What I really learned at #Dreamforce17

Dreamforce 2017 Campground Archway

I just got back from Dreamforce '17. For those of you that haven't heard of Dreamforce, it's Salesforce's annual conference. Imagine cramming 170k people in a one square mile area in downtown San Francisco. If you know me, you know that I would find that absolutely horrifying. Not that I'm claustrophobic, I just don't like being crowded. Well, I can tell you that I loved every minute of it. A lot of people say that at Dreamforce, Salesforce pours you gallons of Salesforce Kool-Aid. Sure, probably, but it is the sweetest tasting Kool-Aid I've ever drank.

Dreamfest 2017 with Astro
Dreamfest 2017 with Astro

This was my second Dreamforce. In 2016 I ventured into the wide-world of Dreamforce only to be completely amazed. I have never, in my life, been surrounded by so many people with the same goal in mind. Bettering themselves and what they do. Salesforce has “coined” the term *Trailblazers* (mostly from their top-notch training platform, Trailhead) but also because they firmly believe that we're each here to blaze our own trails. Be it a trail leading towards improved business relations & processes, or personal trails of equality and understanding, the message is the same, be a #Trailblazer.

Having attended in 2016, I was a little more prepared this year. That didn't stop me from double (or triple) booking myself with sessions. But it did allow me to know that my plan for Dreamforce changes as soon as you put that badge and backpack on. Instead of attending the sessions you plan to attend, you should be free to flow where your trail leads you. I found myself less interested in attending sessions about improving the departments I manage at Focus CA and more interested in attending sessions that better me. That's the power of being a #trailblazer I suppose.

The biggest takeaway from Dreamforce this year wasn't about the awesome tools that my company gets to use to improve ourselves as business, but instead how to use the tools that we learn every day to better ourselves. Again, for those of you who know me, you probably know that I'm quick to frustration, often aggravated by having to deal with what I call “stupid stuff”. While it's taken me 34 years to get to this point, I think I learned one thing at Dreamforce. We're all on our own “trail” and need to do our part to not only blaze it, but to help those along the way.

Over the past couple of days, I've found myself reflecting on my thoughts during the various Dreamforce sessions I attended. Instead of taking diligent notes about Apex code, Lightning consoles and of course Einstein, I recall thinking about how I can use the things I'm learning to better everything around me. Be it bettering myself or my fellow man, I found that the inspiration brought to Dreamforce by Marc and the #SalesforceOhana led me to an overall happier place while I was there. So I thought: “why not try to continue this feeling”. And that is exactly what I'm going to strive to do.

As a small business owner, I get pulled in a bunch of different directions throughout the day. Dealing with a lot of different challenges. Some of these challenges are big, difficult and sometimes exhausting. While some are simple. It's easy to get stressed out, frustrated and “down”. I remember thinking how every challenge I deal with shouldn't be there. That because of “someone's mistake” I'm having to “deal with this”. Upon reflection, I've found that way of thinking is what creates the stressed out, frustrated and “down” attitude that we experience. Sure, it's easy to see this retrospect, but how do you mitigate this feeling moving forward? With so many balls in the air, and so many challenges on the horizon, what can you do to be mindful that each challenge it just a singular challenge, presenting itself to be dealt with, learned from and move on? I figure, since I found this new *mantra* while at Dreamforce, perhaps I can keep some subtle queues around me, reminders of that long trail that we're all on. Instead of thinking that a particular challenge is someone's fault, realize that it's just a rock in the trail. Step over it and move on. Some rocks may be bigger, and those may require a fellow trailblazer to help move. That's part of life. That's part of the trail.

It's really funny. Yesterday and this morning, I was thinking about what I would put into this blog post. I had it all mapped out, was going to talk about the cool technical stuff I learned. How Focus CA will be improving our Client Relations with tools like Field Service Lightning, improved customer service tools and improved communication with our Clients. Then I sat down at my keyboard and started typing. Instead of listing out a myriad of “business” pieces, I just typed what I felt.

I suppose the technical stuff will come in a later blog post. For now, I want to say thank you to the #SalesforceOhana for the inspiration to put me back on track.

Until next time!

-- Brandon