Hopefully the wonderful people at Nike don’t sue me for titling this post this way. But, it’s the best title I can think of for a post like this. I could have gone with, Sometimes the Answer is Just Do It, but that makes me think of another post I plan to write later, so I chose to plagiarize the Nike slogan for today. I don’t have the exclamation point at the end, so maybe it’s okay.
If you’re from Nike and reading this, please know that I love your shoes. I have wide feet and the Nike Wide sizes are the only comfortable shoes I can wear. So, if by some chance, this post goes viral, rather than bringing a lawsuit because I used the same words as you, why don’t you sponsor me by sending me a lifetime supply of Nike shoes and I’ll brag about you all the time in future posts.
So, why Just Do It? Well, if you haven’t been in one yet, you are often going to be in a position, season, situation, where you have to dig your heels in and just do it. Whatever it is. And, you might be surprised that it’s going to be okay. You just have to get over yourself, or get over whatever it is that has you feeling overwhelmed. You just have to get it done.
In 2008, I was hired on at a mega-church. My job was fairly mundane; managing the computers, network infrastructure, and all the fancy computerized gym equipment. Yes, that church had a full-service fitness center. Here’s the kicker, three months later, my boss quit. Yipee. We eventually hired someone in a part-time position to take his place, but in the immediate interim, I had to take his responsibilities. And was I in for a wild ride over the next three months.
Summer 2008 was the summer of events every other weekend. And I don’t mean kids birthday parties or even something as fun as a wedding with a bridezilla. No, I mean massive, capacity capped events. It was a 3,000 seat venue. And every single event over that summer was sold-out. Every event also required audio for a band, speakers, cameras, recording, etc. I was not prepared. But, I had no choice. The only other person on staff in the department at the time was a ministry assistant. I’m pretty sure she would have gone mad trying to manage everything. I almost did, but I had her to help keep me sane as much as she could.
These events were for big-time organizations that were renting our facility to host them. They were paying good money. We had to deliver quality service and an excellent experience to these people or our name would be mud. I had no idea what I was doing. I understood the basic fundamentals of providing the services they had asked for. I mean, we basically did that every Sunday. But over the course of two days for each event, with so many moving parts, I won’t lie, I was very intimidated. I honestly felt ill equipped and certainly in over my head. There was a tiny part of me that was kind of excited about the challenge, but it didn’t take long for that tiny part to become so small I didn’t know it existed anymore.
What did I do? I ate the elephant one bite at a time. I’m an extremely organized person. That’s something that is not common with creative people. I’d like to fancy myself a creative person, but I’m just a not-so-normal type. That came in really handy that summer. I just started with the first event and worked my way through it. I feel the need to pause and give credit where credit is due. I didn’t inherit a mess. I didn’t inherit all these events without some forethought and planning already done. My predecessor had done most of the groundwork to make these things happen. I just didn’t have the experience to understand it will enough to make heads or tails of it. Fortunately, I’m a quick study.
I started with the soonest event coming up. I looked over the contracts, the schedule, the riders for the talent (that’s the document where they say they want water from Fiji chilled at 34 degrees and a clear glass bowl of only orange M&Ms. And yes, that does happen with Christian artists too). I just started ingesting all of it and figuring out where things still needed to be done and who could help me make them happen. I certainly couldn’t do it all. And little by little, without me even realizing it, the stress and anxiety over these monumental tasks were dwindling away. It was refreshing. Things seemed to be falling into place and working out just as they were supposed to.
I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to deal with these massive events. I didn’t want to fail. I just knew that, if I tried to take up the responsibility, it would end badly. I was convinced that the job I had been in for a few months would end before I ever made it a year because they’d see how terrible of a job I did. If you’ve been paying attention, you’re probably thinking “Umm… this wasn’t even the job you were hired to do. You were going what had to be done and it wasn’t supposed to be your responsibility Why were you so worried?” You’d be right to think that. I just wasn’t that smart back then as I was looking at the calendar and wondering how it was all going to happen. Also, no one else was stepping up to do it, so…
Fast forward to the opening session of the first event on a Friday night. All the key players are in place. The band is on the stage, all the media techs are where they are supposed to be, security is tight, ticketing and ushering have gone smoothly. There are 3,000 people with butts in seats. The room has a slight hint of haze for cool lighting effect and the air conditioning can’t keep up with all the body heat because no event venue AC ever can. You can smell it right? You can feel the humidity and the excitement! The emcee takes the stage, the crowd gets hyped up, and I’m walking the aisles looking like J-Lo in the Wedding Planner with my radio and headset on trying to keep from throwing up because this was it. This was the moment of truth. The emcee walks off the stage, the lights fade, the band starts to play, the crowd cheers, and I just stopped dead in my tracks.
I had to stop and just take it in. It was happening. It was going smoothly and all the parts and pieces were in the right place at the right time. And God used me to make that happen. God gave me the opportunity to use my skills and talents to make this giant elephant of a meal look as easy to eat as a chicken nugget. What a relief and overwhelming sense of joy and accomplishment I had. You might even say pride. I know that’s a bad word in most cases. But in this case, I was so proud of the team more than myself. Let’s face it, they were the ones doing the work. I just put them in the positions to get the job done.
Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.Zig Ziglar
Zig Ziglar said “Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.” That finally made sense to me as I was realizing and relishing in the successful launch of this mega-event. The success of this thing that was happening had nothing to do with all the amazing things I could do (sarcasm, I’m not amazing. It didn’t have to do with how much money the organization had or the perfect layout of a facility or the technology or… No. The success was because we were prepared. I knew I couldn’t do everything. I wouldn’t be foolish enough to try. I delegated areas to different people and let them take their area and run with it. One did security, another did ushers, another did merchandise, and another sound, then lights, and so on and so on. If I listed every lead position and said what they did, you’d give up reading. The point is, it took a team. It wasn’t about one person.
The team was empowered to do their job, and they were in areas that were their wheelhouse, their sweet spot, they were prepared. The opportunity to host this mega-event met our teams’ preparedness and the result was success. Thankfully, it was a success that repeated itself many more times over the course of that summer. But remember, it started with me being really uncomfortable and really not wanting to do what needed to be done. So, yeah, sometimes you just have to do it and be surprised by the results.
Have you ever faced a challenge you really didn’t want to do but you know you needed to? If you say no, you’re probably lying. Either that or you really aren’t trying to do anything with your life. It doesn’t have to be something professionally. It could be something personal. It could be something that seems minor that shouldn’t have such a profound impact on anything. Maybe it’s some crucial decision that will change the trajectory of your life forever. My advice is just do it.