There are so many things one could say about the unrealistic expectations that Disney movies set for children, particularly young girls, but I also think there are a heap of solid life (and business) lessons that may have flown under the radar but are 100 percent worth acknowledging. 

Earlier this year I sat down to watch Frozen II on Disney+. Having watched it MANY times with my friends’ kids, and admittedly by myself because it’s a fantastic escape from reality, I was intrigued about where they would go next with the story.

Fast forward to the pandemic turning our world upside down and my takeaways from the movie are even more applicable today, particularly to women in business. 

The Genius Nugget of Wisdom

“This is called controlling what we can when things seem out of control.”

Olaf, the snowman

This line comes up after the townspeople escape to the cliffs and Kristoff (the leading man) while walking around checking on everyone stumbles across Olaf letting children stick icicles in his face like a mustache. The above line is his response to Kristoff’s inquiry to his safety. 

I cannot stress this enough how much I felt both seen, validated and slapped-in-the face with GENIUS I felt, all at the same time! This is precisely the lesson everyone needs in life, but particularly during a pandemic. Here’s how it fits.

Applying It To Life

The veil between work life and home life has been removed. That means you have all new realities to contend with as you’ve attempted to find balance between the two now that they are thrust into the exact same environment. 

Maybe you feel like you started to get the hang of it (finally!) and yet now it all turns upside down again as schools reopen (or not) and you, as a parent, have to decide between virtual school, in-person school, or a hybrid. All the while continuing to work. 

This is the ultimate time for Olaf’s advice to come into play. You cannot control everything. So do what you can and let go of the rest.

Example A

Let’s say you’ve decided to home school. There will be days your kids get through every lesson you assign and they are angels while you get work done a room away. There will be other days where getting them to sit still for math class will be a repeated test of your patience and will to live. 

On these days, take a deep breath and remember: you cannot control everything so what about the way your day is going CAN you control?

Option 1: The time you spend cooking dinner. Use this time more effectively and order take out that night. Yes, you want to provide a nutritious meal for your family, but you know what: you cannot do it all at full force, every single day without losing your mind, time, productivity at work, motivational drive, etc.

Give yourself the pass every once in a while. Show grace the way you would to a friend. 

Control what you can, like using the time you would have spent cooking to knock out some of the work items you missed while teaching your kiddos, and know that tomorrow is a new day. Everyday doesn’t have to be perfect, and what seems perfect on Instagram is BS (#truth),  you just have to do what you can and know you’ll do the same thing tomorrow: the best you can. 

Option 2: If math is what’s throwing them off, then put a pin in it for the day and switch topics. Give them a reading assignment (#silenceisbliss) or art project to do while you get some work or other projects done at home. Come back to math the next day with clearer, and calmer, heads for all parties involved.

Applying It To Business

I remember when I first pointed out how this lesson could work for a client in Los Angeles, she laughed. Yep, totally laughed at me. Not because she thought I was crazy, but because she couldn’t believe she hadn’t looked at it that way before. 

I work with a lot of businesses in the live events industry, an industry that was decimated in a matter of days when lockdowns happened  and large gatherings (i.e. the whole point of the business) became forboden. So after a lot of tears, frustration and flat out anger at losing their income streams, we had to work on mindset. 

And that’s where Olaf comes in. Being able to host live events is 100% out of their control. It sucks but it’s what is best for our society. So what could they control when things seemed out of control? 

They needed to focus efforts to work ON the business while they couldn’t work IN the business. 

This means reevaluating branding effectiveness, refining internal operations, putting more effort into social media connections and presence and, above all, content development.

This time when they can’t be working IN events, is the precise time to demonstrate why they are the best in the business so that when events become part of our daily lives again (and they will, it’ll just take time) my clients are the ones people turn to. 

That is done through content development. Blogging, writing guest articles in publications where their target client is reading, creating educational videos, and ongoing email campaigns. 

Not only does this help position them as an expert now by means of the people who read the articles and watch the videos in real time, but also factors into their SEO strategy. 

“Content marketing is the key to ensuring you stay front-of-mind with clients,” says David Chapman, CEO of 919 Marketing. “Whether you’re a major company or a small business, investing time and resources into developing solid content will both position you as thought leader and provide the SEO boost everyone needs in our digital world.” 

This advice isn’t just applicable to the live event industry either. This applies to every business.

Our world has changed. Consumer behavior and spending has changed and businesses need to adapt to that – at all levels. 

So instead of focusing on all the things out of your control on a given day, take a page from Olaf’s book and focus on what you CAN control. The more you work in that mindset, the more productive, profitable and happier you will be. It’s all interconnected. 

This story originally appeared in Thrive Global.


Channing Muller is an award winning marketing & public relations consultant and the principal of DCM Communications, based out of Chicago. She works with event professionals and business owners to grow and scale their businesses with refined marketing strategies developed through one-on-one and group consulting, customized marketing programs and public relations. She has been named a "25 Young Event Pro to Watch" by Special Events magazine and "40 Under 40" by Connect Meetings. Channing is an avid runner, lover of Labrador Retrievers, good food, delicious drinks, and an advocate for the American Heart Association.

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