Using the Snowball Method of Create Big Things

Using the Snowball Method of Create Big Things

Have you heard of the debt snowball method? It’s an approach first shared by Dave Ramsey to guide people in paying down their debts. Here’s a simplified version of the approach:

  1. You list all debts in ascending order from smallest balance to largest. This is the method's most distinctive feature, in that the order is determined by amount owed, not the rate of interest charged. However, if two debts are very close in the amount owed, then the debt with the higher interest rate would be moved above in the list.
  2. Commit to pay the minimum payment on every debt.
  3. Determine how much extra can be applied towards the smallest debt.
  4. Pay the minimum payment plus the extra amount towards that smallest debt until it is paid off.
  5. Once a debt is paid in full, add the old minimum payment (plus any extra amount available) from the first debt to the minimum payment on the second smallest debt, and apply the new sum to repaying the second smallest debt.
  6. Repeat until all debts are paid in full.

In theory, by the time the final debts are reached, the extra amount paid toward the larger debts will grow quickly, similar to a snowball rolling downhill gathering more snow (thus the name).

The theory works as much on human psychology; by paying the smaller debts first you see fewer bills as more individual debts are paid off, thus giving ongoing positive feedback on your progress. [Wikipedia]

I’m sure you’re quite baffled as to why I’m writing about debt reduction when I’m all about amplifying yourself. Well, it’s because the same mathematics of debt reduction can also apply to amplification. Instead of going from big (debt) to small, you want to go from small (awareness) to big.

Remember: Every decision made about you and your opportunities is made in a room you’re not in. You need to be certain that YOU are part of the consideration set when they’re talking about who will get that perfect opportunity. If decision-makers don’t know about your awesomeness, then how exactly are those in the room you’re not in going to know to how leverage it?

Figuring out how to share your awesomeness, amplify yourself in a way that isn’t a tacky self-promotion, is the only way to solve this problem.

What’s interesting is our human psychology gets in the way there too. I see it all the time.

Me: You should totally share that idea. Write a post on LinkedIn. Awesome Person People Don’t know is Awesome (APPDA): Oh, I can’t write. Me: Yes you can. APPDA: But what if…


Me: While you look great in your headshot, it’s not really telling the best story of you. APPDA: Yeah, I know. I need new headshots. Me: Here are 2 places you can get them done in the next week. APPDA: I hate getting my photo taken.

You know what that is? That’s just fear talking. Fear of judgment. That little voice in your head saying, “If I get a new photo then people will see it and judge me.” Look I get it. I get just as paralyzed in putting my own voice out there on a regular basis. You should hear the self-talk, it can get bad.

The only way to get over that voice, to do the thing you KNOW you should do, is to break it down into little, manageable steps. Try writing down all the things you know you should do:

  • Get new headshots.
  • Write an article.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile
  • Send a note to a sponsor asking for help
  • Etc.

Then break them down into small, achievable steps. For example, here’s my version of snowballing a headshot.

  1. Ask Joanna for photographer recommendations
  2. Identify two outfits that make me feel like the #ladybadass I am
  3. Shop for items to complete the outfit, including shoes ... shoes are important ;)
  4. Schedule time to take the outfits to the cleaners
  5. Recruit a friend to come to the appointment to stand behind the camera and make me laugh
  6. Book appointment one month from today
  7. Book appointment with Stylebee for my blowout and makeup
  8. Get your photo taken
  9. Update social media with professional, awesome headshots

I could keep going, but I hope by now you get the point.

So now look at that headshot list. If the ONLY thing you needed to do today was to ask me for a recommendation for a photographer could you do it? Yeah, I think you can too.

You know what you did? You were courageous. You took a little step and beat that judgment monster aside.

Each step is banishing the judgment monster just a little bit more. Each step, you are braver, self-confident, able to continue and confront bigger challenges you never imagined possible.

Instead of making your fear snowball bigger and bigger each time, by taking little steps, you’re getting stronger and better at banishing the judgment monster. So much so that when you get to the big event itself, while it might still be there, you’ll be able to give the judgment monster a good hard shove into the corner with the courage and self-conviction you’ve manifested along the way.

Courage, like everything else, takes practice.

Little steps of courage beget bigger steps of courage. Steps that snowball into something that has a real and lasting impact.

Now that’s something I’d love to see.

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