Michael Port Wants You to Think Big

Michael Port A couple of months ago, we exchanged messages on Twitter and agreed to meet for lunch. We met several years before.

When you can do that and pick up the conversation from where you left off, you are talking with someone who has the ability to think bigger. Michael Port does just that, and helps others do the same.

His mission is to rally big thinkers—prospective, potential, wildly in-motion, and particularly bashful up-and-comers.

As he says on his bio, he stands at the forefront of a movement of people that are starting personal, professional, societal and spiritual revolutions.

We connected especially on the basis of yoga teaching past — my mother has taught yoga for 25+ years — and martial arts present — I practiced Karate-do for a few years. Michael began his life as an actor — he understands we're all leading actors on the stage of life.

Think big, and Book Yourself Solid go hand in hand. In occasion of the second release of his first book, Michael agreed to share his thoughts on work, and life.


We met at the beginning of your entrepreneurship journey when you agreed to lead a conversation about "Book Yourself Solid" and I know you're about to launch the second edition. What has changed, and what has remained the same from 8 years ago?

Michael: The Book Yourself Solid system is supported by both practical and philosophical principles; that has not changed.

From a practical perspective there may be two simple reasons service-based business owners don’t serve as many clients as they’d like today. Either they don’t know what to do to attract and secure more clients or they know what to do but are not actually doing it.

The Book Yourself Solid system was designed to help solve both of these problems and, now that it’s in it’s second edition, does an even better job.

From a philosophical perspective I believe that if you have something to say, if you have a message to deliver, and if there are people you want to serve, then there are people in this world whom you are meant to serve. Not kinda, sorta, because they’re in your target market….but meant to—that’s the way the world is set up if you’re in the business of serving others.

Book Yourself Solid helps you stand in the service of others as you stand in the service of your destiny. But a lot has changed in Book Yourself Solid.

But a lot has changed in Book Yourself Solid. I trimmed the fat and added 98 new pages of muscle including:

●      Unique, personalized, updated social media marketing strategies for service professionals.
●      New pricing models and sales strategies for simpler selling.
●      Video marketing systems and techniques.  
●      Fresh networking and outreach strategies guaranteed to take only minutes a day.
●      Solid product launch strategies and tactics for creating relevant and meaningful attention.

In re-organizing, updating and expanding Book Yourself Solid, I believe that I’ve been able to make the system clearer and cleaner to implement. 

In my humble opinion, the reason I believe the Book Yourself Solid system works is, in large part, because you learn how (and when) to make sales offers that are proportional to the amount of trust that you’ve earned. So, if you follow the system: 

1.     You create awareness for the products and services you offer (using the 7 Core Self-Promotion Strategies you learn in Module Four).

2.     Once you create awareness for what you offer, potential new clients will check out your foundation for stability and security (you creat this foundation in Module One).

3.     If they like what they see, they’ll give you the opportunity to earn their trust over time (that’s why Module Two gives you a plan for building trust and credibility).

4.     And, finally, when the circumstances are right, potential clients will either raise their hand and ask you to have a sales conversation or they’ll accept one of your compelling offers and you’ll book the business (which is why Module Three teaches you how to price your offers and have simple sales conversations).

This is why I’m so very proud of the new edition of Book Yourself Solid; it gives you a process to follow to get new clients, a process that is positively repetitive. It’s simple, sincere and seriously effective.

But, yes, daily, diligent work is required. None of us is entitled to attention, accolades and new business. We’ve got to earn it each and every day.

Tell us about thinking big. Why is it so hard for many to do? What stands in the way of thinking big? Conversely, why do so many — especially when economic cycles contract, and for those in positions of power — confuse thinking big with thinking for oneself?

Michael: All of us think small thoughts from time to time. But all of us have the potential to think big, much, if not most of the time. And when we think bigger about who we are and what we offer the world, it necessarily results in others thinking bigger and benefits not just ourselves, but our families, our communities, and it is ultimately how we will make the world a better place.

Thinking big is about being fully self-expressed, in the face of all the forces that conspire to pacify our drive, and our hunger to be the most we can be. The transformation to thinking big is far more than personal.

Inevitably, each person’s individual transformation will set an example for others. The rest is organic. As people experience personal revolutions, they will join with others to bring about change. As people revolt against small thinking, they will naturally come together as big thinkers and big change happens.

To me, a “Think Big Revolution” is about one person at a time experiencing his or her own personal empowerment against an existing, deficient (i.e. small thinking) system.

The deficient system may be something as big as a whole political system, or more local, like the system of a family, job, or relationship structure. It may just be the way you think about yourself and your capabilities.

Sometimes, it feels like we are up against a society controlled by people and institutions who generally think small.

The corporation that seeks to control and manipulate what you think, what you buy, what you believe; the friend who tells you not to be too big for your britches; the husband who dominates his wife and makes her feel irrelevant; the teacher who tells you there is only one way to do something; the television networks who want to dumb you down; the news media who want to tell you lies and answer no questions; the self-help guru who has a blueprint that will fix you, but only if you invest your life savings in a secret program.

We can all think bigger. We just need to stop making excuses for why we don’t—it’s risky, I’m not smart enough, I don’t have the energy, my family (friends, colleagues etc…) will disapprove, I’ll be embarrassed, I might fail. That’s the kind of small thinking it’s time to revolt against.

Our own personal transformation (i.e. revolution) is the key to any broader transformation. So we need to start thinking big. Instead of thinking “why me?”—think, “why not me?”

Nothing great, nothing transformative, nothing that ever shaped the common good and inspired others has ever happened except by thinking big.

To think big is to know what we stand for and let it guide us in everything we do; to maintain our integrity in the face of a world filled with flexible principles; to imagine the possibilities of the world and go out and do them—build a business, rid the streets of crime, reengineer the foster care system, write a novel, protect animal rights, redesign our educational system, foster a peaceful and tolerant community, and the list never ends.

To think big is a personal thing, and it’s a global thing. Thinking big is about me, you, and so many other people—reaching out, inspiring and being inspired and working together to meet the challenges of our times, to make change, and to create new opportunities.

Where do you see yourself and the networks going in the next year? What are your biggest challenges?

Michael: Interestingly, where I’m going with my work and where I see the social networks going are interconnected. I’m no social media futurist and I would never presume to predict the future of technology or social networks but I know what my clients need.

And, they don’t need more platforms with more posturing for position and attention. I work for the small business owner, mostly service-based business owners. They don’t need 100,000 followers on twitter to get booked solid.

They need deep relationships with a handful of people that can open doors for them and/or send them clients. To help reduce some of this socially-subversive noise I’ve been creating a software program called Solid.ly that will help them build their network and get booked solid.

The software beta will be open in January/February 2011 and will do two things specifically:

1.     Help you meet the people you need to know; and
2.     Help you stay connected with people you already know.

Without giving away our trade secrets before we launch, I’ll just say that we’re putting a cap on the number of people you are allowed to connect with through the system, sort of the anti-twitter or anti-hashable.

Realistically, there is a limit to the number of people you can effectively connect with on a regular basis. Those people may change over time, of course, but I want to help the small business owner stay connected with the people they already know and meet the few more people they need to know.

What inspires you? Who are your mentors?

Michael: Intellectually, I’m continuously inspired by Seth Godin, Daniel Goleman, Paul Krugman, David Brooks, my father and so many others. Emotionally, I’m fulfilled by my girlfriend, my son, my mother and too many others to list here.

Oh, and a week doesn’t go where I don’t watch all manner of film. Last night Petra and I watched Love Actually for the millionth time. I freakin’ love that movie because. “Love is actually all around.”

If you were to share one word of advice, what would it be?

Michael: One word of advice? Breathe. It keeps you alive. One piece of advice? Build trust with others by being consistent in all your actions. And, when you f-up. Say you’re sorry try better next time.


My own observation is that global thinkers, which is my own definition of thinking big, spend less time focusing on differences and more time on finding commonalities of intent and rolling up their sleeves to collaborate on making those things happen.

Follow Michael on Twitter, and find out more about his work on his home base.

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0 responses to “Michael Port Wants You to Think Big”

  1. I too have the feeling modern society and corporate world really wants us to think small, to be conventional. It’s easier to control and to sell to a pre-set kind of customers, and the less competition in the leadership world the better.
    Reminds me of an article about thinking out of the box by Penelope Trunk I read a few days ago ( http://t.co/iCzgdpN ), by the way.
    It’s not easy to switch from “conventional” to “extraordinary”, but I think it really is just a mind-set, the potential is already there in each of us.

  2. Just a quick note to you Valeria – thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to your readers. I’m honored.
    And, to you, the reader, thank you for reading what I have to say. We need not agree on everything but we can do more together than we can alone. And, we can do more with less than we think.

  3. That ^right there^ says it all.
    As a rule, I avoid marketing efforts beyond actually benefiting others. I see telling people what we stand for, what we’re out to achieve, and what we do as being less important than doing it and showing them.
    Still, like the organic produce at the grocer’s, a little more word of mouth wouldn’t be a bad idea. I really like the comments about how it doesn’t take 100,000 followers or friends to be successful. Sooth.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. As I read through this, I couldnt stop thinking about all the people I know who found themselves laid-off these last couple years and tried to start their own venture. Excitement quickly fizzled into disappointment because it wasnt as easy as it seemed. I am going to pick up this book for a few people. Thanks for writing it Michael!
    Regardless of what your ‘big idea’ is, there is no reason to not think ‘big’ thoughts about it. But dont do more than you can is the message I am getting. I also love the idea of a social network that tells me who I should be connecting with (based on Klout?) and keeps it at a manageable number.

  5. @Gabriele — organizations cannot have the cake and eat it, too. They cannot stock people into highly defined boxes and then ask them to think out of the box.
    @Michael — talking with you is time well spent. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on how we can think bigger.
    @Brian — marketing has become a symptom of businesses poorly conceived and poorly run.
    @Christina — would Klout tell you if someone will recommend your work? If the number if manageable, would you not want to be involved in making those decisions, or would you rather a tool tell you what people are about?

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