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Standing in the Shadows – Avoiding the Spotlight

I don’t care much for birthdays.

This year aside, they have tended to be right up there with New Years Eve as a total anticlimax, and more of a non event than most average days at the office. That said, for my birthday just gone, I was treated like a king by the beautiful @misscallis, and we spent some amazing time together, before I was lucky enough to receive some useful and thoughtful gifts….and   even a cookie monster cake from my sister bought a smile to my face.

Don’t misunderstand, after all who doesn’t like presents, cake and all the attention a birthday brings…?

Well, to the surprise of those who may know me…

And then it got me thinking. Whilst it is odd that someone in the events industry may not like the limelight, or being the centre of attention – a large part of what we do as event organisers, is exactly that, making someone or a group of someones’ look good. How much of the limelight we try and then focus back on ourselves, as the people who managed the “WOW”, leads me to ask;

“Should we stand in the shadows and say nothing, or expect to be recognised for the work we have done?”

It may seem like a simple question to answer – and yet like most things, you would probably hope that there is room for balance. We all work hard, whatever the event, however long we have had to endure difficult clients, or manage one change after another – as you watch the clock tick past midnight… would be more usual than not, to go about your daily business with no one “thanking you for doing your job” – it can sometimes be a little taken for granted.

That said, I genuinely believe that it is very difficult for people to not recognise really great work once they are honest enough to take a look and see just how successful something has been and why. There is a reason someone comes to you for creative inspiration, or to be in charge of their most important days – because they know that you won’t let them down. And maybe therefore, that is the biggest complement of all.

I prefer to do what I know I do well, and just slowly remove myself from the front line – playing ringmaster from afar, as all around me plays out like the finest symphony, and I can then just stand in the corner of the room – make eye contact with the host, and get that comforting nod and smile that says “thank you”. I am not a massive fan of those people who on purpose or otherwise vie for stage presence with the very people whom they are meant to be representing, rather than being able to pull back and get on with the task at hand.

Recently, having gone through stages of creative doubt, and wondering if I had lost the belief of others when they needed to “make it happen”, I had a moment just like this – where I walked away happy, and moving in to the shadows as the end credits rolled. It was a Wednesday night, and I had to leave work at a set time, no leeway for delays. As usual and with half an hour to go, as final touches are being put to an event not my own – I am pulled aside and asked about one space that had been overlooked, and given its part to play in the evening, needed to look stunning…..why it was left out amongst the other madness of the event, was no one’s fault – more a case of thinking that less is more….alas in this case it was not.

And so, with 24 minutes to spare, and little but a few empty vases and some candles, I was able to do what I do best, and pull off a simple, but gorgeous candle lit space, that I know looked great when I left it, and am sure did its job in the “WOW” stakes. The point was more that I was thrilled to have been able to play a part, and it was much less about needing to be thanked for making it happen. Sometimes, you just need to remind yourself of your self worth and ability, in the event those around you don’t know how to. I walked back in to the shadows with a smile on face.


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