It’s been over 9 months since I posted about adding another plate to my rotation. We just finished up conducting our first 5k in Atlanta. It’s also the first ever race that I’ve personally organized. To be clear, I can’t organize anything – my closet, my fridge, my desk, etc. Turns out I can organize if I’m motivated enough. Things I’ve learned (or have been reminded of) along the way:
Ask for Help
I reached out to other local 5k organizers to ask for guidance. They were a wealth of information. One planner in particular told me not to sweat the small stuff. I had his guidance in my head for several months. He made me aware of a great local organization, the Atlanta tool bank. With out the tool bank we would have been scrambling to find affordable tables, garbage bins, megaphone, etc. We also had volunteers from local colleges: Morehouse, Clark Atlanta and Kennesaw State University. Co-workers participated as well. Whether they participated by running/walking or volunteered their time and skills And of course friends showed up. Loaning that last minute gas can or answering the frantic phone call wondering how I got myself into it. It took a village to pull this off.
Ignore the haters
One person I reached out to told me that we’d never get anyone to sign up. He said we’d be one and done. Atlanta was saturated with races and no one would sign up for a cause as enigmatic as “peace”. Turns out he was wrong. :)
One Step in Front of the Other
Along the way I was faced with things I have not done before (ever fill out a 22 page assembly permit?) but I just did each thing the best I could. I found that people were willing to guide as long at they felt I was trying. Each week was another lesson learned and another obstacle climbed.
Trust in your Support System
Others from my organization live outside the state of Georgia. Even though they were remote, they were able to handle many of the to-dos needed for a successful event. From signing up community tables to finding the rock star speaker and even renting the porta-potty. The morning of the event while I was out marking the course, I came back and everything was just magically happening! We divided, conquered and trusted that each other was following through.
Pay it Forward
We had several local 5k's promote our race. They did not treat us as a competitor but as an organization part of a bigger community that was trying to do some good. They helped get the word out via social media and their races all while promoting their own. We will do the same and pay it forward.
Reflecting among these lessons, they are likely solid lessons for current and future leaders. Especially the last lesson.
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