Monday, October 28, 2013

J = Just

The word “just” is an adverb.  The meaning for our word today is “indicating that somebody will begin doing something or something will start happening now.”

I love that concept of “somebody will begin doing …”

That is what this is all about. 

Our premise is this:  When plan A fails, you still have 25 other options.  And the key to executing those other options is to start some kind of action, some activity that will move you along. 

By now we all recognize the phrase that the Nike shoe company has made famous – “Just Do It”. 

So, if you've failed what next?  After analyzing, dissecting, investigating and dismembering all of the reasons for a failed plan, we begin to see reasons, faults and options that open up to us 

And after deciding which of those paths to take, it is simply a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and going after our dream in a new way and with a renewed sense of purpose. 

As our definition above says – “We begin doing something.”  We just begin it.

Is this easy?  Not always.

Is it necessary?  Yes. 

This I know – unless we do something in the way of action or activity, we will stay where we are.  But you and I are action people.  We are not “do nothing" people.

We are made of better stuff than that.  We cannot lie down and let our dreams die.  We are still holding onto our dream of dreams and we have already determined within us the next steps to take. 

And now comes the “just” part. 

We “JUST” begin.  We “do”. 

Rarely will someone come along and give us a stash of cash.  Rarely will someone walk up and hand us a new and revised blueprint for our dreams.

More often than not, it takes good old guts and determination, mixed with a lot of faith in self and faith in the seeds of our dreams.  We find it within ourselves to “JUST” go back to the batter’s box one more time, swing the bat and make a play.

As Brene Brown talks about (and I am paraphrasing) in her marvelous book Daring Greatly, we show great courage when we try again.  We show extreme courage by getting back up after a failure.  

Do you have a dream?
Has your dream hit a snag?
Does your dream need re-tweaking?

Just find a way around or through the roadblock.


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

Friday, October 25, 2013

I = Innovate

Innovation is the heartbeat of staying alive.  Innovation is the predictor of our future.  In a rapidly changing world, we find ways to innovate or we often become yesterday’s news, and that usually means we can easily get tossed aside.

Do you remember the TV show MacGyver (1985-1992)?  MacGyver was Mr. Innovator.  Every episode would find him in a real fix, and he would manage to use whatever was in front of him to make yet something different and more useful and use that creation to remedy his situation. 

Carolyn and I are heavily into Burn Notice, and we often comment how similar these two shows are.  The characters Michael, Fe and Sam are exceptional innovators.  And they, the heroes, always win the day.

I have given a presentation called The Leadership Principles of Apollo Thirteen.  In that speech we cover a great host of innovative fixes Jim Lovell and his crew on board the spacecraft, and the team on the ground, had to effect in order to survive the return flight back to earth.

They found themselves innovating every step of the way until they were successful in bringing those three men home to safety. 

The word is Innovate.

If we search for innovative companies on Google, here are the top ten.

5. FAB
      7. SPROXIL
      8. PINTEREST
      9. SAFARICOM
    10. TARGET

If interested, please read the whole article.

A favorite quote and one of my most-read blogs is this.

(September 15, 2011)

Based on a Steve Jobs quote, that is a precise comment on one’s ability to innovate.  Tomorrow is waiting.  Now let us go invent it.

Today’s post is not about how-to innovate.  I’ll leave that to your own creativities.  Our purpose today is to highlight the need for innovation.  Each person, each department and division must work out the “how-to” on their own with their own set of parameters and by using the expertise of each team member.

Bottom line – your human resources is the starting point for innovation.  Are you fostering an atmosphere for exceptional innovative thoughts to be birthed? 

Look there first. 

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

Monday, October 21, 2013

H = Hone

(Our premise, if Plan A fails you still have 25 other options)

 Sometimes, when we falter, it is for lack of learning.  This can often be an easy fix – simply go out and get more knowledge.

The avenues are obvious – seminars, college/university/trade school, audio recordings, books, magazines, and mentors. 

I heard this story recently:  Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series was in conversation with Tony Robbins, one of the top motivational speakers in America.  Mark asked Tony how he had achieved such phenomenal success.  At that time Mr. Hansen was a millionaire and Tony was a billionaire.

Tony responded:  “How many millionaires are in your inner circle?”

Mark answered.  Tony continued:  “How many billionaires do you associate with?”

Mark said, “Virtually none.”

Tony:  “Well, there’s your problem.  You need to be spending more time with some billionaires.  By rubbing elbows with them you will be able to rise to the next rung on the ladder.”  (This is a paraphrase of their conversation.)

I believe it was Charlie “Tremendous” Jones who said – “We are the sum total of the five people we spend the most time with.”

We all know the metaphor – iron sharpens iron.  To improve, one must be challenged by others more successful and more knowledgeable. 

Mia Ham, women’s soccer great honed her great skill by constantly competing with older and better players. 

All of this boils down to “learning”.  The attitude is this:  “I may not have the answer or abilities today, however, tomorrow I will find someone who does and I shall learn from them and improve.”

This reminds me of a favorite quote:

“The arrow that hits the bulls-eye 
is the result off 100 misses.”

We aim and we miss.  But we keep trying, refining, and readjusting.

You may not know something today, and you may be down, but unless you are out for the count, tomorrow is always another day.  There is hope riding the wings of tomorrow.

Tomorrow we make time for …
  More practice
    More knowledge
      More reading
      More conversations with key players
    More touches on the ball
  More experience

Tomorrow is another chance to hone your skill.

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

Friday, October 18, 2013

G = Go

(Our premise, if Plan A fails you still have 25 other options)

Based on our premise, if we have failed, one of the most difficult steps to take after a fall is the first step.  When we go down we want to stay down. 

It takes great courage to rise up after a fall.  And rise we must … and rise we shall with a proper mindset. 

Mindset is a good word – a great word, as you will soon see.

The word “go” is a pretty great mindset attitude.  Where we were didn’t work, so now we must “go” to some new place.  What exactly does that look like? 

Question:  Where do you want to go? 

For clarity sake, let’s understand a principle.  To “go” somewhere does not always mean a physical relocation.  Often we don’t go anywhere.  Many individuals choose to rise from where they are and conquer. 

Where we need to “go” is often a trip we take in our minds and hearts.  We revisit the “why” of our failure.  We examine it from head to tail, from east to west and any other metaphor you choose. 

And after we revisit the “why” we start answering the “how”.  The “how” takes many forms, and some of those forms include these:

   Finding a mentor
Accumulating more resources – financial and physical

All of these fall into the scope of “Learning from our fall”

And after the learning – we go to those new places, we learn new skill and techniques, we rub elbows with others who are smarter and more wizened than we.  We become smart enough to figure out the “why” of our failures and then we set about answering the “where” and that becomes our new direction.

We GO. 

Here is something to consider.

“Your present circumstances don’t
determine where you can go;
they merely determine where you start.”
~Nido Qubein

~Bill Gates started in a garage, and he didn't complete his college education.
~The airplane started in a bicycle shop.
~Oprah Winfrey was raped at age nine.
~Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair was often thought of as a failure by his teachers.
~Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison.

Has some failure or unpleasant experience haunted you in the past?  The key word is “in the past.”  And now, you get to choose the next steps.

Are you ready to get a new start?

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

Monday, October 14, 2013

F = Focus

(Our premise, if Plan A fails you still have 25 other options)

 The word “focus” is a great word for us to consider in this list of 25 other options after Plan A fails.

If we have failed, then that is a pretty good indicator that somewhere along the way our focus got blurred.  We have gotten off track.

I have a photographer friend, Larry, and in conversation with him he reminded me of some photographic principles.

~Decide where your focus will be.  Is it the whole forest or the grove of elms off to the left?

~What is the best angle?  Do you market to the whole world or to women age 20-45?

~Is there a widget that is a natural fit for your product or is it self-contained?

~When does your average customer want and need your products?  The answer to this one dictates your hours of operation, shipping methods, availability and readiness of information and a whole host of other answers.

By now we see a picture emerging of exactly how critical our focus should be.

Seth Godin (Tribes, Purple Cow, Linchpin, and other books) is my hero.  He writes and talks often of focus on market.  Identify your market.  Who is your ideal customer?  Who is not your customer?  This is important information.  Seth often reminds us that we can’t win the whole world with our products or services, so the sooner we identify our market niche the better and more successful we will be.

Golfers are a prime example of individuals with great focus.  They practice with intensity, they study their playing field, and they know the tools of their trade and the exact tool to use for the exact need.

Have you ever gone shopping without a grocery list?  We know how this one ends – we come away with way more than we intended to buy.  We had no focus.

I've used the Winds of War story before and want to link you to that again.   D = Dominant

One of the key indicators for your focus can be found in your company mission statement or vision statement. 
    What is it?
    Does it need refining?
    Is it still true? 
    Can you make it better?

Check out these mission statements:

Walt Disney Company:  “The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.  Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.”

Wal-Mart:  “People, saving money, and a better life”

Mary Kay Cosmetics:  “To give unlimited opportunities to women.”

Starbucks:  “Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”

Microsoft:  “To create a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empowers people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most.”

Amazon:  “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

Target:  “Our mission is to make Target the preferred shopping destination for our guests by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and an exceptional guest experience by consistently fulfilling our Expect More. Pay Less® brand promise.”

We get a real sense of focus in these examples. 

What and where is your focus?

Focus is your entry point.

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

Friday, October 11, 2013

E = Endure

(Our premise, if Plan A fails you still have 25 other options)

Our “E” word is “Endure”. 

Endure = persist, perseverance, pertinacity, continue, go on, carry on, keep on

Last time we talked about “Dominant”.  We become dominant when we dominate and we dominate because of persistent endurance. 

Endurance has staying power, sticking power, holding power, and longevity

People who endure survive.  They have a strong instinct that helps them stay in the game and they instinctively know the steps to take to become an enduring person or entity.

Runners, especially long-distance runner know a bit about endurance.  My wife, Carolyn knows about this.  She has run two half-marathons, and she is planning another for later this year.  She is gearing up for the endurance required to be a successful contender. 

In 2006 I had the good fortune to complete a half-marathon as a walker.  It required some serious training, a lot of mental preparedness and some good old gut-it-out endurance. 

That’s what it takes in life.  When we are in the long dry stretches of hard times, we just buckle down and grit it out. 

We hang onto every principle we know, every mental exercise we can think of, and when necessary, we seek help from others who have endured and become successful.  We find ways to endure.

Here are some great quotes to consider.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
~Winston Churchill

“When there is rioting in the streets, use the sidewalk.”
The Covert Comic

“A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot.  It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.”
~Mildred Witt Stouven

“If you want to enjoy the rainbow, be prepared to endure the storm.”

“… And she’s courageous but scared to death, but that’s what courage means.”
~Raine Maida

Do you remember that great quote from Herman Wouk’s book in my last blog post?

That is Endurance!

Class dismissed.

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

Monday, October 7, 2013

D = Dominant

(Our premise, if Plan A fails you still have 25 other options.)

Want to make progress?  One of the key ingredients is to establish your definite chief aim, to borrow from Napoleon Hill and others.

What is your focus?  What is your goal and dream?  Where do you want to go and be in the next five, ten, and twenty years?

Another way to ask this question is this:  What is your mission?

A personal story:  For over thirty years I have dreamed and talked of being a writer.  Along the way I did write a few pieces, had seven magazine articles published, wrote half-a-dozen video scripts, and even hung out my shingle as a free-lance writer for a brief time.  

It was not until October 2009 that I began in earnest to be a serious writer.  And now in 2013 I’m releasing three books, almost at once.  What has made the difference?

I now have a dominant thought fixed in my mind.  I have a sense of direction and sufficient motivation to actually pursue my dream. 

Okay, enough of the personal stuff.

It is helpful to properly define the word 'dominant', so here are some synonyms:


I've told this story before and it bears repeating.

One of my favorite books is The Winds of War by Herman Wouk.  In this book, Mr. Wouk recounts a scene in which General E. J. Tillet, military author and one of the Commanding Generals for England during WWII, is speaking to the main character named Pug Henry.  Tillet is making an observation about Hermann Goering that is applicable to our topic. 

Here’s what he said:  “He’s wasted a whole bloody month bombing harbors and pottering about after convoys.  He’s only got till September the fifteenth.  His mission is mastery of the air, not blockade.  Define your mission.  Define your mission and stick to it."

What better way to state our objective than this?

This one concept is what goal-setting and goal accomplishment is all about.  

Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, is credited with this quote.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
~Stephen Covey

Only you can identify your dominant thoughts and ideas, dreams and mission in life.  And when you do, I predict that the ideas and people, resources and revenue will soon follow.  The first step is having a dominant thought or idea to jump-start everything else.

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

Friday, October 4, 2013

C = Conquer

(Our premise, if Plan A fails you still have 25 other options.)

In the grand scheme of life, conquering is a mindset first, and then the actions required to bring the thing about. 

Sometimes conquering is perhaps a slower process, but surely, if attended to consistently, it comes to pass. 

I can recount countless times when I’ve sat at a keyboard facing a writing deadline and wondering where my next idea was lurking.  With continued diligence it came forth, and the word is diligence

Those who are diligent conquer. 

I’m reminded of a story I heard TV Pastor Joel Osteen tell. 

He was in Colorado for a few days of vacation and one morning decided to take a hike up to the top of a particular mountain.  Joel considered himself in excellent physical shape and believed he could complete this challenge in forty-five minutes or less.  This particular hiking trail usually took the average person three-plus hours to climb. 

He started at a good speed and things were going well at first.  After 45 minutes Joel felt he was just about burned out.  His legs ached, he was severely winded and he was ready to quit.

He looked up and saw an elderly gentleman heading down the trail toward him.  The man looked at Joel and he could tell that Joel was struggling to make the climb.  In a clear voice he greeted Joel and offered these words of encouragement.  “You are closer than you think, young man.  Keep climbing.” 

Isn't that the way it is sometimes?  We climb, we work, we sweat, we dig, we grunt and then fatigue sets in.  And then the questions set in.

“Am I there yet?”
   “How much further?”
      “Can I make it?”

And then doubt rears its ugly head.

“I’m too tired.”
     “That hasn't worked.”
          “I should quit and go home.”

We want to conquer.  We were determined to conquer, yet where is the victory? 

Sometimes it is right around the next bend in the road, as in Joel’s case. 

Sometimes we have to seek it out.  It’s hiding from you, and can be found with a bit of searching.

And always, always, develop a good old case of pertinacity.  That is a fancy word for stick-to-it-iveness. 

Pertinacity!  We conquer with pertinacity. 

If you are a person with a conquering mindset, then you know this part:

“We need two types of courage.
First, the courage to get started.
Second, the courage to not quit.”
Three Feet from Gold
~ Sharon L. Lechter & Greg S. Reid

A bit of advice – don’t wait for success to arrive.  Go find where it is hiding.

Do you believe it before you see it?  Then perhaps you have what it takes to conquer. 

And a final thought:

Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens.
Three Feet from Gold
~ Sharon L. Lechter & Greg S. Reid

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