My Greatest Professional Moment of 2012: A Personal Story

by Marcus Sheridan

Earlier this year I spoke at a conference to about 100 or so business owners over the course of 2 days. During that time period, I had the opportunity to give 4 seminars, all of which were sequential in terms of beginning to advanced principles in content marketing. Because each session built upon the previous one, it was as technical and strategic as it gets for audience members just thirsting to advance their business in some way, shape, or form on the web.

After my final session of speaking to the group and shaking hands with the many audience members that approached the front, something happened to me that I won’t soon forget.

With a timid and concerned look in his eye, a gentleman, likely in his 40s, came up to me and we proceeded to have the following conversation:

Gentleman: Hi Marcus, thank you so much for these last two days. I have a question for you and it doesn’t have anything to do with marketing, or business, or the Internet…but I feel strongly that I should ask you this.

Me: Please do.

Gentleman: About 6 months ago my son failed to make the school basketball team. After getting cut, he seems to have gone into a downward spiral. These days he drowns himself in video games and almost never leaves his room. Frankly, I can’t seem to get through to him and I’m starting to get scared…what should I do?

It’s a funny thing how life works. In a million years, I would not have expected this type of question after spending what was about 6 hours giving an extremely technical class on content marketing. But there it was—a  deeply concerned father who simply wanted to reach his struggling boy—a subject to him that was way more important than generating another lead or sale for his company.

Even more profound, at least to me, was what happened next. Without even hesitating, it seemed as though I knew what to say before he had even finished his question. It was almost as if the answer had been waiting inside me and it was just looking for a way out, without me even realizing it.

Me: Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you went out on a date with your son?

Gentleman: (after a few seconds of what appeared to be deep thought) Honestly, I really don’t know.

Me: The answer you seek will be found as you reestablish a relationship with your boy. I’m sure you’ve attempted to talk to your son and motivate him in that manner, but without a deeper foundation, this won’t be possible. It’s time to rebuild the foundation that has somehow been lost over the years. If you commit to going on father/son dates with your boy for the next 6 weeks, I can promise you he will open up, he will start to talk, and he’ll do it on his time.

The only thing you’ll have to do is allow for the moment and listen when it comes.

With tears in his eyes, the gentleman shook my hand and thanked me profusely for the counsel. Moved almost beyond words, he committed to going on father/son dates with his son every week from that point forward and was visually overwhelmed as he left the room.

That night, I sat in my hotel room pondering the event. For whatever reason, this kind man had been touched with my words about business so much that he trusted me to guide him as a father. Even more uncanny, as I stated earlier, was the fact that the answer was something I didn’t have to think about—it was simply there.

No Accident

I’m nothing special folks. I’m an imperfect man with a wife and four children. I go to church on Sundays and try my best to give life everything I have.

Sometimes I succeed.

Sometimes I fail.

But I can tell you with a surety that on that particular day, as I looked into that man’s eyes, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it was no accident he stood in front of me with that question. It was also no accident the words he needed to hear were being delivered by a “pool-guy turned marketing-guy.”

Such is the way life works my friends. We can’t always understand it. It certainly doesn’t always make sense.

But there is something much greater and deeper going on here than any of us can possibly understand.

I’m grateful for 2012. It has taught me much. I have grown personally and professionally. But more than anything, I know there will be many more moments in my future where fate collides with intention and I’ll be given the opportunity to be an instrument in the hands of a higher power to do the work of good.

At least, this is my great desire, and I hope you’ll take the journey with me.

Your Turn:

If you feel so inclined, I’d love to know of any great accomplishment or moment that you’re proud of from 2012. What did you learn? What are you planning as you look ahead?

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Diana Baur December 17, 2012 at 9:43 am

This is why you’re my friend. And I’m yours. And I hope it stays that way a good long time.


Marcus Sheridan December 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm

You made my wife smile big when she read your voice of positivity and support on FB today Diana. :-)

Thank you so very much for being YOU in every way my friend.



Jason Diller December 17, 2012 at 10:15 am

I just got chills. Amazing story Marcus.

God bless.

Have a great holiday season. We both have a lot to be thankful for.


Marcus Sheridan December 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Back at you my friend. And congrats on an amazing year of growth buddy!



Hunter Boyle December 17, 2012 at 10:27 am

Hey Marcus,

Thanks for this very inspirational post. The timing couldn’t have been better. We all know how much time and energy you devote to helping people with content marketing, sales and other business advice, but this is a whole other level. Glad this opportunity found you and that you chose to share it. Happy holidays to you and your family my friend!

Cheers — Hunter


Marcus Sheridan December 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm

You’re incredibly kind to say that Hunter, thank you.

And happiness to you in all your endeavors this coming year. :-)



Don Gallagher December 17, 2012 at 10:41 am

Great story, but not all that surprising. You move people in positive ways.
Thanks for sharing…keep on doing remarkable work!
Regards, Don


Marcus Sheridan December 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm

You’re too kind Don, thanks so much my friend :-)



Joe December 17, 2012 at 10:43 am

Great story, Marcus. This is the type of post I love to read at TSL. More please.

Best wishes to you and your family for the holiday!


Marcus Sheridan December 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Appreciate that Joe, and I hope to have many more of these life experiences to share here on TSL. Have a wonderful Christmas season my friend.



Barbara December 17, 2012 at 11:15 am

I’m wondering if you’d been in his shoes at some point Marcus. Either as a son or father. Sometimes I believe we give advice we either need ourselves or have received and welcome the opportunity to share the wisdom of it.
Lovely post.


Marcus Sheridan December 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm

You know, now that you mention it Barbara, I think that had a lot to do w it. :-)

Thanks so very much for all your support,



Stevie December 17, 2012 at 11:51 am

The other day, I saw a great bumper sticker on the back of a beat up pick up truck filled with all kinds of hunting stickers. It read, “Hunt with your kids, not for them”. I immediately ordered one online. And my youngest daughter accompanied me to my deer stand all last week to bow hunt.


Marcus Sheridan December 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Sweet man, I can see Erin’s big smile w her dad in the woods. Love it cuz. :-)


Rob Skidmore December 17, 2012 at 11:51 am

I became a father in 2012. Holding my son for the first time has transcended every other experience (Aside from marrying my wife).

That is why I am trying so hard to be able to work from home and make my own schedule so I can spend time with my family.

Thanks for being awesome Marcus. I hope one day to be a father like you.



Marcus Sheridan December 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Yep, there is definitively nothing like it Rob. Thanks so very much my friend for your support this year and congrats on your personal growth.

To your success and happiness,



Lana December 17, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Love it Marcus!
People feel a connection with you, maybe because you seem so approachable and speak Too them and not At them. I know that is the feeling that I got the first time I watched your portion on Social Media Examiner last spring. Lots of others had great content and very knowledgeable in their field, but what you said spoke to me. I know you gave this father great advice exactly when and what he needed. You did not just say I’m sorry. You gave him tools that he could apply right now. Just like you do with content marketing. This is exactly why I read every post you send. Wishing you a Merry Christmas!


Jon Loomer December 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Awesome story, Marcus. The fulfillment we get from what we do usually goes well beyond the business itself. Great example.

And, of course, you just inspired me again. While my wife does an excellent job of setting up these “dates” with the boys, I do not. I need to. Midway through reading this, I stepped away and told my wife, “Let’s try this again.”

Thanks, my man.


Marcus Sheridan December 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm

You’re as good as they come Loomer. And I bet you’re an amazing dad as well.

Big smiles,



Ryan Hanley December 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm

An amazing story dude…

Life is so much about putting yourself out there. Willingness to stand behind your words and show who you truly are.

You could have given that gentleman a canned answer, most would have, but the reason he asked you is because he knew you give him whatever advice you had to give and that is a special quality.

As far as 2012 accomplishment really there are many… None so heart-wrenching as yours… I’d say, in 2012 I finally gave myself permission to be ME all the time. In everything I do. And the connections and relationships and respect and love that has come with that is beyond special and important to me.

I wish everyone in The Sales Lion community a very Happy Holiday season and absolutely fantastic 2013.



Marcus Sheridan December 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm

You’re very welcome my friend. You’ve been a tremendous part do the TSL communi this year my friend, often times adding more value than I did on various posts.

Thanks for all you do brother and I can’t wait to watch your growth next year.



Jacko December 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Inspiring story Marcus thanks for sharing.

In 2012 I realized that VALUE is greater than MONEY and that we can create an unlimited amount of VALUE.

I learned that giving people what they are already looking for is the fastest way to make $100.

I learned that KIND is really what we should be when we grow up.


Marcus Sheridan December 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm

LOVE this Jacko. Seriously man, sounds like you had one heck of a year!

Thanks so much for adding your thoughts,



Don Stanley December 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Wow, this is what makes you and the Sales Lion community so special (specially with all that’s happened recently). You get what life and business is about and so does TSL community.

Lots have forgotten, or perhaps never learned, being successful is not about accolades, money, fame and stuff. It’s about helping and serving others. As Zig Ziglar famously said, “If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want”. This means helping somebody even when what they are asking for isn’t business related.

What I really respect about you is you embrace your platforms and live to serve. Who would have thought, a “pool guy” and “marketing guy” would be approached at a content marketing workshop to give great parenting advice? The answer is simple. If anyone reads your stuff and sees you in action, they know you are more than both of those labels. You live it and people see that and that’s why you are growing by leaps and bounds.

It’s also why I’m super thankful and grateful to be a part of TSL community. It’s a community of people dedicated to doing business right and for the right reason.

For Christmas this year, I’m was planning on giving my 3 daughters “daddy date night” tickets which they can cash in for one-on-one time with me. This reinforces that’s the best gift I can give them this holiday season. Thanks my brother.

And a Very Happy Holiday Season and Super Awesome 2013 to everyone in The Sales Lion community.


Courtney December 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm

This is an awesome story, Marcus. And what great advice you gave the man. Building and cultivating relationships is important of all aspects of life. You should be proud! :) Your stories are always so inspiring!

I’ve learned that as a human, I cannot succeed or be an “expert” at everything. That it’s okay to say “no” to projects and it’s okay to make mistakes. Being out in the “real working world” for only a little over a year, it was a necessary lesson to learn.


Frank Martz December 18, 2012 at 12:03 am

Why is my keyboard somewhat wet? As I type this comment, a few tears ran down my face while typing on the keyboard. This was an inspiring story. As a matter of fact, I had a discussion with my wife yesterday about me wanting to take my son to a college basketball game. She quickly cut me off and insisted that I take her and my daughter as well. I told her that it was going to be a “boys night out!”
Again, thanks for the story, I know my comment is off on a tangent. But, that’s OK, we sometimes need to hear personal stories instead of marketing stories to get “touched!”


Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:38 am

That’s incredibly kind of you to say Frank.So glad you appreciated this, and may your 2013 be an amazing one!!



Clarissa Pena December 18, 2012 at 7:32 am

Have to agree with the comment about impacting someone’s life. It’s just a little nudge in the right direction, but it might be the nudge that will help a father and son get together in a healthy relationship again.


Claire December 18, 2012 at 10:02 am

What a beautiful moment for you and that father! Perfect synchronicity – but then again, there are no coincidences. :)

I find moments like that make me feel more alive and affirm my life’s path. Reading about your experience made my night. Thanks for sharing!


Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:36 am

Exactly Claire, there are no coincidences :-)

Thanks so much for the support,



Al Smith December 18, 2012 at 10:07 am

Wow ! Fabulous post. Great advice from you and what a blessing to “know what to say” when that awesome event presents itself. Yes, it was meant to be, my friend. It happens like that sometime. So glad you were there for him.

It’s been a rough year for me, but I know 2013 is gonna be my year and the “Year of CARE”. I believe it. Have to stay “Faithful & Grateful” Always.

Thanks for all you do to help others. You are truly blessed. As am I.

Take CARE brother. Happy holidays to you and the family.



Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:35 am

Love the vision Al. Just keep hanging in there buddy, and pushing, and CARIng :-)

Best to you my man,



Kerilyn December 18, 2012 at 10:40 am

It doesn’t surprise me at all that he looked to you for wisdom. You have always, from the moment I met you, had an age old knowledge about you that has always felt like its stood the test of time. An old soul you are and most likely you already know this.

In my own understanding, in that moment you both connected to the part of each of you that are the same. It was as if the part of you that is connected to him received information that you knew he needed. Amazing example of how we are not separate but divinely connected to everything and everyone else.

Happy Holidays my amazing friend.


Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:34 am

You’re too kind my old friend…thank you!!! :-)



Jim Greiner December 18, 2012 at 10:56 am

Some people might read your commentary and think it immodest. I read it and think that it is inspiring and might help others to do the same in similar circumstances, or perhaps just reach out to others when the time seems right.

Perhaps we need to make sure we solicit or do our best to create those “right times” in order to help. It’s important to “pay forward” and deliver “acts of kindness” whenever we can and without expecting any return, as you did. Life is short. It is easy to say this but something I must continually remember.

You should feel complimented that the person approached you expecting that you would help, based on the heartfelt comments and connection you must have made during the presentations. Congratulations!


Tom Treanor December 18, 2012 at 11:59 am


I think when you become seen as a “trusted advisor”, that includes a lot! Great story and I think your advice was right on.

My personal achievements for 2012 include rolling out some meaty campaigns and seeing clients really “get” the connection between content and growing their businesses.

It’s not just theory.

Thanks Marcus and looking forward to a big 2013 for all of us!


Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:34 am

I thought you had a tremendous 2012 Tom. Really man, great job on all your growth and accomplishments.



Kelly Lester (@EasyLunchboxes) December 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Reading this story moved me to tears Marcus. As I sit here in my chair, day after day, working working working, I do often wonder what the point really is … Thank you for sharing this personal moment – a beautiful reminder that by doing what we do, we can make a profound difference to those around us, even if it’s not always immediately apparent.


Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:33 am

You’re more than welcome Kelly. You know, you have a great smile lady….keep showing it. :-)



sapna December 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm


Awesome post and a great story. Great advice for knowing us what to say.

Thanks for sharing this info.



Chris Koomey December 18, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Dear Marcus

No matter what business we are in, everyday we can impact everyone we touch with the same inspiration and power that you do. We can’t solve the world’s problems but we can sure keep our corner of the world tidied up.

For 2011 and 2012 I funded over $1 million in scholarships for wounded vets from Iraq and Afghanistan and my greatest payment was when one of our students thanked me because “Now I have hope!” Today another wounded vet and I worked together on building his FOREX trading business so he can afford to pay for his own care and his sister can return to work. For Christmas, my dry cleaner is making an Armenian delicacy for my father because I show my appreciation for him whenever we meet. The best rewards are the little extra we provide and the opportunity for us all to give back.

All of our businesses can make real profound impact on everyone we touch every day. Thanks for all the great things you do and for inspiring me and all who read, know and touch you Marcus.

Merry Christmas

Chris Koomey


Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:32 am

Chris, wow man. You had an amazing 2012 sir!!

Props to you for doing and so much action in life.I love it!!



Cheryl Pickett December 18, 2012 at 2:38 pm

First, God works in some pretty cool ways doesn’t He? What struck me is you probably weren’t given time to think about it (like with an email for example) because it would have been much easier to talk yourself out of your qualifications for answering it etc. Definitely meant to happen as it did.

Next, it’s great that you were willing to share that story knowing that everyone who reads TSL likely does not agree with you in matters of faith. Not everyone would have the courage to do that. I think that’s one area that I feel will be stronger in 2013-being okay with being me, faith and all, in my business.

A blessed Christmas to the whole Sheridan family and everyone here too!


Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:31 am

Yes, He does work in magical ways Cheryl.

Thanks so much for all your support this year :-)



Tom Reber December 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Great story. Hits home with me big time! Earlier this year I knew I needed to make some changes in my life. I felt that I was ‘losing the one’s I hold dear’ to quote a Ben Howard song called ‘The Fear.’

I have 3 adopted kids and an amazing wife. But, I was killing myself to make my business work. My 7 year old daughter would say “Daddy, I never see you without your laptop,” or “You love your computer more than me.”

DAGGER to the heart!

At the same time, I watched my two 12 year old boys growing more independent and realized I hardly did anything with them. I’ve taken my daughter on many dates, but really blew it with my sons. That changed. I am making it a point to lighten up and have more fun with them instead of being such an intense guy all the time (Former Marine, football coach and major Type A here).

I am grateful for a great wife, a marriage counselor, a good business partner, other business owners like you telling stories and my circles of friends who have been patient with me. They’ve all been inspirations to me when I needed it the most.

I’m also highly thankful for the grace my kids have shown me….

MOTORhard Bro!


Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:30 am

Tom, dang dude, this comment was deep and touching…and as real as it gets.

Proud of you buddy and your kids are lucky to have you my friend.




Bruce Bates December 18, 2012 at 3:38 pm

You are the gretest professional moment for me in 2012…. although I have been a reader for a long time and it wasn’t until 2011 that I first commented – you have actually made the biggest impact on my professional career for 2012 (and you don’t know me at all really go figure).

This year I began to REALLY change everything I was doing and began to create communities around myself instead of just advertising and marketing at people. Not just interctng either, I mean creating blogs, getting people to interact on them, creating social forums getting people to interact on them, creating pages, groups, you name it. All of it surrounds my interests… but more directly me.

Thos change in what I do and how I do it, all stemmed from some posts that began on your blog.

Truly from the bottom of my heart – thank you for being here and happy holiday from my family to yours.


Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:29 am

Bruce, wow man, this really moved me. I had no idea.

Thank you sir :-)



Wade@Make Money Blogging December 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm

That was an amazing story! I guess some of my best accomplishments of 2012 was when I actually started extending myself and creating relationships with other bloggers and getting to know people.

Like you, for instance. So great to be in the presence of a professional. It made my blog better!


Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:28 am

You’ve had a heck of a 2012 Wade.Much to be proud of sir. :)


Coleen Wilcox December 19, 2012 at 1:02 am

Ironically, people sometimes don’t even realize when they do something like that. Personal questions and personal answers aren’t instantly recognized as great achievements, but impacting someone’s life on such a level is always something special.


adrian clegg December 19, 2012 at 8:20 am

It occurs to me how much more focused that guy will be at work without the family anxiety hanging over him. Object achieved tangentially.


Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:27 am

Nice point Adrian :-)


Krista Kotrla December 19, 2012 at 8:33 am

I’m so glad you know your WHY, Marcus. And I love seeing the impact it makes on so many lives when you share it so boldly. It’s more than a job, it’s a mission. Keep the inspiration coming!



Marcus Sheridan December 20, 2012 at 12:27 am

That it is my friend…which is also why I think you and I get along so very well KK. :-)


David Frey - December 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm

What an inspiring story. There was a reason this man asked YOU this question. Somehow he knew you would have the answer, even though you’re a content marketing expert. (and I do believe that was the right answer)

My all time favorite quote is “No Success Can Compensate for Failure In the Home” by David O. McKay. That quote has helped me to prioritize my life. It helps me to put things into perspective. I have it in a frame on my desk.

2013 will only be better for you Marcus!


Milo Bozovich December 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Potent story! I heard about your blog via your interview on Writer Reviews and I am quite impressed so far. Keep the knowledge coming..


Marcus Sheridan December 28, 2012 at 9:55 am

Great to have you hear Milo, and hope to see you again!



Wade Balsdon December 28, 2012 at 3:30 am

Your response was directly from God’s mouth to his ears. God used you in an incredible way to bless the man. Hope you have a great 2013 Marcus, you deserve it.


Marcus Sheridan December 28, 2012 at 9:42 am

It’s always a goal of mine to be an instrument in His hands Wade. So I do hope that’s the case sir. :-)



Walter Bell December 28, 2012 at 7:55 am

I saw you on that conference mate, you were a joy to watch! :) Loved the video game story btw.


Marcus Sheridan December 28, 2012 at 9:41 am

That’s incredibly kind of you to say Walter, thank you!!


Joan Smith December 29, 2012 at 3:01 am

Very informative. This is true that you always try to help people to make their internet marketing success in a rapid way and you spend more time for this. You get an opportunity to serves people in your own way and you did it. Good job.


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