Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Time of My Life

We won!

Even with minimum effort on the part of most of the participants (not so much on mine--more on that later), we won! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

In the past, it was a Summit tradition to have a contest among its employees during the Christmas party--best presentation wins. My first one was in 2005, and we placed second, despite having practiced for probably a grand total of three times. The second was the year after that, where I and the rest of the Charmed Ones (Runner's World editor Marie and former Martha Stewart Weddings EIC Tata) conceptualized the 80s-themed performance. We placed first. We were dead set on defending our crown, but alas, for four years, there was literally no contest.

This year, the tradition was revived. But instead of being divided into departments (editorial, production, etc.), we were grouped together randomly. GH was put together with the other women's/kids'/parenting titles, Hand Interactive (our mobile arm), and internal audit.

We barely had two weeks to prepare, and I was the default "leader" (after HR emailed me. Through my personal address. While I was on vacation. I kid you not). I figured the easiest thing to do would be a flash mob. Inspired by the Oprah show, I chose the Black Eyed Peas' "The Time (Dirty Bit)," asked my husband to cut it (because who has the time to learn a five-minute routine?), watched some wedding flash mob videos on YouTube, and set about recruiting people.

It wasn't easy. The most common answer I got was, "I can't dance." We resorted to all sorts of tactics--peer pressure, thinly veiled threats, and even a direct order from the Big Boss. I made four promises to everyone I spoke to:
  1. The choreo was going to be verrrry easy, a modified LA Walk (a number of them asked me to demonstrate, and I had to make up steps on the spot).
  2. They only had to practice once.
  3. They could learn it in 15 minutes.
  4. I would make myself available whenever they wanted to learn the steps.
I was gunning for at least 30 people, but in the end, got about 40 (although about five of them weren't able to perform for various reasons), and probably taught the steps around seven times to as many different groups of people. (P.S. I also had to mix the music. Haha.)

I am incredibly grateful to those who helped out--OK!'s Kabbie, who came up with a Powerpoint presentation detailing costume options for those in the main group of performers; Cosmo's Camyl, who was supposed to be a co-leader but couldn't perform, so she took care of logistics instead; OK!'s Red and Cosmo's Paula, who took care of the party poppers; Marie, who absorbed some of my stress; all the others who taught the steps to their friends!

The result is this:

I was obviously pumped up. Har. Cosmo's Irish does an awesome imitation of me! What can I say--the cheerleader in me came alive!

Other groups played instruments and all that (although we were the only group out of five that didn't use the whole Victoria's Secret-"Moves Like Jagger" concept!), but I guess we had the most energy (plus Myrza Sison!). Our performance wasn't perfect, but we had fun, and I think it showed.

The win gave me something more than just a cash prize and bragging rights. At the end of the night, as I rested at home and worried about my disappearing voice, I thought about what this experience taught me. (I rarely do big confessions here, but here goes...)

See, the past few weeks haven't been easy for me. They've been full of self-doubt and a lot of fear. I was questioning many of my decisions, and even my abilities. I lost the vigor I once had, and kept thinking if I was good enough at what I do. I'll spare you the ugly details, but essentially, I was living under this cloud of insecurity, and I felt like I was too drained to face it head on.

It might seem kind of shallow, but this performance, this win, made me realize that I am still capable of doing great things. If I take charge, don't let anybody compromise my vision, put in the hard work, and have a wonderful team behind me, I can produce something spectacular.

This experience gave me back my confidence and my drive. What a priceless Christmas gift! Whenever I see those clouds rushing in, I'll go back to this moment. And maybe even do that modified LA Walk, just to remind me.


  1. OMG! I can't believe you had Myrza in your team, and Reggie and Mimi Tiu too! :) So cool. And Marie is always, always cool. :)

    I miss my Summit days. :)

    Happy Christmas!

  2. Yup, Myrza was our secret weapon.:)


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