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Relying on Resilience

Research conducted prior to the pandemic caused by COVID-19 estimated that up to 90 percent of the U.S. population would experience one serious traumatic event during their lifetime (Norris & Sloane, 2007).  Today, that percentage has to be closer to 100, and for many, a number of traumatic events define their lives.

Even if you, your family, friends and colleagues have stayed well during the past COVID months (and we hope you have!), each of us has had our professional and personal lives deeply impacted. Thriving businesses have evaporated overnight and many that still are operating must do so in a completely different way to ensure the safety of employees and customers.

Hopefully, we are starting to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and, even if not the same as before, interaction and engagement with customers will return to take their critical place in marketing programs.

As business professionals, often the psychological and emotional side of who we are play second fiddle to technical and operational skills our employers value. When a trade show booth design needs to be ready by 10:00 am when the show floor opens, the company’s event staff and the Exhibitus team are consumed by performance demands, with little room left for “feelings” that could sidetrack efforts.

But for now, trade show floors are mostly silent, and the world is gripped by grief, fear and uncertainty. It pays to learn more about the emotions we are feeling and how they might impact re-entry into the jobs we love.   We are not psychologists, but many on the Exhibitus team have been through devastating events before and learned a thing or two.

First, we do know that as the world re-emerges, the challenges won’t immediately go away.  And second, it takes leadership skills to move people and projects forward. Not all “leaders” are top executives in a company. Those on the front lines making sure face-to-face marketing events happen are responsible for leading the many tasks that it takes to get the job done.

The goal of our “Prepare to Thrive” series is simple.  At Exhibitus, we advocate for our event manager customers to find a seat at the table.  We know that developing a successful career as a lead for trade show execution takes planning and effort.  And, even if you find the work itself enjoyable and interesting, if your organization doesn’t recognize and appreciate your contribution, interest will evaporate. So we hope you find information in the series that will propel your career forward as our industry regains its important position in the world economy.

We begin with RESILIENCE.

What is Resilience?

Resilience is knowing that even though there is adversity, trauma, or significant sources of stress, you can cope with the crisis and then bounce back from these difficult events even if it takes some exploration and personal growth. None of us like adversity, but working to become more resilient helps when you are faced with these circumstances, and it empowers mental and emotional growth to improve your life along the way.

What are Resilience Factors?

Research1 has found that there are resilience “factors” that can play a role in coping with a crisis:

  1. Recognize and acknowledge the fear.
  2. Maintain an optimistic, but realistic outlook.
  3. Accept social support.
  4. Imitate resilient role models.
  5. Work to stay physically fit.
  6. Keep your brain active.
  7. Engage in religious or spiritual practices.
  8. Find meaning and purpose in even the small things you do every day.

None of these are easy in times of stress, but preparing ourselves even a little at a time is important. Harvard Business Review states in a Dianne L. Coutu article, “Top-level business executives invariably prize resilience in people they seek to hire.” We are not sure what our world will look like in six months or even a year from now, but changing and building on behaviors to gain resilience will prepare you for the stresses we all must endure in both good times as well as bad.

To learn more about resilience, here are some resources to consider:

Book: Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens

Book: Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength and Happiness by Rick Hanson and Forrest Hanson

1 Southwick, S.M. and Charney, D.S. Resilience – The Science of Mastering Life’s Greates Challenges. 2012.