Back in high school, I was part of student leadership but (as I also described a bit in Life Raft) I also did some work as part of the regional student leadership group as part of CASC.

We put on a fall conference that was sort of your standard team building / workshop / motivational speaker kind of thing. As the resident graphic design guy for the group (from my journalism experience), I spent the evening with my buddy Mike making some nice name tags for all the attendees but it was about 2am before we were able to drive down with them to Monterey, where the conference was. We were tired, and hoping to get to sleep quickly.

So when we pulled up and saw most of the team screaming at each other outside the hotel, we were like, “what the shit?”. Over the next hour or so, hotel staff, the motivational speaker and other previously sleeping members of our group continued to yell and grumble while Mike and I maintained our incredulity.

In the end, the conference got done regardless. I had no sleep, but some very interesting and enlightening conversations with people in highly emotional states, trying to both understand them and kind of talk them down.

It was a good lession about control – even if I had been there, the interpersonal forces at work were too powerful to have any measure of introduced control be effective. It’s something I struggle to apply in my life sometimes – understanding that despite my best efforts, some things are outside my control.