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Keep Your Career Options Open to Be a Success

keeping your options open | BIGG SuccessBIGG success is life on your own terms. But sometimes life throws you a curve ball.

How can you deal with it?

The best way is to prepare for it in advance.

How can you prepare for the unexpected in advance?

By keeping your options open.

Then, if it occurs, you can face the challenge with confidence. So today, we’ll share four keys to keeping your options open.

Listen to this post! Click a player to hear George & Mary-Lynn on The BIGG Success Podcast.


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Visibility

Keep your options open by insuring that people see you doing what you do best.

Is your job “outbound” so you’re clearly visible to customers? If so, capitalize on that relationship. Ask them for a brief note about working with you. It will come in handy at your next evaluation or if you need to look for other work.

If your job doesn’t expose you to anyone outside your company, then work on your visibility. Get involved in your industry. Look for conferences you can attend. Participate in forums and comment on blog posts about your industry. You might even consider starting your own blog to show off your expertise. Volunteer to work for your favorite non-profit.

Networking

It’s amazing how many people who land a new job found it through a referral. It’s also amazing how much business results from our networks.

So why do so many of us pay so little attention to our network until we really need it?

Spend a little time every single day building and maintaining your network.

Going beyond the activities mentioned above to be more visible, do you participate in local opportunities?

Is your company a member of your local Chamber of Commerce? If so, do you attend Chamber functions?

Have you registered on Meetup to find out about local events of interest to you?

Are you on LinkedIn?
What about Facebook?
Have you joined any social networking groups specific to your industry?

The contacts you make through these sites will be valuable now. But they may prove invaluable should you be forced to make a change.

Marketing

What makes you unique? How can you communicate that? What opportunities play to your core strengths?

Is your resume up-to-date? If not, there’s no time like the present! For sample cover letters, resumes, job search and interviewing tips, check out Resume Help.

Bridge Plan

Develop a plan of what you would do if you were forced to change jobs.

How will you pay your bills?

Where will you look for a new job?

Who will you contact for referrals?

For what services would you pay (e.g. career coach)?

As you prepare this plan, keep a couple of things in mind:

  • You may spot some problems. That’s why you’re doing this now. For example, at what point would you need to find some part-time work or freelance work to pay the bills?
  • Plan some recovery time should a change be required. You’re human. It will be emotional. But you’ll feel much more confident having thought it through in advance. And you’ll be able to keep your options open to find the right opportunity for you!

Thanks so much for checking in with us today. Until next time, here’s to your BIGG success!

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When Your Dream Becomes a Nightmare

turmoilWe hear a lot about developing contingency plans in case reality doesn’t live up to our expectations. But we don't often don't think about having a plan in place in case we succeed beyond our wildest dreams!

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It sounds funny to think about it that way, but your bigg dream can turn into a nightmare in both cases – coming up short or succeeding wildly.

Talent in triumph

We’ve recently seen an example of this with Susan Boyle. She walked out onto the stage of "Britain's Got Talent" as a middle-aged Scottish woman who said that she had never been kissed.

She had lived a very simple life, took care of her mother and sang at her local church. She dreamed of having a career in music for 23 years, even putting together a demo with no success.

Then she took a chance and auditioned for the popular TV Show. It was her bigg opportunity and she nailed it. Her life changed from the moment she began to sing "I dreamed a dream."

The whole world loved Susan!

Talent in turmoil

She became an international singing sensation overnight, going from obscurity to sudden celebrity. She couldn’t anonymously walk over to her local church any longer without a swarm of paparazzi tailing her.

No more quiet at home. Her phone rang off the hook. Everyone – from news outlets to fans – wanted to talk with Susan now.

It took a tremendous toll on her emotional state. Although she smiled for the cameras most of the time, she had a couple of incidents that made her appear unstable.

She was overwhelmed and exhausted by being thrust into the spotlight. In a recent interview on Today, Susan said, “[The] impact was like a demolition ball."

Before long, she started skipping scheduled appearances after her run on the show ended. People questioned her health. They wondered if she had what it took to be a star.

Her bigg dream had turned into a nightmare.

Crossing the line

There’s a dividing line when bigg success is at our fingertips. Will we accept it and move over to the new life of which we dreamed? Will we navigate the road less traveled and keep moving on to bigg success?

Or will we be afraid to cross into the unknown? Will we allow self doubt to hold us back? Will we tell ourselves we don't deserve this bigg success?

You have to plan for bigg success so you’re mentally prepared when you reach this point. How do you prepare?

Visualize it.

By picturing it clearly, you’ll be ready for bigg success when you reach it. You’ll also be more likely to get there! Use all your senses to experience it as if it had already happened.

Build a support network.

Surround yourself with people who care about you and believe in you. Associate with people at the level you’re trying to reach. Let them guide you on your way to your bigg dream and reach out a hand once you've made it.

That's what Susan Boyle finally did. As she said on Today, "I've got to be honest here. I guess I had to get my head around it, but through the guidance of a great team — and they are very good — I was able to see that in perspective and really turn that around.”

Bigg goal-getters work hard every day to achieve their bigg dreams. Make sure you also spend some time planning for that moment when you step into the limelight and shine. That's preparing for bigg success!

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Next time we’ll discuss what a karaoke party has in common with social media. Please join us. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Dissing Plan B

success_and_failure Here’s a great quote by entertainer Steve Harvey …

“Don’t live by old sayings that don’t apply to you. For instance – ‘Have a Plan B.’ Having a Plan B means you believe that Plan A might fail. Having a Plan B requires that you put time and energy into what you could’ve been doing for Plan A to make it work. And if Plan A doesn’t work, guess what, get a new Plan A.”

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There’s some real wisdom in his quote. We’ll look at it line by line:

“Having a Plan B means you believe that Plan A might fail.”

Believe

He’s emphasizing how much we have to believe in success, not in failure. We have to believe, in ourselves and in our plan, in order to succeed. The first person who has to be on board with our plan – the first person who has to follow us so to speak – is ourselves. If we’re not in line, we’re in trouble!

Throw away the security blanket

There’s another thing that comes to light with this quote. Think Linus van Pelt, Charlie Brown’s best friend and Lucy’s younger brother. He never went anywhere without his security blanket. 

We can’t succeed if we hold on to our security blanket, or blankets, as the case may be. We have to throw it away once and for all if we’re going to succeed bigg.

A lot of times we hold on tightly to that security blanket just in case. Just in case, things don’t go as planned.

Well, here’s the brutal truth – no matter how good we get at planning, things never will go as planned.

That’s when we have to hunker done. We have to double our efforts to make our plan work. We have to overcome all the obstacles that we will face and keep the faith.

The covenant with Nature

We must keep on believing that we will succeed because we have no choice but to succeed. When we reach that level of resolve, the forces of Nature begin to conspire with us, instead of against us.

It’s not a miracle. It happens too frequently to think of it that way.

It is no accident. Because that implies a randomness that doesn’t exist.

It’s isn’t luck because it happens more often to people whose thoughts lead to certain behaviors. The more determination we have, the luckier we get!

It’s more like a covenant. Nature says, “This is how much you have to believe. Here is what you have to let go of in order to have my blessing.”

Now, let’s look at the next line …

“Having a Plan B requires that you put time and energy into
what you could’ve been doing for Plan A to make it work.”

Setting priorities

Since we only have a certain amount of time, we can’t afford to waste it if we’re going to succeed bigg.  It’s all about priorities.

We tend to think that:

  • we’re super-human
  • we can do ten things at once
  • we don’t need to focus on just one or two major objectives at a time

The bare naked truth is … all of that is a lie!

We do have to determine what is most important right now in pursuit of that bigg success of which we dream. Then we have to focus all our energy on only that.

In the last part of his quote, he says,

“If Plan A doesn’t work, get a new Plan A.”

So the question is, how do you know if Plan A isn’t working?

One way to judge it is if you keep running into the same wall over and over again.

You’ve tried to climb over it.

You’ve tried to go around it on one side.

Then you tried the other side.

You tried to dig under it.

You even tried to blast through it.

You’ve tried five times, but the doggone wall hasn’t budged.

Plan B is like Step 2

It may be time to start thinking of your alternatives. And here’s where we deviate slightly from Steve Harvey. Because we think Plan B is like Step 2 on your path to bigg success. You have to have a clear picture of what bigg success looks like to you before you start. Then you need to map out the steps to get there.

With your plan in place, you’ll focus all your time and energy on Step 1 before you begin to take the second step. So we’ve thought about it before we start, but we don’t worry about it until it’s time.

We think Plan B is just like that. Before we start working on Plan A, we should have thought about Plan B. We’ve prepared for the contingencies. But that’s where we stop.

And the important distinction is this ….

Plan B doesn’t send us back where we were before. Plan B moves us ahead in a way that Plan A didn’t. It makes that wall insignificant.

The only path to bigg success

But it doesn’t pay to spend too much time thinking about Plan B because the wall we face probably won’t be the wall we expect. So now we’re back on track with Steve Harvey.

Think about it a little, but don’t dwell on it. While you’re pursuing Plan A, keep Plan B out of your head. Because you have to if you want to succeed bigg.

Your mindset has to be, “This is my only path to bigg success.” By thinking that way, you will find bigg success. 

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Thank you for checking in with us today. Join us next time as we begin a two-part series on the ten early warnings of a business in trouble. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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What Makes a Hero a Hero?

hero You’ve probably seen the photos and the news stories of the “miracle on the Hudson” Captain Chesley Sullenberger was able to save over 150 passengers by making an emergency landing on the Hudson River after both engines of his plane failed.

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He’s received accolades from across the country, including Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York and two Presidents – President Bush who was the President at the time this happened and now President Obama who invited Sully, as his friends call him, to the Inaugural Ceremony.

The story is fascinating. We heard over and over again how calm and collected he was. His coolness kept the passengers calm and collected too.

What makes someone a hero?

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission defines a hero as “a civilian who voluntarily risks his or her own life to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the life of another person.”

That definition fits the mission of their organization, but is it expansive enough?

We turned to Merriam Webster. Two of their definitions of a hero stand out:

  • a person admired for his or her noble achievements
  • someone who shows great courage

We crafted our own definition:

A hero is an ordinary person who does something
extraordinary for the good of someone else.

It is a gift, not a sacrifice (although it may involve sacrifice) in the mind of the hero. It is the opposite of narcissism, but it is definitely not martyrdom.

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3 steps to heroism

Do you want to be a hero? We thought about this and it seems to us that becoming a hero is a three-step process:

Heroism starts with an attitude
Almost all of us think we have a duty to prevent harm to others as long as it doesn’t cost us too much. A hero expands upon that attitude. They feel a duty to serve others – to do good – whether or not it costs them something. 

It continues with preparation
This sense of a bigger duty drives them to preparation. They have a drive to be ready when the time comes.

Going back to Sully … as the pilot of a plane, he knew at some point there might be a crisis. So he gave a great deal of his free time studying everything situation he might encounter. It was his duty to be as fully prepared as possible should a crisis arise.

It completes itself with an action
The act of a hero is the manifestation of an underlying attitude. The success of that act depends on the preparation for it.

Sully had to respond because it was his duty. But his response didn’t start when the birds knocked both engines out of his plane. It began years earlier when he began studying flying.

So when the situation arose, he was ready because he felt a sense of duty and he had prepared.

Heroes, heroes everywhere

Heroism doesn’t always show itself in actions that make the news. There are heroes all around us. That’s what we’re going to talk about in our next two posts. Next time, we’ll discuss the hero behind the hero.

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Night Moves

moon You’re probably familiar with Bob Seger’s great song. We want to talk about a different kind of night moves today.

We have a friend who has to be to work at 9. He gets up at 5 and makes a full breakfast, irons his clothes, and still has time left over! He doesn’t need our advice today.

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marylynnI’m a night-person by nature. I set the alarm to its max and I even hit snooze a couple of times. So, of course, that leaves me rushing around in the morning.

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georgeIt seemed like whenever I was late for work, I felt like I was behind all day. It reminds me of something my dad used to say, “The faster I go, the behinder I get!”

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But there’s a solution to this problem if you’re not a morning person. Work on your night moves.

Since you have trouble getting to sleep anyway, why not accomplish something in the meantime? Here are eight ways to make the morning better with the moves you make at night:

Set out your clothes for the next day.

Our moms always told we should do this. Of course, they were mostly concerned with clean underwear! Just in case we were in an accident, right? Because that was their biggest concern if that happened!

Prepare tomorrow’s to – do list.

Spend ten minutes or so mapping out the most important things you plan to accomplish tomorrow. Even if you just decide upon the one or two things you will work on when you first get to work, you’ll be off to a great start.

Pack your lunch.

You can have it ready to grab on your way out the door. Not only will it save you time in the morning, you’ll save money and will likely eat healthier too!

Pack your briefcase.

Gather together all the papers, files, and folders you need and put them in your briefcase so you’re ready to go.

Do your hair.

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marylynnAnd time for a “girlie” tip. I have thick hair that takes forever to dry. I rely on my straightener and styling tools for an easy fix in the morning so I can do my hair the night before.

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george
Or you could be like me and just have a receding hairline!

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Establish a sleep time.

Studies have shown that going to bed at the same time every night trains our minds and our bodies that it’s time to rest. To make sure you fall asleep quickly, develop a sleep routine.

Make coffee.

Get a delayed-brew coffee maker so you can get that morning pot ready the night before. Then let the coffee maker do its job. You’ll save time and money by avoiding that stop on the way to work!

Ain’t it funny how the night moves can help you lose the morning blues!

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Thank you so much for stopping by today. Join us next time as we discuss how to “one up” your way through the New Year. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Top Threats to Your Career and Finances in 2009

By Bigg Success Staff
12-17-08

caution

We’ve all heard plenty of bad news recently, but the bad news now is that there is more bad news to come. While we must think about the opportunities in front of us, it’s also important to consider the threats to our careers and our finances so we can prepare appropriately.

Recession

Consumers, businesses, non-profits, and governments, all over the developed world, are learning a hard lesson about leverage. We will climb our way out of this recession but it will take some time. Before it’s through, it will be one of the, if not the most, severe recession since the Great Depression. 

Layoffs will continue. In most recessions, layoffs occur mostly at the bottom of the earnings / education spectrum. Expect this recession to be more evenly distributed, if not hitting higher end jobs harder.

Outsourcing

Companies will continue outsourcing, but here’s the difference. Manufacturing jobs have been getting shipped overseas for some time now. As fuel prices rose, there actually seemed to be a resurgence in companies bringing manufacturing jobs back on shore.

Now more white-collar jobs are at risk thanks in part to technology that allows information to be shared instantly from any place in the world with internet access. We found a great article that discusses the characteristics of jobs that can now be easily outsourced and jobs that can’t. It also lists what you can do to make yourself less vulnerable and provides a list of jobs by their level of risk to offshoring.

Deflation

Expect deflation to continue as everybody keeps a tight lid on spending, the credit markets remain relatively tight, and inventories of everything from housing to cars remain comparatively high. The good news is lower prices will remain, but …

Inflation

Governments in the developed countries have poured money into the world economy at unprecedented rates. At some point, once the credit markets loosen up and demand returns, inflation could become a problem.

We’ve just witnessed prices on everything from gas to groceries rising quickly. We could see it again. It will take wise leadership to know when to slam on the brakes on economic stimulus without tightening so much that another recession ensues.

If this happens, that cash stash will quickly lose its value. Investments in hard assets have typically performed well in times of inflation.

Delayed retirement

A number of retirees are being forced to look for work after the freefall of their portfolios. Even more people who planned to retire soon are putting those plans on hold because they need to bulk up their assets again before they stop working. This will create even more competition in already tight job markets.

Benefits

Employers are under intense pressure to cut costs. It’s reasonable to expect them to cut benefits. Even if it’s promised now, don’t count on having health insurance provided to you as a retiree. Even while you’re working, expect to cover a greater share of the premiums.

Also don’t be surprised if your employer cuts back or eliminates the matches on your 401(k). These aren’t the only benefits at risk, but they’re two of the most significant ones.

Access to credit

It won’t show up on your personal balance sheet, but your credit score will be an incredible asset. Cash will be king as long as prices remain in a deflationary state. At some point, cash along with the ability to access credit will open doors for opportunities that most of us will never see again in our lifetimes. 

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Success Building Blocks: Competitive Greatness

By Bigg Success Staff
09-17-08

Timeless Principles

success_pyramid

John Wooden, arguably the best coach in the history of college basketball, developed the Pyramid of Success.  It’s a wonderful tool to succeed bigg in any endeavor you choose.

So far, we’ve discussed four rows of his Pyramid.  Industriousness, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation, and Enthusiasm form the foundation. The second row consists of Self-control, Alertness, Initiative, and Intentness. The third row, which sits right in the middle of the Pyramid, includes  Condition, Skill and Team Spirit.

The fourth row, which is also the second from the top, is made up of Poise and Confidence

This week, we’ll look at the single block that sits at the top of the Pyramid.

Competitive Greatness

This success building block sits atop Poise and Confidence. Without these two, Wooden asserts you won’t achieve Competitive Greatness. But it goes beyond that – this block sits at the top because it is the result of all the rest. Putting in place all the other attributes helps you achieve this one.

The great performers bravely step forward when others are afraid. They thrive when others wither. So they want to be the point person in attacking the bigg challenge. After all, who is better suited to lead the cause? They believe it is up to them. This is their opportunity to shine … and they do! 

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

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John Wooden's Pyramid Of Success

Success Building Blocks: Industriousness

Success Building Blocks: Friendship

Success Building Blocks: Loyalty

Success Building Blocks: Enthusiasm

Success Building Blocks: Cooperation

Success Building Blocks: Self-Control

Success Building Blocks: Alertness

Success Building Blocks: Initiative 

Success Building Blocks: Intentness

Success Building Blocks: Condition 

Success Building Blocks: Team Spirit

Success Building Blocks: Skills

Success Building Blocks: Poise

Success Building Blocks: Confidence

Do You Play to Win?

By Bigg Success Staff
09-7-08

Peak Performance

competition 

Sporting events are a great microcosm of the games we all play. So we can take some great lessons away from them. One of those lessons is playing to win. Now you may be thinking … that seems kind of silly. Doesn’t everybody play to win?

The answer is a resounding “No”!

You see it with teams that aren’t “supposed” to win. They’re the underdogs. But they get the lead. They may be as surprised as everybody else.

And that’s when it happens …

They stop playing to win. They start playing to “not lose”.

Is there a difference?

The answer to that question is a bigg “Yes”!

Just like great teams, we need to play to win if we’re going to win bigg. Here are some key traits to adopt:

People who play to win have winning as their goal.

This may sound crazy to you also. But is it? Many people start out with a goal of winning. But as they inch closer and closer to the success they desired, their goal changes. They’re doing better than they ever imagined. So they get nervous. Their goal shifts to “not losing”.

It’s not a conscious thing. But you can see it in their actions, in their faces, and in their demeanor. And it’s ironic – the more they try not to lose, the more likely they are to lose. 

People who play to win put themselves on the edge.

You’ll never succeed bigg if you don’t take some risks. But what if you’re winning the game? Some people stop taking the risks that brought them so far. They become too risk-averse, thinking that playing it conservative will help them preserve their lead.

Now, it’s true that taking a risk doesn’t always pay off. By definition. But never taking a risk will never pay off. You have to put yourself out there. You have to be willing to make mistakes. Learn from them. Recover from them. And keep playing to win!

People who play to win are confident they will win.

Some people think they can win. Winners know they will win! Even when things aren’t going their way, they’re not troubled. They keep playing the game they came to play.

Sure, they’ll make some adjustments. They may change up their offense – or their defense – or both. But they keep on pushing. There is no doubt they’re going to win. It’s just a matter of time!

People who play to win get in “the zone”.

People who win don’t think; they do. They do what they’ve prepared to do. Because they’re thoroughly prepared, their body, mind, and spirit all reach a state of flow.

They go through the motions, but they aren’t just going through the motions. These motions flow up from deep within them because they’ve mastered their game.

Meanwhile, the people who are playing to “not lose” are busy thinking. Their self-talk isn’t the same as the people playing to win. They’re worrying about mistakes. They’re punishing themselves every time something doesn’t go their way. They’re over-thinking and over-reacting.

So how does the game usually end?

People who play to win … win.

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

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Success Building Blocks: Confidence

By Bigg Success Staff
09-11-08

Timeless Principles

success_pyramid

We count ourselves among the many people who believe that John Wooden was the best coach in the history of college basketball. But his contributions go far beyond the court. He developed an incredible tool called the Pyramid of Success that will help you succeed in any endeavor you choose.

We’ve completed our discussion of three rows of his Pyramid.  Industriousness, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation, and Enthusiasm form the foundation. The second row consists of Self-control, Alertness, Initiative, and Intentness. The third row, which sits right in the middle of the Pyramid, includes  Condition, Skill and Team Spirit.

We’ve also looked at one of the two blocks that form that fourth row – Poise. This fourth row is also the second row from the top, right below the apex of the Pyramid. This week, we’ll look at the block that makes up the other half of this row. 

Confidence

Wooden points out that, if you don’t have all three blocks in the middle row of the Pyramid – Condition, Skill and Team Spirit – in place, you’ll never have Confidence. Confidence and Poise are closely related, but Wooden felt the need to include both in his Pyramid.

When we’re confident, we respect the task at hand but we don’t fear it. We know we’re prepared. That’s why the three blocks in the middle row – Condition, Skill, and Team Spirit – are so vital. We know the fundamentals of our craft. Even beyond that, we know that we know them. That’s not a subtle difference!

There’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness. Peak performers get right up to the line, but they don’t cross over it. We don’t strive to be cocky, but it can happen over time. We have to guard against it by keeping all of the other success building blocks in mind.

With that in mind, we won’t succeed bigg if we aren’t confident. We have to win mentally to win physically. We must think we can win or we won’t. We must believe we can succeed or we won’t. When we have this mindset, we’re ready to take action. We’re ready to succeed bigg! And we can’t wait to get going! 

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

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John Wooden's Pyramid Of Success

Success Building Blocks: Industriousness

Success Building Blocks: Friendship

Success Building Blocks: Loyalty

Success Building Blocks: Enthusiasm

Success Building Blocks: Cooperation

Success Building Blocks: Self-Control

Success Building Blocks: Alertness

Success Building Blocks: Initiative 

Success Building Blocks: Intentness

Success Building Blocks: Condition 

Success Building Blocks: Team Spirit

Success Building Blocks: Skills

Success Building Blocks: Poise

Success Building Blocks: Poise

By Bigg Success Staff
09-04-08

Timeless Principles

success_pyramid

John Wooden was arguably the best coach in the history of college basketball. His contributions to success literature, though, possibly exceed his accomplishments on the court. He developed the Pyramid of Success, a wonderful tool that will help you succeed bigg in any endeavor you choose. 

So far, we’ve discussed three rows of his Pyramid.  Industriousness, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation, and Enthusiasm form the foundation. The second row consists of Self-control, Alertness, Initiative, and Intentness. The third row, which sits right in the middle of the Pyramid, includes  Condition and Team Spirit.

Now we’ll move to the fourth row, which is also the second row from the top. It consists of two blocks. We’ll look at the one on the left this week.  

Poise

This success building block sits atop Condition and Skill, but Wooden points out that it also comes from Team Spirit. You’ve worked hard to master the fundamentals of your craft so you know you’re ready to execute.

You’ve practiced every situation so you will be at ease when you’re playing the game. Even when things get tough, you’ll exhibit grace under pressure. You’ll just be yourself, because you know you’re ready! This leads to a calm, cool exterior because you’re calm and cool on the inside. That intimidates rivals who aren’t as prepared as you.  

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Success Building Blocks: Team Spirit

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