My favorite weekend in 2017 was the one during which I was the host of our local game show, The Right Price. It was an amazing operation, with incredibly well-built games (and a very cool wheel!) and terrific prizes. The crowd was thrilled, evidenced by their warm praise, enthusiastic cheering, and happy laughter at even the cheesiest of my jokes. It was a blast!
I was again asked to host this year and happily accepted the opportunity. The prizes were better and there were a lot more of them. The crowd was bigger. Sponsorships and ticket sales, coupled with reduced costs, had raised even more funds for the theater. We were completely poised for success.
Yet at the end of Saturday's show, it didn't feel like a success. I was embarrassed about some mistakes I had made and frustrated about the mistakes of others. There were several awkward moments during the show and after 2 hours, I felt as if I had barely completed a triathlon and finished last. I was exhausted, my feet hurt, my legs hurt, but more importantly, my heart hurt. I felt like a failure.
As I cried my exhausted and frustrated self to sleep that night, my mind kept going to every mistake, every challenge. I had clearly lost sight of the goal. I hadn't taken time to define what it would take to have a successful event.
If we as a team putting on the show had taken a few minutes before the hustle and bustle of people coming in, we would have agreed that we had 2 goals: (1) Raise a lot of money for the non-profit and (2) Make sure everyone has a really good time.
That's it. And if those were the metrics, the event was a success. We raised a lot more than last year, and people left the theater in good spirits, toting door prizes or game prizes and talking about coming back next year.
Mission accomplished, right? I sure could have saved myself a lot of tears if I had focused on that.
Not surprisingly, by Sunday morning I started getting over myself. I pulled myself together and because we had run through everything the previous night, that afternoon's show went a lot more smoothly.
A tip in case you're hosting a game show anytime soon... the audience doesn't always know what hasn't gone correctly. You don't have to remind them or let them know. And people can have a whole lot of fun even if things don't go perfectly. Similar advice would work for most projects...
Focus on the goal.
Photo by Nathan Rogers on Unsplash