Thursday, January 27, 2011

Think Big

But of course, right? I've been advised many times by as many people to think big, imagine the larger picture, and to work with that frame of mind, but never has it been so concretely demonstrated as by the unlikely group of people I've been talking to lately.

I've been working on a writing project that requires me to sit and chat with a group of Chinese-Filipino businessmen all belonging to the same family on a regular basis. The subject of our interviews have little to do with business, but because they are all entrepreneurs, the codes the live by at work are the same that they keep to in general.

While the father's aura teems with the magnanimity and cheerfulness of having lived a full life, the two sons are rather soft-spoken and more circumspect but no less charming. All of them are incredibly successful entrepreneurs in their own right — and I say this not by the size of their enterprise (so vast it's crazy and I would not be surprised if they own the building where I live, and maybe the entire block, among many others), but by the way their employees regard them with googly eyes. The employees appear to all be half-in-love with their bosses, and every word said about the top honchos is uttered with fondness.

And here's one of the things all three of them keep repeating, along with "invest in the right people". Each of them has said with the same degree of conviction that the key to business success is to "think big", "see the flow of your work down line", "imagine how much it will grow and in what direction".

"It's the same effort you put in," said one son. "Work is work. You're going to throw yourself into your passion anyway you must as well go for the big thing. Otherwise you'll just be wasting your time." This, they tell me, should be the mentality of your gut.

You can start small but never downsize your ultimate goal. Sometimes, no matter how much I seem to run away from it, I am drawn to the entrepreneurial world, and the conduct of business strikes me as a dance, a kind of salsa, mixing calculated actions with instinctive moves.

It's one thing to read this dictum in books, it's quite another to hear it from those whose lives have been made even large by adhering to it. It's one way of being. I'm beginning to really get it now.

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