I am on a three hour delayed flight leaving Seattle heading home to Las Vegas after an AMAZING three days with Simply Measured at their 2nd annual LIFT Social conference. There are few times in life when you come across some of the nicest, genuine, humble, kind and caring people all under one roof.... And I got to spend three days in this bubble of amazing bliss.
I'm honored to have been asked to speak at LIFT Social for the second year in a row. I psych myself out going into it because I worry, "maybe I'm not good enough", "maybe I'm not smart enough", "maybe I'll forget everything I wanted to say in my presentation", "what if I don't memorize my slides and I suck on stage"..... It all goes through my head. We're human, right?
Fuck it. I'm not going to memorize my slides. I'm not going to tell you ONLY the amazing successes I've had. I'm going to tell you about the things I failed at and plans that didn't go so well. I'm going to tell you how I approached a situation and figured out what I was trying to solve for versus expecting to cast a wide net and make something make sense or start vomiting numbers and stats. I'm going to tell you how I started at square one and experimented along the way and turned every stone to find an opportunity. I'm going to tell you things that you can understand and apply to your real world life, work, school.... whatever. THAT is what I decided to do.
So I did.
I took the stage for my one hour session to a packed grand ball room. I couldn't see too many people because the lights were bright and but I could spot two familiar faces in the crowd. So... here we go.... It's show time.
My 60 minute session and Q&A comes to an end and I leave the stage thinking "I hope I didn't make a jackass of myself" as I make my way down from the stage and the long walk to the production guys to drop off my mic, I have attendees sticking their hands out to high five me from both sides of the isle.
How. Freaking. Surreal. Is. This.
So many people approached me afterward to thank me or tell me they were inspired and I literally want to cry. I want to burst into tears with every single "thank you" that was said to me because I'm so humbled and so grateful for the opportunity to share what I love, who I am, I can inspire people to chase their dreams and believe in themselves ..... these people get it. They can take something from what I said. That's what success is. It's not money. It's not fame. It's not being the most popular person in the room. It's being real.
LIFT Social is hands down my favorite social media conference and it's crazy to think this is only their second one. The product is phenomenal. The people are even more phenomenal. I have to admit when I took over the role as Social Media Manager for UFC 3 1/2 years ago, the product was something I inherited. I didn't know what to do with it or how to read the reports. I remember we came up to a renewal and I was like "no one is using this, I don't know what it is or what to do with it. I don't think I'm going to renew it". My rep, Lauren Berry asked if we could set up a couple of tutorials, once a week for a couple of weeks and she would break it down to me. So I obliged. Each week I felt like all of this was a foreign language and I didn't know what I was looking at or what I was supposed to do with it.... But each meeting more and more made sense. I had a work trip coming up in Seattle because we had a fight scheduled at the Key Arena and Lauren said "why don't you come spend the day at our office". So I did. I met with product people, engineers, account managers, the guys who built the platform.... and everyone was incredible helping me understand what the tool could do. That meeting was a game changer. I figured out that I didn't understand what I was looking at and what to do with the information because I hadn't figured out what I was trying to solve for. The problem was I hadn't defined what I was trying to get out. I then started to understand more of what the data was saying and it helped guide me to make business decisions to change things or add things to my social strategy. It helped guide me if things were going well or if I should stop doing something immediately. From there, I learned how to put the data into context to tell a holistic story and understand the 360 degree effect. These little successes over a year wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for the team who believed in their product and hadn't genuinely cared about what I did or didn't understand and help me make sense of it all. There came a point in time when I started asking questions that they yet hadn't developed for the product or I had use cases where specific data could help me solve for some other business objective and I was then helping them to think about ways the businesses use their product to make their platform best in class.
So this is what a win-win relationship is like.
Over the next 3 1/2 years the business relationship has grown as did the personal relationships. I made my second appearance speaking at the summit and it's a feeling I can't even put into words about how I feel coming out of it. Grateful. Blessed. Smarter today than I was yesterday. Humbled. Honored. So many feels.
The attendees I met over the last few days were incredible. I handed out my business card like I was passing out candy on Halloween. "Take my card. If you have any questions or want to chat about whatever, give me a call". I meant it.
I learned not just things to help me in my line of work in social media but I learned a lot about people. We want to be inspired and have someone motivate us in a way that gets us excited to get up the next day and say "Fuck yeah! Let's do this!"
Yes, I cried. I felt overwhelmed, excited, happy and the part that matters most.... I had the opportunity to inspire people and these people inspired me.