Play to your strengths

If you are planning a special event, you probably don't want me on your team. I am disinterested in menu planning. A terrible cook. A lousy baker. I can be cheap and don't always guess correctly about what is most important to guests. I get stressed out about and consequently overthink almost everything. Don't even get me started on the anxiety I feel if it's a surprise.

And yet in spite of all this, two days ago I managed to co-host a baby shower that by all accounts was an unmitigated success.

How? I played to my strengths. And I let others play to theirs.

Sure, there's plenty I'm not good at (see paragraph 1). But I do have some skills that really came in handy.

I'm organized, with good handwriting and good record-keeping skills, so I was responsible for sending invitations and tracking responses. Check.

I'm good at helping people get to know each other. The baby's gender is unknown and the guests were going to be from all different walks of my sister's life, so I invited guests to fill out color-coded name tags (blue if they were on team boy, red for team girl) and include how they knew Sarah on the tag. Fun and practical. Check.

We were having a display shower (which means gifts are just displayed, rather than opened, with no wrapping paper) so my co-hosting sister was concerned we would be lacking structure. Toastmaster Christin to the rescue! I approached it the way I would plan a meeting, and mapped out a rough timeline of what needed to happen when (and with whom) to keep things flowing. That day the timeline was helpful as a guideline and ensured we didn't forget anything. Check.

There are often games at baby showers, but neither my sisters nor I are into some of the traditional ones. I wracked my brain and Googled a lot until I came across an idea that led to another. I have actual experience hosting a game show here in my hometown, so I put together and hosted a special baby shower edition of The Price is Right, and it was a huge hit! It provided structure and lots of laughs. Check.

But what about the food and the favors and the decor? That's where others utilized their strengths. My husband did an incredible job cleaning, arranging furniture and decorating to welcome thirty guests into our relatively small home. (Our house has never looked so beautiful!) My sister placed the order with the caterer, coordinated pickup of the lunch and the cake, made all the delicious and beautiful chocolate covered pretzel favors with my mom, and set up beverages. She also had my children and my nieces and nephew write out notes and put everything together in a book we presented the guest of honor.

When the first guests arrived, we were ready. Everything looked great, tasted great, flowed great. Most importantly, Sarah and her guests were extremely happy. It was a huge amount of work and we're all glad it's over. But by each playing to our strengths, we alleviated some stress from each other, prevented conflict that happens when too many people have opinions about the same things, and came up with something very special.

Play to your strengths.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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