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It Takes Five Balls to Be a Success

life requires some juggling for BIGG SuccessA man died in our next-door neighbor’s front yard a while back. He was forty-two years old.

Another neighbor, who happened to be driving by, saw the man lying on the ground. He approached him and saw that he wasn’t breathing. He called 911.

Firefighters responded first and began to perform CPR. Before long, an ambulance arrived. They tried and tried to get him to respond, but to no avail.

He was riding his bike and apparently had a heart attack. A different neighbor had seen him wandering around but thought he was waiting for the bus. That’s about all we know.

Life is precious. It is a gift.

The Lesson of the Five Balls

So we want to share a life-giving story that we love. It’s a story that’s been told for years. But Bryan Dyson popularized it in his commencement address to the graduating class at Georgia Tech University in 1991. He was the CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises at that time.

(A similar version of this story was published in Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson about ten years later. In that version, “integrity” was used instead of “spirit”.)

“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls: Work, family, health, friends and spirit. You’re keeping all of these in the air and you will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it’ll bounce back; but the other four balls are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, damaged, or even shattered. They’ll never be the same. You must understand that and strive for the balance in your life.”

Dyson goes on with some suggestions on how to do this:

“Don’t take for granted the things that are closest to your heart, because without them life is meaningless.

Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future.

Don’t give up when you still have something to give.

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect.

Don’t be afraid to encounter risk.

Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been but also where you’re going.

Don’t be afraid to learn.

Don’t use time or words carelessly; neither can be retrieved.”

We’ll close with a quote, part of which we’ve seen attributed to Bryan Dyson:

“Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift; that is why we call it the present.”

Image in this post from stock.xchng

Real Men Don’t Try for Work Life Balance

work-life conflict | BIGG SuccessA new study on the work-life conflict
by the Families and Work Institute shows that 60% of men are feeling extreme stress from trying to balance their personal and professional lives.

In fact, more men now experience work-life conflict than women!

Isn’t that a startling revelation?

The blurry worry

They’re feeling what we call “the blurry worry.” Our roles and our worlds have both been blurred.

In ancient times, men hunted while women gathered. In more modern times, men provided; women cared.

Now, both sexes do all of the above. The roles have been blurred.

And our personal and professional worlds are blurry as well. Technology is making us accessible at all times to everyone on either side of our lives.

Real men

So what is a man to do?

BIGG success is life on your own terms. Real men today want BIGG success throughout their life – in their careers and as a breadwinner, husband, father, son, friend, etc.

But they are increasingly frustrated because society crams an old paradigm down their throats: work-life balance.

So real men view their life as a system. Sure, the system has its components, but they are all part of one life.

Real men don’t buy in to work-life balance. It doesn’t work in an age of dual income couples, raising kids while caring for parents, increasing demands at work and home, and technology that puts us in touch 24/7.

Instead, they seek life sync. Sync means harmony, “a pleasing combination of elements in a whole” according to The Free Dictionary. Real men create life sync through discovery, design, and development.

  • Discovery

    Discovery starts with you. It begins internally before reaching out to other people. What do you want your life to look like? What’s your vision? What’s most important to you?

    Once you determine what you want, it’s time for conversations. But not just conversations – conversations with a purpose.

    Find what is expected of you at home and work. Go beyond expected to what is hoped for.

    Share your vision and values with the people closest to you. Find common ground.

  • Design

    Now you know what you want and what the most important people in your life want. It’s time for design.

    You want to design the life that fits you perfectly. It meets the needs and wants of the people who matter at work and at home.

    Once you think you have the right design, you’re ready for more conversations with a purpose. Get feedback from the people who will be affected by your design.

  • Development

    You think you have the ideal design. The key term in that last sentence is “think”.

    It’s time to build your life. This isn’t like building a building. It’s like building a business.

    That’s the reason we don’t say you’re the architect of your life. We believe you’re the entrepreneur of your life; building a life is more like building a business.

    So you start by testing. Test an idea. See if it brings you more harmony throughout your whole life.

    If it does, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, try something else.

    Keep testing to build the life that fits you perfectly. That’s BIGG success for real men (and women)!

Image in this post from ba1969

Why People Get Divorced, Raise Bad Children, and Go to Jail

compartmentalizing your life | BIGG SuccessMany people fail to recognize an important natural law. By failing to see it, their lives are more complicated. They compartmentalize it because they don’t understand:

Your life is a system.

On The BIGG Success Show awhile back, we talked about why the concept of work – life balance misses the mark. Looking at your life holistically – and understanding how the pieces work together – is one of the secrets of BIGG success:

Don’t separate, integrate. It’s the first step. The second is to find ways for your professional life to add value to your personal life and vice versa. That’s systems thinking!

On this subject of thinking of your life as a systems, we found a great post by Clayton Christensen on the Harvard Business Review blog entitled How Will You Measure Your Life? It’s a great piece which we highly recommend to you.

He applies management theories to questions about happiness at work and home. It’s extensive so we’ll hit on a few of the highlights below including an explanation of why people get divorced, raise bad children and go to jail.

Your decisions shape your strategy

Christensen says some of his college classmates come to class reunions “unhappy, divorced, and alienated from their children.” He says:

“I can guarantee you that not a single one of them graduated with the deliberate strategy of getting divorced and raising children who would become estranged from them.”

However, that has been the result for a significant number of his classmates. Why does this happen?

In many cases, it’s because there’s a disconnection between their strategies and their purpose. It stems from a misallocation of resources.

“Your decisions about allocating your personal time, energy, and talent ultimately shape your life’s strategy,” he proffers. If you allocate your resources in line with your purpose, your results will be in line with it.

Your actions are a mirror

As humans, we often seek instant gratification. This means we forsake activities with the greatest long-term payoff in favor of activities that yield immediate results.

For example, you could invest more time today and make more money. The feedback loop is immediate and tangible.

Or you could spend the same time with your family. You may not know for years if your investment had any impact. You may never really know.

The key is to focus on your actions instead of just the results. Your actions are a mirror. They reflect who you are and, more importantly, who you are trying to become. When you think about your actions today, do you like the reflection you see?

Live with purpose, on purpose

Keep your purpose constantly in your mind. BIGG success is life on your own terms. There are five elements of BIGG success – money, time, growth, work and play. Money and time are your two resources. As you consider allocation decisions, ask yourself:

If I choose to invest my precious resources in this thing / activity, will it move me closer to life on my own terms? Why?

Then ask yourself “Why?” again. And again. It may take 5 Why’s to get to the underlying reason for this allocation decision. Once you’ve arrived at this point, ask yourself:

Is there a better option? Brainstorm for possibilities keeping your purpose at the forefront.

This simple process helps you invest your precious resources intentionally, instead of inadvertently. It helps you live with purpose, on purpose. It helps you think about the long-term impact.

Staying out of jail

Two of Christensen’s 32 Rhodes scholar classmates have done prison time (one being Enron’s former CEO, Jeff Skilling). “These were good guys – but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction,” says Christensen.

He talks about the theory of marginal cost. The marginal cost of going against your values “just this once” often seems very low. However, crossing the line one time makes it easier to rationalize the next time. The full cost of this course can be devastating.

He concludes, “It’s easier to hold your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold them 98% of the time.” It also keeps you out of jail!

Image in this post from danisman

Feeling Stress at Work? You are Not Alone

stressed out at workAre you often stressed out at work? You’re not alone.

A recent study by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that 36% of American workers report that they regularly feel your pain.

What’s the source of their stress?

  • 49% said their pay was creating it
  • 43% cited a lack of opportunities for growth and advancement
  • 43% mentioned their heavy workload
  • 40% thought their employer expected too much
  • 39% referred to the long hours they’re required to work

Employee morale is suffering:

  • Only 43% say they get enough non-monetary rewards and recognition
  • 57% are happy with their employer’s work-life balance efforts
  • Only 52% feel valued
  • Only two-thirds report the motivation to do their best at work
  • 32% plan to look for another job within the next twelve months

You have to ask:

Will it be better somewhere else or will it just be a change of scenery?

So if you’re stressed out at work, you’re not alone.

If you feel overworked and underpaid, you’re not alone.

If you know you could do so much more, you’re not alone.

If you’re thinking about your alternatives, you’re not alone.

If you want to take control of your life, you’re not alone.

BIGG success is life on your own terms. It’s about entrepreneuring your life – taking control to design and build the life that fits you perfectly.

Will you choose freedom or security? If you’re looking for freedom, maybe we can help. Check out our coaching packages.

Image in this post from brainloc

How to Drive Your Life Through Bad Weather

We’ve had a lot of snow this winter in our area of the world. We aren’t setting records, but it sure seems like it’s been white for a long time. And another storm’s a coming.

Which wheels do you use?
Some cars are front-wheel drive; others are driven by the rear-wheels; still others by all four wheels.

In life and business, the front wheels represent others. The rear wheels represent you.

When the weather’s good, it doesn’t matter which wheels drive your car. But, when bad weather comes, it’s easy to get stuck.

Front-wheel drive vehicles perform better than rear-wheel drive cars in bad weather. You need the help of others to help keep you from getting stuck.

Of course, all-wheel drive does the best of all. While you may get help from others, you also have to rely on your own ingenuity and innovativeness to keep you going down the road.

Even today – when we don’t have to leave the house to make and maintain connections – a lot of people isolate themselves. The threat of a storm keeps them from going anywhere.

BIGG goal-getters connect and learn. In many cases, they’re able to do both simultaneously. When bad weather comes, they’re ready for it!

How good are your tires?
Even if you all-wheel drive, you need to check your tires from time to time. Do they have enough tread?

If you just drive and drive and drive, the tread on your tires will wear thin. You need to take some time out just for you. And you need to invest time in others.

Retread yourself by reading a great book, going for a run, reaching out to an old friend. Do those things that get you ready to get back on the road.

Are your wheels balanced?
You need to make sure your wheels are balanced. Otherwise, you’ll feel the vibrations. Your trip won’t be nearly as smooth.

We don’t think work–life balance works. However, there’s no denying that we all perform best when we have a blend of both the personal and the professional.

Are you integrating both worlds into your life? You need to find the custom blend that works best for you. 

We must confess this is still one of our biggest struggles. We’re getting better but still can’t claim to have mastered it.

We love our work but we also know that we need more personal time. It’s the combination that makes the trip more enjoyable.

Have you aligned your wheels?
If you don’t align your wheels, your car will veer off to one side or the other. You need a crystal clear vision of where you’re headed.

You don’t need to know all the details. The world changes too fast these days to map out the route. There will be detours along the way. And you will run into bad weather that may require a course correction.

But you still know where you want to go. And you’ve got an all-wheel drive vehicle to take you there.

Just one more thing … don’t forget your emergency kit.

(Image in today’s post by Mattox)