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A Love Story with a Lesson

We’ve written this wonderful story in its full text here, but we highly recommend that you listen along to get its full flavor.

John was a bright young man who went off to a small college. One day, a pretty young woman named Lisa caught his eye. John fell in love. From that point on, he always kept his eyes open for her.

Now Lisa was very popular. Everyone liked Lisa because she was outgoing and very charismatic. Almost every guy in this small school wanted to go out with Lisa.

Before we go on with the story, we should fill you in on one more important detail about John – he had a severe speech impediment. From the time he started talking, John had never talked the way his friends did.

One day, as Lisa was walking across the campus, and John was hanging out with his friends on the lawn, he said to his friends, with his heavy speech disorder …

“I’m going to marry that girl.”

His friends laughed out loud. Please understand that they weren’t trying to be mean-spirited. They were just so shocked that John had the gumption to think that the most popular girl on campus would be interested in him at all, let alone marry him.

They thought he was aiming too high and they didn’t want him to get hurt. So they discouraged him, telling him what they thought he needed to hear. They said …

“John, she can have any guy she wants. There’s no way she’ll go out with you.”

John didn’t care what they thought. He only cared about what was in his heart. He wanted to marry Lisa. He also knew that he needed to start by getting a date with her … that was the first step.

But he wasn’t ready to ask her for a date because he wanted to impress her when he did ask her out.  So here’s what he did …

He began spending hours in front of his mirror every day. Rehearsing one single question over and over again …

May I please have a date with you?
May I please have a date with you?
May I please have a date with you?

Over and over. The hours turned into days … the days into weeks … and John kept practicing that one single question that cut to the essence of what he wanted Lisa to respond to …

May I please have a date with you?
May I please have a date with you?
May I please have a date with you?

The weeks turned into months … and John still kept practicing over and over again in front of his mirror so he could deliver that single question just the way he wanted.

The day finally arrived when he felt he was ready. He saw Lisa sitting and studying outdoors at the campus coffee shop. He was nervous, but he had worked too hard. He had to go through with this. He had to know her answer to his question. So he stepped up to Lisa’s table and delivered his line …

“May I please have a date with you?”

Only this time, John didn’t sound like he had a speech impediment at all. Lisa was stunned. She knew John because she’d had classes with him. She knew about his speech impediment.

She had never heard him speak clearly before. Now he was asking her on a date … and he could say the words so perfectly. She knew how hard he must have worked to be able to utter that single question … just to ask her out … and that made such an impression on her … that she said …

“Yes!”

So John turned his adversity into his advantage. He got a date with the most popular girl on campus. And in case you’re wondering … Lisa also said “yes” to another question that John asked later … they got married!
 

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Our bigg quote today is by none other than the great Norman Vincent Peale:

“Life’s blows cannot break a person whose
spirit is warmed at the fire of enthusiasm.”

And remember that it only takes a spark to get a fire going.

Next time, we’ll share some characteristics of the charismatic. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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Mom’s Lasting Legacy

Mother’s Day is bittersweet both for us since our moms have passed on. But their memories are always with us along with the lessons that we learned from them. That’s the lasting legacy of all of our moms.

Here are three lessons we each learned from our moms:

Mary-Lynn

Be confident in who you are.
I remember coming home from school one day in tears because some girls on the bus had made fun of me. Mom told me it doesn’t matter what other people say. She told me to walk away and ignore them. Don’t stoop down to their level because two wrongs don’t make a right. Then she hugged me and told me how special I was and how much she loved me.

Be willing to sacrifice.
Mom encouraged my sister and me to be in any extracurricular activities in which we were interested. She provided the rides – dropping us off and picking us up. She willingly gave of herself for us.

Think rainbows and butterflies, not gloom and doom.
This was one of mom’s sayings. She encouraged me to get in touch with my creative side and imagine the possibilities. She wanted me to feel free in that happy place. You can’t achieve your dreams if you’re in a gray, stormy place hiding under cover. I use this to this day when I’m having a down day.

George

It’s better to give than receive.

Mom always had this desire to help anyone in need. Even towards the end, as long as she was able, she would do anything to serve others. I remember one time she said that she had driven this “little old lady” to the doctor. Knowing that mom was about 85 at the time, I asked how old this woman was. “Oh, she’s about 87, I suppose.”

Make the most of your money.
Mom was a prodigious saver. She could stretch a penny further than anyone I’ve ever seen.  One way she did this was to make ordinary things extraordinary. There were a number of meals that I thought were something special as a kid. It turned out they were leftovers or made with food that was going to go bad if she didn’t do something with it.

Don’t act your age.
I alluded to this earlier with the “little old lady” story. You’re only as old as you feel. Mom was 43 when I was born. I remember one of my friends coming over when I was a teenager. Mom got out and shot baskets with us. My friend commented on how cool my mom was because his mom would never do anything like that. Just so you know, his mom was at least 20 years younger than mine!

Turning memories into a gift for your mom
On the show, George shared a fantastic gift idea that was his sister Pat’s idea. Along with their two other sisters, they each wrote roughly 90 memories and gave it to their mom so she had a memory to read each day of the year. George said he doesn’t think his mom ever got a gift that made her so happy.

Obviously, it’s too late to do something like this Mother’s Day. But you could give your mom the gift of a memory e-mailed to her every day for the next year. It’s an amazing idea that’s very inexpensive yet very personal. 

Tell us about the lessons you learned from your mom!
Leave us a Comment below!

Our bigg quote today is by Nancy Friday, who said:

“When I stopped seeing my mother with the eyes of a child,
I saw the woman who helped me give birth to myself.”

So thanks, Mom … and Happy Mother’s Day!

Next time, we’ll discuss why you should quit jumping on me like a dog. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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Anything I Can Do, You Can Do Better!

In Annie Get Your Gun, Annie Oakley and Frank Butler show their competitive sides as they sing the now well-known song Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.

With all due respect to Irving Berlin, the great writer of this song, we’re putting our own twist on it … anything I can do, you can do better!

A blooming mistake
Jim McCann was a social worker. He got a part-time job in a flower shop to make ends meet. A few years later, he started his own flower business. He made some money, but not that much. So he opened another shop. And then another.

Over ten years, he ended up with fourteen flower shops. One morning, he was listening to the radio as he got ready for work. He had a fresh idea – a nationwide flower service.

He found a bankrupt company which had stopped doing business several years earlier. Its only asset was a toll-free phone number – 1-800-FLOWERS. Now this was before the internet when ordering via telephone was huge.

He really wanted this phone number. So he agreed to buy the company and assume the debt. He figured their liabilities had to be pretty insignificant, since they hadn’t done any business for years.

After buying the company, he found out how wrong he was. It turned out they were $7 million in debt. His friends advised him to declare bankruptcy, but he pressed on. It took about five years to pay off the debt, but he did. And last year his little business sold over $750 million of flowers!

Learn from Your (and Our) Mistakes
So Jim McCann learned a valuable lesson about due diligence. But anyone who wants to buy a business can learn this lesson without having to go through a similar experience.

You can do anything better than me by learning from my mistakes so you don’t have to make them yourself. Learning from your mistakes is good; learning from mine is better. You’ll succeed faster!

Shared Success
With information so prevalent today, there’s another way our title applies. In many cases, it doesn’t make sense to hoard information, you’re better off sharing it.

The final step of mastering any craft is the desire and ability to mentor others. And an interesting thing happens as you do that … the people you’re mentoring may, at some point, start doing better than you.

Then the teacher begins to learn from the student. So the teacher performs better. And the student learns and performs better.

Anything we can do, we can do better! You both help each other grow.  

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Our bigg quote today is by the great Will Rogers, who said,

“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading,
and the other by association with smarter people.”

It’s the smart thing to do!

Next time, we’ll discuss how to have the discipline to invest even if you don’t have the discipline to invest. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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Is Your Mind Like a Skipping CD?

Picture this – you grab one of your favorite CDs. You slide it into your CD player, select the track you want, and begin listening to one of your favorite songs when, all of a sudden … the CD starts skipping.

It occurred to us that sometimes our minds are like that skipping CD. We get stuck in one place. We have to control our own internal chat – what we say to ourselves, what we allow ourselves to think about – so we can hear the sweet sounds of success.

 

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Skips to avoid … skips to embrace
So don’t focus on what you can’t change … focus on what you can.

So don’t focus on what you can’t change … focus on what you can.

Don’t try to change others … change yourself.

Don’t worry about what you can’t control … focus on what you can.

Don’t think about yesterday … think about today.

Don’t tell yourself you can’t do it … tell yourself you can.

Don’t focus on your shortcomings … focus on your strengths.

Don’t ask why you’re different … embrace what makes you unique.

Don’t focus on what might have been … focus on what can be.

Don’t fret about past decisions … make the best choices today.

Don’t think about missed opportunities … think about the opportunity that’s in front of you now.

Skip past the negative thoughts so you become all you want to be.

How to avoid skips

Some skips are caused by surface scratches. In the preceding section, we discussed how to avoid those – simply change what you think about!

But what do you do if it’s a larger problem? You may need to skip proof your player!

There are a number of ways to do this. Some examples:

  • Feed your mind daily.
    Fill your mind with things that encourage you and inspire you. One great way to do this is to tune in to the Bigg Success Show for a daily lesson and a laugh in five minutes or so!
  • Associate with positive people.
    They can’t motivate you, but they will lift your spirits. Look at how they approach challenges. Listen to the words they use and how they say them.
  • Adopt a balanced lifestyle.
    Get some exercise, watch your diet, and get some sleep for crying out loud! It’s easy to lose focus when you don’t take care of yourself. Recharge your batteries! 
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Our bigg quote today is a Chinese Proverb.

“If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words.”

How you talk to yourself determines who you will become.

Next time, we’ll discuss how to form better opinions and make better decisions. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Lessons about Friendship from Man’s Best Friend

The extraordinarily ordinary Jimmy Stewart, one of our favorites, had a dog named Bo. You may have seen or heard or read the poem he wrote after Bo passed.

Our Bo was a beagle named Gus. That’s him in the picture. Wasn’t he a handsome boy! Gus went to doggie heaven a couple of weeks ago. This blog is in loving memory of him.

 

We want to look at lessons we can learn from man’s best friend about friendship. What makes a best friend a best friend?

All of these things boil down to loyalty. No matter who else was around, Gus was a momma’s boy. He was loyal to the end. 

Best friends welcome their friends.
Our dogs are always happy to see us and they let us know that. Even without seeing us, Gus knew when we had pulled back into the driveway. He obviously could tell by the sound of the car that we were home. He would “yelp” with excitement.

How do you greet your friends? Do you let them know you’re thrilled to see them?

Best friends spend time together.
Gus would never pass up an opportunity to spend time together. All his mom had to do was start putting on her walking shoes, and he would get excited. Wherever we were, he was. He loved being with us.

Obviously, we can’t spend as much time as we might like with friends and family. Other obligations enter into the picture. But how you spend your time shows what you value. So make sure you carve out time dedicated for your friends and family.

Best friends can sense their friend’s mood
When you’re having a bad day, dogs seem content to sit close by and just be with you. When you’re excited, they share in it with their playful nature.

Get to know your friends so well that you can instantly tell, even without them saying so, whether they’re having a good day or a bad day. Good friends sometimes don’t want to burden us with their problems. If you can sense it, you can reach out to them.

Best friends may growl occasionally, but they don’t bite
Gus would growl when you got close to his food. He was letting you know you were crossing a boundary! Now step over that boundary, and he may have bitten you.

Sometimes, unintentionally, we step over the line with our friends. When a friend does that, don’t bite their head off … just growl a little! They’ll probably get the point!

Our bigg quote today is by Eleanor Roosevelt, who said,

“Many people will walk in and out of your life,
but only true friends will leave footprints in you heart.”

And sometimes those friends leave paw prints.

Next time we'll share 6 strategies to beat your competition. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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“Leadership is Action, Not Position”

By Bigg Success Staff
04-15-08

Timeless Principles

leadership 

This great quote comes from Donald H. McGannon, who ran the Westinghouse Broadcasting Corporation and served as President of the National Urban League.

No one can declare you the “leader”; you have to earn it. No position will make you a leader; you have to have followers.

People follow people, not positions. They respect people whom they trust. They tag along with people in whom they believe. They follow people who have demonstrated they deserve to be followed.

That requires action, which doesn’t require any certain “position”. You have to take action that inspires people to follow you. Nobody follows anybody who doesn’t do anything; people follow people who do something of significance.

You can’t just talk about it; you have to do it. When people see you accomplishing something worthwhile, they will follow.

Yes, leadership is action, not position. Anyone can be a leader. You just have to do things that make people want to follow you.

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"Leadership is Action, Not Position"

By Bigg Success Staff
04-15-08

Timeless Principles

leadership 

This great quote comes from Donald H. McGannon, who ran the Westinghouse Broadcasting Corporation and served as President of the National Urban League.

No one can declare you the “leader”; you have to earn it. No position will make you a leader; you have to have followers.

People follow people, not positions. They respect people whom they trust. They tag along with people in whom they believe. They follow people who have demonstrated they deserve to be followed.

That requires action, which doesn’t require any certain “position”. You have to take action that inspires people to follow you. Nobody follows anybody who doesn’t do anything; people follow people who do something of significance.

You can’t just talk about it; you have to do it. When people see you accomplishing something worthwhile, they will follow.

Yes, leadership is action, not position. Anyone can be a leader. You just have to do things that make people want to follow you.

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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What to Do if You’re Not Happy with Your Job

ByWynn Bigg
Bigg Success Contributor
04-15-08  

Wynn Bigg Today

Daniel and Debra are two of my closest friends. My wife, Fanny, and I recently attended the wedding of their “little girl”, Denise. Only she isn’t so little any more … I know I’m biased, but she was a beautiful bride.

It was great to see old friends again and catch up with all their comings and goings. But it’s the conversation I had the day before the wedding that I wanted to talk about today.

Fanny and I got to Dan and Deb’s house early Thursday afternoon. Dan was out-of-town on business; he wasn’t expected in for about five hours. Fanny, Deb, and Denise went shopping to take care of some last-minute details before the bigg day.

That left Derek and me. Derek graduated from college about three years ago. I’ll never forget the look on his Dad’s face when Derek went up to get his diploma.

Derek went to work for a large company. He was so excited because they had selected him for the management fast-track. He would rotate through a number of divisions and assignments over the next few years.

Derek and I hadn’t seen much of each other since he started his job. It was a gorgeous day, so we sat down by the pool to catch up.

I said, “Geez, Derek, I can’t remember the last time we really got to talk.”

“Yeah, it’s been a few years, Uncle Wynn.” The kids called me “uncle”, although we weren’t actually related.

“So how have you been?”

“Doing pretty good.”

“How’s the job?”

“It’s going pretty well.”

“Is it everything you hoped it would be?”

“Well, I guess I’ve learned quite a bit.”

“I’m sensing that you’re not telling me something.”

“Well, I guess the job’s alright … it’s just not everything I had hoped for. I feel like I could be doing so much more.”

“Why do you feel that way?”

“I have friends who have done so much better.”

“But Derek, you can’t judge yourself by your friends.”

“I know, I know … but I’m nearing the end of their management program … I just don’t feel that there are any good opportunities for me.”

“Why is that?”

“Because they keep cutting back … they’re selling off the companies where I really wanted to go.” He squirmed in his chair, and tugged on his tee-shirt. “I guess, Uncle Wynn, I’m just not as happy in my job as I thought I would be,” he hesitated before continuing, “what do you do if you’re not happy doing what you’re doing?”

“Ah, that’s a good question, grasshopper! You know, I get asked a question like this a lot. It’s really a very simple answer … you have to either change the job or change jobs.”

“What do you mean … change the job?”

“Well … you’ve made an investment in your current job. So has your company. So it makes sense to first try to change it so that it makes you happy.”

“How do I do that?”

“First, decide what you want from your job. We make the best decisions we have with the information we have. But we’re constantly getting new information. When you took this job, you made the best decision you could. Now you know more about your company, there have been some changes, and most importantly, you know more about yourself. So what do you want now? That’s the first thing you have to do.”

“Okay, so what’s the second?”

“Talk to your supervisor, or your HR people. Tell them what you want to do … what you want from your job. See what options they may have.”

“And if they can’t come up with anything that fits, I’ll have to start looking for a different job.”

“That’s right, Derek … you either have to change the job you have or you have to change jobs. Because work is too bigg a part of your life to not be happy at work.”

“Wow, Uncle Wynn … that helps. I’ve really been stressing over this. Thanks for the advice!”

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Don’t Use Rhetorical Questions to Impart Knowledge

By Dana Mancuso
Bigg Success Contributor
04-02-08

Life Skills

no_parking 

Recently, I drove with my son across town to visit a park in another neighborhood.  I parked on a side street that I have never parked on before.

It seemed a suitable place to park. No yellow lines on the curb. White signs on the opposite side of the street. After about 40 minutes, we returned to the car just as a city parking enforcement worker pulled up alongside it.

I proceeded to strap my son in.

The woman inside the city vehicle asked, "Is there a reason you parked on the wrong side of the street?"
 
I wondered to myself: Does she really want me to answer that?

What kind of answer would be satisfactory?

I could say, “Yes, I always park on the wrong side of the street. I am eager for tickets and am itching to get my car hit so my insurance rates can go WAY up!”
 
Or perhaps, “We are squirrel worshippers. We only park facing to the south when we make our religious pilgrimages to offer nuts to the Squirrel Gods in local parks.”

That’s what I wanted to say, but I realized that those two answers were both sarcastic and patronizing.

So I answered truthfully, "I've never parked here before. I did not know I couldn't park here. There are no yellow lines and no signs, so I assumed this side was okay." 

I kept trying to strap my son in so we could leave.
 
"Ignorance is no excuse," she says.

Perhaps, in many instances, ignorance is not an excuse.  But in this case, I thought it was a pretty good one. 

How can a person try NOT to do something wrong if they're not aware that it is wrong?

Instead of trying to argue this point, I got a bit irritated and said, "Okay, I'm getting out of this spot and leaving now."

"I could be writing you a ticket."

"Yes, you could be. And I appreciate that you are not. You have let me know that this is an illegal parking space and that I ought not to be there. I am trying to make that happen.”

I zipped away as fast as the speed limit would let me.

"Is there a reason you parked on the wrong side of the street?"
This question put me on the defensive and did not really teach me anything about where to park. In fact, it caused an exchange that ended with two irritated adults, rather than one who was better informed and one who was pleased.

Don’t use rhetorical questions when you want to impart knowledge to someone!
As I replayed that incident in my mind, I realized how often I make the same mistake as a parent. I use rhetorical questions!

I don’t say, "Please stop getting on the kitchen counter to get to the chocolate candy on top of the refrigerator. It’s dangerous.”

Instead, I find myself saying, "What are you doing up there?"

I don't want my child to tell me why he is there. (I figured that out by the chocolate on his face and wrappers on the floor.) I want him to get down! 

I'm almost certain that the city worker probably intended to teach me something about parking safety in some misguided manner with her question.
 
In a perfect world, all of our directions would be in simple terms. We wouldn't have a No Parking Here sign; we'd have a Park Here! sign. Everything would be presented in a straightforward, no need-to-guess manner. 

But life is not always that simple. As a parent, I try to teach right from wrong; distinguish safe from unsafe; illustrate appropriate and inappropriate. 

Using clear language, firmly setting expectations, and explaining errors is helpful to children trying to find their way. And it can help adults, too. 

I hope I don't soon find myself parked somewhere I should not be. But if I do, I hope I hear, "This side of the street is designated as no parking for safety reasons. Next time you park in this neighborhood, please park over there." 

I'll happily put down my chocolate and get off the counter.

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Make It a Double

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Make It a Double

By Dana Mancuso
Bigg Success Contributor
03-19-08 

Timeless Principles

coffee

Remember the movie, "Pay It Forward", where the characters were asked to do something nice for the next person down the line, rather than repaying the one who did something nice for them?

Recently, I was privileged to be in a local coffee shop when I saw one of these little acts of kindness. The man in front of me in line was pleasantly surprised that his latte had been paid for by the last customer. She wasn't even in the store any longer at this point, but it sure made that man's day. Maybe you have seen this or even done this yourself?

What I think is so great about the pay it forward idea is that you make it a double. You not only make someone's day with a little surprise, you make your own day, because, let's face it, we feel great about ourselves when we help others. And in the case of the coffee shop, that woman made it a triple—and beyond, because my spirits were lifted, and now I'm even sharing that good news with you.

So, take a minute next time you think of it and pay the next car's toll, or just get someone's coffee. It's a pick-me- and pick-YOU-up! And what better way to feel successful than to create little moments of success for yourself and others. 

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More Timeless Principles 

Who’s Kicking Your Cat?

Rich Dad, Wise Son

How To Succeed The George Costanza Way 

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