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.

Adventure: 

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.

Celebrate

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.

Remodel

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

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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

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.

Move

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.

Matter

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

Using metrics to be more creative

image by: Shutterstock

I have to admit, as much as I like to get my creative juices flowing, I have the same hunger for numbers. In this case metrics.  Maybe it’s the geek in me that wants to understand what customers are drawn to. What content they consume, when, and for what reason.

One of my first posts on myndfuel was related to the buying cycle and how content should be targeted to customers at each stage of the cycle, ultimately leading them to purchase. Right now, I am attempting to apply the fundamental rules of content marketing to metrics. Thus far, I have been able to measure how many downloads or views of specific content exist, but not able to identify down to the unique customer which I think is key here.

The problem with metrics like downloads or views is that they don’t really get into the mind of the customer.  They don’t tell me if the content took them down a path. If it addressed their needs.  Sure it says, the content is being utilized, but is is accomplishing its ultimate goal related to the stages of the buying process?

That’s the dilemma I’m in, and I expect the experts on the analytics side will help me gauge what is measurable, beacuse my job is to take such measurements and create something actionable.  In this case, as a marketer, more effective content across all segments of customers, across all stages of the buying process, with proof that it’s working (of course).

One of the best takes on metrics was c/o Chris Brogan. Chris said, “The distance between metrics and analytics is the difference between statistics and intent.” So true whether the analytics and metrics are social media, or traditional marketing. Understanding your customers is the ultimate means to success.

So I am off, doing what I can to understand our customers and that my friends will satisfy the creative and analytical sides of me.

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Content as the path through the buying process
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My idea locker

I am in the groove of my typical morning ritual, except Mondays seem to allow me the time to read more, fill my wordpress with drafts, andretweet the heck out of articles I find fuel my mind. Call it my way of waking up from a weekend filled with playing with the kids, watching football, playoff baseball, and simply relaxing with my family.  I love Monday’s and hate Monday’s all at the same time.

Then I come across one of those posts that makes me think even more…that gives me that extra boost of caffeine. It’s usually the shorter posts that have the best effect.  Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, and David Armano are usually the guilty motivators. This week, Chris is the most guilty.  His post “Make an idea locker” combined with his sharing of “Fear to Fuel” got me going on this mind dump.

With myndfuel, I have been capturing thoughts and opinions on mostly marketing best practices which is not what I totally intended myndfuel to be.  I intended it to be my idea locker. My way of not only capturing marketing best practices, but a free-for-all mind dump of stuff that races through my head, whether they be marketing related of not.  Heck the tagline on my blog is…

myndfuel: my creative, technology, and marketing fuel

Where’s the creativity?  the technology? the ideas of my own? I have fallen into this rut of trying to sound all “expert” in the areas of marketing, which I am not. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true (insert my Chicago sarcasm here).

What really fuels my mind?  Marketing?  not really.  Marketing is just an outlet. What are my inlets?  What ideas of my own can I fill my locker with?  We’re all capable of having ideas.  What makes them good is whether others think they’re good, or perhaps they’re not good ideas yet, but with some input and sharing of information, they can become good.

So allow me to get back to the root reason I started writing this blog. Sure, I will still find the need to capture thoughts and opinions on marketing best practices, but from now on, I expect myndfuel to be a little more ideation, and a little less summarization.

Thanks Chris.

image by Jeffrey Coolidge/Corbis