Success Snake Oil – Know When You’re Getting Scammed

We’re always on the lookout for good coaches. So last week, we had two phone calls that we want to share with you — one good, one bad. But there are lessons to be learned from both of them. Specifically, we want to discuss when it’s worth spending your time and money, and when you should run … and run fast!

  • If they don’t live up to their promises, even in the sales call …. run!
  • In what turned out to be the bad call, we were promised a one-on-one conversation with an internet expert. It turned out to be nothing but a scripted sales call.

    The good call, on the other hand, was a conversation. It was exactly what we were promised it would be … and more! It was personal. He had done research on us and our web site. It was what coaching should be.

  • If there’s lots of conversation, but almost no information … run!
  • With the bad call, we’re still not sure how their program works. Even though we were on the phone for about an hour. Details were sketchy. Answers to questions were vague. The most popular answer seemed to be, “That’s proprietary.” We weren’t given any details about the credentials of our would-be coach.

    The good phone call was completely opposite. We know exactly what we’re going to get, after only thirty minutes. We were given advice that we’re already using. And the price tag is much less.

  • If you’re told you have to make a decision now … run!
  • We were immediately cajoled with the bad call to make a decision on the spot. We told them that we don’t operate that way. They pressed on. Our experience shows that the best decisions are thoughtfully made after consideration – not an on-the-spot emotional decision. If you’re being asked to make a decision immediately, your best response is usually going to be “no”.

    Our coach on the good call didn’t ask for an immediate decision – in fact, he is so confident in what he has to offer, he suggested that we should not make an immediate decision. However, he still gave his advice freely!

  • If they’re playing mind games with you … run!
  • Build you up, tear you down, wear you out. That was the process we experienced with the bad call. Don’t fall for it.

    We were offered words of encouragement with the good call. We were also given some constructive criticism, which was very helpful. Constructive criticism is great; just tearing you down to make a sale is not. If you don’t understand the difference, reread the first three points!

We could go on, but these are the highlights of our discussion. Hopefully, you’ll find these helpful the next time you’re trying to buy something.

Our quote today is by Thomas Jefferson.

“Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, ‘til you know there is no hook beneath it.”

So don’t get hooked … if it smells fishy, it probably is.

Next time, we get a visit from Santa. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Live Your Dream With Purpose – Part 2

Yesterday, we discussed why defining your core values helps you live your dream life. You won’t have peace of mind if your life isn’t consistent with your values. Knowing your values invigorates you. You see the bigg picture – your current situation may not be all you dream of, but you can see how it’s getting you where you want to be.

We’re working toward a written statement of values. Having your values in writing makes them more tangible. It keeps them in front of you. You’re forced to analyze them more thoroughly than if you just keep them in your head.

Let’s look at two techniques you can use to discover your core values – yours, not someone else’s. Whichever technique you use, you’ll want to find a place that’s conducive to creative thinking.

  • The List
  • Select the ten things you think are most important from our list of values. It’s not easy, but that’s the point – discovering what you value the most. Keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to add your own values.

    Once you’ve done that, up the ante. Choose the five values that are most important to you. Then four … three … two … one. You’ve just created an ordered ranking of your five most important values!

  • The Blank Sheet
  • Start with a blank sheet of paper (or a blank word processing document, if you prefer to type). Write “What’s most important to me?” at the top. Now brainstorm.

    Write freely – don’t analyze. Anything and everything that comes to mind. Now get away from it. Come back to it again. Don’t worry if a couple of days pass.

    When you return, look at your list. Do you want to add anything? Cross something off? Have at it – it’s your list.

    Next, look at each word. Ask yourself what it means to you. For example, maybe your wrote down money. Money can mean income, wealth, freedom, security …. what does it mean to you? You’ll often find that what you value is underlying the word you wrote. Dig deep.

    Now, start eliminating values so you end up with an ordered ranking.

You may find that combining the two techniques works best. Start with the first. Look over the list. Then get away from it. Return to a blank sheet and start brainstorming.

Visualizing your dream life, free of constraints, helped you uncover your passions. Now we’re bringing beliefs to those passions, which defines your values. That’s the life you want. In a couple of weeks, we’ll bring in the constraints; we’ll assess where you are. Then we’ll develop strategies to link the two together.

Our quote today is by the French writer and philosopher Michael de Montaigne.

“The value of life is not in the length of days, but in the use
we make of them; a man may live long but yet very little.”

So seize today. Value your life and live your values.

Next time, we’ll talk about success snake oil – know when you’re getting scammed. We’ll recount some recent experiences. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Live Your Dream With Purpose – Part I

About thirty days ago, we asked you to visualize the life you want. Specifically, we asked you to remove the two constraints – time and money – and answer this question:

If neither time nor money was an issue,
how would you spend your time and money?

Mary-Lynn said that, as a long-time broadcaster, her dream is to develop her own content that helps people. She’s doing that with Bigg Success. George says his dream is to travel more, especially spending more time on the beach.

Dreaming is great, but we all have responsibilities. Money is limited. Time even more so. How does it help to dream without considering that fact?

Understand that this is a process. We’ll bring the two constraints back in … but not just yet. First, find your passions by dreaming about the life you want. But you won’t have peace of mind if you’re not living your values.

And, if you remember, we defined success as peace of mind. You’ll never feel successful without it. So, now we want to define our core values.

What’s most important to you? You’ll find your core values at the point where your passions and your beliefs intersect. They’re the combination of what you want and what you believe (i.e. your morals).

Everyone lives according to a set of values. Sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously. We have all sorts of values … our own, things our parents taught us, influences of our society …

The question is NOT, “Are you living by a set of values?”
The question is, “Are you living by YOUR core values?”

Many people default to a subconscious set of mostly external values. Defining your core values should be extremely personal. What is most important to YOU? If you don’t live your life in line with your answer to that question, you’ll never achieve peace of mind. You’ll experience frustration, stress, burnout … all things diametrically opposed to peace of mind!

If you’re like a lot of people, you may say that your core values interfere with pursuing your passions. For example, supporting your family may be an overriding value of yours. You’re not happy but you have to do what you have to do, right? 

Keep in mind that seeing the big picture – aligning your core values with your passions – energizes you. You may come to see your current situation as a stepping stone to the future of which you dream. Doesn’t that change how you look at things as they are now?

We’ll revisit this topic next time. Between now and then, think about what’s most important to you, given your passions and beliefs. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about two techniques that will help you discover your core values so you can live your dream life with purpose. 

Our quote today is by Steven Covey. 

“Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and your
values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them.”

So values your values and your vision … and live your life with purpose, on purpose.
Next time, we’ll continue on this track. You’ll get two techniques to discover your core values so you can live your dream life with purpose. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Intuition – It’s Not Just For Women Anymore

We’ve all heard about women’s intuition. We’re told that women rely more on their feelings when they make decisions. They’re more emotional. But women certainly use logic to make decisions as well. Men reason more because they like to be able to prove their point. Supposedly, they’re more argumentative. But that doesn’t mean they don’t use their intuition.

We value logic today, perhaps to an extreme. Few people, except the most successful, will admit to using their gut instincts to make decisions. Once successful, people like Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump proudly proclaim that their hunches were partially responsible for their bigg success.

So, guys, it’s okay to admit that you use intuition. Don’t see it as a bad thing. Know when to use it and how.

Which type of decision-maker are you?
Gerd Gigerenzer, a social psychologist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, recently wrote a book, Gut Feelings. He is a pioneer in research on intuition. He says there are two kinds of decision-makers:

  • “Maximizers” have to know all of the facts before they decide.
  • “Satisficers” only need to be “satisfied they have enough information to suffice” before they make a decision.

Gigerenzer’s research shows that you can often make better decisions with less information. Think of the time that saves you! But he does has skeptics within his field.

Sometimes the data lies
Steve McKee wrote an article recently for Business Week, entitled Beware the Advertising Pretest. He mentions a number of advertising campaigns that didn’t test well during market research. For example, if the advertisers hadn’t gone with their gut, against all the evidence, we never would have “Got Milk?”!

When should you satisfice?

  • The more familiar you are with the situation, the more likely you can satisfice.
  • The less the decision will significantly affect your life, the more likely you can satisfice.
  • Ask yourself, “Who is affected by my decision?” If the answer is “you”, then satisfice. If it involves others, you may want to err on the side of research.

Intuition and the magic 8-ball
Here’s a technique to try the next time you have a decision to make. Do all the analysis you want. Then frame a “yes” or “no” question. Shake your magic 8-ball (or flip a coin). How do you feel about the answer? That’s your intuition at work! This simple exercise helps you start to understand how your intuition plays in to your decision-making.

Our quote today is by Albert Einstein, considered one of most intelligent people ever.

“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There
comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will,
the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.”

Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.

Next time, we’ll revisit visualizing the life you want. We challenged you to answer the question, “If neither time nor money was an issue, how would you spend your time and your money?” We’re ready to take it to the next level – live your dream with a purpose.

Until then, here’s to your big success!

When A Co-Worker Bad Mouths You

We received an e-mail from David. He recently overheard one of his employees make some very negative comments about his management abilities.

He wants advice on how to approach this long-time employee of the company, who is about ten years older than David.

We have three recommendations for David:

  • Know your purpose before you start.
  • You want to have a conversation, not a confrontation. You want to find out if there is an underlying reason for your employee’s comments. Behave accordingly.

  • Report on what you heard.
  • Try to use the word “you” as little as possible. As in, “You said …” Instead, say “It was said …” You’ll accomplish far more by not backing him into a corner. Be as objective as possible so you’re more likely to have a productive conversation.

  • Role play.
  • We talked about role playing a couple of weeks ago. David’s situation is a great example of an interaction where role playing in advance is beneficial. As part of your role playing, come up with the possible scenarios. For instance, He cops an attitude This is a bad sign. However, as nicely and unemotionally as you can, let him know that you want a discussion, not an argument. Tell him again that you’re more concerned about why it was said than what was said. Keep in mind, though, that he may have become the proverbial “bad apple”. You may need to let him go. If you do, your remaining employees will likely ask you what took you so long. He denies he said it This is probably the most frustrating. Remind him that you heard it first-hand; it’s not hearsay. Ask him if he agrees with you that effective relationships, at work or anywhere, rely on honesty. If you can’t communicate honestly, it’s going to be hard to work together. He becomes overly apologetic He may have just been having a bad day and you got the brunt of it. Then move on … we all have bad days. However, it’s possible he’s not being sincere; he just wants to get you off his back now. Only you can judge that. He admits it and tells you what’s wrong This is the desired result. Hopefully, it’s the only scenario you encounter, but you may take a detour through one of the others. Regardless, thank him for his candor. Then demonstrate what a great manager you are by working with him to solve the underlying problem!

Our quote today is by Ayya Khema.

“Eventually we will find (mostly in retrospect, of course) that we can be very grateful to those people who have made life most .”

It’s difficult to see a difficult situation as an opportunity to grow. But if you do … you’ll thank yourself for it later.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss intuition – it’s not just for women anymore, you know! Until then, here’s to your big success!