I come from a small town.
I didn’t know how to think big so I learned to meditate.
Now I go to Big Mind.
Big Mind is a place of cosmic proportion, without words or thoughts.
It’s hard to think small when you’re in Big Mind.
But with a single knock on my bedroom door, I’m back to thinking small again.
Why Think BIG?
As a mindful leader, I think it’s important to take a step back and zoom out for a high-level view of your ultimate goals for your life and business.
To check in and see how you’re investing your time and energy.
To confirm that your daily efforts are still aligned with your values and vision.
Mindful leaders know it’s important to think BIG because they want to make a BIG difference in the world.
It takes the same amount of energy to think small as it does to think BIG.
So I tried this …
“If Bill Gates gifted me a billion dollars, after spending money on the Ferraris, trips and parties, what would I do to improve the world? “
I’d teach 100 million people to be mindful. Peace begins at home with you alone – one mind at a time.”
Now that’s Big Mind!
But sometimes fear gets in the way.
Fear of change, or fear of success and failure make thinking BIG hard to do.
Thoughts pop up like …
- What will happen if I succeed?
- Maybe I’ll fall flat on my face.
- What if I lose what I have now?
So I go back to thinking small. Because it’s easier and comfortable.
But isn’t life about making mistakes and taking risks? What have I got to lose?
You can’t think BIG and be afraid.
So I put on my BIG thinking cap and came up with these 17 things mindful leaders do differently to help them think bigger and make a BIG difference in the world.
1. Get Organized
When it’s time to think BIG, you need to be prepared.
Leaders consider the career capital they have built up from a lifetime of knowledge and experience. This means they look at what prior skills and learnings they can bring to their BIG ideas.
I’ve been using Asana to get organized. It really helps me get stuff done in a Big way.
I sat down and made task folders for my ideas, vision, talents, gifts, goals, values, journals, strengths, weaknesses, purpose, passion, people I admire, and more.
Leaders know that BIG ideas have to excite, motivate, and propel them into action.
Sometimes I’ll take the thousand mile view and imagine myself standing on the moon looking down on my life and work.
After looking at all my folders, I try and see everything that’s true about my business and life. I check for blind spots, intersections, or patterns.
I might ask myself questions like …
- How can I think differently about who I am?
- What do I need to be to change?
- How can I think BIGGER about myself?
2. Be Mindful of Strengths & Weaknesses
Leaders consider their strengths, talents, and gifts.
Here are my Top 3 Strengths:
- Perseverance, Tenacity, and Grit
- Excellent at choosing the highest priority tasks that renders everything else easy or irrelevant.
Popular business advice tells us that we should forget about our weaknesses and play to our strengths. Sounds good, but BIG thinkers see their weaknesses as opportunities for change.
You need to identify your weaknesses before you can make a change.
When you’re mindful of your weaknesses, you’re less likely to fall into old thinking and behavior patterns.
Here’s a couple of my weaknesses. Trust me, there’s more …
- I distract myself by focusing on insignificant problems that prevent me from taking action on what’s most important.
I notice that I distract myself by doing house chores or maintenance, telling myself that they’re important, when I really should be putting time toward creating my online course.
- I seek perfection. I choose to focus on small things over and over again in an attempt to achieve perfection.
For example: I get lost in the minutia of finding the perfect font or creating endless perfect-looking web pages.
3. Set Big Goals & Timelines
When setting goals and making plans, don’t play safe.
Shoot for goals that will challenge your growth edges and comfort zones. Allow yourself to imagine the possibilities.
4. Dream BIG Dreams
In order to challenge your level of commitment, set goals beyond your comfort zone.
The size of the challenge matters. Difficult goals test your courage and determination. You want goals that excite, motivate, and move you to action.
On the other hand, keep it real. Setting goals that are unrealistic or unattainable may be counterproductive and lead to worry, overwhelm, fear, and stress. Don’t forget to set difficult time frames to keep the ball rolling. Momentum is everything.
5. Think BIG start Small
Warren Buffet said, “Life is like a snowball. The important thing is finding wet snow and a really long hill.”
Start small and nurture your BIG idea like a tiny seed. Plant it in rich soil, water it, keep out the weeds, be patient, and let it grow.
6. Think Like a Child
Children are innocent and without fear. Their minds aren’t yet poisoned with belief systems, dogma and opinion.
I was at a park the other day and overheard one kid screaming at the top of his lungs, “ I can fly. I can sing. I can do anything.”
BIG thinkers believe in themselves and aren’t afraid to dream.
7. Believe BIG
Your reality is a projection of your daily thoughts.
Believe that whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Are you audacious enough to actually believe that you could make a difference in the world?
Get used to believing in yourself in a BIG way, even if you have to fake it until make it.
8. Solve BIG Problems
Get into the habit of solving problems.
Look at problems as opportunities. Practice identifying a problem and then make your brain sweat to find a solution.
Make a game out it. See problems as puzzles.
All you need to do is bring in the right talent, resources, and ideas to solve the problem. The better you get at solving problems, the more confident you’ll be when you have to face bigger and tougher problems.
Once I had a big problem. I hired a coach to help me figure out what to do.
9. Make Big Decisions
If you read my last blog post, “4 Little Words That Scare Me to Death,” you’ll see that my wife and I recently made a BIG bold decision.
We decided to sell 80% of our belongings and focus on new experiences.
We see ourselves without borders, location independent, the world is our home. We wanted to be more comfortable with uncertainty.
The result is that we feel lighter, less stressed, and happier.
That was a BIG risk for us. And it took guts.
But it was a calculated risk. We took the time and carefully planned our move. We stopped to figure out what matters most. It’s the most important work you can do.
Looking back, that one decision helps us to think even bigger now because our perspective has grown.
We’re more confident and willing to take on BIGGER goals.
10. Act Big
Thinking BIG without action isn’t enough. You must take your plans and goals and turn them into physical reality.
Action expresses priorities. Take BIG action often. Keep moving forward.
11. Leverage Big Vision
My wife and I constantly review our values. They change over time but I’ve noticed they’ve been pretty constant over the last five years.
Freedom, Contribution, Marriage, Adventure, Self-Expression, Connection and Simplicity are some of our top values.
Since time is our most precious resource, we try and maximize the use of our time. We focus on our most important values. This helps up bring our BIG vision into reality.
12. Ask BIG Questions
Get in the habit of asking BIG questions until the answers come easily.
You might ask:
- How can I offer a unique perspective on this?
- What would it take to be the best in the world?
- What is counter-intuitive?
- How can I think even bigger?
- What can we do this totally crazy?
13. Get Fresh Perspectives
Brainstorm big ideas then twist it, flip it, and turn it around to get new perspective.
When you creatively think BIG on a regular basis, new perspectives and possibilities pop out of nowhere.
Keep a BIG idea journal where you keep track of your BIG ideas, plans, and new perspectives.
14. Try BIG Idea Sex
Come up with two big ideas and fuse them together to create a brand new BIG idea.
Example: Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.
15. Be With Big Thinkers
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You are the average of the five people you hang out most with.”
The quality of your life is a function of who you go through life with.
- Look for people who inspire you to think BIG
- Look for people that will up your game
- Look for people who you love to be around and that make you feel good.
16. Be Mindful
The most efficient and effective way of thinking BIG is to be Mindful.
Mindfulness is bringing one’s complete attention to the present moment, on a moment-to-moment basis, without judgement, just as it is.
When you do small things mindfully, big things come easy.
17. Access BIG Mind
This was a BIG article. If you’ve read this far then you’re ready to think BIG. Congratulations!
I’ve kept the best secret for Thinking Large near the end.
The biggest and best tool I know for thinking BIG is to regularly practice mindful meditation and access BIG Mind more often.
Big Mind is the collective consciousness of all that is. It is the gap between two thoughts. The still point between each pendulum swing. If clouds are thoughts, Big Mind is a cloudless sky.
Mindful leaders who practice mindful meditation are the most efficient and effective thinkers and leaders in the whole world.
They are adept at going to the Source or Big Mind for inspiration and answers. Because they stop and take the time to be quiet and still. They understand that doing nothing and simply being is one of the most productive things a mindful leader can do.
They understand they they are the witness to their thoughts. And easily see how their thoughts shape their lives and business.
They see that mindful meditation enables them to easily get into flow states that make them hyper-efficient, balanced, poised, non-judgmental, and focused.
They develop clarity through mindfulness training to be fully present and aware so they can work smarter not harder for ideal life-work balance.
Mindful meditation becomes the way true leaders live their lives.
Where life lives you rather than you living life.
And in the knowledge that all is truly well and in Divine Order.