What we’re grateful for: Overcoming obstacles to find the good

Posted on November 29, 2022

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By Mike Murphy 

In the final installment of our gratitude series, we present to you some words of wisdom from our Executive Vice President and Co-Owner, Mike Murphy who has an annual Thanksgiving tradition of sharing his words with our team, and this year we’d like to share a version of that with you all. Happy reading! 

I’m closer to 70 than 60 now. I’m as old as I’ve ever been and as young as I’ll ever be. Good words that sound like a country song and probably are. Looking back, I have been lucky. Except for a few jobs, I had as a youngster—working in a freezing Omaha graveyard or hanging insulation in a newly constructed house, the kind of things you do to just trade your time for money—I have never had a job I didn’t like. Most of them over the last 50 years or so I’ve loved. They were fulfilling to me in some way or another, and one changed my career course for good. I’ve been able to see the world and make lifelong friends through my work.  

Just so we’re clear, that doesn’t mean that every minute of every day on those jobs was enjoyable. To this day there are times when I feel like I’m kicking my own butt just to get to the end of the day. Early mornings, late nights, flights, time zone changes, rain, cold, heat, blizzards in May, mud, wind, bad knees, sandstorms at load-out, bugs, and snakes in MuckFest pools. But what’s not to like? It is what it is. C’est la vie, that’s life. Adapt, survive it, and move on. And be sure to live it up a bit while you do the moving on. The Navy Seals have a saying, “No easy days. The only easy day was yesterday.” I think that’s probably true for most people if they are really engaged in their work. 

No easy days. But even the hardest days have an end and an upside. But it’s not the miserable that you remember years later. It’s overcoming the miserable that you remember and cherish. I’ve had more laughs, made more friends, had more serious conversations, formed more made-up cuss words and been the recipient of more lifelong learnings from challenges than anything else over the years. 

A long time ago, when I had a resume, under that “personal interests” area at the end where you’d say something droll like “I like to ski or sing karaoke or crochet with my cat on my shoulders,” mine said, “Maintains a reputation for calmly overcoming obstacles despite conditions.” I’m not sure where that line came from, and to be honest it might have been more accurate to have inserted “sometimes” before the word calmly. This is because I have on occasion lost my cool, but I decided to leave that out. On those rare occasions where I do lose it, I’m not necessarily proud of it afterward. But sometimes it works out. 

Anyway, I’m convinced that one line about overcoming obstacles got me more work as an adult than anything else in the resume. I believe we all want to like the people who choose to accept a challenge. We root for them to succeed. We want to support them. We always wish for the underdog to win. Some while back I heard a phrase that stuck. It went something like this, “While you can’t always determine the final outcome, you can almost always affect the process, thus driving the outcome to be the one desired.” Reputation is a history of outcomes, and reputation matters. A good one is hard to get and easy to lose. 

2022 will go down in history as the year we all got to peek out from behind our Covid masks and see if we were going to make it. I hope we NEVER again have to draw chalk squares on the ground to have an event. It will also be the year that our company produced more events, in less time, with fewer people than we ever have before. One hundred and five of them to be exact. I’ve said it before that we are a company of nice people. We also, whether we know it or not, intrinsically understand the Law of Reciprocity. Go a little further. Do a little more. Be a little better and it will come back to you times ten. I’m also proud of our reputation for being willing to take on HARD. Hard is what we do. We thrive on it. It’s the hard things we do that define us and make us valuable to others. No easy days. And hopefully, that work is fulfilling for us. 

In 20 years, we have produced well over 500 events. Big ones, little ones, and historic ones. We also have nearly 750 alumni. Many were planned short-timers, hired for individual events or tours. Some left because the work or travel no longer fit with their lifestyle. Some found another team member who turned out to be the love of their life, got married, had kids, and moved on with their lives. No matter their reason, most importantly, they’re still family. 

Some of our team is relatively new. Some of them have been with us for 20 years. But for everyone, there is no doubt about it… this year was epic hard work. Complete with abundant obstacles and challenges. I know next year will also be challenging, but some percentage easier because of the learnings from this year. At the end of the day, I hope that when we all take a moment to just breathe we see a bigger picture and absorb the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment that our team, in partnership with our clients, participants and vendors, created. We have all done so much for people we don’t even know. We take pride in it and hope you take a moment to appreciate all you’ve done this year too.  

For this year, I’m seriously grateful for what 2022 has turned out to be. After the turds that 2020 and 2021 were, we all deserve a bit of sunshine. Plus some. Thank you to all of you for being a part of this and coming along for the ride. We cherish the amazing partnerships we have with our clients and have created some incredible magic along the way. Cheers to all! 

To read all posts in our gratitude series, click here

Mike Murphy
Mike Murphy draws upon more than 26 years of concert and corporate special events production experience to create spectacularly creative experiences for our Event 360 clients. A co-founder of Event 360, Mike is an Emmy Award-winning professional who has developed brand-building events, product launches and tours worldwide. As the Line Producer and Director of Special Events for a major movie studio, Mike took film premieres to a new level through extravaganzas in the New Orleans Superdome, the Rose Bowl, aboard the U.S.S. John C. Stennis aircraft carrier and numerous other improbable but spectacular film venues. Mike’s other key achievements include the production of a Papal Mass in Denver for 500,000 attendees and tour management and production for Harry Connick, Jr., 10,000 Maniacs and numerous other internationally known touring artists with music.


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