What If You Could? is the must-have positive mindset guide

Over the past few years in particular we’ve heard a lot about bringing mindfulness in our lives. Setting intentions and manifesting whatever are words we hear often. These are not newly minted millennial ways of thinking but living life with intention and purpose has been around for centuries. Whatever reason (maybe it was Gwyneth?) we are here for it wholeheartedly. Living and doing things with purpose has made its way into our daily lives from home life to work life.

It makes sense. For those of us who were already working since 90s (maybe even earlier) it was all about living large. It was about multi-tasking. Nothing could stop us. We could do everything and anything…and we did. I thought it was a compliment when someone told me I was a machine. We worked hard and played harder. We had FOMO before social media. But that’s not a brag. Many of us felt burned out but didn’t know how to get off that hamster wheel. No one questioned how that would affect our mental health and well-being. Then we started talking about finding balance. We began questioning what fulfills and motivates us. What was our purpose for being here?

If anything, recent years have clearly shown us that life is richer by experiences the openness to learn (and relearn) and not by the material things we have. Anyone else feel like things that were important before may not be as important to us now? We are at a pivotal point in life where many changes are happening and we are learning to navigate. Mindset is everything.

A new book hit the market recently and it caught my attention. What If You Could? The Mindset and Business Blueprint for Your Life of Purpose by Cody May and Neil Morton is a keeper for anyone searching for a life of purpose. On the back cover it reads, “Deep down in the center of who we are as human beings, we seek only the most basic of fundamentals– purpose and fulfillment. What is it that motives you? What brings your passion? What is the one thing that wakes you up every morning filled with excitement and joy?”

I was intrigued. A quick flip of the pages turned into a full fledged reading session of the book in one sitting. This is indeed “the ultimate blueprint for designing a life of purpose and your passport to a journey of fulfillment” as it says on the back cover.

I found myself nodding with enthusiasm with each turned each page.  Many were already what I already live life and I feel seen.  But there were definitely a few more insights worthy to add to my personal journey of living a life full of gratitude and discovery.

The well-thought out nuggets of wisdom are shared by the authors. Topics like Drop the Dead Weight, Live Your Values, Don’t Trust Your Memory, Know When to Say Yes, and Be Memorable are just a few that I’ve dog-eared.

Based out of Peterborough, authors Cody May and Neil Morton have many years of experience between them. May is the Chief Executive Officer of StudioPTBO, a global marketing agency and an expert in advertising, sales and communications. His passion and energy has helped countless entrepreneurs across the country and abroad. Morton is the co-founder of StudioPTBO and an expert in communications, marketing, advertising, social media and branding. Neil has spent many years honing his skills as the Editor-in-Chief for several national magazines here based in Toronto. He’s appeared on national television and is a frequent speaker at industry and public events.

Neil Morton and Cody May

So, why this book now?  Morton tell me that they had written many life, business and mindset type  “listicles” over the years like Be Nice To Your Waiter. Many ideas made for great discussions on  their popular StudioPTBO podcasts. A natural next step was to extend into book format.

“We truly want to motivate people to live their best life, and thought giving them our principles and wisdom in easily digestible format would resonate,” said Morton and May. “Plus, we thought as an agency it would be a great brand marketing play for us to attract the kind of clients/entrepreneurs worldwide we want to work with. Good marketing really attracts the right kind of people/vibe and we thought this book truly reflects our DNA, our ethos, our culture, our sensibility.”

Their podcast has invited many great guests but it was David Meltzer (co-founder of Sports 1 Marketing and formerly served as CEO of the renowned Leigh Steinberg Sprots & Entertainment agency which was the inspiration for the movie Jerry Maguire) that had a profound impact on them…literally in real-time on the podcast. They recalled madly scribbling notes during the podcast and with that connection they were able to ask him to write the beautiful Foreword for the book — about how you create the right coincidences in life and the best kind of luck.

The format of the book is indeed digestible with just the right amount of information without being overwhelming or sounding preachy. Morton mentioned it was at some level, an ode to his days as a magazine editor in Toronto. “I wanted the book to feel more like a magazine/book hybrid…. breezy, whimsical, fun, aesthetically pleasing.”

While there is some structure to it in terms of breaking it into Mindset, Life & Business sections, Morton and May wanted people to be able to dive into it wherever they like, back to front, middle to front, or whatever. “It’s funny, internally on our Slack channel, we called it #theantibook being tongue in cheek and all. I mean, I love books but I really didn’t want this one to feel like homework or feel preachy or bloated in anyway. We wanted readers to read it on the beach or plane or on the dock — it takes like an hour and a half or so to “read” — and come back to it often. We want them to turn down the pages, take notes in the margins, colour the pictures… mess it up! So it was truly a collaborative effort working with our Book Shepherd, Book Editor and our StudioPTBO design team on this — similar at some level when I was an Editor-in-Chief and worked in collab with my Art Director. I feel like we nailed my vision for it, I’m pretty pleased,” said Morton.

Of course a book like this could have endless amazing topics with in-depth descriptions but they chose to keep it clean and appealing for anyone — seriously, it would be a great gift for recent college and university grads, co-worker, entrepreneur.

Morton explains that he’s a big fan of brevity and not being wordy. “We truly wanted to keep each chapter lesson/anecdote short and simple, and let things breathe. If you overwrite something, it exhausts the reader and doesn’t allow them to see themselves in the passage and imagine possibilities. We just wanted to give them a framework. As for sequel, we’ve had several readers already say they’d like to see that but not sure what exactly that would look like. One reader suggested “how to make it happen” so perhaps we get even more micro around actioning your ideas.”

Positive mindset is everything but some believe that it’s something that is a result of having a privileged lifestyle. But Morton doesn’t believe this so. “Some of the most miserable people I have met have all the money in the world, and some of the happiest have virtually nothing and have suffered great traumas. I believe no matter what circumstance you have in life, if you have the mindset that you will persevere and not just survive but thrive, you give yourself a great chance at success whatever that looks like to you.”

And of course, many of us get that “imposter feeling”. That maybe we don’t live up to expectations. I’m constantly amazed at how many of us feel this way at some point or another.

“We don’t think you can really get out of that feeling entirely,” said Morton and May. ” It happens to everyone in leadership roles, and at some level you just have to embrace that feeling and accept it. It’s like you scored an invited to an exclusive party so why not just embrace it and have fun with it and make powerful connections? Perhaps Cameron Herold, former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, said it best on a podcast he did with us… “I think what you do to battle imposter syndrome is to be around other successful people who all realize they also feel it too.”

What about workplaces that would encourage us to “stay hungry”? I recall working in the 90s where never being satisfied was the motivator for achieving greater things. Did they experience that at all and how has that thinking evolved?

Yes and no. Morton thinks the meaning of it has changed a bit. “Nowadays, ‘staying hungry’ isn’t equated as much to making more money. It’s about finding your best life at work and play, and checking things off your bucket list. Material things don’t buy you happiness. Self-worth and a mindset of abundance does, and that comes through resilience and pushing forwarding and executing on your dreams big and small.”

So who inspires them?  “We wouldn’t necessarily pick specific people, but more specific types of people. We’re attracted to go-getters who inspire others, collaborate, and make connections. We’re attracted to entrepreneurs who push hard to build and scale their businesses but are also kind, empathetic and fun. At a macro, we’re attracted to nice people. Being pleasant is a vastly underrated skill,” said Morton and May.

I really admire these two. I’ve been following their podcasts and their social media posts when a break is much needed. I consider them my non-caffeinated jolt of positivity on any given day. This is a keeper that is worth returning to over and over again. I’ve been just randomly opening to any page and reading one entry each morning (with my coffee).


What If You Could? The Mindset and Business Blueprint for Your Life of Purpose is available: Paperback on Amazon.ca, Barnes & Noble as well as Kindle eBook.

You can also link to their podcast here: available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.




About Sonya Davidson 935 Articles
Covering events, openings and all the deliciousness in Toronto.