6 months and 29 days. 30 weeks. 213 days.
On March 17th, 2020 we closed our office and geared up for what we optimistically thought would be just a few weeks before going back to normal. 213 days later, this is our normal. We turn on our video, we say “you’re on mute” kindly and urgently, and we patiently accept the technical difficulties that come with staying connected to each other. This is October.
As the seasons change just outside our window and the morning air turns crisp, I can’t help but think about the other seasons we’ve experienced this year. The seasons that you feel but don’t see. The ones that aren’t marked by a signature drink at Starbucks. So I’m back on the blog, writing to bring you on my journey of reflection, things I’ve learned, and what season DE finds itself in now.
March through May was spring on the battlefield. Dynamic Events, like the rest of the world and industry was in survival mode. These three months were a barrage of decisions we were never prepared to make. Although these were some of the hardest months of us as a company- they were filled with adrenaline, compassion, unity. I watched as my team snapped into action, we turned decision making data around in record time, we redefined how we communicate with our team, and solidified that our core values can remain unchanged even when the world is doing nothing but. Out of these months were born a bruised and battered team, who could look each other in the eyes and know that we’d do anything for each other. The trust built in this uncertainly is unlike anything I have experienced before, and it is something I will forever cherish as a leader.
What summer brought was a season of rebuilding and learning. Getting creative in what avenues of opportunity to explore, no matter how narrow they might have been. We knew that this point that digital events had made lasting impact on our industry and with the hope of hybrid events ahead of us (even if far ahead) we knew we had to learn the world of digital and become experts in it.
Knowing this, we saw and seized opportunities that pushed us far beyond of our comfort zone and set us on a learning curve that would shake the confidence of even our most seasoned team members. We grew comfortable in saying “I don’t know” and reveled in the time spent figuring it out together. Oh my god, was it messy. A flaming dumpster fire catapulted into the sky, might not be the most eloquent way to describe it…but definitely the most accurate.
Out of these efforts came unexpected growth in the late summer. Through our creative efforts, we saw our workload grew exponentially and our team was challenged to execute as experts, all the while being active learners. We executed digital events big and small for what is now the most diversified client base in our company’s history! Summer came celebration, long overnight shifts, and the exhausting joy of doing what we love full force again. With tired but grateful hearts, we said bye to summer headed into fall.
With pumpkin spice came the reality of 2020. Change had come in droves, but in this season I felt another change in myself and in the team. Back in March, when faced with the choice of fight or flight, we chose fight and never once did we consider flight. After 6 months of fighting and of asking the same from our team, what you have is a group of incredible people who are pouring everything ounce of energy they have left into making sure we end the year where we need to be.
We are loosening our hold on our hopes big and small. Going back into the office, executing in-person events, going to concerts, traveling the world- these dreams a little farther than just a few months away now, but they are not gone and we’ll hold onto that. We’ll hold onto each other, we’ll find refuge in the trust we’ve built, and we’ll show gratitude for being able to look beyond the next week and start planning for next year.
As a leader I have been humbled by the passing of these seasons and feel more prepared than ever to welcome the next. My hope is that some, if not all, of our journey thus far resonates with yours that you reach out, that we share our stories, and tips and tricks on how to pilot this dumpster fire. So cheers to you, to your teams and the seasons you’ve all experienced. We’re in the homestretch of 2020, and even if that means nothing come January 1, 2021, we’ll start the new year knowing we’ve made it through all of our bad days thus far, and that is a success rate we can all count on.