One of the most exciting things about being in the Event Industry is how things are ever-evolving. Not just trends but the way people need to plan, shifts in society, family dynamics, priorities, changes in technology, how we communicate, and the influx of diverse religious beliefs and cultures. We are so busy just trying to keep up, how do we stay inspired to keep going?
Through the years, I needed to develop ways to avoid burnout and keep a positive, enthusiastic, winning attitude to keep the endurance I needed for my clients, peers, and team members. In this post, I will share with you my top tips on getting and staying inspired. Hopefully, you can adapt some of these same principles or ideas to fuel your routine!
Okay, so by now, I am sure you know I like to break things down to their simplest form and then build on that. Let's talk about inspiration. What is it exactly? Well, my friend Merriam (Webster) tells me it's; the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
With that in mind, one of my pet peeves (I was going to say businesspeople in the event industry) but I think all people in general, is when people copy each other. I really enjoy getting to know the unique aspects of people and believe everyone has something unique to give. I love getting to know people and their assets and even think their limitations can be looked at in a positive way. So, when someone is trying to be like someone else, it really saddens me because I know they are selling themselves short and we really never get to know who they are.
But, on the other hand, I get it. In my busiest season, our company was doing over 100 events per year. That alone can be a challenge, but when you couple it with the fact that I like every event to be new and different, how could I expect to keep things fresh and new? How could I stay inspired? I can see the appeal in just going on someone’s social media and copying what they are doing, right?
If we approach it that way, we really aren’t inspiring ourselves to do something creative, are we? To risk being harsh, we are just taking the easy or lazy way out when we do it that way.
Okay so how do we become inspired without copying each other. I believe to stay inspired you to need to marry it with your core motivator or focus. When we define “focus” as the center of our interest or activity. Now we can keep ourselves and our actions aimed at our overall goals, stay on trend or inspired while standing out and being unique.
Let’s look at how the application of that is applied. Let's say you are looking at someone’s Instagram. Maybe they are an amazing event designer and you want to do something similar at one of your events. You love the over-the-top look and would love to create it yourself at one of your events. Now you need to check with your motivator/focus. Are you a Venue Coordinator or a Day of Coordinator? Then it most likely isn’t going to happen. So, what do you do? Simply appreciate the person's work, maybe send some complimentary comments, or share the post and encourage people to follow them. You could even tag some of your clients in the post and they may try to create something similar. What if you are or want to be an Event Designer or Full-Service Event Planner, does the inspirational photo line up with focus?
Let me share the way I personally apply this method to my business. My client focus has never been the client that has hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend. It has always been my focus to serve the “typical” average person. You know the ones who have champagne taste on a soda budget. Who wants to spend the least amount of money and get the maximum amount possible. Well, using my own focus as an example, when I see those over-the-top amazing events, I am just like you. I want to do them too, but to be frank, my client just can't afford it. So, I engage my core focus points. I like to get my clients what they want in their budget and I like surprising them by getting them what they never thought they could have. So, I figure out how to get them as close to the idea as possible. I might look at the photo and see what I can get at a discount store, make it myself, and even rent to them so they don’t have to absorb the cost of purchasing it, and using my focus with inspiration helps me to keep my actions realistic.
So to pull all that together, I see something I love or am inspired by, see if I can apply it to my core focus, and see how I can make it work in a client’s budget and vision. I don’t copy it, I use the idea and adjust it to my core focus. In the cases I can’t do it, well, I just hope a client or event comes around and I may be able to apply it in another situation.
If you follow my phase program process of planning, then you know when I plan my events, our first step is (obviously) phase one. If you're not familiar with it, phase one is getting to know my clients. I want to take the time to get to know their goals, vision, and desired outcomes. If it is a couple getting married, I get to know their family dynamics, budget, guest count, along with their hopes and dreams. I want to know THEIR IDEA of what a perfect wedding is. Then when I am doing the planning for the event, I know what to keep my focus on.
I enjoy the challenging combination of their budget, dreams, vision, and trying to make it unique to them. This keeps me charged or inspired to find ways to surprise them with things they hadn't thought of before.
I love investing time to understand the challenging dynamic that goes into each event. I don't start the planning establishing that I am the expert. I take the time to ask a lot of questions. What are the main concerns they have, what are the budget restrictions, what are the geographical perimeters for the event, what are the cultural backgrounds of everyone attending the event?
Then I like to put it together like a puzzle and when it is completed, all the individual pieces make a beautiful picture no one expected.
Now, I might have made that seem like it was an easy concept to figure out , but it took me years to figure out what I loved so much about event planning. Looking back at it, it was a challenge because it wasn't all the stereotypical things you think about being a Wedding/Event Planner that I loved so much. When you think of event/wedding planning you normally think a planner loves to be the center of attention, likes to spend other people's money, and loves to boss people around. For me, not one of those things fit and actually all to the contrary. I prefer the behind-the-scenes, I love maximizing someone's buying power, and I am more of a team leader and do not want to micromanage.
This helped me figure out what it was that I did love about planning. I love the study of human beings and I really enjoy solving problems and helping people to avoid the foreseen heartache ahead. I am always trying to figure out ways to solve their problems. Even the problems they don’t realize they have yet. So, I apply that to my Wedding and Event Planning.- I was then able to put words to it and adopt that as my core focus. I can then use my core focus to keep myself and my actions in check.
anting to do the best for my client. Although I want the guests to enjoy the experience, I am not looking for accolades from the guests, I want the guests to enjoy the event so my clients are happy. This keeps the origin of my inspiration in check.
So, you may be thinking, okay great, how do I apply the same method? I know sometimes you just need to have a direction to start. There are several tools we have provided for you to help find your focus.
I can see that it may sometimes imply that these things are simple and I don't want to make it seem like I don't think that it is easy to do the things I suggest. Remember I have been doing it for decades and it has been a challenge every step of the way. Looking back, I can say, I enjoyed the challenge. I took advantage of the times I started to feel overwhelmed by the industry and started to feel burnt out and contemplating quitting altogether. In those moments I found the jewels of why I loved it so much and then in those thoughts, I found the inspiration and courage to forge ahead.
You see, finding inspiration doesn't always come from the obvious like Pinterest boards and famous planners' digital presence. The best inspiration comes from within.
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