“If you’re going through hell, keep going”
The above quote is from none other than Winston Churchill, perhaps the most quotable person in history next to Jesus or Kanye West (although obviously for different reasons). It’s a comment that I still think of routinely, as I elect to build my life into a complex series of projects and tasks, intertwined with each other so deeply that I sometimes risk losing it all or having some kind of crazy mental break. Or both. But I’m not writing about that — I’m here to write about what keeps me going.
I feel deeply fortunate to be working with many of the most motivated and inspirational human beings I have ever come across. I’m sure many leaders think the same thing about their teams – and they’re right – but I feel that I have something of a unique perspective because the TEDxVictoria has evolved radically over the four years it has been together. Change has been constant, and that evolution has really helped to build something magnificent.
Let me tell you how it all keeps me going:
That’s it. Sure, there are amazing opportunities that come out of working on TEDxVictoria, both professionally and personally, and the connection to the local community is extremely rewarding. But at the end of each day, when you are already exhausted from your job, your personal life, and whatever else might have gone on, and you sit down at your computer to find an email inbox that has exploded since you last looked at it, it’s those other amazing people you work with that help you get through it all.
Take Caitlin for example: Caitlin works more than I do (full time for a top tier firm), is in a band that plays a lot (steady weekend shows, as well as headlining festivals), works at or volunteers at every awesome event in Victoria (VICFest, Rock the Shores, etc), has absurdly cute dogs that she takes care of, oh, and works as TEDxVictoria’s Director of Human Resources in her spare time. And did I mention she still manages to have a life?
I’m pretty sure she doesn’t sleep. That must be it.
Or how about Adam, who, like Caitlin, works more than I do, also volunteers and works at all kinds of festivals, but then somehow manages to find time to coordinate an incredible amount of artistic endeavours throughout the city with all kinds of crazy organizations. He also does this for TEDxVictoria as our “Enabler of Art.”
Adam enables art like a boss. His work ethic is impeccable and he has the beard to match.
Holly is the best tech/stage manager on Vancouver Island, and is always in high demand. I have on many occasions witnessed just how good she is at her job, and I am humbled that she does for free for TEDxVictoria what she could easily be paid well for elsewhere. Her positivity is infectious at all times.
Our Director of Marketing and Communications is none other than Dani Pope, one of the most talented writers in Victoria. You probably read some of her articles – they were consistently the best that Monday Magazine ever put out – but you might not know that she’s also deeply involved in the community through other events like Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.
And finally, there’s Genevieve. Our ringer in many ways, she’s the only TED Senior Fellow in Victoria and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of conversation with her, you’ll know what I mean when I say that she can make literally anyone enthusiastic about science. Like Holly, her energy is crazy infectious. She’s been to many TED events, and is a pioneer in her field where she researches cave art to try and help us better understand the cognitive and spirituality of our ancestors. Kind of a big deal.
High Functioning Dreamer/Doers
Every member of our team inspires me, and each time we get together I am imbued with the determination to follow through on our goals. Holly described our team as “Dreamer/Doers” — people who dream things up and then just do them.
Have you ever worked anywhere where you actually look forward to every meeting? Where you want nothing more than to spend more time with your colleagues chatting about the work that you do? If you have, then you know how magical it is when you have that. It’s not the easiest thing to find.
I think perhaps the best thing to do is make it. When you have it, it’s easy to keep on going, even when you’re tired and want nothing more than half a night’s sleep.