Make Marketing Suck Less

Put Success in Your Way with Rob Hatch


Every Monday, I always sit down to review the week that I had before, and I asked myself this one question: What's one project that I move forward last week that future Michelle will thank me for? Sometimes it's working on a sales page or updating my playbooks that I use with my clients. And sometimes it's revising and expanding the Three Word Rebellion book

And other times it's nothing. The week got away from me. I had client work. There were things going on in the world that were distracting to me and I didn't get done what I set out to do. And I want to say, sometimes that is absolutely okay. We need those respite weeks to recharge our creativity. But more times than not, it bums me out. 

And then I read a book that changed everything. It was one simple thing I could do every week that would guarantee that I get something done. At least one thing done to move a project forward where future Michelle would be thrilled with past Michelle. Where I could feel like I was getting ahead and not behind in the things I was working on. Or I can feel like I was a success.

So I did what my guest, Rob Hatch, calls “putting success in your way.” And when I heard that phrase, I thought, “Wow, what a great Three Word Rebellion.” And I knew I had to talk to him about how he took that idea from a Post-It note and turned it into a book.

Listen in or read through the transcript below:

Resources mentioned in this episode

Three Word Rebellion book
Owner Media Group
Attention: The Power of Simple Decisions in a Distracted World
Rob's Website
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Every Monday, I always sit down to review the week that I had before, and I asked myself this one question: What's one project that I move forward last week that future Michelle will thank me for? Sometimes it's working on a sales page or updating my playbooks that I use with my clients. And sometimes it's revising and expanding the Three Word Rebellion book

And other times it's nothing. The week got away from me. I had client work. There were things going on in the world that were distracting to me and I didn't get done what I set out to do. And I want to say, sometimes that is absolutely okay. We need those respite weeks to recharge our creativity. But more times than not, it bums me out. 

And then I read a book that changed everything. It was one simple thing I could do every week that would guarantee that I get something done. At least one thing done to move a project forward where future Michelle would be thrilled with past Michelle. Where I could feel like I was getting ahead and not behind in the things I was working on. Or I can feel like I was a success.

So I did what my guest, Rob Hatch, calls “putting success in your way.” And when I heard that phrase, I thought, “Wow, what a great Three Word Rebellion.” And I knew I had to talk to him about how he took that idea from a Post-It note and turned it into a book. 

So before we dive in, a little bit about Rob. He is the co-founder and president of Owner Media Group, providing strategies and skills for modern business. He brings a unique blend of knowledge and background in the field of human development with his experience as a successful business leader and executive coach. His weekly newsletter is read by tens of thousands of individuals all over the world. 

As a speaker, trainer, and coach, Rob works primarily with business leaders and teams, guiding them through critical transitions in their organizations. And he is the best-selling author of Attention: The Power of Simple Decisions in a Distracted World (and that's the book I read).

So grab a pen and jot down an idea or two that will help you put success in your way. Enjoy the show and I'll be back at the end with some insights and to wrap it up.

You’re listening to the Rebel Uprising Podcast. This podcast is dedicated to helping passionate business owners become recognized leaders who make more money and impact the world by turning their messy, complicated ideas into thriving thought leadership businesses. 

I’m your host, Dr. Michelle Mazur, and I’ll be your no-BS guide in the art of building a business that gets noticed. Each week I share strategies, tools, and insights on how to turn your complicated ideas into great messaging and solid business structures.

Are you ready to create and uprising in your industry? Let’s do this.

Michelle Mazur: Hi, Rob. Welcome to the Rebel Uprising Podcast. I'm so excited to have you here. 

Rob Hatch: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it. 

MM: I have to say that I loved your book Attention: The Power of Simple Decisions in a Distracted World. And one of the concepts that really stood out to me as I was reading this book was this idea about putting success in your way. So can you tell me a little bit about what that means to put success in your way? 

RH: Absolutely. And thank you for the kind words about the book. I’m really glad you enjoyed it.

In the book I talk about “put success in your way” as a broader concept that's relying on three different elements. And the first is this understanding that willpower, our own willpower, is limited. That throughout the day or when we're exerting willpower, it's not this neverending will that's available to us.

And this has been demonstrated in various forms and research and there are ways, of course, to replenish that, and we can talk about that, but really it's not an inexhaustible supply that we have of willpower. And when we're really needing it, we want to keep it in reserve to be able to call upon it.

So we know that is true. We also know that decisions are distractions. And I talk about distractions a lot in this book, and we're faced with a lot of distractions, a lot of, just our technology alone, our phones, our email, every time we open our email, just looking at your inbox, every single subject line that you have to look at, or that you look at, requires us to make some decision. Do I open it? Do I not open it? Is that important? Is it not important?

We don't think about it that much, but we're making all these little tiny decisions. We make decisions about what to eat, what to wear, where things are in our house, where are our keys, where are our glasses, where's our mask, whatever the little tiny decision.

All those decisions take away again our ability to decide later. So for every decision we make, our ability to make subsequent decisions is depleted throughout the day. So again, do we want to not waste our energy making a million tiny decisions? And then habits are a powerful force. We rely on habits all the time. We don't have to think about how we tie our shoes. We don't have to think about how we brush our teeth.

The power of a habit is that it takes away all those little tiny decisions like is it left over right or right over left? And we don't have to think about these things, it's just part of us. So in knowing all of those things, we want to leverage and take that understanding of willpower and decisions and habits and create a situation where we have everything that we need. We eliminate decisions. We eliminate the need to exert willpower to do something that we really want to do.

And so here's an example. If I want to take up running. Or any form of exercise. I'm going to go to the gym and work out. I've decided this quarantine made me a little bit less healthy than I want to be. So I want to start exercising again. I know that the problem for me is not when I'm at the gym, it's about all the steps in between -- the point between my waking up in the morning and getting out the door.

Once I get out the door, I know I'm going to go for a run. But to put success in my way, so to eliminate the need to exert willpower on that part of the stretch, I want to exert that willpower when I'm running. I don't want to exert it in getting out of bed. So I'm going to have everything ready. I'm going to put success in my way by having my everything that I need to get out the door, my running shoes. I live in Maine. It's going to be cold. I want to check the weather the night before and make sure I have the right gear for going outside. I want to know where I'm going to run it for how long I have those decisions made already so I'm not thinking about it. And then I can put my energy, all that decision-making energy, all that willpower into the act of running rather than trying to get from my bed out the door, which is really where I will get derailed every single time.

So to put success in your way really just means, what do you need to eliminate in terms of decisions? What do you need to have to make this thing that you've decided is so important to you, what do you need to have in front of you to get it done and gather it? So that's the example that I often use.

If I know that I need to make 10 sales calls, for example, maybe you're in sales and you've got to make 10 phone calls, I don't want to put “make 10 sales calls” on my daily sheet because then I will wonder who am I calling and where are their numbers? And what do I need? I want to set everything up and put success in my way so those phone calls are easy. I want to know the list of the names of the people. I want to have the phone numbers. And I want to have a little note maybe next to each name that gives me a clue as to where we left off.

That's how we put success in our way is by gathering the things that you need ahead of time so that in the moment the act that you most want to take becomes easier.

MM: Yes. And I really loved that idea because decision fatigue is a real thing. If you have to make tiny decisions about “Oh, what am I going to wear to the gym? And where are my shoes?” And all of a sudden, you're just like, “Oh, is this really worth it? I feel so tired. And I haven't even gotten there yet.”

RH: And it's even more pronounced right now, because every act of going outside requires a whole different level of awareness. And we have to think about and plan our trips. So for me to put success in my way certainly in the beginning of the pandemic, when I would go grocery shopping, I was the only person in my home, but I wanted to have a list and I wanted to have a paper list because I didn't want to take my phone out. I didn't want my hands all over my phone and I wanted to make sure I had my mask and I had my hand sanitizer and all of the things that I would need to make a successful shopping trip and minimize the amount of time I'm spending, know exactly what I'm going in for, which, by the way, is exactly how to save money in your groceries, it's not to leave yourself wide open. You actually eat better and spend less money if you have a list.

So we know that these things are true and just being prepared going in, that's how you put success in your way to keep safe. So it's exhausting having to think about all these things all the time, and there are ways that we can relieve some of that exhaustion by just having what we need ready. 

MM: Yes. Yes. So in the book you describe writing “put success in your way” on a Post-It note. Can you take me back to that moment when you first came up with this idea? What was happening? 

RH: I've been studying human development for years and years. And I read a ton of books and there was this example, actually. This happens a lot, when people read something, they might have read it before, heard the ideas, but somehow someone says something the right way and it just makes you go, “Holy crap.”

So I was reading a story that Shawn Achor was telling in his book and about how he was trying to learn how to play the guitar. And it was really simple. He had this whole chart. He teaches at Harvard, he teaches positive psychology. And, here we have this really smart guy who knows how the brain works and he was describing this moment of wanting to learn how to play the guitar. And he had this chart and this whole thing how he's going to practice. And when he's going to practice and chart his practice, what he was going to do. And the first few days it went great. He came home, he'd get the guitar out of his closet, practice, put the guitar away and everything was fine.

But then he fell into old habits and he would sit down on the couch and just turn on the TV. And the guitar is over in the closet. So eventually he decided to pull the guitar out of the closet and put it between the couch and the television, and as he was describing that moment, that phrase popped into my head.

MM: Hey, so this is Michelle interrupting this interview to point out something very important to you. What I noticed is that Rob did something with this discovery in someone else's book. It's what I call a “yes and”-ing. He saw somebody else's idea and was like, so struck by it. He knew that he could build upon it and make it his own. So don't be afraid to “yes and” other ideas that your reading about because it's where the best original ideas come from. So I’m gonna let you go back to the show.

RH: I said, out loud, “Oh my gosh, he literally put success in his way.” And I wrote it down in my office at the moment and wrote it down on this Post-It note and set it aside and knew that it was going to become something. And forever, as I mentioned, reading about human development, trying to think about ways in which I could either be more productive or make better use of my time, and I started to take that phrase and really deconstruct what made it work? What were the elements that made it work? And that's where just exploring that idea of willpower, about decision fatigue and rebuilding habits that we actually want. And just how powerful habits are.

MM: I love that you said that you just knew it was an important idea, something that you wanted to explore. And this is an odd question, but what did that feel like in your body when you had this idea? And you're like, “Interesting.” 

RH: Yeah, honestly it's hard to convey. I remember being really excited about it and I have a good friend and mentor and coach, we coach each other and have for about nine years, her name is Becky McCray, and I couldn't wait to tell her about it. She's someone who really helped me tease out some of these ideas and work through what they mean and help me shape this in many ways. So I knew when I wrote it down and wanted to tell her right away, that we're onto something and it just felt important.

MM: Oh, I love hearing that because I think we have these moments where we're like, “Oh.” Like I had that with the Three Word Rebellion Oh, this is a good idea. This is important. And I don't know exactly what it means yet, but I'm up for exploring it. And when you started exploring this idea, what were the challenges developing this idea and turning it into the book? 

RH: It didn't become a book for many years. In fact, it made its way into a course that I had developed several years ago called Work Like You’re on Vacation, and that concept was something I taught in that course in some form early on and began talking and speaking more about it as well. And the more I noodled on it and worked on it, the more robust it became, but that course is really where it first got fleshed out and people started to resonate with it and respond to it.

For me, and we talked about this a little bit before we got on, that I'm not a person who likes a really rigid system. One of the reasons it was so powerful to me and it resonated with me is it's flexibility because what puts success in your way looks like for you and how you apply it is going to be very different than how I apply it. You may not need the same supports that I do, but the concept and  the method, or what it's based on is common to all of us. We know that we subject ourselves to too many decisions. We check our email first, before we even get out of bed, we start scrolling through social media. These are not healthy habits and they distract us and they take us down paths that we sometimes don't want or don't need to be effective.

So how do we minimize those things? And that’s common. And then how you implement, it becomes your own system, your own method. What's going to work for you to make whatever change it is that you're trying to make will look different.

And I love that about Put Success in Your Way. And many of the systems that I talk about in the book is their flexibility, they are more frameworks than anything. 

MM: Yeah. And that's what I loved about the book too, is like you give us so many different frameworks and options for how to put success in our way.

And I also wanted to highlight that the development of your idea is so interesting. I think it's interesting to my listeners because you had this idea, you explored it, you turned it into a course that started resonating with other people. And I just want to point that out to everyone that your idea needs to resonate with other people.

And then you're developing, you created this book. And I already said that I loved the book, but for me, and what I love to talk about, is that idea of those “success equals” blocks that you talked about because, yeah, it's a game changer. So how can people start putting success in their way?

RH: The success block for me, just to help people understand what it is, I set aside two hours every day, three 40-minute blocks with a five minute break in between roughly. So about two hours of time. I set aside every single morning, it's the first thing that I do. And it's three of the most important projects that I need to work on that day. 40 minutes so that it's time limited. It's scheduled, I've chosen ahead of time and decided what I'm going to work on the night before. So that when I enter my day, I know before anything else hits my inbox or it comes across my desk or anything like that, that I've managed to complete the work that I've decided means I will have had a successful day. That I can end the day saying, “That was successful” because I chose and I went, I worked on the things that were important to me.

Now, of course I'm going to keep working throughout the day. I have other things that I do or meetings that I'm going to be at, but I would always allow them interruptions to happen first.

I used to run a nonprofit organization here in Maine. And years before that, several different childcare centers. And I would leave my door open basically. I was that open door policy person. And people would come in and, but over the years, I started to understand that when I gave them my attention, I really wasn't giving them my attention. I was split.

And I kept pushing my own work off until the end of the day. And then I try to cram in what I needed to get done and it never worked. And then I’d inturrupt my family's dinner time, also to other effects would happen. And that was on repeat day after day.

And it wasn't until I started flipping that around and operating with my success block and saying, “No, I owe this work my time and my uninterrupted, undivided attention.” And the way that I do that is I choose the night before. I sit down at the end of each day and I choose the three projects I'm going to work on that are in line with my goals in line with my values and the projects that I'm working on.

I also know that I can't get the project done. That's another hard thing, that knowing when to stop is really important and you get better at it over time, but you got to know, what can I actually do in 40 minutes? And quite frankly, if you work for two solid hours on three different projects, I think for a lot of people uninterrupted time or something like that, you're getting more done than a lot of people get done in an entire day because of the interruptions that they're constantly feeling.

MM: Yes. I have to say when I do the two-hour block, and the cool thing is that some mornings, like if I have a client week or whatever, I might not get a full two hours, but I can sit down and be like, “Okay, All right. I have an hour. I'll spend 30 minutes on this and 30 minutes on that the night before. And it's you still get so much done and you  make progress and that progress just feels really good. If you get nothing else done for the rest of the day, you're like, “I did that. I made progress.”

RH: It was a successful day. And that's exactly why I called it that because the rest of the day could blow up with interruptions. And for me, I have four children and the demands on, whether it's school or a doctor's visit or something could happen where I need to stop what I'm doing or respond to the needs of another client emergency or something like that, that can happen.

But because I've done the other work I know I'm not putting it off. I can relax at night knowing I did what I was supposed to do. 

MM: Yes. And the tasks that are going to make you the most successful making progress on that is so key. So I highly recommend everyone check out Rob's book, because if you do nothing else and just implement the success block and implement it in your own way, I just think you'll just make so much more progress. At least that's been my experience. 

RH: I agree. I think that's one of the most powerful things to implement right away and deciding the night before is a really important part of that. So that you are not forced in the moment to make the decision.

So once again with the clarity of this, writing down, “This is what I'm going to work on,” and gather whatever you need to do those things. The other rules are not to check email, not to check social media, not to allow for interruptions, texts, phone calls, whatever. During that two-hour block of time. More often than not, we can make it through without anything bad happening and that's the tough stuff, but those are my rules for the success block and my morning. I don't check email first thing in the morning until after that success block has done, which is usually around 10:00am. And then I can go into my email. 

MM: Yes. And nobody needs to hear from you that quickly via email.

RH: I am not on call as an ER surgeon. That's not how my life is. For some people it might be, but not me.

MM: No, it reminds me, I had a professor in graduate school. And he always would say, “There is never a communication emergency. Do not expect me to return your emails quickly or automatically.” Cause there's never a communication emergency. I am not a brain surgeon. 

RH: It is not a chat. We treat it like it is sometimes. That's a great statement and to reclaim or a statement of the culture of that professor's class and saying, “I will respond to you. I think that your stuff is important and I will respond in a reasonable amount of time. However, I'm not going to stop other important work that's being done.” It's actually a statement of the priority of the person who needs you. Say that when it's your turn, I'm going to be fully focused because I will have done my work. I'm not going to have my attention split. I will be focused on you because I've made time for you. 

MM: Yes. Which I think is so important.

Alright, Rob, are you ready for the lightning round of Three Word Rebellion questions? 

RH: I am.

MM: First, what's one thing you're rebelling against?

RH: Interruptions. 

MM: I love it. Okay. Second question. What change do you want to create in the world? 

RH: Decision making. I want people to be able to make better decisions. 

MM: Ooh, that's good. And if everyone was able to make better decisions, what do you think the world would be like? 

RH: It'd be more thoughtful. 

MM: Yes. And we would be less distracted and we would hopefully make better decisions.

RH: Yeah. We subject ourselves to so many interruptions and I think if we can return to decision making that isn't reactionary and that isn't in line with our values -- our values as a community, our values personally, individually, as a family, what have you. Yeah, we would be much better off. 

MM: So Rob, tell everyone where they can find you and where they can get the book. 

RH: Absolutely. Thank you. You can find me at and you can go to, and there's lots of ways that you can purchase it there, you can purchase on Amazon, but I also know that local bookstores are really struggling right now. And a lot of them have some online opportunities to purchase from them. So if you have a local bookstore that has the ability to order something online, that's great as well. 

MM: Awesome. And I love that. Yes, support your local bookstores. They need you! And check out Rob's book Attention. It will really make you think about how you design your day differently and how you can work on what's most important in your business.

Rob, thank you so much for being on the show. I really love this conversation 

RH: I did as well. Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.

What a conversation. I really enjoyed talking to Rob about how he took this idea from a Post-It note and turned it into an offering and eventually a book. And here's a few things that stood out to me:

What I loved about his idea is its flexibility. That you can adapt and he encourages you to adapt the idea of putting success in your way to your needs. So how could an idea like this work for you? 

For me. When I do have a success block scheduled, I don't actually decide the night before what I'm going to do. I decide as part of my morning ritual before I get dressed and take a walk. Because I need to know where my energy is at and what I'm able to work on. Like what do I have the energetic bandwidth for? And I still get my priorities accomplished. It's just, I'm making the best decision for me with my energy. And so you can adapt any of these ideas to you.

And second, I loved that his first instinct when he had this idea and wrote it on the Post-It note was to call his friend. Our ideas grow and they get clearer in collaboration with other people. I see this all the time and the messaging work I do with my clients. They come to me with so many jumbled ideas and because we are in the corroboration, the co-creation process together, I'm able to sort through the ideas to find their core message.

So I'd love to know what you're going to experiment with in this episode. What is one thing you will try to put success in your way? 

Feel free to tell me on Instagram, send me a DM. I'm @drmichellemazur. And let me know your big takeaway. 

Before we go. If you want to put success in your way for marketing that means you need a plan. And I'm excited to announce that I am bringing Marketing Uprising -- my workshop -- back the week of February 22nd. So if you want to create a 30-day marketing plan, that results in sales, more engagement with your right people, and a plan that you'll actually want to stick to, get on the waiting list and be the first to know when I opened the doors for this workshop. So you can go to to get on the guest list today. That's And until next time, here's to putting success in your way. Your future self will thank you for it.  

Thank you for listening all the way to the end of the show. Your support means the world to me. Did you know the Rebel Uprising Podcast has a quiz that can help you pinpoint the number one way to create an audience of superfans while staying true to your unique personality? We do! It’s called What’s Your Rebel Roadmap to Exponential Impact and Influence and you can take it at

If you’re loving the podcast, do us a favor and rate and leave us a quick five-star review wherever you listen to your podcasts. It helps more people like you find the show. Until next week, remember -- your ideas matter. Now get back out there and cause an uprising in your industry. You got this!

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