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Putting the pieces together

Is building a bike like organising an event?

When this arrived last Monday, I knew it meant I would lose my other half for a few days very soon...

a few days very soon...
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He's a keen cyclist you see, in fact all things bike related – he currently owns two mountain bikes (MTB), one road bike and a motorbike plus the parts to build a single speed. That's the next project so I'm told.

So this weekend, in the frosty garden, there he was – in shorts of course – taking great care to replace the frame on one of the MTB's, checking and cleaning each part of the bike one by one, inspecting for damage to ensure one bad part didn't impact the end result.

And as I watched him (from the comfort of the sofa in the warm) it brought me to thinking about how building or creating something, no matter what that something is, requires the same thought and planning from the outset to the end. You need to know where you're going, what your outcome is – what will it look like, feel like, what purpose will it serve, how you will know when it's complete.

So, whilst he's building a bicycle from nondescript parts, he always knows that they're part of a bicycle – the bigger picture. If he were to come and show me a "headset" or a "hub" then I doubt I'd even know they were bicycle parts; let alone where or how they might fit onto the new frame!

It's the same with lots of things in life. A piece of a jigsaw puzzle is no good without the overall picture. Eggs, flour, butter & sugar don't look anything like a baked cake. A couple of balls of wool look nothing like the jumper you knit for a loved one.

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If you were to compare any of these things, but specifically (getting back to my initial point) the building of the bike this weekend, to organising an event, then you would find that the same bigger picture mentality is in place. An event needs a story, a message. And even before you have designs and floor plans and people and paperwork, you need an idea of what it is that you're trying to tell people – a framework for your end result and how your guests will walk away feeling.

I know that ultimately, the point of the bike for my other half is the feeling of freedom when he's riding it. Whereas for you and I the point of an event is to make sure that your guests are able to leave with the feeling you've planned for them. If you know this, you know where you're going, what the bigger picture is, then there's no reason your events shouldn't fly just the same way I'm told the MTB will fly down the hills!

Written by: Jayne McFahn