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I have had countless moments in my life that pivoted my career into different directions. Along the way, I have had to be at the top of my game and prove that I was worth the investment. Currently, my career is at one of those pivoting moments. Recently, I was hanging out with colleagues and we were all letting out some steam on the challenges in our industry. Fortunately for me, I have no issues talking about my work because I love to talk. Ask anyone. And that’s when it happened, someone asked the group, what is the one piece of advice you wish other event producers would have told you?

“…I had to put aside my ego…”

It took me a moment to recall all the advice I had ever received. I have received some great life-changing advice. Then why, couldn’t was it so difficult for me to articulate that advice? And then it hit me… I remembered this large scale activation that presented a series of unique challenges that caused me a huge headache. I won’t go into detail about that now. But if we get the chance, I will gladly tell you all about it, over a beer of course. And it doesn’t stop there. I could tell you about the time I realized my production coordinator’s solution to a logistical problem we had was substantially better than mine. In each of these situations, I had to put aside my ego and pivot in a new direction.

Two men pulling on a rope. In the article Advice for Event Producers.

Best Advice for Event Producer: Learning to Let Go

I had just learned the important lesson of letting go. All while keeping my ego very much intact. Now, I am not going to get all Marie Kondo on you but letting go has proven to be positive in the execution of some of my exciting work and in the advancement of my career. Remember that production manager? Let’s call him Adam. He was definitely a compliment to my management style. We were a great team. I did more of the creative lifting and he was more of the analytical and clerical lead. We balanced each other like yin and yang. On one of our projects, we had to bring in an unusually large number of vendors to accommodate our needs.

We were producing a new show in a new market and with a new team. I was of the mentality that drastically changing our procedures would be a mistake if this show was to be successful. For this show, Adam had a different idea of testing new implementations of our procedures. My ego kicked on in full swing and I immediately felt the need to establish my place as a new leader and urged that we keep the status quo. He asked if he could explain his rationale on which procedures he felt needed to change.

Challenges Force You to Look Within

Adam presented detailed information supporting his rationale for procedure modifications. Personally, I fought urges of beating myself up for not coming up with the ideas. I felt a bit inadequate. As the leader of this team it is my responsibility to present process improvements. Right? So my thinking was flawed, obviously. Here’s what I mean. I had read this article in Entrepreneur titled, ‘4 Signs It’s TIme to Let Go of That Idea You Thought Was a Winner’ that talked about what giving up on ideas do to a person. To recap what was said, by not coming up with the idea, I felt, it challenged me as a leader.

It was at that moment, I could stand by my decision or allow Adam, the opportunity to implement this good idea. I had to let go. Needless to say in the end, his passion and research paid off well. For all of us. Let me clarify, our event was very successful. So successful that we received significantly higher customer satisfaction reviews. What caused that up tick in reviews? Well, for starters our vendors performing better because they had a positive experience through the onboarding and load in process of our show. Interested in how I approach events? I talk about working with vendors briefly, in another post on my workflow. In that article, there is also some great advice for event producers in that article.

What I Learned

The lesson I learned of putting aside my own fears of feeling inadequate and allowing my team to share in our success proved to be much more valuable. I learned that I hadn’t been defeated rather I was challenged to take a creative approach to a logistics challenge we faced. Learning to let go was the best advice I got as an event producer. Much like solving challenges for our clients, I had to take a different approach. I was able to have more faith in my team to handle added responsibility. Allowing Adam to take on more responsibilities freed up time for me to focus on my own growth opportunities. So when you find yourself in the humbling position of needing to let go, embrace it.