Think big and think bigger are on the verge of becoming overused catch phrases with the growth-minded entrepreneurial crowd. And I’m just as guilty. It’s a phrase I throw around and talk about all the time. We must all think bigger in order to grow. But what does THINK BIG or THINK BIGGER really mean? And how do we actually do it?
How do we think bigger?
Here’s a real-life example for you. Earlier this week I was on a coaching call and the individual mentioned to me how their thinking had recently changed as they have grown from a sales rep into a leadership position. He said that instead of walking into a restaurant and store and viewing all the people there as potential clients, he started asking himself, “Could these people work for me?” This individual had figured it out, but how can the rest of us train ourselves to think bigger?
There are three things you can do every day to practice thinking bigger and to train your brain to always think bigger no matter what situation you’re in. Let’s break them down.
- Ask bigger and better questions. We all know that the quality of your life is determined by the quality of questions you ask. So are you asking big enough questions that encourage you to think bigger every day? Or are you asking yourself the same series of questions every day – Why is that person driving so slow? Why didn’t I work out today? Can I really leave my corporate job and start my own business? And think about this, who is answering those questions? You are! But you can retrain your brain to start thinking bigger by purposefully planting bigger and better questions in you mind. It doesn’t take any more energy to ask yourself a small question (like how do I lose 5 lbs in 30 days or how do I earn $35,000 a year) than it does to ask yourself a big question (like how do I lose 25 lbs in 30 days or how do I earn $1 Million a year). The small questions have endless answers. I mean, how many ways could you lose 5 lbs in 30 days? You could create an endless list. But think about how focused and purposeful and specific you would need to get in order to lose 25 lbs in 30 days.
If you start giving your brain better questions to chew on, then you’re going to start thinking differently and just elevate your life in general. Try this – once a month choose a new question to plant in your mind and then ask yourself that question every day. Maybe it’s “Who do I need to become in order to spend 2 hours of uninterrupted time with my kids?” or “What must I say no to in order to do 100 push ups a day?” or “Who do I need to hire in order to triple my income in the next year?” Whatever it is, make sure it prompts a shift in your thinking and maybe seems a little impossible. Asking yourself those bigger questions requires you to take more risks, to grow, to be more disciplined, and ultimately to become a better version of you.
- Practice confidence. Confidence comes from recognizing that you don’t know everything, but that you do know you can figure anything out. The best way to gain confidence and to practice confidence is to fail. I know, I know, just hang with me for a minute, here. It’s actually through the process of failing and realizing that you’re just fine (and maybe even learned something new or a very valuable lesson) that gives you confidence to keep going. If you never take a risk and never test yourself, you never really know what you are capable of. Courage leads to confidence. You build confidence by having the courage to get back up after failure and to keep going. You have failed, you are not a failure. So try something new every week, something that scares you and takes you out of your comfort zone – volunteer to lead a committee at your kid’s school, tell someone you love them, sign up for a marathon, or say no to another obligation. Whatever you are afraid of, for whatever reason… go do that. It may be great or you may fall on your face. But you will survive and your confidence will soar. Stepping out of your comfort zone like that and developing confidence (and having courage to keep going) leads to bigger thinking.
- Implement a daily routine. Practice means progress. In addition to practicing confidence and asking yourself bigger and better questions, you’ve got to create a series of daily habits for success. Asking bigger questions and building your confidence are great, but you will not really be thinking bigger or changing your life, until you take action. That’s where building a purposeful daily routine comes in. Your day may look different than mine (after all, not everyone likes to start their day with wheatgrass), but the point is to get really clear on your goals and then construct daily habits that support them. No excuses. If your goal is to build up an online coaching business in order to leave your 9 to 5 corporate job, then perhaps you build in an hour of personal development and entrepreneurship training and an hour of working on marketing and building your client base every day. No cheating. When you do cheat the only person you are really cheating is yourself. The habit of implementing and sticking to your daily routine means you may need to get creative in other areas of your life, which leads to thinking bigger. Every quarter, reassess where you are at with your goal and reset. If your new routine hasn’t become a habit stick with it. If it has, then it’s time add in another activity to get you closer to your goal (or maybe you met your goal and it’s time to up it!).
Asking purposeful questions, building confidence, and creating a strategic daily routine all work together to get you to think big and ultimately to take action to live the biggest life possible. Structure in your day will help you get to your goals faster, because it allows you the freedom to think, create, ask bigger and better questions, make decisions on the important things, take risks, and more. And the more you ask bigger question, the more your confidence increases, and the more you implement new daily habits, which leads you to asking even bigger and better questions. Then just like that, you’ve created a virtuous cycle of thinking bigger! And there’s no going backwards from there.