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Step 4-Find Abundance in a World of Scarcity

abundanceBad news is the news. We hear a lot about the scarcity. We don’t hear so much about the abundance.

That’s why we’re talking about steps you can take to live abundantly. We’re ready for Step 4:

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Eliminate "zero-sum" thinking

One of the reasons we don't feel more abundance is because we've bought into the mindset that everything is a zero-sum game. Somebody has to lose in order for anybody to win.

Hollywood says so.

Our media tells us that it's the case.

Politicians don’t get it.

Successful entrepreneurs get it.

Bigg success is life on your own terms. Implicit in that definition is that you are the entrepreneur of your life.

You own it. You are in charge. There’s something successful entrepreneurs understand that many people – including the elite in our society – just don’t get.

Entrepreneurs know that they win second.

In order for them to win, at least some portion of society must win first. They create fortunes because they understand that there are very few zero-sum games in the world.

Think about it. In most cases, we do business with people because it's mutually beneficial. If it weren't, we would stop doing business together.

So if we take the "zero-sum" attitude, we won't create value. If one party has to lose so the other party can win, nothing is added to society.

Bill Gates got it. He became the richest person in the world because a large number of people felt that Microsoft’s products made their lives and / or their businesses better.

Some argue about his contribution. That will be true of your contribution as well. You will face critics if you do anything of any significance.

But you won’t care.

You will let the market vote. You will know that you have helped people win because they will vote with their dollars. They choose to work with you because you make their lives better in some way.

Warren Buffett got it. Like Bill Gates, he has ascended to the top of the list of the richest people in the world. He did it by delivering returns to his investors that they couldn’t achieve on their own.

To live abundantly, we must first discard the zero-sum game mentality. 

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Create wealth by creating value

The best way to do that is one relationship at a time. We must adopt a win / win attitude in every relationship we have. When we do that we create value.

The value of any relationship is the emotional goodwill you have created in that relationship. The sum of the value of all of your relationships is the value of your network.

Now and in the foreseeable future, the greatest wealth will be created by people with the best networks. Create value – and therefore abundance – for other people and you'll find abundance in your own life.

Now, please understand that it doesn't happen instantly. In the economy of a previous generation, you had to plant in the spring if you wanted to harvest in the fall. It may take days, weeks, months, or even years for you to see the result.

However, if all you see when you look at people is dollar signs, you won't harvest the opportunities presented in the years ahead. You won't create wealth. You won't feel abundance.

Put other people first. Look for a win for them with all the fervor you look for a win for you. That’s a mindset that leads to bigg success.

We’re thrilled that you checked in with us today. Thanks so much.

Please join us next time as we wrap up this series on abundance. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Related posts

Step 1-Find Abundance in a World of Scarcity

Step 2-Find Abundance in a World of Scarcity

Step 3-Find Abundance in a World of Scarcity

Is it Time to Buy a House?

home_sales The national news is full of bad news about our economy – rising unemployment, stocks hitting ten-year lows, and the value of our homes falling. We wanted to get an inside perspective so we turned to the experts – the National Association of Realtors. We were fortunate to be joined by Jed Smith, their Senior Economist, on The Bigg Success Show today. Here’s a recap of our conversation:

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marylynnWe’re hoping for some rainbows and butterflies from you, Jed. Are there markets where home prices are actually rising?

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jedThere are a few. Right now, the market is in a process of stabilizing, which means that prices are down but sales activity is up in quite a few markets. Just to give you a few examples, prices are actually rising a little in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Mobile, Alabama, Stamford, Connecticut; and Amarillo, Texas. It varies around the country depending on a lot of local conditions. However, right now, we’re particularly interested in the level of sales. Obviously, a good level of sales can lead to an overall price rise in the future and, as your listeners probably know, both sales and prices have been declining for awhile. We’d sure like to see those level out and there’s some reason to believe that we’re getting to the bottom of the market.

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george
Real estate is still a local game, right?

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jedYes. Every market is local. To give you an example, prices are way down in Prince William County, Virginia. That’s a suburb of Washington. Just across the way, up the street in Washington, D.C., prices are stable; and in Arlington, Virginia, prices are actually starting to rise a bit. So it varies from region to region.

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georgeSo, while we may be hearing doom-and-gloom about national real estate prices, it’s possible – depending on your local market – that the dream house you want to buy is getting more expensive.

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jedWell, prices right now are down. As I said, they are starting to turn a little bit in a few markets. Most markets are either declining a little or holding steady while they’re getting ready to turn. But I think if you’re thinking about a house right now, I don’t think you want to think about a short-term flip. There was a lot of flipping a few years ago during the rapid run-up in prices in 2006 and 2007. Right now, as measured in terms of affordability, taking into account interest rates which are at an all-time low coupled with reasonable prices, housing is actually a very good buy. If you’re not buying it to flip it, but rather to hold it for five or six years, I think you’ll be very pleased with the ultimate result.

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georgeOn average, Jed, how much have house prices fallen back nationally from their peak?

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jedWell, that will vary from area to area. I think we want to talk in terms of the last year. They’re down about 15 percent in the last year, probably down about another 10 percent above that from the peak. That’s not true everywhere. That’s just a national average, like my head’s in the furnace and my feet are in the Artic, so I’m comfortable on average.

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george
I like the way you explained that!

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jedWe think that with the forthcoming recovery – there’s a lot of spending going on, a lot of economic stimulus, and a lot of effort to stop foreclosures – we project that prices will start to level out, certainly, by the fourth quarter of this year. That’s why, when prices are in good shape and you can get that $8,000 tax credit, right now is a good time to consider buying a house if you don’t own one.

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marylynnWe’ve been hearing that prices in areas like Detroit are just astoundingly low. Is it wise to go into an area that has been beaten up and buy some property there?

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jedThat depends on the long-term outlook for the area. Let’s put this into a little broader perspective than Detroit. Much of California, Arizona and Nevada have had prices that have been beaten up pretty thoroughly. Yet we all know that those areas are going to have vibrant job growth over the next four or five years and, right now, we see buyers flocking out to purchase property in that area. The prices are low, but the number of buyers showing up is substantial. I think for the longer term, these folks are getting a good buy.

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marylynnFor people who are thinking about buying in some of those areas, do you have any recommendations for finding an area that is beat up but has long-term growth potential? How do people get that information?

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jedThis is the type of information – specific market characteristics – that a Realtor would know. A Realtor could give you an idea of the outlook for jobs, income, population in a specific area, and how prices compare to the overall market for that area. That’s why we would recommend working with an expert – a Realtor – to understand the market because there are some good buys out there.

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george
And you probably know a Realtor or two, don’t you Jed?

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jed

I probably do.

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georgeI think you’re absolutely right. I have found in my life that it pays to turn to the professionals and let them help guide you through the process. With a Realtor, you know it’s win – win all the way through.

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jedWe think that Realtors bring a real value-added to the market because they live in the community, they know the community, and they’re part of the community. They’ve been there for a long time and they’ve done a lot of transactions. They can guide you – just like a doctor or a lawyer does with their professional services – in making your largest purchase.

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Thanks Jed so much for sharing your time and wisdom with all of us! And a special thanks to Hilary Marsh and Sara Weis, Jed’s co-workers at the National Association of Realtors, for helping us arrange our conversation with him.

If you’re in the market to buy or sell your house, the National Association of Realtors is a great resource. Check out their tips for home buyers and sellers.

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Join us next time as look squarely at the four-leaf clover on St. Paddy’s Day! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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These People Just Do Not Get It

optimists There is a group of people that most people just don’t understand. They face the same problems we all face …

… but they just don’t get it. They don’t get how bad these problems are this time around.

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When they listen to the news, it’s the same news we all hear.

But they just don’t get it … how bad the news really is.

They have the same concerns for themselves and their families that we all have. But there is one difference between this group and the majority of people …

They think their lives are going to get better this year! The future is bright. So bright, they probably wear shades! They think the economy will turn around.

And there’s a startling number of Americans who think this way. In fact, according to a recent survey, more than one-third of all Americans are in this group. And only one out of five people said they worry about the economy on a daily basis.

Are they tuning out?

So what do you think? Are these people who think their personal situation will improve this year nuts? Or do you think they’re onto something? Or maybe they’re on something?

Here’s what they may not be on … they may not be reading, watching, or listening to the news! Bad news does seem to be good news to the news media. We’ve spoken with a large number of people over the last month or so who say they’ve tuned out the news.

Sometimes that’s a good coping mechanism. If you’re tired of hearing gloom and doom, it might be more productive to focus on something more positive.

Challenge spells opportunity

We put ourselves in this group of optimistic people. We think things will get better this year. That’s not to say we won’t still see some hiccups, but it appears that there is significant strength just below the surface.

While we face some major challenges right now, that spells opportunity for bigg goal-getters. But don’t expect to win a spelling bee if you spell it that way!

Getting real

The article we mentioned earlier cites some of the benefits of being an optimist. On average, optimists get sick less, live longer, and appear to have a higher quality of life.

This is consistent with other research we’ve seen on the benefits of being an optimist. Seeing the glass half-full does seem to pay off. But while it’s important to look for the silver lining in any dark cloud, and we don’t think it pays to be pessimistic, we also think that we should be realistic.

We have to sort through all the information in front of us to try to determine what the objective reality is. To make sure that our perceptions aren’t creating a bias as we look at a particular situation.

Because we’re more likely to make mistakes if we’re overly optimistic. We’ll see opportunities that aren’t really there. And unfortunately, we must admit that we’re speaking from experience here.

But pessimists miss out on opportunities because they either don’t see it or they don’t act on what they see.

Bigg goal-getters are an optimistic group. While one-third of the people in this survey said they think things will get better this year, we bet that the overwhelming majority of our community would put themselves in that category.

And that’s a good thing … as long as we filter our optimism with a healthy dose of realism. Be positively real. That’s the recipe for bigg success!

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we discuss why you should stop trying to fit into the world. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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A Formula for the Blues

unhappy It’s Monday of the last full week of January. You know what that means? It’s Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year, according to Dr Cliff Arnall, a Cardiff University psychologist.

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He devised a formula to find out when people are unhappiest. It’s based on many factors – the weather this time of the year in many parts of the developed world, Christmas bills coming in as we try to figure out how to pay them, our New Year’s resolutions starting to fall by the wayside, and more.

It’s been reported that fewer people went into debt this Christmas compared to prior years. So maybe it won’t be so bad this year. On the other hand, we get blasted daily with reports of layoffs, store closings and other bad news. Many people are feeling like they’re not in control of their own lives. So this may be a particularly blue Blue Monday.

Rock bottom up!

We can see the glass as half empty or half full. We could just sit around feeling sorry for ourselves. Or we could look at it this way – if today really is the most depressing day of the year, then it can only be better for the rest of the year!

It reminds us of J.K. Rowling’s address to last year’s Harvard graduates. She said that, before her success with Harry Potter, she reached rock bottom. She found it very liberating because she knew she had nowhere to go but up.

Dreamin’ and schemin’

That’s what we call our formula for getting over the blues. It works for just about any situation that you’re unhappy about. So use this to get back on track with that New Year’s resolution, for financial problems, and just about anything else. Well, it won’t help with the weather!

Step 1: Allow yourself to mentally escape. For just a little bit, stop thinking about where you are. Instead think about where you want to be. Picture it as clearly as you can. Then write it down.

This has helped us innumerable times. By focusing on where we want to be for a short time, our motivation returns. We find we have new energy to return to the problem that got us down in the first place. Now we have the strength to return to the present and move to the next step.

Step 2: Schedule your steps. With your written description from your mental escape in Step 1 in front of you, think about your current situation. What will it take to get from where you are to where you want to be? Write down every step that you will need to take, focusing of course only on things you can control.

Step 3: Take the first step. This is really the most important step. Taking even the smallest step helps you lose that feeling of powerlessness. It gives you a reason to pat yourself on the back. It gets positive energy flowing to solve your problem instead of being frozen by it.

This is something that helps us get over the blues. What works for you?

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Oh, and if you’re feeling down today, hang in there. Dr. Arnall has also calculated the happiest day of the year. That happens in June!

Thanks so much for reading our post today.

Tomorrow, we’re inaugurating a new President here in the United States. He’ll swear that he will “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.” Join us next time when we ask, “Does your organization need a Constitution?”

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!  

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Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 2

tribes Today on The Bigg Success Show, we continued chatting with Seth Godin about his great new book Tribes. Last time, Seth told us what a tribe is, what the leader does, and why the quality of a tribe is more important than its quantity.

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Why Seth became a leader

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marylynnSeth, you said that a leader connects the tribe and gives them a voice. Obviously, you’re the leader of a tribe. What motivated you to be a leader?

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seth_godinWhen I see things that are broken or aren’t the way they should be, when I see wasted resources and talent, it bothers me. I want to do something about it. I want to talk about it. I want to point it out. I want to help people see that there’s a different path. What I discovered, mostly from my blog over the last six or seven years, is that there are other people like me who are itching to make a difference. All I do is tell people stuff they already knew. All I do is give names to things that are already out there. But by giving it a name, by talking about it, I’m allowing people to say, “That’s right. The emperor has no clothes.” I’m allowing people to go to their boss and talk about remarkable products in a clever way or go to their boss and talk about treating people with respect instead of spamming them. By giving people this ammunition, what I’ve discovered is that I thought they were doing something for me, by letting me influence the discussion. They’re actually doing something for themselves because they, even more than I, want to see these things fixed and improved so they reach their potential.

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The Power of One

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georgeWell Seth, you’re being very humble when you say that you’re just saying things that other people have said. I think you say them in a way that cuts through and clarifies so we all understand. One of the things you talk about in Tribes is the power of one.

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seth_godinHere’s the bad news – there’s all this leverage. There’s all this opportunity. If it doesn’t cost any money to find and lead and connect a tribe, if you can start your own online radio or TV show, if you can have your own blog, if you can use Meetup to connect people in 500 cities, if it’s all available and then you don’t do it, you can’t blame anybody else. That’s your choice. The punch line of the book is this is now an obligation. It’s an obligation – for anyone who cares, for anyone who wants to see change happen – for them to go make that change. One person is all that it takes to change the agenda, to keep people out of poverty, to change the way your school district works, or to get elected. One person is able to now leverage the work and enthusiasm and passion of hundreds or thousands of people.

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The future is about leverage

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georgeWe’ve gone through this recent financial crisis. Partly it’s a result of too much leverage. So in a financial sense, we can look at leverage as perhaps a bad thing. But you talk in your book about leverage and how leverage as a leader can help you impact change for the good.

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seth_godinWell, let’s be really clear though. Leverage isn’t good or bad. Leverage is the way tools work. If you have bad intent, if you have selfish intent, if you have non-transparent intent, you can do all sorts of horrible things with tribes. We’ve seen racism and all sorts of other things amplified by this sort of leverage. The problem in our financial community is not because of leverage. The problem in our financial community is that selfish individuals made short-term decisions in the dark without telling everyone what they were doing. Leverage is the only thing that’s going to get us out of this financial problem and it will. Our future is now all about leverage. Our future is about the fact that one person in Tucson can have a clever idea and have it designed by someone in India, built by someone in Guatemala, and sold by someone in Buenos Aires. That’s extraordinary because we can do that in two weeks instead of two years. If we have good intent, if we’re willing to stand behind what we’re doing, then I’m incredibly optimistic.

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marylynnHere’s another thing that’s really exciting about this day and age. As you say in the book, marketing used to be about advertising which is expensive. Now to get the word out about that product you created in two weeks, it’s about engaging your tribe. So that makes it less expensive and easier.

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seth_godinIf you look at the most popular blogs in the world, almost all of them did not come from the mainstream media. The people who had all the money, all the access, and all the power, they all failed. Nobody’s going to CBS, The Today Show, or NBC online to hear unique, honest voices. They’re visiting real people, or groups of people – like the “Huffington Posts” of the world – because great ideas win. Great ideas attract enthusiasm and passion. So corporate money doesn’t work the way it used to.

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Seth is also the founder of Squidoo, where you can find a special page about Tribes.

Next time, we’ll wrap up our conversation with Seth. He talks about how change and chaos are creating opportunities for all of us today. We’ll also learn what keeps Seth going. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Related posts

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Seth Godin on Tribes: Part 3

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Top Threats to Your Career and Finances in 2009

By Bigg Success Staff
12-17-08

caution

We’ve all heard plenty of bad news recently, but the bad news now is that there is more bad news to come. While we must think about the opportunities in front of us, it’s also important to consider the threats to our careers and our finances so we can prepare appropriately.

Recession

Consumers, businesses, non-profits, and governments, all over the developed world, are learning a hard lesson about leverage. We will climb our way out of this recession but it will take some time. Before it’s through, it will be one of the, if not the most, severe recession since the Great Depression. 

Layoffs will continue. In most recessions, layoffs occur mostly at the bottom of the earnings / education spectrum. Expect this recession to be more evenly distributed, if not hitting higher end jobs harder.

Outsourcing

Companies will continue outsourcing, but here’s the difference. Manufacturing jobs have been getting shipped overseas for some time now. As fuel prices rose, there actually seemed to be a resurgence in companies bringing manufacturing jobs back on shore.

Now more white-collar jobs are at risk thanks in part to technology that allows information to be shared instantly from any place in the world with internet access. We found a great article that discusses the characteristics of jobs that can now be easily outsourced and jobs that can’t. It also lists what you can do to make yourself less vulnerable and provides a list of jobs by their level of risk to offshoring.

Deflation

Expect deflation to continue as everybody keeps a tight lid on spending, the credit markets remain relatively tight, and inventories of everything from housing to cars remain comparatively high. The good news is lower prices will remain, but …

Inflation

Governments in the developed countries have poured money into the world economy at unprecedented rates. At some point, once the credit markets loosen up and demand returns, inflation could become a problem.

We’ve just witnessed prices on everything from gas to groceries rising quickly. We could see it again. It will take wise leadership to know when to slam on the brakes on economic stimulus without tightening so much that another recession ensues.

If this happens, that cash stash will quickly lose its value. Investments in hard assets have typically performed well in times of inflation.

Delayed retirement

A number of retirees are being forced to look for work after the freefall of their portfolios. Even more people who planned to retire soon are putting those plans on hold because they need to bulk up their assets again before they stop working. This will create even more competition in already tight job markets.

Benefits

Employers are under intense pressure to cut costs. It’s reasonable to expect them to cut benefits. Even if it’s promised now, don’t count on having health insurance provided to you as a retiree. Even while you’re working, expect to cover a greater share of the premiums.

Also don’t be surprised if your employer cuts back or eliminates the matches on your 401(k). These aren’t the only benefits at risk, but they’re two of the most significant ones.

Access to credit

It won’t show up on your personal balance sheet, but your credit score will be an incredible asset. Cash will be king as long as prices remain in a deflationary state. At some point, cash along with the ability to access credit will open doors for opportunities that most of us will never see again in our lifetimes. 

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