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Dare to Dream – Part 1

Dare Dream Do Book CoverOn The BIGG Success Show today, we began a 3-part interview with Whitney Johnson. She’s a popular Harvard Business Review blogger with a goal: to help you identify and achieve your dreams.

She believes you can be happier by focusing on both your dreams and the other people in your life. She explains all of this in her fantastic book, Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream.

Listen to this post! Click a player to hear Whitney talk with George & Mary-Lynn on The BIGG Success Show Podcast (Runtime 6:12)


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In this segment you’ll hear:

  • why she directed her book to women in particular
  • what she discovered about women while working on Wall Street
  • what inspired her to write her book
  • how she found her own dream
  • interesting tidbits from a study about women and ambition
  • why high achievers tend to shy away from their dreams

You can also find Whitney on her Dare Dream Do Facebook Page.

Please join us next time when Whitney shares her three-step model for personal advancement and happiness.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00794-032712.mp3

Weekends are for Wimps

paperwork

In Wall Street (the original one), Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas) said, “Lunch is for wimps.”

So are weekends.

Many people think being your own boss means setting your own schedule. It’s a myth that ignores the realities of entrepreneuring:

Work gets in the way.
Milestones need to be reached.
Deadlines don’t always accommodate weekends.
Customers need to be cared for.
And there’s the ongoing drive for cash flow.
You have to lead by example.
The buck stops with you.

So, we’ll be working this weekend. Because we’re not wimps.

How about you?

We the People are Taking Back Our Country

we_the_people We usually talk about money on Mondays. As we discussed possible topics for today’s post, we realized there was no bigger issue than what’s going on in Washington and Wall Street. Our apologies to our international listeners, but we’re going to be domestic today. But as we’ve seen, it obviously affects everyone worldwide.

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We usually don’t talk about politics. We won’t be partisan; there’s plenty of blame to go around. We know that we may upset everybody today; that’s not our intention.

We think it’s time to look at the facts so we can make the right decisions here in a few weeks … who are we going to hire?

Not just for President, but for government at all levels. It’s time that we, the people, take back our country, our states, and our cities.

We’re sick and tired of the blame game and passing the buck on personal responsibility. Leadership is about taking responsibility. The leaders of our biggest companies aren’t taking responsibility, but even more sad, our elected officials aren’t bearing it, or requiring it, either.

We, the taxpayers, invested $85 billion in AIG. What was AIG’s response? They threw a $440,000 “party”. Sure they called it a “planning meeting” or an “executive session”. But how can you justify spending that kind of money for a retreat when you’re using our money and you’ve been on the brink of financial collapse?

It was a complete slap in the face and our leaders should have seen it as such. But what did they do? Turn around and give AIG another $38 billion two weeks later!

How many of us could walk into a bank two weeks after we borrowed a bunch of money in desperation and get more?

How successful would we be at getting more money if we so grossly underestimated how much it would take the first time around?

“Oh, and by the way, Mr. Banker, we know you’ve heard that we wasted some of it on a spa getaway, but we need about half as much again as we borrowed the first time. Will you lend it to us?”

Can you imagine the response?

Fortunately, AIG scrapped plans for another “party” after news got out about the first one. Of course, we’ve also learned that they tinkered with the idea of spending some of our money running an advertising campaign to apologize for the first “party”.

Some insight into the mismanagement

Warren Buffett was interviewed by CNBC’s Becky Quick back in August. Part of the conversation turned to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’ll paraphrase …

Congress set up the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) back in 1992. The sole job of this agency was to evaluate the soundness, accounting practices, and the like of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Two companies … that’s all OFHEO had to oversee. Buffet, of course, notes that he does more than that all by himself.

It took 200 OFHEO employees and a $65 million dollar a year budget to do that.

Year after year, OFHEO reported to Congress. They stated that the accounting was sound. The directors were great. Everything was just fine. There was nothing to worry about.

Well, we all know what happened – two of the greatest accounting misstatements in the history of the stock exchange caused by management misconduct. What was OFHEO’s response?

A report to Congress blaming the management, the directors, the audit committee. Everybody but themselves.

200 people with a budget of $65 million overseeing just two companies. Yet they assumed no responsibility for this huge blunder.

The problem we have is that everybody blames anybody else every time there is a problem. It needs to end now.

How to put an end to it

The solution may surprise you. It starts and ends with us. We need to take personal responsibility. We made mistakes too. We bought in.

We saw government borrowing and living beyond its means, so many of us borrowed and lived beyond ours. From this day forward, that ends. We won’t forget this lesson. We will bailout ourselves. We will get back on our feet. We will prosper.

We also delegated too much. We voted, but we didn’t pay close enough attention to what our elected officials were doing. Well, Mr. or Ms. Politician, you have our attention now. And we’re going to keep paying attention.

What we can’t control

Here’s what paying closer attention has shown us – we see a complete vacuum of leadership. You’re not a leader if you don’t take responsibility for your mistakes. You’re not a leader if you don’t solve problems; you only assign blame to others. You’re not a leader if you can’t tell us where we’re at, why we got here, and what we’re going to do about it to make tomorrow better than today.

We can’t personally do much to change the leadership on Wall Street. We can’t do much to change who reports our news, because the media missed the boat on this one as well. We can’t choose the bureaucrats, like the ones at OFHEO, who oversee key agencies and put policy into action.

What we can control

We do get to choose who we hire to represent us. We have important decisions to make in a few weeks. Not just for President. Not just for the Senate or the House in Washington, D.C. We get to choose who will represent us at all levels of government.

So here’s how we put an end to it now. Quit thinking like a Democrat or a Republican. That’s another trap they’ve led us into and we bought in.

No, we will hire the best person for the job. We need to do our homework: What’s their record? What have they accomplished? How have they handled their fiduciary duties in the past?

The past is the best predictor we have of the future when it comes to human behavior. That’s how we would hire anybody else. Why would we hire our elected officials any differently?

We have access to the records of our current elected officials. We can know what they’ve done. We need to start paying closer attention.

Resources

Current legislation before Congress

Votes Database by The Washington Post

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives

Official site of the U.S. House of Representatives

Official site of the U.S. Senate

List of government agencies – federal, state and local

Find the official sites of state, county, and city governments

We the people

We’re looking for public servants, not party servants or power servants. We the people are taking our country back.

Go ahead, Mr. or Ms. Politician … take that special interest money. But you better be clear about who you serve. We the people.

Mr. or Ms. Elected Official, go ahead and listen to your party leaders. Just know that, on Election Day, we won’t vote for the person who serves the powers that be. We will vote for the person who serves us. We the people. 

Combined, we’re more powerful than Washington can ever be when we are educated and informed. We will take personal responsibility to learn who best serves our interest, and the interests of our children and grandchildren.

We the people are taking back our country.

What do you think? 

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Squirrels, Nuts and Business Cycles

squirrel You might think that our title has something to do with the recent behavior of Wall Street and Washington. It probably could, but in this case, it doesn’t.

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It does refer to seasons. We’re in the Midwestern United States. We’re heading into fall which, of course, means winter is just around the corner. Squirrels are busy hoarding up nuts so they will have the food they need to sustain them through the winter months.

Hot and cold, boom and bust

Like the seasons, our economy moves through times when things are hot and times when they’re cold. We experience booms and busts.

It’s interesting, though, that our friends in the southern hemisphere are just heading into spring. Things are heating up there while they’re cooling down here! It reminds us that most businesses do best during the boom times, but some actually prosper when times are tough.

Almost every business has products or services that will do better when the economy isn’t doing as well. With your offerings, which ones will save your clients money? Those are the items you should promote now as consumers seek to stretch their budget.

Your cash stash

Speaking of stretching our budgets, just like squirrels hoarding nuts for winter, we should all make sure we have an emergency cash reserve. Financial planners recommend keeping between three to six months of living costs stashed safely away for ready access.

In recent times, some have suggested a Home Equity Line-of-Credit could be substituted for this cash reserve. Only you can decide if that’s the right option for you; however, with what’s going on with banks and the credit markets, it may pay not be your best option for your crucial cash stash.

If you own a business, you should also look at your working capital. Is it adequate to take you through a slow season? If not, look for ways to cut your costs so you can shore up your cash hoard.

Purchasing out of season

The seasons also create opportunities for us when we’re purchasing. For example, if you live where we live, you’ll probably get a better deal right now on a lawn mower than a snow blower. Timing your purchase when demand is down on these bigg ticket items can save you money.

Tougher times also create opportunities for us as consumers. Businesses still have bills to pay. They want to keep the doors open. So they may cut deals now that they would never consider in good times.

Purchasing in season

With other items, you’re better off buying in season. Retailers will often lure you to their stores by drastically discounting these items. For example, isn’t turkey cheaper right before Thanksgiving than any other time?

Time Money has a great article about the best time to buy everything. Planning when to buy is just as important as what you buy. Buying on impulse less often will save you BIGG money more often!

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Next time, we ask, “Are you a victim of your own success?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Overcoming Adversity: How Stephen Hopson Opened the Runway for Deaf Pilots

Stephen Hopson
Our guest on the show today was Stephen Hopson, former Wall Street stockbroker turned pilot, author and speaker. We met Stephen at the Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference. Once you meet him, you never forget him.

Stephen Hopson is the founder of Adversity University. He knows a lot about overcoming adversity. He’s been deaf since birth, but as he says, we all face our own adversity in life

A dream is born
As a young boy, Stephen said he had very low self-esteem. He had a hearing aid box that was strapped to his chest with cords running up to his ear. He was also very thin. But he was a boy with a dream … to be a pilot.

When he was just four- or five-years old, he saw a plane in the sky and knew he wanted to fly with the big boys. After much prodding, he convinced his mom to take him to the airport. It became a weekly event.

Upon arriving at the airport, Stephen would jump out of the car and run up to the fence. He would put his fingers on the fence and wait for a plane to come out. The minute he saw a plane, he would run back to the car and put his head on the hood, with his face looking out so he could see the plane take off.

When the plane took off, the little car would vibrate like a washing machine. That’s how Stephen heard the sound of a plane.

Living the dream
He didn’t pursue his dream until many years later. He completed college and went off to Wall Street. After fifteen years, he quit his career to pursue his dream of becoming a motivational speaker.

One day, he learned about other deaf pilots on his computer. He didn’t realize that deaf pilots had been flying since 1948. At that point, his childhood dream came roaring back to life!

He began looking for a flight instructor. Many of them weren’t aware that deaf pilots could fly. So they didn’t want to train him. Finally, Stephen found a willing instructor.

He could only fly on good weather days. Deaf pilots navigate by referencing landmarks – like cities, lakes, and highways. But when weather turned bad, deaf pilots were not allowed to fly.

Until 2006.

That’s when Stephen Hopson became the first deaf pilot to fly in bad weather. He says that flying in bad weather is like flying in a milk bottle because you can’t see where you’re going. So, as Stephen says, he became the first deaf and blind pilot! He thought about starting Helen Keller Airways!

Now other deaf pilots are following his footsteps. He says it’s very difficult to fly in bad weather because you have to communicate with your co-pilot, whose job is to translate what the controllers are telling them over the radio. The co-pilot writes it down on a dry erase board and then gives it to Stephen, which is very challenging.

What an amazing accomplishment! Look at the doors Stephen has opened for others.

Stephen’s H.E.A.R. Principle for overcoming adversity

Have a passion for what you do. Otherwise obstacles will seem difficult to overcome.

Entertain the possibilities that are available to you.

Authenticity. Be authentic; be who you are.

Remember who helped you.

We thank Stephen for sharing his inspirational story and his incredible insight with us today!

Our bigg quote today is by none other than Stephen Hopson himself.

“Establishing goals, visualizing myself achieving them, as well having faith that
it will all work out well are essential ingredients in overcoming … obstacles.”

So don’t let adversity keep you grounded … overcome it and soar to new heights.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00147-060308.mp3

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Great Bigg Ideas are Born Bad

By Bigg Success Staff
10-01-08

Growth

newborn 

Cavas Gobhai has consulted with some of the world’s largest companies. He helps them implement bigg ideas. Over the years, he has noticed something about ideas that succeed bigg. Here’s a quote from The Wall Street Journal:

"Big ideas don't get built incrementally. You back into big good ideas from big bad ideas."

Most good ideas may look a bit odd at birth. They may sound crazy or outrageous at first. But these bigg bad ideas are the seed for break-through ideas that help you succeed bigg.

We became familiar with Gobhai’s work through the book, The Predators’ Ball, written by Connie Bruck. One of his most famous clients, Drexel Burnham, ultimately failed for reasons that aren’t relevant to our discussion. However, during the time Gobhai consulted with them, they went from being a no-name firm to become one of the most formidable investment houses on Wall Street. 

While Gobhai’s techniques are largely geared for companies, we can also use these ideas in our personal lives. Here are nine steps to find your great bigg ideas:

#1 – Schedule time

If you don’t plan time for creative thinking, the odds are that it won’t get done. Dedicate a block of time at least every quarter to creative thinking. In a short time, you’ll see what a valuable investment this is.

#2 – Create the right environment

Some people think most creatively in absolute silence. Others work best with some noise. Whatever works for you works! Just make sure you place yourself in an environment where you can be most productive as you seek bigg bad ideas.

#3 – Accept spontaneity

While it’s important to dedicate time, it’s also crucial to develop a system to record your bigg bad ideas as they occur – on your commute, in the shower. Make sure you archive your bigg bad idea, whenever or wherever it pops into your mind.

#4 – Focus on challenges and opportunities

What’s the biggest challenge you face right now? What’s the biggest opportunity you have right now? Your opportunity may come from your own challenge or somebody else’s. By concentrating your energy on your biggest issues, you’ll move ahead further and faster.

#5 – Suspend reality

When you find yourself coming up with all of the reasons why something won’t work, suspend reality for a bit. Picture yourself free from all constraints – time, money, and your own self-imposed limitations.

Think about why it could be done and how you would do it. Don’t reject any idea out of the gate; remember that your great bigg idea will come from a bigg bad idea. In fact, allow yourself to think of it the opposite way – the more outrageous the idea seems at first, the better!

#6 – Use images

This is another Gobhai technique. Use pictures, drawings, metaphors, animals or anything else you can think of to bring your ideas to life. By visualizing your idea, you come to a deeper level of understanding. You may realize that your image isn’t right; there’s a better analogy. Fantastic! You might be moving from the bigg bad idea to the great bigg one!

In The Predators’ Ball, Bruck discusses a Drexel session with Gobhai. One of the Drexel employees suggested that most of their competitors operated like a pride of lions. These companies had a definite pecking order among their employees. As the group discussed this, they realized their model should be a wolf pack, where everybody would feast together. 

#7 – Form a Master Mind Alliance

Here’s the bad news – you don’t have all of the world’s best ideas. The good news is that you can align yourself with others to discover more great bigg ideas.

Napoleon Hill, in his great book, Think & Grow Rich, defined “master mind” as:
“Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”

Find people who skills and goals are complementary with yours. Play off of your different strengths to discover ways you can mutually succeed bigg.

#8 – Review all your ideas

At regular intervals, but no less than once a week, sit down and review your inventory of bigg bad ideas. Upon further reflection, you’ll be able to categorize your bigg bad ideas in three ways:

  • truly just bad ideas that won’t go anywhere. You can ditch these.
  • bigg bad ideas that don’t solve your most immediate challenges and opportunities. You’ll want to archive these ideas for future use.
  • bigg bad ideas that you can implement now. You’ll develop these further and act upon them.

#9 – Reduce your idea to buzzwords

For that last category of ideas, reduce your great bigg idea to buzzwords – a word or phrase that you can easily call upon. These words should excite you to act now. You’ve turned a bigg bad idea into a great bigg idea!

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

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