A preview of what’s ahead at Prevue’s Meet Well Summit, where attendees will learn strategies to reduce stress and burnout in their own lives as well as for their attendees.
Meeting and event planners were pretty famous for the high stress factor in their work lives — and a high rate of burnout — even before the pandemic. Now, having to run double-time to catch up on all those cancelled events has brought a whole new level of stress into many planners’ lives.
Vimari Roman of Be Productive Coaching and Rachelle Stone of R Stone Consulting know all too well about the stressors meeting planners face — they’ve both been there themselves. At the Meet Well Summit scheduled for Aug. 23-25 at the Opal Sands Resort in Clearwater Beach, Fla., they will share some of the strategies they’ve found to manage stress in this most stressful career path.
Prevue asked Roman and Stone to give us a preview on some of the strategies they’ll share at the Meet Well Summit on how planners can reduce stress and improve productivity.
Prevue: Tell us briefly how you used to live with stress in your career and decided to turn that around and help others combat it?
Stone: I wasn’t managing my stress at all. I was more than 25 pounds overweight, on 13 different prescriptions, had chronic sciatica and insomnia, and was constantly out entertaining clients, eating heavier (and drinking more) than I should. I thought burning the candle on both ends in hospitality was simply a “normal” part of being successful in the business.
Once I realized I had burned out, I made it my mission to figure out what happened to me, why, and how to prevent it from happening again. I learned the importance of setting boundaries (something we are not taught at home, school or work), how stress shows up in my body (different for everyone), and how to process it (also different for everyone).
Now I specialize in supporting leaders to develop the skills, habits and language to ask for what they need, set and communicate their boundaries, and examine their leadership and how they may contribute to their stress through their own limiting beliefs.
Roman: As a high achiever in the hospitality and meetings industry for 22 years, my validation came from my performance at work — I was competitive and held very high standards for myself and others. But I finally came to the realization that my work was sucking the life out of me.
That’s when I decided to open Be Productive Meetings & Events. Then, in 2014, I decided to get certified as a Leadership Coach and started my coaching practice specializing in executive and leadership coaching, helping mid- to senior-level professionals transition to the next step of their careers with purpose. As a coach, I did a lot of work on mindset, shifting thought patterns, and boundaries. In 2020 I became really busy with so many being laid off or furloughed in the midst of the unknown of the pandemic. By the end of the year, I found myself coming close to another burnout.
That’s when Positive Intelligence came into my life, teaching me where the root cause of all of our stress, anxiety and self-doubt comes from. Immediately I knew I needed to add it as a tool to my coaching practice and as I was getting certified, I realized that my coaching mission changed to bringing back humanity to the workplace.
Prevue: What are the “saboteurs” you will be speaking about at Meet Well, and how does one identify theirs?
Stone: The nine “saboteurs” start as guardians or protectors that helped us survive real or imagined threats in our childhood. While we no longer need them as adults, they take up residency in our minds and continue to influence our decisions negatively as we still believe their protection is needed.
Roman: I’d like to add that anyone can identify and learn more about their saboteurs by taking this 3-minute (free) assessment online.
Prevue: How can planners avoid ingrained thought patterns and focus instead on what’s positive and productive?
Roman: We typically feel the stress in our body — it could be in the shoulders, head, gut, heart or breath. This is our first sign that we are getting hijacked by our saboteurs. We can stop the thoughts or actions that are causing us the uncomfortable feelings by taking three deep breaths and asking ourselves questions like, “What’s causing me to feel this way?” or “What is it about this situation that is bringing me stress or anxiety?” Then asking ourselves “What is the gift or opportunity here? What is this situation here to teach me?” These simple strategies will help us start to shift to a more positive and productive mindset.
Stone: As Vimari points out, the first step is to find out the signs that negative thoughts are hijacking you. For me, I get small. I can feel my body shrink, my shoulders collapse, and I have trouble focusing my thoughts. Those are my “tells” that I’m going down a vortex of negative thoughts. I then reframe.
Let’s say the negative thought pattern is, “I am going to trip over my words while speaking at Meet Well, everyone will laugh at me, and no one will see the value of this work in their lives.” Those are my negative thoughts, my judging of myself, beating me up in my brain. I recognize it is a lie, a negative thought based only on a story.
I get to create a new story by reframing my thoughts. A reframe might sound like If you mix up a few words, the audience will see you are human, just like they are. When they laugh, it will be with you and the stories you share that they can relate to. And finally, everyone in that room will walk away knowing how to intercept their negative thoughts – what a gift I am leaving them with!
Note: At the Meet Well Summit, you will learn more about how to manage stress and burnout — your own, and that of your attendees — as well as healthy food and beverage strategies and secrets to less stressful travel. Visit the Meet Well website to apply to attend this event at no cost to you.
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