Rising Pro

3 Things I Learned from My Second Dreamforce

I can’t believe I survived another Dreamforce.

Dreamforce attendees taking over SF!
Dreamforce attendees taking over SF!

If you think I’m being dramatic, I’m not.

For the past 14 years, my company Salesforce has hosted Dreamforce in San Francisco, which has become the largest software event in the world. Professionals, leaders and celebrities visit us for a week of content, empowerment, entertainment and giving back. This year, over 171,000 people showed up and more than 15 million watched online. We had over 2,000 sessions and raised $3M for (RED) and $10M+ for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

Not a bad week.

Last year I wrote about my first Dreamforce and the two main things I learned from it. This year, I thought I would keep with tradition and share my three key takeaways from my second Dreamforce.

This year was much bigger for me.

Forbes Philantrophy (RED) Panel
Forbes Philanthropy (RED) Panel

I had a lot more responsibility, which included leading the production of two keynote rooms, where a combined 24 sessions took place. In addition, I was also managing the VIP experience for 75+ Dreamforce speakers. Therefore, my biggest obstacle was stress management.

I was stretched thin and still learning how to do a lot of new things on the fly. This resulted in 12-14 hour work days, sleepless nights thinking about all the ‘what ifs’ and tense meetings.

Finally, I reached my breaking point about 4 weeks from the event. I decided I couldn’t live or work like this anymore. It was taking a tole on my health, relationships and how I viewed myself. I had to make a change so I made a few key adjustments that turned everything around in a matter of days. Below are three things I learned about how to manage stress during this high profile event:

  • Ask for Help – Fake it till you make it doesn’t always work. This year, I felt like I had a lot to prove by being given more responsibility. But the root of a lot of my stress was not knowing how to do certain things and being too afraid to ask how to do them because I wanted to seem capable. However, once I stopped pretending to know things I didn’t and started asking how to do them, it alleviated so much stress and anxiety. I was less focused on feeling ‘stupid’ and more concerned with getting the job done right.

    My team in the Yerba Buena Theater
    My team in the Yerba Buena Theater
  • Delegate – Delegation is one of the hardest and best remedies for relieving stress. Hard because it’s difficult to let go of things you’ve been working on and also trust another person to do just as good of a job. But it’s the best because once you hand it off, you immediately have more time to deal with more things that really need your attention.
  • Stay Positive – When you’re feeling stressed, one thing that can make it even worse is a negative attitude. Even in the most stressful situations, I find a smile, joke or a positive point of view can turn that stress into fuel to get the job done. I love setting the tone with positivity during a stressful time so my team stays upbeat and feels like they can take on any problem.

The last few months have been the most stressful of my life. But I’m happy I was able to address my stress and minimize it to help execute another great Dreamforce.

How do you manage work stress?

3 thoughts on “3 Things I Learned from My Second Dreamforce

  1. I have learned over the course of my career that the more you do something the easier and more enjoyable it becomes. I too learned exactly what you learned after your second Dreamforce. Being so reflective following such a big responsibility is just a part of being a true professional. I commend you on continuing to improve your self and pushing limits even in uncertain areas. Your lesson to ask for help is a cornerstone. No one said you had to do everything yourself and/or had to know everything. Try not to be too hard on yourself or to bring on any unnecessary stress. Some stress and anxiety is completely normal especially being in the role you were in on such a huge event. You will realize by the next Dreamforce that this Dreamforce was a tremendous learning experience and will lead to more confidence (and less stress) in future events. Congrats on another successful Dreamforce!!!!

  2. As your dad said, Dreamforce was a great learning experience. I agree. Congratulations on what you learned and another success.

    In the words of Maya Angelou:
    I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.

    2017 will be your year Lindsay… in many ways!

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