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From One Job a Week to the Career for Life

One_Week_Job_ProjectWe were excited to have a repeat guest on our show today. Sean Aiken wasn’t able to hold a job for more than a week for a whole year … because he wanted it that way! Now he’s made a career for life.

52 jobs in 52 weeks is quite an accomplishment. We talked with Sean back in July 2008, shortly after he had completed that phase of his project. Now he’s documented the whole thing in a recently released book and film about the project.

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George KruegerI’d say you’ve been busy since we last talked.

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Sean AikenI’ve been extremely busy. After I finished the 52 weeks, it was time to sit down and put what I learned on paper. When I was out on the road, in a different job each week, it was tough to take a step back and think about what I was taking away from the experience. I really enjoyed the writing process and being able to put things in perspective.

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Mary-Lynn FosterFor our audience members who are new to you and this one week job process, you did everything from park ranger to radio DJ – which I always like because I did that, too. And it all culminated in being the mayor!

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Sean AikenYeah, everything from fashion buyer in Manhatten to firefighter in Florida, baker in Brooklyn, cowboy in Wyoming, astronomer in Hawaii, advertising executive, stock trader … right across the board!

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George KruegerSean, what sparked this whole crazy idea?

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Sean AikenIt goes back to my final year in college. I was on the cusp of graduation realizing that I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career for life. My dad said, “It doesn’t matter what you do. Just make sure it’s something that you’re passionate about.” It made me think about how many people are in the same situation, same job – 20, 30 or 40 years like my dad – and they don’t necessarily enjoy what they’re doing. So I made a promise to myself that I’d find something I was passionate about. I came up with the idea to start the one week job project as a way of seeing what I like and don’t like in a job and what I need in a career to be happy.

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What we love about this is you created the platform with the web site to chronicle this. You’ve turned it into a book and a documentary film. And you’ve also turned this into a business. Can you share a little bit about that?

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Sean AikenThe book advance helped me afford to write it. I’m also doing talks at high schools, colleges and companies. Then we just started a program which allows other people to have a similar experience to what I did. We’re sending people out on the road this summer to perform eight different one-week jobs.

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Mary-Lynn FosterSo you’ve turned this into a career for life! And again, you’re filtering that through your web site so you’ll chronicle that.

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Sean AikenExactly. The idea is that it builds a movement – so it’s not just me. It’s that online community with our web site. People can follow the progress of other people doing one-week jobs.

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George KruegerAlong the way, you’ve gotten a lot of press. But you’ve also faced some criticism. I noticed Ian – the director and producer of your documentary – did a post on your blog about a month or so ago about a person who had replied to your interview in Globe and Mail. This person said that you represent all that’s wrong with young people. How do you respond to that?

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Sean AikenIt’s definitely a cynical view. It’s almost a mindset: “Hey, I’m unhappy in my job. Who do you think you are to come in here and try to be happy in your career? Work is supposed to be hard. You’re not supposed to enjoy it.” I think it’s a misconception of a younger generation – they’re lazy and unwilling to do the hard work to get where they want to go. It doesn’t have anything to do with being lazy. We have higher expectations of the work force. When you’re looking for something that matches your skill sets but also your passions and values, it becomes more difficult, especially in today’s economy.

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George KruegerOne of the great lessons there, too, is that if you’re doing something of any significance, some people are going to criticize you.

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Mary-Lynn FosterI can’t imagine why anybody would say you’re being lazy. I mean 52 jobs in 52 weeks … you were able to keep that going. It’s one thing to have the concept; it’s another thing to make it happen. And you did!

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George KruegerYeah, many of us have these crazy ideas. But you have to figure out a way to actually put it into action.

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In this process, Sean has discovered his passion, and found a career for life. We highly recommend that you read the book to find out what it is!

Thanks Sean for sharing your time and wisdom with all of us!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | Podcast:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00595-061010.mp3

(Image in today’s post from One Week Job)

The Death of Change – Part 1

who_killed_changeToday on The Bigg Success Show, we were happy to visit with John Britt. John is a partner with Mountjoy and Bressler, LLP where he helps organizations introduce change successfully. He is also one of the authors – along with Ken Blanchard, Judd Hoekstra and Pat Zigarni – of a great new book called Who Killed Change? Let’s get to the conversation …

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georgeThere’s nothing I like more than a good murder mystery. Now you may be wondering what that has to do with Bigg Success.

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marylynnThe book, Who Killed Change, is written as a murder mystery. John, could you do a quick set up for our audience?

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john brittWho Killed Change is a business parable murder mystery where Change gets murdered at ACME Organization. The detective – or you might say the Change Agent – spends the book interviewing the suspects. His lifelong work has been detecting Change murders. The thirteen major suspects are predictable – Vision, Urgency, Sponsorship, Budget, Communication, Culture – along with some minor suspects. At the end of the book, the detective gets all of the suspects together and announces who killed this specific Change.

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georgeOne of the things I love about this book, John, is the descriptions of the suspects themselves. For example, Ernest Urgency was late for the meeting with the detective.

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marylynn
I also loved that Victoria Vision had rose-colored glasses.

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john brittAs we wrote the book it changed somewhat. We actually had her alternating between rose-colored and Coke-bottle thick glasses. Sometimes that happens with Vision. Sometimes the person who has the vision for change has rose-colored glasses and doesn’t see the hard work that accompanies it. And then some people don’t see the vision at all. A healthy balance between those two, or maybe LASIK surgery, is the answer to that.

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marylynnAnother suspect is Pecs. He was on the Change Management Team. I thought it was funny – he had a bigg torso and bigg biceps, but then he had pencil legs so he couldn’t carry Change through.

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george
I picture that one character on Popeye. Was it Brutus?

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john brittIt’s a really good visual representation that happens in organizations sometimes. You have some of the key folks behind closed doors for three months getting ready for a change. They’re all built up; they’ve been working out so to speak. They’re all pumped up about it, but they really don’t work on the legs they need to carry the change out to the stakeholders. We describe stakeholders in the book in a non-traditional way. Most people think of stakeholders as people who have invested in something monetarily. We describe the stakeholders as the employees or those people we’re asking to make the change or that will be affected by the change. Organizations can do a better job of working on the legs so that we can carry that out to them and not just keep it in the corporate gym.

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georgeJohn, I have trouble changing my mind! So this was a really good book for me. We don’t want to give away the ending, but one of the things you did a really great job of explaining in the book is that change is circular. Would that be a good description? It’s very integrated. You have to get all the pieces altogether at once.

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john brittCircular is a good word. I might add that change is not a simple process. It’s not discreet. And it’s not linear. It’s really complex and dynamic. There are a number of key elements – or in our book, suspects –
that really have to work together in tandem to do things well and work together as a team to be able to make change effective. It’s interesting that up to seventy percent of organizational changes fail. Organizations put energy, resources, money, time and their hearts in these changes to only be successful thirty percent of the time. That’s okay if you’re playing baseball for the New York Yankees, but not in organizational life.

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georgeWe have a lot of small business owners in our audience. We think that small businesses are more nimble; maybe they can change more quickly. At the same time, when you look at all the hats that have to be worn – all the roles that have to be played – in order to make change work, you can see that it might be more difficult.

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john brittAbsolutely. Change is difficult for us as individuals. It gets more complex the more complex – the bigger – an organization is. But even for a business owner that has ten, twenty or fifty employees, working with and through people to ask them to abandon their habits and things that have been successful for them in the past, is a hard hat to wear no matter what size the organization is.

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Thank you so much for sharing some of your time with us today. Please join us next time when we continue our conversation with John. He’ll share the #1 reason change fails and how to prevent it. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00478-091009.mp3

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The Bigg Idea Behind Bigg Success

life on your own termsLast time, we introduced the five elements of bigg success – money, time, growth, work and play. Today, we want to talk about the bigg idea behind our definition of bigg success, life on your own terms.

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1 + 1 = 3

We saw an opinion recently that “synergy” is an outdated word. We disagree. When synergy exists, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

1 + 1 = 3. It doesn’t work in mathematics, but it does happen in our lives. With the right elements in place, a tiny spark can turn into a full-blown fire.

The bigg idea

That’s the bigg idea behind bigg success – finding ways to sync the five elements so we reach bigg success, life on our own terms, faster than we could otherwise.

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marylynnHere’s a very simple example of how these five elements come together. I want to take a course on CSS to improve my web design skills. That’s growth. It’s going to cost me a little bit of money. It’s also going to cost me quite a bit of time. But this new knowledge will allow me to get more work, which will help me make more money so I can travel more. That’s play! In the short term, it will cost me time but in the long term, it will me save time because I’ll be able to work more efficiently. That’s synergy!

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By thinking about the whole – all five elements together – and working on them all at once, we find solutions that we couldn’t, or at least didn’t, see before.

It empowers you

When you have a choice to make, you can use these five elements holistically to weigh how that choice impacts your vision of bigg success, of life on your own terms.

It empowers you as the entrepreneur of your life.

You can say “No” without guilt! If it’s not moving you closer to the bigg success you dream of, just say no.

You can say “Yes” when you clearly see that it is taking you down the path you want to follow.

Don’t balance, blend your work and life

Our idea goes beyond work – life balance. The old way of thinking was to draw a line in the sand. That was how we tried to separate our personal and professional lives.

It’s great if it works for you. Most people have found this nearly impossible to do in the 21st century. We use technology prodigiously and that technology is live 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have responded in kind which has placed stress on the idea of work – life balance.

So we moved to integration. Don’t separate the personal and the professional. Keep them both live simultaneously and move seamlessly between the two worlds.

We found this concept helpful, but it doesn’t go far enough. There is little benefit to integration other than giving ourselves permission to not feel guilty if we’re working when we should be playing or playing when we should be working.

So the bigg idea is synergy:

Our two worlds should not only blend, but benefit one another.

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georgeI spoke with an inventor recently about how he discovered his latest idea. He said that he was reading a book for pleasure one weekend. This book sparked a thought that became his bigg invention. He wasn’t reading the book for any reason other than enjoyment, but he also kept his whole being, his whole mind, live. By not turning off his professional side as he read for personal reasons, he discovered his bigg opportunity.

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So as you can see, you don’t have to be in work mode to find something that can help you professionally and you don’t have to be in play mode to find something you might enjoy personally. Keeping our whole person live all the time leads to bigg success.

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The age of interdependence

There’s a final element to this synergy, to what’s running throughout the five elements. Synergy goes beyond just ourselves. The 21st century is the age of interdependence.

We can’t succeed bigg by ourselves. We must build relationships that build value. We add value by doing what we do best while working with others doing what they do best.

There’s the synergy; we create value together through interdependence. When we build together, we reach bigg success faster!

Let’s build bigg success together

So what does life on your own terms mean to you?

What challenges are you facing right now in your quest for bigg success?

How are you using synergy to get to bigg success even faster?

You can share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us toll free at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

We’ll take the most common challenges and do a show about them. We hope you will share your solutions to these challenges as well. Working together, we can all reach bigg success even faster!

We’ll also highlight how people are living life on their own terms. In these stories are lessons for all of us. So share your story and get in on the fun!

Thank you for reading our post today. Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00360-032709.mp3

Related posts

What is Bigg Success?

Own Your Life

The Power of Defining Your Terms

The 5 Elements of Bigg Success

3 Questions to Make Your Business Better

question As business owners, we often hear that we have to work on our business, not just in it. It’s a concept that sounds simple when you say it, but how do you get started?

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A lot of entrepreneurs thrive on bending the rules so the starting point isn’t always obvious. You have to create the rules – the operating system – so you will have time to work on your business in the future.

So, early in your business, you work on your business by working in your business!

You begin to develop those systems that will make delegation to your future employees more effective. To do that, ask yourself three questions:

  • What is your vision of the perfect transaction?
    Map out a transaction from beginning to end. Think about what you want your customers to experience during each step of the process. This will include: your advertising, the first interaction, and the closing of the transaction. But don’t forget to include what happens internally to support the transaction and follow-up with the customer.

But here’s the interesting thing when you bring your customers’ perspective in – every customer probably has one or two little things that they really like. If you can gear your organization to make that one customer happy on that one point, you’ll probably thrill the rest of your customers by doing it! They probably want it, too. They just haven’t vocalized it.

  • How can you improve one thing one percent?
    Take your bigg picture and bring in all the things that your customers have told you and begin working on one at a time.

We have a confession to make … these three questions aren’t ours. They come straight out of Ken Blanchard’s Raving Fans. It highlights these three questions through a great story and we highly recommend that you read his great book.

So these three questions will improve your performance, help you develop your operating systems, and keep you focused on the most important people in your business – your customers.

Putting it to work

Now you want to improve one thing one percent. We saw a great example of this in action. A company had their entire process mapped out on the wall of their conference room.

They had all these sticky notes up on the wall. Each sticky note represented something they wanted to test – something that represented a potential one percent improvement. These suggestions had been made by customers and by employees.

That’s what makes this concept so useful. It’s a great tool to get employee buy-in.

They get on board because they can see that their suggestions are being considered. More than that, they may get tested. The test results may call for full implementation!

It makes your employees feel like they’re a significant part of something bigger. They are valued. That leads to bigg success with your employees. 

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks for checking in on us today. Join us next time as we make a special announcement – a new beginning for Bigg Success. 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/00354-031909.mp3

Related posts

One-Up Yourself for Bigg Success

How to Get Your Employees to Own Their Job, Not Just Do It

(Image in today's post by tulp)

Starting from Scratch – Part 1

scratch_beginnings

We had a special guest today on The Bigg Success Show.

Adam Shepard is the author of Scratch Beginnings. After graduating from college, he conducted a real-life experiment, by starting out homeless with only $25 and the clothes on his back, to see if the American Dream is still alive. His book chronicles his year-long journey. Here’s a summary of the conversation …

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marylynnI loved your book, Adam. There were times when I couldn’t put it down because I was worried about you! I can’t imagine what your mom and your dad must have felt.

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adam_shepard
They definitely did not sleep much on that first night … that’s for sure.

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Read more