About Todd Nielsen

Todd Nielsen helps organizations create miracles of success and profitability through the power of execution. Having served as Vice-President, President, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, and Chief Executive Officer of organizations, he has learned how to create a culture that "Gets Things Done." He is passionate about leadership, and is a dynamic and inspirational speaker.

Preparation, a Critical Ally for Greater Personal and Organizational Success

I have spoken to people that believe that planning and goal making are not really for them. They believe that if they plan, they will be constricted, and if they make goals, they will just set themselves up for failure. I guess that is one way to look at it, and I can understand the latter part of that. I admit that I don’t know everyone in the world (not even close), but I have never heard a successful person say something like that. There are people that seem to have a lot of luck in life, but for the rest of us, we need to prepare ourselves for success, and we need to plan for it. Graveyards are riddled with good intentions, lost hopes, failed dreams, and plenty of regrets.

Definition of "Preparation"

Preparation, Prepare, Preparing

Preparation is a part of life. We grow-up with it in everything we do. Washing our hands before dinner, getting dressed to go somewhere, brushing our teeth before bed, and a million other mundane tasks – ingrain in us that “preparation” is an important part of life. Somewhere in life, many people get tired of preparing, perhaps they failed at achieving some goals, perhaps they got sick of chasing the dream. When it comes to personal or organizational success, we always have to be preparing. How do we prepare:

  • Read books that improve our knowledge and skills
  • Hire a coach to improve accountability and learn new methods
  • Be a part of a mastermind group to improve accountability, collaboration, and meet new people
  • Attend social events and conferences to learn and increase our network
  • etc… etc…

Everyone is preparing for something, are you preparing for success, or preparing for failure? If you don’t prepare, its unlikely you’ll make it to where ever it is you want to go, in fact you may not ever start.

Definition of "Plan"

Plan, Planning

I have been talking about planning all week in the posts I’ve shared. We can prepare all the time, by reading books, getting a coach, but hopefully all that is a means to an end, an end that brings you success, happiness, security, or what ever it is you are after. Sitting down and making “a decision about what one is going to do,” and then designing a road-map to get to that destination, will bring clarity.

  • Clarity about what is more important
  • Clarity about who is more important
  • Clarity about your purpose
  • etc… etc…

If you don’t plan, you don’t know where you’re going or how you are going to get there. Whether it is organizational objectives and plans, or personal objectives and plans, they both bring greater purpose and action. Don’t be the kind of person that reads lots of books and is always preparing for something, but never sits down and makes a plan to obtain that something, and use those skills. Graveyards are riddled with smart, brilliant people, that didn’t plan or execute.

What are you going to do to start preparing and planning? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Business, Sales, and Marketing Planning 101 – What Needs To Be In Them!

Sales-Plan-Marketing-Plan-Business-PlanWhat I am about to lay out is no secret. In fact there are probably thousands of sites that talk about this, but I am hoping that I can simplify it and and encourage everyone to understand the importance of planning, and how to do it. I wanted to write about this because it boggles my mind how many business owners/CEOs/Presidents I have met, that do not know how to write a Business Plan. Plus how many Director of Sales/VP of Sales people I have met that do not know how to write a Sales Plan, and how many Director of Marketing/VP of Marketing people that I have met that do not know how to write a Marketing Plan. Not sure how any professional of that level could get hired without the leadership ability to plan, but it seems to happen quite often.

If planning can bring so much success, then why don’t more people do it. One of the reasons I have been told by many is that they are just not sure what to put into a plan. That is exactly what I will address in this post.

Below I have laid out the critical areas that need to be detailed in a Business, Sales, and Marketing Plan. This is not all inclusive, but is more or less applicable to selling products and/or services. Plans get get quite complicated, but lets try and keep it simple.

One thing to note is that there is a lot of similar content in each of the sections, so if you are tackling all three plans, much of the effort can duplicated across the plans.

Business Plans

One thing to note with many common business plans, is that they often will contain a built in sales plan and marketing plan, or perhaps a condensed version of those plans. I don’t like to usually do that, because it becomes an difficult to manage beast. The order of the items below are how I would usually organize them, but depending on circumstances and the type of business that might change.

  • Time Frame for the Plan: Generally 1 to 5 years, but updated annually for the coming year.
  • Structure:
    • 1. Executive Summary – Written last. This section summarizes the entire plan and the company goals.
    • 2. Company Summary – Explain who the company is, its mission, vision, values, and keys to success. It also might go into company ownership , facilities, and more, especially if it is a start-up.
    • 3. Market Analysis Summary– I like to detail out both primary target segments, and when necessary, secondary target segments. It is generally important to keep your focus as narrow as possible. Try to get good, solid, and current data on the segments you are targeting. This section explains not just the targets and information on them, but also the market needs, market analysis, additional segmentation, competitors, buying patterns, market needs, and anything else to narrow down and understand the markets.
    • 4. Products and/or Services Summary– Here you will detail out all the products and services that you intend to deliver. This includes, descriptions, features, benefits, competitive comparisons, fulfillment, sales literature, etc… You have to know what you are selling, and writing it out in a plan is one of the best ways, and it will keep the message consistent, throughout the organization.
    • 5. Strategy and Implementation Summary – What is it you want to do and accomplish? What do the operations look like? How will you deliver, support, and profit from the strategy? This section might also go into competitive advantages, sales strategy, marketing strategy, web and social strategies, and much more.
    • 6. Management Summary – Details out the leadership of the company that is going to execute the plan. I also like to detail out external consultants, contractors, and other services that might be needed to augment a lack of skills or experience in the organization’s management.
    • 7. Financial Plan – The financial plan details out the financial forecast, expected expenses, profit and loss, business ratios, balance statement, margin, break-even analysis, and much more. Often times this is much more chart and table oriented than written text.
    • 8. Appendix – The sky is the limit on what goes here. Could be org chart, various reports and tables that the plan references, and much more.

Like I said this is the basics. They can be much smaller, and much bigger, but this is the defacto standard that I like to start with.

Sales Plans

Sales Plans are similar in structure to business plans, although obviously focused on revenue generation. Any business can benefit from a sales plan, but generally they are most valuable when there is an actual sales organization, i.e. department/team.

  • Time Frame for the Plan: Generally 1 year, can be up to 3 years.
  • Structure:
    • 1. Executive Summary – Written last. This section summarizes the entire plan and the sales goals of the organization. I like to include a sales recap of the previous year also, as well as the sales theme for the year.
    • 2. Market Analysis Summary– This is no different than the Business Plan, although it is usually a little more sales oriented and might go into even more analysis in order to identify behaviors and tactics that need to be employed to achieve the sales targets. As with the Business Plan, try to get good, solid, and current data on the segments you are targeting.
    • 3. Competitor Analysis – This section will go into must greater detail on competitors of all kinds: direct, geographical,  vertical, indirect, and model competitors. Additionally a Competitor SWOT analysis  and summary is detailed out in this section.
    • 3. Products and/or Services Summary– Again this is pretty much the same as the Business Plan, although there would usually be more information and resources, with things like battle cards, competing products, and tactics to selling each product and/or service. If this is done poorly, you will have inconsistent results and tactics being employed from one sales person to the next.
    • 4. Sales Strategy – Another potentially large section. This section goes into company differentiators, pricing rationale, and sales differentiators. It also goes into new growth strategies, existing growth strategies that the organization is sticking with, sales forecast by month and quarter, key performance indicators, and the lead conversion strategy. Another very important part of this section is sales processes, how are things supposed to be done, including the CRM plan. Sales themes and sales pipeline milestones, sales funnel milestones, and sales quotas. Additionally you would include any information and schedules for sales activities such as events, campaigns, or launches.
    • 5. Account Management Strategy – This is a section that is not always needed, but if you need to maintain relationships after the sale, then it is a good idea to document the expected client experience, the retention goals, processes, and everything related to keeping that client happy. This is often combined with the previous section.
    • 7. Sales Budget – Pretty self-explanatory, how much money there is, how it is going to be spent and on what. Important to get into the details.
    • 8. Appendix – Again this is supporting documentation, reports, and anything else to support the plan.

Marketing Plans

Marketing Plans are similar in structure to Sales Plan, although obviously focused on lead generation. Every business, of any size, can benefit from a Marketing Plan, even if there is one employee.

  • Time Frame for the Plan: Generally 1 year, can be up to 3 years.
  • Structure:
    • 1. Executive Summary – Written last. This section summarizes the entire plan and the marketing goals of the organization. I like to include a marketing recap of the previous year also, as well as the marketing theme for the year.
    • 2. Market Analysis Summary– Pretty much an exact duplicate of the Sales Plan. If available it might go into analysis of marketing trends and analysis to the planned target markets.
    • 3. Competitor Analysis – Exact duplication of the Sales Plan. Important for marketing to understand what they are up against.
    • 3. Products and/or Services Summary– Another duplication of the sales plan, but might also include sample marketing copy and material that will be used alongside those products and/or services.
    • 4. Marketing Strategy – This will be a behemoth section if done right. You will detail out your marketing vision, differentiators, strategies, key metrics, processes, meetings, documentation, collateral, vendors, and all your marketing activities in detail (that is huge right there). Lastly you will detail your marketing schedule, by day, for the entire year. If you are freaking out at that last sentence, let me tell you how valuable it is to plan out your themes for every month, what campaigns will go out when, how much prep time is needed, what events you will be at, etc.. It amazes me the success that can be had when this is done properly. You can always course correct as needed and update the plan if strategies change during the year.
    • 5. Marketing Budget – Again, how much money there is, how it is going to be spent and on what. Important to get into the details.
    • 6. Appendix – Again this is supporting documentation, reports, and anything else to support the plan.

There you have it Business, Sales, and Marketing Plans 101. I can’t stress the importance of these plans, even in a simple format if that is all that can be done. The more detailed the plan is, the more consistent the results will be. Please share your thoughts or questions about Business, Sales, or Marketing Plans in the comments section.

Great Planning CAN Save a Bad Strategy and 19+ Questions to Answer in a Strategic Plan

Strategic-Plan-Execution-Plan-Leadership-Todd-NielsenI have seen a lot of failed strategies with companies, as I am sure you have as well. These strategies come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are an idea on the back of a napkin. Sometimes they are a copy or slight modification of a competitor’s strategy, sometimes they are a fancy PowerPoint full of charts with hockey stick curves. The same is true for the personal strategies to get us where we want to go in life.

It is easy to get excited about an idea or a strategy that you just “know” is going to work and make you successful. It is easy to rush in and start executing on that strategy to bring it to fruition as soon as possible. On the other end of it all though, it is not a pretty sight to see an organization, or person, fall flat on their face, after being filled with so much hope and grandeur of success.

When an idea comes about and you just have all the confidence in the world that it is a great strategy, create a plan, DO NOT rush into it without getting things figured out. In the technology industry, where I have worked with a lot of organizations, I have seen many organizations, get into some new technology, association, service, or other supposedly great idea. They often will rush into it and then realize that on the backside they are losing money because of how difficult it is to support or bill the product/service. This is true across many industries and strategies.

When you begin to develop a plan for a strategy there are several things that have to be figured out:

  1. What is the market for the strategy?
  2. What niche(s) will you be focusing on?
  3. What is the viable target(s) within that market and niche?
  4. What is the expected penetration ratio for that niche? (Don’t do this: “If only .01% of the market buys our product, we’ll be making a killing…”) You need to look at research, talk to potential customers, and determine the true demand.
  5. How will you deliver on this strategy?
  6. What are the costs to deliver the strategy?
  7. What is the make-up of the offering for this strategy?
  8. What materials will need to be developed to sale and support the strategy?
  9. How will you support the strategy?
  10. What is your process for selling and marketing this strategy?
  11. How will you make money with this strategy?
  12. What is the true cost of the strategy?
  13. Do you have enough people, or the right people to effectively deliver this strategy?
  14. Do you have the right systems to deliver the strategy?
  15. How can you test the strategy to ensure it will work?
  16. How much work will be involved and at what cost to implement this strategy?
  17. Why is the strategy a good idea?
  18. How will you measure success of the strategy?
  19. Is this strategy in line with your mission, vision and values?
  20. and lots more…

Many of these points are for a strategy consisting of selling a product or service. Some of the questions still apply for other types of strategies. An acquisition strategy will have potentially hundreds of questions.

The point is you have to ask the right questions, and then answer them. The field is not always greener on the other side. By properly planning for a strategy, sometimes that planning will reveal that it is not a good strategy at all. In that case you can scrap it, and focus on more important strategies. If the plan reveals it is a good strategy, now is time to covert that strategic plan into an execution plan, and start executing.

Many people I’ve worked with on planning, think that planning has to be this long arduous task, and that if they took the time to plan out a strategy, the opportunity would pass them by. That is rarely the case. If that is the case with a strategy, you are probably already too late anyway. If you were to plan things out, you might realize that there are ways to modify the strategy to make it better than a competitor’s.

There are many types of plans, and a strategic plan is something to take seriously. No organization or person wants to end-up falling on their face, broke, and with lots of regrets.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Vital Elements of an Execution Plan that Optimize Success for Leaders

Execution-Plans-Todd-Nielsen-Success-ElementsMany people have a hard time with planning, or do not realize they do… It is easy to have an idea in your head and then stare at a blank piece of paper trying to figure out where to start. This is true for personal plans and also any kind of business plans, be it Annual Plans, Quarterly Plans, etc… On that same token I have seen people who think they are good at planning, and end up putting lots of notes into a document that are cryptic and hard to figure out.

Let’s talk about some needed elements that are important for creating great execution plans. There is a lot that goes into complex planning, such as business plans, annual sales plans, and annual marketing plans (to be covered in another post), but when it comes to execution planning, these are critical elements to make sure you achieve what you are aiming for.

When working on plans, you first have to know what your goals and targets are. A plan is not meant to make people busy, a plan is to move toward something. That “Something” is usually a goal. I won’t go into S.M.A.R.T., but yes goals need to follow the S.M.A.R.T format.

I’d also add that if you can make your goals sound more inspirational it will help your execution and those of your team toward that goal. For example, instead of “Add $250,000 in Sales by June 30th,” make it something like, “Improve the financial security of our company and employees by adding $250,000 in sales by June 30th.” They why behind the latter format is much more inspirational to work towards.

When you have your goals set, then it is time to create a plan. This item now, is where I have seen a lot of people fail in planning. Each goal will usually have a lot of tasks, projects, and milestones under it. These items need to be organized and prioritized into the correct order. Once you have that, you must give assignments to each task, project, and milestone. Who is going to be in charge of completing each item, needs to be determined. Additionally, it is important to add the dependencies to each item. You might have someone in charge of a project or task, but often times they are dependent on others for information. It is important to list the other dependent people that the task or project relies upon so that they can see their part of the plan from the onset.

Every item in the plan, that supports the goals, needs completion dates. A plan where every task has a completion date at the end of the period is not a plan, it’s only a hopeful list.

Before you call your plan completed, you now need to figure out if it is even possible to achieve. Especially in business when everyone has a “day job,” it’s important to weigh the plans and goals against things that could impact availability, such as:

  • People being on vacation
  • People being at conferences
  • Other projects or initiatives that are already ongoing
  • Company events
  • etc…

Great execution plans drive execution and accountability, and they produce results. Bad plans, are hard to follow, are unclear on the priorities, and cause stress, overload, and frustration. With mediocre plans, you may still accomplish a lot, but the old quotation, “Time spent in sharpening the axe may well be spared from swinging it,” is very applicable. If good plans can reduce frustration and overload, then they also help in building a positive culture that is not overworked and stressed.

Please share your questions and thoughts about planning in the comments section.

4 Planning Lies & Why Great Leadership Hinges on Great Planning


It happens… there are some people who have a great idea and can whisk their way into a market and do much more than “make ends meet.” There are some people who can get promoted into a new position and think that their charm and charisma is going to take them far. There are some leadership teams who meet weekly, solve problems and expect massive growth from just solving problems.

I hate to break it to these people, but eventually things flat-line. This is true for businesses and it is true for our personal success and development. Planning is a very unsexy act that so many leaders get completely wrong. In my precious post, 25 Stellar Reasons Why You Need a Killer Plan, I talked about the huge number of advantages to planning. I won’t go into that. What I want to do is smash down the lies that I often hear about planning, and my take on why good leadership, hinges on good planning.

Lie 1: Planning Will Produce a Huge Document That Will Only Collect Dust

I have helped organizations with Business Plans, Strategic Plans, Marketing Plans, Sales Plans, IT Plans and more, and lots more people with personal success plan. Sometimes the plans end up being a page, and sometimes they end up being 100+ pages. There are many formats to choose from and the depth of the plan is dependent on many factors. To say that in an organization, a plan will only collect dust, is essentially stating that the organization has one of the following problems:

  1. They wrote a bad plan that can’t be followed
  2. The organization has severe execution and/or leadership problems

When planning, plans have to be created and vetted through scenarios and research. Then the plan has to be broken down into manageable and readable details so that it can be followed. A poorly written plan will end up being a waste of time in many respects, and yes that type of plan will collect dust. As leaders you need to dig deep, plan hard, and ask for help if planning is not one of your strong suits.

Lie 2: Planning Will Not Allow Me to Be Innovative and Agile

Hogwash… as my father used to say. You don’t become a robot when you plan properly. Good plans take many things into account and while a detailed plan is usually better, they should never constrain you. The fact is that a good plan will liberate you. It gives you direction, guidance, and confidence to be moving in the right direction. It gives you milestones to shoot for at intervals, and if done properly good planning will make you more agile, and give you the opportunity and resources to be more innovative, more productive, and more agile.

Lie 3: Planning Wastes a Lot of Time

Is planning a waste of time, or is not planning a waste of time? In my experience the latter is true. Leaders tend to have so much going on that they find any task outside of their core duties to be a waste of time. Pulling themselves from those daily tasks and dedicating their mind and activities toward planning for a few days, or even a few hours, seems daunting. Couple that with the plague of an inability to execute and it can be easy to give “planning” a bad name. After a good solid planning session with leaders, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days, I have never heard anyone tell me they felt like it was a waste of time. A plan provides structure for the chaos of leadership. With that structure, chaos can be ordered, and what was previously thought to be unachievable, can be achieved.

Lie 4: Cool People Don’t Plan

Well, I’d rather be uncool and successful, with a plan to get where I want to go; than cool, chaotic, unorganized, and no idea where I should be going. While this subtitle is written in jest, I have seen a huge negative stigma around planning. That it is hard, not fun, and a waste of time. Get over it, leaders do hard things. Planning can bring so much success, that it is worth every bit of angst, and the time spent planning, if done properly, will more than make-up for the whatever things you would have been doing during the planning session.

Great Leadership Hinges on Great Planning

Between the previous post, 25 Stellar Reasons Why You Need a Killer Plan, and this post, I hope you are now convinced on the importance and value of planning. To be a great leader you have to have the ability to plan. Business and life have so much chaos, and so much uncertainty, that leaders need to take the time to plan their success. Whether in life or business – hoping for success – is never as fruitful as planning for it.

What other lies have you heard about planning, and what is holding you back from being a better planner? Let me know any questions you have on planning, or anything about planning that frustrates you in the comment section.

Planning – 25 Stellar Reasons Why You Need a Killer Plan


Do you want to know a little secret to success? You want to know how to focus and prioritize your work? You want to know how to get yourself or your organization out of a funk, and increase success many fold over? Start planning. Planning isn’t sexy, it is often grueling, tiring, and frustrating, which is why many people and organizations, fail to create proper plans to make themselves or their business more successful. There are plans of many types. Strategic Plans, Annual Plans, Quarterly Plans, Monthly Plans, Sales Plans, Marketing Plans, Life Plans, Success Plans, Execution Plans, and the list goes on and on… In the next week of posts, more or less, I’m going to dive into this topic of planning. I’ll be sharing the elements of a good plan, how planning can save a bad strategy, the lies and myths of planning, and different types of plans, as well as what needs to be in them. Before we dive into that, one must have a desire to take themselves or their organization to a new level, they have to not just plan for success, but plan well. If you have any doubt on the importance of planning, take a gander at these 25 stellar benefits.

25 Stellar Reasons to Start Planning Now!

  1. A plan helps you stay focused
  2. A plan helps you assess our progress
  3. A plan helps to avoid unnecessary risks so they can be overcome or avoided
  4. A plan helps drive creative and strategic thinking
  5. A plan provides clarity on activities, terminology, and methods
  6. A plan reinforces your proposed budget and gives it teeth
  7. A plan helps to overcome shortcomings
  8. A plan helps to avoid over commitment
  9. A plan helps you to be proactive, instead of reactive
  10. A plan helps you say no
  11. A plan helps you prioritize activity
  12. A plan puts you in control
  13. A plan provides motivation
  14. A plan provides understanding
  15. A plan provides accountability
  16. A plan solidifies what you want to accomplish
  17. A plan provides a road-map
  18. A plan helps you understand your ideal client
  19. A plan helps you understand your market
  20. A plan helps to identify gaps
  21. A plan saves money and time in the end
  22. A plan increases execution
  23. A plan separates the kids from the adults (figuratively speaking)
  24. A plan gives you freedom
  25. A plan sets you up for success

If you still have doubts about planning, stay tuned for the rest of the week. Lots of good stuff to come.

Please let me know if you have any other great reasons why planning is important, and also let me know any questions you have on planning, or anything about planning that frustrates you in the comment section.

Stop Talking About it, and Start Doing

If we took all the time in our lives that we thought about doing something, and planned on doing something, and compressed that together, I bet we’d have years of inaction that prevented us from achieving many things. I have been involved in many projects where team members wait until the last week of the quarter to start on their part and then they don’t get it done. I have consulted and coached with individuals that knew what they had to do, but every excuse in the world prevented them from acting. I have seen business owners spend thousands of dollars on training, and then they do absolutely nothing with that training to help their company.

The last year I have had some stresses that have taken a lot of my energy. Wait… hold on… do you see what I just did? I just made an excuse. Sure I had a tough time, but I could have moved an inch, instead of not moving at all. I can’t blame my inaction on anyone but myself. The same goes for you. Don’t be one who says they’ll do something and doesn’t follow through. Create a plan and act. Even if your action is small, you’ll be closer and closer to your objective.

To Execute, and Be Productive – You Gotta Clean House…

I have been through many different training courses on productivity and read a lot of books, and while I don’t practice a particular one,  from them I have formed my own personal methods and processes. One time I was hired for a consulting engagement because as the client said, “You get an amazing amount of things done, so I want to work with you to learn how to do that.” Recently though I felt as if I was bogged down and wasn’t getting as much done as I wanted to. I had trouble making decisions, and was making dumb mistakes on things that I should not be having trouble with.

I knew what one of my main issues was, and I dreaded tackling it. It is the thing that is the Achilles heal of executives the world over… email! I have various email accounts for different purposes. Over the course of the last year as life has been stressful and frustrating, I let them dwindle into chaos. It took me over a week, to delete over 30,000 emails (yes that is correct). Most of them were just old stuff I had no reason to be saving, or were from lists I have signed up for and a ton of articles I emailed myself to review again at a later time. It took a while, but when I finally got my inboxes down to zero, it felt like a huge weight came off me and I could feel my mind clear.

In order to be productive you can’t rely on caffeine, or other stimulants to make you work longer. You need systems, tools, and processes.

My system for email is Microsoft Outlook. I have tried many email clients and still have yet to find one that performs as Outlook does. My process for dealing with mail in my system comes from many places, but is as follows:

  • I use ONE folder for mail storage. I used to be a filer and since I switched to one folder that is conveniently called, “@Archive” my email life has been so much easier. Searching capability in Outlook and other email systems is a hundred times faster than 5 years ago and it just does not make sense to need dozens of folder for storing
  • I have a folder called, “@Action” which contains email I need to act on within the next week or so.
  • I have a folder called, “@Deferred” which contains email I have sent to someone, and for which I need a response to soon. The purpose is to easily be able to follow-up with people.
  • I have a folder called, “@Someday” which contains email I want to act on, but for which there is no pressing time frame.
  • I have another folder called, “To Review” which mostly is articles I have emailed myself, but also might be some list email or something else that I want to review when I have some time.

I have a few pother folders. but they are all temporary. So when I have a big project I am working on, I might have a folder by that project name to keep all my email until the project is over. When it is over the email all goes to the Archive folder and the project folder is is deleted.

I try to keep my inbox down to zero, but it takes diligence. Usually I am on top of it, but this year it slipped. I try to review my folders on a weekly basis during my weekly planning, and process anything I can to keep it clean. That is in addition to my daily planning as well.

The point of this is that keeping your email organized, your desk organized, your computer files organized, and your life organized – will bring greater piece, confidence and success. You will be able to accomplish more, communicate better, and achieve a lot more than you ever thought possible.

8 Things You Learn When You Hit Rock Bottom

I’m not going to say I have at anytime, hit rock bottom. Doing that seems to me as dangerous as praying for patience. Having had some low points in my life that felt like rock bottom, here are some things that I learned.
  1. It gives you empathy for those going through similar struggles.
  2. It gives you perspective that the only way to go is up.
  3. It clears your mind of the clutter and the noise that is preventing you from progressing.
  4. It helps you overcome the fear of action. (i.e. “What do I have to lose?”)
  5. It helps produce clarity to see what’s important.
  6. It helps to increase your resolve to change.
  7. It helps you realize things in your life you need to let go of.
  8. It humbles you.

J. K. Rowling said about her rock bottom moment, “I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Are there any other lessons you’d like to share?

Simplifying My Life and My Blog

The last year of my life has been tough. I have had a lot of ups and downs. I am thankful for some good friends that have stood by me and helped me to keep pushing ahead. It has been difficult at times, and I have come to the conclusion that in order to move forward, I need to simplify things in my life.

One example is this blog. I have a love-hate relationship with WordPress. I love it for what it is and what it does, but I hate it for writing. It is not the writing actually, but all the mechanics around publishing a blog post. I have to write the post, edit the post, optimize it for SEO, assign my tags, my keywords, my categories, and write an SEO description. Then I have to find an image, buy an image, crop it, compress it and upload it. Sometimes, OK often, the thought of doing all that, prevents from writing in the first place. I have almost 90 draft posts waiting for all that to be done to them, erg…

It kind of doesn’t make sense. I sacrifice helping others, because of the mechanics of writing a post. I have to simplify things in my life because time is an asset that is in limited supply. So I am going to make some changes, the first of which is this blog.

  1. I am not going to have images anymore, unless there is some compelling reason for it. I am tired of the cost and time associated with finding the images and getting them setup. I think the trade-off of good content is preferred.
  2. I going to wrote shorter posts, more frequently. I know longer posts are preferred by many, but I just can’t swing the time. The thought of writing a 600 to 1,000 word blog post is another thing that sometimes prevents me from even starting. So they will be more focused posts.
  3. I am going to try and not be a perfectionist. So you might see a mistake here and there from late night or early morning writings. Please kindly let me know and I will fix them.

Peace Pilgrim stated, “The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life.

That is exactly what I am going for. I welcome your thoughts as I attempt to begin anew.