I’m not paid to say No

I can already hear your gasps and assume my life is destined for burnout from the title of this post. It maybe, but this a different type of saying no. I am fully capable of saying no, to the church family that asks me to video their daughter’s wedding. I am talking about being open to new challenges and pushing ourselves to be better.

Last year as we were gearing up for the annual Christmas Concert – A musical extravaganza of sorts (video can be seen here). We sat around a long boardroom style table and planned the Christmas season festivities. I took mountains of notes,  jotting down stage layouts, input lists, and a note to figure out how to have 13 vocalists. Snow machines, low laying fog, and lasers were all discussed and added to the list of things to investigate. At no time during this meeting did I utter the words “No, I can’t do that.”

The task set before me was huge, our biggest hurdle was we had over 60 inputs needed and only a 48 input snake. I had to add several extra audio consoles to sub-mix certain instruments and tie in addition wireless systems. Installed additional software effects processing to enhance some of the cover songs we were doing. Having to also get twenty 50 lbs CO2 tanks, 4 snow machines, and 2 CO2 foggers was the easy part.

Rehearsals started and as we hit a few bumps, associated with trying to get everyone’s monitors sounding right. Our worship leader and creative arts pastor pulled me aside. They were curious where these issues where coming from, and if we were going to be ready. I assured them that we have tech rehearsal before the dress rehearsal to address any of theses bumps. I explained that we were going into uncharted waters of what our equipment could do.

My worship pastor asks, “Why didn’t you just tell us you couldn’t do that in the planning meeting?” I responded, “I’m not paid to say no.” If it is at all possible, I will bend over backwards to make it happen. No ones life was in danger, and I knew with time it would work. I say all this because I think to often we as tech people may become stuck in our ways and not willing to push the boundaries of our gear. When it was all over the Christmas season went off fantastically. The snow machines snowed during silent night, the low-lying fog looked fantastic, and the bands were huge.

When you’re approached with a project that is bigger than you think you can handle, don’t jump to NO. See if there are some creative ways to work it out. You’ll find it can be very rewarding.