We've officially launched into Holiday Season 2021! Some of us aren't quite celebrating. Instead, we're grappling gripping over how and when we will connect with family and what requirements we may or may require and enforce. Don't let it tear apart your family and don't let shopping and shipping delays wear you down. Instead, let's "See over Stress."
One of the definitions of holiday is "a period of exemption or relief". We generally think of this as relief from work, from routine, from structure. Celebrating is the main undercurrent, but what if instead we really leaned into the concept of suspending stress, opting out of drama, and exempting ourselves from non-civil interpersonal engagements - a true period of relief. Now that would be worth celebrating.
If this doesn't sound like a proper marketing blog yet, bear with us as we shift the context a bit in the spirit of the upcoming holiday season.
Here at Marketing Outpost we are in the business of marketing - which in many regards boils down to presentation. We strategize about how we present our business, products and services; what our branding looks like and if our logo works. How our business responds in a crisis and how the public perceives and interprets the subsequent moves we make. COVID certainly drove that home, and we saw that those businesses who could pivot and shift and take the temperature of their audience - and respond accordingly and with grace - are the ones who survived.
Imagine if we put that kind of attention and consideration into how we present ourselves, as human beings, to our own personal public: our family and friends. The truth is that most of us are little haphazard on this front, especially when it comes to family gatherings around the holidays. During this time some of our inner circle do indeed get our best - others may get our worst. You certainly wouldn't run your business that way. Yet all of us are prone to some inconsistent messaging when it comes to how we present ourselves to certain relatives and extended family members.
When the holidays become a period of stress and strain, this promised "exemption or relief" are nowhere to be found. Wouldn't it be nice to just have a motto, and let that guide you in making decisions and rendering judgements during this time of year - kind of like you created for your business?
What is your guiding principle this Holiday Season?
We are proposing a (self) marketing challenge for the holidays:
Create a guiding principle for your holiday interactions this year, and stick to it.
You don't have to betray your convictions or wear spots when you are actually a stripes kind of gal - but instead wear them with grace and benevolence.
Cut Each Other Some Slack!
Acknowledge it has been a nutty ride this past 20 months or so, and the after effects are still happening. We have all experienced the pandemic differently. Sure, there have been some common themes - but how they occurred to each
of us has varied. Take a moment to consider how it played out for someone else, instead of immediately comparing your experience to theirs - kind of like how you might listen to feedback from a client.
Your kitchen table may have become a family hub of activity with so much togetherness that it got on your nerves, but for your already cranky uncle, the loneliness may have exacerbated fears that then amped up his rants. So take a moment before you roll your eyes, and opt for different - neutral- body language.
See And Be Seen
We are all at our most comfortable and relaxed when we feel like we can safely be seen by others without excess judgement. We rely less on defensive reactions and comments, and our authentic selves show up. This self is far more popular than the locked and loaded doppelganger we often bring out when attending family functions.
Allow others to be seen and heard, and don't jump to impose your will onto how they express their feelings. You wouldn't respond to a bad Yelp review by telling the writer they are misguided and that their opinion is trash. This doesn't mean you have to agree with them - we can all agree the customer is NOT always right. But how you respond and find a solution is your choice - make it one you will not regret later.
Commit To Calm
Know what you know about others and maintain your convictions with grace. Most of us have a tendency to be shocked when another person's 'bad' behavior aligns to what we have experienced in the past. It's as if we forget what we already know - like goldfish in a fishbowl - and take the opportunity to be shocked and angry anew, releasing a steady stream of cortisol and upending our nervous systems. I just knew it would be like this!
Well - yes you did, so why all of the drama? Take control of the wheel. You most likely don't get up and stomp out of meetings when you disagree with team members - that would be bad for overall morale and create a negative atmosphere. Try to remember this when Auntie Jane starts acting like Auntie Jane again.
We know that how we conduct ourselves with business and family will never be exactly the same - and nor should it exclusively - but we do think we can take a cue or two from our business selves this Holiday season.
From all of us here at Marketing Outpost, may you and yours have a safe, healthy and joyful holiday season!