Well, Think Tank is over. Cheryl and I successfully planned a nearly-four-day conference for 70 PD junkies from all over the world. It was hard as hell and fabulous simultaneously. I feel satisfied, which is an unusual state for me. Here's why:
Once I realized that two things were going on concurrently, and that one was perfect, it gave me room to accept the thing that wasn't. You see, the part of this that was most important to me was being a model of courage and follow-through. I nailed that one! The second part, creating a useful, meaningful conference, was imperfect, which it always has been and always will be. I did my part and then had to let go of the results. It is impossible, as we know, to please all the people all the time, and, as Cheryl says, it doesn't have to be perfect to be useful. This is an important, ongoing lesson for me, and Think Tank provided another chance to learn it.
I don't need consolation or reassurances that people loved Think Tank. I feel fine about it, because I walked my talk by doing it at all.
A corollary piece that will benefit me in the future is this: I will enjoy all future Think Tanks more, because I will be coming from a place of compassion instead of complaint. Now that I know how hard it is to do, my whole approach will be different. I will be less critical, more accepting, and more relaxed. I will get down off my high horse and experience the proceedings on a new (horizontal?) level.
It struck me that there's a parallel to parenting here. One of the things we try to teach PD parents is to "step into their child's shoes." When parents have compassion and understanding for children, they more naturally treat them with respect and acceptance. When pains-in-the-ass such as myself have compassion and understanding for the planners of future Think Tanks, they do the same. Both parties will benefit in this case, just as both parents and children do.
I can't say I'm sorry the wild ride of planning and executing Think Tank is over, but I can say I'm glad I did it and I am proud of myself. That's a good feeling.