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It’s Easier to Talk Tablecloths

A few months ago, in my full time job, I organized my third annual fundraising gala. I draw a lot of similarities with this work with what I imagine planning a wedding might be like. We have our list of vendors—cookie take-me-home gifts, a live band, the venue! We have constant contact with our caterers going over seating charts, dietary restrictions, and so many last minute changes. And of course, we have the decor, centerpieces, floor layout, etc.


It can be easy to fall into the weeds of planning logistics for an event of this size and lose sight of what the actual purpose of the evening is. On a call with the committee a few months in, we found ourselves talking about centerpieces and tablecloth colors.


That’s when one of our chairs began to redirect us to the important conversation—the making of money, the hitting our fundraising goal. “But it’s easier to talk about the color of tablecloths isn’t it?” they said.


Of course. Of course it’s easier to imagine what kind of centerpieces would look good on a white tablecloth as opposed to a black table cloth. It’s more fun to look at cookie designs and choose appetizers. But ultimately, cute confectionaries and divine bruschetta does not a successful fundraiser make.


What else do we make this switch for? Where else in our lives are we choosing to focus on the color of table cloths instead of the substance of the event?


There is validity to making sure you have the right tablecloths. But don’t let that overtake the time you would spend planning the important stuff.


It’s easy to get lost in details that don’t matter. But that’s not where the real work is. And you know that. Now implement it.



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