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Old timers are full of good advice but event planners have a lot of their own too. Check out these life lessons that event planners have learned way too well.
When it comes to event planners most of us have been educated at the school of hard knocks. We’ve learned over and over through things we never assumed possible. The position of event planner continually makes the list of the most stressful jobs for good reason. Still, if every challenge is an opportunity to learn, event planners have doctorates. Here are the life lessons that most event planners have learned well:
- Money can’t buy class. Enough said.
- Your intuition is often right. If you have a nagging feeling something will go wrong, you’re probably correct. Prepare for it. Along those lines...
- Be prepared. Event planners and the Boy Scouts know all about that.
- You can’t please everyone, especially on their wedding.
- Your health is your most valuable asset. Any event planner who has run their health into the ground knows that you get a lot more done when you’re healthy and well rested.
- The client isn’t always right but there’s a good chance you’ll do it anyway.
- It’s not all about you. In fact, as an event planner it’s almost never about you.
- It’s best not to tell someone “You can’t always get what you want” unless you sing it like the Stones.
- It’s okay to say, “I don’t know” on your way to finding out the answer.
- Hindsight is 20/20. It’s always easier to see things that are behind you and gain a different perspective than it is to see what’s right in front of you.
- Don’t take anything for granted, not your team, not your clients, not your job. It could all change in a moment.
- There’s no place like home. Dorothy Gale and event planners would agree.
- If it can go wrong, it will. See #3.
- Stay weird. Okay, maybe this isn’t exactly a life lesson but creativity is an event planner’s bread and butter. Take care and nurture it.
- Do unto others, as you would like to be treated. Many of the things event planners do to create amazing experiences are drawn out of their own ideas of what is lacking in most events.
- Knowledge is power. If only you could know when the WiFi was going to go out and not have the keynote onstage.
- Be humble. The minute you’re about to let your success go to your head, remember there’s someone out there who’s going to ask you to take their glass for them. If you still feel like your ego is pretty sizeable, take a look at a picture of yourself in middle school. That should do it.
- We’re all human. When you’re working with incredibly powerful, wealthy individuals it’s easy to remember we’re all human, especially when they show you the very human side of losing their cool.
- Hard work always pays off...if you’re not looking for it to. After all, a watched pot takes a really long time to boil.
- “No” is not a bad word and sometimes it’s very necessary to say in order to meet deadlines and deliverables.
- Life isn’t fair. If it was, your client would be bringing you coffee.
- Life is short. Enjoy the time you spend with loved ones.
- Everybody’s working for the weekends, except event planners. They're working on the weekends.
- Prepositions are important. See #23.
- Make peace with your past. Don’t dwell on event failures. Learn from them.
- Don’t compare your life to others. You have one of the most pressured jobs out there and you’re making it a success. Cut yourself some slack in other areas.
- No one is in charge of your happiness, except you and maybe your vendor partners.
- What other people think of you is none of your business. Unless it’s on a Facebook review. Then it’s everyone’s business.
- Time heals almost everything, except that red wine stain. You’re going to need to treat that with something other than time.
- Change is inevitable and it usually comes in the form of a request at the last-minute.
- Believe in miracles but insist upon getting it in writing in the agreement.
- Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or joyful. That may or may not include your team.
- The best is yet to come and it’s called dinner at midnight in your hotel room.
- Take a breath. It’s the only way to get through it.
- If you don’t ask, you won’t receive. You never know what people are willing to do in this business.
- Everyone’s perception is their reality. Sometimes you have to ask them to take their reality elsewhere.
- It always looks darkest before the dawn, which is right about the time most event planners are getting home or having dinner.
- Kindness is free but not biting your tongue can be extremely costly.
- You can have it all but only with the VIP pass and upgrade.
- When opportunity knocks it’s often masquerading as hard work.
- Attitude is everything, at least when it comes to reviews and recommendations.
- Break the rules, unless you wrote them.
- Continue growing, even when it’s hard and especially when it’s hard.
- Drink more water. It’s probably the only thing you’ll get to eat today and it won’t get stuck in your teeth. It also doesn’t matter or isn’t intrusive when someone interrupts your water drinking, unless they make you laugh.
- Travel often. Check.
- Don’t waste time on negative people unless they pay you handsomely and you enjoy drinking your pride away every night.
- Time is of the essence and nowhere is that more clear than the night before the event.
- Nobody has all the answers but there are people relying on you to figure them out.
- There will never be a perfect time. Do it now.
- Don’t put off what you can do today until tomorrow because you know tomorrow the client will call with another absurd request.
Event planners learn a lot of life lessons the hard way but it makes for one of the most exciting and rewarding jobs out there.
What would you add to this list? Let’s keep it going.