COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Finding themselves in a rut is something that happens to people regardless of their level of success.
“It’s going to happen and don’t feel like it’s a one-time thing,” said Tami Forero, strategic event planner and CEO of Forte Events. “We think there’s something wrong with us or we’re not doing something right, but it’s up to us to decide how to make a change.”
Everyone gets stuck, Forero said during a “Cultivating Resiliency for Women in Agriculture — How to Get Unstuck” webinar organized by American Agri-Women.
“Once you get unstuck, later on you’ll get stuck again because if you’re not, you’re not moving forward,” she said. “Anyone that wants to be successful will always get stuck.”
Forero works with a lot of large and small agricultural companies to help them with their businesses.
“We mostly do corporate events all over the world such as training, meetings, conferences and product launches,” she said. “My family comes from the ag world, my parents are from New York state and I spent summers on the farm which gave me such a love for agriculture.”
Agriculture is the foundation in all things, Forero said.
“There are business concepts and structures that are the same no matter what service or product you offer,” she said. “I don’t think any country can be a world super power if you can’t feed the world.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the event planning industry.
“The COVID shutdown has destroyed my industry since we can’t host meetings and a lot of clients don’t want to do it virtually,” Forero said. “It’s been horrible because I had to let staff go and now I’m looking at what’s next for me.”
Inaction will keep a person stuck, Forero said, as well as the need for competence in lots of skills.
“People feel like they have to know a little bit about everything and this is a huge problem in family businesses,” she said. “Older and younger generations have the same goal, but they can’t see it because they want to do things differently and they can’t budge.”
It is important to delegate and allow people to fail.
“You can’t be ruled by fear because fear-based decision making is going to kill your business, kill your joy and kill your relationships,” Forero said.
“You need to let other people grow and they’re going to mess up and it could cost you money,” she said. “But you have to let them do that or you will be stuck doing everything.”
As an entrepreneur, Forero said, she is not afraid to fail.
“I’ve failed and then I bounce back and try something else,” she said. “I know it’s hard because there’s energy and time invested, but you cannot be afraid to fail and think you’re going to go forward.”
Getting unstuck does not always require a skill set upgrade.
“You don’t need to learn new stuff all the time. What you need is a mindset shift, which changes your self-esteem,” Forero said. “You have to start thinking differently and give things a shot.”
“Strategies and tactics that brought success in the past rarely get new wins, so you have to be able to shift and move,” she said. “Keep your mind open and look at what other people are doing because there is so much inspiration around us, but we have to be open to it to find answers.”
Forero encourages people to get comfortable operating at the edges of their comfort zone.
“No one likes that because we like safety,” she said. “The only person that can make these changes is you and if you make a change it will affect the lives of the people around you.”
Criticism is likely to occur.
“People that are critical are people that are stuck, too afraid to make a change and often times are jealous of someone else taking a risk,” Forero said. “Criticism will hurt the worst from the people you love the most.”
Making changes and getting unstuck, Forero said, often requires help from others such as a business coach, colleague, friend, employees, peers, a transformational class or reading a book.
“We have to find people we trust and create a circle of people we can go to,” she said. “Be humble and get help.”
It can be helpful to take interest in many things.
“I know it’s hard when you’re busy, but do things like hobbies, attend a bible study, go to the shooting range, knit with people or take a class,” Forero said. “We’ll make every excuse not to do it like I don’t have time or the money and there are times that is the case, but don’t let it be the case forever.”
Another idea is to go to meeting outside of your industry, even if it means watching that event online or listening to a podcast.
“No matter what industry you’re in, we’re all people and we have the same problems that stem from the same roots with fear being No. 1,” Forero said.
Cornell University did a study with 300 people over a three-year time period.
“They found out that 85% of what people worry about never happens,” Forero said.
Forero advises people to think about their purpose and decide if what they are doing is aligned with their purpose.
“You have to learn to separate what you do and who you are because when we tie our self identity in what we do instead of who we are, we mess ourselves up,” she said. “I know my business is what I do not who I am.”
Find the right people and spend time with like-minded people, Forero said.
“I love risk-takers, so I try to hang out with people that are riskier than me, who pull and push me to do better things and who are not just one dimensional,” she said. “It’s important who you allow to lift you up and it really helps you to get unstuck.”