The Simple Life
“There are three things you can control every day. Your attitude, your effort and your actions.”

–Jon Gordon

 

The fact is simple. You are NOT in control. Not of everything, at least. However, you can focus on what is within your control and play the odds. If you focus on the things you can control, you will place yourself in the most ideal situations, most often. By doing that, odds are, life will work out the way you want it more often than not.

 

How Do You Do This?

So, how do you do this? By focusing on what you can control.

 

How do you know what you can control? You must start by understanding the difference between what you can control and what you can’t. This is very important.

 

I personally believe there are three things that you can focus on every day to ensure you’re focusing on what you can control.

These three things are your attitude, your effort and your actions.

  1. Keep a positive attitude
  2. Work hard every day
  3. Ensure your actions are making yourself and others better

If you can do these three simple things each day, you’re focusing on areas you can control and that are important.

 

Tod Meisner
Attitude

Choose to be positive. Positivity is contagious. Positivity makes you worth interacting with each day. Be someone that other people look forward to seeing each day.  

 

I challenge you to try and be the most enthusiastic person you know. See how much this impacts those around you in a positive way.

 

Effort

Your work ethic doesn’t form overnight. It takes years and years of honing your skills and grinding until you reach your goals. You get to those goals by putting in the work. By sitting at the desk and working hard.

 

I equate this to the age-old question, “How to you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time. Show up and do the work and work hard each day, one day at a time. Stack these hard-working days on top of each other and eventually you naturally form your work ethic.

 

Actions

You know the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would want to be treated. It is a maxim found in many religions and popular culture. Align your actions with your long term values and beliefs.

 

Go out of your way to be kind to those around you. Open a door. Give a compliment. Ask someone how they’re doing — and genuinely listen to their answer. Take someone out to lunch. You’ll be amazed at how these acts of kindness will transform your life.

 

Tod Meisner

 

Focus on what you can control to ensure your life works out the way you want. There can be a lot of variables in your life and you can’t control many of them. Focus on what you can control and watch your life change. I promise it’s not a cliché, it’s the truth.

 

What about you? Will you start focusing on these three areas to change your life for the better?

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The Simple Life

Here we are. The Madness of March has begun. We’re nearly at the quarter pole of 2018. You’re probably already asking, “Where has the time gone?” Just yesterday you seemed to be gearing up for the holidays and now it’s just about baseball season. How are those 2018 resolutions coming?

 

Hopefully, you’re like me and you’re on track with the goals you have set for yourself. What, you weren’t expecting me to say that? Did you think this would be another post about failed resolutions and how tough life is? Not here. Not today. I’m serious. I’m more committed to evolving and achieving my short-term goals in 2018 than I ever have been in my life. It’s all about focusing on progress not perfection.

 

It really is that simple. It’s not just a phrase, but a mindset to keep you focused and in a positive frame of mind. In order to help you achieve your goals and realize it is not too late to set some for yourself, I want to share with you my goal-setting process.

 

Along the way I will reveal a few of my 2018 goals in hopes you will keep me accountable. Finally, I will show some ways for you to set realistic goals and begin to achieve them. My hope is you’ll realize it isn’t too late to begin your 2018 progress and make the most of what else 2018 has to offer.

 

Progress Not Perfection

 

Goal Setting

Goal setting. It’s never been a strong trait of mine. Sure I’ve had goals and dreams. Things I want to do or accomplish, but rarely have I ever written them down. Rarely have I ever truly held myself accountable. Rarely were there repercussions or consequences if I failed to meet them. Partly because they were flimsy goals and partly because I never really took it seriously. I wasn’t very intentional with my actions.

 

This all changed the day I lost my job in 2015. Since that time, I have had to take a long look in the mirror and completely change the approach to how I live my life and attack tasks. So how did I do this? Well, it didn’t happen overnight! I began to read more books on leadership, entrepreneurship and personal development. I got re-married during this time and my wife is quite possibly the most mindful person on the planet.

 

Her guidance and influence have completely re-shaped my thinking and I must give credit to her for this process. So what is this transformative process? We like to call it the “Resolve to Evolve” plan. Check out the link and look at the simple to use template to help you brainstorm, create and carry out your goals for the upcoming year. It’s that easy!

 

The action plan only requires you to identify 3 steps leading up to the goal, along with a 6 month review.  Your goals should be SMART.  SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

 

2018 Goals

My goals for 2018 focus on five categories: health, career, relationships, financial and spiritual/learning.

 

I chose these categories because these are five focus areas that tie into my core values and beliefs. The easiest way to live an intentional life, one that has true purpose, is to align your actions with your core values and beliefs. Once you have your core values in alignment with your categories, it’s time to get specific with your goals.

 

For me, each category then has three specific goals tied to the category. This then gives me 15 highly actionable areas to focus on this year. Without going into tremendous detail, below are my top line goals for each category in 2018.

 

Health Goal: Complete 80 workouts by 8/31 Why? Make a health and wellness a priority. Workouts need to be the norm and not the exception.
Career Goal: Obtain more digital marketing certifications Why? Always need to learn and remain personally marketable.
Relationships Goal: Send one hand-written note per month Why? Taking the extra time to write a note makes me feel good. This act nurtures relationships and can also be nice surprise for the recipient.
Financial Goal: Pay off my last credit card Why? Financial freedom is important to living a fulfilling life. There is no such thing as “good” debt. Spiritual/Learning Goal: Read eight books Why? Reading books keeps me away from devices. You can never stop leaning and I grow and learn by reading.

 

Always make sure when writing down your goals to set realistic deadlines, work in a 6-month review or check-in dates to track your progress and have a “why” behind each goal. If you’re not aligning your why to these goals, you’ll lose focus on their importance and more than likely fail to meet them. Without these steps, your goals will lack direction.  And without direction, you may end up at an unknown, and unwanted destination.

 

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Progress Not Perfection

This statement has resonated with me more than just about any mantra I’ve picked up in the last few years. All too often we focus on the end goal. Any impediment to that goal which slows us down, usually leads to discouragement and may possibly lead to quitting. You must celebrate your small gains and wins along the way.

 

You’re never going to achieve your goals overnight, so you must remain hopeful and focus on progress not perfection. For my “80 workouts by 8/31” goal, I know that I need to hit the gym 3-4 times a week to meet this challenge. I didn’t set an unrealistic goal of going every day of the week.

 

With my schedule and my commute, that would burn me out really quickly. I also know that some weeks, it may just be one visit. While others I may go 4-5 times. Knowing that life will get in the way, but setting a realistic mark, has allowed me to focus on the progress I make.

 

The reality is, we’re imperfect people striving for perfection, and we have to learn to celebrate our progress. Perfection isn’t possible. But, a constant effort and a constant celebrating of our progress is possible.

 

The more we celebrate our progress, the more progress we’re likely to make. And the psychological encouragement that comes from knowing that we are actually making progress is incredibly powerful. I consistently strive to become the-best-version-of-myself.

 

But being intentional in our goal setting and aligning our actions with our core values and beliefs, we can accomplish becoming a-better-version-of-yourself every day.

 

Progress, not perfection. How do I celebrate progress? I share it with writings like this and I look to help others better themselves through goal setting. How do you celebrate progress?

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The Simple Life

Did you know one word can change your life? It may seem crazy, but I swear it’s true. Let me tell you how.

 

As I experienced a personal and career transformation throughout 2017, I began reading and following the works of Jon Gordon. Mr. Gordon is a renowned author and speaker who touches on topics centered on leadership, culture and teamwork. As I poured over his works, I came across a book written by him and his friends Jimmy Page and Dan Britton titled, “One Word That Will Change Your Life.”

 

That’s a pretty bold hook and makes you think that a universal word is all we need to transform our life. However, the topic is a little more nuanced. The authors found one word could be a driving force for people each year. No detailed goals. No wish lists. Just one word. But, that word should be different for everyone. It should be personal to you and help guide your values and beliefs.

 

I’ve written about my desire for a simple life before. By focusing on what truly adds value to my life, I’ve been able to clear the clutter from my mind and focus on progress NOT perfection. My list of goals is simple and focused, with action items and check points for me to stay on track. This helps me prioritize what matters to me personally.

 

Despite still having a list of goals, I have also chosen my “one word” for 2019, and my word this year is “Service.” The simple power of this word will have an impact on six dimensions of my life – mental, physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, and financial. Simply put, the one word “sticks” for me in a lot of areas. “Service” may mean something different to everyone.

 

For myself in 2019, I want to be able to give more of myself and my time to others. Service to me means giving back through my time adjunct teaching, mentoring and speaking. This hits the emotional, relational and physical dimensions. Service also means donating funds to causes in which I believe, many involving my son’s school or my parish, St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church.

 

This fulfills the financial, spiritual and mental dimensions. The financial freedom my wife Megan and I have recently gained has allowed us to begin to give our time and money more generously. My goal is to multiply the time and money we are able to give this year. Giving to others fills me with a sense of purpose and better aligns my every day actions with my core values and beliefs.

 

It’s easy to pick your one word. You must first have clarity and focus in your decision. You are moving toward the future rather than swearing off the past. Then, deciding on the word is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Identify the person you want to become
  2. Identify the characteristics of that person
  3. Pick a word that helps you become that desired person

 

Before you embark on this journey, a subtle warning: Don’t be surprised if living out your “one word” feels unnatural and awkward at first. Remember, the reason you want to focus on this word might be due to the fact that this characteristic may not currently be present in your day-to-day life. Give it some thought. Also, give yourself time and stay with it.

 

It’s as easy as following the above steps and then deciding on your one word for 2019. By focusing on one word and setting realistic goals in 2019, you will begin to believe in yourself like never before. You will be on your way to becoming the best version of yourself and your life will be changed before you know it.

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Digital Marketing

In the last few years, live-stream video apps have emerged as the shiny new toy in the marketing toy box. First it was Periscope and now we have Facebook Live and many other apps. It’s the same idea behind them, enabling anyone with a mobile device to broadcast and share life’s experiences live. As with any new medium, marketers are quick to get on the action so they’re marketing where their customers are. 

 

They will also puff out their chests as early adopters. There is nothing wrong with brands or agencies recognizing the possibilities of these apps and wanting to be quick to reach their customers, but we would like to preach caution. Substance is important. Strategy is important.

 

Don’t just add to the fire hose of live content, add substance to it. Create content opportunities that separate yourself from your competitors. Make sure the content is relevant to your brand and creates exciting ways for your customers to engage.

 

Below is a short list of live-stream video marketing tips that can help brands engage with customers in ways that, until recently, were not possible.

 

Tod Meisner

 

Product Demos 

Live streaming of product demos is an extraordinarily effective method for boosting conversions. These apps offer the possibility to change the way webinars are consumed by allowing users to save and view the videos on demand, specifically with Periscope. Customers in the consideration stage may want to view your product several times before moving to the decision stage. While services such as EasyWebinar also allow you to save webinars and videos for a later date, they come with an annual fee that you may not want to pay.

 

Hosting Interviews 

Conducting interviews can go a long way in building your brand image. If you are interacting positively with other experts in your field or even customers, your brand will be looked upon more favorably. Tap into these sources and give customers an opportunity to hold a dialogue with your brand.

 

Q&A Sessions

Piggybacking off the last tip, Q&A sessions are another way to communicate directly with your customers. These sessions are a great way to clarify any points of confusion that may be negatively weighing on your brand and is another sign of brand transparency. Live-stream apps also allow for a more organized Q&A session than say a Twitter chat or forum, which have character limits and timing inconsistencies. For these sessions, brands can again choose subject matter experts that will deliver clear and educated messages to your customers.

 

 

Behind-The-Scenes Access

Exclusive, behind-the-scenes content is one of the most significant ways these apps can give brands an edge. Trade shows are still a major player for many brands. Live-stream video apps can give customers around the world an up-close and personal view of major trade shows where your brand is featured. You can also feature “how it’s made” type videos. These will show customers the ins and outs of your product from a point of view that may have otherwise been hard to showcase.

 

Improve Transparency

Lack of trust has traditionally been a problem that brands face when trying to market to customers online. The trend appears to be shifting as brands engage better with customers over social media. Companies must still work hard to earn their customers’ trust. Using live video can help with transparency. You will be seeing the face of and speaking directly to brand representatives. This will help build customer trust. I can’t stress enough that adding substance is critically important when considering how to integrate live-video content.

 

Brands today should think strategically about whether live-streaming adds any benefit to their marketing efforts. I’ve help craft ways to help brands seamlessly integrate the power of this new medium with traditional forms of media and advertisement that has produced great results. If you want to learn more, drop me a line!

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The Simple Life

I firmly believe goal setting is good. Even though we get beaten over the head this time of year with terms like “New Year’s Resolution” or “New Year, New You,” and tend to tune them out, I still feel it is important to set intentional and realistic goals.

 

When I say intentional and realistic, I mean we need to move past the thoughts of “I am going to lose 10 pounds this year” or “Saving money will be a priority,” and focus on small changes and steps that can lead you to amazing progress.

 

We need to change how we approach our goal setting and begin to focus on Progress NOT Perfection.

Tod Meisner
Resolve to Evolve

I touched on this mindset in early 2018, and I’m here again to show you how I was able to achieve most of my goals I shared with you then, and how I’m just as committed this year to evolving and achieving my short-term goals as I was in 2018. It’s really easy; I promise you!

 

My wife Megan and I are using the same method to become more mindful and intentional in our goal setting. We like to call it the “Resolve to Evolve” plan. Check out the link and click on the template to help you brainstorm, create and carry out your goals for the upcoming year. The action plan only requires you to identify three steps leading up to the goal, along with a 6 month review. 

 

Your goals should be SMART.  SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. It’s that easy!

 

Smart Goals

In 2018, our goals focused on five categories: health, career, relationships, financial and spiritual/learning. We chose these categories because these are five focus areas that tie into my core values and beliefs. The easiest way to live an intentional life, one that has true purpose, is to align your actions with your core values and beliefs. By focusing on small changes and measurable progress, you are less inclined to get in a rut and think that the goal is un-attainable.

 

This method can help you break the routine of setting unrealistic resolutions that you bail on by March and transform your life in ways you didn’t think were possible. Goal setting should be a fun, thoughtful activity that causes you to reflect on your best qualities and how to improve upon them in the New Year.

 

As I stated, in an effort to hold myself accountable I published the blog last year with my 2018 goals. Here is the update to those goals along with what I have set for myself in 2019.

 

Tod Meisner
Goal Updates

Health 2018 Goal: Complete 80 workouts by 8/31 – COMPLETE – I worked out a total of 125 times in 2018 and lost close to 20 pounds.

2019 Goal: Complete 80 workouts in 2019 (knowing teaching four days a week limits my gym time), along with maintaining my current weight and running a 5K. Why? Make health and wellness a priority. Workouts need to be the norm and not the exception.

 

Career 2018 Goal: Obtain more digital marketing certifications – COMPLETE – Two new certifications added to my resume in 2018
2019 Goal: Speak at another Ragan conference and one more speaking gig Why? Public speaking better promotes myself as an educator, speaker and minimalist.

 

Relationships 2018 Goal: Send one hand-written note per month – COMPLETE – I’m not positive it was one per month, but I sent at total of 15 hand-written notes in 2018.

2019 Goal: One date night dinner per month with Megan Why? With our professional lives getting busier, it is important for us to be intentional about our “us” time. We like to spend those moments over good food and drinks.

 

Financial 2018 Goal: Pay off my last credit card – COMPLETE – We’re debt free entering 2019 and it feels amazing!

2019 Goal: Donate my time and money responsibly Why? With financial freedom, it is important to me to donate to worthy causes and correlates to my 2019 One Word: Service

 

Spiritual/Learning 2018 Goal: Read eight books – COMPLETE – I finished Everything That Remains, Perfectly Yourself, Smart Baseball, The Last Boy, It Looked Like Forever, The Big 50, More of Less, Are We Winning and The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity.

2019 Goal: Write nine blogs Why? I like to write and it keeps my mind sharp and my blog fresh. It is also another way for me to market myself and showcase my knowledge and abilities.

 

Always make sure when writing down your goals to set realistic deadlines, work in a 6-month review or check-in dates to track your progress and have a “why” behind each goal. If you’re not aligning your why to these goals, you’ll lose focus on their importance and more than likely fail to meet them.

Without these steps, your goals will lack direction.  And without direction, you may end up at an unknown, and unwanted, destination. Work to be intentional and not accidental.

 

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One Word

I want to leave you with one final, easy, and actionable step to help you make 2019 the most productive year of your life. Pick your one word. Yes, one word. Author Jon Gordon and others have used this method to help people focus on just one simple word, instead of a daunting list of broken promises or unrealistic resolutions.

 

My one word for 2019 is “Service.” I want to be able to give more of myself and my time to others in 2019. Whether that is through my time via teaching and speaking or donating funds to causes in which I believe. Our financial freedom is allowing us in recent months to do both and I want to multiply that time this year.

 

Giving to others fills me with a sense of purpose and better aligns my every day actions with my core values and beliefs. To choose a single word, you must have a clarity and focus in your decision. You are moving toward the future rather than swearing off the past. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Identify the person you want to become
  2. Identify the characteristics of that person
  3. Pick a word

Before you embark on this journey, a subtle warning: Don’t be surprised if living out your “one word” feels unnatural and awkward at first. Remember, the reason you want to focus on this word might be due to the fact that this characteristic may not currently be present in your day-to-day life. Give it time and stay with it.

 

So, give it some thought. Follow the above steps and think about your one word for 2019. By focusing on one word and setting realistic goals in 2019, you will begin to believe in yourself like never before. You will be on your way to becoming the best version of yourself.

 

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Support, Challenge and Celebrate

Be honest and challenge yourself in 2019. You can’t grow as a person if you aren’t honest with yourself. You must know yourself to lead yourself, and you must challenge yourself without being too critical of yourself. In 2019, begin to believe in yourself without being prideful. We’re imperfect people striving for perfection. We have to learn to celebrate our progress in 2019.

 

Perfection isn’t possible. But, a constant effort and a constant celebrating of our progress is possible. The more we celebrate our progress, the more progress we’re likely to make. I will consistently focus on my word this year, and I’ll use it to be intentional in my actions and not accidental.

 

The word and my goals will be used to challenge myself to become the best version of me. I will also work to celebrate the transformative progress I make in 2019. The psychological encouragement that comes from knowing that we are actually making progress is incredibly powerful.

 

How will you celebrate your progress this year?

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