Do you have a strategic plan? Did it account for COVID-19?

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(Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash)

I love strategic planning. It’s one of my favorite things to be part of in organizational life, and it’s also personally rewarding.

In my view, future-visioning is at its best not when it changes who we are, but rather, transforms us into the best-possible version, with the right attention and right resources, of course. An example would be an organization that enhances the quality of its outward-facing communication by helping to develop its marketing/communications staff, rather than simply identifying another electronic or social platform through which to communicate.

As we flip the calendar to a New Year, however, a look back over the last ~10 months has enlightened how Pollyanna much of the world has been in thinking about the future. …


Unsolicited advice goes through one ear and out through the other

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We are sometimes too quick to give unsolicited advice, but most people don’t need it. (Photo: Mohamed Hassan)

I Knew Exactly What I Needed To Do

And that was to leave the struggling relationship that was draining my energy and the job that was pushing my buttons every single day. I knew those two things weren’t working out anymore. I knew it the whole time I was putting up with it. I knew how the relationship was making me look and how the job was distracting me from my true purpose. I knew I deserved better than a man who disrespected me and a job that chose not to see my effort. I knew the toll they were both having on my mental health, and I didn't need anybody to tell me that. Whenever I had conversations with friends about my situation and they tried to tell me what to do or give me advice, they missed the point. I had the answers I needed. I knew exactly what I needed to do. I just wasn’t ready to do it. …

Develop a peak mindset to move past failures and fulfill your potential.

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Photo by Payam Tahery on Unsplash

The sport of MMA suffers a bad rap and has been called a “blood sport” by many, due to its brutal, no-hands-barred form of combat. Anything goes, pretty much.

Yet, the raw nature of the sport makes it a great place to draw insights on peak performance. The reason is simple. If you’re not in peak physical and mental form, the consequence isn’t just defeat.

It’s a brutal, unforgiving, ruthless defeat.

The people who put themselves out there and step on a cage are exposing themselves fully. There’s no place to hide, no excuses to make. It’s all on you.

So what can we learn from the full-contact sport of MMA? …

“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn’t have an opportunity.” — Bob Parsons

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Photo by Avin CP on Unsplash

Taking control of your life is simple.

Don’t believe me? Read on.

I used the word “simple” instead of “easy” in the title for a reason. Simple and easy are not the same thing. If you’re in decent shape, running is easy. And running a marathon is simple. We evolved to run. We didn’t evolve to run 26.2 miles at a time. To accomplish the latter, you just need to repeat the former.

Likewise, taking control of your life is simple but not easy. If it was easy, you wouldn’t be reading pieces like this.

So, without further ado, here are four simple steps to taking control of your life. …

The workplace is where growth happens — and your feelings are a big part of it.

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In our culture, we’re used to making the distinction between professional and personal life. We take it for granted. But if you give it some thought, does it make sense to draw such a clear line between the two?

More and more people want to look at work as something more than just a means of putting food on the table. Sure, we all need to make a living first. But if you’re here, reading something called “The Big Self Letter,” I’m guessing you also want your work to enrich you in some way.

Maybe it’s about learning practical skills. Maybe it’s about overcoming your fears, or finding out how to work with a team. Whatever you’re hoping your work to teach you, one thing is…

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Let these things go so you can thrive

My divorce forced me to reflect on, not just a failed marriage, but the mistakes I made in my entire dating history. Not even mistakes, per se, but attitudes that just weren’t conducive to happy and healthy relationships.

In the process of learning to have happier and healthier relationships myself, I’ve come to understand that much of the process involves removal, giving things up, and letting things go.

These ‘things you can give up’ apply to all sorts of relationships — romantic, friendship, business, you name it. …

A guide for those who dread the job they once used to dream of

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Photo by Zen Chung from Pexels

How did you end up here — feeling miserable, bored, or simply lukewarm about your work?

A few years ago, having the job you have right now was the dream. But these days, when the alarm goes off and you need to get out of bed, the prospect of going to work feels… not too bad, at best.

Your job felt way more exciting when you were just starting. Everything seemed like a fun challenge and you were proud of yourself. But those days are long gone, and you’re left wondering:

How to reignite that sense of happiness you used to feel at work?

Your team might be ‘catching’ your emotions at work.

How to be a Less Emotionally Contagious Leader Your team might be ‘catching’ your emotions at work.
How to be a Less Emotionally Contagious Leader Your team might be ‘catching’ your emotions at work.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I once worked for a leader who took the phrase ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve’ to a whole new level. Some labeled him as ‘passionate’ while others thought he just felt everything at work a bit more deeply than the rest of us.

Whatever the case, I started to notice that my mood at work was affected— sometimes even dictated — by his. And, it wasn’t just me. The entire team had started to joke about using his mood as a barometer for predicting how their days would unfold.

Turns out this is a bonafide psychological phenomenon called emotional contagion and it happens “when you mimic, usually without conscious effort, the emotions and expressions of people around you.” …

And it’s better this way

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

The self-improvement industry, with all its possibilities, has one big problem: It often suggests that we’re inadequate the way we are.

Self-help marketing plays on our desire to be perfect in order to feel worthy. Of course, the definition of ‘perfect’ is slightly different for everyone. But what most of us share is the idea that we need to arrive at a certain point of our “journey” to deserve good things.

In other words, we believe we need to do something specific to deserve love, a satisfying job, a sense of fulfillment, a nurturing relationship. …

The writers on whose shoulders Big Self stands

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Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

As Big Self grows into a thriving publication on self-discovery, there are a few writers who lift it off the ground. They connect the intangible ideas back to the Earth. They stand firmly in their truth long enough to give Big Self shape and substance.

I think of them as the columns of the Big Self. On the one hand, they are standalone creators expressing their original ideas. On the other, they make up a team that advocates for the Big Self vision with their unique voices.

Below, you’ll find a directory of the Big Self columns. This will make it easier to navigate the publication and find exactly the kind of reading you’re looking for. …


Big Self

Play big without the burnout.

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