Disappointment

In the immortal words of The Rolling Stones, “you can’t always get what you want.”

There are some days I feel the statement should be amended to “you seldom get what you want” (and apparently, so did they. Looking at you, “Satisfaction”…), but then that’s not really the point of the song.

In every day use, we just stop there.

“I had hoped to do X, but it didn’t work out.”

“Well, you can’t always get what you want.”

“Gee, thanks for that insight.”

We forget about the second part of it. “If you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” And frankly what we need isn’t always what we want. I want to smother my face in melted chocolate and eat pizza all day, every day. But my body needs “vitamins” and “nutrients,” so I eat sensibly. Most of the time.

Of course the reason we don’t complete the sentiment is because disappointment sucks. It’s a shallow victory to hear “well, this didn’t go the way you wanted, but it’ll work out in the end.”

Yeah, the end was supposed to be successfully obtaining X. Now it’s…what? Unknown. Unknowable. Until you’re some days, weeks, or months beyond, and you look back to see the worn path behind you, and that light clicks on. Ohhhhh.

Sure that part is satisfying. I like to retrace my steps, counting them and watching the twisting way that they got me to where I am standing now.

But right now now it sucks. It just does. There is no sugar coating it. There is no “well, everything happens for a reason.” No. It just sucks.

Still, you know, in the scheme of things. I get it. My disappointment, on the world’s scale of sheer craptastic things, this is like….in the thousands. High thousands. I know that. I really get it. There are people out there who can’t even rely on the second part of that lyric because they’re not very likely to get what they need either.

I keep telling myself that, when I take a breath, and for whatever reason, the air I’ve breathed in seems to just carry all of the things that I’m even slightly bitter about. I keep telling myself that, when the little, nagging things that don’t usually bother me suddenly snowball, and I’m just running frantically from the avalanche. That’s right, running. I’m not about to face a giant snowball of little nagging things. Frankly, if I wasn’t dealing with them when they were tiny, why would I deal with them when they’ve become so big? No, thank you.

And I guess by now, you’re wondering where I’m going with this.

I’m not really sure. Haven’t gotten there, yet.

Sorry to disappoint.

 

Georgia on my mind

I grew up in the peach state, various towns and cities at different times, only vaguely aware that people lived in other states. It’s weird how that happens. When you define a place as Home, it feels strange sometimes to think that there are billions of people out there who not only don’t live near you, but have most likely never even heard of your town.

When I was very little, I affected a thick Southern drawl, drew out my syllables as folk do in Georgia. But over time that dwindled, even living in the state. People who meet me now will not often guess that I spent the better part of my pre-adult years (and even early adult) in the foothills of Appalachia.

Fun fact: Georgia is the largest state East of the Mississippi. Yes, it’s true. Yes, even when you take the Upper Peninsula into consideration for Michigan.

I mention that because when I tell people I grew up in Georgia, they almost always know someone in Augusta or Savannah. I lived about 6 hours from them, in that case. I most likely don’t know them.

I’m headed that way on Saturday, the hubby and I hopping in a rental car to make the drive down. We’ll spend some time with my family at the homestead in the hills, and then I’m dragging him along with me to Southeast Dreamin’.

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In addition to being excited about being in the place I learned how to walk and speak and be an adult*, I’m really excited about this stuff:

  1. Charlie Isaacs‘s keynote. He’s one of my favorite people in the community, so I’m very happy to see him speak.
  2. Rebe de la Paz is going to talk about educating end users – a topic near and dear to my heart.
  3. For my NPO friends, you can check out Adam Kramer‘s session on Optimizing NPSP as an Admin.
  4. My friend and fellow #GifSquad member, Amy Oplinger, is reprising her fantastic session on Imposter Syndrome.
  5. Phillip Southern is going to share how they created the open-source Trailhead leaderboard.
  6. Doug Ayers is sharing his presentation on using Process Builder to create a Chatter Bot.
  7. THE Jen Lee of Automation Hour fame is sharing a session on Flow.
  8. Chris Duarte‘s closing keynote! It’s like a delicious Salesforce sandwich, people.

Did I mention the Hackathon on Thursday (this will be my first!)?

Did I mention the SaaSie Tech Social?

Did I mention time with the community, seeing the #Ohana?

To be honest, Georgia hasn’t been home in almost 10 years, but having so many great things to look forward to, I know it’ll feel a lot more like it next week.

See you there?

*I am legally an adult. Whether or not I’m an “Adult” is up for debate.

 

Hear me []

A friend of mine, the amazing @SalesforceAmy, gathered a group of us women in the Salesforce #Ohana with a great idea that she and another amazing woman, Rachel Rogers, had for celebrating International Women’s Day (which is today, by the way). I’ve been thinking about how I could contribute – video? Picture? Retweet machine? And then I remembered that I have this thing called a blog and generally speaking, I write about things…

I’m not the most vocal person, unless I really know someone. So the hashtag #hearmeroar seemed disingenuous to me. You won’t hear me roar because that’s not really my style. But you might read my words.

I carry a small notebook with me wherever I go. I have 4 small black notebooks all filled, cover to cover, and dated. Their pages contain my triumphs and, more often than not, my defeats. They are my roar.

My roar is the long line of strong women in my life. My maternal grandmother who moved herself and her two children from the tiny island nation of Malta to New York City. My paternal grandmother, who has lived up to every challenge that the world has thrown at her and continues to learn and do amazing things. My mom – holy shit, my mother…smart, funny, driven, thoughtful, kind, brave…the list goes on. I am in awe of her every single day.

My roar is the list of things I have done that surprised even myself. Finished 3rd in my class at the fire academy. Moved across the country and somehow turned my life around. Taught myself math, so I could teach math in a struggling school district. Became a Salesforce consultant. (What is my life?)

Sometimes my roar is just getting through the tough times.

Sometimes it’s leaving a company because they show a pattern of disrespect to the women who work there.

Other times it’s supporting another woman who is going through something I’ve experienced.

For all of us, though, our roar is the collective will to continue pushing forward, the defiance in the face of systems that tell us that we are at fault for being born as women, our ability to keep standing when we’ve been pushed down. Our roar is in our strength – a strength that does not need to boast or strut, a strength that persists, that permeates everything that we do. Our roar is collective, and it shakes foundations, and if that scares some people, then it’s only because they thought that we were kittens, when in fact we are titans.

So you will not hear me roar today. You may never hear me roar.

But you will hear me.

You will hear all of us. Because we will not be silent, and we will not be silenced.

Today is International Women’s Day. Here’s to our voices.

 

The niche struggle is real

There are so many smart people in the Salesforce Ohana. Seriously. So many. They are in the community, on Twitter, writing blogs, hosting podcasts, just generally being awesome. Need to know how to write a formula? There’s a blog for that. Process Builder trouble? There’s a weekly webcast for that. Prepping for an exam? So many sites to help.

As someone who has always been the person on the edge of social circles, one foot in and just hesitant enough to not insert myself, I can tell you that it can be hard to find your place in any situation. As someone who likes to write, who feels safest being herself behind a keyboard, I can also tell you that it’s not any easier finding your place via the blogosphere.

When I first started with Salesforce, blogs helped me become a better admin. I used Salesforce’s documentation to learn the functionality, but project and product management, understanding users’ needs, best practices…that all came from the community. Once I started feeling more confident, I wanted to share what I had learned with others. I’ve tried a few avenues – speaking at events, starting the local Women in Tech chapter, evangelizing on the streets, you name it. Oh yeah. And this thing you’re reading.

I have a backlog of drafts about a mile long. Posts I’ve started, trying to fit into my own little corner of the Salesforce blog world. Am I a place for new admins to learn basic functionality? Am I a marketing automation guru? Maybe I should talk about consulting? Women in Tech. Community. Automation. Communication. Learning to code. Etc. Etc.

Guess what? It exists already.

There are days I find it disheartening. I don’t have the experience or knowledge that many of the existing bloggers have. It’s easy to be down on myself, to feel inadequate, to think that this whole thing is a waste of time.

Not what it’s about, though.

If you want to share something or do something or create something in this community, I’m giving you the permission and the advice to do it. Even if it’s already been done. Even if you think no one will care. All of those blogs and MVPs and community heroes didn’t become experts overnight. They all started somewhere, and they are all here to support you.

Oh, and if you’re looking for your niche, your expertise? It’s you. It’s your unique perspective, your own experiences. That’s all you need. So you’re basically half way there.

 

It’s Official: Sales Cloud Consultant

I bit the bullet last Saturday and took the Sales Cloud Consultant exam.

(She writes, as if she hadn’t been studying 1-2 hours per night for the past two months.)

I did the online proctoring, something I said I would not do again. But you know the saying about the best laid plans. It only took 10 minutes to get it set up this time. We’ll call it a win.

I thought about how I wanted to share this, if at all. My natural instinct is to provide some sort of guide, some insight to those that are considering taking it, preparing. There are already some great resources out there, though, and I’m not a fan of reinventing the wheel.

So instead I’m going to give you some honest feedback about what you can expect:

  1. Most people don’t pass this exam on the first try
  2. Your test-taking ability will come into play on this exam
  3. There is a LOT of information covered – both breadth and depth
  4. No matter what you study, there will be things you did not anticipate

I prepared for this exam for almost two months, starting with about an hour study each day and moving up to 2 hours each day a couple of weeks out.

I did what I always do. I downloaded the study guide, prioritized topics based on what I felt the least comfortable with, and I went to work. I used Salesforce’s existing documents, reviewed some Trailhead modules, inspected existing blog posts about Sales Cloud (shout out to Salesforce Ben!), and took copious notes. This method got me through both Advanced Admin and App Builder.

I guess technically it got me through Sales Cloud, too.

If you’re looking toward Sales Cloud on the horizon, here’s the best advice I can offer you: be patient with yourself and DON’T PANIC.

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As I write this, I’m cool as a cucumber, ya dig? But literally five minutes before the exam, I could feel my heart trying to rip itself free from my chest. Taking these exams IS nerve-wracking. But guess what – it’s not the end of the world. All you can do is take a deep breath and focus on the question. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re going to answer the exact way Salesforce wants you to (because sometimes it’s really not clear). Worry instead about understanding the problem presented, understanding the potential solutions.

Having certifications is great. I love it. I love getting my name printed on paper.

But certifications aren’t going to make you a good consultant. Listening will. Empathy will. Curiosity will. A growth mindset and patience will. If you have those things, then you’ll do fine.

And, if you are taking the exam soon and somehow stumbled here, I hope you take a moment to breathe and relax. You’ve got this.

 

 

GTD Newb

I didn’t make a huge announcement, but those that know me probably already know that I made a change and joined the team at Arkus, Inc. So hooray for that.

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via GIPHY

One of the best things about starting with them is that they have a structured onboarding process, and it involves reading and implementing David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology. GTD for the initiated.

I read the book before my official start date, and it was eye-opening. To quote one of the Arkus founders, “geeks love it.” I can confirm that. Anyway…I read the book, and me being me, I wanted to drop literally everything and implement it immediately.

That is not realistic during the holidays. There’s stuff to do. Hours in the car. Family gatherings. Festivities. New video games.

So instead I did the holidays thing, and then I did the starting a new job thing. GTD sat in the peripheral, staring at me, poking sometimes, even. I took on some of the “quick win” type things right away; I made lists of actions, had a list of projects, emptied my mind every couple of days. That alone made a difference.

This past weekend, I talked the husband into implementing GTD at home, and the entire weekend was focused on that implementation. We went through our upstairs home office, gathered all of the Stuff and then we processed it. We determined what our ongoing process will look like.

Can I be honest? This is my blog. I’m going to be honest. I don’t know if it’s going to be a stellar success at home. Not for any other reason than I’ve read the book, and the hubs hasn’t. Also he’s extremely action-oriented. He basically has been doing GTD for years, just…without calling it that.

Enter me, his wife, a whirlwind of paper and ideas and aimless, but still voiced and well-intentioned, goals that are forgotten as soon as they’re spoken aloud. Opposites attract.

Anyway.

Day 2 was me getting down into the nitty-gritty for the job things. I’m blessed because Arkus provided OmniFocus to me, the tool for Mac users that helps manage the GTD process. I captured Stuff; I created projects and assigned next actions; I set up some key commands. I am as a ready as I’m going to be. I even set up an action item, deferred to a month from now, to review my process and how I’m using it.

I’m excited.

I’m still new to all this, but I was talking to my mom this morning, and she said “you sound so less stressed. Even a month ago, you sounded so much more stressed out.”

And I really am.

There are a lot of reasons for that – good news about health of friends and family members, making some priority changes, the #ohana…and yeah, some of it really is because of this GTD thing.

It’s so weird for me to write that. You have to understand just how jaded I am about “life hacks” and planners and productivity and self-help and whatever. eyerollI’m the person that looks like RDJ when Cap proudly announces that he understood that reference.

I am not about to sit here and shout to everyone that they need to implement GTD because it changed my life. It has not changed my life. It is a new aspect of my life that is part of a greater change that has happened, and I enjoy it. It helps me; it makes sense to me. Frankly, so does Nerdforce’s great new admin leveling app idea! I can’t wait to build that and potentially expand on it.

Because it is becoming part of my life now, it’s going to pop up occasionally in this blog. If you are interested in GTD – what it is, trying it out, what-have-you – then feel free to search tags for it, go to the sources listed below, or reach out and ask. I will stumble through whatever answers I might have.

And in the meantime, I can cross this off of my action list. Done.

It feels later than it is

And I’m studying, but I keep staring at this empty page, “Person Accounts” written neatly and definitively at the top.

Person Accounts.

What a strange string of words to the uninitiated.

I had two client calls today, during which I attempted to pack everything I know about the Salesforce architecture into a neatly packaged, five-minute explanation. All to find out if I needed to configure a junction object.

I’m still not sure if I need to build that junction object.

So here I am, at my dining room table, just shy of 9pm, and I’m studying for my Sales Cloud exam (next Saturday. No pressure.). All I can think about is how strange Person Accounts sounds.

I should be studying, committing to memory the fact that, yes, you can flip the switch on Person Accounts (by contacting Salesforce and requesting it, of course, complete with business reason), that you treat a Person Account like a Contact, and I should be considering, as a Consultant, the option of simply creating a “Household” Account record type.

But instead I’m staring at the words. Not thinking. Just staring at them.

I write when I can’t think. Realistically, I just need to step away from a bit. Stop thinking of Leads, Contacts, Opportunities, custom objects, schema…Person Accounts.

It’s been a long week. Not bad. Just long. Did a lot of work, a lot of studying. I saw Hidden Figures (got a whole post about that coming…eventually). But it has been long.

So just a bit more. Just Person Accounts stands between me and the weekend and a few hours of quiet and maybe some Deus Ex.

Back to it, then.