Sunday, November 6, 2011
Less is More
To those who read my blog regularly, please accept my apology for such a long absence. In my last post, “In the Distance” (July 24, 2011), I shared that I was experiencing some things that had left me disheartened, confused and afraid. For reasons beyond my understanding at the time, one thing after another was occurring; some days I didn't know which way was up. Now that the dust has settled, I see things with new perspective and have begun to evaluate what's really important. To that end, this blog continues.
In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month (November), I've been working with Pearl Bistro, a woman-owned restaurant in Indianapolis, to host a fundraiser to benefit St. Vincent Foundation's Women of Hope, a program that supports cancer patients and their families. For Pearl Bistro's owner, this has been a long-time dream; an opportunity to pay tribute to her mother who died of lung cancer three years ago though she never smoked a single cigarette. She named the restaurant in honor of the pearl-color awareness ribbon. As her consultant, I wanted it to be perfect in every way, pouring months of hard work and dedication into the project. A few days before the big day, we became nervous because tickets weren't selling like we hoped. With a goal of just 40 attendees, it seemed our efforts had been in vain. Rather than throwing in the towel, we remained strong, confident that our mission – to raise lung cancer awareness and benefit patients – was good and that people would support the cause. In the end, we sold 31 tickets – and the event couldn't have gone better! Rather than 40 “warm bodies,” the space felt intimate, filled with individuals who genuinely cared about the cause. This allowed the owner to share her story “among friends.”
So what's the lesson? Yes, selling out the place would have made us very proud. But in reality, less quantity made for higher quality: everyone was comfortable – not cramped – and the awareness, connections with attendees, and appreciation of the foundation far outweighed what we didn't accomplish. I even like to believe that those in attendance were meant to be in that space at that time, and appreciated the event as much as we enjoyed hosting it.
I share this experience because so often we believe that things have to be big to be effective. But as I learned, often the opposite is true. Ask yourself: How much stuff do we own that serves no purpose? What activities do we engage in that occupy too much of our time? How much simpler – and perhaps happier – would we be if we learned to live with less? And if we avail ourselves to more time and space... What could we accomplish? What/who would we have time for? Whose life could we impact?
In closing, I pose this question: What more could you do with less?