At some point in my life, I ran a coworking business. Part of it consisted in renting the venue for events. You may be surprised, but a coworking business usually gets more than 30% of its income from events, sometimes up to 50%.
One day, I received a request for quote for quite a big gathering, involving about 100 people. I sent the quote and the client answered back almost instantly. First question was if I can give a discount, and second, if his mom can sign the contract. As you can imagine, I was baffled, so I asked for more details. Turned out the client was only 16, so, being underaged, couldn’t sign contracts, and that was his first event ever. This was happening 6 years ago and it was the best period of that business (it all went South soon after that).
I ended up giving the venue for free, with the promise that sometimes, in the future, he will find a way to pay for other events. I also got to meet the kid, signed the contract and the event was an amazing success. But more on that a bit later.
Like I said, that business eventually failed. It was a mix of stubbornness (from my part), bad luck, dysfunctional partnerships, underfunding and political events that eventually led to an abrupt end of that thing. It all ended up in 24 hours, actually, I had to throw out my customers, because I couldn’t pay rent. It was intense. That day was the beginning of a completely new stage in my life. One more responsible, extremely difficult in the following year, but unfathomably enjoyable after that.
Witnessing One Of Your Own Ripples
Fast forward 6 years, to the present day. Yesterday I received a notification from LinkedIn, telling that the 16 year old teen from 6 years ago (who must be 22 now) mentioned me in a post. I opened the post and I found this:
When I was 16 years old I was dreaming of organizing an event for my community.
I still remember how much I loved a big venue in Bucharest, Romania, and was dreaming that one day I’d be the one hosting an event there.
My life changed when I decided to take a leap and try to rent it, even though I had no money and I was underage (meaning I couldn’t sign a contract).
I contacted Dragos Roua through Facebook and shared my vision with him. When it came time for the contract signing, I asked him if my mother could sign instead of me.
That is when he realized he was talking to a kid but instead of backing out of the offer, he was even more excited to be part of my dream.
That day changed my life.
My very first event was in my dream venue and I will treasure that memory and feeling of empowerment for years to come.
Now, I am taking my passion for bringing people together through events to the next level.
That kid is doing great. He is organizing events at a completely different scale, after studying abroad and enlarging his social circle on a few continents.
And that’s what a ripple is.
Every action we perform generates consequences, just like a stone thrown into water creates ripples. It happens continuously, all the time, whether we realize it or not, whether we accept it or not. We’re constantly generating ripples and, most of the time, they’re lost in the ocean, mixed with the ripples of other swimmers.
We’re not always fortunate to recognize one of our own ripples coming back at us, so I’m grateful to witness this one.
We’re way too often focused only one the ripples that we attach to, identifying only those resembling them, forgetting that we’re so feeble and limited that we cannot comprehend all the consequences that we generate. In this case, I was too focused only on the failure of that business, only on how the ripples of my own actions generated that dead end, while forgetting all the other rocks I threw in the water. Yes, the business failed and it was my responsibility to stop it before hitting the ground (or at least try to attenuate the impact a little). But that doesn’t meant everything I did was wrong.
Turns out that some of the rocks I threw are still making ripples, moving people, improving lives and propagating a message of hope.
Will focus more on those from now on.