There’s a weird transition that’s been happening in my life at the moment where people have started referring to me as a leader. It’s true that I’m not afraid to start things I want to see done…but I’ve never tried to place myself in a leading role. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no shrinking violet over here – I love to be on the stage. However I’ve always been more interested in collaboration than leadership.
Whether I’m running an event, a workshop, speaking on a panel or writing a song – there’s no way to know how that’s going to flow until it starts. The beginning of anything is the most exciting (and scary) part because that’s when you start to think ‘what if this utterly fails? I don’t want to let people down…’ but by the end of it you can see what worked and what didn’t. Mistakes will always be made, fine tuning never stops, but if you start with an open honest space with all the cards on the table, that’s a solid start.
However this flexibility can be difficult for others. There’s also a big difference between wanting to be at the front of leading an event and the work that’s needed behind the scenes. With every event I run ego needs to be left at the door. Once you’re creating a space for others to thrive in, that’s everyone’s space and I try to be as self aware as possible of how my energy is affecting the room. To most spaces I bring incense (yes I’m a hippy child) and create a playlist which sets a relaxed tone and a feeling that will be picked up subconsciously. These are the things that matter to me; how can I make the space as accommodating as possible?
Putting on events is stressful, don’t let anyone tell you different. For the past couple of years I’ve been running them as Booty Bass, Bumble and was lucky enough to see how large scale events get put on when working for Boomtown Festival. That experience has made me expect and accept nerves but also realise that no matter how much planning you do, things may change and you have to be prepared for that change. In every area of my life I have a rough plan of what could work and then I feel it out on the day because rigidness doesn’t make for a calming experience.
Recently after an altercation at a recent event I was at the brink of tears when my wonderful ma helped me find some perspective by saying “people will project a lot of stuff onto you. From the outside you’re very confident, you seem to have your shit together and things tend to work out around you. They’ll forget you’re a person – and a sensitive soul at that – so try not to take it to heart and deal with it tomorrow”.
It made me think how differently everyone understands the term collaboration. To me it means everyone working together to make something work. Highlighting problems but also trying to find solutions and ultimately putting the task at hand before self to create spaces where everyone can learn and grow. Positive energy and generosity of spirit is the key to a successful event and is the root of me wanting to open up projects. Spaces are enriched by other people’s perspectives and prevents us from being stuck in an echo chamber. At no point do I think that space should be mine to control or lead…but maybe that’s a problem for others.
Where is line between wanting to make a project collaborative so everyone leads and making sure it happens if they don’t? Tips welcome cause I’m still learning…