Top Five Community Event Creation Tips
I am inspired when I witness the increasing courage among individuals as they take a leap of faith by making themselves vulnerable in an act of devotion to their truest self expression. It is the moment you decide to do what you love. The moment you share your truth. The moment you let go of figuring out how life will work out and trust in its natural unfolding.
Co-creating a community has been a major source of teachings in my life the past few years. Currently, and from my perspective, it appears as though the community is shifting – we are going through growing pains. More individuals are re-discovering their inner strength and are making the decision to express their full and honest self by sharing their vision and seeking support. This is an incredible act of vulnerability, for when we bear our most honest expression, we expose ourselves to the interpretations and feedback of others. The leaders are being called forth, and in time everyone will remember their innate and multifaceted leadership abilities.
The community has grown and created a supporting space for individuals to step into their passions. This is a courageous leap of faith. We are displaying our ideas and passions for the world to see and the natural hope is that others will support and encourage this act. The reality is that as much as we wish we could support everyone with their endeavours, there are limits to the time and energy we can devote before we limit the ability for us to be a truly useful support for others. I feel as though the community I am involved with might be reaching this threshold.
I love to organize and facilitate events in Calgary. Last winter I took this to the extreme and ended up burning myself out totally. At the peak, I was involved in some way or another with three events per week. Getting caught up in hosting so many events took a lot of time and energy and did not leave me with much of either to participate in other people’s events. As much as I love to host events, I also love to participate and observe as well.
I have since reduced my direct involvement in planning and hosting in order to strike a more sustainable balance, however, I have now found myself being stretched with attending a number of different events. It seems like lately I am receiving facebook invitations to a half dozen incredible events on any given day. It is invitation overload and it is causing me to have to filter and select. As much as I would love to be able to support in person each of these beautiful gatherings, it simply is not that realistic for me to maintain balance.
There are many studies that show when a group of people reach 150 members, the dynamic of the group change and smaller groups form within the larger whole. Hutterite colonies split off and form new, smaller communities when they reach this number. Gore Teck is a multi-billion dollar company that attributes its success to following the rule of 150; when a building reaches 150 employees, they expand and split off into two buildings. All employees are “associates”, have mentors instead of bosses, and the company utilizes the power of peer influence over a hierarchy of management. The company structure is essentially circles intersecting other circles to form one large circle.
The Calgary community (within my perceptual sphere) is tipping a ratio where the number of gatherings and events are exceeding the abilities for community support. Everything is becoming diluted as we are bombarded by information and invite overload. It is time for the upcoming leaders to start branching and reaching out to new community members to create new community pods. We are still connected as one larger whole and support each other when we can and however we can, but it is time to extend our reach further and to grow to include new audiences. Each of us is tapped into different communities, let’s share our collective gifts with more people!
To wrap up this blog, I would like to share five of the essential lessons I have learned about event planning in the hopes it illustrates one perspective on this topic, and that it might help along your path.
1. Take a fun, playful, and experimental attitude toward “your” event – we easily identify with our creations and possessions. When we do this, we tend to close ourselves to feedback. If the event is ‘your’ event, or ‘my’ event, then whatever feedback the event receives, we take it as though the feedback was directed at us personally (both positive and negative). Instead, take an experimental attitude – meaning be open to the idea that many things will not work according to plan and that half of the fun is the challenge of finding better solutions. Not identifying with what has flowed through us helps with being fully receptive to incoming lessons.
2. Be easy on yourself – perhaps you did not have the turnout you had hoped for. Maybe no one appeared to have enjoyed themselves. Worst case no one showed up and you were left standing by yourself on stage in a rainstorm waiting for an audience. No matter what happens, there are always lessons to be learned – room to grow will present itself. Perhaps you get an idea on what did not work, or an idea of where to advertise next time. Often we learn more from mistakes than we do from everything running smoothly. They times everything goes wrong usually make for better stories anyways 😉
3. Talk to people who have event planning experience – this is great practice of the art of humility. It is recognizing that there are elders who have come before and who love to share invaluable insights from their own experiences. It does not mean you have to take their advice, but at least you can’t say you weren’t warned! Emergent knowledge builds on what came before. When you are aware of what was done before, you can co-create the new models.
4. Remember to focus on the process and be grateful for the journey as it unfolds – the secret of event planning is that it isn’t really about the event itself; it’s about the process that leads up to it. View the creation as a joyous flow and timely coalescence of many individuals who are coming together to uncover the real reasons they came together. You have no idea how or when someone has helped you along the way with the creation of the event. Give thanks to everyone involved. Even the audience is gifting you with their presence and attention; often the most precious gift of all.
5. All big things have small beginnings – always have patience and be persistent with people. Trust that everyone who is supposed to be there will be there. Internet communication (specifically facebook) is becoming overwhelming to most people as we are bombarded by notifications and invites. There is a ‘flakey’ trend among many people as we place less and less value in the online/facebook RSVP. We are becoming immune to the epidemic of event invitations. My experience has shown me that the online invitations are great for details, but the power of personal invitation still overrides. We need to hold each other accountable when we use our words, but that also needs to be balanced with patience and understanding when a friend has to change plans or does not feel like they are in the right space to participate. Create the space for people to enter, rather than pushing them into the room you want them to be in.
Best of luck on your manifestations! I trust everything will go exactly as it needs to for you.
Keep dreaming! <3