Return from your bachelorette party sweaty, sleepy, and with depleted serotonin. Hug your man. He’ll suggest you take a seat and say he has some news. After a blissful 48 hours swimming and sipping wine, the worst you can conjure is that he neglected to water the garden.
Ask “are the tomatoes OK?” like an idiot.
He’ll shake head and tell you that the your wedding venue had been purchased by a developer. You need to find a new venue in less than three weeks. The news arrived in a few sentences along with a check for your deposit. Hope it doesn’t bounce.
Cry for a bit. Then take a breath and welcome the fresh opportunity into your lungs.
It’s not that you love planning weddings. Wedding planning feels like work. You haven’t yet recovered from the years of fundraising and galas. No, this is something different, you have been given a chance to exceed expectations. That is something you relish.
This is where you thrive. When expectations are lowered, you can catch the wind as it shifts and then you soar.
Cancel your meetings for the next day and spend the day planning a new wedding. Spend the afternoon visiting venues, rewriting your menu, and re-imagining decor. Enter a state of flow as you efficiently knock down several major decisions in a few hours. Discover that it’s not really that hard once it doesn’t matter so much. By 9 pm, you’ll be signing new contracts, cracking your knuckles and feeling the planning muse return to you after many months of struggle. This may carry on for several days. Coast on this momentum as you crank out emails you’ve been avoiding for weeks.
My brilliant friend Darren at youshouldquityourjob.com shared with me B.J. Fogg’s small habits philosophy, which we have nicknamed “brush one tooth.” Fogg, a Stanford Psychologist, suggests that lowering the bar by starting with very small habits, changes, or goals, such as flossing one tooth, increases longterm success. Of course, you’ll never floss one tooth. Once you get going, you’ll find it’s not as bad as you expected. The psychological barrier to creating a habit or starting a project is often greater than the force actually required to execute. When we think of the task as something small, we can get the ball rolling and then before we know it we’re flossing all our damned teeth.
This is what we do, as procrastinators. We lower the bar so we can soar above.
How do we harness this power we have, to lower expectations?
Brush one tooth.