It was Thanksgiving week. Like most years, I started to reflect on what I was grateful for, which brought me to some amazing blessings.
This particular year, I was working for a world-changing company run by a good man with whom I’d wanted to work for years. The work was rewarding and challenging; it put me in touch with inspiring thought leaders around the world. It didn’t hurt that the work was remote, so I had a home office and could go anywhere to work. The money was good – much better than where I was just 7 years earlier struggling to provide for my family in a job I’d grown to despise.
My work does not define me, but it sure is a huge part of what I do in life. In fact, the saying “do what you love, and you won’t work a day in your life” applies here. My work has taken me to the national stage at one of the largest marketing conferences as a speaker (not once but three times and counting), put my work in front of new audiences through articles, books, podcasts and videos, and helped others see how the inbound marketing revolution and servant leadership can change the world.
This blessed world wouldn’t be possible without my faith. The talents I have in me were put there by Him who created me, and I want to make an impact on the world through my work and faith. So as I thought of my blessings, I was giving thanks rather than preening like a peacock for anyone.
This work has blessed my family, which is my true calling. Even as I trudged through my yard work that weekend, I took stock in what my family was toiling away at together. My wife was working in our house, while our kids and I were cleaning up our yard. So many people have no home to work on, so the gratitude flowed even into our chores.
This wasn’t always the case. Just a few years prior, I was a pretty miserable guy. Stuck in a job I hated, making very little money, facing a crumbling marriage and feeling unfulfilled in life, I was lost. Even in the darkness, I knew I had to find what mattered to me.
In early 2009 I could see the writing on the wall that marketing, PR, media relations and advertising was changing. Social media, websites, instant messenger, podcasts and other digital storytelling platforms began to pop up all around me, intriguing my imagination. I had rediscovered Twitter after joining in 2008. As a local TV news producer (in a top 40 market), I had discovered the joy of connecting with an audience in a 2-way conversation.
The funny thing about tweeting that year, was that it landed me in hot water. I’ll never forget sitting in the news director’s office, in trouble for a bad attitude (I really was miserable and just wanted to do my work and go home) when he said, “And to top it off, you tweeted 77 times last night.” Of course, my defense was that engaging an audience on Twitter would help bring viewers to the morning newscast, but in 2009 he wasn’t having it. He actually counted my tweets, and told me to only tweet on my own time. Of course, now news directors require reporters, anchors and producers to use social media. The irony is not lost on me.
Fast forward less than 10 years and as I count the blessing in my life, I know that I wouldn’t have what I have without this revolution called inbound marketing. It goes by other names: content marketing, digital marketing, relationship marketing, influencer marketing… some of these terms are similar and some use inbound. It’s still a bit murky for some, but I use inbound as my term for it; this is why I took up the moniker “The Inbound Evangelist.” It’s why I believe in helpful marketing.