Small things do make a BIG difference, because when people feel confident, involved and valued…magic happens.

They build connections, character and confidence to lead BIG. They learn and take risks to work BIG. They pay it forward, inspire others and give themselves permission to learn from failure so they can live BIG. 

This kind of BIG has nothing to do with size and everything to do with heart...with meaning...with caring. With those small things that do make a BIG difference.

Daniel Maher said confidence is courage with ease. This level of personal grace happens when you practice all the little big things for yourself and others.

Join the Get Your BIG On community of seekers and solvers who learn, share, and inspire connection and performance at the intersection of the art of leadership and the science of business.

  • Lead BIG. Insights for the art and science of leading yourself and others
  • Work BIG. Tools, tips and pointers for workplace success
  • Live BIG. Making a lasting difference for yourself and others
  • Women BIG. Building confidence to step into your power 

 It's time to get your BIG On! Connect. Learn. Share. Be part of the magic!

Get Your BIG On : Live BIG : Other : Tell Me About It


Tell Me About It

Key elements of the Get Your BIG On philosophy are ongoing learning and educating, giving back, making a positive difference, and connecting. The BIG team periodically showcases an organization or individual who serves others; or we share articles, resources, etc., about giving or volunteering. It's our hope to inspire you to make your own lasting contribution. Go...make a difference today!

Health, Healing and the Quality of Life: glassybaby

To honor those who have walked her same path, founder Lee Rhodes established the glassybaby goodwill program, which has brought light and hope to thousands of people who are facing their own battles. During her cancer treatment, Lee met many other patients who could not afford even daily needs such as bus fare, childcare, or groceries. To date, glassybaby has donated more than $800,000 to charities dedicated to health, healing and quality of life.

Teaching Technology: Iridescent

Iridescent is a science-education nonprofit that helps engineers, scientists and high-tech professionals bring cutting edge science, technology and engineering to high school girls, and underprivileged minority children and their families. A great way to expand the base of kids (especially girls) getting into math and science!

Kids Are Heroes: Inspiring and Encouraging Children to be Leaders

Kids Are Heroes is a non-profit focused on helping children become leaders by volunteering and community involvement. They showcase and support kids who are changing the world through their selfless acts of giving. Great way to teach and be role models!

Stopping Child Abuse  Child Sexual Abuse Prevention & Education

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, Svava Brooks is passionate about personal growth and is committed to helping people break the silence around the issue of child sexual abuse. She and her twin sister run Blatt Afram, an organization dedicated to preventing and educating Icelanders about child sexual abuse. Their organization has successfully raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and created a variety of sexual abuse prevention programs, utilizing and working with other organizations such as Darkness to Light in South Carolina and Kids on the Block in Washington, DC.

Sources for Giving Back: Volunteer Resource Center

If you want to volunteer but don't know where to offer your help, use this site to find great volunteer opportunities in your own neighborhood or across the globe.

Making the World a Better Place: 100 People Who Made a Difference

On Biography Online, Tejvan R. Pettinger has compiled an interesting list of 100 people whom he believes "have made a difference to the world in a positive way." Tell the BIG team who else you would add to the list!


Ideas for Doing Good:  50 Simple And Practical Ways To Make A Positive Difference

Want to do something that helps others yet don't have a lot of cash? Here you'll find 50 ways to give back that don't break the bank. Go for it!


Creating Women Leaders, One Girl at a Time:  Girl Scouts of America

2012 is the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America. Founded a century ago by Juliet Lowe who had a vision for creating women leaders, this organization is still going strong and creating excellent opportunities for girls from all walks of life. "When girls succeed, so does society."

Taking Care of You so You Can Help Others:  American Heart Association

For many reasons both personal and professional, this nonprofit is close to Get Your BIG On's heart. Their site provides both great ways to Give BIG as well as great tips for being heart healthy! As we move forward with keeping our resolutions alive in 2012, this is one more helpful resource to help us get and stay healthy.

Philanthropy and business DO Mix:  Square Inches of Love

What a clever, creative and compassionate way to mix philanthropy with doing business! Your promotion and/or message gets posted online; then, it's transformed offline into a traveling interactive outdoor installation. And best of all, 50% of all online submission proceeds are donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Great role modeling!



Making a Way for New Lives & New Hope:  Krochet Kids

Wow, talk about an effort that makes your heart melt and swell at the same time! Started in 2007 by three college guys who wanted to change the world, Krochet Kids provides fair-wage crocheting jobs to women in Northern Uganda and sells their wares online and in stores around the country (like Nordstrom). The profits are then returned to Uganda to sustain their programs, enabling women to provide their families with the food and living materials necessary to break the cycle of poverty. Currently more than 150 artists and craftswomen and their families are achieving economic stability thanks to Krochet Kids' reach. 

Offering Help, Hope and Dignity:  So Others Might Eat

The BIG team doesn't live anywhere near Washington, but we're impressed with the mission and 40-year history of So Others Might Eat, an interfaith, community-based organization that meets the immediate daily needs of the people they serve by providing food, clothing, and health care. They are focused on helping to break the cycle of homelessness by offering services like affordable housing, job training, addiction treatment, and counseling to the poor, the elderly and individuals with mental illness. So Others Might Eat works to restore hope and dignity one person at a time.

Making Dreams Come True:  Make-A-Wish Foundation

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a favorite with the BIG team. We love how enrich the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through their wish-granting work. In the spirit of giving, consider brightening the life of a small child, either through making their wish possible or by referring an ill child into the program.


monarchMaking a Difference: Saving the Monarchs

Joyfully watching several monarch butterflies skitter and dance through our area on their southward migration reminded us of the work of Homero Aridjis, poet, novelist, environmental activist. Aridjis foundes the Group of 100 – an association of prominent artists and intellectuals – responsible for persuading Mexico's president to issue a decree creating the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, an area 60 miles west of Mexico City that hosts the majority of overwintering monarchs from the US east of the Rockies and Canada. Thank you!

Bringing love and hope to special needs kids: For the Love of Children

For the Love of Children is a national organization that helps very special kids. The organization helps provide everything from basic essentials to prom wear.  For Love of Children (FLOC) provides educational services beyond the classroom to help students succeed from first grade through college and career. FLOC brings together students, volunteers, families, and community partners in proven programs that teach, empower, and transform.

Helping Fight Children's Hunger: Children's Hunger Alliance

Children’s Hunger Alliance is a statewide nonprofit organization committed to feeding hungry minds and bodies and raising awareness of childhood hunger through education, advocacy and service, so children will be well nourished, healthy and thrive.  The agency provides programs that directly feed children nutritious meals, educate them and their families about healthy eating, and engage children in physical activity.  Children’s Hunger Alliance also positively impacts schools, community, faith-based organizations, home-based child care, and after-school providers in making positive use of federally-financed child nutrition programs.

Saying Thank You:  Ideas for Recognizing Volunteers

While researching employee recognition, we discovered this little jewel of a work from Louisiana State University. It isn't glitzy yet it's full of heart. While the focus of the piece is recognizing volunteers, the ideas presented here are applicable anywhere, any time you want to say thank you to someone who's made a difference. Remember to thank someone today - you'll make their day, and yours!

Overcoming Addiction:  ONE80TC

ONE80TC, based in New South Wales, Australia, understands it takes support, direction and love to break the chains of addiction and other life-controlling behaviors. Their team has applied this understanding for over thirty five years, helping thousands of 18–35 year-olds to take control and get on with their lives. Kudos for making a difference!


Being Good to Mother Earth: Wilsons Soap Company

Don Wilson, the proprietor of Wilson's Soap Company located in Philadelphia, PA, makes soap the old-fashioned way - by hand, using natural plant-based essential oils. Their handmade process generates lots of end pieces. Rather than rebatch those small slices, they either donate them to local homeless shelters or watch Craigslist for people looking for donations. In the past year Wilson's has donated 1,000 bars of soap, including 200 which were sent to Haiti. Love how they mix sustainability and kindness!

project.night.lightBringing Light to the Little Ones: Project Night Light

An estimated 1.35 million children are homeless in the US, and 40 percent of them are under age five. Project Night Night delivers big comfort in a small package—a canvas tote filled with a blanket, a stuffed animal (some repurposed as a kindness to the environment), and a new book. Even kids in the toughest situations benefit from some security and coziness, and most importantly, the acknowledgement that they're significant and worthy of care.

The Gift of Reading & Doing Good, Too:  Better World Bookskids.reading

As they describe themselves, Better World Books is a "global bookstore that harnesses the power of capitalism to bring literacy and opportunity to people around the world." They are triple bottom line focused (financial, social and environmental) and believe profit is not the only way to measure business success, saying people matter as does the planet. To-date, Better World Books has raised $10 million for global literacy, reused or recycled 57 million books, kept some 8,000 tons of books out of landfills, and reclaimed more than 720,000 pounds of metal shelving from libraries across the United States. Plus, they use their carbon offsets to support the Tatanka Wind Farm, the largest renewable-energy project in North and South Dakota. The wind farm generates enough clean energy to power more than 60,000 homes.  And still more: if you buy their newest book, they'll give one away to someone in need. That's walking the talk!

Lending a Helping Hand:  Mi Casa Resource Center

Mi Casa Resource Center is a nonprofit human services group assisting Latino families in Denver, Colorado. Their mission is helping people achieve economic success and is based on a three-part strategy: career, business, and youth and family development. Mi Casa created a family resource center with programs for adults and children focused on achieving professional, academic, and business success. For 34 years, Mi Casa has worked to increase the employability, education, knowledge and life skills of the individuals they serve by providing highly relevant and effective programs as well as supportive services that address each person's unique challenges. 83 small businesses have been launched with Mi Casa's assistance. Kudos!


Taking a Lead in Fighting Child Abuse:  National CASA Association

The National CASA Association is a network of 955 programs that recruit, train and support volunteers who represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children to assure they don't get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer is the one constant adult presence in their lives. Kudos for making a positive difference!

Resource for Finding Groups Needing Your Help:  Volunteer Match

"Ah, if I only knew where to be a volunteer," sighed a colleague at a recent event. "I'd be happy to spend some time helping out." Search no more! Volunteer Match is a nifty website that will point you to a whole host of volunteer needs...right in your own community! All you have to do is enter your zip code and a word or so about the volunteer opportunity you are seeking...and you are off!

Making a Positive Difference in City Environments

With three-quarters of the world's population expected to be living in cities by 2050, four urban experts consider the projects that have made a positive difference to those living in cities. This four-minute video posted on Phaidon shines a light on several projects where cities across the globe have regenerated, improved or made more sustainable. Some good food for thought.

Empowering Young Girls:  G.U.R.L.S Rock Leadership Programgurls

Harvard law attorney, Dr. Raye Mitchell, left her private law firm to dedicate herself to inspire and empower young girls (ages 8-18) to live their lives to the fullest as future global leaders. In 2007, she formed The Making a New Reality Foundation. The G.U.R.L.S. Rock Leadership Program, a part of the foundation which stands for "Growth, Unity, Respect, Leadership, Success", was launched in 2010. "We need to change the conversation about how we define and engage girls as leaders. Their story is not all negative statistics," said Mitchell. The program's goal is to raise the bar of excellence for girls in order to break down the barriers to their success. Dr. Raye sees future leaders in these girls and invests all of her energy into a positive program for their personal development. You go, Raye!


Shoppers with a Cause: 

What a great way to do fundraising! is a one-stop online shopping mall where you can purchase cause-related products. Founded by North Jersey mom Filomena Laforgia in July 2010, four years after her three-year old son was diagnosed with autism, the site features a variety of products from merchants as well as local and national organizations. All participating companies are committed to supporting fundraising efforts for a designated cause. The site's name not only plays on the founder's first name, but also shows how a socially conscious individual can make a difference through the simplest of acts. When we buy a cause-related product, we can all be "Filanthropists!"


Changing How the World Tackles Poverty:  Acumen Fund 

The mission of the Acumen Fund is to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders, and breakthrough ideas. Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund, authored The Blue Sweater, the memoir of her quest to understand global poverty and to find powerful new ways of tackling it. It's a powerful read.

From her first stumbling efforts as a young idealist venturing forth in Africa to the creation of the trailblazing organization she runs today, she creates a series of insightful stories and unforgettable characters — from women dancing in a Nairobi slum, to unwed mothers starting a bakery, to courageous survivors of the Rwandan genocide, to entrepreneurs building services for the poor against impossible odds.

Support Your School While You Shop, Eat and Play:  edRover

Need to raise funds for your local school?  If so, Tania Mulry can help. This mother of three had grown frustrated by the constant flow of fundraising requests from her boys’ school, yet she couldn't stand not supporting teachers because they spend hundreds of their own dollars every year to purchase classroom supplies. Tania knew there had to be a better way, so she devised, designed and developed edRover, a new mobile app that pairs companies’ needs to attract loyal consumers and educators’ needs to obtain supplies for their students. The app is available for free through the iTunes App Store.  Each time a consumer uses the edRover app to make a purchase from their mobile phone from one of the participating online retailers or checks-in at one of the bricks-and-mortar locations, a donation is directed from the retailers’ account to purchase schools supplies for the classroom or for the program selected by the app’s user.

Rebuilding a City:  Otsuchi Recovery Fund

otsuchiOtsuchi, Japan and Fort Bragg, CA are sister cities. A young Japanese man whose father was lost at sea sat on the Otsuchi headlands waiting for his father to return. Eventually, the young man wondered what was on the other side of the ocean from him. To find out, he followed his city's latitude across the Pacific to Fort Bragg, California. He made contact, and the result was that the two communities became sister cities. 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the formation of the program.

Otsuchi was completely destroyed by the 3/11/11 9.0 earthquake and its aftermath. Sharon Davis, coordinator for the Fort Bragg sister city exchange program, lead the creation of the Otsuchi Recovery Fund. She created a Facebook group for the sister city program as a place to share information and raise funds. So far, they've raised over $75,000. Not bad for a little community of just over 8,000. 


Ending the Book Famine:  Books for Africa

Many of us take books for granted. Yet most African school children have never owned a book, a tragedy that Books for Africa is trying to change. Since 1988, they've shipped more than 20 million books to 45 countries, putting books in kids' hands and filling school library shelves with atlases and encyclopedias (and thus reducing the cost of education). Visit their site to find out how you can help!

second.chancesGetting Your Second Chance:  Tracy Lewis 

Tracy Lewis faced many personal obstacles before realizing her dream of becoming an author and a speaker. Her mission is to help those who are hurting. Through her speeches and writing, she strives to give people a second or sometimes a third or fourth chance to make it. Her goal is encouraging people to move past what is holding them back. She works with those who are willing to try again and who believe they worthy of having an opportunity for another go.

Doing Good in the World Better and Faster:  Katya's Nonprofit Marketing Blog

"People who work for good causes have a moral obligation to be extremely efficient and effective at what we do, right this minute. What gets me motivated and energized is to help well-intentioned people to do that every day, through innovative marketing, strong human engagement, social media and online outreach." Motivating, isn't it? Take a quick minute and check out Katya's blog where she provides excellent insights for making an impact - doing good better and faster.

Reducing the Financial Impact of Cancer:  Geaux Past Cancer

This Tell Me About It Tuesday is a personal one for me (Amy). I was introduced to Geaux Past Cancer by my friend, Staci Pepitone, whose light in life shined very brightly. Geaux Past Cancer, located in Baton Rouge, LA, is dedicated to helping reduce the financial impact of cancer treatment. A special area of focus is assisting patients who must travel away from their home for their treatments. Their mission is to provide support to cancer patients during their treatment. Feel good and do good by donating (if you can) to this great organization.


Making A Difference in Women's Lives Every Day:  Center for Women

c4w.dmooreBIG salute the Center for Women, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Charleston, SC whose mission is to make personal and professional success an everyday event for women. The Center connects thousands of women to professional sources for practical help by providing educational programs on important issues such as small business development, leadership skills, financial literacy, life transitions, discrimination of all types, multiculturalism, family issues, career, and networking. As Jennet Robinson Alterman, Executive Director for the Center for Women says, "One thing we know for sure is that women deserve equal pay and equal rights."

Providing Vision to Those in Need:  New Eyes for the Needy


Thousands of children and adults need eyeglasses but can't afford them. In developing countries, the cost can be equivalent to a year's salary. Vision problems affect one's ability to read, succeed in school, and keep a job. New Eyes for the Needy purchases new prescription eyeglasses for poor children and adults living in the United States and recycles donated glasses for distribution to indigent people overseas. Since they started in 1932, more than 7 million people have been helped. While many Americans get new glasses every few years, New Eyes often provides the only pair of glasses a needy person will ever have.

Breaking the Cycle of Unemployment and Poverty:  Second Chance 

Scott Silverman is the Founder and Executive Director of Second Chance, a multimillion dollar non-profit which runs the most successful STRIVE job readiness training program in the world. Scott, a CNN Hero Award recipient, strongly believes that rehabilitation is a stronger solution than re-incarceration.  Over the past 15 years Second Chance has assisted more than 24,000 economically disadvantaged and homeless persons in San Diego gain employment and leave poverty, gang affiliations and crime behind. 

Getting the Skinny on Being a Volunteer:  How to Be a Kick-Butt Volunteer 

Looking for insights from a wide variety of people on how to be a really good volunteer? If you are, you'll find How to Be a Kick-Butt Volunteer  a great resource.  There are tips, pointers and insights from people in all walks of life on what motivates them to give of themselves and how they do it, saying, "It is a selfless privilege, not a duty or right, to be able to help others." One contributor even offers up the ten commandments for volunteering. Enjoy!



Get Your BIG On : Women BIG : Class : Influence and Connection


Influence and Connection

Course type:  60 Minute Live eWorkshop
Date | Time Offered (ET):  Friday May 18, 2012 | 12 Noon ET
Speaker: Jane Perdue, Braithwaite Innovation Group
Price: $49.95 (Limited to 6 participants)

"The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority."   ~Kenneth Blanchard

In today's "new normal" of business practices, the ability to use influence to affect outcomes and achieve results is a "must have" skill in every leader's toolkit.

Influence impacts both one's professional and personal relationships; and when used in a win-win manner, as opposed to I win-you lose manipulation, having the ability to positively influence others will distinguish you as a great and effective leader.

Influence is determined by one's ability to make an appeal for action based on logic, emotion or a sense of cooperation, or some combination of all three. Your ability to successfully get work done with and through other people is shaped by your learned skills in being influential.

In this live eWorkshop, you'll learn:

  • What influence is and how to use it effectively
  • The push and pull styles of influence 
  • Your personal default way of influencing (via an assessment)
  • Which influence style works best depending upon your desired outcome

How you'll benefit

  • Develop a greater understanding of your personal influence style
  • Expand your leadership toolkit to get work done with and through other people
  • Grow your comfort zone by knowing when to switch between influence styles
  • Have the opportunity to ask questions of the session facilitator as well as tap into the personal experiences of your fellow eworkshop participants
Who should attend
  • Individuals working in business as well as those in non-profits, community groups, etc., who need to influence others
  • Anyone seeking to be a better leader, particularly in circumstances where you don't have direct responsibility over people yet have a stake in outcomes
  • Those on a voyage of self-discovery and increased personal effectiveness

Special note: Class size is limited to six people to maximize learning and connection via voice-to-voice exchange and discussion. While written chat may be used (if that's your preference), everyone gets microphone access. Past sessions conducted this way have been full of rich dialogue and sharing. Do register early as this eworkshop fills up fast!

Workshop Materials

Session participants receive an influence style assessment (allows you to learn your default influence style in advance) and workbook in advance of the eWorkshop.

Jane Perdue

"You don't have to be a 'person of influence' to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they've taught me." ~Scott Adams


Get Your BIG On : Women BIG : elearning


Women BIG: May 2012

Recharge Your Moxie

Brain research teaches us that stress in women affects their cerebral cortex, which is home to their creativity and problem-solving abilities.This fun and fast-paced workshop will help you pick up some new tools for your performance toolkit so you can recharge your moxie (one's ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage)!

When: 11 AM ET | Thursday, May 17, 2012

Women Leading Up

Do you need access to the male decision-making hierarchy within your organization but know that a different language is spoken there? Hoping for a promotion yet not sure how to impress the "higher ups?" Do you want to expand your sphere of influence within the organization, yet finding it hard to do so? If so, you'll find solid answers and helpful advice in this leadership development workshop, one with a decidedly women-in-business point of view!

When: Noon Lunch-n-Learn ET | Tuesday, May 22, 2012

persuasionInfluence and Connection

Influence is determined by one's ability to make an appeal for action based on logic, emotion or a sense of cooperation, or some combination of all three. Your ability to successfully get work done with and through other people is shaped by your learned skills in being influential.

When: 12 Noon ET| Friday, May 18, 2012


Get Your BIG On : Lead BIG : Leadership Friday Favs


Leadership Friday Favs

Ongoing learning, exploring, making a sustainable positive difference, paying it forward, and developing others are in our DNA here at Get Your BIG On. We do research all the time, whether it's fact-finding for something we're writing, creating content for a development session or speech, or working for a client. We see lots of worthy material while doing our work (what a delightful perk!), so we share the highlights via our "Leadership Friday Favs," a short-cut to information you may not have the time to look up but might be interested in knowing.

Our weekly leadership favorites are an eclectic collection of articles, blog posts, quotes, pod casts and whatever else engages our interest. Some items are recent, others aren't. Some are mainstream, others are off the beaten path. Enjoy! Be inspired! Lead BIG!

Leadership Friday Favs 5.4.12

Lead by Listening and Championing New Leaders & New Ideas (Melissa Laughon, Catch Your Limit)

The BIG team loves Melissa's self-awareness! On a recent flight, she recognized it was time to be a listener and hear stories about leadership and the power of negative role models.

Leadership and Love (Paul J. Zak, Big Questions Online)

Another fav topic with the BIG team - bring more compassion and caring into the workplace. "Especially in tough economic times, some managers may believe that love in the workplace is a luxury they can't afford. They may find that the cost of hard-hearted or indifferent management can be counted in dollars and cents."

Office Politics – Five Steps to Make It Joyful (Henna Inam, The Glass Hammer)

Office politics is frequently a work sport many people choose not to play. Bad move. Henna offers up good advice on how to turn those sticky situations into positive advantage.

Escaping the Asylum (Samuel B. Bacharach, The Bacharach Blog)

Goodness, what an idea:  comparing corporate life to being in an asylum, where, "after a while everyone...begins to submit to the definition of self the organization imposes on them, begins speaking the language of the organization, parroting the aspirations of the organization, and accepting the authority and rules of the organization." Lots to noodle after reading this one!

3 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic (Scott Eblin, Eblin Group)

Scott serves up three methods for silencing the itty, bitty committee in your head "so you can show up with the kind of confidence that compels people to follow your lead."

How Women Can Advance as Business Leaders (Anne Deeter Gallaher, CrowdShifter)

It's always good to hear success stories, especially ones from women in business. Anne shares tips and pointers that helped her with career advancement, from finding her voice to building her own sandbox.

Workplace Diet: Was Blind But Now I See (Because I Asked for Input) (David Grossman, Leader Communicator Blog)

As David writes, "We all have them. Blind spots. Things that are unknown to us yet obvious to others; an area of our leadership vision we're not able to see." He offers examples of the most common blind spots as well as 11 ways to figure them out.

Thoughts on dealing with the paradox of kindness. "Kindness is the currency of our hearts, the only currency that can never be subtracted and never be balanced in anyone's ledgers. We choose to be kind because it is the way we want to live our lives, not because we will be rewarded in some way. When we start to keep score, we become closed-hearted: I'm not doing anything nice until someone does something good for me. Our acts of kindness are whole unto themselves. They require no acknowledgment and no reward, for the act itself returns us once again to the heart of our own humanity." ~Will Glennon

Here's wishing you and your team success this coming week in using your head to manage and your heart to lead!

Leadership Friday Favs 4.27.12

Are you making choices that matter? (Chery Gegelman, Lead Change Group Blog)

This one will get you thinking. Chery asks the $64,000 question:  "Are we engaged and courageously challenging our own comfort zones for the good of those around us or are we sitting comfortably and watching the world go by?"

Six Extras that Build Power and Leadership (Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business Review blog)

The team at BIG is big on helping people step up and into their power. Power gets a bum rap. People believe they don't deserve to have it or don't want any.  Others think it's evil and self-serving. Power, in and of itself, is neutral. It only becomes good or bad depending upon how one chooses to use it. In this terrific post, Kanter highlights six building blocks for making power good:  being a good colleague, connecting people, being a giver, framing issues, commitment and diplomacy.

Do You Use Verbal White Space? (Steve Roesler, All Things Workplace)

Effective verbal communication skills are a must-have leadership toolkit item. Steve offers up great advice for phrasing your message to assure your meaning is communicated, and not lost in a sea of too many words.

Understanding Bias Is Essential to Inclusion (Mark Kaplan, Diversity Executive)

Ready for comfort zone discomfort? "The debate about bias is over. Bias is a part of being human. The issue is no longer whether people are biased, but more about how to increase awareness of how bias impacts organizations and what can be done about it."

Change, Patience, and Reinventing Ourselves (Debbe Kennedy, Women In the Lead)

The butterfly story from Greg Levoy's Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life is included. It's a splendid reminder of the power of patience and that sometimes the best help is no help.

Managers: Drive out fear—one thing you can do this week (David Witt, Blanchard LeaderChat)

Great guidance for not letting small things become big problems. What really stood out for us:  email is one-way communicating. Real managers make sure two-way communications occur.

Thoughts on success and humility. "It is said that it is far more difficult to hold and maintain leadership that it is to attain it. Success is a ruthless competitor for it flatters and nourishes our weaknesses and lulls us into complacency. We bask in the sunshine of accomplishment and lose the spirit of humility which helps us visualize all the factors which have contributed to our success. We are apt to forget that we are only one of a team, that in unity there is strength and that we are strong only as long as each unit in our organization functions with precision." ~Samuel Tilden

Use this week to help those on your team learn to use their heads to manage and their hearts to lead...success requires both!


Get Your BIG On : Women BIG : Class : Women Leading Up


Women Leading Up

Course Type: Live eWorkshop | 60 minutes  
Date |Time Offered (ET):  Tuesday May 22, 2012 | Noon ET
Speakers: Jane Perdue | Amy Diederich 
Price: $24.95

Are you seeking access to the male decision-making hierarchy in your organization which appears to speak a different language? Hoping for a promotion yet not sure how to impress the "higher ups?" Do you want to expand your sphere of influence within the organization, yet finding it hard to do so? If so, you'll find solid answers and helpful advice in this leadership development workshop, one with a decidedly women-in-business point of view!

"Leading up is the act of working with people above you — whether one boss, several bosses, a chief executive, a board of directors or even stockholders — to help them and you get a better job done." ~Michael Useem, Wharton professor, creator of phrase "leading up"

Leadership happens up, down and across in organizations, groups, communities, etc., in fact, in any other capacity where one serves as a formal or informal leader.  Most of us are more familiar and comfortable with leading down to our employees, teams and/or direct reports. That ease isn't surprising given there's a level of direct control involved. What becomes more complex is leading across, down or up within an organization when you don't have direct control; and/or, in some organizations simply because you are a woman. 

This 60-minute interactive workshop focuses on adding to your leadership toolkit so you can skillfully, gracefully and effectively manage both task completion and building relationships with your boss and on up the ladder.

What You’ll Learn

  • Five crucial connections to make and maintain for leading up
  • Day-to-day tactics for successfully managing yourself and for working with the people above you
  • Increasing your visibility at all levels within an organization by increasing your sphere of influence
  • Gain perspective about gender dynamics in the workplace

How You’ll Benefit

  • Greater understanding of the knowledge, skills and abilities involved in leading up
  • Awareness of the importance of "thinking less about me and more about we"
  • Improved skills for connecting with and influencing the people above you
  • Knowledge of the pitfalls that can wipe out your ability to lead up

Who Should Attend

  • Individuals newly-promoted into supervision/management (and/or those who work in non-profits, community groups, etc.) who need to understand how important it is to build effective communications with the people above them
  • Anyone seeking a promotion and who needs to get on the organization's radar screen
  • Those on their own voyage of self-discovery, personal improvement and increased effectiveness and influence

How the Workshop Works

The 60-minute session combines lecture, Q & A, polling and chat.

If you want this workshop delivered to your organization, send us an email to begin the discussion.



Get Your BIG On : Work BIG : Other : Go For It


Go For It!

Looking to get your workplace mojo kick-started? Want to work smarter? Here you'll find information and inspiration as Get Your BIG On features (in its sometimes serendipitous and sometimes purposeful way):

  • a nugget (or two) of workplace wisdom
  • WorkBIG career wit, wisdom and adventures
  • a must-read something, or
  • an individual or company making a positive impact in balancing people, principles and profit.

A Good Read:  InsideOut Enneagram: The Game Changing Guide for Leaders

Ever traveled to a new city and explored its riches and intricacies with a knowledgeable tour guide? It's a totally positive experience. Wendy Appel offers that same rewarding experience in her new book, InsideOut Enneagram: The Game Changing Guide for Leaders, for anyone on a journey to be a better leader. Understanding one's self – strengths, weaknesses, blind spots and shadows – is foundational for effectively leading others. The Enneagram is an beneficial tool for building that self-awareness. Wendy provides a rich trove insights and ways to help leaders (both formal and informal) use the Enneagram to plumb the heights and depths of their types and triads.

Getting Tough Empathy Right: Why Should Anyone Be Led by You

As anyone who has ever supervised others knows all too well, it's hard work being a good boss. It's a bit like being Goldilocks. You don't want to be too hard or too soft. This excellent article offers some valuable insights on how to get the balance between task completion and relationship building just right.

Getting Right About Being a Boss: Thinking Like a Good Boss

This HBR post, 12 Things Good Bosses Believe, by Bob Sutton, professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University and the author of Good Boss, Bad Boss, caught our attention. The BIG team loved #7. Send us a note and let us know which one you liked best!

Workplace Tips: Work Smart

Scott Belsky's posts on Fast Company are a great resource for working folks. Whether you work from home or head off to an office, factory, etc. every day, you'll find posts chock-a-block full of insights to keep you on track...or spur you in a whole new direction.


BIG Spotlight

Live BIG : Paul McConaughy


Paul McConaughy
Michigan Nutrition Networkpaul_mcconaughy

Paul McConaughy, whom you can find on Twitter as @minutrition (generously sharing lots of good information there!) handles social media and social marketing for the Michigan Nutrition Network. His story is an inspiring Live BIG and Give BIG one!

A little about Paul's background

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, "Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men." Blessed in life with an insatiable curiosity and big dreams, Paul McConaughy spends each day learning and doing things that are often bigger than life.

Most recently, he guided the Michigan Nutrition Network from a $2.5 million organization to a $35 million one. Some of his other going big experiences include:

  • Leading a national award winning community cable television programming unit
  • Providing guidance and support for Shared Vision, a volunteer-driven community planning project for the mid-Michigan tri-county area
  • Originating The Power of We outcome project for tracking community progress; and
  • Leading efforts to recruit 550 community volunteers for the National Folk Festival.

Paul currently directs social marketing and social media programs for the Michigan Nutrition Network. His education is in media production and communication with a BA from Michigan state University and MA from Colorado State University.

good.nutrition.lifestyleTell us what Michigan Nutrition Network (MNN) is and what it does.

The Michigan Nutrition Network creates innovative partnerships that provide education to help low-income Michigan residents eat healthy and become more physically active. It is part of the Michigan Fitness Foundation and is funded through Michigan Human Services Department and the USDA. Currently MNN works with 26 organizations that are recipients of grants to provide support and capacity building. For those organizations, MNN provides the following:

  • Manages the grant-making process and administers the grant payments
  • Ensures grant recipients compliance with program requirements
  • Coordinates evaluation of programs to ensure ability to report results, and
  • Provides capacity building to improve the abilities of all nutrition education and physical activity promotion providers to meet the needs of the target audience

What has had the biggest impact on the Michigan Nutrition Network recently?

Two things:

1) MNN's source of funding moved last year from the Federal Farm Bill to the Child Nutrition Act, and

2) MNN was spun off from Michigan State University Extension to the Michigan Fitness Foundation.

As you would expect both of those are BIG changes. As part of the change to funding through the Child Nutrition Act, there have been significant changes in the policies and operations of the program. This has necessitated very rapid adjustments on the part of staff as grant administrators. In the world of grant making one of the most difficult times is when programs are in evolution and policies are grey instead of black and white. These times require living by a strong moral imperative to stay within the intent of the funding. It has now been over a year since the law was passed and as new policies get established, MNN is proud to see that they have maintained direction well.

When Michigan State University Extension began restructuring it became obvious that it would be challenging to find a place where MNN would fit. As a result, I sought out possible new homes for the Network. An organization was identified where MNN fit the mission and where there was a history of effectively administering similar programs: the Michigan Fitness Foundation. The thing that didn't match up was the scale of the program. MNN was larger than any other program at MFF. That meant developing new resources and practices. The move required integrating two organizations and building new relationships.

Change presents opportunities and for me this has been a time for teaching new people about MNN and helping guide the organization through. In addition, I was able to take advantage of the integration of staff to move back into social marketing and social media from my role as MNN Director.

kid.with.veggiesPlease define social marketing and social media for us.

Social marketing is a process for changing behavior based on commercial marketing. I've been directing a campaign called "Grow Your Kids through Fruits and Veggies" since 2006. There have been two phases: engaging nutrition educators across the state in providing information at farm markets and other summer program locations; and, working with Food Banks to distribute information. The next phase will help low-income people learn how to select, store and use fresh produce to avoid spoiling. That will result in more willingness to purchase a variety of fresh fruits and veggies, since the worry about wasting money will be relieved.

Social media identifies all the online resources that support social interaction between people. The best known social media are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Any of these could be a resource in a social marketing campaign but social media and social marketing are not interchangeable. I like to joke that I'm the oldest person in my office but am responsible for the resource most associated with young people, namely social media.

Do you have a "standard set of advice" you give when people ask what you've learned in your career?

There are always things that are specific to each situation, but I suspect I always include these:

  • Always start the week reviewing your goals and deciding on a few things you will do that week to move toward them. Always end your week recording what you did that week to help you move toward your goals. Don't have too many weeks with nothing to write down at the end.
  • Get approval of project direction early and often. There is nothing worse than investing sweat and tears into a project that turns out to be less than what your supervisor expected.
  • Be proactive...whether it's changing the toilet paper rolls, helping a fellow worker who didn't ask, or coming up with great new ideas – even if they might mean more work.
  • Give advice and take blame freely.
  • Never quit learning.
  • Praise others often and easily. Include everyone possible in praise.

And, of course, Go BIG or Go Home! Yes, there are times when you need to do a pilot or start small, but make sure that's not an excuse for not putting in the effort needed to Go BIG! Going small won't let you have the kind of reach you need to have an impact. That only comes from going BIG!


Start BIG : EasyGo


Blake Schroedter, Founder, EasyGo

Watch a video of our Dispensers on Kickstarter
Visit the EasyGo Dispenser website

EasyGo_Founders_picHow did you come up with the idea for your product? I had always felt that there had to be a better way to "store, carry, and dispense" protein, especially after I would return from long and strenuous missions.  I had to resort to using engine funnels, make shift dispensers, and a variety of other products that caused more grief than good.  It was not until that I was on my way home from my second combat deployment when I developed the solution.  I sought after the advice of my two friends, who are now co-founders, and together we created the Easy Go Dispenser.

Who needs your product? After careful market research and mentoring from our advisement team, we have discovered a need from 4 specific markets.  Parents with infants, athletes, Non Government Organizations (NGO's), and military.  There is a specific use for each of the 4 markets with an opportunity to position ourselves within a combined 390 million dollar market (domestic). At the end of the day we believe that our consumers will tell us how they will use the EasyGo Dispenser since it can be used with a variety of different powders.

Why are you excited about the opportunity? It has always been a dream of myself and the co-founders to create something that everyone could use. It is an interesting process to watch your ideas come to life. I look forward to the day when I am on a plane and watch a mother feed her baby with our product or see a random guy at the gym using the EasyGo Pro.

What are your plans for your invention? We are set to launch our product on Kickstarter (funding platform for start ups) through our website on Saturday March 11th.  We are hoping to raise capital for our initial tooling and production costs.  We will be on-line at first while developing a strong sales history prior to being stocked on shelves in retail outlets. 

How can someone who thinks this is a great idea get involved in your project? It's easy, just go to our website and either purchase our product, post a comment, or like us on Facebook.  We would love any comments or support! 

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs? It is always a gamble but you really have to take your time and make sure that you are legally protected.  It is amazing how small the details are that can determine whether or not you will succeed.  If you do the proper research, have a great advisement team, and are willing to go the extra mile, you will have an amazing journey. Finally, surround yourself with good people you can trust. Choosing my partners was easy after serving in combat with these guy, we trust each other with our lives!


Organize Big : Tara Barker


Tara Barker
Professional OrganizerTara Barker

Tara wasn’t always an organized girl. There are some people out there who are truly born cookie-cutter-no-clutter organized; but for the rest of the world, there's stuff and lots of it. Tara has always been an aspiring artist with a strong desire to make the world around her a more beautiful, enjoyable and organized place.

As she earned her degree in graphic design and illustration, she babysat for many families whom she adored. She also saw many areas throughout their homes that weren’t living up to their "organized" potential.

Once the children were snug in their beds, Tara set out to un-junk the junk drawers and re-work the coat closets. As the homeowners picked up on this newfound desire for organized functionality, Tara was invited to "play" with the kitchen instead of coming to play with the kids!

Tara's passion for organization has created multiple benefits including living a simpler, more enjoyable life for herself and for those she loves.



Start BIG : Tanja Neubauer


Tanja Neubauer
Inventor Entrepreneurtanja

Tanja Neubauer is both a give BIG and a start BIG story!  Tanja is a soccer mom, SAP whiz and now an inventor too!  Tanja has a patent pending and a trademark logo for the Fring-ez.

Fring-ezJust what is a Fring-ez? The Fring-ez is a tool that provides an easier way to cut fringe on the popular No-Sew fleece blankets. It is an adjustable clear acrylic cutting template.

The tool allows a person to place the fabric’s edge in it, then run a pair of scissors down a row of slots to cut fringe all the same length and width in a straight line. It can accommodate four-ply fleece and can adjust to cut fringe that’s two, three or four inches long and an inch wide. It can be used on any kind of material to make fringe on items such as blankets, scarves, pillows, and sleeping bags.

Have you always been inventive?  Not really, I'm not crafty at all. However, I always looked for ways to make a job easier and more efficient.

How did you come up with the Fring-ez idea? I was having a hard time making a fringed fleece blanket for my great niece. I don’t sew, and I’m not a crafty person at all. I had a terrible time cutting because I can’t cut straight.  I could not find a suitable cutting tool, so I invented one.

How do you market Fring-ez?  The Fring-ez, which sells for $19.95, plus shipping, can be ordered on, small fringez and at my website:  I also now have a mini Fring-ez for half-inch-wide tab for small fringe.

So you are not just an inventor but also an entrepreneur?  I guess so! My first marketing venture was at the November Holiday Gift show at Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio.  I'm not only inventing, but I had to learn how to source fabricators, understand packaging and all the other aspects of starting a business.

Where else are you selling your product?  I currently have 200 Fring-ezs in stock, which I sell on Amazon and at area shows, including at the recent Bargain Mania at Veteran’s Memorial in Columbus, OH.

What are you most excited about?  I'm hopeful my template will be featured on a national craft show!  What I'm most excited about is helping others. I hope the success of  Fring-ez will allow me greater resources to help the homeless and other community outreach programs in which I've become very involved with in the last year.

What has been your greatest surprise? My entire family looks at things differently. At first my kids (Neubauer and her husband, Scott, both IT consultants, have six children between them.) didn't understand why I was pursuing making this product. They are now seeing ideas for new products in many things they do every day!  


Work Big : Rebel Brown


Rebel Brown
Growth Strategy Specialistrebel_brown

Rebel Brown -- great name, great woman with a great Work BIG story to tell!

Tell us about your background. I've been a successful consultant for over 20 years. My focus areas are business and market strategy, company and product positioning, and go-to-market launches. I’ve worked with companies ranging from start-ups and small business to corporate turnarounds. I've helped over 100 clients across Europe and the US. I even ran a business from Paris for two years bringing European businesses into the US market which was a lot of fun!

I began my consulting business focusing on high technology and complex products for both B2B and B2C audiences.  Since I wrote Defy Gravity, I've expanded my focus to include clients in a wide range of industries and business models.  I’m even working with a great new Zero Gravity thinking MLM business.  I began my career as a sales representative in the large mainframe computing space by selling into financial services and aerospace industries head-on against IBM. That was quite the heads-up for a country gal from a small town.

What BIG obstacles have you faced in your career? Any lessons to share? There have been lots of obstacles — most of them created by myself and my own personal gravity. When I started in business, I was usually the only woman in the room.   I made the mistake of trying to act like a man in a man’s world. There weren't any female role models. It took me decades to learn that my biggest strengths were found in my woman’s intuition and perspectives. Once I learned that, everything became easier.

I also had a lot of issues with my own worthiness. I never could understand why I kept sabotaging myself over and over again. I’d create fabulous things in my life, and then they’d fall apart. Mostly in my personal life. I couldn’t understand it and spent decades in therapy.& Then at the ripe old age of 50, I recovered completely blocked memories of childhood abuse and torture that make Deliverance look like a party. Wow. As I recovered those memories and began to heal, everything fell into place about my life – and my own personal gravity. That shift has been the biggest journey of my life, and I’m blessed to have it. My next goal is writing a book about my journey to healing, and then getting out and sharing my lessons learned with others who had similar crisis-type experiences that are limiting their own potential. We can all thrive, not just survive, on the other side of horror. I blog about about my journey at Thriving on the Other Side.

What prompted you to write Defy Gravity? In all of my consulting clients I saw one common barrier to growth: gravity.  Gravity is the status quo way of thinking about and doing business.  Unfortunately, as our market dynamics accelerate - the way we've always done it becomes the reason for the mess we’re in – unless we shift. To successfully grow in the new economy we have to shift our thinking.  We can no longer let our past determine our future.  What made us successful year ago most likely doesn't work today.

All those paint-by-number strategy processes miss out on the most important element of growth: shifting the way we think about our business.  We can apply as many new strategy processes as we want, but until we shift our perceptions and our approaches to match the reality in our markets today, we'll  not reach sustainable success.

defy-gravityDefy Gravity applies the Principles of Flight to our businesses. Flight is the perfect analogy for today’s world.  Think about it: pilots don’t worry about what happened to them 100 miles ago - they focus forward on what’s coming at them.  If they see a storm, they change course.  If they find better tailwinds, they adapt their flight to take advantage of those winds. We need to do the same in our businesses.

Defy Gravity isn't your typical strategy book.  It's an all-in-one business guide that offers BOTH theory and practical application. It gives detailed instructions for how to create and execute a high-velocity growth strategy using simple questions, guided exercises and compelling case studies. I also offer focused, easy-to-apply exercises to support leaders and their teams to apply Defy Gravity to their own businesses.

What do you think holds most people and/or businesses back, stopping them from defying their own gravity? Gravity exists because we create it.  We are Natural Born Gravity Machines. It’s just in our DNA. However, we're Gravity Machines because we are also Learning Machines. Think about it. We learn from our experiences - good, bad or indifferent.  We learn from our families, our friends, our teachers - in grade school, business school and the school of hard knocks.

We blend all of those lessons to create our beliefs about ourselves and everything else in our world. Those beliefs become our knowns and truths.   Over time, knowns become our status quos, our business legends, and our personal legends.  They become Gravity.

We hang on to that gravity - to our knowns about our businesses and ourselves - because they're safe and comfortable.  The more things change, the more we hang on especially in a scary economy or personal situation.  We hang on even as our world moves on. We hang on even when the way we've always done things is causing us to crash and burn. The good news is that as learning machines we can learn to defy gravity.  The key is questioning ourselves and our knowns, our beliefs and actions, our distinct value, our best market opportunities, and our flight path to success. Defy Gravity includes specifics on how to question those areas effectively and create a flight plan for growth.

Who has inspired you along the way? So many people.  I've been blessed with a number of mentors throughout my career, from CEOs who started out as clients and later became friends, to leading venture capitalists who taught me so much about business, to my own friends who are my family.  I have also been blessed to work with some of the most brilliant minds in business – people who have been so open and generous with their experiences and lessons. The list is endless.  Now it’s my turn to pass on those lessons and coach others.

What's next for you?  I have so many balls in the air!  I’m speaking and also offering workshops on applying the lessons of Defy Gravity to real world business and personal personal opportunities for growth. I've also released a new Zero Gravity system of training DVDs and a workbook, designed to help business leaders apply the lessons of Defy Gravity more extensively to their own organization. I’m ramping up to be a Vistage executive speaker as well. I’m also very excited about an opportunity in which I’m working as a Joint Venture to create the University of Business Success for small and home-owned business leaders that will be available later this year.  And, as always, I’m working with a number of clients on their positioning and growth strategies.


Start Big : Jimmy Tomczak


Jimmy Tomczak
Inventor and Founder, TOMBOLOpaperfeet_jimmy-tomczak

Jimmy, inventor of Paperfeet, has a terrific Start BIG story!

What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?

Seek and find available resources. Do whatever you can to talk with professors, mentors, fellow peers and their networks early and often. College-specific programs, classes, centers and similar are all incredible resources that are less available once you graduate, too.

paperfeet logoApply for business competitions and programs that are only available to college students. I applied for hundreds of independent scholarships before graduating high school. Combined with working before and after my classes in college, I eventually earned enough from just a handful of the scholarships I won to pay my way through school. Don’t miss a window of opportunity for free money that is restricted to your student status.

Start a business. Learn by doing. The best way to become an entrepreneur is to have a product, find a customer, and start making sales! Fail fast and often but make sure these are intelligent failures in that you can apply everything you learned in missing the mark to exceeding expectations the next time around.

Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

Absolutely not. Even a seasoned entrepreneur can work hard and achieve near-perfection only to have the rug pulled out from under them by an unforeseen market shift or other anomaly. I graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Neuroscience, and I also completed the Program in Entrepreneurship. In addition to Michigan’s business school, U-M’s entrepreneurship program has been growing strong but I still remember what I first thought after meeting someone who wanted to “major in entrepreneurship.”

“Entrepreneur” is the title some people give themselves after they've achieved what they previously defined as success, and as validated by an external party. There’s no such thing as an entrepreneurship major. Learn the basics, sure, but applying creative problem solving and time management to an uncanny ability to complete innovative projects with speed and clarity is the best “formula” for entrepreneurial success that I know. Do what works for you!

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Creativity. Ability to get stuff done. Advanced networking skills.

Creativity, like entrepreneurship, is a challenging subject to “teach.” But many argue that a creative mind is the most valuable asset a person can have. Combining rare creativity with the ability to break down a problem into manageable steps and an executable solution helps make a successful entrepreneur. Factor in real networking, where collaboration happens and relationships are built beyond business cards, and you’ll have the winning skill set of a successful entrepreneur. Always remember, success is what you define it as, and optimizing your own unique abilities that you already have will get you there faster than any advice you read. Best of luck.

How did the idea for your business come about?

I founded TOMBOLO, maker of uncommon goods for the collective good after inventing “paperfeet” – minimalist sandals made from up-cycled outdoor advertisement material. At the time, I had a leaky roof and couldn't afford a full repair. One of the contractors that gave me a quote said that his company sometimes used giant billboard vinyl sheets as durable, waterproof tarps. I cold called several ad companies and eventually found a full 14x48-foot sign sheet that functioned as the perfect roof tarp for the winter. The following year I revisited an early idea I had of making paper-thin sandals from Tyvek – the puncture-proof material used for shipping envelopes. Tyvek failed but the billboard worked surprisingly well for the first edition of what would eventually become the retail-ready paperfeet of today. In less than a year, the hand-made billboard shoes have been shipped around the world and featured in national media. But to take things to the next level and scale manufacturing I’m launching a Kickstarter community project to raise the funds needed to do volume production here in the United States.


Work BIG : Laura Goodrich


Laura Goodrich, Author


Laura Goodrich offers great advice on how to Work BIG.

What Work BIG advice does Laura have? In her book Seeing Red Cars and through her coaching work, she helps people to: 

  • Resist the natural inclination to focus on their negative thoughts, concerns and fears
  • Create a sense of awareness around their individual interests, passions, strengths and values
  • Make the connection between their personal and professional wants as well as those of their team and organization to create positive outcomes

What’s the meaning of the title Seeing Red Cars?  “It’s a metaphor for focusing on what you want.  That’s a concept everyone can relate to. It's based on the idea that if you buy a red car you start seeing red cars everywhere you look. Why? Because you're focusing on them. Taking the analogy further, if you choose the positive outcomes you want, and you're constantly thinking about them, you will attract those outcomes into your life by way of that intentional focus.”

Tell us more about the scientific research behind why we focus on what we don’t want. “Ellen Weber, CEO of the MITA Brain Institute, explained that it's a combination of social conditiseeing red cars bookoning and life experience.  We develop a fear-based response that begins with our unique genes and is socially conditioned within our families. The key is to acknowledge those forces and to plan and take purposeful actions so that you remain in control.”

How can the stories and exercises in Seeing Red Cars help individuals and workplaces deal with today’s new normal?  "The marketplace is undergoing dramatic change, technology is advancing rapidly, and people are uncertain about the future. This is an environment in which fear and worry escalates, allowing an unconscious negative focus to get in the way of productivity, motivation, innovation and solutions. Being clear about what you want affects others and allows you to anticipate situations and take appropriate action to ultimately get what you want.”

Where should people start if they want to start focusing on their “I want” list versus their “I don’t want” fears? “Start with the knowledge of your passions, interests, and strengths, and then play close, constant attention to what you can control, along with what you want and are working toward. Create for yourself mental pictures of your desired outcomes and the feelings associated with achieving those wants, and choose red objects or items to remind you of those desired outcomes.”

More about Laura…

Laura is the host of a national radio program, and shares stories about incredible people for a major market television station. She has a degree in Training and Organizational Development from The University of Minnesota, is a member of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) and the National Speakers Association (NSA).  She received coach training from both the Corporate Coach University and the Coaches Training Institute.

Laura is co-owner of On Impact Productions, an integrated content company which specializes in authoring and producing videos, documentaries, television series, speaking and coaching, and consulting that is dedicated to engaging people, teams and organizations to successfully maneuver the wild roads of change.





Lead BIG : Kevin Eikenberry


Kevin Eikenberry
Author, Chief Potential Officer at The Kevin Eikenberry Groupkevin_eikenberry

Kevin Eikenberry leads BIG. After nearly 18 years of running a successful leadership, coaching, and consulting business, Kevin had a BIG idea.

He and his colleague Guy Harris were designing a new supervisor training workshop to deliver across the country when they got the idea for their new book, From Bud to Boss. Wanting to extend the usefulness of both the book and the workshop, Eikenberry and Harris also created the Bud to Boss Community, a place where people can find resources and relationships to encourage them in their leadership journey.

Bud to BossTell us about the book.
From Bud to Boss: Secrets to a Successful Transition to Remarkable Leadership is written for three groups of people: people who are transitioning to their first leadership position, people who are looking for their first promotion to leadership, and people who want to develop others as leaders. It is written as a practical guide book with action steps and self-assessments. We want people to do more than read the book – we want them to live out the principles in the book.

Tell us about the Community.
We wanted to find a way to add value to people beyond a book. Leadership transitions are tough. Many times, people don’t get the support, encouragement, and training they need. We hope that the community will provide resources and relationships to help people grow as leaders. We will provide learning resources as well as a place for people to interact and share their stories, struggles, and experiences as leaders. Within the community, we offer Bonus Bytes, additional content linked to specific sections of the book.

What motivates you?
More than anything else, I want to help people become better leaders. Leaders can change the world for the better. Beyond that, when you become a better leader, you become a better person. All of the skills we talk about with people related to improving their leadership skills can be applied in other areas of life as well. When people learn communication or conflict resolution skills, those skills enrich their lives in other ways.

I believe that every person and every organization has extraordinary potential. I encourage people to invest time, energy, focus, and money to realize their potential.

A little more about Kevin…

Kevin is also is the creator and content developer of The Remarkable Leadership Learning System, a continual leadership development process focused on developing the thirteen competencies of remarkable leaders with virtually delivered content to leaders worldwide.

He previously published several other books including Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time and #LEADERSHIPTweet.


Live BIG : Steve Silberberg


Steve Silberberg
Owner FitpackingSteve

Steve offers an inspiring Work BIG story. Fitpacking is a novel Live BIG offering.

Meet Steve and Fitpacking.

Fitpacking offers backpacking vacations designed to deliver weight loss. The owner, Steve Silberberg, graduated from M.I.T. in 1984 with both a Bachelors and Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Steve was a software contractor for over 20 years. His client list included DuPont, Polaroid, Tektronix, Acadian Asset Management, the EPA, Talbots and Data I/O. Steve's other careers include college professor, founding an Internet lost & found site, aerobics instructor, museum curator, expert witness, stand-up comedian, electronic publisher, and filmmaker. Steve's Air Sickness Bag Museum is the largest collection in the continental United States and has garnered international press as well as national TV and radio coverage. Steve prefers to spend his time backpacking in the wilderness.

What led to you following your dreams and giving up your IT job?

Not surprisingly, it doesn’t take much urging to give up a job in IT.  That’s not to say that IT isn’t interesting or exciting - it can be.  It’s just that unless you’re in a truly innovative environment, you become a commodity like any other business “resource”.  While the financial rewards of such positions may be considerable, the toll it takes upon you stress-wise can also be considerable.

Ultimately, I followed my dreams because there was not much of a future in my path at the time.  Furthermore, I reached a point in my life where the quality of life was much more important to me than a nicer house or being able to afford a nicer car or better restaurants.

What is fit packing?And who benefits by participating?

Fitpacking guides moderately overweight people on backpacking adventure vacations to stunning destinations in order to lose weight, get in shape, and alter body composition.  You lose weight because all the food you eat for the week must fit in your pack.  This limits your intake and the more food you bring, the more weight you have to carry through the mountains. Fitpacking is targeted for people who are approximately 15-75 pounds overweight, but that's mostly a guideline.

How does it help others realize their dreams?

It’s not hyperbole to assert that some participants change their lives by Fitpacking.  Hikers not only jump start their fitness levels and use their trip as a foundation for regaining their fitness, they also become stress-free as many of our Fitpacking destinations are outside the range of cell phone signals.  Plus, Fitpacking trips teach people the skills necessary to be self-sufficient in the remote wilderness. That's an empowering feeling.

What advice would you give to others who want to follow their passion?

Number one is make sure your family is secure and fed.  Don’t make them suffer for your passion. Beyond that, exercise due diligence, but only in moderation.  Researching marketing data and statistics for six months while your window of opportunity closes is unnecessary hesitation that doesn't serve you well as an entrepreneur.  As with any experiment, eventually you just have to try it.

If your product or service is something nobody has ever heard of, jump right in.  You will be able to learn very little about selling sauerkraut juice without trying it yourself.  (P.S.:  Sauerkraut juice is an actual product!)

What makes you a success? 

Well, I don't really consider myself a success. To me, a successful person starts a program that feeds starving third world villages. I just help people get fit. But if I am a success, it's because my parents taught me to treat others with dignity and respect. So, if I can open people's eyes to the wilderness, show them how enjoyable it is and help them to not fear it, then I guess that's a small measure of success! 


Give BIG : Jennet Robinson Alterman


Jennet Robinson Alterman
Center for Women jennet

Jennet Robinson Alterman and the Charleston, SC Center for Women are an inspiring Give BIG story.

Jennet is the Executive Director for the Center for Women, the only comprehensive women's development center in South Carolina. The Center for Women is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to make personal and professional success an everyday event for women in the Lowcountry.

What does the Center for Women do? We help women succeed every day. We connect thousands of women across the Tri-County area to professional sources for practical help by providing educational programs on important issues such as small business development, financial literacy, life transitions, discrimination of all types, multiculturalism, family issues, career and business.

We also provide counseling, peer support groups and referrals. We create a network for women to come together and address the issues in their lives. One thing we know for sure is that women deserve equal pay and equal rights.  

Share some highlights of what the Center for Women has done. We’ve helped hundreds of women start their own businesses. Through our micro-loan program we’re helping to create jobs. Our job coaching program helps women to find a job. In 2010 the Center conducted over 110 programs and events, and reached 6,000 women, bringing the total of women we’ve touched since the Center was founded in 1990 to 70,000.

In February 2006 the Center was recognized by Oprah Winfrey with an Oprah’s Angel Network Grant. The Center was honored in 2009 with the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce 1773 award for the Public/Non-Profit Sector and People Against Rape’s Outstanding Victim Service Program.

What’s your goal for the Center? To see it recognized as the premier resource in the community for women entrepreneurs and for all business owners seeking both professional and personal development opportunities for themselves and their employees.

Tell us about your background.  I’ve worked in television broadcasting, state and federal government – where I experienced firsthand the difficulties that the few women in the legislature had in being accepted as equals – and the non-profit sector.     

I have extensive background in international development having served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan, Peace Corps Country Director in Swaziland and the Interagency Coordinator for Peace Corps worldwide. During my tenure with the Peace Corps, I worked on projects in over 40 countries. I saw firsthand over and over again that where women are disenfranchised the overall economic and social health of a country is adversely affected.  

What’s next for you and the Center? I want to open up an ongoing dialogue about women and power and encourage my sisters in this community to take their rightful place at the public policy and boardroom tables. I am willing to share what I learned at Harvard to teach all of us how to develop the power to bring about the changes we need to have a sustainable quality of life. Traditionally, power has been seen as something to have "over" someone or something. I propose that women seek the power "to" achieve a common goal.

As Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn wrote in Half the Sky, the great moral imperative of the 19th century was the abolition of slavery, in the 20th century it was the end of totalitarianism and in the 21st century it is women's rights.

I want to be a powerful force in achieving that moral imperative, and I want lots of company doing it.

"I will leave you with the words of Abigail Adams, wife to a president and mother of a president. When John Adams was away in Philadelphia writing the Constitution, she wrote to him: 'Remember the ladies. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a revolution, and we will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.' It’s time to listen to the message."

More about Jennet’s extensive and worthy contributions…

She serves on the Spaulding Paolozzi Foundation Board of Directors, the Board of the Trident Urban League, the Regional Advisory Board of the Leadership Institute of Columbia College, the Advisory Council of Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding, the Advisory Board of the Junior League and the Advisory Council of the Lowcountry Graduate Center. In 2003 she was recognized as a Woman of Distinction by the Carolina Lowcountry Girl Scouts, and in 2004 she was chosen as one of the Skirt! Magazine 10. In December 2008, Jennet gave the College of Charleston commencement address and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.


Get Your Big On : Spotlight


spotlight Spotlight

Don't you love reading stories about people who are making a positive difference? The Get Your BIG On team sure does - and thinks there needs to be more of them! So, with our Spotlight section, we're doing just that - giving a shout out to inspirational people who understand that success is more than a corner office or a big job title.  

Lead BIG

Mike Henry, Sr., President & Founder, Lead Change Group

mike_henry-sm"At Lead Change, we don't just want to talk about leadership. We want to apply people-centric, values-based leadership to make our world better. People all over the globe want to be their best, and we can help make that revolution happen." 

Continue reading


Work BIG

Rebel Brown, Growth Strategy Specialist & Author Defy Gravity

 "When I started in business, I was the only woman in the room. I made the mistake of trying to act like a man in a man's world. It took me decades to learn my biggest strengths were found in my woman's intuition and perspective."

Learn more about Rebel...


Live BIG

Paul McConaughy
Michigan Nutrition Networkpaul_mcconaughy

"I get to spend each day learning and doing things that are bigger than life, like creating innovative programs to help low income families eat healthy and stay active."



Give BIG

Jennet Robinson Alterman
Executive Director, Center for Women

jennet"I've had enough experience in third world countries to know that when you give women economic independence and educational opportunities, the world becomes a better place."

Story continued...


Start BIG

Blake Schroedter, Michael Pett, Tony Genovese - EasyGo Dispenser

What do three soldiers have in common? A great idea that innovates how to store, carry and dispense  protein powder and baby formula powder!



Organize BIG

Michelle Morton, Founder
Clutter Control

"I work with busy single parents and over-worked entrepreneurs so they can find a way to live simpler, tidier, healthier, more organized and less stressful lives."



Organize Big : Michelle Morton


Michelle Morton
Professional Organizermichellecropped2

Michelle Morton is a DIY mompreneur who inspires others to simplify their lives. She doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk and her daily life is living proof of that. Michelle offers a different voice with a different message. Once a single mother, then a stay-at-home mother and now a momprenuer, but always a mother, Michelle clearly understands the challenges of being organized, living simply and making the time to achieve her personal and professional goals. After many years of letting her personal life take over and get in the way of achieving her professional goals, she decided once and for all to take control.

Now she sees it as her chance to help others.  Michelle doesn't claim to have all the answers, but she certainly shares what works, and doesn't, for her. Michelle shares her simple tips on conquering chaos which saves you space, time and money – TODAY. She has combined her heartfelt passions with being a voice of change. With style and a special savvy for decluttering and getting organized, she is a support system for those who are juggling single parenting (both moms and dads). She also wants to help others who want to become entrepreneurs to achieve their personal and professional goals

A New York native and the eldest of three sisters, Michelle’s zest for making a difference in the lives of others started when she entered the paralegal profession. Soon she realized that her focus and real interests rested elswhere -- being a stay-at-home mom raising three young boys. She started her business, Clutter Control, so she could be “that” mom - the one that other moms call for help, and to be that friend who lends an extra ear. More than anything else Michelle aims to be that person who mentors others to believe in themselves and to start living their dream life.

Michelle has trained with top professionals in the organizing professio. With over a decade of experience, Michelle has shown clients how to conquer the chaos with humor and encouragement. She loves teaching that getting organized is not a one-time goal; rather, it's a lifestyle that will give you the time you need to spend with your family and with yourself. Clutter is stressful, but Michelle hopes that you will think about the life you are living and the choices you make everyday. She is just like you—trying to find a way to live a simpler, cleaner, healthier and less stressful life.

Michelle has been featured in several national magazines and online journals. She is always enthusiastic in her mission to teach others that YOU can do it for yourself too! She lives a very simplified life in Raleigh, NC, with her husband and three boys (ages 15, 11 and 7) as she tries to teach them the finer points of organizing.

Although Michelle is not a sports fan, she spends a great deal of time on the ball field with her boys! When she’s not working, you can find Michelle amongst piles of laundry trying to conquer that bottomless pile (you know the one!) while enjoying a brownie or two or three.


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