Amber Little

Big Business Blog: a guide to work, life and happiness

Money isn’t everything…find happiness May 18, 2011

Filed under: Deep thoughts by Amber — Amber Little @ 9:15 pm
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In our careers, money may seem to be a strong indicator of how well we are doing.  Quite frankly, it’s all too easy to think of your current salary as a means to gauge your success.  However…is it really?  Think back when you were a little kid.  We were constantly asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, and our responses had nothing to do with how much money we would be making.  Our answers were a direct reflection of what we truly wanted to be…and although the naivety of childhood naturally resulted in answers that would not always realistically allow us to make a living in adulthood, we should never forget the reasons behind our initial career choices.

Too many people sacrifice their happiness for a high salary thinking that eventually, money will make them happier.  Well, guess what?  It doesn’t always.  Sometimes it truly pays to take a pay cut.  Perhaps you want to take a job that you are truly passionate about…or perhaps you would like to take a job in a city that is closer to your family.  Maybe you would like a job that requires less overtime, or isn’t quite as stressful.  Whatever the case, never discredit a job opportunity because of the salary…it may be the best move you’ve ever made.

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If we were all the same, oh what a boring world it would be… March 20, 2011

Filed under: Deep thoughts by Amber — Amber Little @ 1:47 pm
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I have a confession.  I have an unbelievable obsession with cheesy reality TV.  When I found out that there was a new Sister Wives in my dvr the other day, I just about did a cartwheel.  It’s about frickin time TLC.  In case you don’t know, Sister Wives is a reality show that documents the lives of a polygamist family in Utah.  I’m simply fascinated by this lifestyle…and when I found out there was a reality show about such a family, I just about peed.  How do these women not go into a crazy jealous rage on a daily basis?  How do they afford to raise 16 kids?  How do the kids feel about it?  How do they deal with the adversity?  How how how?!?  And after watching this show repeatedly (oh shut it, if you saw it you’d be hooked too) I realized that this family’s main goal was not to justify their lifestyle, but rather to send a message about tolerance.  Don’t get me wrong, I personally don’t agree with their choices, and I know that this particular family does not represent every polygamist family out there, but I do respect the message.

Tolerance is something this world needs more of.  We come across people every day that are different from us in one way or another.  It’s a wonderful thing to have a conversation with a person who has a different point of view from your own.  Rather than automatically dismiss every idea that is different from yours, why not try and get some perspective?  When you get a chance to have such a conversation, take a moment and ask about religious views, lifestyle choices, how they feel about certain medical procedures, or their attitudes towards women?

By being more tolerant and less critical, we become more open to new ideas, perspectives and understanding.  We are able to learn and broaden our outlook on life in a positive way, and appreciate different belief systems and practices of individuals or cultures.  And, we are also able to appreciate cheesy reality TV in an entirely different light.  So get with it TLC, I need another episode already.

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Train the dog, train the person. March 14, 2011

Filed under: Deep thoughts by Amber — Amber Little @ 9:44 pm
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As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of dogs.  Yeeeaaah that might be an understatement.  Dogs are the macaroni to my cheese, the peanut butter to my jelly…ok, you get the idea.  Anywho, last August I fostered a little Shih Tzu for the Nevada Humane Society.  He had been hit by a car and needed surgery to repair a broken leg.  This little guy was having a hard time in the shelter and needed a quiet and safe place to be nursed back to health.  Welp, needless to say little Buster is now a permanent member of the fam.

However, we soon discovered that we had a big problem.  Apparently after the drugs wore off, little Buster developed a bit of an attitude.  He reminded me of one of those cute little raptors in Jurassic Park.  Of course, his Velociraptor-like behavior was far from acceptable, so I enrolled him in a training class.  On our first day, I looked around the room to see a number of different dogs, large and small.  A yellow lab, a Chihuahua, a Poodle-Yorkie mix, a Great Pyrenees, a Lhasa Apso…and a bunch of silly humans.  As the class got underway, I realized that this was not so much about training the dogs, it was about training us…and they had it right!  Dogs respond to the signals and behavior that we are projecting.  Once we learn how to modify our ways, the dogs respond accordingly.

This got me to thinking…can we apply the same logic when it comes to dealing with people?  Could it be possible that we are inadvertently giving off signals that cause people around us to react in a negative way?  Here are some helpful tidbits I picked up in puppy class that may help you interact with others, whether they have two legs or four.

Be patient. Everyone is unique and moves at a different pace.

Be kind. This goes hand in hand with being patient.  If you feel you are getting frustrated, take a breather and start again when you are calm.

Reward good behavior. We always make a huge deal when things are done incorrectly…but it is much more important and beneficial to reinforce and praise positive behavior.

Be clear. Make sure your dog/person understands you.  If not, change your method.

Be consistent. This is a big one!  Once you find a method that works, stick to it.  Constant change will cause constant confusion.

Pay attention to your tone and body language. Do you have an aggressive tone? Do you avoid eye contact?  Do you have a closed off stance?  Are you frowning?  Switch it up.  Research suggests that nonverbal signals can account for up to 80% of all communication.

Be Generous. Allocate lots of time for training, and don’t be stingy with the treats.

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Smart People, Dumb Decisions February 27, 2011

Filed under: Deep thoughts by Amber — Amber Little @ 4:17 pm

Have you looked around lately at the overwhelming amount of successful people that are acting like complete idiots?  Both in the business and entertainment world, these destructive tendencies are everywhere.  While it makes for an entertaining story, you have to ask yourself “REALLY?!?  What the hell are these idiots thinking?”  They are almost TRYING to throw away their lucrative careers, ones that they have worked their entire lives to attain.

Let’s take a look at the rock star of self destructive behavior, the one and only Charlie Sheen.  (If you live in a barn and haven’t heard, Charlie Sheen went on an amazing rant last Thursday against the executive producer of his cash cow tv show Two and a Half Men, which immediately resulted in the show’s cancellation).  The highlight of this rant was when he passionately stated “I’m sorry, man, but I’ve got magic. I’ve got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time, and this includes naps, I’m an F-18, bro, and I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground.”

The man DOES have poetry in his fingertips.  Love him or hate him, this is 1000% AWESOME, and if anyone tries to put a filter on that man I’ll be pissed….oh, I kid.  But not really.  You GO Charlie.

But in all honesty, this is a smart, accomplished and successful man…and there are plenty of people that have followed in his demising footsteps (not so stylishly of course) including famous athletes, actors, politicians, CEOs…I could name them all, but you know who they are.  This is an epidemic that dates back basically to the beginning of mankind; in fact in 1915 Sigmund Freud wrote a piece entitled “Those Wrecked by Success” where he explored this “surprising and bewildering epidemic” of people who go out of their way to be morons “precisely when a deeply rooted and long cherished wish has come to fulfillment”.  Since that time there has been an enormous amount of research dedicated to this topic.  It seems that often times once we achieve success we just can’t be happy…and we inadvertently begin to screw up in big ways, perhaps in part because we feel like we don’t deserve to be where we are today.  (Or we just like prostitutes and cocaine).  In any case, even if we work hard and reach our dreams, we still need to work on our self esteem.  In the end, people are people, and its human nature to screw up.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have publicly and personally screwed up in a HUGE way, you need to eventually forgive yourself.  Learn from these irrational and idiotic decisions you have made, as well as the AWESOME ones that Charlie sheen has made, and go on with your life.  Besides, everyone knows it’s the worse decisions that make the best stories.

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Everyone LOVES a good statistical analysis…don’t they?!? February 11, 2011

Filed under: Deep thoughts by Amber — Amber Little @ 10:10 am

I know what you are thinking:  BOOOORING.

  • Spreadsheets: check.
  • Pocket protectors: check.
  • Coke bottle glasses: check.
  • Maybe some tape to hold those stylish black rimmed glasses together: CHECK AND CHECK.

Ah, the world of statistical analysis.  Although it may sound quite glamorous from that check list I just provided…well, it IS.  Don’t you remember what your math teacher always told you in high school?  “Knowledge is Power.”  Well, maybe that was just MY math teacher.  Geez, all that rambling ON and ON about numbers really got my goat.  That guy didn’t know when to call it quits.  All I was really interested in at the time was breaking away from the nerd herd and hightailing it to my art class…quadratic equations were fool’s game.  However, now that I’ve had some time to think it over, maybe he was onto something.

Statistical analysis plays a huge role in successful businesses, both big and small.  Think about it: investors need to monitor the health of a business they have put money into.  Businesses use this same data to determine if the business is healthy, and if not, make decisions to get that company back on track.  This information also provides a means for a company to measure trends and growth rates in different markets.  Companies can essentially see where their strengths and weaknesses are, and make the proper adjustments.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Wrong.  Often times that balance sheet and profit and loss statement isn’t enough to give you a great understanding of all of the factors that influence those numbers.  What’s more, once you have the detailed information behind those reports, it can often times be pretty frustrating to try and make sense of all that information.  That’s where statistical analysis comes in.  Once you are able to truly understand all of the information by way of a good and clear analysis, it’s amazing how many things you have overlooked and how much room you have to improve!

I know, I know…now you can’t wait to get your very own statistical analysis of your company, so exciting!!!  Okay, calm down…time to take that chill pill.  But in all honestly, a good overall analysis can turn your company around.   However if anyone asks (and by anyone, I mean my math teacher) you didn’t hear this from me.  I don’t want to hear another “I told you so” next time I run into him again in the bread aisle. If he asks, tell him I’m still busy with my finger paintings.


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