I’ve always had enormous respect for events organisers. It seems like a mammoth task. Large scale organising of something inviting enough for people to want to attend and probably paying for the privilege has always slightly horrified me. I’m not talking about a house party. I’m talking about the kind of thing that requires lots of people, all doing a variety of things, booking a venue, getting resources and activity programmes together, delegating roles and responsibilities and then publicising it all. Making something big happen. That kind of thing. So what do I think I am doing organising a music fundraiser and what on earth possessed me to put on such a different hat?
Well now. I suppose it goes something like this…..
Following recent events in Nepal (I am of course talking about the catastrophic earthquakes), which I have talked a bit about in my blog, I spent a long time resisting the urge to jump on a plane to go and “help”. Being realistic I would not have been any help. I would’ve got in the way, been a drain on the limited resources and done nothing really other than scratch my own itch. The itch being that need to do something, anything, when you know there are people you know and love having a hard time. Fortunately I have a business and a family to run and a sensible part of my brain that screamed “no” at me.
Instead I read and digested everything there was to digest on “the situation” ie Nepal in it’s post earthquake(s) phase. I moved on to the next best thing – raising some money. It has been a journey of discovery and one that has taught me a lot, much of it about my own ability to take on something that I consider a challenge, and realise I can do it. The caveat being that there are actually another 6 days to go, so potentially room for catastrophe yet!
I suppose like many things in life, when you have a passion to do something, the best thing is to just give it a go. You draw on your resources, call some people for advice and go and try it. I called on a friend who called on another friend who called on another and suddenly we were a team. Four of us, all with remarkably different skills, all coming together in an ad hoc, organically grown team. I love a good team and one that has a single focused goal, a crystal clear aim, so far seems to be working well.
The very first thing that we did for this event was to find the venue. Once we had found a venue, we pinpointed a date and have been working towards that ever since. We started at the end. We had seen our goal, got a picture of what it was we wanted to achieve and went back to create the actions and the steps needed to get there. I know how to do that, I know how to create a plan. It’s about reframing it all, looking at what is possible rather than impossible and somehow making it happen.
I haven’t really stopped to ask if I know what I’m doing. I’m doing what I think needs to be done, and of course I have taken advice. I have called up people who have done this kind of thing before. And you know what? They all said – “you’ll be fine”. It’s actually quite refreshing to be able to focus with that single minded determination on one goal. Not that everything else in life has suddenly melted away, but things have been reshuffled, re-prioritised and a narrow band of time created, dedicated to one project. And I think at the end of day, when it comes to organising an event like this, a lot of it seems to be about the energy you put into it, combined with the opportunity to focus and the ability to be very organised!
So in that sense I have stopped looking at the differences between what I do as a workshop facilitator and my foray into the world of events. It doesn’t matter that I’ve never before had to look for sponsors, and am not used to liaising with such an array of different people for a whole host of different reasons. Or that I’ve never had to arrange a programme of activities, of different things all going on at once, or co-ordinate people on such a large scale. I’ve never had to try to get bands together, posters designed and distributed, get on local radio, or publicise my workshops to attract a couple of hundred people or more. But I’ve learnt how to do a lot of these things now, and of course I haven’t done it on my own – that’s the beauty of a team. I still don’t know how to design a poster, and I still don’t know how to get a load of bands together. That’s been down to my friends. But I know how to manage the process.
What I’ve tried to do is focus on what I do know. I am used to organising. I meticulously plan and prepare my workshops, I get groups of people together in the same room, ready to be facilitated. I liaise with clients, book rooms and sort out refreshments when I need them. I work out the resources I need and ensure that I have them ready. I do organise events, they are just mini. They are workshops, not festivals or gigs. They are groups of people in one room and there is no need for mics and a PA System!
So, I think you should come to #NepalfestBristol so you can tell me how I’ve done. It will be an achievement, and my team of friends and I will have earned a stripe or two in the world of events. We have got bands, we have go a venue, we have got local businesses on board donating raffle prizes and we have new ideas every day. So I am going to be proud, and hope that people do come. And let’s look at it this way; the next workshop I organise is going to feel so much simpler!