How will you be different (and better) in 2016?

“Don’t be different to be different. Be different to be better.”

I love this quote. I first heard it in high school, but I don’t know who originally uttered the words in this order.  What I do know is that it stuck with me, and I refer to it often.

So this begs the question: What will you be doing in 2016 that will make you, your business or your life better than 2015? And by the way, “better” has many definitions. Don’t think that better always has to be more.

For me, 2016 will be the first full year of living in North Carolina.

It was a big move for Linda and I to pick up and move up to a small town in the mountains, but it’s been a great experience so far.  It’s allowed me to slow down and focus on what’s really important – in life and in business.

Speaking of business, I made a decision a few months ago that is already having an impact on what’s coming in 2016. That decision was to actually narrow the focus of my business.  When I started POC in 2011, I felt (and was told by many), that what I taught and talked about (leadership, communication, teamwork and employee engagement) applied to many different industries, not just the attractions industry.  To that end, I started pursuing other speaking and consulting opportunities, regardless of the business.  I dipped my toes in banking, health care and finance and enjoyed those experiences.  But I realized that I didn’t enjoy them nearly much as working with an amusement park, museum, aquarium, zoo, family entertainment center, or agritourism destination.

I also realized that the energy and time it took for me to pursue these outside opportunities was taking me AWAY from my target audience.  I decided to narrow my focus to better serve the attractions industry.

Looking back, it was actually very similar to a decision I made many years ago when I was a sound and lighting tech touring with a band and working at a recording studio WHILE also working summers at an amusement park. I was having the most fun at the park, so I decided that that was the direction I was going to take my career.  Funny how 21 years hasn’t really changed my passion… just needed to refocus it a bit.

It’s also funny how making that decision to narrow my focus immediately freed my mind to think of different (and better) ways to serve my intended audience.  My new video series 3 Questions is a direct result of that change in thinking, as is the Attractions Only Mastermind group that I am offering.  I’ve got some other exciting products and services in the pipeline (including a new book), all with the intent to serve and support leaders at all levels in the attractions industry.

So I’ll ask again: What will YOU be doing in 2016 that will make you, your business or your life better than 2015?  Drop me a note, would love to hear what you’re planning!

Happy New Year and thanks for reading!


About the author: If your 2016 plans include increasing employee engagement, reducing turnover and burnout, or enhancing leadership performance, now is the time to act. Contact Matt today and make 2016 your best year ever!

3 Questions with John Anderson

I was lucky enough to chat with John Anderson, COO & VP of Administration for the Michigan Science Center for Episode 3 of #3 Questions.  We covered a wide range of topics in 35 minutes, and John had an interesting answer to the question, “If you could only smell one smell for the rest of your life, what would it be?”

Thanks for watching!!


Matt Heller is the founder of Performance Optimist Consulting and the author of The Myth of Employee Burnout.  Matt works with attractions large, small and in-between to help them ensure their people are performing at optimum levels!