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Think Like A Black Belt

How to Conquer Fear Like A Black Belt

Think Like A Black Belt

Listen to this post! Click the player to hear George & Mary-Lynn talk with Jim Bouchard on The BIGG Success Show Podcast (Duration 3:52)

Fear can be so paralyzing: fear of financial problems, fear of uncertainty with a job, fear of failure! We asked Jim Bouchard, martial arts hall-of-fame inductee and author of Think Like A Black Belt, how he thinks we should deal with our fears.

Jim says you should face it head on. Sometimes success isn’t achieving your biggest goal, but rather taking the right steps to simply survive. “Do what you have to do today to be able to hang on for tomorrow”.

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Entrepreneurs Must Be Stupid

cautionIn his fantastic book Think Like a Black Belt, Jim Bouchard says: “The absence of fear is stupidity.”

Entrepreneurs must be stupid. They forge ahead boldly while smart people cringe with fear.

Risk? Ha!

Entrepreneurs laugh at it. They love it. No amount of risk will stop them.

That’s the story if you believe popular lore.

Jim says that Black Belts exhibit courage in the face of fear. Entrepreneurs gain courage by minimizing the risk.

They shift it away. They share it with others. They manage it. They act once the risk is brought down to an acceptable level.

It’s calculated fearlessness, not an absence of fear. After all, entrepreneurs aren’t stupid.

Some people would just like to think they are. They’re the people sitting on the sidelines wasting their lives away.

If you’re ready for life on your own terms, maybe we can help minimize the risks. E-mail us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com or leave a voice message at 888.455.2444.

Image in this post from Troy2007

3 Ways to Think Like a Black Belt

jimbouchardToday on The Bigg Success Show, we wrapped up our discussion with Jim Bouchard. Along with being a speaker, coach, author and Martial Arts Hall of Famer, Jim is one of the best people you could ever hope to meet. He helps people Think Like a Black Belt! Last time we talked about setting goals like a black belt. Let’s get back to the conversation …

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georgeJim, I saw an interview with the author of The Richest Man in Town. As you’re talking about levels, I remember an interview with one of men profiled in the book. He said he really just thought about the next plateau. What came through to me was that you have to think about that long-term goal so you set the direction, but then you put all your energy into getting to that next level as you’ve described it.

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jimRight. That word plateau is interesting. Exactly the same thing happens to people on the way to black belt in martial arts. Sometimes you feel plateaus. There are places where you feel that you’re not getting anywhere. Of course, that happens in business all the time as well. The irony is that, very often when we’re experiencing that feeling, a lot of the work is getting done. But there’s no burst of recognition. All of a sudden you get a rank or you attain a certain financial goal with your business and you feel it. There’s a tangible reward there. The plateaus though, that’s where you have to keep going. That’s where the discipline part kicks in. And the perseverance part – knocked down seven times, get up eight. I’ve divided the Black Belt Mindset into three major sections – perfection, confidence and leadership. We’ve talked about perfection – excellence, discipline and focus – that are the action steps. Confidence really comes from doing that over and over again. That’s where the perseverance aspect kicks in. That’s where we’re developing the courage and the power to keep going because we’re facing those challenges. It’s cyclical. It always kicks back to discipline because when the roads get rough and you feel you can’t keep going – you get knocked down that seventh time – that’s what gets you back up again. Confidence means you have some reasonable expectation that the outcome is going to be positive. The only way to get there is through experience. You can’t gift somebody confidence. I don’t know if that helps people look forward because you’ve got to get punched in the nose a few times in order to really be successful. Read books like the one you mentioned that talk about business leaders or political leaders. These aren’t people who, by and large, had a golden spoon in their mouth. These are people who got knocked around a lot and they kept going.

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marylynnWe say you’re the entrepreneur of your own life, whether you’re an entrepreneur in the traditional sense or working your way up in the corporate world. Either way, once you make a decision on your direction, you have to understand that it’s not just going to be easy.

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jimI couldn’t agree more, Mary-Lynn. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. We make it too complicated. It’s a decision! If you want to move forward, you just have to make a decision. Then you have to pull up your pants, turn your hat around and get going. We’ve lived in abundance for so long that a lot of people feel entitled to be in certain places at certain times. When the going gets tough, they don’t know how to deal with it because they haven’t been there. But really it comes down to a decision. You’re going to get busy living or get busy dying.

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george
We encourage everyone to get busy today building the Black Belt Mindset.

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jimThat’s strapping on the black belt. One of my Masters gave me this great line one time. He said, “Your black belt isn’t really something you strap on. It’s something you carve out from inside yourself.” In life or business, what could work better?

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georgeI think it’s interesting too that Mary-Lynn and I can look at what you’ve done or you can look at what we’ve done, but the reality is that everyone has to find their own path. So even if it worked for someone else, it doesn’t mean that particular thing will work for you. The alternative is that it may work for you and never work for anybody else. As long as it works for you that one time – it helps you get to that next level – that’s all that matters.

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jimWe’re so like-minded in that respect. These ideas that we’re talking about – discipline, focus, courage, perseverance – do work for everybody because they’re so fundamental. If you can get down to these simple characteristics and build upon them, then you’re headed in the right direction.

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marylynnIt’s always such a pleasure to talk with you, Jim. Whenever we talk, I’m always revved up for the rest of the day. It’s just good , good stuff!

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jim
That’s because you guys are both black belts in bigg success!

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You can learn more about Jim on his site. We can’t recommend anyone more highly!

Thanks Jim for sharing your time and wisdom with us! And we thank you for checking in with us today!

Back to School season is upon us. So next time, we’ll kick off a series of ten posts on lifelong learning. Please join us. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00460-081409.mp3

(Image in today's post from jimbouchard.org)

Setting Goals Like a Black Belt

jimbouchardToday on The Bigg Success Show, we continued chatting with Jim Bouchard. Jim is a speaker, coach, author and Martial Arts Hall of Famer who helps people Think Like a Black Belt! Last time we talked about branding like a black belt. Now let’s get to the conversation …

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jimThe first word that comes to mind is that people talk about the black belt as a symbol of excellence. We’ve talked about this before. We can couch “excellence” in the term “perfection”. Perfection isn’t a destination; it’s a never ending process. Excellence isn’t something where you get to some level of attainment and then that’s it. Excellence is an ongoing process. It’s harder to keep a black belt than it is to earn one. It’s harder to keep success in business than it is to get there. They always say your first million is the hardest. And then your second million is the hardest, right?

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george
The next million is the hardest.

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jimIt’s a constant process – making sure you’re staying current, making sure you’re staying relevant and making sure you’re still servicing the people that you want to service. That’s really at the heart of it. The idea of excellence. Excellence implies action; it’s a constant process of self-perfection. The way you get there is through discipline and focus. As far as I’m concerned, discipline is the key to all of this. Discipline means doing whatever it takes to get where you want to go. You want bigg success, right? It’s a series of small steps done on a daily basis when things are going well or when they’re not. That’s discipline. Motivation is an easy one. Everyone who starts a new business, everyone you guys coach, aren’t they really motivated? They’re happy and passionate.

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marylynn
Yeah, it’s exciting. It’s a new adventure.

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jimThen about three or four years later, when they’re taking a second on the house to keep the business going, the motivation starts to crumble a little bit.

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marylynnWe were talking with a gentleman who works with a lot of small business owners. He said that he notices they start to wear down about sixteen months in.

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jim
Yeah, that makes sense because, all of a sudden, the reality is staring them in the face.

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marylynnYou’re working so hard. You’re always working. You know this as a business owner, Jim. Sometimes it just seems that there isn’t time for yourself. You do start wearing down.

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jimExactly. That’s where the discipline part has to kick in. And focus. Let’s talk about focus. If focus is unchecked, it becomes an obsession. We have to take care of our entire life. Three key areas of life to me are emotional, material and spiritual. We may let the emotional and spiritual sides deteriorate because we’re focusing on the material. Sometimes that happens – you need to focus a little more on one area than the other. Let’s say there’s an illness or one of your loved ones needs attention. Then you’re going to focus a little more on the emotional side. That’s okay. You just have to remember that in the greater scheme of things, there has to be a relative balance. If you find yourself hyper-focused in one area, you have to catch yourself and make sure you’re planning to correct it. People ask about exercises to develop discipline and focus. The first thing I say is this, “It ain’t that hard. Make a decision and then go forward.” You have to decide you’re going to be a disciplined person. Then you just take something that you want or need to do, create a series of steps and go for it. Now, we can create exercises around that. That’s fun sometimes. But really that’s what it boils down to. Sometimes, like we talked about with the branding, we make it too complicated.

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georgeYeah, I was going to create an exercise to make myself be more disciplined, Jim. I just couldn’t get around to it!

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jim
I’d be glad to help you, George. We’ve got to get you into martial arts class!

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marylynnAh, George is always goofing around! It seems to me, as I’m listening to you talk, Jim, that when you are studying for a black belt, it’s a lot of physical discipline – you’re learning this move or that move, when to use it or when
not to – but is mental discipline harder than physical discipline?

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jimThey go together. So, all joking aside, when people ask me how to have more discipline, I tell them to pick a thing that has a logical goal – or logical conclusion – to it. Not to say that the black belt or anything is the end, but some measurable achievement.

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marylynn
Let’s say I want to keep my desk more organized. Something simple like that.

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jimGood, that’s a great goal. To systemize this a little bit, I might walk you through belt ranks. Let’s say we’re going to get to black belt in desk organization! We’re going to turn you into a Master Desk Organizer!

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marylynn
Hye-yah!

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jimThat’s good! Take ten levels – white, yellow, orange, purple. For the sake of time, I won’t go through the whole thing. You get the idea. You go up through brown and then black belt. At each level, just outline a couple of steps. What’s the simplest thing you can do to start the process of getting your desk organized? It might be just taking an inventory. What’s on my desk? There’s your white belt step. The yellow belt step might be deciding what to do with some of the stuff you don’t want. Or I’m going to choose what I want and what I don’t want on my desk. So on and so forth. You just create a set of levels. It’s very simple.

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marylynn
I like that!

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jimSometimes people do tasking without mindfully being aware of that end goal. We can task ourselves into busy work. That’s not very effective. That’s why the idea of a goal – a black belt level in some sense – is really important to us.

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Thanks so much for reading our post today.

Learn more about Jim, his book, speaking and coaching. Next time, Jim will share how the Black Belt Mindset can help us avoid plateaus as we reach for our bigg goals. Please join us. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00459-081309.mp3

Related posts

Branding Like a Black Belt

How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Is Passion Overrated?

(Image in today's post from jimbouchard.org)

Branding Like a Black Belt

pay-offToday we were thrilled to visit with Jim Bouchard on The Bigg Success Show. Jim is a professional speaker, coach and the author of the great book, Dynamic Components of Personal Power. He has also been inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame and has become one of our personal friends. He’s with us today to talk about how to Think Like a Black Belt! Let’s get to the conversation …

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marylynn
Welcome back to The Bigg Success Show, Jim! We’re bigg fans of yours!

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jim_bouchard
I love you guys!

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marylynnIt’s been awhile since we’ve talked. We want to chat with you today about some of the things you’ve been doing with your brand and get some tips on how to think like a black belt.

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jim_bouchardOne of the things about thinking like a black belt is that sometimes you have to be ready to change in the ring. You have to change according to what your opponents are throwing at you. We started to realize that, while Dynamic Components of Personal Power is certainly an important statement, it was difficult to explain to people or it required an explanation. People would say, “What is that?” Actually I have to tell you that this was a high level marketing and branding meeting. There were three of us sitting around. My wife, Alex, said, “You know what you really do. You just teach people how to think like a black belt. Why don’t you just start saying that?”

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marylynn
She’s a smart cookie!

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jim_bouchardYes, she is! That is what I do – teach people to think like a black belt. Dynamic Components is certainly a part of that, but there are some other characteristics of the black belt mindset as well. So the rebranding worked. It took off. When you have a brand that’s in synergy with your message and it has a strong sense of symbolism, people get it. A powerful brand is simple enough so people get it without having to think too much. Think Like a Black Belt is really taking off. People understand it – from CEOs to general audiences. Most people say that they want to think like a black belt.

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marylynnIt’s very sexy. Maybe I can’t physically be a black belt, but you can teach me how to think like a black belt. Now that’s something I can do.

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jim_bouchardI thought you were going somewhere else there. Because it is sexy. I’m sexy!

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george
Are you too sexy for that shirt, Jim?

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marylynn
He’s too sexy for his black belt!

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jim_bouchardYou’re right, though. That’s a good word for it. Your brand has to appeal to people. We can overcomplicate it sometimes, can’t we?

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marylynnYes we can. That’s why I think this is a good thing to talk about with you. So many people are building their own brands now. I think it's important that we don't over-complicate our branding and get in the way of the message.

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jim_bouchardExactly. And well-intended, but trying to brand yourself, or brand a business or title a book, it’s like naming a band. It’s hard. Part of the process is to just get out there and test it. Don’t be afraid to try something. And don’t be afraid to change. You have to have some flexibility.

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marylynnWe changed our tag line for Bigg Success several months ago. We were at a conference and Lorelle VanFossen, the wonderful woman behind the Lorelle on WordPress blog, was asking people what their tag lines were. Then she called people out if it didn’t make sense or if it didn’t tell you anything. We worked around the table and our tablemates said that “the how-to, can-do place” didn’t tell them anything. So it made us realize that we needed to figure out how we let people know what we’re trying to accomplish so they can get it just by coming to the site and seeing it.

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jim_bouchard
There it is.

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georgeToo add to that, Jim … “Think Like a Black Belt” has five words in it. Bigg Success is “life on your own terms”. That’s five words as well. But the thing is … they both convey a benefit. “Think Like a Black Belt” – I instantly see a benefit of listening to what you have to say. That’s also important as we’re thinking about our brands and how we describe them. Make sure it’s benefit-oriented. Make sure you’re telling someone what they’re going to get out of it.

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jim_bouchardOh, exactly. See, I always loved your brand “Bigg Success”. I was drawn to that right away. What do I want? I want bigg success!

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georgeWell, by definition, Bigg Success has to be a bigg success. It’s just a self-fulfilling prophecy! It keeps the pressure on us!

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jim_bouchard
No retreat, no surrender!

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marylynn
Any other words of wisdom for people building their brands?

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jim_bouchardI was talking with somebody yesterday. His name is Dr. B. He had some great insight. We were talking about how the “Think Like a Black Belt” brand had morphed and the Black Belt Mindset theme. He said, “You know, that works because it’s in perfect alignment with who you are and what your message is.” That’s really important. Whatever you’re bringing out there, that public face has to be in line with your heart.

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georgeIt’s work that’s much too hard – building a business, building a brand – to not be something that you just love.

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jim_bouchardRight, and you have no right to expect anyone else to respond to it. There’s a big problem with branding, with advertising and with business in general. People say, “Build it and they will come.” No way! You have to build it. You have to maintain it. You have to cut the lawn, water the plants, and wash the windows. You’ve got to do all that stuff. And you have to make sure that people know about it. You can’t just expect people to come to you because you have something of quality. I don’t have expectations for anybody; that’s not my privilege. It’s my responsibility to go out there and tell people what I’m doing and make sure that the message gets out there.

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george
That’s a great way of looking at it!

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jim_bouchard
There’s that dirty word again, though. Responsibility.

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george
That’s part of being a black belt, right?

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jim_bouchard
You’ve got to take responsibility for your own success, that's it!

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Next time, we’ll continue our conversation with Jim. He’ll tell us how to set goals like a black belt. Please join us! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00458-081209.mp3

Related posts

How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Is Passion Overrated?

What is Your Thing?

(Image in today's post from jimbouchard.org)