Monday, January 2, 2012

Karate Kid Lessons for Event Planners

There are many lessons in martial arts that can apply to life and also to event planning, and having just watched it again with my own two "karate kids",  these are the ones that struck me.

  1. It takes discipline.  To be good at anything, you must apply yourself and learn first the basics (wax on, wax off; hang up your jacket, pick up your jacket) before you can get better at what you do.
  2. It takes hard work.  There is no easy way to produce a great event.  You can get more efficient, but there are not short cuts. Goals, objectives, marketing, registration, logistics, production schedules, technology integration, engagement, interaction, each has to be done in its own time.
  3. There will always be someone out to get you.  That is life, choose your friends well and be kind to your family, support those that support you.
  4. There are winners and losers.  Nearly every piece of business is competitive - that is the nature of the beast.  Put your own best foot forward, accept winning and losing graciously.  But do your best to win.
  5. Take risks.  Use your fear to your advantage. Use the adrenaline, use the fire and try new things.  But make sure you are asking the right questions of the right people to ensure the risks are the right risks.  
  6. You can always use a good teacher. Sometimes they are people you seek out. Sometimes they find you.  Sometimes you need them back.  Lessons are everywhere. Accept them.
  7. The human factor.  There is always a human factor to everything and human nature tends to give power to the negative.  Remain focused, seek the positive solution and move forward with determination.  When you believe you are doing the right thing for your clients, for the guests, make the effort to explain why you think it will work. 
  8. Hello and thank you. If you only learn two words in every language, these two will get you a long way.  Show people they are genuinely welcome, and thank people for their help.  I have had the opportunity to work in many places, and have had an even better opportunity to share places with our children, and this they too have learned.
  9. Don't cheat. You will be caught out. Keep your promises.  You only get one chance at integrity.
  10. Don't give up. Let the people who can and want to help you, help you get back up.  Tell them how they can help you, then accept their help.  But do it knowing that ultimately, even when people have your back, it us up to you. I know when I produce an event, I don't do it alone. I do it with a cast of many, and each of them supports me, and each of them requires my support.  Seek solutions together.
  11. Respect. Respect people for what they bring to the team.
  12. Never say never.
What lessons would you share?

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