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BOOM! Seven Choices for Blowing the Doors Off Business-as-Usual

Seven Choices for Blowing the Doors Off Business-as-Usual by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg The Freedom to

by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg

The Freedom to Choose

Discover the power of living and working as if every day were your last.


One person can make a signi cant impact. In Boom! Seven Choices for Blowing the Doors O Business-as-Usual, Kevin and Jackie Freiberg outline how you can be that person, regardless of your title or position within an organization. Unfortunately, most people are disengaged, or “dead people working,” as the Freibergs call them. This doesn’t necessarily mean the majority of people are lazy; rather, it just means no one has taught them or given them the opportunity to excel, take their gloves o and get inspired by their working lives. By outlining seven choices everyone can make to reinvigorate their work and life, the authors show that boredom and disengagement can be overcome. The key is choosing to make a di erence and focusing on taking charge instead of levying blame and playing it safe.

taking charge instead of levying blame and playing it safe. Thomas Nelson Inc. © 2007, Freibergs.com
taking charge instead of levying blame and playing it safe. Thomas Nelson Inc. © 2007, Freibergs.com

Thomas Nelson Inc. © 2007, Freibergs.com ISBN: 9781595551160 286 pages, $26.99


This book will teach you how to:


The Freibergs point out that “courage takes practice.” Leading by example, you can empower others to voice their opinions, to work with and on behalf of others, and to cultivate their unique talents. Doing so requires that you step out of your comfort zone and risk failure and rejection. Consider the authors’ following comments, which could reawaken dormant desires and spur you on to greater achievement. “What are your gifts? How deeply have you pushed your dreams and desires away from the daily grind of work? There is an adventure with your name on it, waiting for you to step in and assume your role. It will take you places you’ve never been, places that will give you an opportunity to accomplish things you never dreamed are possible. If you step into it, you will most assuredly get in touch with some of your deepest fears. You will also get in touch with what really makes you come alive. What hangs in the balance is the quality of your life. “Your life is now; what are you waiting for?”

Make the seemingly most mundane job meaningful

Place service over self-interest

Take risks and accept the possibility of failure

Increase your success by empowering others to achieve





BOOM! Seven Choices for Blowing the Doors Off Business-as-Usual P ut 50 people in a

BOOM! Seven Choices for Blowing the Doors Off Business-as-Usual

P ut 50 people in a room, and ask them to identify the movers and shakers in their organizations and what these individuals have in common. We guarantee that

there will be at least one common denominator that cuts across every person: They believe in the power of one person to make a di erence, to be a force for positive change. These people are fully present and thoroughly engaged in what they are doing. They don’t let unfortunate circumstances or limitations drag them down, and they don’t let negative people in uence how they are going to act. These people have chosen to use their gifts and talents and life experiences to make a mark in the world. The di erence between ordinary people and extraordinary people is choice. The freedom to choose may be the most powerful attribute and precious resource you have in your life. It shapes who you become, how you express yourself, the success you achieve and the in uence you have in the world. In an age of victimization, entitlement and excuse making, people have di culty seeing that they are free. The problem is that we often disconnect cause and e ect. That is, we fail to link the consequences of our actions back to choices we’ve made. And the choices you freely make do not always lead to freedom. By rationalizing that you have no choice, you are choosing not to recognize legitimate alternatives that are yours for the taking. You are stuck in a comfort zone of inaction that is functional and safe, but that leaves you dead and disengaged, perhaps even anxious and stressed. Your choice, while seemingly benign, comes with an “unhealthy” price tag, one that could cost you more than the price you would’ve paid for constructive confrontation or moving on. We call people like this dead people working. They are physically present, but they are psychologically, emotionally and intellectually checked out! There are seven choices waiting to be made. These choices will determine the quality of your life and the signi cance of your contribution to the world in which you work. Boom! was written to help you embrace your freedom to choose. It’s about avoiding the snares of indi erence and victimization by embracing the God-given freedom inherent in all of us. It’s your wake-up call to be a leader, to create a community of purpose-driving people who, together, will create organizations that can move mountains. Make no mistake: In the end, how you live your life is your choice.

Learn to Look Optimistically to the Future

Strategy No. 1: Give Complaining a Permanent Rest

· The root of most complaining is entitlement. We complain because we aren’t getting something we think we deserve. Complaining is often just another form of procrastination that prevents you from getting to a solution. Strategy No. 2: Nourish New Ideas—The Scarier the Better

· Embrace people who don’t think like you do. New ideas raise the heartbeat, increase the blood pressure and give the organization an adrenaline rush. They are crucial to the growth of any business, and they are the lifeblood of your career. Strategy No. 3: Look for the Best Ideas in Unlikely Places

· Skepticism is often presumed to be based on logical thinking and anchored in an objective evaluation of factual data. Radical innovations are only rational in hindsight. Strategy No. 4: Remember, You Are Drinking from Wells Dug by Others

· Gratitude stems from a sense of indebtedness, from the acknowledgement that we have not arrived at where we are solely on our own. An ungrateful heart always sees what is wrong with the world and cynically makes nothing out of something. Gratitude, on the other hand, sees what is right with the world and usually nds something meaningful in nothing.


To be a player is to have a voice, to have in uence. It is to speak up and shape policies and practices that support a work environment where people are fully awake, completely alive and entirely engaged. Players in uence the cultures in which they live and work. Secure and optimistic, they have a strong sense of who they are, what they stand for and how they want to live. Players rarely get derailed by circumstances that frequently hold “victims” back. To make a di erence, you must focus on what you can control. Focusing on the things you cannot control is a waste of your limited resources. It depletes your reservoir and leaves you with less





BOOM! Seven Choices for Blowing the Doors Off Business-as-Usual

time and energy to focus on the things you can control. Players recognize that gaining traction toward a desired outcome is the result of choosing wisely between the two. They ignore the things they cannot do anything about. They simply don’t let things outside their control take up too much mental space, or they concentrate on bringing things outside their control into their control. You can control your e ectiveness by orders of magnitude by simply asking yourself the question, “Right now, at this moment, given this situation, am I focused on something I can control, or obsessing over something I can’t control?” Assess your own situation and then decide what you can in uence and what you can’t. The more you focus on the things you are worried about but can’t control, the more you disempower yourself. The more you focus on what you can control, the more freedom you have to take a stand! Develop the discipline to ask these four simple but very powerful questions in every situation and boom, you will take a huge step away from helplessness and a powerful step toward becoming more in control.

• What do I desire most? What do I want to create?

• What part of the problem do I own?

• To what part of the solution can I contribute?

• What about me must change?

At rst, these questions may make you uncomfortable because they won’t let you o the hook. But don’t give up. Over the long haul, these questions will absolutely energize you by giving you the authority to act, the power to e ect change and the freedom to stay the course. You will feel more at liberty to follow your dreams for being a most valuable player! The challenge we’re laying down starts with each of us having the courage to ask, “What am I doing that’s meaningful? How am I adding value? What does it mean to be a person who literally creates my own success? And how do I become this person?”


Once you’ve decided to be a player, you have to know who you’re playing against—and here comes a big surprise: For most of your life, we’re willing to bet, you’ve been playing against yourself! All these years, while you’ve been blaming them—“They won’t let me grow”; “They hold me back”; “They don’t care about my success.” You never knew that there is no “they.” There’s only you and me, and no one can stop us but ourselves.

Your work matters. And the sooner you realize that, the sooner you can begin to change your life.

Do you know who “they” are? Have you met “them”? The mysterious “they” lurks in every organization. Being a victim is a choice, much of which hinges on our failure to be accountable for our own outcomes in life. Instead, we blame others for getting in the way of our progress. Don’t wait for others to show you the way—blaze the trail yourself. If we truly believe that leadership is in uence, and that anyone within an organization can in uence others, then doesn’t it make sense to expect more leadership from ourselves and to stop searching for it in others? Blaming is a defense tactic for those who desire to take the spotlight o of themselves and shift the problem to someone else. Instead of asking, “What have I done to cause the situation I’m in?” the question becomes, “Why are they doing this to me?” If you want to blow the doors o business as usual, take some initiative; stop waiting for guidance. It just may be that no one has a better understanding of the problem and how to x it than you do.


When your contribution takes the form of service to others, your work suddenly starts to come alive with meaning. But service is more than helping others, because being of service is the greatest gift you can give yourself. As Gandhi said, “The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose.” No matter what part of the world you are from, what you do for a living, how much money you make, or what you value and believe in, we all share a common interest: self-interest. We all come into this world narcissistic and self-centered. This natural focus on self-interest is a basic human trait, and it is deeply ingrained in who we are. When self-indulgence becomes the norm, our egos become the center of the universe and feeding them becomes priority No. 1. The problem is that when we equate happiness with self-indulgence, we develop a chronic egocentricity. But a me- rst





worse, and you will develop a spirit of self-righteous indignation that kills the very teamwork
worse, and you will develop a spirit of self-righteous indignation that kills the very teamwork

worse, and you will develop a spirit of self-righteous indignation that kills the very teamwork you need to get results. What we dwell on gets in us, and what’s in us spills out of us. Develop a habit of focusing forward and—boom—you will engage in more activities that support your goals. Spend more time thinking about solutions, and your problems will become more manageable. Look for the good, the giftedness that God has built in others, and you will appreciate them more. Do this with enough people, and you will develop an appreciation for co-workers who are di erent from you. Your associates will become less obstructive and more cooperative. All of this increases the likelihood of getting the results you want, which, in turn, motivates you to stay focused in the right direction.


Your work matters. And the sooner you realize that, the sooner you can begin to change your life. If you don’t plan for your life to matter, guess what? It won’t, at least not to the extent you wish it did. The work you do—in fact, everything you do—is a statement about who you are. The ability to create something valuable, making the world a better place, acting courageously to serve others, is what it means to be human. Deny this, and you run the dangerous risk of becoming dehumanized, empty, unful lled, a dead person working. Work has always been one of the most important places where we seek a sense of meaning and identity. Finding meaning in the work we do is essential because work is a central activity in our lives. When our work becomes meaningful, it’s usually because it has become a channel through which we can express the gifts and talents God originally built into us. Discipline and opportunity enable us to develop our gifts and talents. The question is, does the work in which we are engaged allow us to do what we’ve been designed to do? Further, does it contribute to something larger than ourselves? Does it fully engage us? When the answer to these questions is yes, signi cance will follow. Dilbert has become the iconic spokesperson for dead people working. The cartoon character Scott Adams created wouldn’t enjoy such huge success if we didn’t identify with his cynicism and futility at some level. Do a mental survey of the businesspeople you know personally who get great pleasure out of their work. What do they have in

attitude rarely delivers the expected outcome. Focusing on our own happiness to the detriment of others—whether employees, associates, customers, clients, friends or family—does not

necessarily bring us the deep-seated, long-term happiness we desire or think we deserve. After working so hard to feed our egos, we still end up empty and unful lled. Are you here to serve or be served? If you want to make a

di erence in the world, it’s only going to happen through service,

and it’s only going to happen if you make it happen. We’re only truly happy when we’re serving someone else. The aim of purely motivated, unadulterated service is to create

better individuals, better organizations, better societies, and ultimately a better world. That is why people get such a charge out

of being part of world-class service. It’s gratifying to know that we

are part of something that encompasses more than ourselves, yet something that would not be complete without our contributions. Consider this: People are more willing to follow you, cooperate with you and support your ideas when you serve their needs. When you serve my needs so profoundly that I become empowered by your actions, I will naturally be predisposed to follow you. Why would I do anything else?


Where you focus your energy and attention determines what you see, and what you see has a dramatic e ect on your attitude, your demeanor and your e ectiveness. If your focus is backward, on why

it can’t be done, what isn’t working, what’s wrong, what could’ve

been done but wasn’t, ruminating on the problem and who’s to blame, your chances of being negative, cynical, helpless, indi erent and unmotivated are pretty high. That is the recipe for becoming a victim, a dead person working. If your focus is forward, on how it can be done, what’s working well, what you want to achieve, what’s right, what’s happening that gives you momentum and how you are going to be part of the solution, you will be more positive, hopeful, self-reliant, energetic, concerned and motivated. This is the recipe for being fully alive and fully engaged. Where you focus can also become a self-ful lling prophecy. Focus backward long enough, and your victimized thinking will drive you toward behaviors that are counterproductive. Ruminate on your problems long enough, and your problems will get bigger. Spend enough time blaming others, and the bad guys will get





BOOM! Seven Choices for Blowing the Doors Off Business-as-Usual
BOOM! Seven Choices for Blowing the Doors Off Business-as-Usual

Courage takes practice. Practice comes from putting yourself in challenging situations that activate fear.

yourself in challenging situations that activate fear. by asking for their insight, listening without distraction

by asking for their insight, listening without distraction and acting upon what we learn. Break the back of entitlement. What happens to a society in which rights and responsibilities are out of balance, a culture where people focus more on what they are owed than on what they owe? Entitlement is grounded in the belief that if I make a sacri ce for you or for the organization, then, guess what? You owe me, baby! Life is so much more ful lling when we are called to give!

common? In our experience with businesspeople in di erent positions and di erent industries around the world, we have found that it is a sense of ful llment. Most people who are happy

in life spend time doing things they are gifted at, tasks they are genetically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually engineered to excel at. These gifts and talents express who we really are and make a valuable contribution to others. Here are some questions that may help you nd your talents:

1. What have you done that felt e ortless? That came easily to you?

2. When have you felt like you were grinding your gears in hopeless work?

3. If you asked 10 people who know you well what you’re good at, what would they say?

4. What do you get a rmed for?

If you want your life to matter, then you have to transform your work into something you are turned on about.


Do people like to be around you? In our experience, far too many people talk about what they shoulda, woulda, or coulda done. MVPs get it done. There are a lot of ways to expand your in uence, but you must rst believe that it starts with you, that you are personally and professionally accountable for leading where you are planted and causing your in uence to grow. Here are a few ideas. Create vitality, energy and buzz. What happens when you create vitality, energy and buzz in an organization? Well, you are certainly more visible, and you have more of a voice than others. Your ideas will carry more weight and have more in uence on the business. That means you have a better shot at getting other people to rally around your ideas. Give people a voice. When you create room for people to “weigh in” with their ideas, you value them—even if you disagree with them. When we are valued, we feel more vital to the organization. One of the greatest ways we can energize people is


If you were to discover at breakfast that tomorrow will be your last day on earth, would that news have some e ect on how you lived your day? You know it would. So here’s the question: If life is the only game in town, then why aren’t you playing like there’s no tomorrow? You can’t innovate without experimenting, you can’t experiment without making mistakes, and you can’t make mistakes unless you are willing to risk failure and rejection. Do you have the courage to try new things, test new ideas and challenge the status quo? The problem for many of us is that we think playing it safe (doing nothing) is safe, when, in reality, safe is often risky. What makes you stand out in the eyes of your co-workers, your boss, your customers? You become unforgettable when you leverage your unique gifts, perspectives and voice to make a di erence. Of course, this assumes that you have the courage to risk, to step through the door of uncertainty to seize an opportunity. It’s not the absence of fear that makes players successful; it is their ability to step through fear that makes the di erence. No one is exempt from fear; it is deeply rooted in the human condition. In fear, we hesitate, procrastinate, rationalize, make excuses and ultimately end up living smaller, less-ful lling lives. Yet fear always confronts us with a choice. We can do the thing we fear, or we can give in to it by not taking the risk. If we choose to face it and step through it, fear loses its stronghold. Courage takes practice. Practice comes from putting yourself in challenging situations that activate fear. Fear is challenged through action. Action has the potential to impassion others. The courageous step you take today might be a gift to someone who is inspired to take bold action tomorrow. You might be surprised at how many people would follow you if you would just lead the way and do something now.





BOOM! Seven Choices for Blowing the Doors Off Business-as-Usual ACTION STEPS Get more out of

BOOM! Seven Choices for Blowing the Doors Off Business-as-Usual



Get more out of this SUCCESS Book Summary by putting what you’ve learned into action. Here are a few questions and thoughts to help you get started.

1. What about you must change in order for you to attain the results you desire?

2. Are you playing it safe? What have you been avoiding that could move you toward greater achievement?

3. Determine today to take responsibility for yourself and the impact you have on your team members, organization and customers.

4. Seek to serve. What can you do today to improve someone else’s life?

5. Are you allowing yourself to be dragged down by negative commentary on why things won’t work or can’t be done? Shake things up by listing positive possibilities on how you can improve the situation.

6. Evaluate and use your talents. Ask yourself the questions the authors pose:


• What have you done that felt effortless? That came easily to you?

• When have you felt like you were grinding your gears in hopeless work?

• If you asked 10 people who know you well what you’re good at, what would they say?

• What do you get affirmed for?

7. Don’t rest on your laurels. Remember, innovation and growth require taking risks. What are you doing to make yourself and your product memorable?

Recommended Reading

If you enjoyed Boom! Seven Choices for Blowing the Doors Off Business-as-Usual, check out:

The Carrot Principle by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

Three Feet from Gold: Turn Your Obstacles into

Opportunities! by Sharon L. Lechter and Greg S. Reid

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

the Authors
the Authors

About the Authors

Well-known motivational speakers, Kevin and Jackie Freiberg

have written a number of international best-sellers on how to change

corporate culture, increase personal success and grow a business

through the development of its people. Their publication credits

include Nuts! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and

Personal Success and Guts! Companies That Blow the Doors Off

Business-as-Usual. The couple has appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes,

CBS Morning News and CNBC. The pair has been recognized

among the “Top 30 Best Minds on Leadership” by Leadership

Excellence magazine.

Kevin is the founder and CEO of the couple’s professional

speaking and consulting firm, Freibergs.com, while Jackie serves

as owner and managing partner. Freibergs.com has worked with

companies all over the United States as well as in Europe, Japan,

India, and Central and South America to help them grow their bottom

lines by growing their people. Clients have included American

Express, Caterpillar, Century 21, Bank of America, GE, Merill Lynch

and Universal Studios.

A former professor at the University of San Diego and San Diego

State University, Kevin has a master’s in communication and a

Ph.D. in educational leadership. Jackie holds a master’s in speech

communication and a Ph.D. in leadership.

The Freibergs live in San Diego with their three children.

© 2010 SUCCESS Media. All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without prior written permission. Published by SUCCESS Media, 200 Swisher Rd., Lake Dallas, TX 75065, USA. SUCCESS.com.

Summarized by permission of the publisher, Thomas Nelson, Inc. PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37314. Boom! Seven Choices for Blowing the Doors Off Business-as-Usual by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg. © 2007 by Freibergs.com, a San Diego Consulting Group Inc. company.