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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!

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!

Getting Aggressively Passive: Creating A Passive Income That Sets You Free

Last time, we offered some tips for networking your way through your upcoming holiday parties. Today, we want to talk about one of the most important gifts you can give yourself – a passive income.

Not along ago, we asked you to visualize your dream life – a life where time and money were not an issue. You may think that’s just for fun. It’s not! We’re serious. You can spend your time the way you want. You can be free!

You’re free when your passive income equals the costs of your desired lifestyle.

For the sake of clarity, we define passive income as your money making you money. If you have enough passive income, you can spend your time however you want. You don’t have to work at all, if you don’t want. Or, you can work on your passion.

So, let’s look at the four steps you can take to get aggressively passive and create a passive income that sets you free. The key is to constantly keep your goals in mind so you make the best choices each and every day. For example, if you want to be free sooner, rather than later, you may choose to spend your money differently. Now you have a reason to do so – that dream life you visualize.

Step 1: Purchase with purpose
What if buying that awesome plasma television that you just saw advertised on sale in today’s paper means you have to postpone your new life by a year? That status car may not mean as much as getting to spend your time how you want.

Step 2: Look at the cumulative effect of your decisions
Review your daily routine. $5 here, $5 there soon adds up to a lot of money. Do you eat out every day? Buy a cup of coffee? In his excellent book The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach calls this your “Latte Factor”.  Find one thing that you’re willing to give up now to get to the future you want sooner.

 Step 3: Pay off debt
The reason for the first two steps is to get the money to pay off your debt. Pick one account – ideally it’s your debt on which you’re paying the highest interest rate. Take the money you’re no longer spending from Steps 1 and 2 and use it to pay off your debt.

Don’t stop now … take the money you were using to pay off your first debt, plus the extra money you have from Steps 1 and 2, and use it to pay off your next debt. Repeat until all your debt is paid off.

Step 4: Jump start your passive income
Historically, the two best ways to do this are through owning your own business and investing in income-producing real estate. We’ll look at each of this, respectively, in our next two blogs.

Our quote today is by Groucho Marx.

“It frees you from doing things you dislike.
Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.”

Next time, we’ll look at how to build a passive income through your own business. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Get The Monkey Off Your Back

Yesterday, we discussed how to build your self-confidence. Today we’ll talk about a recent study on monkeys and what you can learn from it.

Yale University recently released the results of a study on the behavior of some monkeys when given a choice of M&Ms. The researchers broke their experiment into the following four steps:

Step 1 – The researchers gave each monkey an assortment of M&Ms.

Step 2 – They let each monkey choose their three favorite colors. Let’s say that “Spanky” chose red, blue and green. From all appearances, Spanky liked all three colors equally.

Step 3 – Then, Spanky was only shown the red and green M&Ms. Spanky chose the green one.

Step 4 – They showed Spanky the previously-rejected red  M&M and the blue M&M. Spanky chose blue; he rejected the red one again. In a disproportionate number of cases, the monkeys rejected the M&M they had discarded in Step 3. The researchers conclude that this reinforces the monkey’s previous decision. This, in spite of the fact, that he had no preference between the three initially. It turns out that monkeys rationalize their decisions!

Here are three things we take away from this:

  • You’re prone to rationalize. It’s comes naturally!
  • Think about this as you’re making decisions today. Don’t let past decisions unreasonably cloud current choices. You may be factoring in a bias from your prior selections. You’ll make better decisions today, if you’re aware of this inclination.

    For example, we have a friend who failed in business when he was younger. Now, even though he is extremely bright and has gained relevant experience, he won’t even consider going into business again. He (and his family and many friends) are letting his prior experience cloud his current judgment.

  • If you can, rationalize and move on!
  • Time and energy are often wasted second-guessing ourselves. Take a lesson from the monkeys at Yale. Focus on what’s important now, not on what happened yesterday. Time is precious – spend it productively.

    As humans, though, our decisions are often more complex than demonstrated by this study. What do you do when a past decision is affecting your life today?

  • If you must, take action immediately!
  • If a decision from your past is haunting your present, change course. You may need to do some research; do it now – the sooner, the better. Do what’s necessary today to create your dream future.

    Take someone who has racked up a huge credit card debt. He or she should stop using credit cards immediately, find ways to save money, and get a temporary, part-time job if necessary. Rationalizing will only make it worse. Do something about it now!

That’s what we can learn from this barrel of monkeys. Rationalize it if you can. Change it if you must. Either way, move on!

Our quote today is by pastor and speaker, Ralph Washington Sockman.

“Let us not bankrupt our todays by paying interest on the regrets of
yesterday and by borrowing in advance the troubles of tomorrow.”

Get past the monkey business of the past. Make today your day! Tomorrow, we’ll look at some tips for networking your way through the holiday season … and every season. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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