All those words of advice we’ve been hearing and have told ourselves have served us well through those dark days of the past 18 months.

They will now sustain us as we confront the brighter days of increased store traffic and sales against the dark reality of shortages, shipping delays and multiple price increases.

Actions such as trusting in ourselves and in our processes; concentrating on the “trees” instead of the “forest”; giving our best every moment; ignoring those debilitating “what if” voices in our head; expressing gratitude; and rejuvenating our enthusiasm for what we do and how we do it all continually expand the resilience in all those we lead. . . and love.

And there is an additional factor to be grateful for. . . though it may seem a bit callous to address it as this may come across as thinly veiled “misery loves company”:

The issues we continue to face, address and react to are not unique to our industry, nor any specific segment. Virtually every business is facing similar headwinds, though some more debilitating than others.

Additionally, widespread near-saturation media coverage has increased the awareness of every consumer segment, most obviously ours.

Consequently, we now have a (mostly) understanding though still-nervous bride who is more willing to listen to and follow our advice, and who is less deterred by the costs of her gown and accessories.

We have always had a small percentage of self-absorbed over-the-top brides who “don’t want to hear it. . . ”, which is certainly true here and now. For sanity’s sake, it’s even more important now that we learn from the difficult hard-to-service few and not let them overshadow the understanding many who appreciate what we do.

In addition to attitude and perspective, the steps you’ve taken this season will carry you through to the next: continually reevaluating off-the-rack merchandising programs; concentrating on sellable styles by buying in multiples of sizes and pieces; pursuing vendors with in-stock inventory; and passing through increases in shipping fees and manufacturer prices.

So keep smiling!

It’s proven to elevate your mood, alleviate stress, help you stay positive, reinforce resilience, and it also enables that great secret of life: enthusiasm.

As Norman Vincent Peale said:

“There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.”