Something that many folks who know me, know about me, is that I tend to have a habit of rushing in where angels fear to tread. Call it blind optimism, call it stupidity, but whenever there is a need, I rarely think about the consequences and blast headfirst into getting involved, in order to help out.
The words “how hard could it be?” are something I regularly say to myself.
In 2016, after I discovered and officially became part of the WordPress community, I was asked if I’d be interested in helping to organize WordPress Cape Town meetups. I didn’t know what a meetup was, or how it worked but, how hard could it be?
Later that year, on a 1 and a half hour flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg, for the first WordCamp in that city, I was asked if I’d be interested in replacing the current WordCamp Cape Town lead organizer, who had to step down. I’d applied to lead in 2018, and therefore was planning on being part of the 2017 team, so I could learn the ropes. It meant I’d go from zero experience to leading the organizing team, and I’d never organized a large community conference in my life but, how hard could it be?
Last year, when the local PHP Cape Town meetup organizer had to step down due to moving to another country, he reached out to me and another member of our community to take over the meetup. I was already an experienced WordPress Cape Town meetup organizer, and I had someone who was helping me this time so, how hard could it be?
At the end of 2019, after offering to write a post for this very blog, I was asked if I’d be interested in helping to organize it. I had no idea what went into organizing/planning a yearly series of blog posts, every day, for the first 24 days of the month but, how hard could it be?
In case you’re wondering, the answer to all those questions was, pretty damn hard!
Because not everyone is like me. Not everyone rushes in where angels fear to tread and has time to speak at a meetup/help organize a conference/write a post for a blog in a short space of time.
And that’s ok. Those of us crazy/stupid/willing to do this will keep doing it. And those who aren’t, are very probably way better off for not doing it, and I respect them for it. And in every community, there are those who want to volunteer and those who don’t, and that’s ok too. Neither group should vilify the other for doing what’s right for them.
If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that my involvement in the various communities I belong to is vital to keeping me sane, and I do it because I want to, not because I have to.
What I need to start remembering is that it’s always harder than it looks.