Ah the most wonderful time of the year. A time when people get together with family and have lots of time off. Much of that time off, as it happens, will likely be spent in entertainment facilities like yours all over the world.  This of course means that you and your staff don’t get the luxury of taking that time off because for many of you, it’s busy season and you have to work.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a keynote address by Aaron Davis, an athlete turned motivational speaker who specializes in attitude.  From his perspective, what separates champions from the rest of us is perspective, habits and the commitment to both.  He wrote a blog post last week that resonated with me called “You Have to or You Get to?”

It was all about perspective during this hectic time of year. Instead of thinking, “I have to buy all these presents,” why not reframe it to “I get to buy gifts for people I care about.”

For holiday workers, especially retail and our front-line team members, this can be a time of year when it’s hard to stay motivated, and I think it could be easy to fall into negativity thinking, “I can’t spend time with my family because I have to work.”  Instead I’d like to offer a different perspective by reminding all of us what we get to be a part of.

People work so hard these days and the average professional worker spends 50+ hours per week away from his or her family.  So when companies give back and host holiday parties at your park, they are taking the opportunity to thank and recognize their teams. You get to help them relax and let their hair down.

Further, families today often don’t spend a lot of time together either, with work, school and outside activities that parents and kids participate in.  During the holidays, they tend to have more time to build their relationships.  You get to laugh and play with them, and help make that happen.

Nonprofits and churches are very busy this season as well, with many toy and food drives, and opportunities to serve the community. By hosting them for an event or holding your own fundraiser or drive, you get to make a difference in your community. 

But don’t take my word for it. I asked the CenterEdge team to recall a specific time that was special to them, either working in an entertainment facility or visiting one, and to share that memory with us.  I’d like to share two of their stories with you.

From a team member who worked in an FEC, he recalls turning a potentially scary moment into a great service opportunity. He recalls “I had a team member that had a young boy of about 6 years old come to the concession counter looking for his older brother.  He could not find him and couldn’t remember what theatre he was in.  The team member offered to help the little man find his brother.  She took him through all the theatres and he was nowhere to be found.  The young boy started to get upset and cry but the team member was great with him.  She sat with him and calmed him down and got his brother’s name.  We went looking for him throughout the facility and he was not there.  However, she was able to get the boy’s phone number and called his mom to pick him up.  The mom was so grateful. The brother was an older teen and mom was very upset to find out he had left his brother at the facility alone.  Needless to say I think he was in some deep trouble.  But anytime afterwards that the young boy and his mom came in he always wanted to see the employee who had helped him.”  You get to help people in tense, potentially scary moments by caring and being there for them.

The second story was from a team member who remembers his own experience as a child. He recalls, “When I was growing up my father worked far away from us so I did not get to see him very often.  One weekend he came back to town and took my sister and me to a local family entertainment center.   We wanted to play on the racing arcade games so the three of us hopped on and fired them up.  My sister and I were kids so, of course, we were terrible and did not top the charts.  We thought it would be game over after the first race and we would have to go home, which meant our dad would be leaving as well.  However, our dad said, ‘No game overs, we’re going to beat this game’ so we kept playing.  We got to go through every race the game had until there was nothing left to try.  We played for hours and had such a wonderful time.  That is one of the best times I ever had with my father.”

Moments. Whether turning a negative moment positive or helping to give people some of the best times they’ll remember forever, these are the moments that you get to be a part of. What an opportunity.

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