Yesterday I had the distinct privilege of leading a wonderfully big fundraising celebration honoring Voyageur Outward Bound’s 50th Anniversary. If you don’t know about VOBS, you should definitely check them out – they are doing such important work for so many people. And I love working with this team!
Event development is an exercise in finding the balance of preparation and flexibility. It’s live theater. No one knows exactly what’s going to happen. And that seemed especially true with this wonderful crew, as I was working with a record number of outside guest speakers… in other words, they don’t HAVE to put in a ton of preparation and work because it’s outside their regular “job” and I’m not there to hound them. 🙂 (Don’t get me wrong, I was still hounding people!) And though many people worked really hard and knocked it out of the park, there is still the element of the unknown…
As I hustled out of my house, ran into traffic, had trouble printing copies of the script at Kinko’s (ERROR #w34563WR57, I HATE YOU), got stuck at EVERY POSSIBLE TRAFFIC LIGHT KNOWN TO MAN, after having logged oh-so-many hours in preparation – and finally zoomed into the event space to find a few more challenges and lots of people running around making it all work… You face a moment when you realize that you have done all you can do. Changes will still happen, there will be more “bumps” – of course there will be – but this is the moment when you remember – desperately remember – that you have prepared. And now is the time to let go.
Letting go is scary. And let me be clear – letting go is not about not caring and throwing up your hands in defeat; it’s tuning in, listening closely, and adapting yourself accordingly. It’s about releasing the plan that has embedded itself in your brain, and being open to the plan that is unfolding itself in front of you. It’s about standing up in front of people and being in the reality of the moment that is, rather than what you wanted it to be. It’s live theater. And it’s thrilling.
And what’s even better is that it sounds a lot like how we should all be moving through life, doesn’t it?
Thanks to Dan Sassenberg at VOBS for his photos!
Shout-out to the amazing team that put on this event… Susan Diamond from Jigsaw Events, Rick Hayes from A/V For You and Party On Entertainment, and of course the whole team at VOBS for your important work. And you, too, Reets.
And recognition to our awesome speakers: Ben Jaffray, Monica Juarez, Jack Lee, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, Polar Explorer Will Steger and Peter Bailey. Loved working with you!