From the Chair: 27 July 2022

It seems the event industry is coming back at a phenomenal pace. After the last few years of constant event cancellations and postponements, everyone now seems very eager to get back to face-to-face events. Going from zero to a hundred has become quite a challenge for our industry.

In business, challenges are unavoidable. The biggest challenge of a generation, the pandemic, created a sense of helplessness for many, an overwhelming obstacle too frightening and intimidating to face. Panic and fear in the face of struggle can feel normal. Fail once, and you can easily fall into the trap of believing you'll always fail. However, once you get through enough challenges in life you realise that even the worst-case scenario can have a positive solution.

Confronting obstacles forces you to assess the situation with new eyes and innovate creative solutions. You end up wiser with new skills and experiences.

The first challenge you overcome is the most important because it's the one you're least prepared to handle, but each time you take one on, you come out more capable of handling anything.

In our lives, we will occasionally face obstacles that are seemingly blocking the path to our goals. Such obstacles can easily lead to resentment and negativity, leading us to focus all our energy on the perceived obstacle that is preventing us to reach our goal. We might use this as an excuse to stop trying and become bitter.

Emotions such as sadness, anger, concern, jealousy, fright and self-doubt are all understandable initial reactions when we experience failure, rejection or loss.

Instead of looking for a solution it sometimes feels easier just to want to vent about the issue. Complaining is a release valve but does nothing to change the situation. Perhaps it is helplessness masquerading as anger.

While it’s important to accept and acknowledge that these emotions will occur and are part of human nature, our well-being and success will greatly depend on what perspective we choose to take next.

An obstacle in normal circumstances prevents us from going further, it paralyses. But now, I see obstacles as opportunities, and without them, I wouldn't be where I am today. So how can you turn obstacles into opportunities?

Here are 4 little tips to help navigate any obstacle that has blocked your path;

  1. Alter your perspective. We choose how we look at things. How we approach an obstacle determines how daunting it will be to overcome. I like to see obstacles as merely a detour to my final goal, especially if I am convinced that goal is achievable.
  2. Fail cheaply and quickly. There’s nothing wrong with being wrong or making mistakes. Each time it happens, new options open up to us and problems can be flipped into opportunities. Failure is an opportunity to find alternative ways of doing what needs to be done.
  3. Focus on what you can do. Whatever obstacles you come across, take a breath, do what’s immediately in front of you—and follow its thread into the next action. This is about doing the little things, right now. With each little win you’re not changing the world right at this moment, but ambitious enough to achieve one little thing at a time. Think progress, not perfection.
  4. We can't always control events, but we can control our attitude. How have I contributed to the problem? Those who attack problems and life with most initiative and energy usually win. Courage is really just taking action that creates momentum.

Many people shy away from negative situations and avoid obstacles. To shift our perspectives to view an obstacle as an opportunity requires some strength, reassessment as well as a positive attitude. The key is to look at the obstacle from a different angle, so when facing an obstacle, use your energy to identify and focus on what you can do to achieve what you need instead of investing energy on what you don’t have the power to change.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford

“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.” – Roger Crawford

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” Zig Ziglar

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

 “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; to be kind, but not weak; to be bold, but not a bully; to be thoughtful, but not lazy; to be humble, but not timid; to be proud, but not arrogant; to have humor, but without folly.” —Jim Roh

Upcoming Events

6 Sep
Riverbank Room 5, Adelaide Convention Centre, SA
19 Sep
Ace Hotel Sydney, NSW