"Falling To The Occasion"
I often hear the expression "rise to the occasion" when someone or a group of individuals find themselves facing new challenges. When one is put "on the spot" however, I believe this quote by the Greek poet Archilochus (modified and coined by the Navy Seals in modern days) paint a more accurate picture of what actually happens due to our human nature.
This weekend I experienced this very vividly.
There I was, wearing my fuzzy socks, comfy PJ's and a messy bun that might have been too messy to be considered cute.
I had gotten into Long Beach a few hours earlier and after exploring the area and mingling with fellow business associates gathered for the event we all came to attend, I was ready to go to bed early and get a restful night of sleep.
I had talked to the kids and hubby and was enjoying my nightly ginger tea before finalizing my bedtime routine. I reached over to set my alarm on my phone and turn it to airplane mode when I saw it - a missed call from one of the event coordinators followed by a text message: "When you get a moment tonight give me a shout."
I looked at my phone and froze while I grieved the loss of my care-free/kid-free/husband-free night. Just like that I knew that my mommy paradise had gone down the drain. At best I'd be asked to do a fun Zumba break with the attendees ... while wearing a skirt and a not-meant-to-be-sweaty blouse, if you know what I mean. At worst the attendees would witness me "falling to the level of my training." I just hoped the fall wouldn't hurt too bad. A bruised ego does hurt after all.
I'm a faith girl, so I said a quiet prayer in my heart and made the call already decided that whatever they asked me to do, as long as it wasn't immoral or illegal, I'd say yes. I was sad to hear that one of the speakers had an emergency with her son and had to fly back home and at that moment they were seeking for someone to fill in for her. The assignment came with a pre-made power point presentation that I'd follow while providing a 30 minute workshop. Easy breezy! #saidnoneever
I didn't want to wait up until the slides could be sent to me so I went to bed after getting on my knees and asking the Lord to elevate my abilities beyond my own. I woke up early, studied the material for about 90 minutes, got ready and headed over to the event. I wouldn't be speaking until after lunch so the hours proceeding my turn I focused on learning from my colleagues and it felt wonderful! I felt calm and confident because my focus was on how I could be a means to help my felowmen, how I hoped they would hear the message meant for them and not just my words. I worked on not dwelling on my short comings ... presenting in a second language can always be nerve racking - I was wearing "California comfy" attire and not "new confidence booster outfit" - the ocean weather was frizzing up my hair like there was no tomorrow and even though I was speaking amongst my peers I didn't have "my tribe" there with me. Husband was home holding down the fort with the kids and a few of my team members were watching it online.
As you can see, I survived. Everyone was very gracious and charitable in their encouraging words. Those that had a negative experience were also very kind by keeping their mouths shut around me and I thank them for that. All joking aside, I'm very aware that what they got out of it was because of their own level of preparedness and the mindset they brought with them.
In all, my event experience did not go how I expected. It was fantastically more than I could have imagined when I wrote down "Long Beach National Celebration" on my calendar. It was a process of refinement, humility and growth, and for that and more than I can list here, THANK YOU doesn't seem enough to express how I feel about my moment of "falling to the occasion."