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Years ago, it became clear that my parents would need to move out of their 1825 farmhouse and move into an assisted living apartment. My dad had memory issues and my mom had a tough time handling stairs, uneven floors, and the upkeep of an old home. This was not what anyone wanted, least of all my mother and father, but we all knew deep down, it was the best thing for their future health and safety.

I can remember my mom saying, “I am not a joiner” and “I don’t want to socialize with a bunch of people I don’t know.” Fast forward a few months after moving in and not only was she the president of the residents’ association but she started a book club and a poetry group. Even with my dad gone now for 4 years, she has excelled in these areas and continues to thrive.

Adjust, Adapt, Pivot – words to describe what we have ALL had to do in the last few months. It is not over and it may not be for some time. A wise woman once told me “Find the gift.” In every uncomfortable situation. There are gifts everywhere, you just need to look for them.

The gift for my mom was that she had help taking care of my dad, she didn’t have to shop and cook anymore, and she had a captive audience to engage like-minded individuals in pursuits that she enjoyed.

Sheltering in place would not be my first choice in how to spend my time but the gifts are there. Like many, I have expanded my cooking and baking skills further, I spend more time interacting with friends, family, co-workers, and clients (via Zoom). I spend more time outdoors – because I cannot wait to leave the house! And, I did the pivot…by joining the highly creative full-service event and experiential partner, TBX.

TBX adapted as well. Live events are our specialty, but we now also encourage our clients to embrace technology and instead of cancelling events, repurpose them into a virtual experience (and retain the revenue opportunity). When live programs return (and they will), you will now have another product in your toolbox. When things open again, have that live event but don’t wait for the next annual program. Have a virtual event 6 months later to keep things fresh and members, customers, and other stakeholders engaged all year long…and perhaps have the added benefit of interacting with those who would never have been able to attend the live event anyway. There is your gift. 

What gifts have you found?

–Andrea Kinney

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