Thanks to my mom and dad, I was brought up with an incredible work ethic and understanding that hard work was the only way to get things done. I never look for the easy way out. I like to joke that if there is the possibility of hard path why would I choose to follow the easy one? What fun is there if things are simply handed to you. You can’t really appreciate it nearly as much if you didn’t earn it.
I vividly remember growing up as a competitive dancer. I learned so many things about enjoying the process of dance and not just the performances. This is similar to events. You practice so much to perfect such a short routine, the percentage of time you are in the spotlight is so minimal to the effort behind the performance. Like a wedding or event, the day of the event is merely the result of tireless attention to detail. I remember my dad picking me up after rehearsal one night and I was complaining that I didn’t get to be in a routine and it wasn’t fair and on and on. Instead of agreeing with me and crying about the injustice of the casting, he said (quite matter-o-fact) that maybe the other dancer had worked harder and deserved it more. That stopped me in rant, and after that day I never let another person outwork me. I would be in the studio first and out last. I still live that way. There are many things I can’t control, but I can control my actions and how much effort I put forth. I will rarely leave a team member to finish alone. This stubborn skill has served me well with some ridiculously tedious projects.
Earlier in my career, I was working at a conference in Newfoundland. This was back in the days before Google when we had to search via actual hard copy YellowPages. I needed to find a place that could burn a large number of cds in a short period of time. The cds were gifts were the delegates when they departed the next day. Upon arrival at the conference I tried to get back in touch with the company that had agreed to do this, they now refused to answer the phone or even their door when we showed up on their front step. Instead of disappointing 300 plus Canadian and international students I began to individually burn each disc on my laptop. A less than ideal situation but I was not going to let that stop me. I sat down and got to work. It was a long night but no one was the wiser and we had happy delegates!
I have even hand painted accents that accidentally got left off over 3000 promotional items. I sat at my kitchen table and painstakingly painted miniature ‘chapeaus’ on items, to save the organization from having to repurchase everything. Thank God I don’t mind arts and craft projects and I am driven by the light at the end of the tunnel.
Big or small I don’t think it is bad to have to work hard to get things done nor do I expect anyone to hand me something I want. A little hard work never killed anyone, though maybe I can take an easier, scenic path next time around?