Dr. Misner shares a story from his high school football days. When the team members complained about having to do wind sprints and conditioning exercises at practice instead of playing ball, their coach took them to see the LA Rams practice. Imagine their surprise when they saw that the pros were doing the same conditioning exercises their coach had inflicted on them.
If you do not learn to execute the fundamentals flawlessly, if you do not engage in the conditioning necessary, you will never be a champion on or off the field.
BNI meetings are a place to practice the fundamentals of networking until you can execute them flawlessly. If you’re going to be successful in BNI, you need to put effort into those fundamentals.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of Episode 444 –
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, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you and where are you?
Hey. This week I am in Austin, TX and we are preparing for our first Executive Management meeting of BNI top management coming to Austin. So I am in my new hometown this week, but we are doing a big meeting for BNI.
That’s great. Tell me a little bit about these networking wind sprints. What is that about?
What do wind sprints and networking have to do with each other, right? Wind sprints are when people get down in three point stance- I first saw it in American style football. You know, the coach would blow a whistle and you would run like a bat out of heck for 10 yards and back or 50 yards and back. Whatever. You know, they are running quickly in short spurts.
It’s part of the fundamentals of football, and I will tie it into BNI and into networking in just a minute. I want to tell a story. I learned a really important lesson about the fundamentals of success when I was playing football as a high school kid a long, long time ago.
We had a pretty good team my junior year of high school. I was, you know, 16 years old when I started the year. Most of the other team members were juniors. The following year, the team had mostly seniors, and there were some pretty high expectations for the season, you know, because it was going to be mostly seniors and they would be a little more mature. A situation like that can maybe- you probably haven’t ever seen this in teenagers, Priscilla, but it maybe made us a little bit over-confident.
When the season started, we thought we were really experienced. In football, they have this brutal rite of passage that s called Hell Week. It is called Hell Week for a really good reason. The conditioning that the team is put through is pure hell. The team does very little other than drills and exercises. They have to do isometric exercises, wind sprints, short distance sprints as fast as you can run, hitting the bags, tacking dummies, running plays, hitting the ground. Did I mention wind sprints?
Wind sprints, running up and down stadium steps, hitting the sled. They have these big, giant sleds, and they are made of iron, Priscilla. They aren’t made of aluminum. They are made of iron. Then they take the two fattest coaches known to mankind. They stand on it and you have to hit it and knock them back. And did I mention wind sprints? So many wind sprints! Lots and lots of wind sprints.
We were doing these drills for days. We never even saw the football. I saw the football when the coach threw it at my backside for not running fast enough. Otherwise, we didn’t get to touch the ball. We weren’t doing plays.
We knew we were a team and we didn’t need to go through all this nonsense. We just wanted to play ball and not run around the field and hit bags. So we had this bright idea to maybe have a chat with the coach. Tell the coach we didn’t want to do wind sprints anymore. We didn’t want to do conditioning. We just wanted to play ball.
Now, from my experience, coaches generally have two answers for anything they don’t like. The first is “no”. The second is “What part of no don’t you understand?”
When we went to the coach and told him we don’t want to do it anymore, imagine our surprise when he said, “Okay. Alright. I will make you a deal. You get here an hour early tomorrow. We are going to take a little bus ride. After the bus ride, I just want to say a few words. If you want to drop the conditioning program after that, you can do it.”
We were like, “Are you kidding? Roadtrip? No wind sprints? We’re in, coach. We’ll go.”
So we were all in early the next day. We rode this bus down to a state university in southern California where I grew up. At the time, the university was one of the practice fields for the Los Angeles Rams, what was at that time the Los Angeles Rams. We realized we were going to see the Rams practice live. We were stoked. We were in awe.
It is one thing to be in a football stadium looking down on the field. But is a completely different thing to be on the field. We were on the field. It just looked so much bigger. Of course, the players- Priscilla, have you ever seen a professional football player in full regalia from three feet away from you?
No, but they are so huge.
These guys are huge. For those of you listening to the podcast, look around the door room. Look at the door frame for the door, okay? Imagine a man like that with a big helmet, hair in his teeth, one eye in the middle of his head. These guys were gigantic. They were some of the amazing players. Rosey Grier, Merlin Olsen, Jack Youngblood. These were our heroes. These were incredible, incredible players.
We watched as our heroes stepped out onto the field. And were were in total awe as they lumbered out to the grass and for the next two hours did wind-sprints. They tackled dummies, hit bags, ran in place, hit the sled and of course did lots and lots of wind sprints.
The truly amazing thing about this is they weren’t just doing the same conditioning exercise that we were doing. They were doing the exact same conditioning exercises in the exact same order that we were doing them in. Turns out that our high school head coach was college roommates with one of the assistant coaches for the Rams. He gave our coach the conditioning book for the Rams. That was basically what we were doing.
Granted, it was probably Rams Light, but it was the same kind of program. So we returned to campus and the coach took us out, put us in a big semicircle, and the coach looked at us and said, “Boys, it doesn’t really matter if you are talking about Pop Warner football (which is the little kiddie football), high school football, professional football or life. If you do not learn to execute the fundamentals flawlessly, if you do not engage in the conditioning necessary, you will never be a champion on or off the field. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about football, school, work. When you leave this school and go on to college, you have to learn the fundamentals and do the drills that will make you successful in your life. When you go on to your professional careers, you will see that there are fundamentals there that you have to learn in order to be champion in that profession. Only those of you who are willing to develop the physical and mental conditioning necessary to execute the fundamentals will ever succeed. This is something you have to choose. I can’t choose it for you, so you have to decide what kind of team you will be.”
I will never forget he said, “I can’t push a noodle. I can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do. You have to make that commitment yourself. So, I am going to step into my office. You guys talk and decide. Take a vote and decide what you want to do.”
And he walked away. What do you think we voted on, Priscilla?
I am pretty sure you decided to do wind sprints.
Yeah. It took a couple of seconds. Man, he had us all worked up. He had us all lathered. We were like “Yeah, wind sprints!” I hate wind sprints. “Yeah wind sprints! We’ve got to do wind sprints!”
What a great lesson!. We had a great season, but more importantly, we learned a great life lesson. Success comes to those who execute the fundamentals flawlessly, to those who are willing to do the conditioning necessary to be successful. It only comes to those who drill and learn and drill some more. The secret to success without hard work is still a secret.
That is where networking comes in to wind sprints. I go to chapter meetings and I watch the meeting. You know, Priscilla, let’s see if we can pick something out of a meeting. If you had to pick one thing that is repetitive and done at every meeting, what would it be? That everybody does?
The introductions, for example.
Yeah, the introductions, I would completely agree. So I see people doing the introductions and they are jogging through their wind sprint, through their introduction. They are thinking about what to say while the person before them is speaking. Or they just make it up on the fly, and you can see them just jogging through the process.
On the other hand, I have seen people who come in prepared. They have a mini lesson plan that they want to teach someone about what it is that they do and how they can be referred. That preparation makes all the difference in the world. That is the conditioning that I am talking about. That’s the wind sprints of networking in BNI. It’s doing the hard work necessary and not just jogging through the process. That is how you get successful in a BNI program.
That makes sense. That’s good.
Yeah, so look, we all have a choice. We can do the conditioning and I am not just talking about sports now. We can do the conditioning necessary or we can just jog through the process. I am here to tell you, having run BNI now for more than 31 years, that the little bit of extra hard work yields substantially greater results over and over and over again. Well, that is everything that I have got for today, Priscilla.
Okay, excellent. Thank you, Dr. Misner. Well, I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com. It’s the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thanks for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.