Friday, January 9, 2015

Small Matters

It is brutally cold outside today, it's Friday, and there is not even one small thing I have the motivation to start. What good would it do anyway?

picture of tree branches laden with ice and snow
It reminds me of another Friday, early in my career when I was freelancing for my friend Lou's creative agency. It was 4 pm and out the window nothing but sheets of rain.  Inside, beer and wine started to break out among the staff when, just then, the phone rang. Lou emerged from his office and handed me a small note containing contact information.  He explained it was someone wanting a small project done, but they wanted to meet for a discussion right now -- tonight! Lou didn't want to drive 35 miles away, during rush hour, in the rain, so he said that if I wanted to pursue the job on my own, to go for it. I called back, agreed to meet, and then cursed the whole drive out to his office.

Put your heart, mind, intellect, and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.--Swami Sivananda

The office was very small -- a travel agency -- and I had a sick feeling that this was going to be a total waste of time.  Nonetheless, I was happy for the referral and decided to give it my best effort thinking perhaps it would lead to something down the road.  

After some preliminary questions regarding my experience, the owner of the travel agency explained that this year it was his turn to chair his industry's national association meeting and that he needed my help to put on the meeting in Nashville for its 2,000 members.   I hyperventilated the entire ride home.

The project billed out at a quarter of a million dollars. Attending at the Nashville meeting was the head of an even larger allied travel association. Eight months later, we produced his meeting in Washington, DC for its 5,000 members.  I suddenly found myself with 5 employees and looking for a larger office.

If you had asked me that late Friday afternoon if I could tackle a meeting for 5,000 people, I might have backed off driving out for the meeting.  It's only because I took the first small step out the door, in the rain, that the course of my career changed dramatically.  As for my friend -- he learned the hard way that no job is too small.  How about you?

Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room.--TBD*

*TBA is my acronym for "to be attributed" -- still looking for the author.

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Positive success stories are welcome.