The Event Chronicles: If She’s IN, We’re OUT.

I plan events. It’s become a part of my DNA. I live events. I breathe events.


My family knows this.


My friends know this.


Everyone knows this.


I DO events.


So, for my mother’s 50th birthday celebration, she wants to celebrate in a BIG way. She would like to do a formal dinner followed by dancing. She wants a mix of textured linens and flowers and she wants to set the mood with fun lighting. She wants party favors and a cool D.J. She wants the whole nine.


One day she threw out ideas in front of my other mom and my sister. Everyone was very excited to contribute their own ideas to my mother’s party plans. I even threw in an idea or two.


My mother said she wanted me to lead the party planning efforts.


Immediately, my mom and sister sat up in their respective seats and said: “Ashley’s doing the planning? If she’s leading the planning process, then I can’t participate. I can’t do it. If she’s in, we’re out!”




Why was this their chosen response? I’ll tell you why. I have a reputation for being high strung and demanding and anal and overbearing and controlling. I’m obsessed with putting together the BEST possible events for my clients. If I planned a birthday party for my mother, she’d be my client. And if I’m doing the event, then it has to be extraordinary. I strive for excellence.


I don’t mean to be so overbearing during the event planning and execution process. But I can’t help it. However, I am sure there is another way to behave. I’m pledge to become a more collaborative leader. I’m working on it. I promise I am. Hopefully, you folks who are reading this will learn from me.


The lesson? Don’t be a nightmare.


It pays to act like a dream. In this case, I was prepared to work with friends and family to accomplish a goal. But unfortunately for me, they’d been privy to the way in which I handle events and it was incredibly unappealing to them – not because I do a bad job; I am marvelous at what I do. It’s because I’m an anal, obsessive control freak who doesn’t listen to others. I am extraordinarily organized, top-down, commanding and demanding – all things you need to be to pull together large-scale events. But the opposite of what you need to be to work in a collaborative, family-oriented environment.


About The Event Chronicles

The events and lessons described in The Event Chronicles are the hilarious/scary/confusing/heartbreaking/bizarre encounters Ashley Northington has experienced throughout her career as a communications professional. She shares those encounters here with the hope that you will learn from her many mistakes.

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