Having been a co-organizer for a 3 day event that has just come to a close, I find myself experiencing the afterglow which is such a blissful, peaceful place to be. There were 3 of us on the team and it really did feel like a team effort and most of all a huge success given the feedback from participants and speakers alike.
However, it didn’t feel like peace and bliss some of the time especially for me in organizing the one day in Spanish. I had set myself the task of creating a day for Spanish speaking participants (it seemed like a perfectly logical, practical idea since we live in Spain and the event was being held in Spain and that I have been organizing events in Spain for 4 years now!)
So as the event date was approaching with just a few weeks to go and no Spanish participants, I felt I needed to take action and quickly! So I put my thinking cap on and started reaching out to local businesses, the local town hall, local voluntary associations, plastering posters around town and so on.
Interestingly, local businesses wanted more information on the English speaking days! I got that wrong! The town hall did not think it was the right fit for their “needy” community! I think they got that wrong, but on I marched!
The local voluntary association were a little more open and accepted 10 invitations for the day J And so it went on as I handed out leaflets and pinned up posters and chatted to the locals.
What I haven’t shared, is that we had invited a very experienced Spanish speaking teacher to come and share for us and we were flying her in from California so I was having a lot of guilty thoughts about how much it was costing us (the Viva team), what will she think when there is nobody in the room, what about my team members, will they be mad at me?
And then there were the thoughts about why can’t they see what a fantastic opportunity this is? People are flying in from all around the world to attend the English speaking days and it’s on your doorstep and you won’t even come for a day! What’s wrong with you? And what’s wrong with me that I can’t help you see this great opportunity and you will be oh so missing out?!
And then I stopped.
The thought popped in to just be OK with what is unfolding. I noticed how uptight I was feeling. It will all be all right whatever happens. The quote by Krishnamurti comes to mind here about the secret to his life when asked was that he just didn’t care, meaning he was OK with whatever happened.
I relaxed. I stopped pushing uphill.
I saw how I was trying so hard to make something happen the way I had envisaged it. I was trying so hard to make life fit my model of the world, my expectations, the story I had created in my head and it was causing me guilt, anxiety, stress. At least my thinking about it was. It was as if I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
I knew deep down that my team mates were not judging me. They were absolutely fine with what happened. It was me judging me and making up stories about what others would think and how I had failed.
Once I saw the thinking I was believing of how I thought it should be and went with what was unfolding, guess what happened?. Well, most importantly it became a much gentler journey for me.
There was no more anxiety and stress, it appeared to have disappeared!
And then there was the tiny miracle of a booking coming through on my phone for 2 people that same day. Plus 2 of our friends who could not make it suddenly could!
All in all we had 18 people in the room that day. Not a huge number, but given there were 2 participants 5 days before the event took place, that’s not bad at all plus the fact that it’s the first Spanish speaking event we have ever organized, I’ll take it as a success.
But most importantly, I knew I would be OK whether people showed up or not, whether it was deemed a success or not. It really had no bearing on me or how I felt.
There is also the fact that we filmed the event and have that as a resource forever, and the connections made in the room and probably a whole other array of positives I have not seen yet. Isn’t that always the way when we stop looking at something or someone the way we think it or they should be and relax?
In conclusion, I think the point of sharing this experience with you today is to highlight two important factors in our professional and personal lives:
- Sticking to the known ie, our expectations or models, does not leave space for recognizing the opportunities and unlimited potential available to us at all times. This could also be read as staying in our comfort zone when everything we desire lives outside of the comfort zone.
- Life is constantly unfolding – it doesn’t need me – if I dropped out of life today it would carry on without me! Having a “don’t care” attitude makes it a gentler journey and stops the self created suffering/struggle.
If any of what I have said here impacts you it would be lovely to hear from you, please leave a comment here on the blog. I personally answer all comments and think it is such a learning opportunity for everyone.