How a major power outage calmed our pre-event jitters

Recently Stephanie and I travelled to Ann Arbor for an opportunity to deliver our Becoming the Head Bitch in Charge and Stories for Impact workshops to a room full of fierce women in business. We were psyched. It was going to be one of our first deliveries of these two workshops and on top of that, we found out we were over-registered by more than 50%!

Now, we’re both confident, empowered, dynamic ladies...but that doesn’t mean we don’t get nervous. Leading up to this date, we had a bit of the sweats, what I like to think of as super healthy anxiety. Steph described her body as “activated,” whatever that means. Our amazing friends, Kate and Lauren, had kindly offered us their guest rooms so that we could spend a few extra days in town (Steph and I are virtual and we take advantage of all in-person time together) without breaking our bank.

The days leading up to a big event at work are often filled with last minute preparation, dealing with logistics, tangential meetings, comparing outfits (not everyone?) and thoroughly managing the pre-event anxiety. But you can’t prepare for everything...

To our unending joy, the universe decided to deliver a huge windstorm to Ann Arbor the day we arrived in town. No biggie!  We’re tucked away in coffee shops and cute Ann Arbor pubs, after all. Except... as it so happened, somewhere a tree fell or a tower burst or something, and we had to say bye bye to Kate and Lauren’s power, and with the wind came a ginormous cold front and temperatures were in the low 20s. It’s amazing how quickly my pre-event anxiety shifted from “What’s the best way to facilitate this piece of the workshop?” to, “Does the water heater still work? Can I take a hot shower? How will we order an Uber with a dead phone?” The candlelight in the evenings cast a nice glow on a new perspective on our preparation…We were going to be fine. All we had to do was focus on the essentials: Running water! Working power plugs! More blankets!

It reminded me of that scene from the West Wing. President Josiah Bartlet is backstage, anticipating the debate, and all of a sudden, the First Lady (the incomparable Stockard Channing) cuts his tie in two. It gave him an instant intensity and focus and removed the nervous temper from before.

Preparation is important. Anticipation and anxiety is natural. But in the end, when you’re preparing for a big event at work, try to flow with that energy, use what’s good from it and get rid of the unnecessary. Remember… first world problems… you’ll be fine. And some uncertainty - some excitement - will help you show up with the bigger picture in mind.

How do you prepare?

- Kara Davidson, Co-Founder, wolf & heron