Picture this: Deepak Chopra is standing before you wearing a smart suit and some very trendy red sneakers. He is on a stage and you are seated in an audience of thousands of people. The room goes dark and the screen lights up with visions of those “miracle of life” videos that you could have sworn you’e seen before in health class. For the next five minutes, you watch very detailed animations of human development backed by some pretty epic classical music.
No, you are not dreaming. You are attending the kick-off session at the Inbound 2018 conference in Boston this week. And if you’re thinking, “hey, isn’t that a marketing conference?” You’d be correct, and we were thinking the same thing. But don’t worry, Deepak obviously brought things full circle. We were confused, we were excited, we meditated, and then we learned A LOT.
The livingHR team attended Inbound because our approach to the world of work is influenced greatly by marketing philosophy. Not surprisingly, we heard from some incredible minds in the marketing, branding, and tech world on hot topics like innovation, keeping up with change, and the place of politics/world views in brand (i.e. that campaign dropped by Nike on Wednesday may have come up…) However, we were surprised by the seemingly inevitable turn that nearly every talk took toward career, overcoming professional failures, wellbeing, and the current state of things in the workplace. It was tough to narrow down, but scroll down for our top 5 favorite moments from some of the larger sessions:
Our Top 5 Takeaways from Inbound 2018
1. Beth Comstock, Author of Imagine It Forward and former Vice Chair of GE, made us all feel like we could march back into our offices and really take the reins with her infectious passion:
- On maintaining some confidence in ideas you believe in: “Early days, the idea is weird. You don’t even know yourself what you’re saying.” And this is so normal.
- On giving yourself a break: “There’s truly little that you’re going to mess up that will get in the way of your future success. Be human.”
- On understanding the flip side: “We all work with people who want to hold us back…but they’re just afraid.”
2. Anjali Sud, CEO of Vimeo, told her story of failures, pivots, and vulnerability that should inspire us all to keep the faith in our own ability to succeed:
- On our new favorite superpower – being confidently vulnerable: “Seemingly an oxymoron, I don’t think it is. Practicing vulnerability, being self-aware, vocally self-critical when when you’ve made a mistake – it builds more trust and confidence between your people.”
- Bonus tip on this point: “You can’t proactively solve problems if you aren’t open to the fact that they exist. That’s where being vulnerable comes into play…but vulnerability has to be paired with a commitment to learn, add value, contribute, and catch up.”
- On finding the time to be prepared: “[You have to] harness the power of focus and the ability to ruthlessly prioritize.”
3. Joanna Coles, Executive Producer TheBoldTypeTV, Author of Love Rules, and Former Chief Content Officer Hearst, was so Joanna Coles about it all and we loved every second. After asking about all of our personal love lives, we moved on to these nuggets of genius and truth:
- On the current state of device-life: “We are living in a time where solitude fills us with a great deal of anxiety…but solitude is essential for creative thinking and great ideas.”
- On journaling for growth: “Keep a journal of your life cause you should be your own data analytics expert.”
- On being present: “Great ideas are often hiding in plain sight…go for the real life experiences. You will never regret it.”
4. Mo Gawdat, Former Chief Business Officer for Google X, an entrepreneur, and the author of Solve for Happy, moved us with his personal story of overcoming sadness and schooled us on how we’re the ones in the way of our own happiness:
- On the basics: Happiness is our default setting. It’s like cell phones – we’re born happy and then we install all of these weird apps (expectations, comparisons, etc.), that mess us up.”
- On the “aha” moment: “Unhappiness in reality is just a survival mechanism. It’s your brain looking at events and saying, “this is not good for us.” But any event in the world, if you don’t grant it the power, will not touch you. It’s the thought, not the event, that makes you unhappy.”
- On embracing the truths of our reality in work and life: “Somehow we convince ourselves to hang on to illusions instead of the truth. But I have found that life almost always meets your expectations if they’re realistic.
5. Shonda Rhimes, producer, screenwriter, author of Year of Yes, and all-around straight talker, told it like it is in the way only she can:
- On the rhetoric that men are avoiding women in the workplace because they’re fearful for misinterpreted actions: “I say that’s bull****. People know what harassment is. I’m sorry, they just do.”
- On the illusion of anything worthwhile being easy: “Everything we’ve ever done that’s brought about success has been hard work. We can’t pretend it hasn’t.”
And we’ll let her drop the mic right there. In the end, we left Boston with awakened minds, full Amazon carts (our Fall reading list is set), and a renewed focus on happiness and humanity. But the same can’t be said for our feet – that’s quite an expansive convention center you have there, Boston. We’ll have to tap into Deepak’s sneaker collection next time around.
— Team livingHR