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Finding Opportunity in Uncertainty

Challenging times call for a mindful approach.

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AS I SIT DOWN to write this column, one week before attending the first trade show I’ve visited in 18 months and one month before heading to Denver to stage and produce the first in-person International Retail Design Conference (IRDC) in two years, it occurs to me how very different our lives have become in a short time.

Pre-pandemic, I counted the days in between business trips, calculating the time I’d have at home and in the office before the ritual of packing, heading to the airport and arriving in a new city, setting up camp at a new hotel, seeing familiar faces and meeting new colleagues began once again. My Instagram account was filled with photos of far-off places, cool and quirky spots that caught my fancy and, of course, the incredibly creative work I had the privilege to see and experience in my travels.

In March of 2020, that life ended unceremoniously and a new one began. This new existence was filled with uncertainty, tumultuous change and, in many cases, great loss. Though I consider myself a resilient person who tends to roll with the punches, the sheer magnitude of this upheaval was disconcerting at times and downright scary at others – a totally natural and human reaction.

Our brains, it seems, are wired to embrace routine and thrive on consistency. Disruptions like the ones we’ve all experienced during the past 18 months cause us stress and anxiety. But, if we understand and accept this reality, we can learn to unpack the very things that are causing our stress and, using neuroscience, “hack” our brains to reorient, reprocess and rethink our state of mind.

Given the times in which we’re living, we’ve invited husband and wife team Lu Hanessian M.Sc., President, Founder, Integrate Resilience, and VMSD Editorial Advisory Board member and author David Kepron, AIA, LEED, RDI, Founder and Owner, NXTLVL Experience Design, to explore this phenomenon and offer our audience how, with better awareness and more curiosity, we can lead ourselves – and each other – toward a future that embraces growth and resilience. The perfect approach, it seems, for our challenging times; we hope to see you in Denver!

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Jennifer Acevedo
Editor-in-Chief/Associate Publisher, VMSD Magazine

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Jennifer Acevedo is the editor-in-chief and associate publisher of VMSD magazine.

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