Today was a rough day. It isn’t now. But it definitely was black for a while.
It started out way too early.
Being jetlagged after our trip to the US, I wasn’t really able to sleep a full night. Waking at 5 am and finding out that we’d made a communications fuckup didn’t help. At 7, I gave up and got up, packed my bag for the evening’s trip to Iceland, kissed Marie goodbye and left for the office.
It’s no secret that our company isn’t in the best place financially right now. We’ve grown tremendously in the last couple of years (going from five to twenty-two) and the things we do now, I wouldn’t even have dreamed of five years ago. But it hasn’t come without a cost, and that’s left us at a crossroads.
Either, we find a way out of the hole, or we need to make major changes and start closing some of those doors that have suddenly opened. It’s nothing like those people who have to make hundred-million-dollar decisions or watch companions die if they make mistakes – but it’s still not pleasant responsibility to sit with.
And there’s no denying that I’m the one who took us here. I drove the car over the edge of the cliff, yelling “It’s going to work! Trust me on this one!”. Then I set the car on fire mid-flight and yelled that we could still make it by pouring rocket fuel directly into the engine.
The thing is, that we still can. We’re nowhere near panic time, and we are loaded with options, resources and power. We’re (by some counts at least!) the world’s biggest larp production company and we’re doing wild stuff, after all. We’re pushing the envelope and the future is bright and full of more than terrors.
But that doesn’t change that this morning, I looked at the numbers and they were not good. I tried to look at them conservatively and thought worst-case thoughts. And it stopped me cold in my tracks. Because worst-case was bad. Really bad.
Worst-case would mean crashing and burning. It would mean the bumblebee could fly no more, and it was impossible to deny that reality. I played around with possible scenarios, solutions and plans for “what if it goes like this?”. And I was stuck, staring at the screen and doing my best not to give in to despair.
Sure, I got some work done. We did some much needed dropbox maintenance. I transferred money to people who needed it (we’re in the shitter, but that doesn’t mean we’re broke – we just will be at some point if it stays dark). I smiled at seeing my blog on fun-shaming get shared again and again.
I was even smart enough to treat myself to some nice greasy food (melted cheese on bread, yes, please!) and take care of some small tasks so I could feel I got something done.
Rationally, I knew that there was plenty I could do. I hold no false modesty about my own resourcefulness, and I have an amazing team of awesome people. This was not a do-or-die moment. It was rational-planning-the-face-of-adversity moment.
Still, it wasn’t me who broke the spell.
It was other people.
It was a mail popping up in my inbox, with greetings and hopeful words about a project that we’re working on, and that may turn out to be our wildest yet. By magnitudes.
It was Paul, who had been poking around making a multi-pronged social media campaign to get some more tickets sold for our CoW: The Challenge larp in May.
It was Jukka, who saw that we were trying to push a picture on 9gag, and wrote “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
It was some of our freelance crew, that came into the office and were full of energy and pepp for the job they were going out on. Something with 180 swords, I think. What’s not to like?
It was Sofie, who told me to stay out of the Danish part of our company facebook, because she had a strategy she was setting into motion.
It was Marie, who even though she wasn’t there, was just a phonecall away if I needed to unload. She wouldn’t have solutions, but she wouldn have sympathy, and knowing that comforts.
It was Edin, who came in and helped with numbers and grinned and joked about capitalist frogs and shared my liking for elegant lump solutions.
It was Mark, who put on music I liked and who said that our removing some of his responsibilities had meant that he’d been getting a lot done, and was emptying his piles.
It was other Dziobak people, who put a travel picture up from their way towards Iceland, where we’ll be for the next couple of days.
It was a lot of people doing a lot of things reminding me that we’re nowhere near out of thr fight, and that just because things look grim right now, there’s no reason to be afraid of worst-case.
We have so many opportunities out there, that planning for worst-case is just as unrealistic as planning for best-case. Some of the things we’re working on to move forward will happen. Just because we don’t know which ones doesn’t mean we need to distrust the future.
That was many hours ago, and once I regained my zen, I hit my normal stride. I got work done on a book. I laid an ambitious plan for raising awareness with Paul. I smiled as a friend put the fun-shaming blog entry on Huffington Post. I put some things in motion and I had ideas. I also ate some more cheese (of course). Most importantly, I felt my drive returning full throttle, and if there’s one thing that makes me who I am, it’s my drive.
The world was just as bad as it had been some hours before, but I was now better.
It’s now 23.17 Danish time.
I’ve just landed in Keflavik Airport. It’s going to be an excellent evening and a fantastic couple of days. There’s still a chance that the car will explode in mid-air or crash when it hits the ground on the other side. But my worry is much reduced. Because if I find myself paralyzed at the wheel without ideas for how to deal with this flaming vehicle hurtling through the air, that’s ok.
There are plenty of others in it with me, whose yells of “Hand me the Dziobak Vodka! We can pour that in the tank!” and “I’ve built a rocket booster! I don’t know if it’ll work, but plug it in! What could possibly go wrong!?” will wake me from my inward-facing dark introspection and get me back in the game.
An old tale that I like ends with the words:
“And the horse might learn to sing.”
Our story isn’t ending any time soon, but if the horse is onboard, it might just sprout wings.
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