A former co-worker had a bumper sticker that said,”Oh, no. Not another learning experience.” I feel just like that today, with all my sore muscles, after planning and executing the Responsible Dog Ownership Day event for the local kennel club I belong to. I learned a few things.
- It’s never too soon to start planning an event, but it’s possible to start planning too late.
- The volunteer helpers you start with may not be the same ones you finish with.
- If you’re in charge, it may mean you’ll be doing everything.
- People who don’t want the job usually keep their mouths shut about how well you’re doing — or not.
- You will always get way more suggestions for things to do than volunteers to help make it all happen.
- No one will complain that it was over too soon.
I have never thought of myself as a “people person” or a “joiner” or even a little bit outgoing, so taking on a job like this was a bit like volunteering to go roll around in a fire ant mound. One of those “What the HELL was I thinking!?” moments. It has always been my habit, when someone gets upset about something I’ve done, to think that they are mad at me, they blame me, they don’t like me. Me, me, me. But we all learn with age, sometimes even when we try real hard not to, and I’ve discovered that it’s not always about me. Who’d've thunk it?
I don’t mean to give the impression that the event was a failure, or a disaster, or that everyone was mad at me at the end. This is more about the nightmares I was having for the weeks leading up to it than anything that happened on that day. I always imagine the worst. I was expecting nit-picking and criticism every step of the way. I expected to come under fire for a long list of things I “should” have done, but wasn’t able to do because I realized it would be entirely up to me to make it happen, and I just didn’t have the time.
But the long and the short of it is that I will probably volunteer to plan the RDO Day again next year, because I learned a lot, and I had fun. Only this time, I plan to start planning next week.