Everything is packed. Hand luggage. Only carry-on luggage! Dreamforce 18 could be two weeks in duration, and that would still be the ideal amount of packing. No sooner did I finish zipping the bag that another thought came to mind — what a gift I have been given!
Think for a moment: if you are attending Dreamforce 18, someone somewhere is saying to you that you matter a great deal to them. How many people have the good fortune of working for someone who believes in advancing your career? Who has the faith in you to attend an event with certainty that what you will receive from the sessions, workshops and conversations with your peers is more than worth the time away from the office? Away for an entire week, at no small expense. And if you are the boss, and you gave yourself this gift, the same logic applies: you are investing in yourself for the good of your organization and business.
Once you are anchored in a feeling of gratitude, the next bit is harder: disconnect from the office routine. It was just over 50 years ago that Timothy Leary advised his audience in San Francisco’s Golden State Park to “Turn on, tune in, drop out!” Maybe a better idea is to reverse that: drop out, tune in and turn on at the Dreampark! Dreamforce has the perfect conditions to discover the future of customer experience and how to gain competitive advantage through better processes and technologies.
Whether you are in marketing, sales, digital commerce, customer support, or a developer, or part of a university, government agency or philanthropic organization, you won’t get another chance like this to connect with the illuminating sessions, keynotes, cohort group or workshop that will help your organization thrive and advance your career.
You will not be able to plug into the power of Dreamforce until you drop out of the daily work rigmarole of email, texting and phone calls. Unless the house is on fire, unplug from these inspiration-dampening activities. If you can create that free mental and emotional space, you will be able to tune into what is really happening at Dreamforce: Salesforce Trailblazers and experts from around the world (like YOU!) gathered in one place to share the magic, exchange ideas and test concepts. You will miss that unless you are open to what is all around you, and that means minimizing distractions.
Once your eyes and ears are open and you are tuned in, you will be able to filter the content that is most important to you. Think big, and think beyond your day-to-day duties. The most important discovery may be in an adjacent industry, or from a question that has not yet come up. How about ethics and AI? Or blockchain, the future of analytics, understanding customer journeys or personalization and privacy? This is the part about turning on: turn on your natural intuition, open your mind to the new business applications and business opportunities that are right there at the Moscone Center Dreampark or in one of the many satellite locations.
And here is some advice from someone who is counting their tenth Dreamforce: Summarize your learnings daily. Keep notes. Keep Evernote or whatever your favorite note or voice transcription app open. If you are part of a team, split up and swarm the event for the best of the best, and at day’s end, compare notes. Share the summary with your team, and with your manager.
We end where we started–with gratitude. Even if you have not studied with UC Davis’ Robert Emmons, it is never too late to learn more about the power of gratitude in the workplace. Cicero, that Consul of the Roman Republic, beat him to it anyway, by 2,000 years: “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue but the parent of all other virtues.” When you have that meeting, be grateful for your team. When you send that summary back to your colleagues or manager, let them know that you are grateful for the opportunity.
In case you needed reminding: It is more than alright to admit you are having fun at Dreamforce! Let them know you were at The Concert for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals or Karaoke for a Cause @Dreamforce! Or whichever causes you are closest to. These are all about loosening up, clearing your head, giving back and feeling good while you help your business do well.
If you are an early riser, you will find me practicing mindfulness with the Monks of Plum Village one or more of the mornings at Dreamforce!