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How To Succeed The George Costanza Way

By Bigg Success Staff
01-24-08

Timeless Principles

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Do you remember the Seinfeld episode where all the characters turned into their opposites?

George was unattached, unemployed and still living with his parents. He decided that every decision he had ever made was wrong because he was 180 degrees from the life he wanted.  

Since his life was the complete opposite of what he wanted, George decided that he would do the opposite of what his instincts told him. Then he should get his dream life.

Guess what? It worked! The next thing you know, George had a girlfriend, a job with the New York Yankees, and his own place.

We can learn a timeless lesson from George Costanza. There are two ways to succeed.

  • Do what successful people do.
  • Do the opposite of what unsuccessful people do.

We’ve heard it before – successful people do what unsuccessful don’t. While this saying is easy to remember, it doesn’t explicitly state an important fundamental of success.

It’s often easy to do something once. It’s a little harder to do it twice. It’s very difficult to make it a habit. Yet successful people have different habits than unsuccessful people.

That’s the difference – the habits!

You have to consistently pursue success. Moment by moment. Day after day. Year after year. It doesn’t happen in a flash.

It’s not always exciting. It’s about the nitty-gritty. Paying attention to little things.

It’s self-discipline. To do what you need to do, not what you want to do.

It’s delayed gratification. Accepting less now so you can have more later. 

It’s persistence. You have to keep on keeping on. No matter what. Overcome obstacles and keep pushing. Never give up.

Remember this basic principle …
If you continue to do what you’ve always done, then the best you can expect is what you already have.

If you don’t want more of the same, you’ll have to change your habits. Find out what makes successful people successful and do that, or look at unsuccessful people’s habits and do the opposite.

That’s how to succeed the George Costanza way!

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(Image by norax, CC 2.0)

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Review: Fire Them Up

By Bigg Success Staff
01-24-08

Bigg Book Review 

Fire Them Up!: 7 Simple Secrets to: InspireColleagues, Customers, and Clients; Sell Yourself, Your Vision, and Your Values; Communicate with Charisma and Confidence

Carmine Gallo, communications coach extraordinaire, award-winning journalist, and successful author, has done it again. In his latest book, Fire Them Up, he shares seven steps to inspire people to be their best.

He personally interviewed leaders from companies such as Google, Travelocity, Cranium, Gymboree, The Ritz Carlton, and Cold Stone Creamery. They share secrets you don’t learn in any business class. Secrets to developing relationships by communicating your vision and showing people you believe in them.

Here are Carmine’s 7 steps to “fire them up” along with our quick summary:

#1 – Ignite your enthusiasm
It starts with you. If you’re not fired up, how can you expect anyone else to be? Lead by example. Once you’re fired up, you can move to the next step.

#2 – Navigate the way
Spell out your clearly stated vision of the future. Your vision should be so simple and to-the-point that it can be written on a 97 cocktail napkin].

#3 – Sell the benefit
Explain WHY your vision is important. How will it affect them? How will it affect the world?

#4 – Paint a picture
14 Tell stories] that reinforce your vision and call your people to action.

#5 – Invite participation
Get your team involved in creating a strategy. How do we get from where we are to where we want to be?

#6 – Reinforce an optimistic outlook
Expect obstacles along the way. Keep your vision in front of your people. 166 Persist]. Keep inspiring.

#7 – Encourage their potential
Show your people that you believe in them. Offer regular feedback on their performance. Give them a pat on the back when they excel.

We think you’ll find this book extremely valuable, no matter where you’re at in your career. It’s chockfull of stories and tactics from people who have been there. This is “rubber meets the road” advice. When you understand how to apply these principles, you’re on the road to bigg success!

 

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Abandon Ship!

Yesterday, we said that persistence is the single most important ingredient for your success. If you persist long enough, you’re sure to succeed! However, you have to be smart about it. With that in mind, here are four signs that it’s time to abandon ship!

Internal signs
#1 – It’s affecting your health.
Your health is more important than any career. You may be having anxiety attacks, experiencing constant stress, feeling burned out or fatigued. These are indications that it may be time for a change.

To succeed bigg, you’ll feel stressed from time-to-time. You need to push on, unless it’s affecting your health long-term. NOTHING is worth that. If your long-term health is being affected by what you’re doing, it’s time to abandon ship!

#2 – You’re bored beyond belief.
You’ve been there, done that. Every day feels like a week. It’s harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. You don’t look forward to work. You feel like you’re stagnating.

The first sign covers your physical health. Here we’re talking about your mental health. When you’re bored to tears, it’s time to abandon ship!

External signs
#3 – There’s no room for growth.
This is related to the second sign. However, in this case, it’s beyond your control. It may be that you’ve been promoted as far as you can go. Perhaps you can’t expect any significant increase in your income. Maybe your company is reaching maturity.

You’ve taken it as far as the circumstances will allow. If there’s little or no opportunity on the horizon, it’s time to abandon ship!

#4 – The trends are bad.
Change happens. It affects your industry – for good or bad. If it’s creating damage, ask yourself 

Is it a trend or is it a fad?

Fads are short term – they will come and go. Trends are long-term things that you can’t change. Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, said, “When management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.”

We don’t doubt that you’re good. But even you can’t buck the trends. If it’s a fad, push on! If it’s a trend that’s devastating your industry, abandon ship!

Have you felt the need to abandon ship? Or maybe you’re considering it now?
Share your experience with us … leave a comment below!

But don’t just jump ship … prepare your life boat first.

Store up provisions.
Find ways to save some money – skip that latte or pack a lunch until you get settled. Set it aside to provide for you and your family.

Don’t forget your life jacket.
This is your support network. Talk to people who will encourage you, weigh in with ideas, and perhaps refer you to good opportunities.

Remember your compass.
Obviously, you need to know that you’re headed in the right direction. Check out these great resources for guidance:

123]    

127]   

Coping With Life Change    

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Are You Going Through A Mid-Life (Career) Crisis  

135 Is It Time For You To Rock And Roll (Change Careers)]    

117 10 Signs That You’re Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business]    

34]    

What Makes You Tick    

Finding The “Good” In Good-Bye    

108 How Do You Define Success]      

11 Visualizing The Life You Want (Part II)]    

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Take your oars.
You don’t want to just float, so grab your oars. These are things you can do to steer you in the right direction – like take a class or get a part-time job in a field you think might be interesting.

Bring your flare gun.
Prepare to market yourself – spruce up your resume and cover letter. Think creatively so you get the attention of the right people.

Our Bigg Quote today comes from George William Curtis.

“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.”

You are the captain of your own ship. Usually you will persist and stay with the course. But occasionally, the best thing you can do is to find a new ship and start your journey anew. Bon voyage!

Next time, we’ll answer a question for one of our newsletter subscribers. He wants some tips on wooing potential investors over dinner. We’ll talk about how to be dashing while dining!

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Should You Count On Your Counter-Offer

Bigg Challenge:  We received an e-mail from Patrick, who was approached about a job. He met with the prospective employer and accepted their offer. Then he got an unsolicited counter offer when he told his current employer that he was resigning. He wants to know if he should accept it.

Bigg Advice: Congratulations, Patrick! Isn’t it nice to be wanted? It sounds wonderful, but the reality is that it can be quite stressful. We feel the need to preface our comments – we can give you general advice, but only you can decide which offer you should accept.

  • Why did you accept the offer from your prospective new employer?
  • It’s unclear from the e-mail why you wanted to leave. There are many possible reasons why you may have been drawn to your prospective employer’s offer. Was it money? Maybe you were unhappy at your current job – you just hadn’t started actively searching yet. Perhaps the new job seemed like a better opportunity. We’ll assume that if was a combination of these factors.

  • Why did your current employer counter?
  • We can think of two possible explanations for your employer’s counter offer. First, they may be buying time. Perhaps they’re not prepared to do a search now. The timing is bad because of current business volume. There could be any number of reasons for them to buy time. Just be aware of this. Second, they may truly value you. They really don’t want you to go. They’ve invested in you – you’re part of their future plans. It’s hard to judge intentions. Assume the best, but keep the worst in the back of your mind.

  • Get it in writing.
  • Negotiate your counter offer as if it was a brand new job. If you’ve been promised more money, it will be easy to judge whether they come through. It’s more difficult with other factors. You may want to travel less. Maybe you want more flexibility. Or you need more time off. Perhaps it’s growth opportunities that you seek. These factors are harder to deliver. So ask your current employer to put their offer in writing. Tell them that you appreciate their counter. You want to fully evaluate it. You prefer to stay with them, but you want to know that you’re making the right decision. Seeing it in writing will help you do that.

  • Maintain your relationships.
  • We don’t believe you should let your prospective employer know about the counter offer. They probably expect that anyway. However, you should make your final decision very quickly. Somebody will have a position to fill. Lingering only makes that a bigger problem. Whatever you decide, don’t burn bridges with the affected party.

Thanks for sharing your bigg challenge with us, Patrick. We hope our bigg advice helps you!

Do you have a bigg challenge? We’d love to help. E-mail it to bigginfo@biggsuccess.com

Our Bigg Quote today is by Karl Albrecht.

“Start out with an ideal and end up with a deal.”

You’ve been dealt a good hand. Play your cards well. Maintain your poker face. Draw from within and then place your bet.

Next time, we ask you, “What’s your pickup line?” We’ll discuss how to grab someone’s attention with a great opening line. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Do Your Customers Trust You?

Recently, the Better Business Bureau released the results their first Trust in Business Index. They found that trust in business is down and cite contributing factors such as:

  • toy recalls
  • the sub-prime mortgage crisis
  • ethical lapses in leadership
  • declining customer service

All of these things affect a company’s reputation. Stephen Covey, in his great book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about “emotional bank accounts”. When we do good things, deposits are made into our emotional bank account; when we do bad things, withdrawals are made.

Trust is built as we make more deposits. Relationships are built on trust. According to BBB, the single biggest factor in earning customer trust is honesty, closely followed by dependability.

Today, we’ll look at three things that you can do to increase your customers’ trust.

  • Under-promise, then over-deliver
  • Unfortunately, we usually see the opposite. In most cases, the intentions are good. However, good intentions don’t build relationships. Good actions do. One of the keys here is to manage expectations to make sure you don’t over commit.

    On the show, George talked about a customer who wanted him to commit to something he didn’t he could do. After much prodding, he told the customer that he could lie to her now, and make her happy. But she would probably be disappointed later.

    Or she could accept what he’s saying, and be happy when he was able to do it. He asked which one she preferred. She understood.

    Tell me now and it’s an explanation. Tell me later and it’s an excuse. Customers accept explanations; nobody likes excuses. Once you have set the proper expectations, you can work to exceed them. That’s where it gets fun!

  • Follow-through
  • This is closely related to the first point, but it’s so important that we thought it deserved to be separate. Say what you’ll do, and then do what you say. We’re all so busy these days; it’s easy to make promises that we don’t keep. Don’t be one of those people! Follow-through.

    Develop a personal system that tracks your promises so you rarely “drop the ball”.

    During the show, George talked a friend who’s in sales. When he called prospects, they often told him to call back some time later. He developed a system to notify him when he should call them back. Then he called them!

    George liked this idea. He started testing sales people by agreeing to a follow-up date. A very small percentage actually did it! If someone won’t live up to their promises before they sell you something, how do you think they’ll do afterwards?

    Follow-through won’t always make you money, but it always builds trust.

  • Address the needs of your customer first, then worry about your needs.
  • On the show, Mary-Lynn talked about her sister, who recently saw some fraudulent activity on her credit card. When she called the credit card company, they tried to sell her another credit card and additional services on her current credit card.

    She explained that she didn’t care about that right now; she was stressed out that someone was using her credit card. The service representative just kept pitching her on other services.

    It’s hard to understand why anyone would design a process that way. If someone comes to you with a need, you won’t get anywhere until that need is addressed.

 

How do you build trust with your customers?
As a customer, what do you wish businesses would do?
Leave us a comment.

 

Going back to the survey, we talked about honesty and dependability, which finished first and second in building trust. In case you’re wondering, here are the next three:

#3 – safe products
#4 – value
#5 – price

There’s one more thing that we found interesting from this survey:

67% of the respondents would rather patronize a small business than a large one.

That’s good news for all you small business owners. You have an edge – consumers trust you more! And now may be a good time to start that business you’ve been dreaming about. Check out 117 10 Signs That You’re Ready To Quit Your Job And Start A Business].

Our Bigg Quote today comes from Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s.

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”

Remember that your customers will last if they feel like you put them first. Your honesty and dependability leads to their loyalty.

Next time, we’ll talk about the marshmallow test. Can you resist sweet temptations? Until then, here’s to your bigg success!