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Prepare to Be a Success

Presidents Day story for BIGG SuccessIt’s President’s Day here in the United States – a day dedicated to celebrating the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

It’s a holiday for the few. Most people still go to work today. We count ourselves among the masses.

We ran across an interesting story about Lincoln awhile back. It’s from the chapter entitled “Training for the Presidency” in the book Winning Out by Orison Swett Matden:

“I meant to take good care of your book, Mr. Crawford,” said the boy, “but I’ve damaged it a good deal without intending to, and now I want to make it right with you. What shall I do to make it good?”

“Why, what happened to it, Abe?” asked the rich farmer, as he took the copy of Weems’s “Life of Washington” which he had lent young Lincoln, and looked at the stained leaves and warped binding. “It looks as if it had been out through all last night’s storm. How came you to forget, and leave it out to soak?”

“It was this way, Mr. Crawford,” replied Abe. “I sat up late to read it, and when I went to bed, I put it away carefully in my bookcase, as I call it, a little opening between two logs in the wall of our cabin. I dreamed about General Washington all night. When I woke up I took it out to read a page or two before I did the chores, and you can’t imagine how I felt when I found it in this shape. It seems that the mud-daubing had got out of the weather side of that crack, and the rain must have dripped on it three or four hours before I took it out. I’m sorry, Mr. Crawford, and want to fix it up with you, if you can tell me how, for I have not got money to pay for it.’

“Well,” said Mr. Crawford, “come and shuck corn three days, and the book ‘s yours.”

Had Mr. Crawford told young Abraham Lincoln that he had fallen heir to a fortune the boy could hardly have felt more elated. Shuck corn only three days, and earn the book that told all about his greatest hero!

“I don’t intend to shuck corn, split rails, and the like always,” he told Mrs. Crawford, after he had read the volume. “I’m going to fit myself for a profession.”

“Why, what do you want to be, now?” asked Mrs. Crawford in surprise.

“Oh, I’ll be President!” said Abe with a smile.

“You’d make a pretty President with all your tricks and jokes, now, wouldn’t you?” said the farmer’s wife.

“Oh, I’ll study and get ready,” replied the boy, “and then maybe the chance will come.”

Losers think success is simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Winners invest time prepare so they’re ready when an opportunity appears.

It leads to BIGG success!

Image in this post from stock.xchng

Left-Handed, Dyslexic Entrepreneurs are the Most Successful Leaders

left-hand-writingLeft-handed people comprise about 10% of the population. Yet 57% (four) of our last seven Presidents have been lefties.

Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter were righties. (Although, some people assert Reagan was a leftie who became ambidextrous because he was “cracked by the ruler” as a school kid.)

Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford were all lefties. (Although, Ford said in his autobiography that he wrote with his right-hand when he was standing. We wonder which hand he used when he was tripping? :-)

Since we’re both lefties, we were really curious about this phenomenon. What explains this seemingly huge imbalance between the general population and Presidents? It’s simple:

Lefties make better leaders.

The left side of our brains is ruled by logic; the right side by intuition. Left-handed people are more likely to use the right hemisphere of their brain. While logic is important for leaders, intuition rules – especially in times of uncertainty and crisis.

The success of dyslexic entrepreneurs

We couldn’t find any studies about the handedness of entrepreneurs. However, about 10% of the population is dyslexic.

It is commonly cited that a disproportionate share of dyslexics are left-handed. Research has shown that dyslexia affects 35% of all entrepreneurs and just 1% of managers in the corporate world. This same study showed that, on average, dyslexic entrepreneurs:

  • are more likely to be serial entrepreneurs
  • grow their businesses faster
  • hire more employees

Coping for BIGG success

The researchers assert that entrepreneurs with dyslexia may grow faster as a coping mechanism. They learned to delegate at a young age, finding people who could easily do things they found difficult.

This ability to recruit and work with key people is an advantage in building an entrepreneurial enterprise. The need to hire people to help shore up the entrepreneur’s own strengths creates a pressure to grow faster.

As a business grows, structure is required to continue serving customers effectively and efficiently. The researchers postulate that entrepreneurs with dyslexia may feel stressed by this structure. So they choose to sell the business and move on to another entrepreneurial endeavor. Entrepreneurs without dyslexia are more comfortable with structure so they tend to stick with one business longer.

An opportunity for government officials and venture capitalists

So…

Lefties make better leaders.

Lefties are more likely to be dyslexic.

People with dyslexia are more successful entrepreneurs.

Therefore, if we’re going to grow our economy…

We should look for left-handed people with dyslexia who want to be entrepreneurs.

Government officials should start programs to locate and encourage these potential venturers.

Venture capitalists can refine their screening process and just look for left-handed entrepreneurs with dyslexia.

What if you’re not a left-handed dyslexic?

Before we close, we want to speak to all of you who aren’t left-handed dyslexics. Is there any hope for you? Of course there is.

Remember that it’s April Fool’s Day!

We made two (at least) logic errors in our analysis above:

  • “Lefties make better leaders.”

    While it’s interesting that such a high percentage of our recent Presidents have been left-handed, there’s no evidence to indicate that lefties make better leaders than righties.

  • “It is commonly cited that a disproportionate share of dyslexics are left handed.”

    While we found numerous people making this assertion, we found no credible research to back it up.

The benefit of being YOU

So what’s the point? Was this whole post just a ruse? No.

We wanted to highlight that YOU have an advantage. It’s up to YOU to find it. Nature has endowed YOU with certain characteristics – handedness, dyslexic or not, etc.

Your environment has afforded YOU with certain experiences unique to YOU. Your perceptions, knowledge and know-how are all yours.

Your duty, should you choose to accept it, is to find where your endowments and your experiences are leading YOU.

Once you find that, YOU are ready to build a life, not just make a living. That’s life on your own terms! That’s BIGG success!

Image in this post from tulp

The Constitution: A Model for Your Organization

constitution Today in the United States, we’re inaugurating Barack Obama as our 44th President today. It’s both a celebration and an orderly transfer of power.

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marylynn
I can hear “Hail to the Chief” being played. I just love that song!

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georgeI got inaugurated once. I was on the speech team in Junior High School. I’m dating myself here, but I played Gerald Ford taking the oath. So I tripped … I mean stepped … up to the microphone, held up my right hand, and said, “I, Gerald R. Ford, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

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Yes, all Presidents solemnly swear to uphold the Constitution. We hadn’t thought about this for some time, but we started discussing the purpose of a Constitution.

The United States Constitution itself tells us. It begins with the famous line “We the People of the United States” and then goes into the reasons for the document:

“in Order to form a more perfect Union”
At least we know that the Founding Fathers were realists – they didn’t expect a “perfect” union! They just felt the Constitution would help make things better.

“establish Justice”
It was important to establish laws so that every man and woman was treated the same. 

“ensure domestic Tranquility”
The Constitution allows for peaceful disagreement and debate.

“provide for the common defence”
It was important to determine how the safety of the citizenry would be insured.

“promote the general Welfare”
But it goes beyond safety. The Constitution also maps out how to make things better for the people of the country.

“secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”
This document should insure the freedom of its citizens now and in the future.

Now think about that list. These are the reasons why the Founding Fathers felt it was important to have a Constitution.

But this isn’t a civics lesson. Which is good because we sure wouldn’t be qualified to talk about it! But it made us think …

Aren’t those good reasons for us to have a Constitution in our organizations?

A framework for growth

As small business owners, we often run from structure. We are rebels at heart. We like to break the rules. These characteristics are part of what lead to the success of many small business owners. However, this lack of structure is also what keeps many of their businesses really small.

So does your organization need a Constitution? If you want to establish a framework to grow your business and insure that all people in your organization get treated fairly, then YES!

The Constitution as a model

To find out how to establish a framework for your organization, look at the Constitution.

Set down governing principles.
This list of principles expresses the Core Values of the organization. All decisions should be congruent with these principles.

Establish a structure. How is it organized? This helps us see the bigg picture. Think about your Mission.

Define procedures. How is it run? How do we do things around here? It doesn’t set the ceiling for idealistic behavior, but it does establish a floor. What is the minimum acceptable behavior? Think of this as your Operations Manual.

Describe duties. What are the obligations of the people involved? Think Job Descriptions.

Delineates powers.  What are the boundaries within which the people involved must operate? What resources are available to help them do their jobs? Does this sound like an Employee Handbook?

Can you imagine what our lives would be like without our Constitution? While none of us would say everything runs perfectly, they certainly run more smoothly because of our system of government. Using the Constitution as a model for your organization is a great way to form a more perfect union …

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Thanks so much for stopping by today. Join us next as we begin a three-part series on heroes. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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