Updated: Aug 22
There goes March. Spring, at last. One reason BGL fans like spring is the annual Camp Cropuhapi Project Retreat in Hinkley, MN. It’s a weekend to relax and rejuvenate while working on your projects—or not. Think fun. Think friends. But COVID-19 has made planning tough this year. Our Hinkley retreat is at 50 percent capacity and is sold out, but it is going forward. Today I will focus on what it takes to surmount the challenges we all face from COVID-19—and elsewhere. Hint: Wondering how to build resilience? It is possible to cultivate—you need not be born with it. Think friendships, flexible mindset, and developing a new perspective.
A flexible mindset: I know my business could not exist without my great vendors, just as they can’t survive without their clients—including me. I think in terms of partnerships—and win-win solutions—and oh, how we need those now. As small business owners, we work together. So, with our retreat facility last year, I negotiated to make it work for both of us. We looked out for each other. She was grateful to keep a loyal customer and I was grateful not to lose my deposit.
Ultimately, we hosted a virtual Camp Cropuhapi last April. In one month, we created a program and training so everyone could participate that wanted to. We’ve got virtual down!
It takes planning to get people there. I pivoted and converted it into a virtual retreat which people welcomed. Our virtual retreat required creative thinking, willingness to explore options and looking at the positive side. It worked. We still held a Camp Cropuhapi, albeit in an unexpected format.
Has this year been challenging for you, too? Looking back, I’ve learned some remarkable lessons on flexibility, empathy, negotiating win-win scenarios and, of course, trying new things. Have you found your inner ability to be flexible, too? Turns out that the event planning industry is jam-packed with information on how to be more flexible, how to pivot and be open to new ideas and processes. I think those are important ideals for all—planner, or not.
Developing a Flexible Personality
Psychologists tell us that perfectionism and flexibility can be incompatible. According to Dr. Judith Johnson in “Psychreg,” an award-winning health blog, we need to adjust our standards when situations require it. https://www.psychreg.org/how-to-reduce-perfectionism/
“Doing this can ensure that you bend without breaking and feel ready to return to full strength when your situation changes...Piling on the pressure to meet overly high standards at all times is a recipe for burnout. “
Meanwhile, event planners are preaching this to all who will listen. Howard Givner in “SmartMeetings” (11/2/2020) suggests these steps will help us pivot rather than pout:
Accept and face reality.
Normal may no longer be the old normal.
Tighten fiscal controls.
Adopt Winston Churchill’s leadership model:
Give frequent, fully honest updates
Offer hope and inspiration
Strategy: Find out what your clients need. Re-imagine how you can provide it. Just make sure it fits with your core values.
A New Way Forward
Meanwhile, Forbes suggests planners find ways to give value to others. “You can build value for others—and yourself—by helping someone else in a crisis.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglazer/2020/05/20/this-event-planner-thought-her-career-was-over-when-covid-19-hit-heres-what-she-did-next/?sh=65af8bba590c
The Wall Street Journal suggests a full recovery may take two more years. So, the advice is well worth heeding.
A few of the basics for operating under a “new normal” I recommend for solopreneurs are staying current on COVID-19 restrictions, mastering virtual event technology, and enhancing your client service and vendor relations.
When You’re Stuck or Down
I know change and developing resiliency are not easy sometimes. If you find yourself stuck in a rut, check out this great article in WikkiHow on resiliency: https://www.wikihow.com/Become-Mentally-Flexible
Just like I had to do, this article recommends we look at the bright side: “Behind every seemingly bad situation lies concealed a deeper good which reveals itself to you only through inner acceptance of what is." Eckhart Tolle.
If you can find the light side to a bad situation—even something funny about it—you’re on your way to acceptance and moving forward. Laughing at something is also accepting it. As Zen suggests, “Whatever you resist, persists.”
Be Good to Yourself, Too
Above all, be good to yourself. Offer the same compassion you give to others, to yourself. Imagine what your best friend would say to comfort you...do that for yourself. Forgive yourself for what didn’t work out. Studies have shown such an attitude lowers depression, anxiety, and stress.
Try journaling. In your writing, again, be kind to yourself, and forgiving. Think of the ways you made things better. Or the ways you can make things better in the future. Search for the positive—then journal it.
Forgive and Let Live
Unfortunately, tough times don’t always bring out the best in any of us. That’s when an extra dose of forgiveness goes a long way. Assume the best and not the worst. It’s true that compassion leads to more positivity, empathy and empowerment. So, the kindness you show to others comes back to you.