Beware of the chairs

Chairs. They provide comfort. Security. A soft spot to land a tired tush at the end of the day. And if you work at a desk eight hours a day, they definitely know your butt better than you do. 

But they’re deceptive objects: they support us, but they also condition us. Leaving us a bit numb and indifferent to spontaneous opportunities and whims.

Did you know that the fewer chairs you have at a party the happier your guests will be?

I learned that at my previous job in marketing where we regularly hosted events for our community.

Events were the glue that kept our community close. Without them, the social seams that we worked so hard to build unraveled quickly. Needless to say, we became damn good at party-throwing.

As soon as we entered a venu we removed all chairs in sight. 

Stacking them up in closets, behind bars, under blankets, so that when the first guests arrived they they had no where to hide. (If you’re wondering, the second most important thing is to have the music playing by the time people show up. There’s nothing sadder than a music-less party, ami right?!).

Speaking of parties. I held my first little gathering for my coaching clients a few weeks ago. It’s been a dream of mine since before I became a coach to build a community of awesome, inspiring women.

Women who don’t know each other. Who come from different backgrounds. Who come with different expertise. Who come from different generations. From different cultures. Who have different projects and dreams. 

What would these fabulous women talk about? What common threads would they discover? How would they help each other? Get inspired? Partner or even create a project together? I just loved the idea that something could spring to life out of their unique and bizarre alchemy. 

So here I am. A “certified” event thrower hosting the most meaningful gathering of my coaching career, and I forgot the cardinal party rule. 

Busy welcoming people and setting up their pot-lock treats, ten minutes into the party I looked around and found a perfectly polite group of women seated shyly around a table. Hesitant to speak. Stiff and self-conscious. 

Why? Because I forgot to hide the chairs!!

I could have just left them there, of course. Hoping “the mayonnaise would take” as they say in French, that these disparate ingredients would somehow whip themselves up into a seamless blend. 

But I made an executive decision. I told everyone that at the count of three they all had to stand up and forget the chairs existed, kicking those social crutches to the curb for the evening. 

They indulged me (I am their coach, after all). And the energy shifted just like that. People started milling about. Conversations got louder. Little groups came together. Numbers were exchanged. Bonds were formed, and by the end of the evening they were clamoring for more opportunities to get together to share stories, learnings and challenges from their self discovery journeys.  

The mayonnaise did take. In large part thanks to the forbidden chairs.

So I ask you, what proverbial chairs could you move to side to loosen up your moves?

What’s supporting you just a little too much?
What crutches are you turning to that you likely don't need as much as you think?
What if those "chairs" weren’t there? 
What would you do? 
Who would you navigate towards? 
What muscles would you strengthen? 
And where would those muscles take you?

Let me know what comes up. 

PS. Speaking of chairs, I've got two seats left at my upcoming Vision Board workshop in Paris on June 21st. Head over here to reserve your spot.