Part of a series illustrating how the power of learning can unlock the best version of yourself — enabling you to reach the career goals you’ve always dreamed of.
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I have a confession to make. I used to kind of suck at social media. And it really bothered me too.
I’m an early adopter and technologist, so sucking in this space seemed contrary. I have rules and filters and dashboards configured for everything else in my business life. And I was (and still am) a total stickler for constant innovation.
In fact, my whole career revolves around the game-changing technology that is Salesforce — the #1 customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
More specifically, I live in Trailhead. Salesforce’s learning platform with on-demand and expert-led content.
Trailhead has revolutionized learning by making learning fun (through gamification), free (and therefore accessible to all), and human (by using everyday language instead of tech jargon).
Trailhead has inspired a whole learning movement within the Salesforce Ohana. It’s the epicenter of a community of dedicated learners. A community that constantly supports and encourages each other — largely over social.
So why was it, when it came to my own social media, that I found it all so overwhelming, gave it none of my time, and constantly moved it to the bottom of my priority list.
I knew this had to change. But change is hard. Every year, I would evaluate my personal V2MOM (a framework for getting everyone in the organization in sync by defining Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measures).
And every year, “improve social media” was on my list. Yet, time after time,
I found myself the victim of good intentions but lacking in measurable and consistent behavioral change.
My team even tried to motivate me with stickers. I kid you not.
One day (not that long ago!) while looking at my Twitter account, I thought, “Right. Time’s up.” I was going to nail this social media thing. But I also know myself pretty well. I needed a kick of motivation. Something to get me started and keep me going.
I needed an adversary! I needed to gamify my behavioral change.
Enter my good friend and EVP CRM Apps, Mike Rosenbaum.
First to get to 5,000 followers on Twitter? Second place buys the other’s family whatever they want at our fav ice cream parlor? Challenge accepted!
Now, social media wasn’t just a thorn in my side (or a missed Method on my V2MOM!).
It was a game. And I was all-in.
Change takes an innovation mindset. Behaviorally, you want to embrace certain habits. And it takes a village, so be sure to involve the right people who will support you from the beginning.
I constantly thought of ways to one-up Mike. And so my behavior began to change. Social media became just another part of my daily life. Not something to stress over but something that was fun to do.
I stopped thinking about what I should be doing…
and just did it.
And this behavioral change was measurable.
I could constantly see the results as my social conversations grew and my followers increased — at a faster rate than that of my dear friend, I may add. Riffing off each other just drove my behavioral change even further.
I was active. I was engaging. The Trailhead Community was especially supportive, as was my team (love you, Chris Duarte!).
So in no time at all, something that had just started as a fun challenge (and I’m talking daily updates, spreadsheets, dashboards… the lot!) had morphed into a habit.
But a game is still a game. And I was winning (I’m not even sure if Mike was still trying at this point). When I hit that magic 5k number, social media was no longer my nemesis.
Did I change my behavior? I did. Have I still got a ways to go? Of course! (Feel free to follow me 😜)
Someone is about to be buying a bunch of ice cream @mike945778 🍦😊 #IceCreamParty #MikeIsBuying
I took something that challenged me. Something that I had a mental block about. And I forced myself to change my thinking and my behavior, even though it was hard at the time.
My social presence became more natural. More effortless. More meaningful. And just more… me.
But this same approach can apply to anything you have a barrier or obstacle to. Time management, project management, delegation, writing, public speaking, networking… If there’s something you just can’t seem to get past, then:
- Face it.
- Gamify it.
- Stick to it.
- Measure it.
Challenge yourself to go all-in and make a change. Be consistent. Measure your results daily. And get as much support as you can. You’ll soon get there.
Hey, Mike! You still owe me a double chocolate brownie sundae with fresh strawberries and sprinkles.
Want to know MOAR about Trailhead? There are badges for that! Check them out together with Sarah’s full blog series in the #BeMOAR with Impactful Leadership trailmix.