JD Meier of Microsoft, Productivity Strategies for Success #339


JD Meier, high performance and innovation coach, discusses his focus on using AI to advance high performance and change how the world innovates. He emphasizes the power of one person businesses to impact and influence a billion minds. Meier shares his two-track transformation model for innovation, which involves sustaining innovation in the current business while also working on disruptive innovation for the future. He also highlights the importance of productivity and offers strategies such as setting three wins each day and reflecting on weekly achievements.

Sound Bites

  1. “I’m all about trying to use AI to advance high performance”
  2. “I call it billion dollar solopreneur, not because you’re going to make a billion dollars, but it’s about impacting and influencing a billion minds”
  3. “You have your current business, which is your current business model… and then you have your future business model”


JD Meier is a High Performance & Innovation Coach who has 25 years of experience changing the world at Microsoft. JD was the former head coach for Satya Nadella’s innovation team at Microsoft and is also the author of the bestselling book Getting Results the Agile Way. His WHY is to advance human potential and to help people realise their potential in work and life while his specialty is to provide proven practices combined with information models to advance a space. People at Microsoft know JD for innovation, productivity, and changing the world because he always took on big challenges and moved the ball forward.

James Taylor is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, often booked months or even years in advance due to his exceptional expertise. Given his limited availability, it’s crucial to contact him early if you’re interested in securing a date or learning how he can enhance your event. Reach out to James Taylor now for an opportunity to bring his unique insights to your conference or team.

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00:00 Introduction

05:07 The Billion Dollar Solopreneur

08:58 The Two-Track Transformation Approach

15:03 Improving Productivity with Three Wins and Reflection

31:07 Conclusion

James Taylor (00:08)
Meyer is a high performance and innovation coach who has 25 years of experience changing the world at Microsoft. JD was the former head coach at Satya Nadella’s innovation team at Microsoft and is also the author of the bestselling book, Getting Results the Agile Way. His why is to advance human potential and to help people realize their potential in work and life, while his specialty is to provide program practices combined with information models to advance the space.

People at Microsoft know JD for innovation, productivity, and changing the world because he always took on big challenges and moved the ball forward. JD, welcome to the Super Creativity Podcast.

JD Meier (00:48)
Wow, that was a great intro. Thank you.

James Taylor (00:51)
So share with us what’s going on in your world just now. What currently has your focus?

JD Meier (00:56)
Okay. So that’s a great question. AI is definitely top of mind and specifically, I’m, I’m all about trying to use it to advance high performance. I think there’s a lot of tricks and hacks that people haven’t thought about yet specifically about enhancing your senses. And, the other big thing is really, I’m trying to change how the world innovates. I know that might sound audacious, but when I wake up in the morning, I actually ask myself how to want to change the world today. It actually guides a lot of what I do.

And with innovation, I think there’s an incredible, easy way to change how we innovate at the individual level, the team level and the org level. So that’s got my focus. The other big thing I would say is, I call it billion dollar solopreneur. I call it billion dollar solopreneur, not because you’re going to make a billion dollars. You might, but it’s about impacting and influencing a billion minds. I think that we’re in a perfect time and age where the one person business.

can actually share and scale their expertise with the world. And so I’ve been diving into that, looking at it from two perspectives on the, let’s say the left -hand side. The left -hand side is the tech arena. So what can we do with AI, of course? What can we do with social media? And what can we do with SEO? I know a lot of people think, SEO is dead, but not really. SEO, what I found, especially as an innovator, is the best way to figure out the language of your customers and your audience. There’s pains, needs, and outcomes, even if you don’t do SEO.

But so that’s on the tech side. There’s this other side though, this other side of scaling to the world. There’s tools that we have. So for example, there’s a massive transformative purpose. So for example, Nike, you know, just do it. Everybody fights their demons every day, but you get on board with Nike’s bigger mission. Microsoft empower every person in business to achieve more. Again, you know, it’s, it’s bigger than you. When you have something bigger than you, it’s easier to get on board. But there’s also these ideas of like,

simple, sticky slogans, the things that stick in your mind. And if you can create those idea viruses as the one person and then share and scale with the technology, you’re on fuego. So I think now is one of the greatest times ever to be able to change the world as one person. And even though I say one person, it doesn’t mean you’re just one person. You have your friends, your partners, your network, your family, you have your everybody, but it means that you don’t have to go and be part of a giant business to go change the world. I think that’s the key.

James Taylor (03:24)
Yeah, we had a guest on the show a little while ago, Elaine Pofeld, who wrote the million dollar one person business. And I interviewed her, actually, and I spoke to her recently, we were doing an event for the New York Public Library together. And she said, if she was to change anything about the book, she said, maybe the one million is too small, because you have people, especially with technology now, that are doing and you see, you look at a number of companies now, I think of especially in the AI space who have very few actual employees.

JD Meier (03:42)
It’s too small. Yep.

James Taylor (03:52)
but they are billing multi -billion dollar businesses. So maybe the one person billion dollar business is closer than we think just now as well. Yeah. So you’re obviously passionate about productivity, you’re passionate about innovation as well. I thought where we’d go first is, because we’ve had a number of guests on the show recently who have talked about the challenge in being able to do the main…

JD Meier (03:53)


It’s a reality. Yeah. And it’s exciting.

James Taylor (04:21)
of what that business is about, whether it’s a legal business or it’s a technology business or whatever the business is. And then at the same time, innovating in their industry, innovating in their businesses as well. How do you, you know, those are two wild horses. How do you deal with those horses?

JD Meier (04:37)
Yeah. Okay, so great question. It starts, believe it or not, it actually starts with your mental model. I asked an anthropologist long ago, I said, what are the best business leaders do that other business leaders don’t? And the surprise was she said, they share their mental model. I was like, for real? Like, is that really it? And it actually was, because when you don’t share your model as a leader, and you have tens of thousands of people reporting to you,

People guess and they make things up and they try to figure out how to do innovation. So they end up either doing innovation despite the organization rarely with the organization, because they don’t know what it’s supposed to be. So with that in mind, I kept going back through all my experiences, like where did people get stuck? Like why did I call it the innovator gets fired? I call it innovation gets a fired side -liner pushed out. And it’s because they don’t have a space in their mind where innovation goes. So recently I shared the model, but I call it two track transformation.

And the idea is to have a simpler, better metaphor for to do innovation in parallel. But here’s how it works. You have your current business, which is your current business model. It’s your current customers. It’s your current talent. It’s your current products and offers, and it’s your current KPIs. You know that track, but I’m, I’m letting leaders know like, look, that is your sustaining innovation track. That is your 10 % growth. Yes. Take care of it. Good. However, in parallel.

This is where we need to work future back. This is how we avoid getting disrupted. This is how we disrupt ourselves. This is your future business model. This is that second track. This is your disruptive innovation, possibly 70 % growth cumulative over time. This is your different set of talent, because it’s a different type of talent to actually focus on these kinds of things. But the reality is, is you’re stepping into the future. And this is where it’s going to be.

A lot of people get lost because they step in the future. They have no empathy for it. It’s like a stranger. You’re stepping into the future and you’re breaking it down into small business experiments to check value today. You validate value today. So what you’re really doing is you’re not suddenly wildly changing your business. What you’re doing is you’re setting up these two tracks and running them well. Because if you don’t do it like this, what happens is you use your current KPIs against the second track and you break everything. You don’t make space for innovation.

But with this, this two track mindset, with this two track mental model, you have space for both and you can do both well, especially when you recognize that, that first track that’s yeah, we’re doing innovation. Yes. You’re doing sustaining innovation, 10 % growth. Great. Do you want a piece of that 70 % growth? And do you want to have a chance to be able to survive in the future? And do you want to make sure that you’re not the one disrupted or that you disrupt yourself? Yes. Okay. So that model, it’s easy for me to whiteboard it. It lands well with people. People follow it very easily and it.

Usually it can easily get people out of the muck and the mess that they’ve been in going by all these other different, you know, models of innovation and trying to do even something as simple as like an innovation portfolio. As soon as you have those two tracks in your mind, now you know which KPI is to focus on. Now you know why they’re different. It’s intentional. And that basically makes space for the real, cause usually when people are thinking about innovation, they’re thinking about the disruptive stuff.

they’re already doing sustaining, they don’t realize that they’re innovating in their processes and their products. They’re doing that 10 % optimization, but the disruptive innovation is really where the big action is, especially in today’s world where change is so fast. And the other thing I told people do when you’re working backwards from that future to make it real, make your mock press releases, make your one page write -ups of those future scenarios that you want to bring to reality. That

lets everybody feel the future. When you can feel the future and start to create empathy, now you get more stakeholders and sponsorship in the game. And then that’s a good thing. But if we don’t, if we do not make space for this in the minds of the leaders, then there will be a lot of sabotage. Maybe not even on purpose, but it happens. But when you are very deliberate about carving out that space, you could protect and support it. Otherwise the current business.

is going to eat it up, is going to fight for the resources, is going to fight for the money, and it’s going to defeat it with the current KPIs. Does that make sense?

James Taylor (08:58)
So you’re building almost like your competitor, your category killer, alongside you’re building the existing business as well. I love the idea of creating those mock -up kind of press releases. I’ve heard authors do that before where they’ve actually written up the reviews of their book before they’ve written the book to give them a sense, what value do I want to have this book? What kind of impact do I want this book to create? So you’re doing that. So that’s really kind of talking about, I guess, imagination.

JD Meier (09:03)
Yeah, yeah, -huh.


James Taylor (09:26)
and having a depth of imagination. I’m a big critic at the moment for, I see loads of great stuff on Netflix and Apple and all these great TV shows just now. But it feels at the moment when we talk about the future, a lot of the future that we see on TV and in movies is like a post -apocalyptic future. TV shows like Fallout, which are great, which are really fun and everything. But it doesn’t feel like we have so much of that painting that picture of…

JD Meier (09:27)

Yeah, right. Yep.


James Taylor (09:56)
a more optimistic future, what that could be and how technology can actually help us get there.

JD Meier (10:00)
Yeah. Yep. I agree. And I think we have a deficit when it comes to the visionary leaders that can share that vision. That was actually the instigator of the billion dollar solarpreneur. I realized that people weren’t able to share the big visions. I’m like, you know, where’s the Disney’s? Where’s the Andrew Carnegie’s? Where’s the captains of the industry? And I was lucky to be surrounded by a lot of great people that were very good at articulating a future state. Like you could step into the future and they could connect the dots and they could light up these beautiful scenes of the future.

And it got people excited and inspired. And what I realized was, a lot of people don’t think about the future as this space of creativity and opportunity. They just project more of the past. So their past drives their present. And their present is driving the future, but all driven from the past. When you step out of that and you step into the future for real, but to do this, there’s also, I found that there’s another gap. So.

There’s a skill strategic foresight. It’s actually more popular in Europe than it is in the U S that kind of surprised me. But with strategic foresight, you’re learning about trends, you’re building vocabulary around the trends. So you have all of these little building blocks. So, I have a couple of frameworks that I use, but you know, one of my patterns is I call it the CEO pattern, customers, employees, and operations. You know, how do you transform the customers, the employees, the operations makes the people to realize where to focus their effort. But then the other thing I do.

Is then I would pull in, well, how does mixed reality or augmented reality change the scenario? How does AI change our customer experience? How does, and when you step into it that way, now you’re using these building blocks for innovation to create these scenes of the future. You become the choreographer, you become the director of the future. And if you decide deliberately that you’re going to work backwards from, you’re not going to accept bad scenarios in the future. You’re going to create great scenarios in the future.

you’re not going to try to predict the future. You’re actually going to create and shape it. When you come from that place, you have a lot of, it gives you a lot of empowerment. And especially if you stay on top of the trends, enough to know which ones to pay attention to enough to know which ones to ignore. And when I do that, I like to take a, a 10 year view. So if I look 10 years back, 10 years back was utility computing, your cloud companies, your Amazon, your Microsoft, your Google’s 10 years forward.

And the big mega pattern is ESG, environment, social and governance, or I think of it as good for people. I call it good for people, good for the planet. You know, think about it like that. Every business then has to reimagine itself, has to figure out how to be good for people, good for the planet. That means that you can actually go back to the basics of your business. And I like to use a business strategy pyramid. You can think of it like this at the top is your bold ambition. In the middle is your business model. And in the bottom.

is your operating model. The problem is too many people think, I’m transforming. And they’re focused on cloudifying or transforming or digitizing the operating model. And what they’re ignoring is that ambition part to start with the ambition. So if you were backwards from bold ambitions, it changes the strategies you choose. It changes the opportunities that you create. So you’re right. There’s a lot of a lack of imagination for the future because it’s focused on just doing more of the past. And it tends to be pretty pessimistic.

James Taylor (13:18)

We had on Professor Sir David Ormond on the show and we’ll put a link here as well to that. And we were talking about, so he is the former, basically he was the person that advised the prime ministers in the UK on the various security services. So in the UK we have MI5, MI6, GCHQ, in the US you have CIA, NSA, similar kind of roles. And he was talking, what you just mentioned about the strategic foresight in his book, he calls it strategic notice.

JD Meier (13:41)


James Taylor (13:53)
So he said, you know, part of the role that you’re trying to do as an intelligence analyst is the kind of work he would probably talk about is taking that 10 year view that you spoke about. And he said, that does require both critical thinking and creative thinking, like the imagination and like, well, what is the probabilities? And now we get into the mathematics of it. What do we believe is the probability? And when we look at risk, obviously just today, today, we see…

JD Meier (14:04)

Yep. Yes. Yeah.


James Taylor (14:19)
certain risks that we’re seeing like now it’s on CNN, it’s on Fox and those channels, but the environmental, the E of the ESG piece, feels a little bit further away. So we kind of push it out a little bit further and we don’t kind of bring it in a little bit. So you’ve spoken about vision, we’ve spoken about the big picture stuff and promoting that vision and helping people understand that mental models with the Charlie Munger, like the kind of mental models. What about when it comes to the rubber hits the road, the productivity?

JD Meier (14:23)

Yeah, right.


James Taylor (14:49)
You’ve worked with these leaders at Microsoft and you’ve really helped these leaders on their productivity, both as a leader individually and as a team. Where do we get to on that? What are some of the key things that you notice on those people and the teams that are really great at productivity?

JD Meier (15:02)

Yep, so it’s definitely a mind shift because usually what happens is people start to care about it when they’re in pain. They get a bad review in terms of their health score, their org score, their whatever score. Then now they start to care about it. And because I moved in so many different orgs in Microsoft, I had to learn how to change the culture fast. And I learned that I could change it through questions because smart people like to answer questions. And so one of the questions I would ask, I would…

You know, so we’d say, yeah, that productivity stuff. Why should we do this? I said, well, you spent a lot of time last month, right? You did, you spent a lot of energy. You probably did more than 40 hour work weeks, right? Everybody on the team did a lot of work, right? What were the three wins? I asked them for the three wins. And usually first I see a deer in headlights. Then I see them start to rattle off like meetings they went to and activities and all this stuff, but it doesn’t accrue to anything. And I go, you know, we can completely change the game.

by telling three stories of victories. We should be able to tell three stories of victories a day, three stories of victories for the week, three stories of victory for the month, three stories of victory for the quarter, three stories of victory for the year. And when I put it out like that, they said, well, we’re doing OKRs. I’m like, OK, show me your OKRs. And usually, it’s something abstract and disconnected that they don’t really have empathy for. And I go, look, if you’re trying to tell your manager that that was your impact,

Would that feel like a wow moment? Is that a press release? Where are the wows? And so I actually combine some of the practices I have in Azure results, where some of the practices that people do look like the OKRs, but thinking of three wins, it’s the simplest, easiest way to start to drive better outcomes because you’re working backwards now. Otherwise you fall into the trap of, and I fell into this trap too, where you hope that your process takes care of you. You hope that by doing the right things each day, it’ll lead to these awesome things.

But if you never put a line in the sand, if you’d never sketched out that model of the future, if you never thought about what that future scene of victory looked like, you’re not going to look your way there. Kind of like, you know, you’re not going to wander your way up the mountain, right? You’re not going to wake up one day and I’m on the top of Mount Everest like a zigzag. So the idea here is that you’re working backwards. At the same time, I’m a big fan that you do need to work your way forwards. And so the way I do it is I have the backbone of my book, I call it…

Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection. So on Monday, you step into your Friday and you look back on your week. What do you want those three victories to be? So that’s your Monday Vision. Now imagine that you’re looking forward to going through your week because you have three victories to pull you through. And it sounds simple, but now what you’ve done by identifying these three victories is you’ve prioritized. You’ve chosen what you’re going to do, what you’re not going to focus on. You’ve also created a way.

to channel your energy. So now you’re going to find your motivation. It’s meaningful. You can connect it to your values. Don’t call back a customer when a raving fan. Don’t go do a project, lead an epic adventure. Don’t go do a task. Turn your chores into chances to practice and master what your strengths and your special abilities are all about. So that’s really the key. That’s the Monday Vision on the Daily Winds through Winds for Today. So when you wake up, you’re going to have a day. You’re going to spend a bunch of time.

What are the three wins for today? You can do your, have your existing to -do list. It might be a laundry list, actually a lot of stuff, but just put the three wins at the top that you hope that you can achieve. So you can direct your energy and attention and you’ll get better at it. You will get better at that. And then Friday reflection. This is where personal development meets your productivity. This is where self awareness comes to life. You actually reflect on what were my three wins for this week? You know, what are three things going well, three things to improve.

And it’s that improvement piece that means that you’re going to get, but this is your chance to be honest with you and go, did you bite off more than you could actually chew? Did you get randomized? Like if you completed things that had nothing to do with your goals, did you get randomized or are you not good at learning in your system? Are you not good at understanding and predicting what’s going to be expected of you in the week? So you get better at that. And the surprise, this is, this to me is the biggest surprise is that, by practicing Friday reflection.

You know, I started by putting an appointment on my calendar for 20 minutes on Friday. I made space for it. I got so good at my basic productivity, like extreme, that I started to take on much bigger goals. And, one of the things that I started to do was I just started to add checkpoint questions about ways that I want to improve myself at the identity level. And I had read the book leadership challenge and in it.

One of the questions is around, you know, seeing around corners. How will DC around the corners? So I had this one little question in my Friday reflection. So each week I was just asking myself, yeah, how am I getting surprised? Am I seeing around the corners? Am I predicting what’s going to happen? That alone improved me to the point where I actually think if I trace it back, that led to me becoming an innovator that led to me becoming a futurist. That was the basic skills that helped me become the head coach for Satya’s innovation team.

So it surprised me in a lot of ways. But those are the basics. If you can do a day well, you can do a week well. If you could do a week well, it compounds. But you want to be working backwards from your big dreams, your ambitions, your future scenarios, your future state, and using that to drive why do you do what you do today? and then the.

James Taylor (20:36)
Those questions obviously, so please carry on.

JD Meier (20:41)
I was going to say this. There’s one more frame that really helped me a lot, like the light bulb went off. It was super productivity, as when you’re working on the right things at the right time, the right way. When you unpack that and you start to dive in, am I using my strengths? Am I driving from vision? Am I spending more time in my values so I can renew my energy? You’re on fire.

James Taylor (21:07)
thinking as you were talking about this and kind of bringing some of these ideas together, there was Marshall Goldsmith, the leadership coach for a lot of various executives. He has someone who calls him every day, I think at the same time, to basically ask him a series of questions. That’s their only job. And it’s an accountability, it’s a way of keeping him on track in terms of what he’s doing. Now, that’s wonderful, but not everyone can…

JD Meier (21:26)
Wow. Wow.


James Taylor (21:36)
You can afford to have someone that that’s their job. So I was thinking obviously now with AI, not everyone can afford windy roads from billions on their team that’s asking those questions and making them think slightly differently about things, but everyone can pretty much afford an AI to be asking questions, asking better questions every time and asking questions that kind of nudge us out of our usual way of doing things.

JD Meier (21:37)
Right. Yeah.



Big time. And so first and foremost, I would say structure your week. So for example, I have three recurring appointments on my calendar that ask me the question. So like my Monday vision, when it pops up, it asks me, what are your three wins for this week? And then each day it pops up, what are your three wins for today? And then Friday reflection, it pops up. So I made the space and the time for it. And then to use AI to take you to the next level.

You can actually pair up with AI. I think if it is pairing, you know, pairing up, you can pair up with AI to figure out a good personal, actually a great, a great personal development plan for the month. I think that when you do it at the month level, you get a different balcony view. And in that balcony view, you can ask higher order questions. Cause if you get too mired in the day to day, I think, and if you ask yourself too many questions in the day to day,

It’s kind of hard to see the forest for the trees, but I think when you do it at these timeframes, like, okay, what’s the, what’s the mindset of motivational questions for today that keep me growing and showing up strong. Like for example, one that I never expected to have is how do I want to change the world today? But there’s a little story there. Like, I kept for some reason it’s like deep in me. I think it’s because one of my early managers at Microsoft, every time he came by the office or in the break room.

He would say, did you change the world today? Like every day. And I’d be like, yeah, we changed it, but everybody wants us to change it back. And so, you know, it’s, it’s strong in me. And one of my early books, you know, went to like 800 ,000 people in six months. So when, when would you do that? You get used to changing the world. And so one day I found myself asking the question, how do you want to change the world? And I thought, you know, everybody’s stressed. They’re worried about the future. They’re worried about today. They’re,

James Taylor (23:32)

JD Meier (23:57)
overwhelmed, they’re overloaded and they’re in fear mode. I was like, that sucks. It’s like, what’s the best thing I can give people that would help them to start their day. So I ended up creating a, so that night I was like, okay, how do I change the world today? I want to change how the world wakes up. So that night I put together like 40 slides. I created a framework on the fly. I created 40 slides. I called it wake up great. I haven’t written. I don’t think I’ve even written about it yet, but it’s a, it’s wake up great. And it’s, I’ve been teaching it to different companies, but it’s a G is gratitude.

If you feel grateful, you can’t feel fear. So when you actually do gratitude, right, and you’re in that grateful mode, you can feel fear. So I thought, wow, what a great way for people to start, you know, gratitude. R is reflection. Reflect on your future self. People go, okay, reflection, but they don’t know what to reflect on. Reflect on your future self. Last week or even yesterday or even today, are you being that person that you want to be for the future? So R is reflection. E is of course, exercise, but people, I don’t have time and I don’t know what to do.

And so I put together a small set of things that people really can do, like Bruce Lee’s three minute workout. When he broke his back, he had to figure out how do I work out my full body? Well, he’s got a three minute workout. So when you learn these kinds of things, you, you open up these possibilities. So then there’s a affirmation, but most people do affirmations wrong. What do they do? They have a bunch of affirmation. I am smart. I am happy. I’m great. I’m strong. Choose one. You choose one. You picture it in your mind so your subconscious can see it.

So you know what you actually mean and you’re congruent. Otherwise, if you say like an apple, red apple, green apple, Steve jobs, you know what? So you picture it, but you have to feel it. So my affirmation, for example, for today, I am strong. When I say that, what do I look like when I’m strong? What do I feel like when I’m strong later in the day, when I don’t feel strong, I remember in the morning. So you say it, you feel it because you’re rewiring your nervous system. You’re changing your nervous system. That’s where this gets real.

So G -R -E -A and then T. It was funny when I was making the framework that night, I was like, what’s T? Three wins, you know, from my book. It was like, it was perfect. I was like, picture three scenes in your day, morning, noon and night, your three victory scenes. So you can have a compelling day that you’ve just envisioned on the fly in the morning, in your strength place, in a place of gratitude and greatness where you can be as strong as you could possibly be. And so, you know, that was like, you know, quick little framework, but it helps, it changes lives.

James Taylor (26:03)
you can have a compelling day to just envision on.

I love that.

But changing how the world works, I often think about when I go into the shower in the morning, I call the shower my ideas machine. Because different people have their ideas at different days and at times of day. For me in the morning, I actually ended up having longer showers because all these ideas start coming to me. Obviously, you’ve been ingesting them overnight. You’ve been kind of thinking through them overnight. For yourself, where do you go, where do new ideas generally come from for you? Where do you go to just…

JD Meier (26:31)


James Taylor (26:50)
Maybe take a step back from your day to day to kind of reflect, to really think at that kind of higher level.

JD Meier (26:56)
Yep. So where do the ideas come from? God, they come from so many places, but of course, like you, the shower. So this morning I had a thought about thought maps or thought structures or thought scaffolding. I thought about a lot of times people give you a thought to think, but they don’t break it down. And I had a parallel thought around, and program management work, breakdown structures. I thought about what if we actually shared these thought challenge and responses for specific challenges that we have.

because people do have these thought patterns. There’s success patterns and there’s anti -patterns. But too often, I think we hit the tip of the iceberg, but we don’t drill in. And I bet that if we start to share examples of thought maps, like what should be my thought structure when I feel like nervous or anxious about presenting? What does that look like? Break it down, but like little example of thought structures. So showers is a place, of course, before bed is of course another perfect time. So I keep my handy little sticky pad, my yellow sticky pad and pen. It’s been my greatest advantage.

And I also use a practice I call Imagine If. Imagine If is how I channel my imagination, but in any situation that I’m in, I imagine how it could be better. And so it gives me a lot of flexibility around choreographing the future of like a restaurant or even in the movie theater, you know, traffic, you know, how would I redesign this? So playing with Imagine If and just playing out future possible scenarios completely changes the game. A quick example is…

You go to the grocery store and this is before we have all the things that we have now. But I remember I was supposed to design, you know, the future of, grocery stores for big company. And I thought, man, when I drove up parking sucked. What if I could just drive to the curb and the groceries come to me? And then another scenario was like, wow, I can’t find anything in the store. What if I could hold up my phone and like either play, find the vegetable or I could find the gluten free, whatever, you know, whatever I need to go look for. And, you know, as I’m going to fill these scenarios, I was like, well, what if.

groceries came to me. This was before they did. What if the groceries came to me? And to scare the leaders into the future, I gave them a competitive idea. I said, look, your house is the future store. If you don’t fill the shelves, then Amazon will. And so it’s those little ideas, but they come from everywhere. But what made that even possible was I read a book called Thinker Toys. And in it, Thomas Edison shared his idea quotas. And so that was the idea.

That first week, I took my little yellow sticky pad and I wrote one idea per note. By the end of the week, I had 10 notes. And I thought, wow, my God. But it wasn’t that. It was that as soon as I put the ideas down, and these were good ideas, these are 10 good ideas, when I put it down, my head was empty from those. I didn’t realize how much those were bouncing around. Once my head was empty from those, ideas wouldn’t stop coming. So the next week, I filled two of the notepads.

By the third week, it was getting silly. It was just absolutely ridiculous. So I think a lot of people don’t realize if you keep your ideas floating around in your head, see what happens when you put them somewhere. Have an idea catcher, a thought catcher, an idea portfolio, an idea catalog, put them somewhere. And then you’ll be amazed at how much space and room you have for ideas to come your way. And practice that imagine if habit. It’s a habit you can practice and share with your friends.

James Taylor (30:07)
That’s great. And while we’re talking about capturing ideas, is there a tool that you use or an app, some way that you find it very easy, because you’re getting all these ideas all the time, how do you ensure that you can capture them so you can then go through them at a later date?

JD Meier (30:17)

Yeah, I know it sounds old school, but I use Evernote and I have more than 30 ,000 notes and the it I’ve been on a quest for probably, I guess, a couple of decades. I’ve been actually on a quest to find the world’s best insight and action. So I have principles, patterns, insights for mind, body, emotions, career, finance, relationships, fun. And so I have not just a big, deep library of profound knowledge, but then I have my catalog of my ideas where I have, I do two things. Actually, I have a.

a notebook for my best ideas where I capture those in different domains. And then I have a daily insights where it’s just, it’s, it’s a running note. I put today’s date and any like little idea that pops up, I put it in my journal. So basically the daily journaling combined with my catalog, my portfolio of my best ideas.

James Taylor (31:07)
Yeah, I love I’ve been like you, I’m a long time Evernote user. My only complaint, if anyone from Evernote is listening just now, please speed up the mobile app, because it’s by the time you have the app from the idea to capturing it, those six seconds or 10 seconds it takes to open the app and put it in can be really frustrating. Very, very simple thing there. What about if you were to recommend one book?

JD Meier (31:11)

my god. my god. Yeah.


James Taylor (31:29)
to our listeners. You mentioned one that’s Thinker Toys, which I’m going to definitely check out that one. If you would recommend one other book to our listeners, not one of your own, but kind of links to your own, what would that book be?

JD Meier (31:30)

Hahaha, yeah.

It would be Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins. That’s my secret of how I read faster. But Unlimited Power is probably the deepest book that I’ve ever read that goes into the inner engineering. And what I’ve learned in life is that all things are created twice, first in the mind, then in the world. I think of it as inner world, outer results. But that book is probably the deepest that I know for modeling, learning, sharing, and scaling expertise of other experts. It’s a way to distill it because it’s the inner engineering.

You watch somebody shoot pool, you watch what they did with the cue. You don’t go through the thought process of wait, their neurology. What was their breathing? Where was their focus? Did they look at the, you know, the hole? Did they look past it? Did they focus on the cue ball? So that is probably the greatest book for profound performance, I would say.

James Taylor (32:24)
a huge, like you, massive, I think I’ve read that, I don’t know how many times I’ve read that book. I read it when I was probably 13 years old, changed my life. I think it was, there was a line in that you mentioned in questions. I think you said, Tony said something along like the quality of life is the quality of the questions that you ask. And it’s just that constant, wonderful book, absolute classic. Let’s, as we finish up now, what is the best way for people to connect with you JD, to learn more about your books, your writing, your other things you’ve got going on just now? Where should they go?

JD Meier (32:33)
my god.

Yes, yes, so true.

Probably the best starting point is JDMeier .com. So JDMeier .com. Yeah, that’s the best bait.

James Taylor (33:03)
Well, JD, thank you so much for being a guest on the show today. After listening to you, I’m gonna go and pick up my old battered copy of Unlimited Power and reread it again as well. Thank you so much for being a guest on the Super Creativity Podcast.

JD Meier (33:09)

Thank you for having me. Awesome times. Take care.