On top of getting five of my prints into the Photo Exhibit at the State Fair this year, I was honored to be invited by the Director of the Photography Exhibit to give a series of photography presentations as well. This was a blessing and a nightmare wrapped into one nicely coiled package the size of an elephant.
Have you ever committed to something that is bigger than your capabilities? How about two times bigger? Or even three times bigger? What about ten times bigger? Let me tell you something about how big that size of a commitment is. It is not like ordering a meal that is bigger than your stomach’s capacity; you know the whole my eyes were bigger than my stomach thing as everyone has expereinced at a Thanksgiving or two. The thing is that with the too-big-of-a meal, you can eat a little at a time and put the remainder in the refrigerator to save for a later meal.
I did that exact thing with my commitment in July only it wasn’t a tiny 96oz ounce steak. It was an elephant sized task with an August 29th deliverable, which would prove to be a challenge for a healthy person. I committed myself to hosting and presenting a series of photography workshops and presentations at the Oregon State Fair this year. In using the term series, I am stating that there are a total of 21 workshop opportunities, 12 of which are unique, that needed to be planned, put together and ready for one and two hour long presentations. This is 35 days to prepare 12 unique presentations (30 totals hours). This was a huge task, but adding to the stress of that task is my full time day job, family needs and fibromyalgia symptoms that are not even close to being under control. I sat and looked at what I had in front of me: A true mission impossible; an elephant needing to be eaten.
I contacted all of the photographers in my photography group and opened the opportunity to them to co-present at the fair with me. I turned that elephant into a group event, an opportunity for everyone and the group jumped on the opportunity with a passion that equaled mine. I ended up with five presenters each planning their own presentations, including myself, and dozens of helpers to make banners, business cards and covering just about every aspect of the presentations that we needed.
It was still a stressful undertaking with now having to coordinate 18 people on top of planning my presentations, but coordinating only added a couple of bites of the elephant each day. While coordinating the people was a couple of additional bites for me each day, each of those 18 people took five bites off that elephant each day. As each one of them took it upon themselves to complete a task and start the next the elephant started disappearing rapidly.
Yesterday was the first day of presentations, eight presentations, each an hour long, and each presentation was perfectly planned and executed by myself and two other presenters. Sure I might have said something or explained something differently in other's presentations, but I was simply happy that it was the success it was and I am not really a control freak.
Had I not had the help from my friends, it would have been a complete disaster. And while we still have 20 hours of presentations to give for the remainder of the week, I have no doubt that each and every one of us will contribute to the success of those remaining bites of the elephant.