Why The Show Must Always Go On

Why The Show Must Always Go On

Steve Blakeman 04/07/2019 6

A few months ago I was invited by Richard Blackburn and Paul McBeth from ECN to attend their #Spirit global conference at the rather splendid Waldorf Astoria hotel in Versailles.

Upon arrival I was met by the guys from ECN and decided to saunter over to the conference hall to check out the room and do one last flick through the deck to make sure there were no technical gremlins. However, it seems that ghosts in the machine were not going to be an issue but my lack of concentration whilst descending some steps was definitely going to be. Whilst chatting away to Paul about my speech it seems I wasn't fully focussed on where I was walking. I'm sure you can figure out the rest but suffice to say I tripped over on my right ankle and landed like a sack of potatoes on the ground.

The next few minutes we're a bit of a blur but I do recall various people milling around and an order went over for ice. Lot's of ice. My ankle was ballooning at a rather alarming rate by now and the guys from ECN were keen that I get to the hospital straight away. But in a moment of absolute clarity, I declined and told them that I wanted to do my presentation first. After all I had not travelled all that way not to finish what I had set out to do. So about 45 minutes later I was literally carried into the conference hall and propped up against a lectern so that I didn't fall over to deliver my talk.

And it actually couldn't have gone much better (although I guess there was a modicum of sympathy in the room after what had happened so I kind of had the audience on my side). Added to that bonhomie, my hastily added opening ice breaker of "Richard and Paul told me to break a leg just before I came on stage and so I decided to take them literally"possibly helped too...

After my allotted time and a Q&A, I was bundled into the back of a car and ferried off to the local hospital where I was prodded and poked by various medics for several hours and was educated a little in some French vocabulary: such as 'chenille' which means ankle, 'tomber' the verb for falling and finally 'cassée' which means broken. You learn something new every day as they say...

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Then I was taken back to the hotel in a leg brace, plonked in a wheelchair and wheeled into the dining room to a standing ovation. I was frankly a little bit embarrassed and also somewhat perplexed. At the dinner table I chatted to some of the ECN guys and one lady said to me that she thought I was very brave to go on stage after what had happened. I countered that maybe it wasn't brave but more likely a bit stupid but she was having none of it. She said she had real admiration for someone who was prepared to fulfil a commitment even though they had suffered a painful accident and she felt it epitomised the expression 'the show must go on'.

I've been reflecting on what she said as I have been hobbling around (in something that resembles a ski boot) over the past few days and I think there is a very valuable lesson to be learned here. No matter what obstacles are placed in your way (in my case a few stone steps) and despite things going catastrophically wrong, if you stay positive and finish what you started then only good things can happen to you. But I suppose the real moral of this story is, just take my advice as read and don't go and bust your ankle to learn the same lesson...

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  • Pamela Anders

    There are times where we need to put our health first

  • Emily Higgins

    If your work is important to you, your leg should be.

  • Ben Shaw

    Pain is there to tell us something is wrong.

  • Matthew Hauselt

    Drop everything and put your health first.

  • Ricky Lee

    Nothing is more important than preserving your life.

  • Maggie Sambell

    Get well soon Steve

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Steve Blakeman

Business Expert

Steve is Global Media Lead - Nestlé at Mindshare. Prior to this role, he was the Managing Director - Global Accounts for OMD based in London / Paris leading Groupe Renault and CEO for OMD in Asia for 4 years based in Singapore. At OMD, he increased billings by +60% to over US$ 5bn and won 1000+ industry awards including agency network wins at the Cannes Lions (2013) and Festival of Media Asia (2013). He was named by LinkedIn as a 'Top 10 Writer' for 3 consecutive years (15/16/17). His first book 'How to be a Top 10 Writer on LinkedIn' is a Best Seller on Amazon. Steve holds a Bachelor in Psychology from Liverpool University. 

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