Monday, March 2, 2009

The show must go on...

I'm as sick as a dog. Not sure why we say that-- I've never seen a sick mutt. But I am sick with a fever, stopped up head, and laryngitis. Normally, that's enough to knock me out for a few days and keep me home resting in bed. This time I couldn't. ASGA's New York City Student Government Training Conference was last Saturday.

Instead of nursing my fever, I was boarding a plane in Orlando to JFK airport. Instead of sipping soothing chicken soup, I was setting up ASGA's registration area for the conference at Pace University. Instead of sleeping in, I was watching the clock for my 6:30 a.m. wake up to get to the campus Saturday morning.

I kept thinking to myself-- just a few more hours. Just a few more hours. Then you can rest.

I had four workshops to present, as well as being the host, registering attendees, and setting up/tearing down the ASGA materials that we lug to and from every conference. Normally, this alone is exhausting work. But combined with the cold, it was a killer. I've never been so tired after a conference. My voice was shot-- is shot. My feet were swollen and blistered (new shoes, big mistake).

But I dug in and coaxed a few hours out of my sick vocal chords and weakened body. In fact, no one would have known I was sick if my voice weren't so raspy.

It's difficult to be your best when you're sick, tired, cranky, depressed, disappointed, or discouraged. But one of the many signs of a great leader is being a professional when it's not "convenient." This is what I'm trying to model. And this trip, that was hard.

In fact, we've produced close to 50 conferences now and this past weekend's was the hardest and most taxing I've ever done. It was hard to be a professional this time.