quick impact.
Now, why am I telling this story? Here is how it applies to you as a listener at BNI: Thinking back on it, I am amazed at how many people gave me a solution to my problem, but I still had to learn the hard way. You know, I am sitting there thinking who is going to believe the cabana boy? What does he know, right? And the hotel employee, okay, maybe there is a pattern, but I have a doctoral degree. I am smart. These guys are just kidding with me, right? They’re joking. And the hotel manager, okay, well I admit at that point, there was no excuse. At that point, I needed to go on in.
I made one of the biggest mistakes that people in business make. I didn’t listen to the people who have the experience. I assumed that I knew better. The truth is I didn’t know better at all. There is nothing like experience. It beats education every day of the week. The only think better is a combination of education and experience- or at least a willingness to learn from other people’s experience.
There are so many basic referral marketing and networking techniques that any good business person knows to be effective. They don’t try to look for something more complicated or involved because they know from their own experience as well as the experience of others what works and what doesn’t work in business.
So if you are listening to this podcast, think back throughout your life. In the future, you may read things that seem too simple or ideas that you think you have heard of before. Don’t dismiss them, embrace them. Especially, if you are hearing this from people whom you know to be successful.
Opinions are like noses. Everybody has one. Everybody is going to give you an opinion, but take the opinion seriously for those people who are in the know, those people who have the experience. Even though their idea may be simple, they are often times- when you are talking about business networking, if they were easy everybody would do them but they don’t. Great networkers learn from other people’s failures and successes.
So get out that vinegar and meat tenderizer and learn from the masters. Learn from people in your chapter, directors, director consultants- hey, maybe even this podcast. Learn from other people so you don’t have to make the mistakes that other people have made. That’s my message for today, Priscilla.
Great. Perfect I love that story. I want to thank you for this podcast, Dr. Misner.
Thank you, Priscilla, and members listening to this podcast and directors: share this podcast with your members. It’s a lot of fun and it has a great message. Share this message with people that you work with week in and week out with BNI.
Okay, great. 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 so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.