A friend of mine recently wrote a book that has me thinking. Thinking HUGE, actually.
Mark Arnold, senior vice president at a Dallas-based credit union, released the book Think Huge to share inspirational stories and motivate people to succeed in business and personal life.
The response has been very positive, with invitations for Mark to speak to groups around the nation about his book. My own positive response has been surprising, because I’m admittedly skeptical about all the theoretical self-help and “get rich quick” books that line the shelves at bookstores.
In Think Huge, Mark has figured out a way to blend the theoretical with well-researched, real-life success stories. And he offers tangible action steps that people can latch onto.
The book, which began as a memo to his staff, is built around several characteristics shared by the successful people he’s studied:
Vision: knowing where you want to go and how to bring your ideas to life
People: involving and surrounding yourself with the right people
Passion: finding and doing something you love
Time: committing your limited time to what’s important
Perseverance: staying the course even when obstacles threaten your dream
Learning: continuing to seek knowledge and life-long education
I can’t help but think about these areas of focus when I think about people who are truly successful, and of course, my own shortcomings.
The ‘Think Huge’ ideas have made a noticeable difference in my mindset these last few weeks, for which I am grateful.
When I was traveling earlier this month, I gave my copy to the cab driver who had told me about his struggles to build a new life for his children after the recent death of his wife. He has moved to a new community with strong public schools, begun classes at the local community college, and taken a second job (driving a cab) to create a good life. Just before handing him my book, I commended him for his vision and perseverance. For his commitment to his family, faith and lifelong learning. For ‘Thinking Huge.’
Makes you cringe, doesn’t it?
Imagine if someone had broadcast some of the off-hand comments you’ve made to a close friend or colleague over the years. Yikes. Fortunately for you, the mic wasn’t on.
Unfortunately for some very high-profile people lately, the microphone was on and their comments were broadcast loud and clear across the nation, making millions of us cringe. (Think: California Assemblyman Mike Duvall. Former Obama Administration official Van Jones. Congressman Joe Wilson. Kanye West – though he actually grabbed the mic on purpose.)
Whether out of arrogance or sheer stupidity, public figures – particularly politicians –seem to have forgotten some important cardinal rules of public life: “Someone is always listening.” And, “If your grandmother would gasp, you probably shouldn’t say it.” It’s a point I drive home with clients, especially the high-profile ones.
But this PR advice isn’t reserved for the famous and powerful. Even people who aren’t in public life should take these cardinal rules of communication to heart.
Think about the inquisitive ears of children and the things they’ll repeat on the playground.
Think of your colleague who may secretly deplore the casual way you talk about your intimate life.
Think about the inappropriate email you sent and where it got forwarded (with your name still attached).
Or think of that risqué photo your teenager texted to her boyfriend that somehow ended up all over the school and Internet. (BIG cringe.)
In the words of Lyle Lovett, “I realize there are things you say and do that you can never take back.” Yep. Once it’s out there, it’s out there.
When it comes to communication -- whether verbal, written or electronic -- use your brain. Don’t create a public relations crisis for yourself. If the words or images would make your grandmother cringe, refrain from saying or sending it. And ALWAYS ASSUME THE MIC IS ON.