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4 Secrets for Learning New Tricks

dog_daysToday’s post is the second in a five part series on Dog Days. There’s an old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” If that’s true, then one secret to learning new tricks is …

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Don’t be an old dog!

Of course, we can’t control that in a physical sense. But that’s of less importance than keeping ourselves young in mind and spirit.

We must rediscover that sense of wonder we had when we were young.

Before we were afraid to try new things.
Before we were scared of taking risks.
Before we worried about being embarrassed.

When we were fascinated by new things.
We were captivated with new experiences.
We were curious about the world around us.
We made new discoveries day by day.

Then we grew up and became old dogs.

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marylynn
I told George to speak for himself on that one!

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george Boy, I inadvertently insulted myself on two fronts … in a single sentence I managed to call myself “old” and a “dog”. My point is that sometimes we learn the wrong lessons.

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Picture this: A dog goes for a walk and steps on a bee. It hurts. But instead of watching out for bees when he goes for walks in the future, he refuses to walk at all.

Let’s bring it back to human terms. Maybe you stuck your neck out on an opportunity that didn’t work out the way you planned. So now, when a new opportunity presents itself, you roll over and play dead!

It’s time for some new tricks. Experience is a great teacher, but it’s curiosity that leads to innovation.

The dog trainer

Trainers can work wonders with dogs. The same is true for us humans.

Look for a coach or mentor who has done what you’re trying to do. Someone who has walked the path you want to go down.

Your coach can teach you the tricks you need to get where you want to be. From his or her experience, combined with your own, you can discover how to reach bigg success faster.

A doggy treat

Dogs get a treat when they learn new tricks. Likewise, give yourself a reward every time you learn a new trick or reach a new plateau.

Bigger tricks deserve bigger treats. Sounds kind of like Halloween, doesn’t it? Only here it’s trick for treat.

When you really move that proverbial needle, when you stretch yourself and accomplish something significant for your bigg success, give yourself a treat that has particular meaning for you.

The dog and pony show

Don’t get stuck doing that same old dog and pony show. Stretch your mind by exploring new things. Study things outside your area of expertise.

You’ll find that you bring new perspectives back to your main area of expertise by exploring outside of it. You’ll discover new solutions to old problems.

So we think you can teach an old dog new tricks. In fact, an old dog has to learn new tricks to reach bigg success!

If you’d like to learn more new tricks, subscribe to our FREE newsletter, The Bigg Success Weekly. It’s free!

Thanks for sharing your time with us today. Please join us next time when we’ll discuss relationships in a dog eat dog world. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Great Athletes Have One. So Should You

home_mortgageWe were thinking about mentors and coaches recently. In our discussion, we defined them as follows:

A mentor is an informal advisor. A coach also offers advice, but in a more formal way because you’re paying for their services.

We’ve both had a number of mentors and coaches in our lives. Both have been immensely valuable! That’s what prompted our discussion.  

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Going where you haven’t gone before

However, since we don’t pay for the services of our mentors, we don’t talk to them as much. After all, we don’t want to abuse the privilege. We’ve talked with our coaches much more frequently, usually every week in fact. It’s part of the agreement we had with them when we signed on for their services.

We love the quote by Bill McCartney, former coach of the University of Colorado. He said,

“Coaching is taking a player where he can’t take himself.”

It seems that behind every great athlete is a great coach – from Michael Jordan to Michael Phelps and a bunch of other outstanding performers not necessarily named Michael!

What a coach can do for you

In this age of personal branding, a coach can do the same for us – take us where we can’t take ourselves. We’ve found that our coaches save us time – we get where we want to be faster because they help us identify what’s most important.

Bigg Success is our baby! We’re very close to it. Our coaches bring us that outside, objective point-of-view that is necessary to help us move forward intelligently.

We work for ourselves. A coach gives us someone to whom to be accountable. We’ve found that it keeps us on our toes. We work ON our business more than we would otherwise because we’re forced to prepare for our weekly sessions. It’s like having homework!

Our coaches also ask us questions that we’re not asking ourselves. We’ve found ourselves looking at our business and careers in new ways – ways we wouldn’t have uncovered on our own to go back to the quote.

How to find a coach that’s right for you

Along the way, we’ve learned a thing or two about finding a great coach. Now we look for someone who has reached a level we want to reach. For example, we recently attended a convention for people with online shows like The Bigg Success Show. We met a man who is very successful with his show. We’re talking with him about coaching us so we can understand how to replicate his success.

Another coach we’ve had, Liz Strauss, was referred to us by a mutual friend. We started following her blog and saw that she was hosting a conference. We attended her conference and got to know her more. We hired her to coach us. She’s been incredibly helpful in pushing us to a higher level. 

Mentors are valued advisors that contribute to your success. Coaching is still catching on. Athletes figured it out a long time ago. Now the rest of us are getting it. It takes a small investment to hire a coach, but there are BIGG payoffs for those who do! 

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

Next time, with the Republican Convention wrapping up, we’ll talk about elephants. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Customer Disservice: Policies That Repel Customers

We've been thinking about customer service lately, inspired by a trip and a book.

 

I was in Chicago recently and I had to use the restroom. I saw this little hot dog place. I thought that I could grab a dog for lunch and use their bathroom. As I approached the door, I saw a sign. The sign said, “No Public Restrooms.” So I stopped, looked around, and noticed a McDonald’s down the street. So I went to McDonald’s.

 

I could see a business limiting the use of their facilities to patrons, because some people will just use the bathroom and leave. But to not even let your customers use it … that seems a little extreme to me.

 

I learned this lesson the hard way. One of my earliest businesses was a Ben Franklin store – the old “five and dime.” We didn’t let the public use our bathrooms. There was one particular day every year when the town held a huge community sale. We got tons of traffic on that day, many needing to use the bathroom. People would come in and walk out because we said, “No”. Why wouldn’t they? We hadn’t served their immediate need. So we changed our policy – and most people who used the restroom did buy something.

 

This makes me think of the book, Our Toilets are Not for Customers by Floyd Coates. He tells the story about shopping for light fixtures. His house had been severely damaged by a tornado. He had to buy lights for his new house, so he went to a lighting store. He was about half done with his list – having already selected about $2,000 worth of merchandise – when he got the call of nature. He asked a clerk where their bathroom was. She said, “Our toilets are not for customers.” She went on, “There’s a place a couple of blocks down the street.” So he left … and he didn’t return – they didn’t get a dime out of him.

 

One of my professors, who became one of my mentors, said that most policies are created for 3% of the people – the exceptions – rather than the 97% who are responsible for the success of the business.

 

The #1 … and #2 … ways businesses flush money down the toilet

#1 – Create policies for 3% of their customers
The hot dog place in Chicago is the perfect example of this. Would more than 3% of the people who walk through the restaurant’s doors do their business without doing business with the restaurant? Yet all of their customers are affected by this policy.

#2 – Create policies for 3% of their employees
The renegades, you might call this 3% of employees. But the other 97% suffer for it. This results in lower morale among all the employees – especially the ones who did nothing wrong. Lower morale leads to lower productivity.

What’s that sound? Oh, that’s the sound of money getting flushed down the toilet!

This 3% rule is a good thing to think about before making any policy decision that affects customers or employees.

We’ve given one example, but there are so many more. What have you seen – as a customer or an employee? How do businesses flush money down the toilet?

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5 Ways to Stop Racing in Circles So You Can Succeed Bigg

The Indy 500 is this weekend. Now we’re fans of racing, but if you think about it, these drivers are just going around in circles. They drive around the same circle again and again. The fastest one to do it 200 times … to drive 500 miles … is the winner. But they haven’t gone anywhere. They finish in the same place that they started!

 

But the winner gets to drink milk!

Of course, winning races does take you places. But outside the racing world, if we just go around in circles, continuing to do the same things, over and over again, we end up in the same place that we started.

Then we wonder why?

So we try working harder. However, we’re still doing the same things, so we just get back to the same place faster. But the problem is – we’re still in the same place! We haven’t gone anywhere.

So we just keep going around in circles, over and over again. Never making any progress. We have a lot of activity, but very little (if anything) to show for it. We can’t move past this one spot.

Speaking of over and over again, here’s a statement to read over and over again until you have it memorized …

If I continue to do what I've always done,
then the best I can expect is what I already have.

5 ways to quit going around in circles

#1 – Get out of your comfort zone.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you never push yourself beyond what you already know, you’ll never grow.

#2 – Identify what’s holding you back.
This could be your work place, certain relationships, personal habits, negative thinking, or any number of other things. What’s busting your dreams? What’s crushing your spirit?

#3 – Do the right things.
You know where you want to go. Everything you do should take you in that direction. Anything that doesn’t … doesn’t need to be done.

#4 – Work smarter.
Think about how you spend your time. It’s the most precious resource you have. Find ways to do the things you do more efficiently.

#5 – Get help.
Be it a coach or a mentor or some other advisor. If you’ve tried everything you know to try, bring in support. Don’t be afraid to pay for this investment in yourself. 

We’re here everyday waving the checkered flag for you!
Subscribe to Bigg Success in iTunes, or subscribe to our feed.

Our bigg quote today is by Barbara Sher:

“Real obstacles don’t take you in circles. They can
be overcome. Invented ones are like a maze.”

So to get to the winner’s circle, avoid the obstacles you create yourself.

Next time, we ask, “Are you A leader or THE leader?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Is It Lonely at the Top of Your Own Business?

By Bigg Success Staff
07-29-08

Bigg Success in Business

at_the_topIf you believe the statistics, an overwhelming majority of people dream of owning their own business. For many, it’s because they have a romantic view of working for themselves. Owning your own business means answering to no one. You’re the man (or woman)!

But that’s the problem for many … being THE one. It really can be very lonely at the top.

Staying on course may mean changing the course!

You’ll hear all kinds of opinions about your business and your plans. You have to develop an intestinal fortitude like never before. You need to have the courage of your convictions, to press on even when others tell you that you’re crazy.

At the same time, you have to learn when it’s time to change your strategy based on new evidence. To abandon what you thought was the right course for some new direction.

Many entrepreneurs succeed in a business they didn’t start!

They adapt. As they gain new market information, they respond to their customer’s needs and wind up in a completely different business.

But there’s another pitfall. Does the opportunity align with your passion? There’s a reason you started a business in the first place. If the required strategy takes you into an area in which you have no interest, you might be better off with a regular job.

Are you ready to go out on your own?

If this discussion dissuades you from going out on your own … good! It’s better to learn now than after you’ve invested time, money, and emotions in a new venture. Starting a business is tough for everyone, but it’s much harder on anyone who’s not fully committed to it.

On the other hand, if it excites you even more, you may be ready to start your own business. So it’s time to take the important first steps.

The first most important step is …

… get started. A lot of people TALK about starting their own firm, but that’s as far as it goes. Nothing will ever happen unless you get started. Even if getting started means doing more research, then get going!

The second most important step is …

… get a support network. This includes your professional advisors. However, you also need people who have lived what you are going through – fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, coaches. They will help you when the load seems unbearable and keep pushing you when things are going well. 

The next most important step is …

… your next step! Every day in an entrepreneur’s life is a challenge with all the noise. You have to filter through it all to do what’s most important to move your business one more step ahead.

Focusing all your energy every day on what’s most important doesn’t guarantee success. However, it does make the odds a little bit better. 

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

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

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25 Ways to Meet People and Build Your Personal Brand

By Bigg Success Staff
05-15-08

Personal Branding

twenty-five 

Meeting people not only helps build your career, it’s a great way to build a life! It’s a skill that is becoming more and more important. How do you get your name out there? Are you building your social balance sheet?

Here are 25 ways to meet people and build your social assets:

In your community

#1 – Volunteer for your favorite charitable organization.

#2 – Join a service club.

#3 – Attend Chamber of Commerce functions.

#4 – Join the local chapter in your area of specialty.

#5 – Patronize local establishments regularly. Tip well when appropriate.


In your field

#6 – Get involved in your trade associations.

#7 – Write articles in your field of expertise.

#8 – Reach out to experts in your field.

#9 – Find a mentor.

#10 – Attend conferences and conventions.


On the internet

#11 – Join social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, or sites in your specialty.

#12 – Comment on posts.

#13 – Join groups of interest to you (e.g. Yahoo groups).

#14 – Use social bookmarking sites (e.g. Digg, Del.icio.us, StumbleUpon).

#15 – Start your own blog (e.g. WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr).


With people you know

#16 – Get to know who they know. Ask for introductions to people you’d like to meet.

#17 – Attend get-togethers and events that your friends host. Don’t be a wallflower.

#18 – Host a party and invite your friends to bring a friend.

#19 – Attend events together. Introduce each other to people you know.

#20 – Let your hair stylist know what you do.


Potpourri

#21 – Smile at people.

#22 – Make eye contact.

#23 – Practice striking up a conversation every time the opportunity presents itself.

#24 – Hang out near the bar or food table at parties. Everybody comes there eventually.

#25 – Practice observing and commenting to come up with good opening lines.

How do you meet people? Share your thoughts and ideas in the Comment section below.

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