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Your Stories Don’t Define You, How You Tell Them Will

Aug 28, 2018

I was so excited to start working on some of the ideas I had, and to apply what I had learned, I actually arrived early to work the morning I returned from the conference. That's a big deal for me; I love to sleep and rarely choose to get up any earlier than I have to. But that morning was different. That week would be different. My JOB would be different. I was on fire.

The conference had been full of great topics, from sales to leadership, from marketing to financial analysis. The keynote session and the breakout session hosted by the keynote speaker were my favorites. The topics were marketing, and he drilled down in the breakout session to help us work through some his strategies to apply them to our specific goals. He reminded me why I loved that class when I was going through my undergraduate business program. His excitement for the planning process, implementation, and follow up analysis was contagious; I couldn't wait to get back to work and start my own projects!

That Monday, I sat down at my desk and penciled in time on my busy calendar to work on a formal marketing plan. When I started that job just four months before, I dove right in and didn’t give myself any opportunity to think through a strategy to market the hotel. It’s as if I had forgotten all of what I had learned in school.

I thought that giving myself a set amount of time, maybe 30 minutes each day would get me to where I wanted to be. I started first thing that morning by looking at available online templates for a marketing plan that would fit the needs of the hotel, and selected a simple but solid format to download. My boss walked in as I was saving it; he was surprised to see me already settled into my day, earlier than usual. In an uneasy, suspicious, fake-happy tone, he asked me:

“What are you so happily working on first thing this morning?”

"You know that break-out session I went to at the conference last week? The one on marketing plans and implementation? I'm working on a marketing plan for us, to formalize some of what I've been doing, to make it easier to budget and measure the success of what we're doing here. We can’t possibly analyze whether what we’re spending money on in advertisement is working unless we find a way to measure it, right? I've been so busy since I started my job here, trying to make sales and get people in the door, I completely forgot how important this tool can be!"

He had no idea what I was talking about, and erupted at me: “Why do we need a marketing plan? You should be pounding the pavement. Didn't we have this conversation, that you need to spend less time onsite and more time selling?”

In less than ten seconds, my boss had me nearly deflated.