5 Lessons Learned on the Coronacoaster ft. Melissa Park

Struggling with burnout? Award-winning global event producer Melissa Park joins our podcast to share five lessons learned in the pandemic, and how to take care of yourself in challenging times. We all need to remember self-care, so make sure you listen to this one!

Your first lesson says to “Let it out” …

I went into the year with 30 events, it was going to be an epic year. And I thought I was expanding the team further. It was going to be crazy. And within weeks of the virus, 27 of the 30 events were gone. And then, a couple of weeks later the last 3 turned either hybrid of virtual. The events kinda went in-house, the client handled those things. I kinda sat there like “what am I going to do”. So, Let it Out, I think the year is overwhelming, it’s stressful it’s all the things. So, for me, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed or angry or sad, or whatever emotion it is, I just think we need to feel the emotions and just get them all out of your system. For me, my way of handling it is I go into my shell, work out some solutions, and then come back fiery.

Tell me more about Lesson 2?

So in 2019 I found myself being incredibly burnt-out and while you wouldn’t be thankful for that normally, I kinda feel like it was a great practice round for going through this year. I hired a burnout coach to reassess every area of my life, and really reprioritized and work out what it was I really wanted. Burnout causes resentment, or resentment causes burnout is what I should say. And so I needed to address what was making resentful. So, I did all this work in 2019 with her. So, coming into this, I was able to lean into all of these things and what I want, and while events were gone what I realized was – I have other dreams and goals I want to achieve. You know, now I have all this time on my hands so I’m going to and think and figure out what else I can make happen. I redid my website, I wrote a content plan for my social media. I created master classes and online courses. It is very exciting, my first one is 7 steps to event success is going to be launched in November. Learning new platforms and the systems, I was able to lean into and identify goals I’ve had that were outside events that I could really focus on during this time.

Lesson number 3, progress over perfection.

Yeah, so this is a huge one. What I realized is that while I had been crazy busy, when I look at some of the bigger goals I have – like I wanna produce own events, write a book, and all these things. I realized why aren’t I doing these things? It was because of fear, and identifying that I have got to break all of this down into bite-size chunks. It seems more manageable and not as overwhelming. Take the pressure off, this year doesn’t need any more. Just keep moving forward and achieve what you can. And, also, my productivity looks so different this year. With 30 events, Im back-to-back usually. Whereas this year, it’s so different, there are no checkpoints each week. It is projects that take a lot longer. I need to take it easier on myself, some of these weeks I just don’t have it in me to do the 16, 20 hour days. I just need to take it easy this week and that’s okay.

Lesson 4, move your body, change your mind.

Yeah, this is a huge thing for me. I, in the past, have struggled with anxiety. This year, obviously brought that back up again. In lockdown in New York, I would go and do a one-hour power walk around Central Park. It kept me sane, I would switch everything off and just be completely present. Getting out and moving, I just this year I have been so mindful and look after myself and take it easy and do what I can. This power walk it keeps me sane.

Lesson number 5, set boundaries and switch off.

The thing is, setting boundaries and switching off is incredibly hard. If Im looking for silver linings in all of this, that’s the one, I’ve been able to take time off. Sometimes two hours, sometimes none. Everything now since there’s no events is on my timeline. So, my deadline I’ve given to myself. For me, I guess, leaning back into what I learned with the burnout coach. Setting boundaries is so important, and when you don’t, that’s when the anger and resentment comes. So I have been really intentional, like actually no I am not going to be online 24/7 anymore. You likely won’t hear form me on the weekend, I am taking time-off to be present with friends or family. Re-proritize what is actually important, and you realize, you know, actually not much. Setting boundaries and sticking to them, and I’ve had some of my most creative ideas when I just switch off all distractions. So, I think that is super important. But so often we get on the master wheel where we just go go go and that doesn’t help anyone at all these do the day. I need to do these things so I can fill my cup and then I can pour over. There’s no point doing it with an empty cup because then I’m not helping anyone.

What advice do you have for someone new to this industry?

Even if you get a full-time role, if you can volunteer and do other things, like if you’re going into a role at a specific type of event, don’t pigeon-hole yourself.

Most of social media platforms _melissaparks

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