“Do what you can’t”….somewhere on social media I saw this saying (or is it a slogan?) and it seemed to wrap up my career. Maybe yours as well? It also impacted my approach to life.
Jump off a building held only by a carabiner? Be the first to slide down a glass slide on the outside of a building hundreds of feet in the air? Yep. I thought I couldn’t, but I jumped and I slid, and other than getting a lot of messages about hammocks over canyons, and roller coasters that defy gravity, I have no bad repercussions. I told myself “you can’t” and then just did it all anyway.
So what does “do what you can’t” mean? Those of you familiar with my story know that when I entered the events industry many years ago (yes, MANY years ago) there was no industry as we know it now. And I heard a lot of “no, you can’t do THAT” when I would suggest things beyond a bud base and a piano player. It was in the day when “party planner” defined our industry and other than some bare corporate meetings (overhead slides and a house microphone) little else was required other than shrimp.
Well, as in my younger years, “no” wasn’t a word I accepted easily and so I tried to figure out how to create experiences out of those parties. “Experiences?” you might ask. Experiences have only been around for a few years, right? WRONG! Every element of a gathering, whether it be a meeting or a party or something in between, is an experience and if there is no experience, then there is no point in doing it.
Who knows where the event industry is going next. Some of it is indeed same old-same old. And some of it is high tech. LEDs. Projection mapping. VR, AR, saturation of imagery, sound, and even scent. By the time you read this there will be something even newer. So you know some people are taking real big chances on the events they conceptualize because each time it is a first you don’t really know if it will work. And as all of you in the events industry know well, we do opening night every time we produce an event. With no night two. If it doesn’t work the first time, there are no second chances. But then again there are no second chances to do something for the first time if you don’t do it. It remains only a “what if?”
Which brings me back to “do what you can’t”. Do not be limited to what you have done before. Try new things, dream new dreams and just take some leaps of faith that what you dream can become a reality. Life is nothing but one big event, made up of a series of smaller events and what’s the fun in just living the same day over and over again? Like “Groundhog Day” but with no change at the end. Yes, it’s safe. But at the end of the day, if you are always holding yourself back, all the things you wish for can never happen.
I’d love for you to share some of your “firsts” when you did what you thought you couldn’t. Tag, you’re “it”.
Andrea Michaels is the founder/president of Extraordinary Events, a Los Angeles-based, multi-award-winning event agency. She is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower – Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life and a contributor to numerous other business books. She may be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.