What Sir Edmund Hillary, Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards, and the Jamaican Bobsled team taught me.
I wrote about ‘The Resistance’ the other week, and have had a few people talk to me about it. They all had great examples of what role it had played for them. It made me think about the positive side of fighting the resistance. Not just getting things done, but done now.
The thing I’ve realised is that it makes massive difference between doing it now – and doing it later.
In my first real gig out of Uni I was running a major winter festival in New Zealand. As fortune would have it I found myself with an event genius in my team, Brian Keeley. One of those people who gets stuff done. He knows what is important, and makes it happen. He’s not the productivity ninja type, his is more a creative soul, but he has a sense of what is valuable, what will be a WIN.
In our first days in the job, Brian and I sat down over a coffee and agreed we needed to tap into the biggest things that represented winter in New Zealand. Someone that symbolised winter, sport, snow, adventure – someone to celebrate. And it turned out he was staring us in the face. Literally. The man on our $5 note. Sir Edmund Hillary. The most famous man in New Zealand. Arguably the most famous ‘adventurer’ in the world.
Now normal behaviour would have been to write a plan, ponder, think about how we might, and probably decide there was no chance we could get him. Why would Sir Edmund do this? we can’t afford it. Etc. Etc. etc. And then we would probably come up a with a ‘better’ (that is, easier) idea. In a few weeks’ time.
But no. Brian liked to GSD. Take a punt. He picked up the phone. He called the Telecom NZ directory. ‘Can I have the number for Sir Edmund Hillary please. Parnell in Auckland (although of course the operator knew who Sir Ed was). Incredibly, back came the number.
Shit, we have Sir Ed’s home number!
So I called. ‘Hello, is Sir Edmund there please?’.
‘Yes this is Lady Hillary, I will go and get him’.
‘Thank you’ (!?*#)
‘Hello…’ (said the biggest most famous voice that ever existed)
And away we went, Sir Edmund came to our festival (all of his fee going to a charity, thanks to Sir Edmund, and our ‘take out the middle-man’ approach).
(I should call out that this is the legend that Sir Edmund Hillary was. Not just the fact he shared his greatness so willingly, but in the fact that his home phone number was publically available. A symbol that summed him up. Humble greatness. No barriers. No ‘management’. Well actually he had reps but Brian liked to GSD – straight to the source).
So anyway Sir Edmund Hillary attended our festival as the guest of honour, inspiring audiences, wowing young and old, signing $5 notes as he went. Such a genuine hero.
And for Brian and I, that formed our ‘ambassador strategy’ for the next 2 years. I called ‘Eddie the Eagle’ the next year, the Cool Runnings Jamaican Bobsled team the next. This was back in 1999 so they were big then. We got it done all by direct calls and ‘fax’ of course!
(btw Eddie was also a legend. A true pro. And a very good skier. We asked him to jump off a man made 12 storey ski jump in the middle of our town square, and he lapped it all up. GSD paid off. Big crowds. Front pages. The evening news. He was talking to Hollywood about ‘Eddie the Eagle’ The Movie way back then, 20 years ago. That shows that sometimes good things take time).
So long story short. I learned to GSD, and do it now, not later. And I’ve taken that learning with me on my career journey. And ever since I keep seeing, those that do, get the rewards.
Get in, get it done.
Side note… I also learnt from the opposite.
DON’T MISS YOUR MOMENT WHILE YOUR LOOKING FOR PERFECTION.
Rendell McIntosh was a champion of the event industry who took me under his wing way back then and asked if I could write a report on a major event in Queenstown. In my keenness to do a great job, I took my time crafting a perfect piece, well what I thought was brilliant (I will never know!). My efforts were a waste of time, as while I took my time, I missed my moment, the deadline past, and Rendell produced his own piece. He gracefully gave me the advice that a job is only done if you do it on time. Lesson learned.
Sometimes almost perfect is good enough. Ship it, don’t sit on it.
– What is one task your facing The Resistance on right now?
– Is the option that is pushing back the most, possibly the best option?
– What is one audacious thing you could do today?
I’m currently helping people GSD, on time, to have the influence they deserve.
Let me know if I can help you, or your team.
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