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  • 269: How Rowan Grew His Pinterest Following to More Than 300,000 in Two Months

    Post From http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/MahHLf7uOMQ/

    The post 269: How Rowan Grew His Pinterest Following to More Than 300,000 in Two Months appeared first on ProBlogger.

    How a Blogger Uses Pinterest to Boost His Following

    Welcome to the final episode of our Blogger Breakthroughs series. Today we share a story from Rowan Sims, Digital Photography School writer and ProBlogger podcast listener.

    How Rowan Sims grew his Pinterest following to 300,000 in two months


    Rowan’s also a landscape and travel photographer who uses his blog to teach readers how to improve their photography, as well as share his photo adventures and location guides.

    The biggest challenges he faced with blogging were being inconsistent and not attracting the right audience.

    So he switched his blog’s focus from just sharing photography to teaching it as well.

    He’s also written some guest posts. Don’t underestimate the power of guest blogging. It’s about more than just link building.

    Another breakthrough for Rowan was discovering the power of Pinterest. It’s become Rowan’s largest source of referral traffic.

    Rowan has used various tools and social media sites to promote his photography, but Pinterest needed a different approach and was a steep learning curve.

    No matter what your niche is, Rowan has suggestions on how to optimize Pinterest for best results:

    • Set up a Pinterest business account and review your Pinterest insights/analytics to know what’s working and help identify your target audience
    • Create attractive pins
    • Use Tailwind to drip feed pins and create tribes

    Pinterest is one option, but experiment with different platforms to figure out what works best for you.

    Rowan’s blogging breakthroughs have not only helped increase his traffic, but has brought him the right traffic. People are genuinely interested in what he has to say and share.

    Links and Resources for How Rowan Grew His Pinterest Following to More Than 300,000 in Two Months:

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    Full Transcript
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    Darren: Hey there and welcome to episode 269 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the founder of ProBlogger which started out as a blog with lots of blog tips and has become a blog, a podcast, ebooks, courses, and a job board as well to help bloggers to find jobs. There’s a lot on ProBlogger. You can check it all out at problogger.com where we really are about trying to help bloggers to monetize their blogs.

    Today is the final episode in our blogger breakthrough series. We may do this again in the future because I’ve had a lot of really great feedback on the stories that we’ve been featuring. I’m going to get back to a noble flow of things next week. But today, I want to share with you a story from Rowan Sims. Rowan actually is a writer over on Digital Photography School. I didn’t realize he was also a listener of this podcast. You hear at the end, he worked his way back through all of the archives of the podcast—all 269 episodes. He may be up there as one of the most avid listeners of the podcast.

    He submitted his story of how he grew his blog. He took his blog from fairly inconsistent blogging, he switched his focus, and he shares two strategies that he used to help grow his traffic particularly Pinterest. He gives some good tips on driving traffic with Pinterest as well. He actually submitted a short 4 ½-minute story and then I asked him to submit a few more tips so you will a bit of a change in the audio—that’s kind of part two coming in halfway along where he gets to be a bit more practical about Pinterest.

    Before I introduce you or put Rowan onto you, I do want to mention a little personal project that I’ve been playing around with, and that is a new podcast. This is not just a podcast with me, it’s actually a podcast with Vanessa, my wife, and my three boys. We’ve been talking for a while now about having a family podcast and also, we’re not completely sure how it’s going to roll out completely. We don’t even know what the name will be down the track. We’re calling it the Rowse Report at the moment. It is, at this moment, a one pilot show. It’s about what we’re reading, what we’re watching, what we’re listening to, what we’re playing.

    We each have a little segment where we talk about the books, the podcast, what we’re watching on Netflix, what movies we enjoy, what games we might be playing. I’ve got plans for a few episodes. We’re just putting it out there at the moment. If you’d like to have a listen to that, there’s not actually a website for it yet, but you will be able to find the latest episode linked to either on my Facebook page—facebook.com/problogger or I will link to it in today’s show. We are hosting it on the Anchor platform and it should go up in iTunes as well in the next week or two. You might want to do a search there for Rowse Report.

    Anyway, you can find it all on today’s show notes. The show notes also will have transcription of today’s story as well as some links that Rowan mentions in the show. He mentions a couple of tools that you might want to check out and then an article that he has written as well. I’m going to hand over to Rowan and I’m going to come back at the end just to wrap things up and give a few thoughts of my own and suggest a couple of things that you might want to do as a result of what you hear. Here’s Rowan.

    Rowan: Hi guys. My name is Rowan and I’m a blogger and photographer from New Zealand. My blog name is Rowan Sims Photography and you can find me at rowansims.com. I started my blog back in 2010 so it’s been about eight years. I’m a landscape and travel photographer, so I use my blog to teach my readers how to improve their photography. I also use it to share my photo adventures and location guides.

    My audience is mainly beginner to intermediate photographers. As I said, I’ve been blogging for about eight years, but really inconsistently. I’ve seen some small success with a few posts getting some serious traffic. In the past, I use my blog mainly to share my travel and landscape photography with a little monetization from some affiliate products.

    My biggest challenge is with being consistent and tracking the right audience. There have been periods of every year when I didn’t blog at all. The little audience I did have completely forgot about me. I also found that the search traffic that was coming to my blog was basically just leaving. Visitors weren’t interested in subscribing or following me on social media once they have found what they were looking for. I’ve built up a small email list and social media following but not enough to drive traffic to my blog.

    I’ve had a couple of big breakthroughs this year. At the end of 2007, my girlfriend and I decided to spend some time in Australia after living in Canada for a couple of years. She’s also a travel blogger and have had some similar struggles to me, so we decided to make the most of the fresh start and really focus on our blogs in 2018. I also decided to shift the focus of my blog from just sharing my photography to teaching others as well.

    One of the things I decided to work on was guest posting. I’ve written a couple of guest post in the past, but never really pushed it. To start with, I approached Digital Photography School which I’m sure you’ve heard Darren talk about on this podcast. They were happy to have me write for them, so I submitted an article. That first post was really well received which was a huge encouragement for me.

    The second breakthrough I’ve had this year was discovering the power of Pinterest for driving traffic. I’ve used Pinterest inconsistently for a few years and it’s a personal use. I’ve never really seen it as a tool for promoting my photography or my blog. I thought it was really just for moms sharing recipes. I decided to take another look at it this year, so I switched to a business account and I’ve a whole another profile. I really had no idea how powerful Pinterest could be for bloggers. Pinterest has become my largest source of referral traffic in just a few months.

    Learning how to use Pinterest for business was a pretty steep learning curve. It’s such a unique platform. I’ve used many tools and social media sites to promote my photography over the years, but Pinterest required a very different approach. Fortunately, as a blogger, I’ve had a ton of visual content which Pinterest is all about. This meant that I was able to hit the ground running with a decent amount of content that I could optimize for Pinterest and experiment with.

    There are a few things that I did which I think set me up well on a path to seeing results from Pinterest. Every blogger is going to use it differently, but I think these things are going to be useful no matter what your niche.

    The first thing I’d recommend is setting up a business account, as I mentioned. This may sound obvious, but I didn’t realize the value of it until I did it myself. There aren’t a ton of differences between a regular account and a business account but the biggest one for me has been Pinterest Insights. If you’re anything like me, you probably spend a lot of time looking at your analytics. I probably spend way too much time in there, but it pays off if you know what to look for.  Pinterest Insights are incredibly powerful, and they can help you in a couple of ways. Firstly, you’ll see what’s working and also, you’ll see where your target audience is. It’s pretty different than Google Analytics, so don’t expect to be able to understand it straight away. But give it sometime and I’m pretty sure you’ll see the value in it for sure.

    The second thing that really helped me was to create really attractive pins. Again, this sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many pins I see everyday that have had virtually no thought going to them at all. It’s a visual platform so learning to create beautiful pins is an absolute must. I’m not a designer by any means so my pins are pretty basic. I’ve created templates in photoshop to make it easy to create new pins for each post. I switch up the photos and text and it’s done in just a few minutes. If that sounds way over your head, there are free tools like Canva that make it super simple. This was a process of experimentation and it still is. Some of my templates get a lot of engagement and the ones that get little just gets scrapped. I regularly try new fonts and overlays to see what works best. I’m a prolific experimenter and that’s served me really well, so I encourage you to do the same.

    The third thing that’s really made a big difference in growing my Pinterest account is actually another tool called Tailwind. You may have heard of it. It’s a tool that makes scheduling and repining really simple. One of the unique things about Pinterest is that you need to be very active to see results. But bombarding your followers with a ton of pins each time you visit doesn’t work. Tailwind allows you to drip feed your pins over the day so they’re more likely to be seen by your followers. It also has a fantastic feature called Tribes which encourages members to re-pin other member’s content. It’s really effective and it’s been super helpful for me especially considering I have a relatively small following.

    I actually wrote a whole post about how I grew my account from about 1000 views a month to over 300,000 in only about two months. It’s written for photographers, but the principles are valid no matter what niche you’re in.

    The biggest advantage of these two breakthroughs is that I’m not only getting a lot more traffic, it’s the right kind of traffic. People who are visiting my blog because they’re genuinely interested in what I have to say, they’re sticking around longer, and are subscribing.

    In the last six months, I’ve more than doubled the email list that I’ve built over the last four years. I’ve also been given a few opportunities as a result of writing for other photography blogs. I’m getting in front of a much larger audience and building a larger profile as a result. Getting to where my target audience and guest posting there has been one of the best things I could have ever done for my blog.

    What I want to say to listeners is don’t underestimate the power of guest posting. It’s about so much more than just link building. If you can write for blogs that have a bigger audience than your own, some of their audience will inevitably become some of your audience. The second thing I would say is keep experimenting with various tools and platforms. It might be something you’ve tried in the past and decided isn’t for you. Test out new stuff but be careful about dismissing the old stuff. You never really know what might work for you.

    That’s it. Before I go, I just wanted to say a huge thanks to Darren. I spent the last few months listening to the entire back catalog of the ProBlogger podcast. It’s been insanely helpful. Every time I listen, I get inspired. I’ve learned so much. I’m sure I probably would’ve given up by now if it wasn’t for you sharing your knowledge and passion. Both of your blogs, ProBlogger and Digital Photography School had been hugely helpful for me, so thank you very much.

    Darren: Thanks so much to Rowan for sharing his story today. You can find his site at rowansims.com. I have a link to the article that he mentioned on his advice on Pinterest in the show notes today as well. You can find that show notes at problogger.com/podcast/269.

    I love this story for a couple of reasons. One, Rowan has found for himself the reality that guest posting isn’t dead. Guest posting was huge five or so years ago now. Most people were using it to build their search engine traffic, getting links from other sites, but Google cracked down on this and so those links aren’t as valuable as they used to be than what really valuable at all. As a result, a lot of people gave up on guest posting.

    I’ve long argued that there was more to guest posting than just the links. Certainly, the links were helpful but getting in front of other people’s audiences is something that is well worth doing, particularly, if it’s the right type of traffic, the right type of audience. Rowan talked there about how he targeted where his audience was, and he focused on those places to build profile. He did that through Digital Photography School which is the perfect audience for him if he wants to teach people how to do photography. We’ve heard time and time again from our writers that it’s a benefit for them to do that purely for the traffic that they get and that the profile, the expertise that they’re able to build on their particular topic.

    Guest posting isn’t dead, I’m going to link in the show notes today to a previous episode on guest posting if you want to check that one out. It’s one the early episode that I did right towards the beginning of this podcast, back in episode 37. If you want to dig back and have a listen to that, it’s on iTunes. Some of those early episodes, I should say, on iTunes have probably disappeared at some point because I think there’s a limit of 300 episodes that I can show you at a time, and we are approaching that point. We’re at 269, so in another 31 episodes, the first episodes will disappear. You might want to go back and listen to those early episodes if you haven’t already. That’s just a little side.

    The other thing that I love that Rowan found for himself is that Pinterest is a great way of driving traffic. Every time I meet bloggers, I meet people who are using Pinterest in really interesting ways as well. They always tell that they’re surprised about how their topic works on Pinterest. Photography is a topic that works on Pinterest. I’ve seen topics like motorbikes, gardening, fashion. I’ve seen technology boards do really well. There really isn’t a limit since some of those stereotypical niches that you might think do well on Pinterest certainly do work, but it’s a lot broader than you might think. Great tips there from Rowan.

    I do plan on doing an episode in the coming months hopefully before the end of the year on Pinterest as well because I’ve met some good people on that particular topic. Do get into that article that Rowan mentioned. I will link to it in the show notes today. Also, check out those tools that he mentioned. I’ll link to those in the show notes too. There’s Canva which you’ll find at canva.com and tailwindapp.com. That’s the tool that enables you to schedule into Pinterest your pins. Check out Pinterest. I think Pinterest is a great one because Pinterest really does rely upon content.

    A lot of bloggers have found the hard way that Facebook has changed their algorithms a lot and that’s because they don’t really need content on Facebook. Facebook’s much more than people sharing links, it’s about people having conversations, and people watching video, and people engaging in communities, so it’s not really in Facebook’s best interest to allow us to share links that lead people off Facebook.

    The whole point of Pinterest is that people go there to find content. They actually reward people who create great content. I do think it is a platform that is well worth checking out if you haven’t already. As Rowan says, it’s well worth revisiting. We actually are in the process of probably having a full look at Pinterest for Digital Photography School in particular. We’ve never quite cracked it but based on some of the advice that I received over the last few months, we’re going to give it another go. That’s high on our agenda for 2019. I’m interested to see if we can replicate some of the results that Rowan got being in a similar niche to him.

    Anyway, I’m going to leave it at that. Again, you can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/269. You’ll find the link there to out family podcast as well, if you do want to have a listen to that. It’s called the Rowse Report. Anchor is slowly adding it all in the different podcasting app.

    At the point I’m recording this, it’s not on iTunes yet, but is on Anchor and I think also on Pocket Casts. But hopefully, it will all be added in the coming days and weeks as well. Just search for Rowse Report or check out the show notes. I would love to know what you think about it and we would love any suggestions you’ve got for a name for that podcast as well. Have a listen and see what you think. I do think that the stars of the show will be my kids though, so you might want to have a listen to that. It’s kind of funny seeing your seven-year-old talk about a book that he’s reading. Anyway, I’m going to leave it at that. You can check that one out. I’ll chat with you next week where we’re coming back to our normal schedule called Podcasting at ProBlogger. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week.

    How did you go with today’s episode?

    Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts.

    The post 269: How Rowan Grew His Pinterest Following to More Than 300,000 in Two Months appeared first on ProBlogger.

  • Get Your Free Test Discovery Tool to Help Log all the Results and Discoveries from Your Company’s Marketing Tests

    Post From http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/MktgExperimentsBlog/~3/Bt1D2xNZ6kk/test-discovery-tool-to-log-all-results

    Come budget time, do you have an easy way to show all the results from your testing? Not just conversion lifts, but the golden intel that senior business leaders crave — key insights into customer behavior.

    To help you do that, we’ve created the free MECLABS Institute Test Discovery Tool, so you can build a custom discovery library for your organization. This simple tool is an easy way of helping your company create a repository of discoveries from its behavioral testing with customers and showing business leaders all the results of your testing efforts. Just click the link below to get yours.


    Click Here to Download Your FREE Test Discovery Tool Instantly

    (no form to fill out, just click to get your instant download of this Excel-based tool)


    In addition to enabling you to show comprehensive test results to business leaders, a custom test discovery library for your brand helps improve your overall organization’s performance. You probably have an amazing amount of institutional knowledge stuck in your cranium. From previous campaigns and tests, you have a good sense of what will work with your customers and what will not. You probably use this info to inform future tests and campaigns, measure what works and build your knowledge base even more.

    But to create a truly successful organization, you have to get that wisdom out of your head and make sure everyone in your marketing department and at your agencies has access to that valuable intel. Plus, you want the ability to learn from everyone in your organization as well.

    This tool was created to help a MECLABS Research Partner keep track of all the lessons learned from its tests.

    “The goal of building this summary spreadsheet was to create a functional and precise approach to document a comprehensive summary of results. The template allows marketers to form a holistic understanding of their test outcomes in an easily digestible format, which is helpful when sharing and building upon future testing strategy within your organization. The fields within the template are key components that all testing summaries should possess to clearly understand what the test was measuring and impacting, and the validity of the results,” said Delaney Dempsey, Data Scientist, MECLABS Institute.

    “Basically, the combination of these fields provides a clear understanding of what worked and what did not work. Overall, the biggest takeaway for marketers is that having an effective approach to documenting your results is an important element in creation of your customer theory and impactful marketing strategies. Ultimately, past test results are the root of our testing discovery about our customers,” she explained.


    Click Here to Download Your FREE Test Discovery Tool Instantly

    (no form to fill out, just click to get your instant download of this Excel-based tool)


    Here is a quick overview for filling out the fields in this tool (we’ve also included this info in the tool) …

    Click on the image to enlarge in new window

    How to use this tool to organize your company’s customer discoveries from real-world behavioral tests

    For a deeper exploration of testing, and to learn where to test, what to test and how to turn basic testing data into customer wisdom, you can take the MECLABS Institute Online Testing on-demand certification course.

    Test Dashboard: This provides an overview of your tests. The info automatically pulls from the information you input for each individual test on the other sheets in this Excel document. You may decide to color code each test stream (say blue for email, green for landing pages, etc.) to more easily read the dashboard. (For instructions on adding more rows to the Test Dashboard, and thus more test worksheets to the Excel tool, scroll down to the “Adding More Tests” section.)

    Your Test Name Here: Create a name for each test you run. (To add more tabs to run more tests, scroll down to the “Adding More Tests” section.)

    Test Stream: Group tests in a way that makes the most sense for your organization. Some examples might be the main site, microsite, landing pages, homepage, email, specific email lists, PPC ads, social media ads and so on.

    Test Location: Where in your test stream did this specific test occur? For example, if the Test Stream was your main site, the Test Location may have been on product pages, a shopping page or on the homepage. If one of your testing streams is Landing Pages, the test location may have been a Facebook landing page for a specific product.

    Test Tracking Number: To organize your tests, it can help to assign each test a unique tracking number. For example, every test MECLABS Institute conducts for a company has a Test Protocol Number.

    Timeframe Run: Enter the dates the test ran and the number of days it ran. MECLABS recommends you run your tests for at least a week, even if it reaches a statistically significant sample size, to help reduce the chances of a validity threat known as History Effect.

    Hypothesis: The reason to run a test is to prove or disprove a hypothesis.

    Do you know how you can best serve your customer to improve results? What knowledge gaps do you have about your customer? What internal debates do you have about the customer? What have you debated with your agency or vendor partner? Settle those debates and fill those knowledge gaps by crafting a hypothesis and running a test to measure real-world customer behavior.

    Here is the approach MECLABS uses to formulate a hypothesis, with an example filled in …

    # of Treatments: This is the number of versions you are testing. For example, if you had Landing Page A and Landing Page B, that would be two treatments. The more treatments you test in one experiment, the more samples you need to avoid a Sampling Distortion Effect validity threat, which can occur when you do not collect a significant number of observations.

    Valid/Not Valid: A valid test measures what it claims to measure. Valid tests are well-founded and correspond accurately to the real world. Results of a valid test can be trusted to be accurate and to represent real-world conditions. Invalid tests fail to measure what they claim to measure and cannot be trusted as being representative of real-world conditions.

    Conclusive/Inconclusive: A Conclusive Test is a valid test that has reached the desired Level of Confidence (95% is the most commonly used standard). An Inconclusive Test is a valid test that failed to reach the desired Level of Confidence for the primary KPI (95% is the most commonly used standard). Inconclusive tests, while not the marketer’s goal, are not innately bad. They offer insights into the cognitive psychology of the customer. They help marketers discover which mental levers do not have a significant impact on the decision process.


    Name: KPIs are key performance indicators. They are the yardstick for measuring your test. The main KPI is what ultimately determines how well your test performed, but secondary and tertiary KPIs can be insightful as well. For example, the main KPI for a product page test might be the add-to-cart rate. That is the main action you are trying to influence with your test treatment(s). A secondary KPI might be a change in revenue. Perhaps you get fewer orders, but at a higher value per order, and thus more revenue. A tertiary KPI might be checkout rate, tracking how many people complete the action all the way through the funnel. There may be later steps in the funnel that are affecting that checkout rate beyond what you’re testing, which is why it is not the main KPI of the test but still important to understand. (Please note, every test does not necessarily have to have a main, secondary and tertiary KPI, but every test should at least have a main KPI.)

    Key Discoveries: This is the main benefit of running tests — to make new discoveries about customer behavior. This Test Discovery Library gives you a central, easily accessible place to share those discoveries with the entire company. For example, you could upload this document to an internal SharePoint or intranet, or even email it around every time a test is complete.

    The hypothesis will heavily inform the key discoveries section, but you may also learn something you weren’t expecting, especially from secondary KPIs.

    What did the test results tell you about the perceived credibility of your product and brand? The level of brand exposure customers have previously had? Customers’ propensity to buy or become a lead? The difference in the behavior of new and returning visits to your website? The preference for different communication mechanisms (e.g., live chat vs. video chat)? Behavior on different devices (e.g., desktop vs. mobile)? These are just examples; the list could go on forever … and you likely have some that are unique to your organization.

    Experience Implemented? This is pretty straightforward. Has the experience that was tested been implemented as the new landing page, home page, etc., after the test closed?

    Date of implementation: If the experience has been implemented, when was it implemented? Recording this information can help you go back and make sure overall performance correlated with your expectations from the test results.


    The Test Dashboard tab dynamically pulls in all information from the subsequent test worksheets, so you do not need to manually enter any data here except for the test sequence number in Column A. If you want to create a new test tab and the corresponding row in the “Test Dashboard,” follow these instructions:

      • Right click on the bottom tab titled “Template – Your Test Name Here.” Choose “Move or Copy.” From the list of sheets, choose “Template – Your Test Name Here.” Check the box “Create a Copy” and click OK. Right click on your new “Template – Your Test Name Here (2)” tab and rename as “Your Test Name Here (7).”
      • Now, you’ll need to add a new row to your “Test Dashboard” tab. Copy the last row. For example, select row 8 on the “Test Dashboard” tab, copy/paste those contents into row 9. You will need to make the following edits to reference your new tab, “Your Test Name Here (7).” This can be done in the following way:
        • Manually enter the test as “7” in cell A9.
        • The remaining cells dynamically pull the data in. However, since you copy/paste, they are still referencing the test above. To update this, highlight select row 9 again. On the Home Tab>Editing, select “Find & Select (located on the far right)>”Replace,” or use “CTRL+F”>Replace.
        • On the Replace tab of the box, enter Find What: “Your Test Name (6)” and Replace with: “Your Test Name (7).”
        • Click “Replace All”
        • All cells in the row should now reference your new tab, “Your Test Name (7)” properly.


    Click Here to Download Your FREE Test Discovery Tool Instantly

    (no form to fill out, just click to get your instant download of this Excel-based tool)


    Special thanks to Research Manager Alissa Shaw, Data Scientist Delaney Dempsey, Associate Director of Design Lauren Leonard, Senior Director of Research Partnerships Austin McCraw, and Copy Editor Linda Johnson for helping to create the Test Discovery Library tool.

    If you have any questions, you can email us at info@MECLABS.com. And here are some more resources to help with your testing …

    Lead your team to breakthrough results with A Model of your Customer’s Mind: These 21 charts and tools have helped capture more than $500 million in (carefully measured) test wins

    Test Planning Scenario Tool – This simple tool helps you visualize factors that affect the ROI implications of test sequencing

    Customer Theory: How we learned from a previous test to drive a 40% increase in CTR

    The post Get Your Free Test Discovery Tool to Help Log all the Results and Discoveries from Your Company’s Marketing Tests appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

  • BTS (防弾少年団) ‘Airplane pt.2 -Japanese ver.-‘ Official MV

  • Music affects us

  • My husband has had numerous affairs and somehow it's all my fault! Will he ever accept me and make me feel good about myself?

  • Sunday With Sisson

    Post From https://www.marksdailyapple.com/sunday-with-sisson/

    Hi, everyone. Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday morning. For those of you accustomed to receiving Sunday With Sisson in your inbox, I wanted to give you a heads up that the team and I are making some changes (just technical) with the newsletter and “Sunday With Sisson” for just a few weeks. Some of you may notice some temporary interruption in your email delivery from MDA. It’s all part of upgrading our systems. Unfortunately, there’s never a good time for these things.

    In the meantime, I’ll be posting “Sunday With Sisson” letters each Sunday on the blog until we’re back to our full mailing capacity. Enjoy, and—as always—thanks for joining me here. 

    Good morning, folks,

    I’ve been thinking about our two main nervous systems: the central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.

    Regular waking conscious experience is controlled by our central nervous system. It’s the overseer or the director or the pilot (even if you subscribe to the idea that this effect of “controlling” your actions is an illusion, it feels like it).

    But then there’s another system that lies underneath our conscious experience—the autonomic nervous system. The ANS regulates all the automatic and subconscious functions in the body, like breathing, heart rate, sexual arousal, stress, fear, and elation. These are the things we’re aware of but can’t directly control. We experience sexual arousal but can’t just will it to occur. It happens to us.

    And our autonomic nervous system is always watching us….

    Say we spend a few weeks mulling over a big decision, like asking for a raise, quitting a job, or pursuing a new business venture. At the end of the day, however, we decide to stay the course and forgo the risk.

    Or maybe we want to approach that attractive man or woman, but ultimately we do not.

    What is our ANS learning about us?

    When you’re faced with a scary decision or situation and you shrink, your ANS learns that you’re weak, afraid, and lesser than the thing that scared you. Any future encounters with scary things will be even scarier, because your ANS has adapted to your decision. It just wants to keep you safe. If you shrunk away from the job interview or pretty woman or hard workout, it’s going to assume that you did so out of self-preservation. The next time you see a woman or man you like or want to change your profession or get back in the gym, it’s going to be even harder to go through with it.

    Small decisions don’t escape the ANS either. If you pause over the donuts in the break room for a few seconds, thinking about how much you shouldn’t eat the maple bar, and then grab and devour the maple bar, you just sent a very strong message to your ANS:

    This guy can’t resist maple bars. He loves maple bars. They’re probably good for him. He should eat maple bars all the time.

    And then it gets much harder to resist the maple bar in the future.

    What if we could reframe our decisions this way? What if, for this week, we could see each choice, each temptation, each opportunity as a means to calibrate our ANS. I wonder what the payoff could be if we chose to invest in a new psychological set point. We’re always one decision away from claiming a bolder version of ourselves.

    Enjoy your Sunday, everybody.



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