3 Tips On Leading From Where You Are

3 Tips on Leading From Where You Are

3 Tips On Leading From Where You Are

It’s graduation season and every year there are great commencement speeches. We’ve talked about this before on the show including speeches from Tom Hanks to Steve Jobs to name a few.

Today we’ll share another inspiring story told at a recent graduation.

Click the player to listen to this episode of The BIGG Success Show Podcast. Below is a summary of our discussion.

Former Nebraska football coach, athletic director and Congressperson, Tom Osborne, gave the keynote address for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s 2021 graduating class.

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Find Your Why

Find Your Why blog post image

Find your why to feel fulfilled in life. Passion may get your attention, but it’s your purpose that sustains you in fulfilling your calling.

We discuss how to find your why on The BIGG Success Show today. Here’s a summary of that discussion. This show was inspired by a commencement speech by Madison Industries CEO Larry Gies, given at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Here’s a summary of what we discussed:

It’s graduation season. We love this time of year. So many young people passing into adulthood. The excitement of new beginnings. Hope for the future.

We love commencement speeches. We are often inspired and challenged by the messages delivered from the brightest minds in the world. We’ve covered commencement speeches before on The BIGG Success Show. For example:

Coke CEO Byron Dyson and the lesson of the five balls, Georgia Tech, 1991

Tom Hanks on fear and faith and success, Yale, 2011

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling on the power of imagination, Harvard, 2008

Steve Jobs on being crazy enough to change the world, Stanford, 2005

Larry Gies and George KruegerToday, we’re going to talk about the best commencement address at the best school – Larry Gies, CEO of Madison Industries, speaking to the Class of 2019 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – on how to find your why.

We’ve known Larry for about 25 years. He’s a true entrepreneur, building his $5 billion business one acquisition at a time. He treats his people like people, not drones. And he and his wife, Beth, have given away millions of dollars, including a $150 million donation to the University of Illinois – the largest in its history.

So here are our takeaways from Larry’s commencement speech, 3 lessons on how to find your why.

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It Takes Five Balls to Be a Success

life requires some juggling for BIGG SuccessA man died in our next-door neighbor’s front yard a while back. He was forty-two years old.

Another neighbor, who happened to be driving by, saw the man lying on the ground. He approached him and saw that he wasn’t breathing. He called 911.

Firefighters responded first and began to perform CPR. Before long, an ambulance arrived. They tried and tried to get him to respond, but to no avail.

He was riding his bike and apparently had a heart attack. A different neighbor had seen him wandering around but thought he was waiting for the bus. That’s about all we know.

Life is precious. It is a gift.

The Lesson of the Five Balls

So we want to share a life-giving story that we love. It’s a story that’s been told for years. But Bryan Dyson popularized it in his commencement address to the graduating class at Georgia Tech University in 1991. He was the CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises at that time.

(A similar version of this story was published in Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson about ten years later. In that version, “integrity” was used instead of “spirit”.)

“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls: Work, family, health, friends and spirit. You’re keeping all of these in the air and you will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it’ll bounce back; but the other four balls are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, damaged, or even shattered. They’ll never be the same. You must understand that and strive for the balance in your life.”

Dyson goes on with some suggestions on how to do this:

“Don’t take for granted the things that are closest to your heart, because without them life is meaningless.

Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future.

Don’t give up when you still have something to give.

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect.

Don’t be afraid to encounter risk.

Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been but also where you’re going.

Don’t be afraid to learn.

Don’t use time or words carelessly; neither can be retrieved.”

We’ll close with a quote, part of which we’ve seen attributed to Bryan Dyson:

“Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift; that is why we call it the present.”

Image in this post from stock.xchng

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Remembering Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs | BIGG SuccessYesterday, “life’s change agent” called Steve Jobs to a meeting.

That’s how he described death in his commencement address to Stanford graduates in 2005.

His point, in his own words:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

We didn’t know Steve Jobs personally. Yet he personally affected us. Such is the nature of real entrepreneurs.

They impact the lives of hundreds, or thousands, or even millions of people. Not as an individual, but through their business.

Steve Jobs was the epitome of an entrepreneur. Not just in business, but in his attitude about life.

You see that in one of our favorite quotes by the man we’ll never forget:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do….”

Here’s to you Steve Jobs! You will be missed!

 Image in this post from acaben

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Fear and Faith and Success in Your Career

fear vs faith | BIGG SuccessEvery once in a while, a commencement address really stands out to us. We pointed out J.K. Rowling’s wonderful speech to Harvard graduates in 2008.

This year, Tom Hanks address to Yale grads caught our ear. He talked about fear and faith. The context led up to a call to action – to help our returning troops as they transition from soldier back to citizen.

But the message is ripe with timely advice for all of us. We can’t say it any better. Here is Tom Hanks in his own words:


“…fear is a powerful physiological force in 2011. We here, up in the stands and surrounding you graduating class, look to you as we do every year, hoping you will now somehow, through your labors, free us from what we have come to fear. And we have come to fear many things.”

“Fear has become the commodity that sells as certainly as sex. Fear is cheap. Fear is easy. Fear gets attention. Fear is spread as fast as gossip and is just as glamorous, juicy and profitable. Fear twists facts into fictions that become indistinguishable from ignorance. Fear is a profit-churning go-to with a whole market being your whole family.”

Fear vs. Faith

He quoted John Paul Jones, ‘If fear is cultivated, it will become stronger. If faith is cultivated, it will achieve mastery.’

He added, “…I take that fear to be fear in the large scale. Fear itself – intimidating and constant. And I take faith to be what we hold in ourselves, our American ideal of self-determination.”

Fear is whispered in our ears and shouted in our faces. Faith must be fostered by the man or woman you see every day in the mirror. The former forever snaps at our heels and our synapses and delays our course. The latter can spur our boot heels to be wandering, stimulate our creativity and drive us forward.”

“Fear or faith. Which will be our master?” he asked.

Your choice

He continued, “Your rising from bed every morning will give fear its chance to grow stronger just as it will afford faith its chance to blossom. You will make the choice to react to one or create the other.”

He concluded, “Your work begins – work that will not be always joyful to you, labor that may not always fulfill you and days that will seem like one damn thing after another.

It’s true – you will now work every day for the rest of your lives, that full time job. Your career…is to stand on the fulcrum between fear and faith. Fear at your back, faith in front of you.

Which way will you lean? Which way will you move?

Move forward. Move ever forward.”

Image in this post from dlnny