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In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all came to hate particular terms — “unprecedented,” “new normal,” “uncertain times,” and now there is a new term I don’t so much hate but somewhat fear: “Bigger and Better!”

With so many events being canceled because of the pandemic, organizers want to stress the point that they will be back in 2021 and they will be “Bigger and Better” than ever. I have even said it myself. And while I love optimism, as a brand professional and event planner, I’m hearing the phrase so much that I’m starting to sweat a little.

As a natural optimist, I’m not always best at being a realist, but as the months tick on, the toll of a world-wide pandemic is hard to ignore. The truth is that some events may not return, some events will be smaller, some will be missing familiar faces and some will just be the same as they’ve always been. And it’s not just events. It’s companies, towns, your own bank account. “Bigger and Better” may not be the case in the months to come and while that’s not a super-fun concept to grab a hold of, there is a concept I think we should all grab onto.

I saw a sign the other day that read “The comeback is always stronger than the setback.” I did a little online search of the phrase and stumbled upon an article about setbacks. Author and business coach Amanda Abella’s advice for a strong rebound from setbacks was so simple that it resonated with me. Here is what she says and how I see it as it relates to current circumstances:

Accept what you cannot control: When the pandemic first started, a strange wave of calm washed over me knowing that this was a problem I could not fix. Abella wrote about a time that a hurricane hit her business and how she experienced that same calm, knowing she could not stop nature. She used that time to her advantage, relaxing a bit before the real work of rebuilding began.

Focus on the things you can control: I can’t control when we cancel an event, but I can control the message.

Look for the lessons: Abella writes that the best remedy to a setback is to “look for the lessons without judgment so you can improve.” It’s a little too early to look for all of the lessons learned during Coronavirus since we are still so deep into it, but so far, the above items in bold, along with having a positive attitude and team work, are lessons that come to mind. I look forward to the day when we can sit back and list everything that we’ve learned and move forward in a positive way.

COVID-19 has presented everyone a set of unimaginable setbacks and while we may not emerge “Bigger and Better,” the hope is that we will be stronger.

Emily Caswell is the brand manager for VIEW Group, the branding division of View Newspaper Group.

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