Howdy Partners #23: Managing Stress and Staying Productive

Howdy partners! If you’re anything like us, the last few months have been a little anxiety-inducing.

Even if you’re confident in your job stability, an environment of economic uncertainty can take its toll on you.

In this week’s Howdy Partners episode, we discuss habits to maintain good mental health, like changing up your location and planning ahead. We also chat about some partner-specific angles, like how to set clear agendas for meetings with partners ahead of time and suggestions for time blocking.

3 Key Takeaways

  1. Prioritize your health.
    If you're starting to feel anxiety, schedule something that will alleviate it. Whether you need to go on a walk, call a friend, or find some time to disconnect, prioritize your health.
  2. Be intentional with your time.
    Everyone gets bogged down with meetings here and there. Proactively block out the time you need to take care of your tasks.
  3. Be honest and transparent about how you feel.
    You cannot be afraid to have a conversation about your health. If you're feeling off, bring it up. Tell your co-workers and manager.

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Full Transcript:

Tom Burgess  00:00

Well howdy partners, welcome back to another rendition got myself, Tom Burgess and my good friend and co host will tailor well, how are you doing? I haven't talked to you in a little bit.

Will Taylor  00:30

Yes, it's been a bit. I'm doing good. You said I needed a haircut. So I immediately booked my Barber's appointment for tomorrow. Just kidding. I already had that. But I felt I felt a feeling good. But I felt a little bit of anxiety recently, just with the economic climate. And that's what we're going to talk about today. But how are you? How are things

Tom Burgess  00:51

I'm doing? Well, I got my haircut last week, actually took a couple. I went on a guy's trip, we go with my brother in law, we go golfing or go to Vegas, we went to Austin did a golf trip. And it was good to reset. And just kind of kick into like the second half of the winter and trying to stay away from that seasonal depression stuff. I mean, the one window I've got down here, but no, we're doing good. Businesses picking up and certainly busy.

Will Taylor  01:19

Good. And I heard you might be looking for more support with the program, which is great good to hear during these these times. I like to hear that.

Tom Burgess  01:29

Yeah, it it. It certainly it's exciting. You know, I think it's really hard to look at LinkedIn. And I, it's it's hard to, you know, send a lot of love and gratitude to everyone out there that has been affected by the tech layoffs. And we're certainly, we're here to help in any way. On the flip side, we are hiring. And so if you guys are interested in listening, SAS labs and my team, we're going to be on the hiring train this year. So keep an eye out, we'd love to talk to many people actually had someone applied to one of the partner marketing roles. That is in my in my network. And it's great to just kind of have that like, trying to help in as many ways and I know some people are way better at it than than even myself. But even it's trying to make small strides. It's it's important. So I'm happy to try and do that. But yeah, I'm excited for this topic today. I think it's relevant and hopefully, hopefully not long lasting.

Will Taylor  02:24

Yes. And so I mentioned some of that anxiety that I was I was facing, despite feeling, you know, security at partner hacker and everything going on just the the economic climate and you know, seeing people that you know, getting laid off and all the stories on LinkedIn. And it's amazing to see the community come together and really support everyone. Shout out to our co host who is not here, right now, Ben Wright, who created the app that you can use chat GBT to help you write cover letters, super amazing. To obviously, you know, we love to see that. So those are all positive things. But you know, I was feeling this sense of anxiety like this almost like impending doom. And there was probably a something to say about, you know, the lack of sunlight here in Canada, during January, where I was literally getting less vitamin D. But I became aware of that feeling where I felt very scattered, and I wasn't very focused. And I would go into my meetings, you know, not really with a plan per se, because I felt like I was doing trying to do everything, but also not accomplishing too much, because I was probably spreading myself too thin. And so, you know, I was feeling that anxiety of like, it doesn't feel like I'm actually making this forward progress. But it feels like I'm working more than I normally have. And I want to talk about this. Because you know, you as a listener, you might be feeling this as well. And I'll talk about you know what I did, but then also get into, like actual stuff that you can do for your role. And so for me, when I started feeling that the first thing is like, try and become aware of that, you know, take a pause, take a breath, you know, think about it, talk to your partner or family member friend about what's going on. That's the best first step is just to become aware and talk about it. And then the second thing that I did was I reached out to people in my network to, you know, try and even just have a conversation but more so and this is what I did is try and meet up with people. You know, the world's opening up a bit more. Travel is a thing now and what I did is I'm thankful enough to know someone who lives in the Bahamas shout out to Frans. I rent I went over to meet with Frans and it was a relatively cheap flight. That was about $400 roundtrip. And I was able to stay with fronds because he was gracious enough to have me as a, as a guest. And it was really good one, of course, to be in the sunlight and you know, there's beaches and whatnot, but even just like being around another person, you know, hanging out with a friend and talking about, you know, your goals in the role, but then also not even talking about work, because you can definitely talk too much about it. That was the probably the best thing that I could have done for the, the feelings that I was having. And so what I urge you to do as, as a listener, if you're starting to feel any of that anxiety, reach out to people talk to them, you know, if there's a friend that lives in your city, you haven't seen them in a while, reach out to them, you know, set up a time to even just go for a walk, that can be extremely relaxing, and it can really help to reduce that anxiety.

Tom Burgess  05:51

Yeah, well, that's fronds, I hope to meet you too, so that I can come down and see you and your beautiful, beautiful island, and country. No, I mean, well, it's like a very real thing. And I, you know, I was laid off back in August. So this is something that is like, near and dear to me. And, you know, I think for me, like a lot of self doubt comes in, and you think you nailed it, it's just like, You got to take time for you. And this isn't new. And what I don't want to do is, is get like very, you know, psychological here and say, like, you know, something's right for me and not right for the others, but you've got to be able to reset and I it to your point of like, you felt like you were working harder, you were doing so much more. It a lot of that is just the mind game. And knowing that, like, your mind is like taking you in areas and placing this anxiety or this fear. And sometimes, like maybe the self doubt whether you feel secure or not, like I definitely am guilty of that too. But I it goes to the point of, of how you protect your time and, and just understanding that, like, there are ways that you can combat this and be successful. And you know, it's not going to slow down. So I think that's like one of our first points is, as we talked about, you know, getting slowed down in work or getting slowed down day to day and like there's not enough time in the day for you to to achieve what you want to achieve, whether it's a daily basis, weekly basis. You know, one of the things that I I carried with me through my professional career was, was a lot of the Stephen Covey curriculum, so talks a lot about, you know, the Time Matrix. And I think with partnerships, it's so in my face and glaring, that, you've got to be able to filter activities in what you're doing through the through this time matrix. So, you know, critical and important or, you know, urgent versus non urgent and, like, important versus non important, you can read about it, there's free materials out there, but it really helped me and one of those one of those tips is, you know, partnerships to that degree, you have to be honest, and it's so funny, I can't remember who it was in our network. Definitely someone we know, but and I brought this up several times, maybe even on this podcast, they had this post on LinkedIn that was so so it, it was it was the answer, which is not every partner is equal. And you know, if you're if you're an organization that is, as a tech partner, or a partner of of several SaaS companies, like just know, like, your time and efforts, it's not going to be seen as equal, and it's all about inputs and outputs, to me, but having calls dominate your day is okay, you just need to know and be comfortable in the fact that you've got other days in the week, you've got other weeks to be able to block your calendar. So being intentional with your time we think is really important. Being able to say, You know what my, my Wednesdays and Fridays are my Tuesdays and Thursdays are booked simply for me, I don't have anything on my Calendly or my HubSpot count or whatever it may be. Because that's that's for that's my head's downtime. And you just know that, that kind of going into it. But I would love to get your thoughts because it, there's a lot around it like big rocks, like, ultimately, you are tied to goals. And if the activities that you're filtering through your matrix are not hitting or are not tied to hitting your goals, you've got to be able to filter that through and maybe not do them. Yep.

Will Taylor  09:14

And I would say, although, you know, you can have those back to back calls, if you're are missing out on like those follow ups of you know, here's our next step, here's how you take action or you know, it's an email, Slack, whatever it is, that is going to move the needle. And so if that comes, you know, a day or two later, you know, that person may have also had, you know, back to back meetings for those next few days. So, I would say like, yeah, and everyone's in the same position. That's how we should think about it is like everyone's super busy. So when it comes time for that time blocking really focusing on and I did this myself where this week, so I was on travel for the last like two weeks or so, and I came back I This week was stacked with calls. Immediately, I was feeling it. So I'm like, Okay, next week, I'm blocking, you know, an hour and a half, you know, every day or every other day so that I can make sure that I'm sending those follow ups and really following along with those projects and taking action. So my recommendation is, block out those times, and maybe even make it a regular occurrence throughout your day, where you are dedicating that to focus on you know, your follow ups or, you know, communicating internally or working on the assets that you're developing for the project. Make sure you block that time. Because if you're having, you know, 10 calls a day, but none of them are being actioned, but you have maybe five calls a day, and they're all being actioned, that's going to move the needle versus, you know, a lot of conversations that are just going to get lost in priority. So I'd say that's going to really help out to protect your time, for sure.

Tom Burgess  10:52

Sure, yeah. And, actually, the one other thing that kind of leads into the next point, which is around focus, I feel like you and I, I really enjoyed when you and I were working together, you know, we blocked off an hour, every day, at the end of our days to either develop our programs or developed the enablement cadences that we wanted to hit or sometimes just like, you know, reactively, like solving problems. And it's not like we met every day, we would cancel, you know, a good bunch of times, but for the most part, you, I see that in retrospect, as a way for you to connect. And so like, if you have someone you know, on your team, or in your organization, or even just like a mentor in the space or professional space, like, I'm not saying it needs to be every day, that that is a lot, but find time consistent time to talk and to, like develop together, I the synergies that come out of that are so positive.

Will Taylor  11:52

Absolutely. And all of this is leading up to focus. And you know, of course, you will have that focus time. But I would also say that focus should be a priority in your interactions with others where, you know, if you are talking about a program, make sure it's in line with, you know, the initiatives that you have, and you can see that path to the revenue or to whatever your KPI is, and one of the best ways to do that is of course, you know, actually use the tools that you have in place. So if you're using, you know, an account mapping tool, like like reveal, or cross beam, you know, use reveal before your calls, or during that focus time to say, okay, here are the top accounts that when I do have those five calls, or whatever it is for the day, these are the ones that I'm going to talk about, so that you're not, again, going back to back meetings and not really having an agenda for the meeting or know why you're going to even speak to them, or what the outcome is, you need that space to think about with this partner, what are we actually going to do? And who are we going to target? You know, what are the accounts we're marketing to, or that we're getting introductions to. So do those overlaps and make sure you're focused on not 100,000 people, because, of course, that's never going to land for the message that you're presenting focus on those top accounts. And that's a one easy way to do it. Because I know a lot of partner managers out there, they probably have that tool. And you know, they're not logging in every day, as they should be. And so that's one way to help with that focus. What would you say about that?

Tom Burgess  13:29

Yeah, just just a quick sidebar, I feel really stupid. But I, we have crossbeam at SAS labs, and I couldn't log in for the longest time. So I was like, Well, this is useless. Finally got logged into the proper one today. And I guess the upside, I mean, I love cross me I use it through and through, I just don't know what I was thinking before. But now that I have it, like it creates this wealth of opportunity and excitement that I have, because now I can actually utilize data with partners. And actually subject back to the your point I want to take I want to take like the the focus down like another notch, which is, you know, we talked about, you've got to hone in on your top accounts and really get targeted in and, you know, almost reduce your capacity in your mind, like, hey, you know, I've got 50 clients in my portfolio or partners in my portfolio. But I know that you know, 10 to 20 are the ones that are driving the value, you got to put blinders on. And if you take it down even further, you know, working working on an individual basis per partner. One thing that I've always believed in, I've carried this through again, is you've got to simplify your approach there. And what I mean by that is, you know, especially brand new partnerships or ones that are like scaling outwards, treat that relationship as something where you can simplify the themes and approaches that you're taking. So those one to three Max, key components or key strategies that you're trying to activate right now. We're not talking about going super broad I've got five or six different items that I need to tackle on a weekly basis for one partnership you are, you're ultimately going to find yourself probably where we'll thought he was, which is spread too thin, you know, I'm, I'm actioning, things that aren't hitting aren't going towards goals and actually things that are like 10 months down the road, focus on focus on what's in front of you. And, and if you simplify your approach, I think one, you're going to find it much easier and much more efficient to actually initiate those strategies and complete them. But to I guarantee your partner will also appreciate the fact that we're focusing on the gold, right, capturing that gold in front of you, which is, you know, if I'm working with a pipe drive partner, I'm going to be working in that lane, I'm not going to be focusing on like, what are the tech parts, what other tech ecosystems do work really well, and let's try and figure out if we can activate that one path. And if we can, let's do it. And let's, let's let's, you know, run the weld dry to speak. And I I, there is a, all that to say like, if you can keep your your, your focus on the top partners, but also, within those top partnerships, the one to three items that are going to one drive towards your goals, but to help activate and build relationship. You're, you're doing something right, and it will help you mentally it will help you organizationally. And it's it. That's what I've seen work.

Will Taylor  16:28

Yep. And I mean, that's, that's sage advice, even for times where we aren't feeling like there's so much going on. Because, you know, the best thing you can do in any kind of program is be focused, because we do lack focus, you know, we have so many good ideas, especially in partnerships, I could partner here, here or here, you know, there's this value prop. But the reality of it is, those relationships take a lot of work. And so when you focus in on the one, not only does your work get more clear, but you get to go deeper in those relationships. And I'm very confident that, you know, as you go deeper into those relationships, you'll see more performance from those partnerships as well. And so, you know, if there is any of that anxiety around, you know, hitting KPIs or anything like that, then this will help with driving those activities, and really making sure that it's generating value in the partnership itself.

Tom Burgess  17:21

Yeah. And the last thing I'll touch on the focus side, and I know we've talked about this before, but if you need to hit the pause button, or if you need to hit reset, and, you know, well, you and I are firm believers in the honesty transparency model, I'm sure most of our listeners are. But you cannot, you cannot be afraid to have a conversation to say like, listen, I feel like we've you know, whether it's me or us together, we've been chasing a rabbit, and that rabbits not going towards, you know, the carrot, that's a great gadget there. So, let's come back to the table and just reset like, Hey, I'm getting a little anxious about us, like, you know, really driving success here, like, what can I do to help us like get on track? Or what are we missing in the in the current day, that is driving towards exactly what we just talked about, which is activities and, and strategies that will ultimately help you target your goals. So there's no problem with your focus going off kilter, mine does it 10 times a day. But what I need to do is call timeout, think about what I'm doing is activating my partners, is it driving towards my KPIs? If it is, great, my head's in the right space, if it isn't, have that conversation with the partner, and just be like, Listen, guys, like let's simplify things a little bit here. And it will help you tremendously

Will Taylor  18:41

amazing. And with all of that extra, you know, blocked off focus time, I did this today, even where I was looking at my day, I saw, you know, three or four calls where I'm talking with potential partners. And I literally noted down what why are we having this call for the you know, in the first place? What are we going to talk about? What are the you know, the three main bullet points, and what's the primary outcome that I'm hoping to get on that call? Because then when I open up the call, I can say, you know, what are you hoping to get out of this call? Oh, you're hoping to get out of that great, we're aligned. And if not, then you're going to say your piece, I'm going to say mine and we're going to collaborate on that. versus, you know, you spend 510 minutes on pleasantries and you try and figure it out. For you know, what the program is going to do next. If you come in with a plan, it's going to be not only more efficient, but you know, that'll bring clarity for you, and the work that needs to be done and then also what your partner needs to do. So you're going to give them that clarity and that's going to help you stand out again, if they're back to back all day. They're gonna say that's the best meeting that they've had all day. If they go wow, this was so structured, and it feels like we're moving forward because of all that structure. That is one way to prepare for the future self to then action in those moments or take action in those moments. So that's another tactical piece. So rapid fire some some tactical items here is protect your time book, those time slots throughout the day where it's focused on, you know, just focus or you know, catching up on emails, keep it sacred, don't let people book over it, legitimately focus your efforts in, you know, doing the account mapping, focusing on the accounts in the program, specifically, don't try and boil the ocean with all the accounts and all the partners get specific and focus on, you know, a smaller number versus a bigger number, don't get sucked into that idea of, you know, all this stuff going on, take a breath, again, you'll have that time to do that, and use that time to not only, you know, put in the work to see where you're going to drive those efforts more efficiently. But also, of course, to plan those meetings to help the future self because honestly, all anxiety is is worrying about the future. And so if the future looks a lot brighter, because it's structured, then you'll be in a much better position.

Tom Burgess  21:03

Yeah, and I think one of the key points is that you control what you control, you can't control the rest. So focusing on that, actually, one other one other quick point, maybe attacks will take away, you know, from a partner management perspective, another really cool way to approach it is like, treat each month treat each quarter like a theme. And if you can, in some fashion, really use that theme to drive all of your partnerships. What it does is it helps like centralize your brain like alright, this quarter, I'm focused on, you know, like positioning, I'm going to train all of my partners on positioning our product and positioning it in the tech stack. And if you get that done with across all your partners one, you're you're you're thinking about each partnership in a very parallel kind of approach. But to it allows you to just like be stronger in your vision, instead of like, Hey, I'm in positioning with this partner, I'm in, you know, like product name, and over here on the in like, tech positioning or their whatever you call it like it, it can be daunting, it can be exhausting. And you're just like your mind is going from one strategy to the other. So if you have the ability to really hone in on your strategies, make it an automatic approach, and do it.

Will Taylor  22:09

Boom. Thank you for listening to another episode of How to partners. And if you're feeling something, reach out to us or reach out to somebody you know, we are happy to help and that's what it's all about.

Tom Burgess  22:21

We're not friends. I live in Denver, Colorado. I'll be here for catalysts, though, but yeah, reach out to us. We're happy to have those conversations. Boom. Thanks, everyone. Thank you

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