In her new book, tent and event industry leader Delores Crum offers her seven simple strategies for successful living.
Sometimes the most practical success tips are like PEZ® candies. They’re delivered in appealing, bite-sized pieces. They’re refreshing. Above all, their impact lingers after the original tidbit is dispensed.
“Like PEZ candy, effective success tips are simple, universal and timeless,” says Delores Crum, owner of the Texas-based Premier Events and Party Time Rentals. “While PEZ containers have evolved through the years to reflect pop culture trends, the candy inside remains essentially the same.”
Crum’s collection of PEZ candy dispensers inspired her own PPPEEEZ formula for success, which can help you advance your career, achieve your financial goals, build a lasting legacy and gain greater joy in the journey. These PPPEEEZ truths (positivity, persistence, principles, energy, expertise, emotion and zeal) have guided Crum’s life and business for decades, and now she’s sharing these insights in her new book, Simple Strategies for Successful Living: A “How To Guide” for Getting the Life You’ve Imagined (Outskirts Press, 2019).
“Even though the only constant in our world is change—and change is coming at a faster pace than ever—I can’t foresee a time when the PPPEEEZ guiding principles won’t provide a relevant, firm foundation for building a successful, happy life,” she says.
1. Positivity. Each year when Crum and her work team participate in a retreat, they prepare by reading a “retreat text” as they plan for the coming year. Crum calls The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life by Shawn Achor one of the most powerful books she has ever read. “Positivity is rich with possibilities and short on excuses,” Crum says. “Pessimism is poison.”
To fuel more positivity in your life, Crum offers a number of action steps in her book, such as identifying at least one organization in the next 90 days that interests you and donating your time, talent or treasures to the group.
2. Persistence. If there’s a secret to success, it might just be persistence. While your definition of successful living may change through the years, one thing endures, Crum says: “To experience success as you define it, you must never give in, never give up, never surrender.” Crum speaks from experience. She and her husband, Richard, had only been in business 10 months with what was then a Party Central franchise before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks occurred. Like countless Americans, they not only grieved for those killed and injured, but they had to adjust to the post-9/11 world. “The phone wasn’t ringing with new business,” Crum says. “It took until early 2002 before people got back to a new normal, where parties tended to be scaled back with fewer guests. In the face of adversity, you have to embrace persistence and find new solutions to succeed.”
To develop more persistence, Crum recommends identifying three goals (either personal or professional) you’d like to achieve in the next 12 months and then list strategies that will help you overcome the inevitable distractions and manage competing priorities.
3. Principles. What do you stand for? It’s essential to not only define your principles, but live by them. “You know how it feels when a car’s wheels are out of alignment,” Crum says. “The vehicle is tougher to control, and the journey is more difficult and less comfortable than it needs to be.” Crum urges you to list the principles you hold as absolute and inviolable. If you feel guilt or shame for behaving in ways that don’t honor your principles, what specific steps will you take to gain your self-respect and peace of mind?
4. Energy. Passion is energy. Without energy, you have nothing. What would you change that would bring you greater energy, joy and fulfillment, either in the workplace or personally? While Crum and her husband have reached the age when they could comfortably retire, they haven’t slowed down much. “We still work every day, and we work because we love it,” Crum says. “I’m inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, ‘The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.’”
5. Expertise. Where do you seek advice? Whose counsel do you seek? “Wise people understand the need to consult experts,” notes Ken Poirot, an author quoted in Crum’s book. “Only fools are confident they know everything.” Crum credits various mentors with helping her develop her talents and skills, starting with her 11th-grade English teacher, Della Craighead, from Sooner High School in Bartlesville, Okla. “She always had a quote of the day,” Crum says. “She inspired in me an appreciation for the profound.” Crum encourages you to learn to speak and write well as you develop your expertise through ongoing education and experience.
“Stay relevant, and be helpful,” adds Crum, who encourages entrepreneurs to join their industry’s professional trade association. When Crum and
her husband chose the party and event rental business path in Austin, Texas, nearly 20 years ago, they had no rental knowledge or events experience. “Thankfully, ours is a generous industry,” Crum says. “Experts who taught seminars, served on panels and shared best practices shortened our learning curve and saved us countless harsh lessons. It has been our great pleasure to return the favor and pay it forward.”
6. Emotion. Emotional energy can drain you or boost your chances of success, depending on how you channel this power. “Ours is a demanding profession,” Crum says. “You only get one chance to get an event right, and there are no do-overs.” While this weighs heavily on any professional, recognizing the importance of achieving and maintaining emotional balance is a key to success. “Ask yourself, ‘How can I cultivate attitudes and behaviors that result in more fulfilling, enjoyable and emotionally positive work experiences?’” Crum says.
7. Zeal. Crum created the PPPEEEZ formula for the driven and the determined, the dreamers and the doers, the ambitious and the willing. What dream do you care about so much that you’ll do whatever it takes (without compromising your principles) to achieve? “This business gives you almost unlimited potential,” Crum says. “Richard and I started with nothing and have been successful. You can, too, with zeal and the other elements of the PPPEEEZ formula. The successful life you deserve is yours for the taking.”
By Darcy Maulsby, MBA. Maulsby helps businesses discover their ìwowî stories and share them to help people dream bigger, revitalize their communities and change the world for the better. Visit her at www.darcymaulsby.com.
Sidebar: Delores Crum
An Oklahoma native, Delores Crum serves as president and chief inspiration officer (CIO) of two highly regarded Texas-based special events rental companies. She is also a Certified Event Rental Professional (CERP) and a recognized leader in the event industry. A passionate mentor, teacher and philanthropist, Crum advocates the sharing of ideas and information that encourage positive growth and change. She completed her first book, Simple Strategies for Successful Living, in 2019 and is working on her second book, Magic and Meaning.
Sidebar: Putting PPPEEEZ to the test
While Delores Crum uses her PPPEEEZ formula to help her business thrive, she also applies these principles in her personal life. She thinks of Halloween night in 2017, when she planned to take a 20 minute walk.
“I fell on my face outside my door and suffered a concussion,” says Crum, who had three titanium plates implanted under her right eye to hold her face together.
Crum couldn’t work for weeks and suffered from complications including double vision. “The first three days were horrible, but I decided to get a grip. I used every principle in PPPEEEZ to get through this.”