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What If Everyone Is Just Doing Their Best?

The 9 Clouds team discussing Rising Strong at our 2018 company retreat

Several months ago, I made my first Big Mess-Up with a client.

I cried at my desk. I thought the client might fire us. Would I get fired? Would life go on? I take pride in my work at 9 Clouds, and that day I was feeling cold, hard shame.

Then along came Jenny, our project management director AKA Godsend of the Moment:

“Jaden, you did the best you could with the information you had.”
– Jenny Elizabeth Lockhart | August 24, 2018

I didn't get fired, and we didn't lose the client. In fact, my mistake became an opportunity to clean up and improve a process for the future. Even better — I learned that my team believes the best in me.

The Conversation Continues

Do you think that, in general, everyone is doing the best they can?

This has been a topic of conversation in the 9 Clouds office following our annual team retreat, as we were assigned to read Brené Brown's Rising Strong in preparation.

This bold claim proposed by Brené — that everyone is just doing their best — pissed me right off at first. (Can you say conviction, anyone?) I've realized how often I don't assume that others are doing their best.

Our team discussed this and how it relates to our work at 9 Clouds. We gained perspective and acknowledged that our clients are also doing their best — even when it feels like we marketers just can't get on the same page as those auto dealers.

For example, our team may have the same goals as our clients; we just view them differently.

We want to see their marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) improve year over year. They want to sell more vehicles this month than last. My priority might be the email I want to send out today on behalf of their dealership. Their priority might be a fire on the sales floor, keeping them from approving my email. They aren't blowing off my marketing efforts intentionally, and they probably don't know how much work I put into this.

We're all just doing the best we can.

What About You?

I think you're probably doing your best today — whatever that looks like for you right now. If you don't believe that, I'm giving you permission to give yourself a little grace.

During INBOUND 2018 last month, keynote speaker Beth Comstock shared this powerful quote:

“You don't just live a life that someone tells you to live. You blunder your way towards one you love.”
– Beth Comstock | September 5, 2018

At work, at home, stuck in traffic, wherever — keep blundering, and remember that we're all just doing our best.

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