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Jan 02, 2020 Jamie Midgley

What I Learned From Michelle Obama

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HubSpot Inbound

Coming live from INBOUND in Boston. I just wanted to put some afterthoughts out there, after the Michelle Obama keynote this morning. The guys here at INBOUND have put an awesome event on. There's still another day and a half plus to go. But, I think it's really important to get these brain dumps out as we go along.

There was over 20-odd thousand people in that keynote this morning, watching Michelle Obama be interviewed.I think the reason why I wanted to share this video is, the question was, from the interviewer to Michelle Obama. What does she think she's achieved, and does she feel she's left a legacy. The question to a degree is somewhat irrelevant.The answer, I think is more relevant.

Michelle Obama

What she said is in the eight years, while she made reference to what she's done for obesity and exercise and war veterans and families and things like that. However, what she actually said was, she did not have a minute throughout the entire eight years, seeing as there was a major thing happening one day.

I mean a big, big, big, thing happening one day and then the next, she was onto another big thing. Obviously being First Lady of the United States, the pressures and especially throughout the financial crisis and things like that, so it was one big thing to another. It got me thinking about how that relates to business. We live in these businesses Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday a lot of entrepreneurs. You're in there and you're bouncing from one big thing, to the next. 

  • Is it trying to win more clients?
  • Is it trying to keep the banks happy?
  • Is it getting your creditors and your debtors sorted?
  • Is it getting your marketing organised?

Only now did Michelle Obama actually say, that she's actually reflecting on it, that being out of office since January when the Trumps and the Republicans took over. Only now is she starting to reflect and she's actually writing a book to get some of those things down and start to process it. 

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You Can Make Time

So have a look at yourself and your business. Ultimately if you are sort of bouncing from one big thing every single day to the next day, at what point do you actually take a step back? At what point are you actually going to take time to sit down and say, hey, did I make the best decision there? Could I have made that better? Is there any fallout from that?

It really is important that you take that time out. Because otherwise, okay, in politics they pay a price for public life and the rewards are great as well, but in businesses, we don't always get that reward. We bounce and we're paying the price of being entrepreneurs. So I just wanted to share with you, no pitch, no sell here. I just wanted to share with you the idea that in eight years of administration she didn't really find time to reflect on her achievements. 

I see that a lot in businesses when I work with them. They're bouncing from day to day, calendar to calendar, customer to customer, project to project. I think if you could even just find two hours a week, take an extended lunch break, finish early on a Friday, start late on a Monday. Before you say “can't do that”, there's only you saying you can't do it. How much would your business suffer if you physically took two hours in a week and said, okay? 

  • What did I process last week?
  • Where did I go wrong?
  • How could I get better?
  • Is there time to recover it?

Do I need to think and take a deep breath prior to going onto the next thing? Because the last thing that you want to do is be in that situation where you're just bouncing and losing eight years of your life, five years of your life. However long you've been in business.

 What I Learned From Michelle Obama

Inbound 2017

Just to get a different voice on this, I've brought Jamie, Jamie was in the same keynote. 

Mike: Hi mate, how are ya? 

Jamie: I am good, you? 

Mike: Yeah good, so how are you enjoying INBOUND so far?

Jamie: Absolutely phenomenal. The amount of stuff you're learning out here, it's just invaluable to anyone. You don't even have to be in the digital space to actually understand how this all will help, no matter what space you're in.

Mike: Absolutely, and I think the thing for us here, it's not just a marketing conference. Yeah, of course, HubSpot's an INBOUND marketing company. We're going to be putting a lot more stuff out about that as we settle more into the HubSpot agency partner. It's not just about marketing. It's business education, networking is fine, and J, what is the whole takeaway from Michelle Obama? Obviously, this is your first trip to a major conference in the States. What do you think about it?

Jamie: Yeah, the Michelle Obama one. Just the amount of pressure you've got to deal with as you go into that lifestyle, and she said, it's a direct quote: "I didn't choose this lifestyle.” "You people chose this lifestyle for me.” "Well, and for my husband Barack Obama." But the actual thing of looking after yourself, you have to be politically correct. You can't just say whatever you want because if you say whatever you want you will affect millions of people. 

Mike: That's it and although politics is politics and I put a different slant on that. While I do agree with it, she actually chose to be in public office and work for the presidency and support her husband in there. I think overall that lifestyle is out there but once they get in there the pressure that they have to be put under. I think the biggest thing is she was talking about her kids and…

Jamie: Yeah, she had to be subject to a lifestyle where literally they have no choice, they had to be in. Because I think their oldest one's around my age. So being elected when, around 10, you don't really understand anything in that industry. 

Mike: Yeah and I think one thing that I picked up about that with the kids as well. With the spotlight on them and the pressure that they had to deal with as a family. Of course, there are haters on both sides of politics. It's just really really really really, I think, humbling. She came out on the stage I'm still feeling it myself now hairs on the back of my neck standing out. The crowd, the Republicans and Democrats in there, and all that type of stuff. 

But the respect that the woman has got for what she has done and how she held her own and the other thing I want to share with you because this is really important from a business perspective and try to get this written down: There's no job description for the First Lady, or the First Spouse as she referred to it now with the Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton attempts to take the presidency on. But there's no job description.

What she actually said is, as entrepreneurs and CEOs, managing directors, sales directors, whatever you want to be out there. You all have a job role or you've got a rough idea about what you're actually trying to do. Like you in the business you know what you're trying to achieve on the day to day.

Jamie: I know what my job role is I know what my goals are, I know what my KPI's are, well for the First Spouse, I've got technically no actual specific job to do.

Mike: Absolutely, but as First Lady, she wanted to form it all out, and she actually said and whether this is really sexist or just the press playing the ball, I don't know. But for the first year, all the writing about Michelle Obama was actually about what shoes she was wearing or what dresses she was wearing. It wasn't until she got through the first year and she put some of her initiatives in place, did the press stop writing about ‘what turquoise dress did she have?’, or ‘what coloured shoes she had’.

Actually started commenting about what she did with the war veterans and the children's foundations and obesity and exercise programmes. I think I look back at that and I look at how business owners can be judged. You spent tonnes and tonnes of hours, you're not just working Monday to Friday, you're in your business, you're grafting hard.

People don't always see it, they may see a better car come on the drive as you get more successful. But they don't see the hours that go in it. It's so easy for people to judge.

  • What shoes you're wearing?
  • What car you're driving?
  • What neighbourhood do you live in?
  • What you're doing on social media?

So again, we're going to wrap it up, I'm going to try to do another one of these this afternoon, as well, depends on what the schedule looks like. It's pretty hectic. We're literally bouncing from session to session to session. Keynote, it's absolutely awesome.

Semi plug again, there's no pitch here, but if you go over to Mike Midgley on Facebook there are a couple of videos you can find where you're going to see a couple of recorded videos, about four minutes a piece. It's just like when the interviewer asked Michelle Obama a question and she answers it. Some strong values in there, really inspirational.

Published by Jamie Midgley January 2, 2020
Jamie Midgley