Sparks Fly Miles High

By: Jessica Simon


I’ve always been somewhat of a risk-taker, from when I was a small child sneaking onto “big kid” roller coaster rides (albeit standing on my tippy toes hoping the ride attendant wouldn’t notice) to planning adventure travel trips as an adult to remote places like elephant nature parks in the forests of central Thailand. I think that’s why I fell in love with this crazy business of event production and gathering planning. No day is the same, and that’s what makes me excited to dive into the work week.

Exploration.

Self-Discovery.

Finding Creative Solutions.

Passion for Gatherings.

Good Fun.

These are some of the words and phrases that popped into my head as I reflected on why I chose to join the ember team. Although I would rank them all fairly equally as motivators, I have to say that the first one really keeps me on my toes, which brings me to share one of my favorite quotes that has always resonated with me:

If you think ADVENTURE is Dangerous, Try Routine. It is LETHAL.
— Paul Coelho, author of The Alchemist
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My passion for adventure definitely drew me to my position at ember, since it is certainly an organization that pushes the limits of creativity, imagination, and goes beyond just “thinking outside the box”. But, being a self-proclaimed perfectionist in addition to being a risk-taker, I wanted to make sure that my first few weeks on the job were successful (as any new employee does) and that I did everything to ensure that the team here could count on me to be the best that I can be. This involved a lot of training – essentially learning the “ember way”.

It was about two weeks into my first month at ember when I realized that I was stuck on a project, overthinking it and wanting it to be “perfect”. On the plane ride back home after my first ember trip which consisted of three days of site visits and planning meetings for an upcoming May conference, I began drafting my first ember “Daily Update” while listening to bits and pieces of the film Bohemian Rhapsody playing in the background. For those reading this who are unfamiliar with this part of the ember process, the “Daily Update” is a way for team members who are on the road conducting site visits, client meetings or on-site programs to stay connected with the rest of the ember team.

Still unsure how to proceed with the format & content of this, even though the task was sort of a no-brainer and could be as simple as a one-paragraph summary, I was anxious to scroll through previous “Daily Updates” written by the team in order to make sure I was doing it “right”. Was there a formula for this, I wondered? And then I heard it…

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Formulas are a complete and utter waste of time.

After Freddy Mercury, played by the talented Rami Malak, spoke this line something just clicked. I realized I could approach this assignment however I wanted. Some formulas are necessary of course, especially the ones that work (I mean, when something isn’t broken why try to fix it, right?). But then I started reflecting on how I got here as I wanted to stay true to myself and show a piece of my own style while writing this summary for the team.

I realized that it’s okay to break from routine once in a while, and it reminded me that it’s encouraged at ember! The risk-taker in me was not only excited to put my own spin on this project but it had me brainstorming ways to transform more of the projects I will “own” in a way that is both the ember-way and the Jessica-way.

Inspiration is all around us and this quote by Mercury ignited a spark that drove me to proceed in the style I knew best – mine.

Mindy Wright