February 1, 2021


Oh well this has been quite a year for all of us… at the dawn of a very promising 2020, the notion of lockdown was violently introduced and enforced upon us/ in our lives…an unprecedented state of affairs that has shown us the flip side of life and that has lead us re-evaluate and reconsider many aspects of our being. For us, as event professionals, the past year has been an emotional roller coaster -full of highs and lows- but one thing is for sure…we got the chance to put everything into perspective…we now know that nothing should be taken for granted, now is all we have and it is up to us to make it count (yes let’s make our lockdown time count!)! In each adversity, there is also opportunity and the learning curve can be steep, should we decide to turn hardship into strength and resilience. In this context, we thought it would be timely to share with you a few of the many lessons that we have all learned in the past year:

  • One silver lining of staying at home is that it’s forced many of us to slow down and find new ways to manage stress and anxiety. Perhaps you’ve finally learned to meditate or maybe you’ve pulled out a notebook and journaled about your experience or taken a happiness course online.
  • While Zoom, Google Meet and Social Media are now key to maintain our social contacts, we have missed being around people and thus have come to appreciate that nothing can replace the emotional high and sense of connection we get from being in the physical presence of others sharing an experience together. So, we now know that human contact and being with others is key essential for our happiness.
  • We rediscovered old passions and hobbies or even explored new interests and dared to tick off things that had been in our bucket list for years. Some have turned to drawing, cooking and baking (yes, we all made a banana bread!), planting a garden, or playing a musical instrument. We went for long walks, read books and magazines, rearranged our living room furniture, organised that wardrobe in the hallway that we were terrified of tackling before and watched a lot of Netflix series we had in the watchlist for a long time…All of these have the potential to improve your mental health and could be worth holding on to once we are set free again. One thing is for sure, we all reconnected with ourselves having the time to process things and set our priorities straight.
  • We learned how to be adaptive as the majority of us were obliged to adjust our work habits and strategy to the new reality, pivoting quickly to online work systems, etc.
  • We learned that nothing can be taken for granted. As Ann Richards has written, “The here and now is all we have, and if we play it right it’s all we’ll need.”
  • Losing things we thought where permanent, fixed and standard, losing beloved ones and living in a very frail, fragile and uncertain reality, we learned that gratitude and kindness can be live saving attributes. We can now show more gratitude for all of the people and things that make our life easier, happier and fulfilling. Showing and expressing gratitude for not only the ‘essential’, first line workers, but for what we have in life in general, not only feels good and elevates our spirit, but it also encourages more kindness and generosity and leads to a kinder, more thoughtful and compassionate society—something we should all keep in mind.
  • We revalued what truly matters and where joy and happiness stems from each of us. We were forced to focus on what we already have and all the positive aspects in our lives and that is truly liberating.
  • We reclaimed our need to practice some self-care and self-love. In the fast-paced, pre-Covid time, we rarely took care of ourselves, always focused on goals, achievements, and meeting the excessive expectations we set for ourselves. Spending our time in our homes, revealed to many of us how different we feel when we sleep more, or eat healthy homemade food, or to move our body more regularly or to take a long bubble bath at the end of a tough day. So even though the definition of self care translates differently to each of us, it is pivotal to our mental and physical health.
  • We realised that we are stronger when we act together. As communities around the world manage the pandemic, one thing we have all learned is that cooperation matters. Only through group effort can we do something to make a difference in the trajectory of a worldwide threat. Working together for the common good is helping us fight the pandemic and that could bode well for solving other worldwide problems in the future such as poverty and climate-based disaster. It is that collective and compassionate action that will be the key to creating a better future for us all!
  • Last but not least, we saw first-hand that we need much less than we thought and were accustomed to. The basic essentials—food, clean water, and good health, for example—and the fact that we have a job, a healthy family and people that we love, are the only things that truly matter (much more important than having a manicure or buying the newest computer). And here is the good news about that: we will likely be happier and create a healthier society if we can consume less and give more.

To wrap up, yes, our world has been turned upside down. But we have also proved that we are survivors and that our nature is adaptive. While this pandemic showed us the flip side of life, it also showed us how to value our lives and how to be a compassionate member of society. We should hold on tight to these realisations and to all the lessons that we learned, after this is over and we return to normality. Instead of wasting our time complaining and obsessing over the things we have missed, we need to recognise that we have been gifted with a new perspective. How powerful it would be, to keep in mind our sense of interconnection, the importance of our relationships, our resilience and adaptiveness, the importance of gratitude and generosity, and the sense of doing well with less. We would bounce back and thrive, with a renewed sense of purpose. Turning adversity into opportunity is inherent to our human nature and to the unstoppable force of life; we just need to consciously change our mindset. So, let’s make this time and predicament count in our favor and to our common benefit and never let go of the crucial lessons that we have been taught.