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Show of hands, how many people have kids? Great. Ok, keep your hands up. And now raise your hand and add to the group if you are in a significant relationship. Got it. Keep em up. Now add your hand if you own your own business. Ok, and how about if you work regularly and productively for someone else. Great, I think we got everyone.

If you raised your hand for any of these reasons - let alone qualifying for multiple categories - then you are a "builder." You're in a building phase of your life. This is certainly not a surprise if you're a member of this chapter. And if you're a visitor, the same is probably true. Showing up this early on a Wed isn't merely for the bacon. Though Amy will tell you - that bacon is pretty damn good.

The thing about being an entrepreneur, or a parent, or really any kind of "builder," is that we're constantly channeling our resources with a specific intention. We're looking to create a certain kind of output, a particular result or set of results. But sometimes, the universe seems to have different plans.

We can find ourselves in the impact of various circumstances.

Now life is essentially one evolving list of circumstances - we move past today and find new one's tomorrow. But sometimes (and for some it's quite a bit more often than just sometimes), they can all add up. And when that happens, we experience overwhelm or being "up against it."

In just the past few weeks, in addition to the seemingly normal stuff, I've been in the impact of Joana breaking her foot and not being able to drive, little eleven month old Jakey having an extended fever involving visits to the doctor and at least one hospital, pulling my back out badly - which is why I was out last week, various issues with the new house, and all the while trying to coordinate schedules in order to look at sleep-away camps for next year, and also dotting I's and crossing T's to support a team of twenty-three new coaches to graduate their year long program this weekend!

I say this not to complain - I have a beautiful life. But rather to normalize the organic nature of the human experience. And, as I've heard it said, "If we all put our problems in the center of the room, we'd probably take back our own!"

So, we all have stuff.

Today I want to offer you five things you can do when you find yourself, "up against it."

Own It - Don't hide or cover it up or pretend like it's not happening. And I'm not saying show everything to everyone. But make sure you are clear - especially with yourself - about what is actually happening in your world. "Fake it til you make it," applies in a lot of places. Here, just be mindful. There is a way to take ownership on purpose without presenting it like a justification or excuse. Happy to share more about that - just ask.

Slow Down (Don't Speed Up) - What's predictable is that the reactive part of you - whose head is spinning - will want to do the exact same automatic thing you know to do only faster, bigger, stronger. Consider that the first step in finding your way out of a hole, is not to dig faster but to actually put down the shovel.

Ask (Clearly and Directly) For What You Need - It may be for a break, or for support. And support may look differently depending on the situation. Go to the sources you know you can rely on - or try to create partnership from new ones. And sometimes all we need is to be heard, understood, connected with. Once we realize we're not alone, we may have enough to get back to the tasks at hand.

Self Care and Foundational Structures - Speaking of what we need, when we find ourselves in overwhelm, sometimes it's simply that the ground we're standing on is not set up to hold the towers we're building. How's your sleeping? Your eating? Your fitness or physical movement? How are your relationships going with self, others, spirit? Something might be out. If you find that gap, fill it on purpose. If you don't, either it will remain empty or it may get filled through a back door. At best that could be a distraction. At worst, harmful.

We Don't Need to Reinvent the Wheel - Contrary to that part of us whispering that we shouldn't be where we are - we should be further, better, more together, etc. - we do not have a monopoly on gaps, mistakes, breakdowns, lagging timelines, etc. Look around. Chances are you know other entrepreneurs, parents, and "builders" just like you. You can always make your own choices, but again, don't be afraid to reach out and learn from the experience of others. It not only serves you - it serves them too!

Life is going to throw curveballs. And sometimes it will seem like too many balls to swing at at once. While the volume of circumstances and To Do's may increase, and that can lead to an experience of heightened pressure, remember that you're not alone and you have a choice.

Slow down, ask for what you need, get supported and keep going.

Oh, and it never hurts to take a short break from the highlight reels of social media. Just until you're re-centered and the drama shrinks back down to size.

Do you know that the greatest source of untapped business are your former clients

They already know you, like you and trust you, so why wouldn't they do business with you again?

Here's a simple case study:

Carey sold a medical practice a few months ago, and the buyer was really happy.

That medical practice needed a website, so I got an introduction.

But the time wasn't right to start that project, since they were very busy during the transition period, so I made a note to have Carey follow up in three months to check in and see if they were ready to start the project at that point.

When he followed up he got a nice surprise, when he heard that they had a change in direction and now wanted to sell the practice.

If Carey had not followed up at that particular moment, the sale of the practice may have gone to another broker; not because they didn't like Carey, but just because he wasn't top of mind.

So make a plan to regularly contact your previous clients and see what they are up to, and a strange thing will happen: you will definitely make more money.

We come here every week. Today, I'd like to tell your more about the history of Union Square.

On this ground George Washington rallied troops...Lincoln's funeral procession made it's NY stop .. both Presidents have statues in the park...so does Gandhi

Not all times were friendly for people to visit. In the early 1970s our park was widely considered to so unsafe it was too dangerous even during the day!

Do you know who saved Union Square? The Farmers.

Because in1976, the Union Square Greenmarket began .. Residents flocked back to the side of the park and demanded a clean up behind the fence.

Why is Union Square ...a Square and why is it named Union?

Well, it's not named for the Federal Union of the United States, nor to celebrate Labor Unions.

It's named for the intersection or UNION of what were Manhattans busiest and most important streets!

Bloomingdale Road now Broadway and the former Bowery Road – now Fourth Avenue.

In a city of logical grids these major roads intersected at a weird angle...and the spaghetti mess is still there.

Leave to the real estate sphere of 1830 to figure out to put a square above the strangely angled streets and attract high-end retailers, artists and residents.

It worked so well that decades later when the subway was planned Union Sq became a critical and convenient commercial crossroads. Could Lucky's 62 success be in part traced to our location?

Learning the history or background of a prospect before a meeting isn't just trivia- it's valuable information, which connects and can differentiate us against the competition. Try it!

Let's have a 1 x1 ...right upstairs by Andy Warhol's old factory.

In 1992 Acura released the Integra. I remember because a few years later my younger sister was driving one.

 

It's a funny word, Integra. In fact it's not a word at all - at least not a real word in the English language. It's one of those names car companies make up - like Impreza, or Elantra.

But the root of this one does hold something powerful. It can be found in words like integrate, and integrity.

Show of hands, how many people feel like they're one person at work and another at home? One way with certain people - like college friends - but different with others? Maybe you feel scattered sometimes, like too many things are clamoring for your attention?

The more things we have going - the more tasks, roles, personas, and moving parts, the more there is to manage. And as we all know that can get exhausting at times.

So one place to look is Integrity. Typically, when we use the word "Integrity," it tends to have some flavor of judgment in it. "I trust her, she has integrity," or, "I wouldn't work with him, he has no integrity."

For the purposes of this piece, I invite us all to remove the judgment. Think of the hull of a ship. If it has integrity, it holds the interior space and keeps water out so the ship can sail smoothly. If there are gaps in the hull, or a breakdown in its integrity, water is let in and the ship slows down and might eventually sink. Ultimately integrity is a matter of alignment.

When our thoughts, words, and actions are aligned we can better sail through life's waters. When there are gaps, that creates drag and we slow down or even stop.

We claim that we want things. The question is are our actions aligned?

And this goes for "being" as well as "doing." Look at the word "integer." Same root. In math, an integer is a whole number. Like 1 or 2,163. It's not a fraction or a percentage, or a piece - it's whole. Think about what it's like when you feel whole. Maybe you've just rested or just eaten or your in the company of good friends, or maybe even just sitting quietly by yourself. Integrity with being is access to not only power but also ease, and peace.

To be clear, it's not that you should be exactly the same everywhere at all times. But whenever you notice that you feel depleted, take a look at where you can integrate your life, and create more wholeness.

And regarding action, same thing. For example, if someone has been trying to schedule a meeting with you but you've been busy, have them meet you here. Integrate your business meeting with the BNI meeting in order to create efficiency, added value (for both of you) and ultimately a more powerful meeting. It's powerful for you because it's a better use of your time, and it's powerful for them because they get to be exposed to this amazing group.

Where else can you create integration? One place to look is inviting people into other areas of your life.

And consider that this also plays a role in being more authentic. When you are just being you, it requires less energy. That's a very different vibe than being, "on."

Being authentic and integrated may be new muscles to cultivate, but ultimately it will get you hired and/or grow your business.

This chapter is filled with authentic people trying to integrate our businesses.

Is it any wonder we closed almost 8 million in revenue last year.

Let's keep going - working together toward a common goal.

Here's to us as one integrated team!

I left a hot yoga class yesterday morning, and I was driving on my way home and thinking about what I might talk about today.

After about thirty seconds of not too much bubbling up, the word "network" entered my mind. Ok, no big deal, nothing special. Networking. That's what we do, got it.

But then I noticed something. The word itself - "network" - is essentially made up of two smaller words - net and work. When taken together they make either a noun - "this is my network," or a verb, "I like to network."

But when broken apart you get both a noun, "net," and a verb, "work."

"Ok Corey, we get it you like words. But what's the point?"

Ok stay with me for a second. In soccer and other sports they talk about "footwork." It's how you move or what you do with your feet.

So today I want to look at what you are doing with your NET!

Look around. If you are in this room right now, you are a part of this net. Whether you're a member of the chapter and are really woven into it each week, or a sub or guest today. Even if this is your very first BNI meeting, you are a piece of what's creating this net.

A butterfly net is used to catch butterflies. This net is used to catch business.

So how's your "net-work?"

Are you catching anything? If so, are you catching what you're after? Are the knots and connections strong? How big or small are the spaces in your net? Are you just swinging it around hoping to catch something? Or are you being intentional?

I was at Conrad's Network Ninja PhD yesterday and it was great. One of the things he mentioned was if we're not looking at the guest list Amy sends out each week we're doing ourselves a disservice. There is so much information available to us.

While we're at it, how's it going with the "work" part? Are you clear about what you want to catch? What are you doing regularly and consistently with this "net" to ensure you catch it?

We can all get better at our "Net-work."

Listen today to Conrad's Make More Money tip and if it resonates with you figure out how you can leverage it.

You can even create partnership with someone in the room you meet and connect with today, or already do business with and practice together.

This is truly quite a NET we have all found and WORK to continue to cultivate.

Here's to catching great things, and to creating the kinds of business we want.

Well guess what? We're at the last step off the 5 Step Referral system. I've actually now been using this system successfully to connect with tons of referral partners through BNI and even cold emails and they are referring us more and more business, so it's definitely worth implementing if you haven't yet!

So far we've figured out who your referral partners are, why they should refer clients to you, and why those clients should want to work with you instead of the competition.

We've also figured out how to make it easy for BNI people to make those introductions by creating a copy and paste email.

The final step is to start actually implementing this and following up. Here are a few simple tips you can apply to instantly make it way easier for people to send referrals to you:

• In our meetings, don't ask people to just refer someone to you. Ask them to email you if they know someone. Like Jeff Weisskopf, he asks for intros to doctors. It's easier to just send him an email saying, I know a doctor, and then let him tell me what to do from there, instead of trying to make a direct introduction right away.

• ALWAYS send out your weekly email, and include your referral partner (or "Ask") in the subject line so everyone sees it, even the people who are too busy to read your email. Not sending a weekly email means you're basically hoping everyone in the room is paying 100% attention to your commercial, which is unlikely. Use your weekly email to force people to at least have to delete it - meaning they're taking SOME sort of action. - OH, and a final tip about weekly emails: try to keep them super short, like under 4 sentences.

• Once you get an introduction, use Follow Up Then or a CRM software like Hubspot. I've spoken about this Follow Up Then before, so ask me if you have questions about it. Set reminders so you remember to follow up with your referral partners every month or two, even if they don't refer business to you at the beginning. By following up, eventually they'll start remembering you and begin to refer people to you.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me. I will send out the full Five Step Referral System PDF document to everyone here so you can see it and follow it and begin implementing it for you own business.

And that's it!

How many have seen the movie the Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman? I've seen it twice now - my kids are a bit obsessed, it's on their short list. And I've been listening to songs from it's very moving soundtrack.

For those who haven't seen it, it's a dramatized tale of the real story of PT Barnum and how he went after *his* dream by inspiring the fantastical dreams of others. He began by creating the first "freak show," which he then developed into the original circus.

There's so much here. But for today, I want to break this down into five pieces: Dreams, leveraging the dreams of others, not getting stopped by what others think, finding a guide or hero, and doing whatever it takes. And in case you want to see it - and you should with or without kids - I'll do my best to not give anything pivotal away.

Part I - Dreams

So here's a guy, working in an office - a cog in a very large machine. And there's nothing wrong with that, except he feels like he's meant for something else. Upon being handed some circumstances that were beyond his control, he had a choice to make. He could have found another machine but he didn't. He trusted himself, his heart, his inner knowing and he stepped toward his dream. What is the thing for you? Why are you getting up in the morning? No matter how grand or how small, what is your purpose? Your dream? Keep it close and it will drive you. Lose sight of it and struggle will follow.

Part II - Leveraging the Dreams of Others

PT Barnum got a sense for what would sell. He looked around and realized that people wanted something. And he gave it to them. Look through the lens of your future clients. What do they want? Is it a better product? Faster service? Easier access? Find out what it is and leverage it. On some level this is obvious - but it bears repeating. Because how often throughout a busy day/week/month/quarter/year are you actually in that conversation? Of what they want? People will part with their money if they believe it's worth it. What value are you providing? How can that be improved and leveraged?

Part III - Not Getting Stopped By What Others Think

This shows up a few ways in this film. There's PT Barnum's mission - which gets rejected by his in laws and the upper crust of society. And there's the judgment of the people in the freak show, as well as the freak show itself.

Look, not everyone is going to like your ideas. Some aren't even going to believe in you or your potential. (I always will.) So what? We can't please all of the people all of the time. That just sounds exhausting. All we can do is our best - our best to do the right thing, to follow our authentic inner voice, and if we're lucky our passion. Find the part of what you do that you can fall in love with. Trust yourself and go after it. Swing big! That's why Jeannie is going to meet Oprah, and Amy is going to hang with Snoop, and maybe one day Conrad will get to play a set against Nadal. Make big asks in here. And out there. And in here.

Part IV - Find a Guide or Hero

Though the various sideshow acts that Barnum gathered to create his "freak show," were off putting on the outside, they had big hearts and big dreams. But they were so scared that they would hide and barely leave the house. But then he showed up and lead them. And they became more than they ever thought they could be. On this climb of life, and business, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us - and there's no shame in that.

Find a mentor or a coach, or someone you admire and learn from them. Send them an email, maybe offer to buy them lunch so you can connect and pick their brain. And if they're a big celebrity and it's harder to arrange a meeting, get your hands on their biography and study up!

Part V - Doing Whatever It Takes

In this tale, there were a lot of circumstances in Barnum's way - money, social status, pressure from those around him. It didn't matter. He had a goal and he took sufficient action to accomplish it. Are you in sufficient action to accomplish your goals? Where are you stopping? Where are you uncomfortable?

Consider that everything that makes you comfortable is something you already know. Possibility - for growth, progress, anything new, lies to varying degrees outside our comfort zones. Get a little messy - do whatever it takes to fulfill on what you want.

In the end, this was a movie - a true story, but with plenty of creative license. And at the same time, the lessons it teaches hold up. Think about what really matters, what you really want. Map out the actions you can take to move forward. Don't be deterred by the fear of others. Remember, "Those who discourage your dreams have likely abandoned their own." Find motivational support structures. And whatever you do, don't stop.

Hey everyone, I'm excited to be back! We have been talking about coming with an easy referral system and writing a copy and paste email BNI members they can send for you.

This is vitally important. Who here has a well-written copy and paste emails they give to BNI members for an intro?

The next step is figuring out the answer to why potential clients should work with you instead of others who do the same thing?

And why should they choose you instead of others who offer the same service for cheaper? You need a USP, or Unique Selling Proposition. What makes you different and better than others who provide the same service?

As an example, we don't just provide headshots, but we help people through the whole process from how to prepare for the shoot and what to wear, to how to look great on camera if they normally hate the way they look in pictures, and even to how to brand and market themselves using their headshot after the shoot is done.

So what added and unexpected value do you provide to clients? Even if you can't give them something different within the bounds of your service, can you at least put them in touch with people who would be helpful to them?

Remember: the best way to be successful in networking, business, and life is to give more to others than anyone could ever expect. Givers gain, after all! If you can help your potential client before expecting anything back from them, they will want to help you out by referring others to you.

Another way to think about this is... how can I under-promise and over-deliver to potential clients so they get blown away by how much more value they're getting than what they expected?

If you can figure out the answer to just that one question by next week, you'll be well on your way to business success.

As always, feel free to email me directly if you have any questions anything.