In my internship, a big portion of the work that the firm executes involves planning fundraising events. These events are a major aspect of the campaign fundraising process, for big-dollar donors who are members of PACs want to hear the agenda of the candidate and ask questions about the policies and agenda of the candidate that relate to their own work. These are highly-exclusive, high-steaks events that set a precedent of the status of the relationships between the donors and not only the particular candidate, but the entire firm that oversees many different candidates. Essentially, these events are crucial in the upkeep of the firm, because they are the most public display of the efforts that the firm is making overall.
This week, I was able to see the emphasis that they place on the events, and what happens when things go awry. Part of my job consists of assisting with some of these events. I went to one this Wednesday, in which one of the firm’s more important clients had an event. Immediately, my boss was worried that things were not working out. The event space was a small room and was not accommodating for the amount of people, and did not provide a good atmosphere for conversing. Other than a few small mishaps, such as the food being served later than planned, I personally did not think that the event went poorly, but my boss was terrified that her superior,was going to be upset at how the event transpired. I realized, in the moment, how much things of this nature are uncontrollable. No matter how much one plans for an event, presentation, meeting, project, or initiative, something will inevitably go wrong. To “solve” this problem, I have realized that instead of attempting to control the smaller details, it may be better to cast those aside and ask big-picture questions. From this experience, I know that the event overall went well, but I would ask: “What will people take away from this event? What can I do to minimize the overall negatives that I am seeing?” instead of focusing on the minute details and obstacles. And when there is nothing that one can do, I have realized letting the ideal situation go and instead focusing on the positive and what can be changed and corrected is the best mindset to have. The notion of “having everything under control” is elusive and somewhat myth, especially in this field where there are always last-minute changes, since politicians have such unpredictable schedules, and letting go of an idealized, somewhat unrealistic goal may allow for more agency overall.