Perhaps you’ve gone to school, taken classes or gotten a certification. You may have worked as an assistant, apprenticed with someone or worked your way up through a company. If you learned the hard way, you just launched a website, purchased the necessary tools and figured it out along the way. Whatever method brought you to the place you are now, you gained useful knowledge regarding your particular service or product and consider yourself skilled enough to offer it to clients…for money.
There are so many schools, conferences, retreats and online courses that will teach you the specific techniques of your trade. But what about the mental acuity that goes into running your business and preparing for those intense wedding and event days. Let’s face it being a great chef, videographer or limo driver isn’t enough. You need to prepare hundreds of gourmet meals in record time, create stunning imagery among dozens of guests with cameras and transport loud, excited wedding parties to multiple destinations. Not to mention possessing a congenial and even pleasant attitude while performing these tasks. This is the aspect of our career that is the most taxing. So how do you prepare for the intensity of the weekend? Here are my suggestions for getting in the zone mentally so you can handle whatever comes your way.
The Day Before
Gone are the days of college when we can party till 2AM, wear the same clothes to class the next day and ace the test. Alright, maybe that wasn’t you, but you get the idea. Most of us spend our time prior to events by packing equipment and products, gathering items, making sure you have all the correct information and double checking…everything. You should also take some time to visualize, relax, and mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead. You don’t have to meditate alone in the woods but you should dedicate at least a few moments to think about how you wish the day to unfold and preparing your mind for the absolute, unpredictable chaos that is a wedding or event. At the very least, get a good night’s sleep so you’re refreshed and ready to face the day.
The Dreaded Double (or Triple) Weekend
Depending on your particular industry, you may work one day a weekend or on long holiday weekends, up to three. As most of you know, this is physically and mentally draining work. That second or third day will hit you like a ton of bricks if your not prepared, leading to exhaustion, mistakes and quick tempers. Have a plan. On these weekends I actually block out time on my calendar for sleep. It seems obvious that you would be overly tired and want to sleep, but when there is work to be done and real deadlines looming, you may find yourself continuing to work into the wee hours.
Try to get as much done ahead of time as possible. Give yourself time to unwind each day and allot several hours for sleep. You may not get the ideal amount but something is better than nothing. See if there is anything in your typical workflow that can be skipped without disrupting service to your clients. Do everything you can to make it easier on yourself: wear the most comfortable clothes you own, make a relaxing (or upbeat) playlist to listen to en route, take a bath instead of a shower each night. Any chance you have to do something to care for yourself will help. Running three days on adrenaline will only ensure you catch a cold and require days of recuperation.
We all know the feeling. You wake up the day after, swollen, sore, unable to focus. It’s like a hangover without the drinking. You feel like you’ve been in an accident but your car’s just fine. If you’re like me you have mysterious bruises or injuries you don’t remember occurring. Every time I work an extended weekend, I say, “Never, again!”, then realize I have another on the books in a few weeks. Whether the day after is a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, take it easy. Let your body recoup. Let your mind wander and let go of any negativity or anxiousness. Sometimes a group of us get together after weddings if we’re all in the same area just to rehash all the craziness of the days events and unwind. Do something enjoyable, have some alone time or get some light exercise. Get yourself ready for the week ahead because it starts all over again the next weekend.
Whatever you do, make sure to take self care into consideration every weekend. Treat your mind with as much care as your body so you have the strength to perform with consistency and enthusiasm. Our clients deserve our best efforts but not at the expense of our well being. A little planning will help you survive the season and get in the right mind set for success.