Monday, July 30, 2012

Have You "Happened" To Things

Have You “Happened” to Things?

Not much happens until we “happen” to things.  What a fresh way to see.

Wishes are good.
     Hopes are necessary.
          Dreams fill the mind.

But until we “happen” to a thing, not much will change its current state, move it off the dime, or ring any bells with anyone.

I wanted to become a recognized writer for years.  Not much happened until I sent in my first article in 1978 and it got accepted for publication.  I received a sizeable check ($22) for my efforts, and all of a sudden I was in the ranks of a paid professional writer.  What a grand day that was.

I “happened” to that publication because I took action. 

Taking action … that is the issue.

~When relationships need reconciling,
                    someone has to “happen” to that relationship.

~When buildings are built, someone “happens”
                    to make that possible.

~When love strikes, someone has to be the “happener”
                    with a reciprocating acceptance on the other end.

This quote fuels what we are thinking about today…

It had long since come to my attention
that people of accomplishment
rarely sat back and let things happen to them.
They went out and happened to things.”
~Leonardo da Vinci

Worth thinking about.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Encouragement
One Word at a Time

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Great Teacher

A Great Teacher

I've had all kinds of teachers during my lifetime.  Some have actually been paid to do the work.  Others have been friends, ministers, neighbors, and bosses.

In the movie The Emperor’s Club starring Kevin Kline, Mr. Hundert (his role), is given a plaque at the end of the movie.

“A great teacher has little external history to record.
His life goes over into other lives.
These men are pillars in the intimate structure of our schools.
They are more essential than its stones or beams.
And they will continue to be a kindling force,
And a revealing power in our lives.”

I love the line “…a revealing power in our lives.”

That is the epitome of what a teacher is all about. 

                        -Teachers reveal.
                    -Teachers plant seeds.
               -Teachers cultivate possibilities.
          -Teachers instill concepts.
     -Teachers help us sort out the mazes of life.

Here’s to those significant ‘teachers’ I’ve had in my life. 
Jim T
Jim V
Sara J
Howard L
Clifford F
Dr. A
Dr. Barbara M
Dr. Dan B
Lawrence O
Dr. Fred M
Wilbur B

To all ‘Teachers’: 
Your footprints are large on our backs.  Your influence goes with us every day.

We are wiser, more capable and better people for having had your influence on our lives.

To my Readers: 
You teach every moment of every day.  You lead by example, by words spoken, by the spirit in which you say those words, and a thousand other subtle acts and attitudes every day and in every interaction. 

May you become a revealing power in others’ lives.

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Living a Productive Life

Living a Productive Life

Author Mary Jaksch recently emailed participants at a retreat as to the one thing they wanted from life.  She has put all seventy-one responses in an on-line article and you can read the entire article by clicking  What Do People Want

Today, we will focus on the responses given for living a productive life.

Here are their responses:
1. To master time-management
2. To develop self-discipline
3. To create good habits
4. To experience a paradigm shift that helps
    me view challenges differently, especially discipline and 
5. To learn how to be in the zone
6. To be more productive and focused

Six words jump out at us from this list.
      Good habits

Each key word on this list begins as an inside job, including “motivation”. 

We find it within ourselves to make the changes we desire in any area of life. 

Searching for what you want is a good thing.
Identifying what you want is even better.
Having the guts to make the necessary changes is the best step we can take in accomplishing these changes. 

May you and I do the work in order to experience the changes we seek.

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

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Customer

The Customer

What is a customer?
Who is your customer?
Do you even know that you have customers?

If you live and breathe you have customers.  You have people with whom you interact on a regular basis.  Your customers are:  your spouse, your children, your boss, your neighbor, the grocery clerk down the street, and the person to whom you may be attempting to sell a product or service.

I found this little article so long ago that I no longer know its creator.  If I do find out, I pledge to give proper credit in future postings.

So, to all of us, in all kinds of relationships, here are thoughts on taking care of our customers.

Our Customer is the most important person around here … in person, by phone, fax, email, text message, video chat, social media, and any other avenue we use to communicate with others.

Our Customer can get along without us … but we cannot get along without him/her.

Our Customer is not interfering with our work … he is the reason for it.  Service to him is not a favor from us; his giving us a chance to serve is his favor from him.

Our Customer is not a number on a list … he is a person, entitled to likes and dislikes and human feelings, even as you and I are entitled.

Our Customer is not someone to try to out-smart or out-argue.  Winning the argument means losing the customer.

Our Customer is someone we ask to bring us his needs.  It is our responsibility to take care of him to our mutual gain.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Human Insight
One Word at a Time

Friday, July 20, 2012

What Is Important

What Is Important

The basics in human relationships can be summed up with the following thoughts from John C. Maxwell’s book Relationship 101.

The least important word:                   I
The most important word:                   We
The two most important words:           Thank You
The three most important words:        All is forgiven.
The four most important words:         What is your opinion?
The five most important words:          You did a good job.
The six most important words:            I want to understand you better.

Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote this in Habit #5:  Seek first to understand, then to be understood. 

Ah, that is a critical one.  Perhaps it means this:
-We listen more than we speak
-We respect one another
-We see conversations as a two-way street.

I want to understand you better – a marvelous axiom for all of us – in all of life, and in all that is important.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Relationship Insight
One Word at a Time

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dare to Fail Greatly

Dare to Fail Greatly

Let me tell you eight mini stories.    

~Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.

~R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in NYC caught on.

~An expert said of Vince Lombardi“He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.”  Lombardi would later write, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”

~Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.  He once observed, “I’ve failed over and over again in my life.  That is why I am a success.”

~Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he lacked imagination and had no good ideas. 

~When Lucille Ball began studying acting in 1927, she was told by the head instructor of the John Murray Anderson Drama School to try another profession.

~Comedian Jerry Seinfeld walked on stage for his first professional comedian stint, looked out at the audience, and froze.  He forgot every word he was supposed to utter.  He returned the following night and closed his set to wild applause.

~In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance.  He told Elvis, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son.  You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

Robert F. Kennedy said:  Only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly.”

Have you dared to be great lately?

Have you failed greatly lately?

If you have, remember this …
“It’s not the end of the world.
“It is not even the beginning of the end.
“It is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
(Paraphrase on a Winston Churchill
comment during WWII.)

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

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Could-Be Life

A Could-Be Life

It’s a wide open world.  Never in the history of mankind have there been so many opportunities before us.  We are smart people and we live in a technologically advanced world.  Information can be at our finger tips in nano-seconds. 

In spite of all of this, are we living a “could-be” life?  We have all this “stuff” and all these possibilities around us, and are we stepping up to the plate and doing anything about it all?

Walt Whitman once said, 
“You see things as they are and say ‘Why?’ 
but I see things that never were and I say ‘Why not.’

Are we living lives of “could be”?
If I were inclined, I could get a degree in nuclear physics, or astronomy, or any other field of my choosing. 

It’s not a matter of lack of choices.  It’s a matter of an abundance of choices. 

I marvel at the prolific output of some writers down through history.  Charles Dickens wrote fifteen novels and hundreds of short stories, all without the aid of a computer or a typewriter. 

He lived a “could-be” life. 

What could we do?
What could we become, once we set our minds to a certain task or objective?

For many years I used excuses for reasons to not write.  I talked about writing, I said I was a writer, and I wanted to write, yet I didn't live up to my own potential. 

Today, I see what I can do and where I can plug into my talent bed.  I am living my “could-be” life.

The heart of what we are pursuing here is this.
~Are we ready to take action? 
~Are we developing a plan to make our lives what they could become?
~Are we stepping toward our destinies?

One day I stopped being a “could-be” writer and became a “writer.” 

No more sitting on the shelf.
No more day-dreaming of “some day I’ll …

What is your dream?
What is your passion?
What do you want to do more than anything else in the world?

Your “could-be” life is waiting.

Step toward your future.

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

Friday, July 13, 2012

Words Bring ...

Words Bring …

If we interact with people, and we all do to some degree every day of our lives, then we understand just how important words are in every human encounter.

The next time you find yourself in communication with someone, your choice of words will impact them to a greater or lesser degree.  You get to decide which.  To get the results you desire, consider the words used, the tone in which they are delivered, and how all of this might impact your listener.

Words Bring

Hope:  John Maxwell says a person can only survive for four seconds without hope.  How can you bring hope to another person today?

Healing:  Healing can come through expressions of love and forgiveness.  Can you paint a brighter future for someone?

Inspiration:  The right word at the right time can be a tremendous source of inspiration.  That is my passion in life – to inspire others.

Renewal:  Need renewal?  Just experience someone coming along side you and redirecting you by whispering in your ear a different idea on the same-old idea.  That is renewal.

Instruction:  I wouldn’t know ANYTHING without words.  Words are our transport for ideas, concepts and philosophies.  Instruction books and manuals are full of “words”.  Instruct clearly and wisely until understood. 

Guidance:  Ever been lost?  You would agree that words played a major role in getting you back on track.  Has your live ever derailed?  Again, someone probably came along and righted your situation using words.  When you give guidance, choose words that motivate, inspire and build on the good that already exists.  Make the listener feel that you already believe you’ll see motives and behaviors change.

Words bring life!

Choose them wisely.

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Accolades Follow Action

Accolades Follow Action

We love the cheers of the crowd and the crowning ceremony for our victory, but that never happens at the beginning of the Olympics.  It always happens after the race has been won.

Same with leadership.  Or any “label” we want to wear. 

We do the thing first, and then earn the title by which others call us. 

It’s true in any field.  A welder is a welder first in his mind, and then he earns the license.

A salesman is a salesman first, and then he earns the income to prove it.
Leaders lead now.  They earn the title later. 

What is your title?
What are your actions?

Accolades always follow action.  We may think an athlete will win, but they don’t’ get the gold unless they are the first one to cross the finish line.

I had to write and publish a bunch of blogs before others began recognizing my skills and called me a ‘writer’.

Step out. 
          Sit in front. 
                    Speak up. 
                              Do the hard work.

Do the thing, and then earn the title.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Monday, July 9, 2012


Hand-Me Down
July 9, 2012

Growing up in a large family meant a few givens.  We ate left-over’s and we wore hand-me-down clothes.  Many times I’ve had to grow into and then out of a coat before passing it along to my brother. 

Hand-me-down ideas get passed along as well.  Just look at prejudices that exist between nationalities of people that have been passed on for generations, even centuries. 

Religions are good at passing along hand-me-down rules.  I remember the day when going to the movies was a fast ticket into hell.  And so was cigarette smoking and ladies wearing makeup.

Hand-me-down ideas exist.  Some are terrific.  Some are so passé.

Here are some good ones:

Now what about some grey areas?
Some religious beliefs
Child rearing practices
Management and people skills

Note this:
Two sons of a drunkard father turned out completely opposite from each other.  One became a drunkard, like his father.  The other became a teetotaler.

Later in life, when asked why they turned out the way they did, each son gave the exact same answer.

“With a father like I had, what would you expect?”

One accepted the hand-me-down role model he saw and followed it.  The other son, seeing the ugly side of this road, chose to strike out on a new path. 

Denis Waitley, motivational speaker, told this story;
Every Easter his family would serve a delicious ham for their dinner.  As his wife was preparing the ham, she cut off the ends of the ham.  Denis asked her why she did that.

“Because my momma always did that.”

He called momma and asked her why she cut off the ends of the ham.

She said, “Because my momma always did that.”

Since the grandmother was still alive, Denis called her and asked why she cut off the ends of the ham before baking it.

She replied, “Because my baking dish is too small.”

That is hand-me-down thinking. 

What are your child-disciplining habits?  Where did you learn them? 

Just because someone taught us a skill, 
or we observed one way 
of performing a task 
does not mean 
that is the only way. 

The worst thing to do is hold onto an idea just because it was given to you, without question, without context, and without knowing why.

The best thing is to develop reasoning, ideas; philosophies because you have given thought, explored, and read from some trusted sources and experienced some of it for yourself. 

“The unexamined life is not worth living,” 

I don’t think he was a big fan of hand-me-down thinking. 

Michael Biggs
Offering Words  
To Think About
One Word at a Time

Friday, July 6, 2012

Be the Voice

Be the Voice

Whether you are running a race, developing a new product, building a bridge or guiding a child’s life, this is an axiom I believe in.

John Maxwell and Les Parrot said it in their book 25 Ways to Win with People.

People will go farther than they thought they could
when someone they respect tells them they can.

This is an example of encouragement at its finest.  Just imagine what the successful outcome might look like if we consistently whisper those magic words that can make a difference.  The words are … You can do it.

Say it to
-People running a race
-A team wrestling with a product development issue
-A teen struggling with identity
-A Mom juggling a myriad of family responsibilities
-A frustrated athlete facing the starting line in a critical race

…And a few thousand other situations…

The right word at the right time can make all the difference in the world. 

Can you be that encouraging voice to someone today?  I imagine someone near you needs a dose of “you can do it” and they need it sooner rather than later.

Do it. 
   Be the voice. 
      Be the source.    
         Be the encouragement agent.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Encouragement
One Word at a Time

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Power of the Pause

The Power of the Pause

Have you ever unplugged?  You know, pressed pause, and stopped the music?
Doesn't that sound good?

Maria Shriver gave a commencement address recently and used the idea of “the power of the pause”.

When we press pause, several things are allowed room to sprout.

-We slow down. 
-We become aware of that particular moment in time. 
     Wow, living in the moment – what a fresh thought. 
-We put aside the “what’s coming next” syndrome for just a few minutes. 
-When we unplug, we sometimes find the doorway to our inner selves.  
     And if we dare  enter that sacred space, it could be a rich experience. 
-We could find an inner oasis – a place of peace, reverence, 
     understanding, solace, and yes, we might find God 
     waiting in that inner space. 

Gadgets are good, but so is solace on occasion.

Some notables down through history have practiced this withdrawal experience.  Christ often went to the mountains to be alone and pray.  Thoreau has his Walden Pond, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham and other spiritual giants have carved out time for their retreat experiences.

They stopped the 
outward journey 
and went within. 

Stephen Covey, in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, devotes a whole chapter to the concept of Take Time to Sharpen the Saw.

It’s something to think about for busy people like you.

I could give you an outline that I’ve used for my retreat times, but you are smart.  You can figure this out for yourself.  The most important thing is just do it.  Try it for 24 hours.  Go alone and be alone with your thoughts.  Be sure and take something to capture the ideas you generate

And drop me a line and let me know how it went. 

May peace be yours today.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Insight
One Word at a Time

Monday, July 2, 2012

Value Them

Value Them

John C. Maxwell says this:  

“You cannot add value to someone 
if you don’t first value them.”

There is a lot of talk about adding value to someone’s life, but do we know how to do that?

Here is a short list of 12 ways in which we can value others.

-We listen to their views without interrupting.
-We use appropriate eye contact when engaged in conversation.
-We trust them until they prove untrustworthy.
-We smile and acknowledge their presence.
-We send occasional notes of thanks and appreciation.
-We remember significant events in their lives.
-We use their names correctly.
-We build them up
-We show up on time for scheduled appointments.
-We praise incremental growth.
-We see them first as a human being.
-We recognize sacrificial acts and acknowledge them.

People matter!  And they want to know that they matter.

When we remember this, we always win with people.


P Michael Biggs
Developing People
One Word at a Time