by Debbie Ruston, Columnist & Featured Contributor
[su_dropcap style=”flat”]O[/su_dropcap]UR DAUGHTER got married this past weekend. We had a lot to pull together during their 9 month engagement to pull it off, and I learned there are many lessons for success that apply to business as well.
Leadership – The first step was to listen openly to what our daughter and her fiance wanted for their wedding, and respect their wishes. As the mother of the bride, you need to take on a serious leadership role. Thankfully I have been involved in leadership development for the past 30 yrs, so this part was easy for me. This was their day, although I was going to be very involved in the planning and execution of it. I have been an entrepreneur for 30 years, so very accustomed to just taking action. I had daily conversations with my daughter to talk about ideas and decisions. I was careful not to step on her toes, but to implement what we discussed. There is a fine line between taking over and being of service. A leader does not need anyone to “tell” them what needs to be done. A leader takes the initiative and takes the appropriate actions necessary.
Execution – This requires taking massive action. There were so many details to take care of. We set up spread sheets for everything so we could list everything in every category that needed to be done, and keep a check list of what was done and what was still required. We used this from the start, right up to the last minute details. What a life saver it was to be this organized! Very often frustration sets in when we feel overwhelmed….which comes from a lack of organization. We cannot effectively execute any plan, unless we are highly organized. It also takes the pressure off having to remember everything, when you have a checklist you are going by. I can also see that project management was key in bringing this all together.
Engagement – There was a buck & doe (party for the bride & groom), 5 bridal showers we combined into 3, a bachelorette party, a bachelor party, a rehearsal dinner party, and then the wedding. We had SO much support from our family and friends throughout this whole experience. People were so involved and a reflection of the love they felt for our kids. This is a reminder that when people are committed to a cause, they are engaged. This is the result in the workplace when you feel a part of something meaningful.
Entrepreneurial Spirit – Putting on a wedding requires having an entrepreneurial spirit. An entrepreneur is solution oriented, visionary, and willing to do what it takes for as long as it takes. The hrs we put into this have been massive, but because it was something so meaningful for us and our daughter and son in law, it didn’t feel like work. We envisioned the outcome and then did everything in our power to make it happen. This is what successful entrepreneurs do….and because their business is something they are passionate about, it doesn’t feel like work.
Overcoming Adversity – No matter how organized and how much you feel like you have all the bases covered, there are always going to be things beyond your control. This applies to life and business. The weather didn’t co-operate at all on their wedding day, and this meant a pile of last minute changes. It is my experience from being an entrepreneur for the last 30 years and working diligently on my own mindset and leadership that I was able to do what was necessary, without letting emotion get in the way and see opportunity, where others were only seeing the challenge. Adversities are always simply part of the process towards anything worthwhile we work towards. We are either stopped by adversity, or we embrace and find the opportunity within it.
Successful People Surround Themselves With Other Successful People – I am very self reliant and very organized and although I thought I had everything covered, my daughter insisted on having a “day of co-ordinator”. I give her full credit for making this decision. Having our day of co-ordinator saved the day when the weather challenges came into play and we had to make many last minute changes. Although it’s important to be a self reliant visionary leader in business, or in a wedding, it’s equally as important to surround yourself with great people that can step up to the plate when necessary. Successful people are not threatened by surrounding themselves with other successful people….they realize it strengthens them.
Being Present – Often in life or in business, we are so focused on the outcome and the details, that we actually miss the journey. We spent the week before the wedding decorating the outdoor home of the groom’s parents. It was extensive! To some it would have seemed like too much work, but I can honestly say that I loved every single moment. As we decorated everything, I was having the time of my life. I learned new things I didn’t know, and got massive satisfaction from the finished job, and our daughter’s comment that it was “better than she ever imagined”. When we take on a massive project, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out, if you are not “smelling the roses” along the way. The journey is where we learn, grow, and make memories that serve us for a lifetime. The journey serves as a teacher along the way, IF, we are open to the messages.
New Opportunity – We never know when opportunity is going to present itself. Many people go through life and never identify or ACT on opportunity. As we started planning the wedding, we were focused on just the wedding. However, as we met with vendors and recognized everything it takes to put a large event like this on, we also realized a need. And this presented an opportunity. After making all the wedding decor ourselves we realized we now have everything needed to do this again. Many people suggested we should be in the wedding planning business. We embraced the opportunity and decided to launch a side business in DIY wedding decor rentals. We certainly didn’t start out the wedding planning to start another business, but have embraced the opportunity since we already have all the decor. Opportunity often knocks when you least expect it. Entrepreneurs are able to identify and then act when opportunity presents itself.
I have said before, everything and everyone is our teacher….the key is to be open to the messages in all aspects of life, and be willing to learn, grow and recognize that everything is a stepping stone. Everything we learn in life can support us in business, and everything in business we learn can support us in life. There is no difference…..it is a constant overflowing of knowledge that assists us in building all parts of our lives……