Prepare for the Post-Pandemic Rush
by Adrienne Brink, Founder and Lead Coordinator, Uncommon Camellia
Article written for the Wedding MBA
When I was in middle school, my mom would get me, my little brother, and sister into the car a few minutes early so we could pick up Mrs. Dee, our elderly neighbor.
She worked at our school cafeteria and did not drive. Mrs. Dee also lived three blocks in the opposite direction of school. After picking her up, we would then pass by our house on the way to school.
This backtracking became a crutch, as one of us would always need to stop at home to retrieve something we had left behind. It should also be noted that our front yard had a large drainage ditch that ran across the front of it.
On one such morning the following took place after my mom pulled up to the yard, got out, and went inside (all without putting the car in park).
This is how we each responded. Mrs. Dee started with, “Oh Lawd, here we go!” I was in Junior High at the time, and immediately started blaming my mom, “Oh my gosh mom, you didn’t put it in park.”
I didn’t even think to try and solve the problem. My little brother was six, his reaction was that of laughter and the biggest grin I had ever seen. He was clearly enjoying the fact that something interesting was finally happening.
My little sister Andrea was nine. She said nothing, but jumped from the back-back, to the middle seats, and into the driver’s seat. She slammed on the brake with both feet, saving us all from the less than tragic ditch dive.
This happened in less than 30 seconds and I’ll never forget my little sister’s clarity in that moment. There wasn’t time to make decisions, but she was able to make pretty good decisions because she didn’t get distracted
by all our noise. She wasn’t certain which was the brake and which was the gas, but made her best guess. While we were responding with fear, blame, and inaction, she was reacting. At nine years old, she had no idea how to drive
a car but knew how to climb the seats fast and that there was a pedal in the front that stopped the car. Her head was clear enough that she was able use the limited info she had to do something about the problem.
CLARITY IS GOLD
Clarity during a crisis is gold. Yet during this pandemic, most are having extreme difficulty finding it. We are flooded with information, opinions, fear, and noise.
We are spending our energy predicting an unknown future, blaming people for precautions not taken, and deliberating what the best decisions are for ourselves and our companies.
That energy is wasted without clarity. What can we do to find clarity in this crisis and how can we silence the noise to find solutions with factual information?
REMEMBER WHO WE ARE
First we must take a step back and remember who we are. We are wedding professionals, the wedding industry is our laboratory, our area of expertise, the arena we know best.
Let’s make sure we are examining the information as it relates to our weddings.
Aside from following social distancing guidelines, I personally have no skills or influence that give me the ability to make an impact on COVID-19 numbers.
As a wedding professional, my part is to understand the restrictions and limitations set forth by the government and how those restrictions are affecting the wedding industry.
KNOW YOUR BUSINESS NUMBERS
Currently, the restrictions are pretty clear: stay home. So, let’s talk about the numbers practically. Due to COVID-19, 3% of my weddings have canceled and 22% of my 2020 weddings have been postponed.
Some have rescheduled for this year; some have been pushed to 2021. Common sense tells me that people are still falling in love, they are still getting engaged, and they will still get married.
The question is not will they get married or celebrate. The question is when.
With every reduction in my business, there will be an increase later. That 22% of weddings is not gone; it’s just pushed back. I’ll need to manage that increase, as well as the surge of inquiries
and bookings that will occur when the pandemic ends. And yes, I am fully anticipating an end. I will not be caught off guard when clients start flooding my inbox, in a hurry to plan their weddings after holding off for a few months.
I’m also prepared for the unfortunate probability that some wedding businesses will not be able to survive this crisis. Healthier businesses will need to step up and provide services to clients who have lost parts of their vendor team.
In order to preserve the integrity of the industry, I will try to accommodate those clients. I will ramp up my availability, bring on new team members, and streamline processes so that we can meet a higher demand for our services.
At the forefront of my mind is the hope and expectation that this will end. When it does, where will my business be? Will we be caught off guard, unable to serve the clients who need us?
Will I prolong this crisis by being unprepared for the modifications necessary to continue this work? Am I just going to turn those clients away? Or am I going to find some ways to absorb the post-pandemic rush?
Am I going to do my part in finding a solution? These are the relevant questions for me, an owner of a wedding coordination company.
But you see, my mind is only able to consider those questions because I have first settled on the belief that the future is better, healthier, and more social!
Many are struggling with negative, self-defeating beliefs about the future. They see hard evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic could be prolonged and devastating, and they have bought into a belief that the future is grim.
However, there is a major flaw in this line of thinking.
FACTUAL IS NOT NECESSARILY RATIONAL
This goes back to something I learned and taught as a therapist for many years about rational and irrational thought processes. My favorite psychology theorist, Albert Ellis, taught that a thought can be irrational,
even if it is based 100% in fact. If you know something to be true BUT thinking and talking about it serves no useful purpose, then it is NOT a rational thought.
On the contrary, rational thoughts are those that help us achieve our goals.
This is why positive thinking isn’t just some superficial exercise, but instead a rational attitude that successful people tend to have.
The big mistake we are making when it comes to our response to the pandemic is that we are wallowing in negative and fear-invoking facts and opinions.
We are indeed in the middle of a worldwide crisis; the evidence supports that. But consider the following: Is holding the belief that the future is going to be hard, sad, and difficult helpful to you?
This is a very important question, since beliefs that hinder our ability to reach our goals are not rational.
CREATE OPTIMAL OUTCOMES
I am committed to finding clarity of thought in order to make the best decisions for the future of my business. Even if my decisions are not perfect and need to be modified later, my decisions will be
informed by rational beliefs and not negativity and fear. I’ll be at the forefront when the wedding industry reopens. I’ll make every adaptation needed to ease the anxiety and fears for clients and their guests.
Because it’s the doers, the problems solvers, and the risk takers who turn crises around. This crisis is for all of us to solve.
Though I have moments of sadness and fear, I have many more moments of hope and clarity for a better future ahead.
See you November 17-19, 2020 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
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