I write this after a long day. Call time was at 7am, but I’ve been up since 5am. A few months ago, I was asked by my former supervisor, Donna, for my help with an event. I have a soft spot for Donna (and I know many who’ve worked with her feel the same way) so when she asked to book my time and assist with backstage/stage management for an event and liaise with the emcee, I said yes.
As someone who has worked various roles in communications and events over the years, I’m used to all these little bits. Plug me in anywhere, let’s see what I can do! It is also very helpful to have worked with excellent events companies and event producers over the years, but having first-hand experience running shows, has helped me know what it takes to navigate all kinds of events, whether I’m helping to run it, or to play a more specific part of it (as was the case today).
As I reflect near the end of this week, my first official weeknotes—I was reminded of the following:
1. Preparation and Pep
Even if you believe you can wing it, planning is absolutely necessary for a team and community to be on the same page (never get too confident—I’m human and this has definitely happened). Always run-through the worst-case scenarios (but also make room for error, relax your mind so that your projected fears and anxiety don’t consume you to the point of inaction or panic). I’ve seen variations of this, but it does help to have a pre-show pep-talk. Martin Tan, CEO of The Majurity Trust gave one pre-show and it helped remind the people there to be intentional and purposeful. It set the tone.
Be in your body. Be present. It’s unavoidable: The body responds to stress. Most of us aren’t aware of these somatic reactions. You either fight, flee or freeze. You either physically remove yourself or mentally check-out of a situation (flee), transfer your stress to others by being very disagreeable and aggressive (fight) or be physically frozen by being glued to a spot or remain in a panicked mental loop and are unresponsive (freeze). At the end-of-the-day awareness of your body and these feelings are important.
3. Wholeness of Trust
It is not often talked about in the work place, but trust plays a big part in how we act in the world. Being entrusted to carry out a task, and carry it out well, and be you—”doing you”—is a testament not just to great leaders and community organizers, but compassionate people. I have been extremely grateful (and lucky) to work with many who place their trust in the wholeness of me. They trust that I can help them get the job done and as best as I can. They trust me to gauge when to lead or steer a situation, or be a passenger when necessary.
The best teams I’ve worked with trust in each other’s abilities to get shit done. It makes a huge difference.
The other part, is sometimes harder: It’s trusting yourself. That’s the question on my mind today. Do you trust yourself? And what does that mean to trust yourself? What will it take for you to trust that you can do your best? That you are a part of this community and a part of this world?
For me, it starts with presence. I pay attention to how I react to different scenarios and notice how I am feeling around stress (not just mine, but the stress of others). Awareness brings me back to the present and my presence and then slowly, that trust appears clearly. It is always there, but we must not take it for granted.