3 Life and Marketing Success Resolutions for 2019

3 Life and Marketing Success Resolutions for 2019

Iíve been studying success and successful people as long as I can remember Ö easily 30 years. That means if we donít change what we are doing, right now, the things you want to accomplish in 2019 or 2023 and beyond, both marketing and personal goals, will never happen. Over the past 20 years Iíve asked hundreds of people what their success plan is. And hereís the big idea most people just donít get: The MOST important thing to accomplishing your goal is to BELIEVE that it is possible. Iíve been kissed by men who did a very good job. In order for record and repeat to work, we have to clear away all the garbage that is stopping us from accomplishing our desires. But to be successful, you have to change your behavior and make time to do the great things. Recorded it Ö read and reviewed that goal first thing in the morning and before I went to bed and stopped doing everything else to focus on that. Is your goal to become a better content marketer for your brand and your audience this year? Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute Author: Joe Pulizzi Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World.

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This text and the accompanying 30-minute video comes from my Content Marketing World 2018 keynote presentation. On Dec. 31, 2017, I ďretiredĒ from marketing and took a sabbatical for 2018 (which, as of this publishing, Iím still happily on).

Iíve given over 400 keynote speeches in 18 countries, but this one was the most personal. The team at CMI is nice enough to publish this so the entire CMI audience can watch and read it. I hope there is something here that will help you in your life or your marketing (hopefully both).

Yours in Content,


Hello Cleveland. Itís fantastic to be back here at Content Marketing World. Some of you may not know this, but Iíve been on a sabbatical for the last nine glorious months since leaving CMI.

In January, I spent 30 days electronics free. In February, I took my father to Sicily to see 60 cousins weíve never met before, and the last six months, Iíve literally spent more time with my two boys than in the previous six years.


The Pulizzi family is notorious for using disclaimers. So for this speech, hereís my disclaimer. Iíll cover some marketing, but this is much more about you and your success. I care about each of you way too much to just give you marketing advice Ö I want to give you more. That said, you may not like it. Iím willing to live with that. So here goes.

Tabula rasa

I first came across the term ďtabula rasaĒ in 1995 while studying rhetoric at Penn State University. Tabula rasa or ďclean slateĒ is found in the writings of Aristotle, and is the belief that we are each born with a blank slate and everything we learn Ö our habits Ö our behaviors Ö comes from our experiences.

What if, right here and now, you had a clean slate? You could do or be anything you wanted. Nothing in this world could hold you back from your accomplishments.

Now I want you to fast forward exactly one year to this time in 2019. Whatís different? What did you accomplish in the last 365 days?

What about five years from now?

  • Are you rich?
  • Did you get the guy or the girl you wanted?
  • Did you have another child?
  • Did you travel the world?
  • Did you prevent your kids from growing up to be idiots?

Would you consider yourself a success? Have you made a positive impact on the world?

Iíve been studying success and successful people as long as I can remember Ö easily 30 years. As a young adult I kept a journal with me of all the things I wanted to do and accomplish, and listened to success audio tapes from Brian Tracy and Zig Zigler.

Even as Iíve been on this year-long sabbatical, Iíve kept this obsession about success.

Hereís the question: Why are some people successful and others are not? Is there a formula for success that put the odds in your favor?

What Iíve found is that most of us have conditioned our brains and have formed habits that preclude us from success. That means if we donít change what we are doing, right now, the things you want to accomplish in 2019 or 2023 and beyond, both marketing and personal goals, will never happen.

Three Reís

Not just me, but the most successful people in the world use this formula as well Ö which is, sadly, a very small percentage of people.

And hereís the bonus Ö the same actions and behaviors that will make your personal dreams come true, will also define your success in marketing.


What does record mean? This means you document your desire. Depending on what research study you look at, less than 10% of all people write down and record their goals. And, those that do, accomplish more in their lives than the other 90% combined.

Letís say you were going to build a house. If we treated building this house like we do building our lives, we would just call the contractors, the electrician, the plumber, the concrete guy, the drywall team, the roofers Ö have them get in a huddle and figure it out.

Can you imagine the chaos to building a house without a plan? But thatís what we do. We donít plan for our desires to come true.

Our mental houses are falling down. Over the past 20 years Iíve asked hundreds of people what their success plan is. How they are going to get what they want out of life? Most people do not have any idea what they really want. And if they do, they certainly donít write it down or believe they can achieve it.

Bruce Lee case study

In January of 1969, very few people ever heard of a man named Bruce Lee. Today, Bruce Lee is probably the most famous martial arts movie star who ever existed. Bruce had some major ambitions Ö and he penned this letter to himself:

My Definite Chief Aim

I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.

Bruce Lee Ė Jan. 1969

Unfortunately, Bruce passed away just four years later, but not before accomplishing everything and more from this letter. Every day Bruce got out of his bed and had a crystal image of what success was to him, and what he needed to do that day to move the needle forward.

Think and Grow Rich case study

When I was in college, I read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. In the 1930s, Mr. Hill interviewed 500 high achievers like Ford, Roosevelt, and Carnegie to find out why they were so successful. He found, actually, that the key similarity for these high achievers was incredibly simple. They wrote down their desires.

But what kind of goals and desires?

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett says, ďIf you are going to try to bat 1,000%, you wonít accomplish many things of importance. If youíre willing to strike out a few times, you can change the world.Ē

So Iím not talking about small goals here Ö we are talking about Iím Gonna Change the World goals.

We do this remembering three components. Letís look at Bruce Leeís desire. First, itís totally unreasonable. This is a Big Big Goal. No person had ever brought martial arts to the mainstream.

Second, we need specifics. He wants to make $10 million by 1980. He had a specific amount and a specific year.

And the best goals ALSO serve others. He wanted to thrill audiences with his performances. And in exchange for delivering this value, he became a superstar.

Well, would you know that the exact same things hold true for your content marketing plan?

  • Big Ė If you take your content marketing plan into your CMO and they approve it the first time around Ö guest what? Itís not big enough. You need to go in there and make their heads spin. It needs to be big!
  • Unreasonable Ė No other company should have this goal. This is what I call your content tilt or differentiation point. Are you building something for your audience that has never been done like this before?
  • Other-serving Ė Whatís in it for the audience? Are you first and foremost helping them get better jobs and live better lives or is your goal about you getting more leads or money?


What do we mean by repeat?

Every day in the morning, and every night in the evening, we are going to review this goal. We are going to take about 1% of our day Ė less than 15 minutes a day Ė to review our desires. The plan for our mental house.

In a 2009 study published by Dr. Phillipa Lally in the European Journal of Psychology, 96 people over a 12-week period were analyzed about changing behavior and habits. Each chose one new habit and reported each day on whether or not they did the behavior Ö and Ö when the behavior became automatic.

Some people chose simple habits like ďdrinking three bottles of water a dayĒ or ďno desserts.Ē Others chose more difficult tasks like ďexercising for 15 minutes before dinner.Ē At the end of the 12…