Bob Burg Interview

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Segment Set up:

Saying yes, can be terrifying, but if you say yes, you might be surprised at what is possible. I have been able to start a successful business in less than nine months by simply saying yes to every unknown possibility, rolling up my sleeves, doing my homework, surrounding myself with the right team, and trusting that if yes leads to failure, I can always get back up, dust my self off and say yes to the next unknown. 

I earned the trust of people because I value myself and then give value to others.

What does saying yes mean to you?

To me saying yes means allowing room for possibility. It means giving myself permission to try and to fail, while knowing I’ll be changed afterwards having learned something new.

From the Go Giver You get what you expect. What you focus on is what you get.

  1. When was the first time you realized the power of saying yes?
  • This first time was when John Turturro asked me if I would choreograph his feature film, Romance and Cigarettes, I said matter of factly, yes. I had not choreographed anything except in my college comp class, but I knew I could do it, I knew I would do it. So I went home and learned the music and made the steps and choreographed my first feature film leading me to a career of directing, writing and choreographing film, tv and theater. And I got to work with James Gandolfini, who became a dear friend, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet,etc.
  • The second time yes changed my life, was when Petra Kolber asked me to direct her TEDx. I figured it would be just like directing any other one woman show, but I didn’t know how amazing it would be or that it would take me down the road of starting a new business.
  • And the third big one, was when John Lee Dumas suggested I do a 5 episode podcast series, so people could learn about my process. I’ve just finished editing season five of The Big Talk and now have 102 episodes in the can. That was less than one year ago.  I had no idea how to create a podcast series. It was an awesome learning experience that I love and it’s all because I said yes.
  1. Has saying yes ever backfired?

Absolutely, I said yes to  a project that in my gut I knew was not right. I had a feeling about it from the beginning and I didn’t listen to my gut. This is an important lesson. Saying yes, means being open and taking risks, not being stupid or putting yourself in risk. This project ended up costing me in legal fees and the loss of my work simultaneously.

  1. What if you say yes to something that you aren’t fully prepared for?

Run, don’t walk to the nearest computer. Start doing your research, your note-taking and learn fast. Be ready to deliver and deliver hard. You have one chance when you say yes to something you aren’t ready for, so you MUST over deliver, so you are the one they call next time and you can say yes fully confident in your ability.

  1. How does saying yes relate to your business The Big Talk and directing public speakers?

Saying yes to possibility has led to me where I am right now with The Big Talk. I decided to say yes to directing public speakers, I said yes to becoming a podcast host, I said I should become a TEDx organizer. I said yes, I’ll be on a panel at your event, even though I’ve never been on a panel before, which led me to meet  the woman who’s hosting the Art of The Big Talk event in NYC in November. I met Jamie Broderick by saying yes to the introduction, not knowing where it would end up and she is now my co-produce of TEDxLincolnSquare.  She introduced me to you, Bob and you said YES to being on The Big Talk. And now I’m here with you. All because of saying yes to one introduction.

I feel like yes is a lot like giving. When you say yes from an honest and sincere place, it plants seeds of kindness and community. That’s giving value

  1. How can we apply saying yes in our lives without it being overwhelming?

Know what you are saying yes to. And if it’s out of guilt, think again. If you’re yes is  for someone else’s benefit, that’s okay, but make sure you are comfortable with what you are saying yes to, and if there is some fear, it’s all good.

  1. People always talk about boundaries and how being comfortable with saying “no” is so important. What would you say about that?

I think saying no to an invitation to a dinner party is absolutely the right thing to do, if you are spread thin. I say no to invitations all the time because I go to bed very early during the week and I know that if I’m out late on a weekday I’m not at the level of productivity I want to be at, so I’ll say no.

What I say yes to are my needs in that moment. It may sound like I’m saying no to an invitation to the theater, but I’m really saying yes to getting a good night sleep and kicking butt the next day.

  1. How can we apply saying yes to our daily lives?

Wake up and say, yes, I’m gonna hit the gym. Say yes, to how amazing you are each day. Say yes to a project that is out of your comfort zone and blow it out of the water. Say yes to trying something new. Say yes to going on a date with someone you may not normally date, you may find your life partner.

Say yes to having the biggest life possible, because your happiness will create happiness in others. And when you say yes in business, people will be attracted to you by your willingness to say yes and your ability to back it up with expertise.

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