In 2019 Annual Conference

By Shaye Smith, Marketing Manager at The Center for Sales Strategy + LeadG2
Northwest Florida Coast Chapter FPRA

@mshaye   @leadg2 @csscenter

The 81st Annual Florida Public Relations Assocation Conference kicked off Tuesday with an inspiring, authentic, and challenging message from Adrian Parker, VP of Marketing for Patron and Grey Goose Vodka at Bacardi.

He emphasized that while he doesn’t have much “advice,” he has evidence. And for every success he shares, he has many failures. He went on to share that as we grow up, our identity becomes established with the mindset of a “possession obsession.” We oftentimes believe that what we have, what we do, and what  we want is part of our identity. When asked to describe ourselves, we often start with what we have (kids, car, etc), what we do, and what we want. But what if as PR/marketing professionals, we stepped back from the ‘possession obsession’ and ‘ownership’ mentality, and peeledl back the layers that have created this mindset?

Ask Yourself:

What if I stop fighting for territory and fighting for teamwork? What if I do the work I was created to do with the people I care about? What if that silly I idea I had become a reality and it was the best work of my career? When I let go of what I thought I had, that’s when I really get ahead.

“When I replace ‘success’ for ‘service,’ I get both.
But when I replace ‘service’ for ‘success,’ I get neither.”

After setting up an already challenging presentation and inspiring us just through his initial stories and experiences, he went on to challenge us with 3 things we need to let go of to get ahead.

3 Things to Let Go of in Your Career to Get Ahead

1. Letting go of money as the measure of your value.

Adrian told us that as he let go of money as the measure of his value, he gained contentment. Sharing the story of this father who was an esteemed Engineer that decided to shift paths, get a masters at seminary, and didn’t get his dream job for 30 years. What he found watching after reflecting on his father’s journey is that you have to work hard to make sure you’re not determining your value by your role or title, but instead that you measure by empathy and approach. He followed his passion and purpose and is now the pastor of a large Baptist church in Texas. One point he shared and emphasized is that you need never lose empathy as you move up, and to be cautious that you don’t surround yourself with an echo-chamber or others that thing  the same as you and don’t challenge you to be better.

2. Letting go of work as your identity.

“When I let go of work as the definition of my identity, I was able to develop service as my focus.” Adrian asked himself how he could challenge himself to NOT view my role, my title, etc., as his identity. But instead, how could he let service define him? Since humans are wired for relationships, it’s critical find your identity in that and let go of the mindset that work defines your ability.

  1. Letting go of control as the indicator of power.

When we use control as an indicator of power, it’s always about “how many people are on my team” or what budget you have, etc. When you let go of the control of these, you can find unity, peace, and more. Research shows that as humans, we are naturally wired to operate out of unity and peace, but that most people don’t bring that to work. He shared how the CEO of their huge corporation is open about his worries about stepping into his role, has a small, humble office in the back of the building, and introduces himself by name vs. his title (CEO). These actions are not being weak or naïve. You can be a champion and a challenger. You can support your teams while also being demanding and expecting an unwavering standard of quality. It’s shifting to think that success is a compound success for everyone. Not just yourself.

After sharing these three things, Adrian told us a story of a worldwide survey that asked adults which list they valued more (see below). Across ALL countries, cultures, languages, and professions, list 2 was valued more every single time.

LIST  1:

  • Wealth
  • Power
  • Pleasure
  • Winning


  • Helpfulbness
  • Responsibility
  • Social Justive
  • Compassion

What this shows is that list 2 is the set of universal values we pursue. So, what happened? Why don’t we bring that to work? When you see somebody put someone else first in a movie, they’re a hero! But at work, they’re a ‘sucker.’ And with this, Adrian challenged the attendees to lose the definition of what you’re “supposed” to do, and bring what you’re wired to do to work!

What does this look like?

  • This is not being weak or naïve.
  • You can be a champion and a challenger.
  • You can support your teams while still expecting an unwavering standard of quality.
  • It’s shifting to think that success is a compound success for everyone, not just myself.
  • It’s not short-term thinking. But long-term thinking that I’m going to see the benefit of this.

How cool is it to see other people win and not take credit for it, but knowing you got to witness it! It’s not just being a rock star yourself, but creating an atmosphere where ordinary people can be rock stars and achieve extraordinary success!

This inspiring program closed with two case study vides with work Adrian had done at both Patron and Grey Goose. He shared how his shift in thinking allowed him to lead his teams to achieve this success in a very limited period of time.

“As I reflect on this journey, I think about how you can’t lead a team, business, or a brand until you lead yourself. Oftentimes the biggest challenges are the self-leadership. Let go of things you can’t control and grab the things you can hold onto!”

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