Sunday, February 22, 2015

How to Avoid Drowning

What do you know about drowning?  What do you know about avoiding drowning?

It is more important to know how to avoid drowning, don’t you think? 

The most important fact about avoiding drowning is this:

“You do not drown simply by plunging into the water.  You only drown if you stay beneath the surface.”
~Paulo Coelho Warrior of the Light

Sit with that for a few moments. 

What does it say?  Why, action, of course.  If you are drowning, kick your feet, move your arms.

And in other drowning issues, say for instance, paper work.  Ask for help.  Tackle the first piece of paper, handle it and move on.  Of course, we’re not just talking about drowning in paper work, are we?

I’m sure by now that you get the metaphor.

If you are drowning, you get to decide:  Stay where you are and let the “waters” overwhelm you, or, take action. 

I think it is a good idea to get back above the water line. 

It really is that simple.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, February 14, 2015

What Have You Started

“What in the world have you started?”  I’ve been asked that a few times in my life.  Once, when I was a kid, I struck a few matches and burned the grass by the side of our house.  My Dad asked that question then. 

It can be a cry of alarm, as in “Oh my God, what have you started?”

Or it can be a surprised exclamation.  “What HAVE you started?”

So, the prompt for you is this:

I dreamt for a very long time of being a writer.  That dream did not come into full blossom until I did something about it.  When I go back and read some of my earlier work I shudder at what I see.  And I keep improving.

And so do you … when you start.

The beginning is always tough.  It is often the dog days of your enterprise.  But persevere.

Hang tough.  You WILL get better.  You will, sooner or later, turn a profit.  You will, in time, win some big sales.

And you have to start somewhere.

Why not now?
Why not today?

Why not you?

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What Are You Willing to Do?

I have a question for you.  

What are you willing to do 
to be better than you have ever been?  

Are you willing to appear the fool?  Are you willing to try the seemingly impossible?  Are you willing to follow your gut instincts and chase a whim just to see what can be done?

Then perhaps, you are on the road to greatness.  Perhaps.

Sometimes, we must do things that might not work.  That means making choices that in the creative mind seem exciting and logical and in practical life flop. 

I've experienced that in planning musical events.  I nearly botched a job interview tryout once because of a poor combination of songs.

As a writer, I have a file with over 25,000-words full of ideas that haven’t quite jelled into usable blogs for general consumption.  I also have countless book ideas that litter my computer like chips from a Michelangelo sculpting.

And so I write.  Sometimes it is to do a mind dump.  At other times it is to see how far an idea can be pushed.  The quest to see where an idea leads can be exhilarating in itself. Yet an artist is willing to chase those kinds of trails. 

What are you willing to do?

Not all ideas work, yet we continue to create.  Are you willing to follow the thread of an idea just to see where it leads?

I love this story of Wayne Gretzky, the ice hockey great.  It is said that in practice Wayne would do all kinds of antics on the ice just to see how far he could push himself.  He would contort, twist, turn, bend, fall, stretch and stretch some more, all in an effort to pursue his limits and push them further out.  He was willing to appear the fool on the ice in order to perfect his skills.  Today, the name Wayne Gretzky is synonymous with ice hockey greatness.

What are you willing to do?

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Good at What We Don't Know

My favorite business writer, Seth Godin, gives us the fodder for today’s thought. 

Can you imagine the Boeing Company skipping out on a particular aerodynamic problem that might cause the jumbo 747 to crash?  What if they say, “Oh heck, it’s too hard to make that work, after all, only 47% of those planes crash"?No big deal.”

I’m watching the U.S. Figure Skating championship right now.  What if the top skater on this program has been having a problem with spins and landings?  What if she said, “I can’t do that”?  Is it really important?  Maybe the judges will like my costume and overlook those falls and less graceful moments.”

In my banking career, I’m constantly bumping up against knowledge that is not completely in my grasp yet.  What if I said, “Wire transfers?  Who needs them?  I’ll just fake it.”  If that were the case, I’d cost my clients a lot of money and lose my job, all for lack of and fear of what I don’t know.

Seth ends the quote above with this:

It occurs to me that we should pursue the hard stuff, the unanswered questions, and the less than perfect skills. 

We want to be good at what we don’t know.  And one fine day we’ll be great and in demand.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Quitting Can Be Good

We are in an age when we are motivated to go, move, start, invent, and climb the ladder.  Whew.  That makes me tired just thinking about.

So, what does quitting have to do with winning and succeeding? 

Consider this.

In my early days as a writer I would often have a meal with one of my college buds.  Harold was an established author by this point, having published over twenty books.  We would talk about my writing and I would eagerly launch into telling him all of the ideas I had for books and of the different books I had begun to sketch out. 

Harold stopped me one night over dinner and said, “Michael, you are spreading yourself too thin.  You need to narrow your focus and work on only one idea at a time and quit the others.”

What?  Quit?  Ouch.  That hurt.  And he was right.  Quitting was the best advice he could have given. 

When we have too many irons in the fire, we lose track of the important, the relevant and the necessary.  Quitting can be good for you.

Herman Wouk used this line in his great novel Winds of War.  He has one of his characters say, “Define your mission.  Define your mission and stick to it.”

That means we quit chasing every dream and idea, and refine our focus on the most important, the one idea that drives us, gets us out of bed each morning and leads us to our bigger, and more important dreams.

You see – quitting can be very good for you.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

When the Answer Is YES

Leonard Bernstein once said, “I’m no longer quite sure what the question is, but I do know that the answer is YES.”

Ain’t it so.  (Sorry, my southern kicked in there for a minute.)

Got a dream that is huge and daunting?  The way to that dream is “Yes”.

Need more sales?  “YES” is just around the corner, after some of those no’s.  It also lies in saying “YES” to getting out of the office and seeing a few people.

It is waiting for you to dial the phone.  Some people appreciate the call and the interest.

That cutie you have your eye on is waiting for you to say “YES” and then follow up and make the call, or offering an invitation to a coffee date.  

The great American novel is waiting on your “YES” the day you commit to your computer or writing tablet.

Your next great career move is waiting on your “YES” followed by the commitment to send ten or a hundred resumes, make follow-up calls and put your best foot forward.

It seems to me – YES leads the way.

Got one in you?

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What If You've Been Told Wrong

I grew up in a culture in which I was trained:  “Do what your told, not what you want to do.” 

Ouch.  I had the desire to make decisions for myself beat out of me.  I was indoctrinated with this:
“Don’t make waves.” 
“Don’t stand out.” 
“Don’t show off.” 
“Don’t puff yourself up.” 

In other words, be average.  Be a nobody.  Don’t be aggressive – that is selfish. 

I was once told this:  “Don’t buy that circular saw.  You might cut off your finger.”  Finally, I bought that circular saw.  I still have all ten fingers and ten toes.  Amazing!

Another one:  “Don’t touch that tape recorder – you don’t know what you’re doing.”  I went on to record radio programs, produce audio and video programs and a whole host of other projects using the very equipment I was warned against touching.  And I was good at it.

I had my curiosity driven from me. 

If I had been stuck on an escalator at the downtown Harvey’s Department Store in Nashville, that philosophy would have said “Stand still.  Sooner or later someone will come and fix the escalator.”  Rather, we could have walked down, or up.  But no.  “Take no action” would have been the order of the day.

Gandhi said:  “We need not wait to see what others do.”  Am I going to wait to see what others do?  Am I going to let others dictate how I should act, what to think, what to eat, how to vote?  Will I stand idly by and allow others to do the thinking for me? 

Oh God, I hope not. 

A thought worth considering.

(The seed for this idea came from Seth Godin’s book What to do When it’s Your Turn)

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time