My 3 words for 2013: Adventure, Celebrate, Remodel

2013_3_words_300pIn 2011, my 3 words for the year were Create, Move, and Matter.  In retrospect, 2011 was a great year and I did a lot to do my 3 words justice. 2012 came along, and I lost focus. Not on my work, or my family, but on what would put me on a path to getting what I wanted out of my personal and professional life.  Looking back, 2012 was a great year, but am I any closer to where I want to be as a father, husband, friend, or even a marketer?  Perhaps somewhat, but not nearly as close as I should be.

Thanks to Chris Brogan for introducing me to this concept back in 2011 and again this year, and to C.C. Chapman for his latest book “Amazing Things Will Happen” that inspired me to come up with my 3 words for 2013. I’m about half way through C.C.’s book, and heeding his advice, I had to spend some time reflecting, soul-searching, and planning for what I really want in 2013 an beyond.

So, I started making lists of all the things I want, the areas I know I need to improve, and what obstacles real and imagined that have served me not so well as excuses. What I came up with are my 3 words for 2013: Adventure, Celebrate, and Remodel.


If there is one thing I am not is a huge risk taker whether it’s in my personal life of professional life. The decisions I make, the actions I take have all been very calculated, almost over analyzed.  I feel like Ben Stiller’s character in Along Came Polly – an overly cautious insurance analyst that constantly measures risk.  No risk, no reward could not be more evident, but I’m not talking about huge risks here. I’m talking about trying new things like learning an instrument, a second language, a new sport or physical activity. Professionally, it’s about speaking up in meetings, shooting more video, public speaking.  So don’t let laziness, fear, procrastination get in the way…seek and embrace the adventure.


All too often I limit celebration to the major milestones in life: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, promotions, victories, etc.  I don’t stop an celebrate the little things.  The 10 out of 10 on my daughter’s spelling test. The speech my daughter delivers to her class, the amount of money my wife helped raise for my kids’ school. Celebrate is a bit of a “stop and smell the roses” cliche, but one that can make a huge difference in being the father, husband, friend, co-worker I strive to be. Let’s face it, the digital world in which we live moves so fast, sometimes we don’t celebrate enough of the little wins that add up to make more of a difference in our lives than the big ones.


Just when I think everything is perfect, I realize it isn’t. There is no such thing. There is always the opportunity to remodel, to make it better, more functional, more rewarding.  Whether it’s big remodeling projects like a new home, a new body through exercise, a new interest through study, or small remodeling projects like writing a blog post everyday, taking more photos, or watching less TV and reading a book or two every month. Remodeling is about embracing change, taking on something new, and the beauty of remodeling, it’s an adventure, and something to celebrate, which makes it all that much more rewarding.

So, if you haven’t gone through this exercise, I encourage you to try it.  C.C. recommends keeping your 3 words visible as a constant reminder – posting on the fridge, in your office, as the wallpaper on your phone or laptop. Doing so will help stay on a path to doing amazing things in 2013.

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2011 Resolutions: Create, Move, Matter


What has the information age done to gut instinct?

Poster design by Bemis Balkind

“Worldwide data volumes growing 59% a year” – Gartner

That is according to a post by Paul Barsch on MarketingProfs titled “Data Deluge Means No More Leonardo Da Vinci Types“.  I have to admit, this one really made me think, and ask the question: is there such a thing as too much information, too much data?  At what point does data get in the way of actually accomplishing anything of significance in a short amount of time?  Have we already reached that point? Just when you think technology and the enormous amount of data available is supposed to make things easier, faster, more efficient, is it actually slowing us down?

What is the point of all this data anyway?

Well, it supposed to help businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, politicians, scientists, teachers…make better decisions. Decisions to create a new product, launch a new company, invest in a start-up, cast a certain vote, deliver a new solution, or provide the tools to succeed in life.  Is data accomplishing any of this? Or does it come down simply to human ability and passion for what we believe in?  I still contend it’s the later.

What happens if you lack the ability or the passion for what you believe in? You seek data to make your case for you. In many cases, we seek data that supports our contention over data that refutes it. It’s human nature. For many of us, it’s hard to admit when we are wrong, and we end up making decisions that may not be the best. So data can work both ways. Just when you thought the plan was fool-proof, the data steered you wrong.

Is it about time, we relied a bit more on our gut.  What ever happened to “go with your gut” ? It worked for thousands of years, and we lost a lot of it based on the information age in which we live.  We make decisions based largely on what we learn from data…what our “freinds” say, what “experts” say, sometimes even what “teachers” say, and if what they all say is based on the wrong data, we are screwed.

Go with your gut…do what you believe is right, and you’ll never lose.  If anything, you’ll create your own data source to improve all by yourself.

Live and learn.

Why "creative introverts" may hold all the cards

Are you a quiet, analytical, unshakable, loner that thrives on coming up with creative solutions to problems?

I like to think of myself as creative, and I’ve learned I am more of an introvert (ISFJ) and a protector according to the Briggs Meyers personality test  I took a couple weeks ago. Of course, I kind of knew that going in.

After reading the summaries, I have to be honest, I thought that where I am professionally and personally, I have peaked. I am where I am, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  It was almost reassuring, yet discouraging at the same time.  Then I thought, why would we allow a test to totally define who we are? Our whole lives we’re told we have control over who we are, who we become, and nothing stands in our way except for our own apprehension, insecurity, or doubt.

Then, almost serendipitously, a couple articles came across my Reader.  One, “Are the people in your organization too smart to be creative” and “Introverted employees make the best leaders“.

The first cites an IBM global survey of more than 1,500 CEOs, who identified”creativity as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future“.  Good news for those of us that are seen as creative. But wait, in the same article, a study in the US and India found that “organizations may face a bias against selecting the most creative individuals as leaders in favor of selecting leaders who preserve the status quo by sticking with feasible but relatively unoriginal solutions.” The article talks about how creatives can be very vocal and rock the boat, battle the status quo. Sounds kind of extroverted.  So…

Creative = Good.
Extroverted = Not always good.

Then the second article came through. “Introverted employees make the best leaders” by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler.  Needless to say, that caught my attention.  4 out of 10 execs consider themselves introverts. Does that mean that 60% consider themselves extroverts? This would conflict somewhat with the US/India study in the first article that found that perhaps extroverts don’t make the best leaders. Maybe, it just means the 60%  are non-creative extroverts. Either way, almost half are introverts and include names like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and perhaps President Obama.  Jennifer goes on to list the reasons introverts make better leaders. Characteristics like thinking before speaking, seeking depth of understanding, being calm,  writing over speaking, and embracing solitude. That’s me in a nutshell…a quiet, analytical, unshakable, loner that thrives on coming up with creative solutions to problems. So…

Introverted = good.

The way I see it, if you are a creative introvert, you just might be what companies need in terms of leadership qualities and characteristics. Just remember, opportunities to lead just don’t fall in your lap. You have to first, want them, and second, earn them, so don’t fall victim to the apprehension, insecurity, or doubt that may hold you back.

How do you lead?

2011 Resolutions: Create, Move, Matter

Reading through my Google Reader feeds, tis the time for New Year’s Resolutions.  In the past, I have always said I would do something but never really made it happen.  So this year, my main resolution is to actually follow through on my goals.   I took a page from Chris Brogan’s idea of creating three words for myself for the year.  What 3 words will shape what I do each and everyday personally and professionally?  The three words I came up with are:

  • Create
  • Move
  • Matter


Create something everyday whether it’s a blog post, photography, drawing, a journal entry, or simply an email to an old friend I have been meaning to reconnect with.  In addition, I want to better enable and foster an environment of creativity for my 2 kids (Megan -11, and Sarah-8). Both love photography, drawing, arts and crafts.  Megan writes poetry (and is pretty darn good at it).  Sarah is a free spirit that loves to do just about anything.  I would love to turn the basement into a studio for them to “create”. Heck for the family to do some cool stuff together.


This boils down to sheer activity whether it be exercise (cycling – road and mountain bike), or just simply getting outside and doing something, anything.  My wife and I always talk about visiting national parks, weekend getaways with the kids. We can start with Minnesota, and work our way to the Dakotas, and further west as we get more adventurous.


This encompasses everything…personally and professionally.  It’s all about learning and putting new thought and ideas into action whether they be at work, on this blog, on other’s blogs, etc.  I want to expand my network, strengthening existing relationships while establishing new ones. This comes from making new connections everyday.  There are so many ways to do this, it’s just a matter of using them, putting myself out there, making mistakes, but also experiencing more and more success.  It also means expanding ideas and thought, and this comes from reading, and continuing to learn. A book a week would be a “little win” to start with.

I will share what I am doing to support my 3 words in posts throughout the year.

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Little Wins vs Big Wins for 2011

An outside perspective on "little wins"

A couple posts back, I talked about “little wins” and how they relate to marketing tactics vs strategy.

The fact is that going for little wins applies to nearly everything we do.  Chris Brogan talks about this in terms of building confidence, and with confidence comes some failures, sure, but a heck of lot more success, no matter what your goals are be they personal of professional.

I am a big believer in most of Chris’ ideas, thoughts, and opinions, and thought I would share some additional outside perspective on little wins, check it out.

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Get ‘er done…go for the “little wins”
Little Wins vs Big Wins for 2011
The last minute…

Image by: A Small Victory

Little Wins vs Big Wins for 2011

Last week, I blogged about those “little wins” and how those little wins can turn into big ones with the right vision, determination, and effort. I thought I would start writing some of the personal little wins down for 2011.

  • Little Win: Lose 10 pounds.
    Big Win: Make a lifestyle change
  • Little Win: Ride 20 miles per day on the bike.
    Big Win: Join a cycling club.
  • Little Win: Blog 3 time per week.
    Big Win: Make new 3 new connections a day
  • Little Win: Share more content.
    Big Win: Join more conversations & contribute
  • Little Win: Get organized.
    Big Win: Be organized.
  • Little Win: Be creative.
    Big Win: Foster my kids creativity
  • Little Win: Travel more.
    Big Win: Appreciate more.
  • Little Win: Donate more money.
    Big Win: Donate more time.

more to come…

What are your little wins for 2011?