“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” – Martha Washington (former first lady)
CONGA LINE? YES, PLEASE!
I have always been a big supporter of the whole dancing in the rain theory but I have never been very good about carrying it out. At our wedding in Mexico, we had our reception on the rooftop. About half our guests had just gotten their entree when the downpour began.
Our wedding planner pulled us aside, had us sign several forms exempting them from any damage the rain may cause to our wedding, then asked us several venue changing questions. Before we had a chance to answer whether we wanted them to switch our dinner inside, we turned to see the most fun sight ever. It was our guests forming a conga line in the rain!
We both looked at each other and laughed. We did not have to determine whether to go to inside our not, our friends and family decided to dance in the rain!
WELL, THIS IS INTIMATE
The same is true for funeral service. Last year, we had a large set up for a seminar. There had been planning for weeks and huge mailings sent out to the area. A large group came during the day so another large group was expected for the evening session. The food was set up, staff were all present, and then everybody could hear the crickets.
Eventually, two people timidly come into the building. It was a mother and her son. In the lobby they chatted a little with the owner of the funeral home because they knew his dad really well.
After getting them a cup of coffee, he took them to a conference room and they had a very fun and laughter filled conversation. They ended up talking so much about people and things they had in common, that they scheduled a second appointment to come back and have some pre-planning questions answered.
It could have been one of those moments when everyone was devastated and mopey about the situation, but no, every bonded together and knew what to do to make this family feel comfortable. Obviously, the situation was not ideal, but we made the best of it.
Plus, the next day we were able to take all the food down to one of our favorite churches and spoil the staff down there.
WHEN EVERYTHING GOES WRONG
Things are going to go wrong, you just need to learn how to prepare for those situations.
If you work with a group of people, there is a resource called StrengthsFinder that allows all staff members to take a survey, then learn about themselves and their coworkers’ strengths. This was a great way to concentrate on the good of people to learn how they work under pressure.
For example, if someone has Achiever as a strength, it is important to give them tasks during a stressful situation that can be measured and seen as productive (such as moving the 30 boxes from one room to another). If someone has Commander as a strength, then it is important to let them take charge and follow along with their requests.
There are also numerous articles and resources for personal growth on how to cope when things go wrong. The truth is, everyone is different and each situation is different. Work to understand how you deal with these situations and work to understand what you can improve on when things go downhill.
Don’t ever forget to dance in the rain, there is good to be found in almost every situation!