November 28, 2016

Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at the new products and innovation experienced at Dreamforce from the different perspectives of Torrent team members who attended. Today, Consulting Manager Tara McDonald shares her first of a two part series about her favorite Dreamforce session, finding balance in life. 

Like many of my colleagues and our partners, I registered for Dreamforce with lofty aspirations of learning about the next best thing, getting those tricky questions answered for my customers, and really becoming an expert in as many areas of Salesforce as possible. I felt I owed it to my company and our partners to pack my schedule full of the most meaningful technical sessions and raise the bar for myself. I signed up for sessions on Service Cloud, Salesforce Connect, and Einstein (even though I wasn’t totally sure what that was at the time). I barely left myself enough time to get from session to session. Being a first time Dreamforce attendee, I didn’t realize how much walking there would be between locations =).

When I finished creating my agenda, there were a couple of open time slots left so I searched to see what was available at those times. I came across a session titled Success With Less: Releasing Obligations and Discovering Joy. It sounded kind of “fluffy” for my taste, but it still intrigued me. I convinced myself that one or two fluffy sessions in between all the more technical ones would not be a big deal. I rationalized that I’d sign up and then possibly skip the session if I found something else that pertained to my job more specifically. Well, let’s just say that I’m glad I didn’t skip this one because it was probably the best session of the week for me.

The session consisted of a panel of four Salesforce employees who had all gone through a major life situation that caused them to really stop and think about their life and where they were spending their time (which was mostly at work). You’re probably thinking right now that it’s crazy a Salesforce convention would be promoting the idea of people working less, not more. I thought that too at first, but as the panel shared their stories, I began to get it. They were honestly doing a better job at work after they had reevaluated their lives. They were happier, more trusting of their team (don’t we all try to take on too much), and less sleep-deprived.  This allowed for them to think out of the box and grow their business units in ways they couldn’t grasp previously. Not only were their teams doing well, but the people on them were happy and healthy because of the culture they were promoting.

What can I say??? I totally drank the Kool-Aid. I left the session with $20 less in my pocket, but I became the proud owner of the book Success with Less by Karen Mangia. I had all these ideas of clearing my calendar of unnecessary meetings, taking stock of my activities, and prioritizing things in my life. The one problem…when did I have time to do all of that? If I was already so busy that the session resonated with me, how was I going to find time to read a book then take actions based on it? I knew if I put it off too long the book would just end up sitting on my bookcase like so many others I haven’t found the time to read. I decided for this idea to work, I was going to have to do it quickly, before I forgot about it. On the second leg of our flight home from Dreamforce, I read the book cover to cover and did some soul-searching. It was 2am in Detroit when we landed (3am by the time I actually got home), but I was so excited I wanted to wake my husband up and tell him all about my ideas for being a more balanced wife and mother, as well as a passionate consulting manager.   

Tune is to part 2 of this blog series to find out what specific steps I took to help ease my stress and balance my life as a working mom.

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