The Incentive for Excellence

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Serenity Now

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

The life of an event planner is very stressful. There is continual pressure to meet tight budgets, manage client relationships, and be on call 24/7. And all this stress is a double whammy. Not only will it reduce your happiness, it can also ruin your health. Thus, it is essential for an event planner to have an effective strategy to reduce their stressors at the job.

One key stress reduction strategy is to focus on the controllables. Elite athletes use this strategy to reduce their stress in competition. Take Annika Sorenstam, one of golf’s all-time greats, as a prime example. Annika only focused on the controllables. Annika has stated that she disregarded what was beyond her control and that once the ball left her clubface, she ceased to worry about it. She could not control whether the ball would take a bad bounce or good one, so she removed that concern from her mind. And if she did get a bad break like her ball landing in a hole in the fairway, Annika did not let it bother her because she had no control over that matter. Focusing on the controllables allowed Annika Sorenstam to reach the top of her profession.

Every day at work there are situations that can frustrate you or create overwhelming pressure. The key to your happiness and success is to know what to focus upon and what to let go. Allow the principle of the Serenity Prayer to help you find peace of mind at work and in your life. This involves the following 4-step process:

Step 1. List your top ten daily stressors about work. This can include factors such as what co-workers think of you, if clients will like you, whether there will be lay-offs, and the economy.

Step 2. Place the worries into two categorical boxes, “Can Control” and “Cannot Control”. Be honest with this separation.

Step 3. With the worries you placed into the “Cannot Control” box, be like Annika and find the mental strength to accept those factors in which you have very limited or no control (like the economy, the weather ruining an event, or if a colleague will like you). Worrying about them is a waste of time so let it go. Every time you worry about it, say “Stop--I can’t control that”. Eventually you will retrain your thinking about these uncontrollable factors, and they will diminish.

Step 4. Find the courage to devise one strategy for each of your worries in the “Can Control” box. For instance, you can control your attitude, good networking, preparation, and great time management. Following a specified strategy will not only help you to achieve your desired goals, it will also give you a greater sense of control over the situation, and reduce your stress.

William James, the foremost psychologist at the turn of the twentieth century, remarked that the art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. When you learn to let go of factors you cannot control and focus on only the controllables, you will become wiser to finding your serenity.

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