What goes around…

32

Originally posted on 2, April
Sometime back, a company organised an event and fronted 4040 as the charity of choice, to benefit from the proceeds.
I had met the M.D, *Charles a few times before.
When he pitched the event to me, I wasn’t moved. Not because I felt like there was anything wrong with the concept but for the mere fact that I was tired of users and could not imagine another scenario in which I pick up the pieces. The charges were also high and I knew that it would be a hard sell even to people who would ordinarily want to support our different campaigns. I shared this concern and he assured me they had it under control.
He was persistent.
We had a back and forth, including meetings which involved other members of my team.
I told him my only condition was that they did the work without expecting the ‘beneficiaries’ to go all out on promoting the event. Since it was primarily a business venture, they would go on about their work and contact us when ready to make statement or contribution.
Our plate was full and we couldn’t be adding events we didn’t plan for to our calendar.
He agreed.
We set the plan in motion.

They got to work marketing the event and my team even pitched in once in a while.
A few weeks to the event, I tweeted about a friend’s perfomance, asking people to attend. One of Charles’ colleagues,Tracy sent me a message that read “I saw you tweeting about a perfomance instead of telling your followers about our event.”
What in the world? I was furious. Now my personal pages were being policed? I couldn’t support my own?
I tried not to be rude as I explained to Tracy that I have many different interests and cannot be expected to only speak about matters pertaining to 4040, not to mention I hadn’t promised to promote their event. We were just adding to their existing strategies.

D-day arrived and as (partially) expected, the event wasn’t well attended, not enough for it to be profitable at least. Charles and his team had clearly invested money, lots of it. What they didn’t invest was more time in the planning process, to allow for better execution.
After the event, I made a courtesy call to Charles to congratulate him upon a milestone. Putting together an event of that magnitude in itself is/was huge.
A week went by and I asked Charles if we could have a meeting just to discuss the event, learning points and put a close to it.
He declined.
At this point, I already knew they couldn’t have made money and I was not even the tinniest bit mad that no ‘proceeds’ were shared.  I know how difficult it is and being their first event, it could only get better.However, when he ignored my second attempt, I picked a clue and moved on.

Soon after, I found out that he was telling anyone who cared to listen that it was 4040’s fault the event flopped.😮
He added that we were ‘nobodies’ and in fact every company they approached seeking sponsorship had never heard of us. (How is this even a problem? We get to spread the dream further,no?)
Apparently, they (Charles and his company) were merely doing us a favour including us in their event and yet we thought we were big shots. We would never prosper..
He went on to say that “If 4040 comes to look for their hours of footage that we filmed, we shall not give it to them. ”
It goes on and on but I will save you the other details. By now, you already get the drift.

When I heard these stories I was sad. Not sad for myself or 4040 but for Charles. I was sad because I did not think he believed what he was saying and if he did, it was simply in an attempt to find someone to blame but himself. On top of it all, that level of petty does not a leader make.

I kept this information to myself. Whenever someone cared to ask about the proceeds of the event, I told them the company hadn’t made enough to include us.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, Charles’ operations manager contacts me. I am suprised because my last encounter with the company in general was in form of the ‘blue ticks’ Charles accorded me.
I ask what it is about and she tells me about an upcoming campaign they have..😞
Yup..it is indeed what you are thinking. They want us to get involved.😥
Sigh.
In their world, everything was erased by time and a clean sheet could just be opened, new script written.
No questions asked.
Well, I made a call and asked some questions, engaged in a mostly one sided conversation in which I sought the closure I never had the chance to get.
I assured Tracy that there was no way we could work with them again especially since they are not trustworthy. I explained that I neither wanted their money nor an apology but I needed them to know that “I know” and that is no way to work with people.

I hope that one day soon, I will get to meet Charles, not to ridicule him or remind him of how he wasted a learning opportunity and future partnerships (although the latter would most likely come up) but to encourage him to look in a mirror, like really look; and then surround himself with more honest people.

 

 

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T.I.R.E.D

27

Originally posted on  27 March

Today I got up in the morning and heard what sounded like a crack in my back. I immediately lay flat and waited.

I have had a long month so I mentally dismissed it as a result of the work load.
A couple of hours later H called me and shared some not-so-good news. I told her that phone call was my cue to get up and face the day. I got up. A few minutes into my morning routine, the first person I was meant to meet cancelled. I wasn’t sure whether to be mad or happy. I decided to take it as a sign. I would get up in the afternoon for my errands. Back to bed I went.
As if the universe read my mind, the skies opened generously shortly after this decision.
I covered my head to ‘sleep.’

 

I generally don’t sleep much. I can’t nap unless I have been drugged. I can however,close my eyes and pretend to nap.
It wasn’t always like this.

I am an active person and when I don’t have anything to do, I get restless. When I have too much to do, I am in my zone but doesn’t mean I don’t get anxious.

By the time an event comes, I have lived it in my dreams, awake,half-awake and asleep.

I realised that the only way I can truly rest is when I leave the city, better still when I am out of the country all together-preferably without a good connection-phone and internet.

This lack of rest eventually catches up. You can’t fool the mind or body for too long. When the fatigue sets in,certain systems begin to crash,slowly. Sometimes, it comes as a single blow.
Most of the time I can sense it. In most cases, I manage the symptoms as they arise; other times I keep going because I know; There is no one having sleepless nights about how to make it all work. I do my best knowing that if this fails, I will only have myself to blame.

The truth is, I thought by now, things would be easier. 5 years is a long time to hustle day and night. It is a long time to still be going through certain routines you thought would be long gone. It is a long time to always get so near and later realise how far you are. This doesn’t mean I do not value the wins. I truly do.

The truth is,it could take 5 more years, decades even to get to that place where I can comfortably sleep,take long vacations and still know that everything is under control.

Maybe it won’t even get easier at all and I will just get better at dealing.
What I want to share with you is that it is difficult, in an inexplicable way.
Blood, sweat and tears-that’s not an expression, it is REAL.
When ‘they’ say nothing worth having comes easy. It is true. Of course there will be some ‘easy’ wins along the way but overall it is not for the faint hearted.
This applies to starting anything really, a business, a relationship, a family.
However, some responsibilities consume you more than others.
True leadership is taxing. It is cold. It eats you up. It wears you out and tosses you out in the wilderness to fend for yourself.

What people want to see and share is the success story and I think that’s awesome;I just wish more people were truly honest about how they got there,what they went through, what they sacrificed;what they would do differently given the chance.

Sometimes it is so gruelling you want to quit and go to a new city and start over-
Many times you will even forget to eat, or remember but still find that food is tasteless because your mind is wandering constantly-
You will get so tired that you can’t rest and the exhaustion will seep into your emotional and spiritual life; it will affect your thoughts and productivity
Often you will be alone, so alone that you will hit rock bottom;you’ll cross the line to depression and even consider taking your own life-

Your loved ones will not always be there, they will not always understand,they will fall short of being enough. They might even be the cause of your pain from time to time-

Sometimes, you will be envious of others who seem to have it easy-
You will not bother to determine if they are just better actors-

During tough days you may consider dropping the dream to take the easy route
You will weigh your other options

You will receive a lot of crappy advice,some of it dispensed with a lot of love
You will encounter naysayers often
You will lose friends
You will face betrayal
You will be misunderstood
You will second guess and ‘tenth guess’ yourself
You will need to be your own cheerleader,more times than you can imagine
You may drown in self pity once in a while
It will probably not end well
You will cry
And cry some more
Even if you aren’t a ‘crier’-

You may find other ways to deal
Drugs
Alcohol
Binge eating
This will probably soothe some of the pain, mostly psychologically anyway
But your reality will still be waiting when you are done.

You might become hard
You will still be fragile.

You will need to feel EVERYTHING and allow yourself to.

Embrace ALL pain.
It is fuel for learning,for growing, for inspiration,even for healing, as ironic as it sounds.

“Every man dies but not every man truly lives”.
Your struggle,your pain all because you want to do more than just exist, you want to live.

Do that, severely.