When I started my career in event management, it was a regular occurrence to have folks respond to what I did with keen interest and enthusiastically say, ‘That sounds like such fun! You must love it! I’d love to do that!’ They were right, I did love my work. Interestingly, it still happens today even though my role has changed in the event process. The conversation that followed seemed to always have me explaining (perhaps defending) the skill, expertise and necessity to observe the minutia of detail that was required to execute a flawless event. By then…they weren’t listening any more as they had it all figured out.
Thing is, I’ve done the same: presumed I knew how to do something simply because I could systematically imagine the steps to do it and believe (uncontested), I could do it.
The other day I came across a video that nailed it for me on how we ‘think we can do something because we think we know how to do it’. It was a YouTube Nirvana moment!
The Skinny: A smart and cool science dad engineer, Destin Sandlin, was challenged by his team to ride a backwards bicycle. Everything was the same with this bicycle except the front wheel would turn the opposite direction to the handle bars. What started out as a joke has now turned into a very powerful keynote message that Destin delivers around the world. Spoiler Alert: He could not ride the bike to his surprise and frustration. He then spent the next six months ‘every day’ teaching himself until finally – he got it. Turns out it is not as easy as ‘riding a bike’.
In his keynote presentations, Destin challenges folks to ride the bicycle across the stage – even just twenty feet. The facial expressions on the challengers and the audience reactions are classic. Here is the video – enjoy!
What I loved so much about the video is that it reminded me of how I had early on in my career minimized the efforts it took to produce a well-balanced hotel contract. The compilation of ‘101 Things To Consider When Negotiating A Conference Contract’ began to write itself as my understanding deepened. Years later this ‘list’ has become a living document that continues to morph to the current conditions – which are always changing!
In New York City last fall, what I knew for sure was I was not going to ride a bike that I knew how to ride in downtown Manhattan. Sometimes we do know better!