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Restaurant owner Debra Bankes stays hungry

In 1 on January 31, 2009 at 3:39 am

What staying hungry means to me

by Debra Bankes

Stay Hungry

Don’t believe me?  That’s ok.  I’ll have your tummy growling in 60 seconds.

So, you have a business.  Things a bit tough?  Well, it can get a lot tougher if you don’t keep charging like a bull.

Here’s one of my stories……..

Got tired of the measly corporate meals.  Decided to quit and buy a Pizza Restaurant.  Always wanted to be “self-employed.”

The first three years were brutal.  Couldn’t even afford a bar of soap.  Now, we were up against the big boys.  Pizza Hut, Domino’s, you know.

I would sit in an empty Restaurant crying for customers.  That didn’t help.

We tried everything. Couponing the neighborhoods in an old Datsun pick-up .……with no air conditioning……. in Florida.

Nothing was working except for my sweat glands.

Our old Middleby Marshall Conveyor oven heated the kitchen up to 108 degrees during the summer.  Our two employees couldn’t tolerate the heat.  I had to.  So, we took kitchen towels, soaked them and stuck them in the freezer.  That was our new hat – to keep our body temperatures down.

We were exhausted and beaten.  I believe it was about 2 ½ years after we got into the “pizza business.” that we had had enough.  I decided to close the doors.  It was on a Sunday.  I called my two employees and told them.

Then I sat a cried some more.

Getting REAL HUNGRY means a lot.  Like ditching your pride.  I called the couple that we had bought the business from.  We had a Promissory Note with them.  We were in hock about $35,000.00.  I told the couple that we needed to meet with them.

Now, we’ve always paid our bills and never asked folks for anything.  But, this was our “bottom.”

I took the Restaurant keys and slid them across the table and said, “We’ve tried everything.  We cannot make this work.”

Then, I cried some more; embarrassed and feeling like a TOTAL FAILURE.

The couple said, “Maybe we can work something out.”
My HUNGER for the Restaurant kept me in the room.  To listen.  I felt like a beggar.  But, I WAS HUNGRY!  I wanted my little pizza shop.

It would have been a lot easier to just mail the keys and “give up.”  No, I had to put my pride away.  I had to face the beast – FAILURE.

Tummy growling yet?

Betcha wanna know what happened, eh?

Well, this wonderful couple asked if we “could make it work by reducing the Promissory Note.”  They knew how hard we had worked and tried to keep the doors open.

I cried.  I crawled under the table.  I was a mess.

We accepted their kind “reduction on the Promissory Note.”  The couple slid the keys back to me.

Now, I had the same old challenge to keep the doors open.

I GOT REAL HUNGRY.

The beast was not going to defeat me, again.

We’re in our thirteenth year.  If you want to know “how I did it,” I’d be more than happy to show you how to do it.  But you better be HUNGRY.

The website for Deb’s restaurant:

http://www.pizzasocios.com

You may contact Deb: http://www.networking4change.org

Deb’s Partnering Sites: http://www.helpitcrashedagain.com

One of the best presents you can give

In 1 on January 18, 2009 at 9:52 pm

There are times when it feels better to cheer for the other side than to win. This amazing, true story appeared on ESPN’s website – go here for story and photos. If you can read it and not cry, you don’t get it.

Stay Hungry, Say Thanks, Have Compassion


They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.

It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.

Did you hear that? The other team’s fans?

They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, “Go Tornadoes!” Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.

“I WOULDN’T EXPECT ANOTHER PARENT TO TELL SOMEBODY TO HIT THEIR KIDS. BUT THEY WANTED US TO!”

It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.

“I never in my life thought I’d hear people cheering for us to hit their kids,” recalls Gainesville’s QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. “I wouldn’t expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!”

And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he’d just won state. Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.

But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That’s because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.

This all started when Faith’s head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team.

Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.

So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. “Here’s the message I want you to send:” Hogan wrote. “You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth.”

Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan’s office and asked, “Coach, why are we doing this?”

And Hogan said, “Imagine if you didn’t have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you.”

Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!

“I thought maybe they were confused,” said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). “They started yelling ‘DEE-fense!’ when their team had the ball. I said, ‘What? Why they cheerin’ for us?'”

It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. “We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games,” says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. “You can see it in their eyes. They’re lookin’ at us like we’re criminals. But these people, they were yellin’ for us! By our names!”

Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game’s last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.

After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that’s when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. “We had no idea what the kid was going to say,” remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: “Lord, I don’t know how this happened, so I don’t know how to say thank You, but I never would’ve known there was so many people in the world that cared about us.”

And it was a good thing everybody’s heads were bowed because they might’ve seen Hogan wiping away tears.

As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.

The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, “You’ll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You’ll never, ever know.”

And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they’d never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.

Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it’s nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.

Hope.

Todd Silva stays hungry by giving away a dollar a day

In 1 on January 10, 2009 at 2:52 am

Todd Silva gives money away every day.  He tucks, drops, or leaves a dollar bill A DAY, EVERY DAY, somewhere where someone will find it. He rarely knows who finds it – businessman, mother, homeless person or student. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that he listened to the mysterious leading that told him to do it. Here’s his story, and below that, his personal essay on what it means to HIM personally to “Stay Hungry.”

“In mid 2007, I was in prayer one morning with a question on my mind. Three years prior, I had made some poor financial and investment decisions that were catastrophic to my whole family. And now, three years later, it looked like we were going to go under. I had tried everything from reading to workshops to support groups to extensive interviewing… but nothing was panning out.

The question I was asking in prayer was, “what do I do?” I had run out of ideas. I didn’t know how to get us back on track. I had no excuses either – as a degreed engineer, I should have known better.

I finally received my answer – and it was to give away a dollar a day. My initial thought was, “how can I when I don’t have anything left to give or to let go of?!” None of this made sense at first, until I quit trying to understand it with my mind, and began to feel it in my heart.

Now it is November 2008, and I’m still giving away. I was also blessed with a fantastic job a couple months after I began, and many more wonderful miracles have been happening in my life since.

I now realize that what I did was let go of what I was fearing to lose. Go ahead and read that again… There is immense power in those words.”

What does Staying Hungry mean to me?

Well, when I’m hungry, I’m motivated. I’m no longer in my comfort zone. And
it’s not near as bad as it sounds, because this is also when my most
creative ideas have come in!

I’m the founder of Give Away A Dollar A Day, the world wide movement that’s
all about unconditional giving. I received the inspiration to start it
during a period in my life when many things had gone wrong, mostly
financially. Without the cushy job and income that I had gotten so used to,
and not having a clue as to how to get back on track, I was eventually left
with no other choice but to “let go” in my continued search for a solution.
Now, I would never have done this, and Give Away A Dollar A Day would never
have been born, if I had remained in my comfort zone.

So my suggestion to you is – get hungry. And then, Stay Hungry. You’ll stay
motivated. You’ll be wide open for creativity to flow into you. And your
life will become all about possibilities!!

PS – THIS is why I voted for Becky in the Great Johnny Bunko Challenge! 🙂

To hear Todd talk about his program listen to him on BlogTalkRadio
Or visit his site to read the inspiring stories of people who have both given and received.
His website is: http://GiveAwayADollarADay.com.

Greg Digneo’s 30-Day-Diary

In 1 on January 6, 2009 at 9:59 am

Greg Digneo is hungry and sharing it with the world. Greg, an engineer, wil be losing his job next month due to downsizing, but he decided not to sit around and cry in his cheerios about it. Instead, he started a wonderful blog, one that Seth Godin gave a 9.5 out of a possible 10 in terms of “excellent beginner blogs” to.

What’s it about? It’s about how HE plans to start a business to make $500 a week in 30 days. Specific, detailed, and helpful. And the man’s not selling anyone anything – he’s simply put together a business plan that he believes will have him making the money he needs to make when his other job ends in Feb.  Here’s his first post. You’ll have to go to MoreCaffeinePlease.com to read the rest. The lesson is – if you’re not staying hungry and looking for more, if something like a layoff hits YOU (and in this economy that’s likely), then you’re out of luck my friend. Greg’s halfway through his challenge to himself. Check him out and see how close he is to success, or at least, as Johnny Bunko learned – an excellent mistake!

Greg begins:

How to make $500.00 a week in 30 days?

Here are my current assets:  This blog, an idea I truely believe in, and I have you, a terrific support system.  I plan on investing approximately $500.00.  My first caveat, this isn’t a hard limit.

Here is my second caveat.  I have been mulling over and developing this idea for about a year now.  The idea is to connect entrepreneurs and small business owners to people who have the capability to bring these ideas to fruition.  So, if you are someone who has a product idea, then I want to find you an engineer/craftsman/machinist/etc. to help you build that idea.  If you are an engineering company, machinist, craftsman, I want to find you eager businesses to work with.

Why $500.00?  Well, that is about how much it would cost for me to squeak by to support myself.  In other words, it buys me time.

Why 30 days?  2 reasons: 1) I will be forced to take an immediate action and 2) I might just be too busy to realize I can’t do this.  My third caveat:  I will work weekends, and not count those as part of my days.

It seems to me that Ning can be the perfect platform to do most of this.  My marketing efforts are inspired by two people: Seth Godin and Chris Brogan.  Seth is a huge proponent of building a tribe; while Chris laid the tactical foundation on which to do so:

Step 1: Start a blog

Step 2: Set up outposts on which to talk to people on an individual basis

Step 3: Write for my audience

Step 4: Experiment

Canadian Chris Corrigan – staying hungry

In 1 on January 4, 2009 at 9:24 pm

chriscorriganMaybe it’s the mix of  two worlds –  the upper and middle class Irish and Scottish on his father’s side, the farming and working class of his mother’s people. But whatever it is, it’s given Chris Corrigan a natural ease in moving among the lives of people on both sides of life. Like most successful people, he’s stayed hungry, always looking for what’s around the corner, eager to learn, to do, to grow, to give back. He recently had his chance.

Chris lives on Bowen Island in British Columbia, and there’s been a lot of snow there these last couple weeks — which is unusual for Bowen Island. With government on holiday and no official information available, here’s what he did (from his blog):

As a fan of passion bounded by responsibility, I decided yesterday morning to set up a weblog which provides a space for the crowd to get to work. The idea is that people will visit to check on road conditions and while they are there, leave a comment about how things are in their neck of the woods. It’s a gift exchange and so far it’s working marvelously. Yesterday, up for half a day, the blog had posts from 7 people describing conditions on most of the major roads on our Island. Today with a massive snowfall (30cms) ongoing since early morning, we have had reports from 16 people covering all of the major routes on the Island. Even the bus company folks wrote to announce schedule cancellations.

He went on to add:

What amazes me is what a small group of us can do, in responding to a need, in so short a time using freely available tools. We’re lucky that this has happened while we have had a little time, being snowbound and all over the holidays, but when there is a need, it’s amazing to see what can come of it.

Staying hungry. It changes lives.

Charity hunger

In 1 on January 4, 2009 at 7:42 am

Every year all over America, sometimes even before the balloons come down, or the parking lot has been cleared or the volunteers have packed up their cars and drained the water out of their coolers, the hunger begins to gnaw. From the ‘Relay for Life,’ or whatever local charity run or cause you have worked on for the past few weeks or months – the hunger pangs are there.

“What will we do next year? How did it go? What could we have done better?”

Staying hungry isn’t about food. It’s about looking ahead for the next project, the next innovation, the next idea, the next great thing.  You can’t rest on your last success. If you don’t believe me, then tell me how many times you really enjoy hearing about the “glory days,” if they’re not your glory days? The fact is – if you aren’t looking forward – especially with knowledge and technology doubling every month or so – you’re in a world of hurt.

What does “Staying hungry” mean?

  • Reading blogs and feeds and talking to your tribe/group/people about what’s new
  • Keeping up with your industry, but looking past what’s happening towards what’s possible.

What’s scary is that many people think you start a business, work hard, finally succeed and then you can sit back and coast. They don’t realize the next big thing is waiting and if they don’t see it first, then someone will. It’s better to be ahead of the curve, than behind it.

Lesson One

In 1 on December 30, 2008 at 7:56 pm

Thanks to Daniel Pink for this inspiration. HIS words (from the book) are in RED.

Lesson One: There is no plan.

In Daniel Pink’s book the first lesson Johnny Bunko learns is, “There is no plan.” That carefully crafted, do A, B, C and then you’ll retire with all the money you need to travel, play golf and *enjoy* life will happen. Wrong. What happens is – LIFE happens. People die. They get fired, married, pregnant, move, get sick, discover something that interests them, change jobs, get laid off. Hate their job. Hate their boss. Hate life. Love life. Want to find themselves. Lose themselves. It happens. So, there is no plan. That’s no excuse to drop out of school, but it’s no excuse to plan yourself into a strait jacket either.

“Make smart choices,” not random ones. Diana, the magical advisor that pops up when Johnny snaps the chopsticks, explains:

You can make career decisions for two reasons – instrumental or fundamental.

Instrumental = You make a decision based on the belief it’s going to lead to something else whether you like doing it or not, or whether it’s worthwhile or not. Like getting that college degree, then going to law school – as if that plan will lead to a $100,000 a year job right out of the gate.

Fundamental = You take a job or join a company because it will let you do interesting stuff in a cool place or cool stuff in an interesting place, even though you don’t know where it will lead.


The “dirty little secret”? Instrumental reasons usually don’t work. Things are too complicated, too unpredictable. You never know what’s going to happen so you end up STUCK. The most SUCCESSFUL people — not all of the time, but MOST of the time — make decisions for FUNDAMENTAL reasons– even if they don’t know exactly where it will lead.

I dropped out of college to move to Colorado. I had $50 and a gas credit card, my backpack, a sleeping bag and camping gear and no plan whatsoever. Two weeks or so after I got there, I had a job – fixing shoes in a small strip mall shoe shop. The job involved resoling shoes, repairing saddles (this was in cowboy country remember) and doing something totally unrelated to anything I had done before, but fun and in an interesting place. I learned something really, really important.

Most people can be trained to do just about anything, if they’re interested in learning it.

I remembered that for a long, long time and still believe it to this day. Follow your heart, not a plan. Make smart decisions, not safe ones.

Say “Thanks, Every Day” – It’s the Best Lesson

In 1 on December 28, 2008 at 11:28 pm

“Saying Thanks Every Day”

creates a revolution of thanks and welcome…


“Say Thanks,” that’s the idea that made me a finalist

in the Great Johnny Bunko Challenge.


Hi, I’m Ed Brenegar. Thank you, Becky for the opportunity to share my idea with your tribe. I guess now it’s our tribe, since you garnered me an invite to join. Thank you very much.

Why “Say, Thanks, Every Day?”


Why is this idea the best 7th Johnny Bunko lesson?

I see the six lessons as a circle beginning with “There is no path” and ending with “Make an imprint.” This is not a linear line of achievement. We must continue to chart our own path, making our own imprint. What completes this circle is the realization that we never do this alone.

  • We are successful in life due to the kindness and generosity of others.
  • Therefore, Saying Thanks, Every Day, completes the circle.

While that is a nice idea, and people have told me this, they don’t see it as important as “Doing It Now” or “Staying Hungry.”
I can understand that if all you are doing is passing along sweet little thanks here and there.

Actually, I’m thinking of something very different. I’m thinking about the power of gratitude to fuel our personal relationships in the organizational world. Consider this with me for a moment.

To give thanks is to focus on something that someone else has done for me. Regardless of what it is. It may be an invitation. A word of advice. Assistance in the organization of a project. A connection to a person who brings new business opportunities. It could be anything.

“When we tell them thanks, we are not only making a connection, but we are opening up the relationship to future possibilities for how we both might benefit one another.”

If we were to practice this type of relationship on a daily basis, would we be worried about where the next job, the next client, the next customer, then next opportunity would come from? No, I don’t think so. An attitude of gratitude opens us up to opportunities that we would never see otherwise.

What I’m suggesting

is that at the heart of all our business and professional relationships

should be gratitude.

It is the beginning and the end of the circle

that encompasses Johnny Bunko’s six lessons.


As this contest has progressed, I began as Becky has done, to contact friends and family to vote. Some of my friends did a great job of spreading the word and the votes came in. Thanks Tom and David. When the vote totals began to change that first week, I began to see something that I had not seen before. I saw a changed world emerging. I saw the power of gratitude changing the way the world works.

Whether you vote for Becky or me, doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of life. What matters is that you stay hungry to do the things that matter. More than ever, we need to spend each day expressing our gratitude to the people who have made a difference in our lives.

I believe it is time to create a revolution of thanks and welcome.

If we lived this way, do you think the world would be in the mess it is today? For all you skeptics, all I ask is that you go find one person and tell them thanks. And mean it when you do. Tell them why you are telling them. Then share a comment here at Becky’s blog or at my blog Leading Questions.

Thank you Becky for the opportunity share my idea. I’m honored to be your friend.

Daniel Edlen: Hungry, not Starving, Artist

In 1 on December 25, 2008 at 9:41 am

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You don’t have to starve to be a successful artist, but you do have to stay hungry. Hungry to create, to share your  creations, and ultimately, to ignite in others your own passion for culture, art and music. Just ask Daniel Edlen, vinyl artist.

“I hand paint portraits of musicians and entertainers on vinyl recordings of their performances. I call it Vinyl Art. I came up with the idea as a teenager back around ‘92. My dad had turned me onto The Beatles on vinyl, and my mom volunteered at the library handling used book and record donations. I got first pick of the records, which didn’t sell well. Amassing duplicates of my favorite albums, I did about 6 of them and lost interest.

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“Some work-friends suggested I see if people’d go for them as holiday gifts in ‘06 and they sold. I’m not getting rich off of my work, but that’s not the reason I paint. My story is about connecting people with people, with their culture, with their memories, with their music. It makes people feel warm inside to think about their music. The troubles and destruction and negativity in the world quiet for a moment.

“My story has also become about giving. Giving Vinyl Art as a gift works out well for all involved. And giving to charity through my art does , too. It has become a very important outlet for me – a kind of therapy. But also a way to connect myself to my art to make it meaningful.”

It’s that inner drive to stay connected – to go on creating – that keeps artists hungry. They wouldn’t have it any other way. Few understand this as well as Becky Blanton, author, journalist, photographer and, hopefully, winner of the Chapter 7, Johnny Bunko writing contest. Becky’s written  Staying Hungry and has been selected as one of three finalists. If, like Becky, you understand the role Staying Hungry plays in creating art, please vote for (3) Staying Hungry on the Johnny Bunko website.

Learn more about Daniel’s art. Visit  Edlen’s blog and You Tube Channel.

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We think Stay Hungry is the most powerful pick for Johnny Bunko’s Lesson Seven. If you think so too, please click here and add your vote.