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One Lesson from Michelle Obama

Scott Meyer speaking at Inbound 2017

Hard things are hard, but they uncover your potential.

I was reminded of this lesson after seeing Michelle Obama.

Hard Times Reveal True Character

I recently spoke at HubSpot's annual Inbound conference. I wasn't alone.

Michelle Obama was one of the keynote speakers, so I can now claim to have shared the stage with the former First Lady.

obama at inbound

During the most recent presidential campaign and on stage at Inbound, Mrs. Obama noted that the presidency doesn't change who you are; it reveals who you are.

The same could be said about challenging times in your own life. Hard times don't change who you are; they reveal who you are.

That proved true for me just a day after hearing Mrs. Obama speak.

Professionals Deliver When It's Hard

I was all set up for my Inbound keynote, with a packed house of 300+ attendees.

I took a risk and started my presentation by singing, walking up slowly from the back of the room. I arrived at the front, ready for the climax. I pushed the clicker to begin a video — and blam.


One more try. Blam.

Still nothing. Just that weird computer sound you hear when you click something that doesn't work.

For a moment, I froze and waited. After all, this was a world-class event with an entire tech team who had pre-loaded my slides and prepared each room for these presentations. I thought if I stalled, surely they would quickly fix whatever error had occurred.

After about 60 seconds, however, I realized I had to fly solo. I continued, slide-less, but with growing confidence.

This was my chance to prove my skills.

It's easy to speak with the aid of slides, notes, and beautiful videos. But what happens when you are standing alone, without the visual aids you had planned on using?

In the end, the talk went great. Not only did I convey my message, but I also earned empathy from the crowd.

scott meyer hubspot inbound 2017

Image credit: John Nelson Photography


It's easy to deliver when everything goes according to plan. Professionals deliver when it's hard.

In your business or personal life, obstacles inevitably appear. These challenges can stop you in your tracks.

When you are able to continue despite unexpected challenges, you are a true professional.

Next time you face a challenge, view it as an opportunity to prove your skills, to learn who you are. It won't be fun or easy, but if you can push through the unexpected, you will be ready for even larger obstacles that may lie ahead.

Hard stuff is hard. When you conquer hard stuff, however, it becomes a little less hard. The greater the challenge you overcome, the better prepared you are for whatever comes next.

Go discover your true capabilities.

Did you miss me at Inbound? Click below to get the slides and resources!