Since I was a boy, I always dreamed of parachuting and this crazy free fall from sky to earth. Do You still remember Google IO 2012 Opening keynote where they did a great google glass demo ?! I do, and for the past 5 years I watched it from time to time till the day I jumped from a plane as well.
On the other side, I'm a community guy and I love community stuff. I like this late working days meetups to discuss some hot developer topics, the long argumentations around Pizza, the pics and tweets during the meetup, the smiley goodbyes until the next meetups ... Amazing, isn't ?!
I've been member of Morocco JUG around 2012 and quickly found myself inspired by the leaders and took them as idols. Since then, I co-leaded the Morocco JUG with Badr and Faissal, started Docker Morocco Community and lately Developer Circle Casablanca.
In this post, I tried to combine my 2 passions and see what they've in common and discuss what they share in term of experience.
1. Thinking [seriously] about it!
So one you just opened youtube and typed skydiving on the search bar. You're blown by the experience and you already started imagining yourself flying with all the joy and happiness around you. You start dreaming from time to time about it and looking for nearby and affordable deals near you. You talk to your closest friends about it and they say: "Whaaat! you lost your mind?! It's risky and if a small thing went wrong you're not only dead, but you'll be in millions pieces".
So you went to that first meetup, you came late and the presentation has already started, you find some familiar community faces that you're following on twitter. The presentation was good and you've asked finally you're first ever public question in a meetup! You go home, and while waiting for the sleep you remember the nice people you met at the meetup, the free Pizza, stickers and drinks (Who doesn't love free stuff ?!) How discussions with the guys was exactly the solution for your bug dated weeks ago. You started to go regularly to those meetups and enjoyed the community power. You start taking responsibilities from the community and you keep granted!
One day, a friend send you a link to start a new community and say: "Man, you're the one, go for it!"
2. The hesitation
The world is full of those people who their only objective in life to hold you from making your dreams a reality! Thus you'll not find many people (even the closets one) keeping you away from what you from what you really want to achieve! If you continue to listen to them you're screwed up! If you don't, maybe you're not!
So you still wanna challenge yourself and make it, but you're still hearing your friends words about the huge risk! You search on google about some horrific skydiving accidents and you say NO I'll never do this! The next day youtube suggests some amazing videos about skydiving and you say: "Hell ya! this is awesome" (SM power :P). Between the two decisions, and after a long discussion with yourself, you finally made a final one: "Let's take the risk, life is nothing without some risks".
There are a lot of communities out there, why should I create one! Because it's healthy :)
Participate to a meetup is one thing, speaking in it is another thing and organizing it is a completely different thing. You start thinking about the additional time of managing this new community you lead, the time that will for sure be taken from your private life not the professional one. You start thinking about about dealing with suppliers, looking for the venue, handling additional stress, inviting speakers and be sure that everyone is happy during the meetup, But you said to yourself aren't these stuff what makes great communities?!
You didn't take your breakfast that morning, you didn't even sleep thinking about your jump. you go to the center and they made you read and sign a long paper that you're aware of dangerous things that may happen, and then you remember your friends words! your mentor is here, you take the plan and off to the sky. This last minutes are the most special ones because you know that there is no rollback and you've to jump. While you're stick with your monitor, someone open the plane's door, and the moment is here!! you walk slowly to the doors, and the monitor says on 3: 1, 2 and then he jumps taking you with him, there's no 3 (Yes, this was his plan from the beginning)! Suddenly, you realize that this is the most freaking awesome experience you did during your entire life, you're finally flying :D
It's your first meetup as a lead. you can't work because your head is out, thinking about all what can go wrong during your event! It's your first meetup, your first public show as a leader and thus you want everything to be perfect, not a single mistake. you called your suppliers million times to make sure that there's no mistake and they'll be on time. the more the meetup time is close, the more you get stressed.
After a long day, the moment is here! everything is just perfect, people starts to come, thanking your for this great initiative and suggesting their help if needed. the room is packed, the presentation was great, the interaction was cool! and you said to yourself: "wait, Remember me, why the hell I was stressed"
The passion is the key
If you want to do something, believe in yourself an go all the way! nothing can hold you from achieving your goals except yourself. Put a lot of passion for what you want to do and challenge yourself! This is what I learnt from my small community/skydiving experience :)