All in all, my lovely samba drumming band pulled all the creativity stops and so did the many others who descended at this year’s Bremen Carnival. We are optimists – Carnival can be just as hot in Northern Germany at the end of January.
Parade morning started with rain, parade evening ended with rain. Feathers and face paints were threatened by the downpour, carefully crafted costumes had to be covered somehow – ponchos and the rest, what a shame! Nevertheless, we drummed, smiled, danced, whooped, performed, entertained and were entertained by others. We had a great time. I think there’s a special energy that comes with preparation – no matter the conditions on launch or performance day, it’ll take a lot to stop the momentum and hold back the enthusiasm.
Same rules apply to any creative or business project:
- Set a date – procrastinators and perfectionists will fall in line when venues have been booked, tickets have been bought, and programmes have been published.
- Partner up – Co-conspirators and supporters will pull you back into the task when your attention or energy is waning. Getting others on board to help you or simply sharing your plan increases the chances of success. Sometimes letting someone else down is much harder than letting oneself down.
- Prepare – Follow the system that works best for you. Pleasure or pain, binge or bit by bit, hopefully with the two factors above, somehow you’ll make it. There are those who jump out of bed at 4.00am and manage to put a dent in the world by daybreak, and then there are the rest of us.
- Rehearse – This is essential. Minimise surprises on the big day as much as possible. Iron out unwieldy issues and be prepared to sacrifice some features even though it may mean that everything will not be perfect. The mercy of deadlines is that you can justify stripping out non-essentials.
- Show up – on the day, let yourself get lost in the buzz and atmosphere, immerse yourself in your surroundings and marvel at other people’s contributions. If you remain in your head too much on d-day, you’ll hear the music, eat the food, play along but miss the party. You’ve done the hard work so try and relax and oh – know that something will not go according to plan, it will rain, the equipment will be late, someone will change their mind or forget something…life will happen. Be flexible and remain excited!
- Put on a show – the adrenaline and relief of getting to the main event will give you the courage and tenacity you didn’t think you had. And remember, at show time, it’s really about your audience, not about you. Give your all for their benefit.
- Be inspired – plan what to do better next time when you are still glowing from your achievement. Notice the term you should focus on is ‘do better’ not ‘what went wrong’. Pat yourself on the back, be positive and take note of the things you’re looking forward to working on to get a better future outcome.