My BNI® Story


How Big Is Your Dream?

By: BNI Staff
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    My BNI® Story

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    BNI Staff

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“If you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney

Incredible stories of success, both personal and professional in nature, are ubiquitous among our BNI membership. They are also, quite often, unique and inspirational.

That’s one of the many benefits of connecting with an organization such as BNI. The exposure that our members have to these stories of triumph and perseverance are unparalleled.  

We recently had the privilege of hearing one of these stories at this year’s Global Convention in Bangkok, Thailand. As part of our Inspirational Speaker series, Alfredo Tanimoto, Executive Director of BNI Grande Zona Oeste de SP in Brazil, shared how he overcame a personal tragedy through sheer will and determination while in the face of extreme adversity.

As a young professional, Alfredo had a dream of becoming an international business executive. Through hard work, he was able to turn his dream into an actionable goal.

While working in Japan, he accomplished this goal. He was appointed National Director of AlphaSystem Co. Ltd, a telephone company for international calling cards. He managed a portfolio of 7 companies and his team comprised individuals in 25 different countries.

Concurrently, Alfredo also pursued and achieved another lifelong dream… to become a surfer, and more specifically, a Big wave surfer. Big Wave surfing is where experienced surfers paddle into or are towed onto waves which are at least 20 feet (6.2 m) high, on surf boards.

Unfortunately, while a positive attitude and determination can help propel you forward, life has its obstacles. On August 16th, 2008 while surfing off the coast of Japan, Alfredo experienced a life-altering event. He struck his head on the bottom of the ocean floor and broke two vertebrae in his neck, the C6 and C7. Adversity had struck in the most unexpected and difficult manner.

After emergency surgery, Alfredo was informed that he would only have a 2% chance to walk again. At that moment, a new dream set in. He was determined to walk again. He was adamant that a full recovery was possible and that his case would be the one that medicine could not explain.

From that point, while recovering in the hospital, Alfredo developed 9 steps that would help him overcome adversity and push forward to a full recovery. These 9 steps are documented in the video below. 

  1. Love Your Life!
  2. Goals Will Lead You
  3. Positive Attitude
  4. Be an Influencer
  5. Create Your Own Path
  6. Self Esteem
  7. Stay Focused
  8. Stay Disciplined
  9. Have Faith

Within 3 years, Alfredo made a remarkable recovery and proved that even the most difficult obstacles can be overcome.

Afterward, he traveled to Brazil and began working with a large IT company in Brazil. And while it was a new start, he had to prove himself again. Through BNI, he was able to do so.

Alfredo found an open chapter and began living the #GiversGain philosophy. Ultimately his business grew, and he was able to reestablish himself, and his dream, of becoming a successful business executive.

Alfredo's story is one of perseverance, and he wanted to share it, and inspire others. He joined BNI fulltime as Executive Director and now embodies 3+1 by telling stories that will have an impact around the world.