As events manager I was responsible for big events with 1,000 and more attendees. Part of
what made me really good at what I did was predicting possible scenarios and preparing for them. Of course you need to make a judgement call on the likelihood of certain things happening as it’s impossible (for obvious reasons) to prepare for ANY situation as well as even to predict ANY possible scenario that could occur.
You know that saying about the only time is now and how we spend a lot of time either predicting the future or living in the past? Well, I would say that in event management as well as in life in general, it does come in handy to do a bit of both. Planning for the future does include anticipating future events and we can all learn from our past, can’t we?
But here is an example of how we can take it to the extreme which then makes us worry unnecessarily.
During my recent trip to London, I went to the theatre. I was very excited and pleased
that I had managed to get a seat in the second row from the front! Being so close to the action that you can see the facial expressions makes theatre even more special to me.
When I arrived at my seat, I saw that the stage set consisted of a two-storey home. Being sat so close to the stage it meant I could see everything on the ground floor really well but I could literally see nothing of the upstairs. I overheard the people sat next to me complaining about it. I immediately agreed with them that the theatre should have noted that when we booked the ticket. You know when they have the “restricted view” thing, when you are sat next to a pillar. I was annoyed. I had treated myself to a ticket at the front and now this! How ironic that for once I don’t go for the cheap tickets and the universe laughs in my face like this! And along those lines the monologue in my mind continued.
Fortunately, I haven’t done all the “inner work” in vain! 😉
Pretty quickly I noticed what I was doing: even before the play had started, I was spoiling it for myself. Oh, the ridiculous little and numerous ways I got so good at over the years that helped me ruining a good time for myself. Once upon a time I had of course invented them as a mechanism to protect myself from disappointment further down the road. Only that I exchanged potential disappointment with anger and disappointment in the here and now. Not a good trade, I can tell you. Once I had noticed where my thoughts where taking me, I decided to relax, sit back and wait for what was to unfold. After all, the theatre was almost fully booked from what I could see, so there wasn’t anything I could do about my situation anyway. Other than decide to make the best of it and at least enjoy the bits that I was able to see.
Maybe you already guessed what happened in the end:
all the play took place on the ground floor. There were a few scenes with the actors upstairs, but they didn’t really speak or anything, it was just a way to remove them from the central stage temporarily. Which of course also explains why the seats had not been sold with the caveat of a “restricted view”!
You can see how easily I could have gotten all worked up before and during the play.
Waiting for that crucial scene to happen upstairs that I would have then missed completely. Most likely, my mindset would have even made myself believe that during the few moments that took place upstairs, some really important things were happening that I was missing out on. I would have sat throughout the whole play with a big ball of anger in my tummy (that’s where my anger generally sits).
Instead, I enjoyed the play. I enjoyed the fabulous views, the amazing beautiful ‘50s
dresses, Katherine Parkinson’s facial expressions and comedic talent (she’s the
actress from the IT crowd) and had a wonderful evening all round.
In which situations might you be spoiling your own fun by making assumptions that then often turn into self-fulfilling prophecies?