Life Lessons From Inbound13

My very favorite session of HubSpot’s Inbound 13 conference was a TED-talk style presentation called “How to Become a Writing God” by Beth Dunn (@bethdunn). She works at HubSpot and has the awesome job of writing all of the helpful little snippets of information, tips and instructions throughout the software’s user interface. (And, she’s so happy, it makes you wish it was your job too.) I’m not a writer, and I’m under no pretense that I’m suddenly going to become anything close to a writing god. Surprisingly, this little chat taught me a lesson that supersedes the “become a better writer” goal in my little book of life – and showed me, perhaps, a secret to all goals.

Lower your standards

Change the goal to something other than the actual goal. Let me explain. With the goal of becoming a better writer – instead of focusing on the writing, focus on pushing the submit button on SOMETHING every single day. As Beth says “write like crap every day if you have to, but write every day.” Change the goal from ‘best-blog-post-ever-totally-going-to-go-viral’ level quality, and lower your standards to just focus on posting one word, or 2 words, or a paragraph. And, as a result of engaging in the behavior over and over again, you’ll get better. She also used this principle in her personal weight loss journey. Once she set her sights on posting a “#sweatyselfie” (a picture of her all sweaty after a run or walk) every day – she was able to actually achieve losing weight – but so long as losing weight was the goal, she was never able to embrace the journey and excitement of learning to run. Or said another way “run like crap every day if you have to, but run every day.”

I realized I learned a similar principle in sales training with Brian Kavicky (@bkavicky). You can’t MAKE sales happen in your company – you have to focus on every single day executing the behaviors that create an environment where sales can happen. We can’t control the outcome, we can only control our behavior.

The same thing applies to inbound marketing. Don’t stress so much about your campaign, blog post, white paper, or being the best ever. Too many things were left in a heap of good intentions because we only wanted to do it if we could do it perfectly. Write something. Post something. Publish something. Lower your standards. If you don’t start, you don’t get the opportunity to improve.

Life Lessons From Inbound13 image frontpage1Life Lessons From Inbound13Encores are good for egos

This point runs the risk of being disgustingly self-promoting and brag-a-docious. I know that. Hold on a sec, let me explain why it made the list.

At Inbound 13 this year I was asked to give my breakout session presentation “How to Build an Inbound Brand that Wins Every Time a second time because there were so many people who wanted to attend that couldn’t fit in the room the first time. I was ecstatic. Here’s why.

Because for me, it was concrete evidence that people care about what I know. People care about what I do. People can relate to my experience. It matters to companies. It matters to people. It matters.

As a wife to a busy professional husband, growing agency President, mom to 2 young girls, church member, board member, daughter, sister, friend and running partner – there are so many sacrifices, so many late nights, so many things that you could do, should do and could have done better. For ONE day for there was direct feedback that the years, months, weeks, days, hours that I’ve spent mattered. And that was so fulfilling to me. Thank you, Patrick Shea (@mpatrickshea), for giving me the opportunity to do it again.
Life Lessons From Inbound13 image IMG 22521Life Lessons From Inbound13

Competitors & customers can be good friends

I love people. And one of my very favorite things about Inbound every year is getting to see the HubSpotters that we work over the phone with every day, meeting new agency owners who are ‘going inbound’ with their services, rubbing shoulders with competitors and hanging with clients. This year was no exception. I enjoyed my candid conversation with Bob Ruffolo (@bobruffolo) from Impact Brand. Comparing notes about how difficult it is to strike the balance between youth and experience. About how training new people quickly is a challenge. About the crazy things that come with being young leaders – and doing so many things for the first times ourselves. Does Bob want to kick my butt? I’m sure of it. Do I want to kick his? Yep! – but I’m rooting for them too. And that’s how competition should be.

And, clients – like Casey and his wife Jennifer Stanley – are so much more fun when they become your friends. When you can do great work together – and get to know each other as people. Support each other through the challenges life throws – and be open about what you’re learning and how to make each other better. When it actually becomes a partnership – where each is working for the other’s success. Having dinner with clients – them meeting one another was a highlight for me. Inbound 13 provides the forum for these types of relationships to become more cemented. To have a shared experience around learning – and growing.

Life means more when you have a heartLife Lessons From Inbound13 image charitywater2Life Lessons From Inbound13

This year at Inbound 13, HubSpot used the closing session to bring attention to the non-profit organization charity:water and their special cause – bringing safe drinking water to everyone on the planet. I was so proud to be affiliated with an organization that recognizes the potential of what can be accomplished if they mobilize 5,000 conference attendees towards a single initiative. You can learn more about charity:water and their efforts here. I was reminded again that this life is really not at all about blogs posts, or CTA’s, or websites, or conversion metrics, or brands. But life is about helping people, and making connections and opening up worlds and doors for others.

Life lesson #42: Write your post-conference blog post on the plane home instead of sleeping. Otherwise it will take you 2 weeks to get it done.

What did you learn at Inbound 13 that touched your life?

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