Why Did It Require Four Takes?

Why Did it Require Four “Takes” for me to Successfully Read the Ending of the Grateful Leadership On Demand Course in the TV Studio?

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Let me begin the New Year with an ending. It was the ending of the Grateful Leadership Video Interactive On Demand 6-Hour Course. I had worked on the course for months in order to get it ready to offer as a “giveaway” to all attendees of IIL’s International Project Management Day 2015 Conference. 15,000 people had registered for the Conference, and of these 3,878 people (by the latest count), had signed up for my course. I was thrilled and nervous. We were working feverishly to complete the all-video, highly interactive course in time for the launch date of the conference, November 5th. I had been in the studio for three consecutive days, and there was still a lot of editing, video inserts to put in, etc. to follow, in order for it to be up and running.

It all went amazingly smoothly, and I in spite of my highly self-critical nature, I was pretty happy with the results. And then I got to the end of the taping session: the conclusion of the course. The words were simple, and came directly from my heart. They read:

“So we conclude this presentation by telling you to GO GRATEFUL! Have the courage to learn, the vision to lead, and the passion to grow.  

As you bring this initiative to your teams, to your management, to your janitors and washroom attendants, your customers, your suppliers, to your families, your friends, your governments and to your communities, you will make a huge difference. And the world will be better for it. Thanks for being with us for Grateful Leadership! I’m grateful to you for being here. I’m Judy Umlas.” 

During Take 1, I started sniffling in the middle of the last paragraph. “Cut!” yelled the normally very patient and supportive producer. And we started Take 2. Same deal. I couldn’t get through the words without weeping. Why, I asked myself, was this happening? And then I realized what it was: these words encompassed my vision for the world – how I truly wanted it to be. How IIL had so generously supported this mission for the past decade! How I saw that it actually COULD be, and I was moved – yes, moved to tears by the possibility I was putting into language. It was my intention to have this initiative change the world!

Take three– same deal. And finally the cameraman with a huge heart said, when I finished that take, tears and all: “Why don’t we go with that one? It’s real, it’s honest, and it’s you!” I agreed… and I didn’t. I summoned up my strength and said, “Let’s keep those takes but also get one that is just as heartfelt, but less emotional. Some people might be put off by what they consider to be too great a display of feelings.” And since my ultimate goal was to expose and promulgate this message to the world, I did not want to take the chance of turning anyone away. So I did it again, this time with the help of a no-nonsense production manager who firmly said I needed to get this version done, and that was it! Once completed, it was decided that we would go with this less emotional version, but I always kind of wondered which one was the right one.

Well, judging from the response we got, I know the ending we went with worked just fine. So on Day 1 (the launch) of the conference, which started at 9:00 am in North America, I was anxiously waiting to see if anyone would even sign up for this course. At 8:57 am I got this message:

“I just sent a note (actually before you go to the point where you asked for one) to a person who mans the front desk at our IT facility.  This woman is amazing and so positive. And she is the first face everyone sees when they arrive at the building. I have known her for years, but always took for granted what she provided for every individual entering the building. 

This course is amazing as it brings to our consciousness what we really ought to do every day.  Interestingly enough, I have a person who I find it more difficult to give this type of acknowledgment too, and I think I am going to try to send it to that person as well.”

I nearly jumped for joy! The IPMDay conference had not even officially yet begun in North America, and here was a woman writing to me from a huge company from Israel, who was already on Module 4 of the 5 module course. And that was just the beginning.

I am so incredibly grateful to all of the close to 4,000 people who have actively participated in the course, who have done the exercises and sent them to my email address – an option that was offered. And over the holidays, when I was sitting at my desk crying and my husband walked in, he asked with concern what was wrong. I sniffled and then explained about the slew of emails saying how great the course was, and how people were already putting it to use.

So now here’s a message for all of you who have taken the course (the rest of you can still sign up for IPMDay, and have access to this Grateful Leadership course as well as all of the presentations until the access period ends on February 3rd). So many of you have written, and I tried at first to send a note to each one of you, but couldn’t keep up. The outpouring tells me that the world is truly ready for this message, and is wanting to put it into action.

So as a result of your incredibly active participation in this course, I am now working on a proposal to have IIL develop a whole community for the Grateful Leadership initiative (the preliminary feedback is positive) and for the people who are embracing this powerful message. I welcome your ideas and suggestions for making it as active and transformational a community as we can.

So now I will admit, even though we went with the less “emotional” version of the ending to my course, that you all both deeply move me and inspire me every day with your actions and your courage! I will be sharing some of the stories you have shared with me (with permission, of course) with our newly emerging “Grateful Leadership Community.” And I am incredibly grateful for all of your active participation.

May it be a great New Year for all!