Our industry is relatively small. Even though we are international, it is still a close-knit community; triply so in our local cities and communities where the competition and partner-network for referrals and business can be especially intense because of its closeness.
As with all human dynamics and close-knit groups, relationships can become strained for many (often legitimate) reasons. I invite us as a special events community to consider the following:
Whatever was done to you or said about you, get to know the individuals responsible for it as they are now.
Over the years people evolve. Babies happen (and anyone with children will tell you, you are never, ever the same again once you have them). Marriages and divorces happen. Terminal illnesses and battles with life-threatening diseases happen that you may never even know about. Tragedy happens. People lose those closest to them.
The lonely seeking desperate validation for their self-worth do some pretty shady and rude stuff. Business ebbs and flows. Struggling to make ends meet and desperation creeps in when you are trying to put food on the table to feed your family.
We are all human, each with our own story. And these stories are what shape us over time. Each story adds to our evolution and complexities which are always shifting--even daily.
We are not the same people we were an hour ago, let alone five years ago. Or a decade ago. Life shifts, and so do we. I ask you to consider this possibility and seek to know people you think you know as they are now.
I am not suggesting that you be naive and allow dysfunctional people or patterns to continue to walk all over you when there has clearly been no progress over time.
I am suggesting, however, that we consider the possibility of change, ask the question, and then live our way into the answer.
Kerry Lee Doehr is CEO/founder and CEO of event planning business Santa Barbara Wine Country Weddings and Events as well as Engaging Inspiration, a business dedicated to marketing, events and training for the special event and hospitality professional. She is committed to progress in the industry that goes beyond trend and design, saying, "Who we are and how we handle ourselves ethically is more of a barometer to business longevity and branding than all the money in the world spent on advertising."