Think and Be BIG!



See the previous entries for the continuing series on values in modern companies, by using ATB Financial’s 10 ATBs as a reference.

Story: The seventh leadership principle of “The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company” is:

Think Big. Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Inspirational leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for new and better ways.

Amazon’s vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online. This very intentional, BIG thinking and aspirational purpose was declared early at Amazon. And holy cow, it has been something to see it come into fruition. It’s important to have big dreams for your future, both personally and as an organization. If you can’t think big about your future, you’re not going to have a very BIG outcome. Big, of course, means a dream that takes you WAY further than where you are today. So much of this is a mindset. The following is an expert from an Inc. interview with the founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos:

“…‘What does your heart say?’

And for me, the best way to think about it was to project myself forward to age 80 and say, ‘Look, when I’m 80 years old, I want to have minimized the number of regrets that I have.’ I don’t want to be 80 years old and in a quiet moment of reflection, thinking back over my life, and cataloguing a bunch of major regrets.

In most cases our biggest regrets turn out to be acts of omission. It’s paths not taken and they haunt us. We wonder what would have happened. I knew that when I’m 80, I would never regret trying this thing (quitting a good job to start Amazon) that I was super excited about and it failing.

If it failed, fine. I would be very proud of the fact when I’m 80 that I tried. And I also knew that it would always haunt me if I didn’t try. And so that would be a regret, it would be 100 percent chance of regret if I didn’t try and basically a 0 percent chance of regret if I tried and failed. That’s a useful metric for any important life decision.’”

Key Point: Be fearless and think Big. If it’s in your heart, and you can clearly visualize it, you likely can make huge progress in that direction. Why think small or settle for slightly better than sameness? Really, when you totally settle in, with the understanding that we have a very short life overall, why not not try to be remarkable or extraordinary? Think friggin’ Big! Be BIG! And as Bezos notes, there is basically a zero percent chance of regret if you try and fail.

At ATB, “Think Big and Make it Happen”, is one of our 10 ATBs. We hate sameness or trying to be just 10 percent better. And we detest being slaves to benchmarking. Our experience is that it often limits one’s ability to truly reimagine and reinvent!

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Read The Magic of Thinking Big. The book has been around for a while, has sold millions of copies, and is still timely. 
  2. Regardless of where you’re at in your career, think BIG, start small, and begin now. You will become BIG.

BIG in Personal Leadership,


One Millennial View: Sometimes we Millennials need to take a deep breath and look around. We constantly evaluate different success levels of our peers, friends, family members, and others. It’s often easier to “think current,” or “think realistically,” because that’s safer. But, what really separates you from thinking Big enough to become Big? Why can’t you too? Truthfully, it is a mindset, and a tough one. But if you start by breaking down the barriers that prevent you from thinking Big, maybe that’s the biggest thing you can do. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis