Will Smith: You've Got This - A Radical Pivot

Have you ever had to make a transition or a radical pivot in your life? In this Inbound Speaks interview, we talk to Will Smith about his journey to Inbound, HubSpot and the life he now lives. We talk about when to pivot vs. staying consistent and so much more.

You've Got This: A Radical Pivot
Have you ever asked: what if? In this session, discover how former music teacher and church music director turned HubSpot Onboarding Specialist, Will Smith, answered that question after realizing that it was time to pivot and change careers. Through this story, you will learn how to ask the right questions, discover what brings you energy and invest in your own journey through change.

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About the Expert

Will Smith

Will Smith is the HubSpot Onboarding Specialist and Evangelist with ManoByte, a Diamond HubSpot Solutions Partner. Will uses his 20 years of classroom experience to guide, motive and “walk with” clients to help them jumpstart and get the most out of HubSpot and their inbound marketing strategies. A life-long learner and fierce proponent of the learning and educational process, Will currently holds 25 HubSpot Certifications, is a Certified HubSpot Trainer and regularly contributes to the HubSpot Community.


Full Transcript

George Thomas 0:00
Alright, ladies and gentlemen, inbound 2020 You know, we're doing inbound speaks That's right, because we got to bring you interviews from the people who are making this digital event this year. Amazing. And I'm super excited. So I have a question for you. Have you ever had to make a pivot? I know I have several times in life. That's what we're going to talk about here next with our guests. All right, today our guest and on screen, the one the only the Will Smith Well, we'll call it the Will Smith for this interview. So today we're going to talk about your inbound session. We'll and we're going to talk about you've got this a radical pivot. But first of all, let me just explain a little bit. You are an onboarding specialist, an inbound evangelist with the company, man Oh, by you, we're always this. So that's kind of what we're going to talk about, but a B Beyond that, let's let the inbound audience know a little bit about you. So take a few minutes and tell the inbound audience a little bit about you Will Smith and what makes you tick.

Will Smith 1:11
Thanks, George. Thanks for the opportunity. I'm happy to be here. And well, actually, this is and this is what the story is about. Really, I started I wasn't always in digital marketing. I wasn't always an inbound evangelist. I started out my career with a degree in music education, and I was a music teacher and also a church music director. So that's where I really got my start, but that's what this session is about that how I made that pivot from doing going from teaching music to leading church choirs to actually have a little stop off of becoming a digital online music producer. I produced cheer music little spoiler there for our session, and that's what eventually I figured out and found HubSpot. And the HubSpot Academy and inbound marketing and I absolutely loved it and things just took off from there. Yeah, I

George Thomas 2:07
gotta be honest with you, inbound folks sprockets ears, viewers, listeners, I've always called what I think we're about to talk about over the next 1015 minutes, transition specialist and I have been a transition specialist for my entire life of going to these different things and it feeling right and it being the thing in the moment. And I'm super excited to dive into this. But before we get into the deep end, let's start very high level will like who should attend your inbound 2020 session? And why the heck should they attend because this is kind of an esoterical conversation that's happening at some level. So who should be there and why?

Will Smith 2:50
I see this really applicable for anybody and not just if you're an individual looking to make a job change or a career change or some sort of life change. But this is also good for anyone that's leading an organization or even part of an organization because you can take the you can apply anything from are actually the three main points that I talked about, you can apply that to your organizations. So I'm hoping that people take away those three main points which are invest in yourself, discover your true core values by asking questions, and then following your energy. So it's good for the individual. It's good for businesses for organizations. And I kind of see this as a nice story and maybe not part of the intensity and getting down into the nitty gritty of how to do inbound but more of maybe a late at night or early morning. Hey, let's kind of get ready for let's get our day ready for inbound and let's get started with a with a nice little historical story from Will Smith and go from there.

George Thomas 3:54
I love it. And actually your three points are things that As humans, we don't often stop and really think about. And it's funny because sometimes we get into these positions in life. And we have to ask ourselves like, well, is this the moment that I'm supposed to stay consistent? Or is this the moment that I'm supposed to pivot? And so when you think about your own story, like how did you know it was time to stop being consistent in the thing that you had been doing, and pivot into kind of this new world, this new change this new ability to learn and do things that you hadn't done previously?

Will Smith 4:32
that's a that's a great question, George. And one of the things that I was, you know, we're such instant individuals, you know, you walk into a dark room, you turn on the light switch, and the lights go on, and you could even ask Alexa to help you out with that. And so there were many days I mean, everyone has bad days and there were so many days where, you know, I just wanted to say you know what, I want to I'll flip burgers if I have to, I want out right now and unfortunately, the instant fix is never The best fix and so really taking the time to identify what really makes you tick taking time to, and that's the first point to invest in yourself. And I'm not talking about money, but really what's more precious than money. And that is time taking the time to say and it sounds selfish, but taking the time to say, hey, let's really invest in myself and or invest in my organization and ask those questions and really figure out what makes you tick. And so from there, what really helped me understand was just taking that time and following then understanding my my energy and where my energy flowed and what really excited me and what was kind of like, this is an energy stealer. I don't know, if when I pivot to something else, I want to be doing something like this. And so it's really investing that time in yourself and really figuring out those things so that you know exactly when and then eventually All these kind of questions, they all kind of come together. And you have that, you know, that aha moment that Eureka that that moment where you say, Hey, this is definitely This is it right here. And we'd love to say it's going to happen tomorrow. We love to say it's going to happen next week or next month or even a year, but I'll be honest with you. I mean, it took me a good two to three years before I realized, Hey, this is the pivot that I want to make because I want to make a permanent pivot, or at least at least something a little more long term. And so knowing that understanding that that's really there's no overnight successes, we'd like to think that but it's not there. It takes time.

George Thomas 6:41
Now sprockets here, as I warned will that I reserve the right to go right, left up, sideways on any of the things that he started to talk about. And so we'll use said the term energy stealer in that last section. And I want you to maybe dive a little deeper into this kind of Energy stealer energy provider like you went through the process. So like, like, how important is it? to diagnose that? What are some things that you saw along the way? Like just go a little bit deeper into that energy stealer item.

Will Smith 7:18
So, so George, you got to nail it right on the head? That's another great question. It really takes, it really takes time of being aware of that. And noticing that and noticing where your energy comes and goes from and the word that you used was diagnose. And I think too often, we just kind of slog through our day and just kind of go through the motions be like, Hey, this is what I do. It's nine to five, go home, watch Netflix, whatever it is, and for a lot of people and much like I'm sure many of the sprocket ears out there were achievers, but even achievers, they have moments where I'm just kind of I'm just not feeling it today. And then we get caught in that rut. And so I like that. To think of it this way, remember when football was on television, and you would watch be watching the game. And underneath that you'd have all the Updated Stats just running underneath it just to kind of like a ticker running media or even you know, if you're watching the news program or whatever, you got the news in the main screen, but then underneath you have that just constant ticker tape of questions or information. So what I'm getting at is in your life, what you should do in order to diagnose this is always have those questions running or always being able to notice your energy, have that running, still living your life, not trying to question every little step that you take, but underneath that have that ticker constantly running, hey, this is I feel this as an energy stealer. I'm noticing this as an energy enhancer that I'm getting. I get energy out of this. If you're supposed to be on stage and speaking to people and you're stuck behind a desk and you slogging through your day. That's, that's an energy stealer for you. If that's your personality, if that's not your personality, and you can't wait to get to the desk and put your headphones on and just kind of burrow into your work and into Spotify, then and that gives you energy, that's a good day to you, then that's where that's what you should follow. That's how you diagnose.

George Thomas 9:21
And I love that. I love that now in this next question, obviously, we don't want to give away the entire form, right? So So because we want them to go to your session, we want them to, you know, get everything they can out of what knowledge bombs you're going to drop and dropping the mic. But what's one tip we'll that you would give to folks who are wondering like, they might be watching this right now and they're like, you know, is it is it time? Like, is it time to make that pivot in my life or or not? Like, what's one tip, one piece of advice that you would give to them?

Will Smith 9:55
I, you said it right there. Ask those questions. ask those questions. And of course, is it time? That's a very broad question. But really get down into the nitty gritty, I'm going to spend an hour doing this activity. Is this something that gives me energy or steals my energy? Or even if you can't answer that question, when you're in the middle of that, what what Where's your energy? If you're so you're about to do an hour long activity, or whatever your assignment and you get to 30 minutes, stop and take notice. Where's my energy right now? Too often, we just plow ahead and just get it done. Let's try to figure out where that energy is coming from. So the one tip that I would say is follow your and recognize and follow your energy.

George Thomas 10:46
It's funny you said something there too, that like the whole fact of just stopping and paying attention and being aware. It's it's funny will I think that there There's an element to you've got this radical pivot that is about self awareness. So when you think about self awareness from just a human being standpoint, like where does your mind go?

Will Smith 11:13
That's, that's deep George. Where does my mind go? When it comes to self awareness?

It's constantly happening. It's always happening. There's never a moment or a day where you say, yes, this is it. I have arrived. I because there's tomorrow, there's always something else. And for me, as an educator, as someone who enjoys learning, who excels at learning, and just just give me the information, you know, the moment that I say, Okay, I'm done learning, then that's the moment I'm done progressing. The moment I'm done, being self aware, and, you know, as we go through life, how just recognizing how you can get better at Every day,

George Thomas 12:01
huh? Every day getting better. I love that. So here's the thing. Last year when I asked this last question of the inbound speaks guest I would be like, okay, so you've given your talk, and all sudden the audience stands up and they give you a big raving round of applause a standing ovation. Well, this year, we hopefully we have an ovation button that we can hit right after we like give our thing because inbound is a digital experience. But still, the question that I want to ask is like, what's the big takeaway like in your heart of hearts, in your core in your soul? Like what do you hope the audience takes grabs ahold of and walks out of the digital door with after listening to your session?

Will Smith 12:47
I really hope that people take away from this the value of self awareness, the value of stopping, recognizing that even though you may be in the middle of something, and you may have you know, 10 spinning in the air, just stop and recognize what's happening where you are just having that awareness because everyone's journey is different. Everyone's experience is different. And to be honest, putting this inbound session together was phenomenal for me because when I first started with inbound, I wanted to get rid of my, you know, I didn't want people to know about my past, you know, what does this teacher know about inbound? What does he know about marketing? He's just a music teacher, you know, just go over there and play the piano. And that's it. So I hope people take away from this, that self awareness because being aware of who you are, and every part of yourself, that's what's important. That's what will help you get towards that radical pivot.

George Thomas 13:47
Yeah, it's all about vulnerability. It's all about stopping paying attention. Look, I love well, that you talked about just kind of casting off your past. Trust me, there was a long period of time where I I didn't want anybody to know that I was a high school dropout. How does a high school dropout go from being that to being who I am today in the HubSpot and inbound space? I don't know. It's a miracle to be honest with you. But here's what I want everybody to do. Viewers, listeners, I want you to stop, I want you to think and I want you to look for those times in life where it might be time for a transition, or it might be time for a radical pivot. Remember to be a happy, helpful, humble human, and do some happy hub spotting along the way, but we'll see you in the next episode.