This week was an exercise in proving myself capable. Most days my work is the same series of tasks: write and post a press release or two, monitor social media stats, direct inquiries, write content for our publication or website, email intermittently. On Wednesday my organization held an inaugural event that featured a former U.S. president as the keynote speaker. Exciting, right?
In the days leading up to it I was terrified. Working for Communications means that I’m responsible for helping with public relations and marketing efforts. It’s a big responsibility when you’re trying to attract more than 1,300 attendees. Among my responsibilities were proofreading print ads and brochures and programs, preparing press releases and story pitches, coordinating interviews with business leaders, dignitaries, faculty, staff and students, preparing questions for the interviews, conducting the interviews, collecting quotes from the keynote address and moderated question and answer sessions, promoting the event through social media, and doing any other task my boss requested of me.
I was worried that things wouldn’t get done. I was worried that I’d forget to communicate with people on changes made or that I’d miss glaring errors in our press pieces or that I’d say the wrong thing to our media contacts or that I wouldn’t be able to read my handwriting well enough to quote people accurately.
Well, there were things I didn’t finish. And of course there were changes made even in the midst of the event. There were a few missed interviews and yes, I really couldn’t read half of my handwritten notes past the third page.
But. We made it. It’s over. I’ve caught up on sleep and more importantly, we accomplished all of our primary goals though this opportunity and even discovered some surprising results along the way.
Driving home on Thursday I felt a sudden urge to weep. I can’t imagine what it’s like to hold a position where you handle these things on a regular basis, but for my first time participating in a project of such magnitude I feel like I’ve come out on the other side of this with a deep sense of gratitude and relief and surreality.
Did I really just do that?
And also this thought,
Let’s do it again!
As exhausted as I’ve been this week – physically, mentally, emotionally – I feel totally exhilarated. I’ve always been attracted to journalism, but this experience gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to dive into it and commit to it fully.
I love asking questions and hearing people communicate value. I love listening to leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative people talk about what makes them tick, the principles that inspire them in their roles, the concepts that move them to lead. It’s a powerful thing to hear leaders speak candidly about their mistakes and failures and lessons they learned through them, as well as the moments that affirmed their potential. In a room of more than 1,300 people, I felt the energy rise as the audience caught a glimpse of the surprising challenges and rewards of leadership.
In a strange and unexpected way, this experience was an affirmation of what I discussed in my last blog post. This side of it, how could I settle for anything less than what I am passionate about?
Every person has been given a passion for something. It could be writing and journalism, it could be culinary arts, it could be design, architecture, gender studies, teaching, music, theater, ministry. Whatever it is, we’re called to pursue to it. When we’re in the moment, it doesn’t matter how exhausted we are. The exhilaration of doing what we love and doing it well will tell us what we need to know: