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How Crisis Can Make You a Better Creative

There’s a reason the Chinese characters for “crisis” spell out “dangerous opportunity”—and as business owners, it’s up to you to discover the opportunities that lie within a dilemma. 

The term “crisis” is often associated with negativity and trauma and with good reason, as they typically involve an unwelcome change to one’s lifestyle. But every cloud has its silver lining and, if you look closely, you can find beauty in any situation. There’s a reason the Chinese characters for “crisis” spell out “dangerous opportunity”—and as business owners, it’s up to you to discover the opportunities that lie within a dilemma. 

To do so, you must accept the reality of the situation at hand. It will affect your decisions whether you like it or not, so you need to own the experience if you want to come out stronger on the other side. Otherwise, it will own you.  

Once you can accept that something terrible has happened, you will find the freedom and power you need to move on with direction. When COVID struck in 2020, it was an incredibly difficult time for everyone in the events industry. 

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How do you stay relevant amidst a nationwide shutdown? How can you create content that is both impactful and sensitive to the current state of affairs? How can you generate cash in a tumultuous economy? These questions haunted everyone in the early months, but those who were able to accept, adjust, and refocus are the ones who have seen growth—not loss—during the pandemic. 

So what’s the secret to navigating a crisis situation with grace? You must stay creative. 

Creativity keeps your brain fresh and always seeking new solutions, which can drum up motivation and purpose during an otherwise challenging time. Consider these four ways a crisis can make you a better creative and how they fit into your business at this time. 

They create space. 

When life follows the status quo, our days tend to get lost to the nitty-gritty of what we do and how we do it. But when a catastrophe strikes, it allows us to step back and see the big picture for our businesses.  

For instance, when COVID started spreading in 2020, many creatives found themselves with fewer distractions. They could lean into their business foundations in ways not possible during “normal” circumstances. We saw event pros working on their brands, building innovative solutions, developing contingency plans, producing fresh content, and at the root of it all—creating. 

They remind you what’s important. 

When the minutiae of daily life are wiped away, we’re able to find clarity on what matters most. For many, the pandemic highlighted the value of our communities and support systems. In the same way, creativity inspires you to revisit the “why” of your business. What brought you here?  

For me, it’s creating artwork. For you, it may be turning a mess of emails into a structured timeline or capturing people on camera in their best light. When “why” is at the forefront, you’ll make better decisions, find more inspiration in the day-to-day, and refine your goals to align with your truest purpose.  

They add value to your creative spark. 

In a time when everything feels dark and gloomy, art and creativity add color and beauty to the world. People are naturally inclined to seek comfort and peace, which creatives can readily offer through their craft.  

During the pandemic, we honed our skills and decided to raise our creative fees to develop new artwork for our clients. For many couples, the chance to host an event that is so uniquely them after the past several years is worth the investment in our creativity. They want their celebration to be perfect and, by restructuring our fees, we were able to serve their needs better while preserving our creativity as artists.  

They open up new opportunities. 

It’s hard to take on exciting endeavors when your plate is already full of the usual work. But a crisis can quickly change the landscape, providing you with the opportunity to try something new!  

For instance, we received an EIDL loan during the pandemic and decided to invest in our business. We chose to flip the narrative! This would not be a dark time for us, but one filled with growth and fulfillment. We revisited and rebuilt the lifestyle brand we started years prior, thanks to all of the time we had to learn about sales and marketing, adjust our brand positioning, and develop new product collections. As a result, we’ve seen incredible growth that would have never happened if not for a global crisis! 

In its truest sense, a crisis is a test. It challenges the way you think, your ability to adapt, and how you embrace the support of those around you. Nobody can say that COVID was an easy, enjoyable experience, but many of those who harnessed their creativity throughout the pandemic have found success in ways otherwise unattainable. Remember: There are two sides to every coin! 

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