Mindsets on Steroids: A Conversation with Meredith Oliver

In my Mindsets on Steroids blog series, influential leaders share their secrets to help you win by finding your inner desire to change, ignite your passion, and instill life patterns. If what you were doing right now would get you there, you would already be there.

Meredith Oliver is the Creative Director of Meredith Communications, a full-service digital marketing and consulting agency that she founded in 2001. Meredith also delivers keynote speeches, runs workshops and seminars on marketing and sales related topics, and is the author of three books, including her most recent: FANtastic Selling: The 10 Undeniable Traits of Rock-Star, Top-Producing, Quota-Busting Salespeople

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What inspired you to start your own business?

“I was working for a dot com company out of Silicon Valley in the early 2000s just as the internet bubble was getting ready to burst. I was at a trade show working their booth 14 hours a day on the floor trying to sell their products to people and I just got tired, so I snuck out of the booth and went and sat down in one of the seminars at the trade show to get a break. I pretended I was in the bathroom but I was really in one of the seminars. There was somebody on stage teaching people, and I just said to myself, ‘I can do that and I’m going to do that.’

“I went home that weekend and told my husband, ‘we’re starting a company; it’s Meredith Communications,’ and I quit my job and started the company. That was in 2001.”

What was it about that moment in the seminar that really inspired you?

“I was watching this person speak and I really have a passion for teaching people. I love to be in front of people. I have no fear of public speaking. I knew I was good on stage.

“I also looked around and there were very few women who were speaking about marketing and sales at that time, yet I looked at the audience and most of the audience was women. I thought to myself, ‘they need a woman role model.’ So I just saw a fit with my skills with what the market needed.”

Lasting change starts with inner desire. What internal triggers have set change in motion in your life?

“My number one internal trigger is that I am a passionate life-long learner. I cannot absorb enough information, and so when I see an opportunity, I have to know more about it – I have to learn about it.

“Number two, once I come across a piece of information and I start taking it in, I’m one of those people who has to take action on it. I have to do something. I take in information constantly and once I identify an opportunity it will haunt me until something is done about it.

“I would absolutely say that it’s my faith and that God provides these lightning bolts to me. There’s no question in my mind that it’s divine intervention; it’s Providence and I just try to stay open to those opportunities.”

Passion fuels explosive growth. What ignites your passion?

“Definitely seeing others succeed; seeing others perform better because we helped them. I love to see our clients grow their business because their digital marketing is on point and doing its job. That is so rewarding.

“Just the other day I got an email from someone who heard me speak on a Friday, and by Monday she had put in her notice for her job of 25 years. She had been wanting to move on and go in a different direction and had been stuck, and something I said moved her forward, so helping other people move forward and be successful – I love that!”

Consistent life patterns are often the missing component to greatness. How do you find discipline in your life?

“Being a creative, this is something I have to really work at, because I can be all over the place with my thoughts, with my ideas. I get a lightning bolt idea and I’m off and running. I now do have successful patterns in how I manage my work routine every day in terms of how I mange my tasks, my email, my time. I’m happy to say that has improved a lot. Most of the time I do not feel nearly as panicked or overwhelmed as I once did.

“I’m very disciplined about my speaking practice – how I develop and practice each talk, the checklist of items I go through before I go on stage – my room setup. All of those things have been incredibly beneficial to me being an effective speaker. A lot of people think you just show up, dazzle the crowd, and leave. Actually, the magic often times isn’t determined by your message, but room setup, the audio-visual workings, so many more factors to it that can take a perfectly good talk… that’s definitely an area where discipline is a huge part of my work.”

What is one result of change, passion, and discipline in your life?

“Change has taught me to follow my instincts, but also, let go of the result. Whatever change is coming next, as scary as it might be, it is truly for the best. There is a bigger plan for me. I trust in that bigger plan more than I trust in myself now. I just let it unfold and try to stay open.

“I couldn’t have even planned this life that I have – personally or professionally. I couldn’t have planned it to be this amazing. I had to let it unfold.

“I have short-term goals, but long term, I’ve really given that up to my faith. This whole thing could come to an end tomorrow and something else would be in my path and it would be for the best. I trust in that completely. That’s not to say I don’t get scared, it’s not saying that I don’t get frustrated or stressed out – of course. But there’s always a voice in my head saying, ‘it’s going to be fine.’”

You can follow Meredith on Twitter at @MeredithCSP.

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