On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy was at Rice University. The United States and Russia were in the middle of the Cold War, but the Space Race was just starting out. He was speaking to students when he shared these now famous words “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Nothing that we truly want, is ever really easy, isn’t it? It becomes our ‘moonshot,’ our monumental or lofty goal—in other words, a “giant leap.” This week marks the fifth anniversary of our Build IT LIVE event—my ‘moonshot’.  

A little over five years ago, we were setting the stage for ITBD’s Apollo Mission—our very first conference. We put it together in the span of six short months. We had just come home from IT Nation in 2018. We had won numerous awards in recognition of the work we were doing in sharing knowledge with our peers. Partners were telling us that we should host our own event. They believed that the content we put together mattered and made an impact. That got me thinking, can we do it? Build IT LIVE is 100% a team effort, but every monumental goal within an organization requires one person to take the ‘moonshot’. The visionary, the individual with the ideal that yes, we can get this done. 

Firstly, you need validation when you’re trying to do something new. It means a lot to have supporters like my Sunster who said, “Sure, we can do this.” You see, hosting an event is not cheap, so there’s a lot of risk in that. There’s a lot of uncertainty and doubt. Having someone who encourages and uplifts you is key. 

Secondly, I knew nothing about putting together an event so large, but what I did have was resources. And ironically, one of our customers was a meeting planning company @meetingsandincentives. They have been wonderful, all five years. They taught us so much those first few years, from contract negotiations, menu plans, minimums, room pickup—the list goes on and on. They have helped us grow, and all with a gracious smile, as we make mistakes, but we learn. Believe me, we learn. But being able to ask for help, find resources, is a key part of achieving your goals. No one is expecting you to do it yourself. Finding the right people will make the journey a little easier.  

And finally, but most importantly, we need way-in and buy-in from our teams. You see, no ‘moonshot’ is ever done alone. It takes a village. When a goal is so big, and requires so much effort, someone will suffer. You only have so much bandwidth in a day. And if suddenly you start to work on a momentous task, that means there are other parts of your life that won’t get that attention. Hence, others will have to pick up where you left off.  

They also have to commit to the vision and support you in bringing it to life. For us, it’s an organizational effort. From our service leaders sharing all their knowledge, building out templates, our account team speaking to customers, marketing putting together all the collateral, our sales team bringing in sponsors and registrations—our entire organization gets galvanized two months before Build IT LIVE. It encompasses us.  

While some may see this as daunting, we see it as beautiful. Our community working together for one common goal. While Build IT LIVE may be my ‘moonshot’, I alone didn’t reach this success. It took a team. 

I share this with you, because we all need a ‘moonshot’. What is that goal we are striving for? For my Sunster, it’s his book. He just wrote a wonderful book on Talentpreneurshipwhere he shared his learnings. That was his ‘moonshot’ and it took a lot of work. What’s your ‘moonshot’? Don’t be daunted! It can be done. There’s a process for everything: 

  1. Define what the ‘moonshot’ is 
  2. What are the resources that you will need? Time, treasure (money), talent? 
  3. Get way-in and buy-in from the people who will be impacted 
  4. Build your plan 
  5. Execute 
  6. Reflect and learn from the plan 
  7. Make modifications and continue forward 

It’s never done overnight. It took the United States seven years until they finally landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. When Neil Armstrong said, “This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” the words were marked for eternity. It all started with an idea, and one person’s ‘moonshot’. So, what’s yours?