13 years enjoying the 5th most stressful job in the World. How?

I worked as an Event organiser for 13 years. According to Forbes being an event organiser is more stressful than being a CEO… In fact within the top 5, event organisation is the only one that is not life threatening. No doubt they don’t put that on the college prospectus…

I worked in one area of event organising. My speciality was organising road races (10km’s and half marathons). My competitive side tells me that within event organising we must be the serious stress sponges. Why? Well, if you organise an event in a building. Everyone stays in the building. If you organise and event in a field (a concert) you put up fences so everyone stays in the field. Etc.

Now – when I organise a half marathon on roads people run for 21.2kms making a half marathon a very BIG open venue! Adding to that when I worked on an event, I did most of the work myself. I worked on it for 364 days a year doing marketing, PR, meetings, ordering materials the list goes on… Then on the day of the race – I hand over control to many complete strangers. These helpers could potentially make one simple mistake (instructing runners to go left instead of right) leaving me with many unhappy customers.

How many jobs do you know, on the biggest day (THE DAY), part of the role is to delegate so much responsibility away. I can’t think of any.                                                                                                      Even if you can think of one – would you be comfortable doing this?

So how did I do this eight times a year for 13 years and not go bananas with stress?

I do a few things:

–        I start planning every event like it was the first one. Take nothing for granted. Never assume – find out (again).

–        I visualise the event and how it will be a success

–        Have very well informed team leaders

–        Help your helpers. Make sure they are passed down the best and clearest information. Put yourself in their shoes. If they don’t enjoy the experience – they won’t return.

–        Make sure the participants are very well informed with every detail they need to know. Again – (like the helper) think of a first timer

–        On the lead up to an event do every job you can early. Bank time for the ‘funnies’ that will come

–        I laugh and dance and sing a lot……

That last point is not in there as a joke. It is actually true! I was a box room entrepreneur. I had the house to myself when I work. So I can sing and move without a care and it has served me well over the years. I learned that from a 80 year old Jesuit when I studied NLP. It doesn’t matter that I’m brutal at singing or have no sense of rhythm. I’ve learned to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously.

‘If it isn’t live or death – then it isn’t life or death’ a handy quote to remember when the pressure is on.

Lastly – I was always the first person on the site and the last to leave. Some of the shifts could last for 14 hours straight. I used to call it my ‘ironman training’ just to make me smile. But obviously I could not do this job without a lot of energy. That was my key asset to ride out the stress….

I hope you found some of those tips useful for your own job.

(Photo: shows me clearing ice off a beach for a night run that took place later that day).

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