I am one of those people that is hesitant to talk about upcoming events with too much confidence or too much enthusiasm for fear that I could fail. The event could be a bust. I could make a fool out of myself, or maybe I just look like or sound like a fool because I was confident, and things didn’t go as planned.
I think I probably grew up with this sort of mindset, and I know that my year in event planning exasperated my way of thinking. In 2013, I was the Run for the Warriors National Race Director. We held 13 road-race events across the country, and raised close to a million dollars that year. I didn’t have much of a team, but I had some amazing partners who not only wanted to see our program succeed, but they wanted to see me succeed. In some ways, we were wildly successful. We entered into new markets. We raised tremendous awareness, and like I said, we raised almost a million dollars. For a smaller non-profit, that is a lot of money. However, the role was too big for me. It put a strain on my marriage that has still not been fully repaired. I lost friendships, some of which I never got back. It put a fear in me that almost a decade later, I am still trying to over-come. No one told me that if I gave it a second attempt, I might be better. Everyone knew I needed out of that job.
Fast forward almost 10 years, and I can see that second attempts are a little easier. You learn so much during the first go-round that the second time feels less challenging.
I am currently in the process of leaning into second attempts of two very big things (or at least big to me). Like I said, I am nervous to talk about them, or write about them, for fear that I will jinx it, but I also know that I learned a lot in round one, so I know I am more prepared this time.
First Event: Attempting to Run the Distance of Okinawa
Last April, my friend and I attempted this run. We trained our tails off, and we had tons of fun doing it. However, the one thing that we had not discussed or planned for was sleep-deprivation. I knew we would be out there for a very long time because we were covering some distance, but I didn’t know it would be that long. At twenty-three hours, we called it quits. We had run 70 miles, which is a long way. However, we were still hours away from Cape Hedo, the northern point, and I wasn’t prepared for the cold wind, and walking through the night for that many more hours. We talked it over and decided that we would come finish the rest of the island in a couple of weeks. We did just that, and finishing felt amazing. Truth-be-told, the training was the best part. It was the only time I have had a running buddy out here on Okinawa, and I loved it.
I will try to run the island again this weekend, and because this is my second attempt, I am much more confident that I can actually do it. Lessons learned from round one are preparing me for round two. For example, I am not planning on any meet ups with friends. As much as I loved it last time, the coordination and time that it took is much needed on the back end. Also, we rented a small RV so I can change and refuel more quickly. It also takes some pressure off me because I won’t be worried about how comfortable my crew is. My crew is made up of my guy and my puppy, and I want them to have some fun because being a one person crew is not so fun and a lot of work, and I know that I will worry about them. Another lesson learned: I will have proper clothing for the cold night. Last year, it was pretty warm in the day, so it never occurred to me that it could get so cold in the night. This year, I will prep my clothes in a way that makes changing quicker, and I will also pack warmer layers because I know that I will need them. Fortunately, I was good on nutrition and fluids last year. However, this time, I know that I need to start drinking caffeine as it gets later and later. I drink coffee every morning. It is a ritual that I enjoy very much, and I know that my body likes and now needs the caffeine, so I will let caffeine do it’s wonderful job. Now don’t get me wrong; I am still wildly nervous. I can feel the anxiousness rise in my body, and I can even feel it in my sleep, but I also know that I am ready, so it’s time to learn from the first attempt and lean into the second attempt.
Second Event: Leadership Seminar
The Okinawa Leadership Seminar is a three-day leadership event for military spouses. It is a combination of speakers and small groups, and this is the third seminar in which I am playing a key role in planning and executing. The first one was primarily virtual, and it was super challenging because we were attempting something that had never been done. We were up-leveling our technology, and we were putting the very small groups in houses on various bases across the island. It went well, and I am so glad we aren’t doing it again. The in-person seminar is how it is meant to be. Last fall, we got to go back to an in-person seminar, and it went beautifully. It was very stressful. It took a tremendous amount of work, and it paid off. The great thing about the upcoming seminar is that we have more people who are taking on important roles. Spreading out the work is allowing everyone to feel more confident about their roles, and it is allowing for more breathing room for the small team who worked tirelessly preparing for the last seminar. The fabulous thing about the second round of this event is that it is allowing people to step into leadership roles. It is allowing for duplication and replication of efforts to make it feel like less effort. The event will be another impactful one, and it will be done with less stress. Once again, I am nervous saying this because I feel pressure in my chest every time I think of the seminar. However, we learned so much during the first attempt, I know that this one will be amazing. https://okinawaleadershipseminar.org/
There are things in life in which we don’t get second attempts. There are things that maybe we aren’t meant to have a second chance, but if you are given the opportunity for a second chance, know that it will be easier. Lessons have been learned, and you are are given the second chance for a reason. Embrace it with confidence, and don’t forget to look back on that first attempt as your opportunity to learn and grow. Now it is time to lean in! GOOD LUCK!