The Seeds of Investment – Part I

Are you thinking of making an investment? Considering investing in a business or in the stock market? Or maybe investing in a house?

Before you invest in any of these things, you should have already made a few wise investments of an entirely different nature. No, I am not talking about financial investments. I am referring to the type of investments that without which, any financial investments are almost sure to fail. Or at least prove extremely difficult to get off the ground.

The very first thing you must invest in, from as young an age as possible, is yourself. This might sound like a nice, ‘airy’ concept, but without investing in yourself, you’ve got no chance of any other type of investment. Think about it.

Invest in your own name, reputation and integrity. Everyone is given a name and credibility when they are born. However, if an investment is not made to build that credibility and foster goodwill in that name, it can quickly disappear or become a liability. If you make a promise, honour that commitment. If you say you will be somewhere at a certain time, make sure you are there. Do not lie. Foster trust in yourself from others by ensuring they have reason to have confidence in you. If you do not invest in your name and integrity, when the time comes to make a financial investment, it will be difficult to secure trust from those you will need support, whether it be banks, business partners, financial supporters, or references to ensure your investment.

Invest in your position. This means investing in your studies and investing time to better yourself and to absorb all the information and knowledge that you can. Think of your mind as a notebook. If it is closed, its pages will forever remain empty. But if you open your notebook, you are then able to write as much information as you can and record as many experiences and memories as you want. Also remember to invest in your appearance and your image. Again, just like books, many people will judge you by your ‘cover’.

Next, invest in other people. Invest in relationships. Invest in forming trusting alliances with people whom you respect. Work on earning their respect in return. Even from childhood, invest in friendships. Give favours, help others, and invite people for coffee or for dinner. Become friends with people. It is from here that networking really stems: your network of friends. People often ask me where I find people whom I can trust and whom I am willing to do business with. I say it is a result of a collection of friendships and partnerships from the past 40 years.

I cannot, today, call upon the interest of my past if I did not first invest in myself, my reputation, my position, my image and in other people. I cannot call upon that for favours now if I did not sow a good reputation.  So the only way I can reap a relationship will have to be from what I have planted in the past. If I had ripped those people off, or lied, people would not do business with me, because once you ruin your reputation, it is very hard to undo the damage.

Please take a moment to ponder… Never underestimate the importance of investment in yourself. Consider these important investments before even contemplating financial investment, as it is personal investment that allows you to go on to the business investments.

Next week, in Gems of Wisdom, we can start to think about investment of the financial kind.



Joseph Bismark

Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Choose Your Coach on the Sports Field of Business

We play on the sports field of business. Whether it is in network marketing or in the corporate world, we are all players and are all part of a team. This game that we play every day of our lives can be difficult.

Our performance not only reflects on ourselves, but on our whole team. From within ourselves, we must find the motivation, the strength, the passion, and the commitment to push ourselves to succeed. We must also have the right external factors, such as training to make our team strong, the right equipment, and the right coach.

On this sports field of business, there are two possible coaches we can choose from: Coach A and Coach B.

Coach A supports us, but doesn’t push us. Coach A is OK with mediocre and is more concerned about not offending us or hurting our feelings. Coach B, on the other hand, supports us, pushes us, and may even drive us to frustration with his relentless commitment to propel us to fulfil our potential and beyond. This coach is not concerned about whether or not he hurts our feelings.

Let’s say we are playing football in the hot sun. It’s been a long day. The scores are even and there are 30 seconds left in the match. Your body is aching and you don’t think you can take another step, but your teammate passes you the ball and there’s a gap in the defence ahead. Coach A sees how exhausted you are and talks to you from the sidelines, saying, “You’re tired, take it easy. Don’t push yourself. There’s always next week’s game.” Coach B, however, yells at you to “Pick up the pace! Don’t give up now! I don’t care if you collapse at the end, but you can make that touchdown and you will make that touchdown! There is no tomorrow. This is IT!”

Unfortunately, many people seek out a Coach A in their life. Having a Coach A allows us to be more comfortable in trying, but allows us to not feel pressured to try too hard. Coach A reassures us that average and lacklustre is good enough.

I challenge you to seek out a Coach B in your life to push you to your limits. Associate yourself with the type of person who will teach you to never give up and who will never let you give up. And do not resent them for this. If you have made a decision to play on a team, to work in a company, or to thrive in a network, then there is no excuse not to give that decision 100% of your effort, your passion, and your dedication. Having a Coach B helps you to do this.

Please take a moment to ponder… Do you have Coach A in your life? Are you perhaps your own Coach A? Are you OK with mediocre, or do you dream of something bigger and better? Are you shutting out a Coach B because it is just ‘too hard’ to move up and out of your comfort zone?

It is time to choose your coach.


Joseph Bismark

Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

What’s Your Mission Statement?

Every company has a mission statement. This mission statement drives the company to where it wants to be; serves to remind the people behind the company about the purpose of going to work each day; and reinforces commitment to the end goal. A mission statement gives a company its soul and injects passion into its core.

The value that a mission statement brings to a company can be directly related to the value a similar statement about a person’s own mission and purpose brings to that person’s life. There is a big difference between working because you want to, and working because you have to. This difference is what separates a life truly ‘lived’ from a life that is just ‘led’.

All too often I hear about two separate ‘parts’ of a person’s life – their personal life and their work life. I listen to people say that these two parts of their life are in direct competition with each other and I hear them complain that work gets in the way of their ‘life’. Excuse me, but how can you have two lives? We are all given just one life to live. If you spend much of your life complaining about the work you must do, then you must ask yourself, “What is MY mission statement?” Have you found your purpose in life?

Think about your attitude towards work. Are you waiting for your boss to tell you what to do? Are you just hanging around until work is given to you? And do you complain once you actually have work to do? Or are you excited to begin each day and work towards something you are passionate about? Do you take pride in yourself and what you do? Are you creating work for yourself and telling your boss what you are going to do in order to do your job better?

I have mentioned this quote by Theodore Roosevelt earlier this year in Gems of Wisdom, but I feel it needs to be stated again to make this point. Roosevelt once said: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” This is the secret to happiness.

Nothing motivates you to excel more than knowing you have a purpose and are passionate about that purpose. But no one can find your purpose for you. You must decide what it is you want to do. There is a saying, “If you can’t stand the heat… get out of the kitchen”. If you decide to be a chef, don’t step into the kitchen and start complaining about how hot it is in there. No one forced you to be a chef or forced you to be in the kitchen. But if you decided to be there, then get down to business and start cooking! And if you have identified cooking and being a chef as your purpose in life, then you won’t ever notice the heat at all. You will be too busy enjoying your work.

Don’t make excuses. Once you find your purpose, the excuses will disappear.

Please take a moment to ponder… What is your mission statement? What drives you and what excites you? Identify what this is and define your mission statement. And once you have found your purpose, communicate it to the people around you, as this then becomes your declaration of commitment to living your life to the fullest. Without your own mission statement to motivate you and to give you passion for your life, you are simply getting in the way of others who are living their lives with a purpose.



Joseph Bismark

Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Success with a Capital A

When I was a child, I remember how lazy I could be about getting out of bed in the morning. My mother used to have to drag me out of bed to go to school. But I also remember that when it was a holiday, or there was something exciting happening that day, I could hardly sleep the night before and I didn’t need anyone to drag me out of bed in the morning. I’d be up so early and bounding out of bed to start the day.

As I have grown older, I realise that every day should be started like something exciting is happening, because every day, something exciting really is happening. Life. I believe that a person, and especially a leader, should really wake up in the morning. They should Arise and Awake! Arise from their slumber and awake from their ignorance. Every day is the chance to reinvent ourselves. When we truly arise and awake, we then aspire to ‘be’. And if you are aspiring, then you are more open in terms of assimilating.

What do I mean by assimilating? I mean collecting wisdom. Because that is what life is about. Every day of your life, you wake up and meet people and learn things. You assimilate with the people, places and ideas around you. Once you are open to assimilating into the world, you start acquiring new knowledge, new skills, new things. You acquire what you were aspiring for.

You see, if you don’t truly arise and awake each day, then you won’t aspire to be anything. It is because of this aspiration that you assimilate and acquire. And once this happens, you must assess what you have acquired, and analyse its worth. Once you have assessed and analysed what you have taken in from the world around you, you start the step of applying this worthy information and these valuable experiences into your life.

From this application of what you have learnt, the next step is definite. You will start to achieve.

But it doesn’t end there. Achieving is not the end goal. Perhaps the most important part of reaching success – no matter if it is success in your personal life or success in business – is that you must always appreciate what you have. To truly appreciate what you have achieved, you must attribute your success to the people and things that led you to that success. You could not reach this stage in life if you did not assimilate, so how can you take all the credit for yourself? Humility is so important and therefore, hand-in-hand with this attribution, is acknowledgement. And this is where many people fail. There is a need to acknowledge the people who helped you get to where you are. Success is not about competition and putting others down so you appear superior. True success comes from raising others up with you. Acknowledging the role other people have played in your success is basically where your fulfilment comes from. By doing this in life, you will be applauded. And you will truly be happy, content and successful.

Everything in life is a process. It is all step-by-step. Success, too, is a process. It is a very valuable realisation to know that the first step in any process will eventually lead to your end goal. It is a very motivating realisation. If you want to reach success, you have to take the first step. And you have to follow the process through to the end.

Please take a moment to ponder… If you Arise and Awake each morning, you Aspire to be something and are more open to Assimilation, which means you will Acquire. Once you Assess and Analyse what you have acquired, you will Apply this to your life and it is here that Achievement is realised. However, one you achieve, it is important to actually Appreciate what you have and to Attribute that achievement and Acknowledge those who have helped you along your way. Then, you will be Applauded and you will be happy. Then, and only then, will you be truly Successful.

How do you start each day? Do you start each day with the first and important step towards success and towards true achievement and fulfilment? Do you arise and awake?


Joseph Bismark

Group Managing Director, QI Ltd