Our students pulled out all of the stops this year and rented a giant screen and 7000 lumen projector from the City of Meridian. They bought a powerful FM transmitter and transformed the parking lot of the Johnson Sports Center into a Drive-In Movie. It was awesome.
Until the weather turned windy and rainy.
The rain kept us from running the projector (water on the lens is a BAD thing). The wind turned the screen into a giant sail.
So we had to go with Plan B. We moved everyone into the Johnson Sports Center – into the field house – and showed the movie on the wall. Still a fun experience. But not what we had hoped for.
At the end of the night, all of the students had a great time and it was a good event. But our student leaders had to deal with the disappointment of uncontrollable circumstances. The truth is…you can’t control the weather. There will always be circumstances beyond your control.
The good news is there are aspects of leadership that ARE under your control…
- You can control your attitude. Our student leaders worked through their disappointment and kept on working. They did everything they could to help the event reach it’s ultimate outcome – to build community amongst the students. They chose to keep smiles on their faces and keep their options open.
- You can control your preparation. The event was so well-organized. There were a lot of people who were prepared to help out. When we had to go to Plan B, it was a quick and seamless transition. The only reason we could pull off Plan B was because the event was so well-prepared for Plan A.
- You can control your enthusiasm. While this is similar to attitude, it is easy to be a little less excited when things don’t go as planned. As we transitioned to the Johnson Sports Center, people were holding doors open for students and cheering when they walked through their door. The energy level remained high. I think some of our students enjoyed the event because our student leaders continue to show that this thing was going to be fun no matter where it was held.
- You can control your response. As it became apparent that the weather was going to shut us down, our student leaders began to think about what else could be done. They moved into problem-solving mode. Some people move into giving-up mode or complain-about-the-weather mode. When bad weather strikes, a leader has an opportunity to be a thermometer or thermostat. A thermometer will simply react and reflect the bad weather. But our student leaders didn’t let the bad weather determine their own temperature. They didn’t let the bad weather dampen their own spirits. They responded with a better idea and kept the event alive and successful.
- You can control the goal. For some people looking at this event from the outside, it might appear that it was a failure because we weren’t able to pull off the Drive-In Movie. But the Drive-In Movie was simply a means to a greater end. The goal was to create an event that built community. Yes, it would have been cool to do a Drive-In Movie. But we achieved the greater goal – people spent time with people. People got to know other people. We accomplished what we set off to accomplish. We just took a slightly different route.
There will always be unforeseen circumstances. Dr. Laura Schlessinger said, “The people and circumstances around me do not make me what I am, they reveal who I am.”
If you experience some unforeseen circumstances (some bad weather) in your life, take a moment and reflect on what this experience reveals about who you are.