Pandemic Dark Cloud to Silver Lining… The Sequel

Uncategorized Apr 09, 2021

(Check out the first part of my story HERE).

Following the death of my father, I realized that I was totally burned out, and not just from grief. I’d been traveling extensively for my job as a professional speaker in the meetings industry, and the truth hit me hard: You know you’ve reached your expiration date when you’re living out of a suitcase on autopilot – so much so that you go to the wrong airport in your own city!

My decision soon afterwards to pivot my business to a home-based, virtual one turned out to be the right one because it positioned me perfectly for the pandemic.

Do as I say, not as I did!

My burn-out probably resulted from being too busy teaching other people how to practice self-care and not taking my own advice – I struggled with undiagnosed sleep apnea and high cortisol levels, which led to pre-diabetes and weight gain, among other health issues.

I needed to make a change. Immediately.

I transformed my virtual Eat, Sleep, Move, Breathe signature talk about self-care into an online wellness self-coaching program – Byte-Size Wellness Academy – and launched in March 2020, just as COVID-19 swept in.

The right idea, at the wrong time?

Yes, my messaging was off. Conference organizers and workplaces weren’t in buying mode. They were just trying to survive as the world paused.

I paused, too, for six months. I listened, observed and practiced my 5 Ps (read about these HERE).

Then, in September, I was asked to lead a 30-minute, live-streamed wellness break for a virtual audience. The event went so well that my client paid me double what I had invoiced for!

Clearly, I was on to something. This was my ‘A-Ha’ moment. I had found my niche: virtual wellness experiences designed to reduce Zoom brain and butt burnout.

A pivot pays off

I ran with this new direction, changing my messaging and my market: I moved from workplace wellness back to meeting/conference wellness. Leveraging my 12 years of thought leadership as a conference wellness pioneer, I positioned myself as the virtual conference wellness & attendee engagement expert. I created a niche that worked perfectly for pandemic meetings and conferences.

Here’s how I accomplished this:

  • I planned ahead

Three years ago, I began building a scalable, sustainable business that aligned with my core personal and professional values: Self-care, work-life balance, compassion, empathy, kindness, and making wellness accessible.

  • I stayed ahead of my competition and set up the right mindset

By including mini-courses for attendees inside my Virtual Wellness Lounge, I could make wellness accessible and provide health-driven content tailored for virtual audiences.

I stayed resilient, curious and creative. I strove to be an innovative disruptor and thought leader. I encouraged meeting professionals to re-think the meeting experience and focus on the person attending the virtual meeting, not the technology they’re staring at.

  • I leveraged my expertise in the online space

In many ways, I’ve had a lifetime of ‘emergency preparedness training' -- creating health content and digital assets for interactive websites, online focus groups and social media research has been my jam for years. And I’ve produced and starred in a library of mind-body video breaks being used by conferences across North America.

I was up to this challenge!

  • I focused on leading with empathy

To create content with compassion, I put myself in the attendee’s shoes as they face an exhausting day in back-to-back sessions. I developed the virtual breaks as teachable moments so attendees could prioritize self-care. This helps them feel and be their best so they’re alert, well-rested and revitalized.

Today, my Virtual Wellness Lounge is a self-contained portal featuring byte-sized content to keep meeting attendees engaged and energized. The program integrates four pillars of self-care (Eat, Sleep, Move, Breathe) into busy virtual meetings and attendees’ everyday lives. Best of all, it’s free to attendees.

Here’s how to bring wellness to your virtual and hybrid events:

The 360 Virtual Attendee Engagement and Wellness Experience includes:

• 3 self-contained online mini-courses (Self-Care, Self-Care Coaching, Fundamentals of Food & Healthy Eating) with 5-minute video lessons, worksheets, information guides and resources

• 7-day Sleep Hygiene Challenge

• Video library (with 5-minute stretch, desk exercises, mindfulness and yoga video breaks)

• Wellness Resource Center with downloadable assets (virtual swag!)

• 9 Roadmaps to help navigate the Program

• 7 Certificates of Completion

Post-event progress

Attendees leave the conference with self-care tips and resources that they can easily implement into their tele-working days and everyday lives. They can access enough educational content to take them through a full year after the event!

Good News!

Byte-Size Wellness Academy is available for continuing education and professional development credits through SHRM and EIC.

Even better news! I’ve partnered with MPI to offer Byte-Size Wellness Academy FREE to MPI members for their personal use, thanks to our #radicalgiving mindset.

Watch my guided Video Tour HERE, and let’s schedule a Zoom call to talk about virtual wellness experiences at your next event. A link to my virtual calendar is HERE.

Be well!


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