At various points in my life, I have looked around the room and asked myself… “why am I here?”
Indeed, though I have found a good number of rooms that I did belong in…
I’ve also found a number of rooms in which I didn’t so much feel a sense of belonging.
For the most part, these rooms include just about all of academia, and a recent misadventure into the world of LandMark Forum.
Let’s be real: as an entrepreneur, I know I’m not alone in having struggled to find my place in the universe.
But more recently, I had a very exciting experience of a very different kind of room.
A room that costs $25,000 just to enter, and which is limited to just 50 hand-picked business leaders of the utmost integrity and ambition at a time.
I’m talking, of course, about Genius Network®, one of two exclusive mastermind groups led by marketing legend Joe Polish and his team.
(The other group, GeniusX, costs $100K).
So, what does it feel like to enter into a room with some of the world’s greatest…?
A room where you don’t just discuss the books that are reshaping the business landscape, but have lunch with their authors?
In this post, I will attempt to capture some of the magic, and explain why you, too, should seek out rooms that challenge, inspire, and energize you.
A few months ago, I reconnected with Cameron Herold, a bestselling author, TED Speaker, and highly-sought-after business coach, who I had coincidentally met in another type of invite-only room nearly 10 years ago.
After a quick catch-up conversation sharing where we each were in our businesses, Cameron made a bold statement.
“You HAVE to join Genius Network®. Actually do it — don’t just kick the tires.”
A short while later, a message came in from a more recent SuperFriend of mine, Benjamin Hardy:
“Dude. It will be the best investment you ever make.”
Intriguing — to say the least.
Truth be told, I had taken an interest in the exclusive network, and had even sent in an application a week or two earlier, upon which I was waiting to hear back.
An hour or so after getting off the phone with Cameron, I was greeted by an email introduction to the team at Genius Network®, who informed me that personal referrals are an important part of how they keep their community a healthy and positive one, and that Cameron had very kindly made one on my behalf.
I was welcomed into Genius Network® shortly thereafter — a testimony to the power of being in the right rooms (and maintaining the connections you make while you’re in them).
Going in to Genius Network®, I had admittedly high expectations… and even higher hopes.
So high, in fact, that some of the people closest to me expressed concerns that I was setting myself up for disappointment.
And of course, there were the logistics:
As I booked an additional 3 transatlantic trips — on top of the 2 already on my calendar — I couldn’t help but feel a little crazy.
Each time, I would travel for as much as 26 hours, to be on the ground in Phoenix for as little as 2 days — and oftentimes only two weeks apart from my other trips back and forth to California.
With such extreme circumstances, could this new group really live up to the very bold claim that Genius Network® makes…?
The one about members making back a staggering 10X what they invest?
Well, you’d be surprised.
In fact, I can confidently assure you that by 11AM on my first day at Genius Network®, I had made back my entire investment for the first year’s membership — and then some — thanks to one simple idea shared by marketing great Dean Jackson.
By 5PM that same day, I had decided to level up my investment, by bringing at least one of my key staff members into the group as well.
I simply couldn’t bear the thought of not having someone from my team at the meetings that I wouldn’t be able to personally attend.
And by 5PM the next day, I was planning a half-day meeting of my company’s key decision-makers, simply to disseminate the incredible volume of knowledge, wisdom, and ideas I had absorbed over the previous two days.
So, What The Hell Was So Incredible About Genius Network®?
Well, let’s start at the top, with first impressions.
My first impressions of Piranha Marketing, the team behind Genius Network®, were simply of awe.
From the outside, at least, the company appears to be a case study in phenomenal and visionary leadership — though Joe humbly admitted that even they sometimes suffer from growing pains. How comforting it is to know that the same problems persist for every entrepreneur, no matter how long they’ve been in the game.
Around Joe swarm an army of energetic, enthusiastic, outgoing, and deeply kind human beings that don’t miss a single beat. Whereas most entrepreneurs move fast and make broad, sweeping motions, Joe has managed to install a team of world-class people at every post, from digital media to administration and logistics, so that they catch every single long-shot pass he throws their way. Often times, he’s able to look across the room, and they’ve already anticipated what he’s going to ask and launched into action.
Every entrepreneur should learn how to put together a team like Joe’s.
When I had concerns as to whether I was a good fit, or whether I’d miss out by not attending the star-studded annual event, they took the time to guide me through the decision in a compassionate and honest way.
When the hotel next door didn’t have any spaces left at the “Genius Network” rate, they made a few calls and just took care of it.
When I joined, they sent me a box of incredibly cool goodies and free member services that put a huge grin on my face and made my imagination soar.
And from the moment I arrived, I was simply blown away by the authentically kick-ass culture they’ve created.
In fact, perhaps one of my biggest takeaways from the meeting came not from the content, but from observing how it was delivered; I came back to my company with the mission of investing in, training, and empowering my team to have my back (and my customers’ backs) the way Joe’s team clearly has his.
First impressions aside, I was continually impressed by even the most minute details of my time at Piranha Marketing’s offices.
Everything at Genius Network® is done just right.
From the mouth-wateringly delicious Paleo and Bulletproof® snacks and beverages that are trucked in everyday via a combination of private chefs and fellow Genius member Dave Asprey, to the swarm of high-definition cameras and innovative microphones installed throughout the room to capture every second of the action, to the stacks of stickers, swag, and even the worksheets that are handed out to members.
In fact, just the worksheets and exercises alone stood out to me as huge value adds.
It’s clear that the Genius Network® team has put in a tremendous amount of thought not just into making each meeting an enjoyable experience, but also a genuinely enriching one.
I’ve been to many retreats, conferences, and executive development seminars, and generally speaking, they’re considered successful if attendees can actually implement 10% of what they learn.
Not so with Genius Network®.
Each worksheet and exercise is carefully crafted to emphasize ACTION — pointing out the first step you should take, and how it aligns with the organization’s shared values.
In fact, we were even treated to a special “aside” from a very high-profile member specializing in operations and leadership, who revealed to us a proven, 3-step method to get our teams to act on the information we were learning during the meeting.
All of this was followed by daily summaries, drafted up by a dedicated staff member in real-time, and of course, live video broadcasts uploaded to Facebook for instantaneous viewing by members who weren’t there in person. At the end of the day, we took the time to read the professional summaries aloud and discuss everything that was shared in the meeting that day, reinforcing the points of value and the next steps.
As an accelerated learning expert, I really appreciated the focus on actualizing the learning, spaced repetition to improve retention, and ensuring that attendees squeezed every drop of juice out of the knowledge that was shared.
The lasting impression is one of caring about the results and of paying attention to every single detail that is likely to influence a member’s success.
The same, in fact, can be said of Joe Polish himself.
Of course, like anyone who’s taken even a passing interest in marketing, I knew quite a bit about Joe Polish and Dean Jackson before entering the Genius Network® room, largely thanks to the famed I Love Marketing Podcast.
What I didn’t expect, however, was just how much he would know about me.
Within the first hour of being in the meeting, I understood why Joe Polish has quite possibly the most inspiring (and valuable) network on the planet, comprised of everyone from Sir Richard Branson to Peter Diamandis and Tony Robbins.
What’s his secret?
The dude cares.
Like, really cares.
I’d seen a lot of videos and testimonials about Joe, from close personal friends like Bonnie Fahy, to role models like Tim Ferriss, before.
And while they all mention his business acumen and mind for marketing in passing, what consistently stands out in these testimonials is their emphasis on his heart.
In the marketing world, not many are known for their authenticity or compassion.
Joe is the opposite. And no amount of video testimonials can prepare you for actually experiencing just how genuine and present he really is.
He leads with a smile, and genuine interest about you, and then follows on by delivering incredible knowledge, vulnerability, and value.
In fact, his generosity and caring are unlike anything I’ve ever seen, in my decade and a half of business — and I’ve only known him for a short while.
Imagine how the people who’ve worked with him for 30 years must feel?
Not only did Joe take the time to learn about me and my business well before we met, but he made sure that others in the room did, too.
He repeatedly passed the ball my way, taking a genuine interest in exploring how I could share my knowledge and become established as an expert and resource to other members in the group, and even asked his team to schedule me for a Genius Network® podcast interview to help share that knowledge.
When you’re in the right room, you won’t be the only one to recognize it — and you won’t be the only one to benefit from it. In fact, yet another thing that I really appreciated both in the discussions and in the summary worksheets was an emphasis on what each one of us was giving in return.
The lesson here is a clear — and important — one. You are welcome to be a part of this room, and to benefit from the tremendous quality of both the content and the characters… but you must be willing to offer a great deal in return.
Indeed, everyone in Genius Network® is, of course, a captain of industry in his or her own right, but more importantly, each of them is clearly eager to do anything they can to help one another.
Whereas a room of this caliber could very easily reek of ego and boasting, instead, the very opposite was true.
While there were some very, very sizable names in the room, each worthy of some considerable bragging rights, the overwhelming air and attitude I was left with was one of humility and service.
Everyone I spoke to was not only happy to help or answer questions on the spot — despite the very significant value of their time — but they were also eager and overjoyed to make plans and connect to discuss further.
Each one of them was lasting proof of one of Genius Network’s core values: the idea that if everyone comes with the intent to give as much value as possible, we’ll each get much more value in return, too.
I left Genius Network® with a dozen or so follow-up phone calls, podcast interviews, and joint business opportunities worth exploring — each and every one of them a potential avenue for 10X returns.
And while I’m not going to name drop or reveal who was actually at this meeting, I will say this:
Even if I never actually charge a dime to help these other business owners with things like memory or online course creation… these are the types of people who could provide 10X returns simply by giving my businesses a one-line testimonial.
But that’s not the point here, at all.
In fact, as one very prominent member shared on our first day,
“Genius Network® is NOT a treasure map that leads you to gold and riches. It’s a treasure map that leads you to other treasure maps.”
In other words, Genius Network® is, like many groups to bring together high-quality and like-minded individuals, a map to finding the people, ideas, and opportunities that inspire and motivate me to keep going.
Whereas 3 months ago, I felt stuck in a “success trap,” bored, and isolated from the people I admire, in one short trip across the atlantic, I was able to not only regain back my passion, but return to my business with more enthusiasm and excitement than I’ve probably ever had.
Whereas before, I felt alone here in Israel, where I have nearly nobody to share the struggles of growing an information products “expert” business, today, I have a list of hundreds of industry heavy-hitters that I can message and share ideas with.
In a word: my entire mindset was shifted. My instrumentation recalibrated. My level increased.
All from simply being in the right room, with the right people, and being welcomed as one of them.
I’m reminded of the feelings that overwhelmed me when I attended my first regional Burning Man Event:
In fact, what most struck me about the Genius Network® experience was not the star power in the room, or the premium feel of it all… it was how incredibly natural and comfortable it all felt.
Whereas in most rooms of 50+ people, I still, even as a public speaker and thought leader, get a bit of nerves and butterflies when standing up to speak in front of the room, at Genius Network, I felt none of that.
Instead, every single time the microphone was passed to me, I was most surprised by just how welcomed, understood, and supported I felt.
You see, despite the fact that many of these business leaders were leaving their impact on the world and making their millions when I was still wetting the bed, the simple fact is this:
I’m in the right room. A room that challenges me, yes, but which also supports me, my growth, my challenges, and my goals.
A room where I truly feel that I belong.
And that makes all the difference.
But this isn’t really a post just about Genius Network®.
Because, of course, not everyone wants to be a leader in the worlds of marketing and business — not should they.
This is a post about putting yourself in the right room for you.
The room that fosters your growth, uplifts your spirits, and supports your wildest ambitions.
The room that allows you to build handfuls of authentic, strong connections through shared experiences, rather than through one-on-one cold calls or emails.
The room where you can confidently say you are not the smartest person there — or even close to it.
The room where you have to occasionally pinch yourself and ask “am I really qualified to be here?!”
Because let’s face it: relationship building is yet another one of what I call exponential skills: a force-multiplying superskill that supercharges everything else you do.
And if that’s true, then it all starts with getting yourself into the right room, with the right people.
Maybe it’s a “virtual” room, like an exclusive Facebook group or Slack channel for people in your industry, or a members-only mastermind group held by one of your favorite authors.
Maybe it’s a literal room, carefully curated for inspiration and connection by a team of professionals, like those offered by MasterMind Talks, Summit, The Entrepreneurs Organization, The HIVE, The Rotary Club, Kiwanis, or any number of academic honors societies, student groups, and industry associations.
The room itself will vary based on who (and where) you are in your life. And it will vary from time to time.
The rooms that are most beneficial for you today won’t be the rooms you’ll want to be in 10 years from now.
And of course, they are not mutually exclusive, either.
So ask yourself this:
What are the rooms you should be gaining access to…?
As a student, a professional, a husband, a father, or even as a member of your community?
Where are the people that you admire meeting to share ideas, build relationships, and inspire one another — and how can you get involved?
It may not be a $25K MasterMind group that you fly halfway around the world to attend…
Though even if it is, chances are, it’s well worth it.
Thanks for reading!