So this is a piece I wrote when I had been in BNI Champions core group for about two months, have toyed with publishing it for a long time, but never had the courage to. But today is a landmark day so I thought it might help others who struggle. Who Knows.

Good questions and I hope I can give you the answer, basically I was invited to attend a BNI meeting by a friend I was watching one of his You Tube videos and he kept on mentioning this BNI, so I got in touch with him and said what is this BNI you keep talking about, so he invited me along I visited, talked to people and found out it is so much more than just networking organisation, they informed me that someone called Russ Sawdon would give me a ring about a chapter closer to where I lived. So Russ rang we talked about the BNI he told me they were launching a new group, would I like to go along. So I said yes, I am glad he could not see the terror I was feeling.  I have to say I wasn’t a confident person at the time so I am very good at agreeing to do things and then think about it afterwards so I quickly Googled BNI, and to say some of the stories I read from people who had been in or claimed to have been members were not very positive but there were plenty of positive ones as well, but I decided I had said I would go, and a lot of the stories I had read on the internet were a good few years old and you have to sometimes take what you read with a pinch of salt so to speak.

So the day arrives there was a room full of people that I didn’t know and terrified would be an understatement, I hadn’t really mixed in a big group of people for a few years, but that is another story which I might tell sometime. So there I am in this room like a rabbit in a headlight convinced  everybody was looking at me, but of course they were not so I do what I think is networking basically talk to the first person that I catch their eye and this helps me relax sort off, as time goes on I get introduced to a person called Alan Foster, we have a quick chat about what I did and what Alan’s company was and I was invited to join my first BNI that’s was located at a very nice hotel and country park. It started well but unfortunately it did not work out as a Core Group.

So I decided not to join another BNI for a while due to personnel reasons and I needed to decide whether I wanted to carry on with my photography, so time passed and Alan dropped me a line telling me about a new core group he was launching with 50 members at the time I turned him down for certain personnel reasons but it was always in the back of my mind. So time passed and we were due to renew our mortgage so I said I will get in touch with Karen from the core group  I was in previously not realising that Karen was now a member of Alan’s new core group that he was building. So Karen came we talked mortgage’s and also BNI, Karen asked if I would like to come along, I said I would think about it, then Karen asked me to Sub for her at a meeting, I talked to Tracy about it and she said go and sub for Karen, so Karen invited me to attend a meeting before subbing for her so it was a chance to meet other Core Group members so I wasn’t walking in blind as well, I knew one or two people from the last Core group I was in, but the nerves were there and the fear as well. The meeting went well, and then I went back and subbed for Karen. What it made me realise was how much I had let myself get isolated from the outside world all the confidence I had built in the last core group had almost gone my passion for my photography had waned and I felt I had lost my way with my photography and business. I felt like I had come almost full circle, back to where I was before the BNI. So many an hours went by chatting to Tracy about things and deep down I knew I wanted to re-join but I wasn’t sure I could contribute what was needed to help grow the group. So I had my one to one with Alan over coffee, and the positive help and feedback I received off Alan was great. When a successful businessman can have faith in someone like me there must be something I was doing that was right or he saw something that I couldn’t.

So where are we know I have learnt that I have the creative passion back for my photography, but the business side is something I have to work on but the group is so supportive, advice and help is there you only need to ask. I feel like I am contributing to the group in a small way, but with time I am sure my contribution will grow.

It is very easy to let yourself doubt, and lack of confidence hold you back, and it still does in some areas, I am now learning to ask someone for help is not a sign of weakness or stupidity. Where do I see myself in a couple of year’s time successful not just as a photographer, not just in the work I do but in the way I help others in my Chapter and people in general.

The core chapter that I am in is called Champions we meet at Sedgefield Racecourse on a Friday morning we are going for 50+ members and are well on the way to achieving this, I feel I have made so many new friends in the group and grown as a person in confidence and direction, I have been in the group for just over two months now.

What would I say to people? “don’t let your self-doubts and fears hold you back, don’t believe everything that someone tells you about an organisation or what you read, the best way is to experience it for yourself., my lack of confidence and self-belief nearly stopped me don’t let it stop you.

Thank you Tracy, Karen and Alan.

So Where Is The Chapter Now

And to all my fellow BNI members in Champions Chapter, the future is bright for us all.

So today we have locked down the chapter, the vision Alan Foster had and has worked hard to achieve with Andrew Simpson, and Gemma Taylor is now a reality. Exciting times are ahead for all the Champions, and the future is looking bright.

Stephen D Brian From Core to BNI Champion Member