Christmas Cards: The Magic of Setting a Deadline

When I arrived at my client’s house and asked if we were going to do Christmas cards she said, “Yes! As of 5 p.m. yesterday I had nothing ready to do cards, and amazingly I’m now ready!” This is a client who has a history of having great difficulty getting her cards done by Christmas. One July several years earlier we came across her Christmas cards that she had never finished from the Christmas before. When I asked her if we could pitch them, she said, “No, I still want to send them.” So, together we finished them. And, ever since she has scheduled one or two sessions prior to Christmas to have me help her get them done. Our current session was the second attempt this year to get the cards done.

My client knew that if she didn’t pull together the stamps and return address labels, print her labels, and get her photo card printed, she was at risk of not getting her cards done this year. She was blocked because she didn’t have a good photo of her children. She could have chosen to cancel our appointment or use our time together for another project. But, she decided to use the pressure of the deadline of our appointment to motivate her to seek help from an employee to create the photo card. Once that block was removed, she was able to move forward.

While I put the stamps, address labels, and return address labels on the envelopes and stuffed the photo cards in them, my client wrote her annual Christmas letter. By the time we ended our session, the letter was written, printed and folded to go in the cards. All that was left to do was sign the cards and add some personal notes!

What was most remarkable about this whole experience was the change in my client’s energy when it became clear that we were going to get the cards to a point where she could easily finish them on her own. This client is a fairly reserved person, not prone to outward expressions of excitement, but that night she was absolutely glowing and thrilled with what she had been able to pull off in such a short period of time. It seemed like a miracle to her.

Would she have been at the same point if she had not set a deadline by hiring me to help her? No way! Deadlines can be really powerful motivators if you honor them!

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