Oct 16, 2017


by Nellie Nutting

This has been a month of travel, and travel always gives me time to ponder.  I ponder in the airport, in the Lyft, in the hotel, on the bus – just about anywhere that my environment is new and I am alone with my thoughts.  That’s right – I’m a thinker.   Travel also gives me time to read and I always have multiple books with me or available on my phone/tablet – I’m a student.  During this past month some of my travel has been for business and some for family and pleasure.  Luckily I have been able to stay connected to my team as we have been doing a book study via Zoom during this time as well – I am a techy!  My point is this:  Often, even when I don’t have a laser focus on what I am in search of in a life lesson, it (the lesson) finds me in every avenue I use.  In my journaling, in my books, in my group study, and in my conference classes, one topic became dominant.  This month’s lesson has been on responsibility, so I thought I would share.

Let’s start with a story that you may find familiar.  Jesus tells many parables in the Bible to teach simple but essential life lessons.  In Matthew he shares what is called “The Parable of the Talents”.  He tells of a wealthy man who leaves his home for a long time and gives much of his wealth to be kept safe to three of his slaves.  To one he gave five bags of gold.  To another - two bags, and to a third one bag.  You may be asking yourself "How did He choose?  Why didn't He divide it evenly or "fairly"?? Well, that's part of the lesson - life is not fair.  I bet you have never heard that before!!   Now the story goes that the one who was given five bags invested the money and doubled his master’s money. The master was super stoked about that and gave credit to this servant telling him that to whom much is given, much will be expected!  The second also doubled his masters money-two bags became four and once again the master was well pleased (as would anyone investing their money)!! Now the third told the master that he had been scared to anger the master so he decided to dig a hole and hide the gold so that there would be no risk to lose any.  Upon the master’s return, he dug up the gold and gave the master back the whole amount, not a penny more.  But to this the master was angry.  He told the slave he was lazy and worthless.  Yikes!  What you are thinking as you read this? 

·      "That master is sure hard on his people!”
·      “He should just be glad that the slave didn't lose it all.”

·      “How can you expect a slave to take a risk to invest? Wouldn't his master be really mad and take some kind of revenge or discipline if the slave lost some of the gold?" 
This is an interesting thought.  In a culture like ours we might want to be "easy" on the slave that just hid the money, but I think the point here is taking full responsibility for what we have or what we have been given.  We, by our very nature, are happiest when we are given responsibilities and successfully manage those responsibilities.  It gives us a sense of pride and joy when we see the fruits of the things we are given charge.  However, we may feel justified in not taking responsibility at times.  Perhaps you had a difficult childhood or have had health issues that make certain activities challenging.  I have heard it said that our American culture is great at making excuses, giving exceptions, and procrastination.  HMMMM……

Now, if I may bring this around to how it relates to us and our membership in BNI, here is my point.  We might be looking at the number of referrals we are receiving and justifying why we don't give more referrals.  Some members have complained that although they are giving “lots” of referrals, they get few back.  Or perhaps we are absent a bit more than we "should" be and argue that we are the only one in our office.  We are not like “Sally Alwaysthere” who never misses but has staff to cover her time away from the desk.  Or maybe we lament about learning to use the new app to enter our stats, arguing that it is more important that we DO -not that we RECORD what we do.  Who cares if we are in the GREY anyway?? 

If any of this sounds familiar, I am going to challenge you to remember that excuses are like belly buttons - we all have one.  If we will stop comparing ourselves and just do our part without looking right or left how could our chapter change?  Could we be the change agent that brings about a flood of success to your local chapter?? Take a look at your chapter’s Power of One report and more importantly your stats.  If they are great, kudos to you!  Now is the time to pull another member up with you.  If they are not as good as you would like, look at the area you are challenged.  Start there.  Schedule a 1:1, don’t wait for another to schedule with you.  Read some past blogs or listen to a few podcasts.  Figure out how to record your stats by asking a member who is in the GREEN and obviously doing it.  Remember that our chapters are only as good as our weakest link.  There is nothing we can’t adjust if we are willing to change ourselves.  As Benjamin Franklin said, “He who is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Let us be the one who takes responsibility for our own success and that of our BNI chapter!