• Elizabeth Bartasius

The Low Bar: A simple trick for joy

Have you set ever set the bar as low as you could go?***

Every January my Circle of women meet for a New Year’s creation retreat. This year, however, the collective energy seemed to be more aligned with de-creating.

We came up with a distinction we simply called, the ‘Low-Bar’.

What does it mean to set the bar low?

It can mean whatever you make it mean, but for me, the low-bar meant that I deleted all the commitments, the obligations, the shoulds from my life for a temporary period of time, such as 3 months, 6 months, or a year. It means to throw out the massive goal lists and the high expectations.

Low-bar is exactly that, the lowest bar.

Sometimes low bar means getting out of bed; sometimes it means simply going for a 15-minute walk. Sometimes low bar means buying and running a small business vs. a multi-million dollar corporation. Only you can determine what your low-bar is.

All I know is that when I finally gave in and accepted the low-bar with grace and love, I had the greatest expansion period of my life. For twenty years, I struggled to fulfill on my deepest goals, only to come up short year after year. Each year, I wrote manifestos and powerful goal lists. While I’ve manifested many a wonderful things in my life during that time, my top three goals never got fulfilled. Frankly, I was intimidated by my own lofty aspirations. Each year those dreams remained dusty in a corner, my anxiety grew. The need to “hurry up” and get ‘er done, become more pronounced and my confidence plummeted.

It wasn’t until I hit a wall, and stopped, that I began to breath again. Slowly, brick by brick, I worked my way into the most fulfilling period of productivity thus far. For me, the low-bar setting provided an opening for expansion.

Low-bar is not the only answer, but it is simply an option in an array of options. The low bar can be your segway, or even a hidden tunnel. If you are stuck on something and all the usual tricks just aren’t working, consider the possibility of the low-bar. When the front gates are crowded and the line extends around the block, low-bar is the back door in. It’s another angle from which to approach this thing called life. While most in this hyped-up personal growth-oriented world would snub their noses at the mere mention of setting the bar low, I say whoop it up.

For me, it has made all the difference!

In that vein, a member of our Empowered Women Circle found that most of her social commitments and accountabilities to non-profits, clubs, and friends seemed to stem from a deep-seeded desire of ‘needing to belong.’ No longer did she find the joy in WANTING to do those things. So she claimed 2016 her Sabbatical, where everything came off the table, and anything goes.

I look forward to hearing how her journey goes. In the meantime,

What can come off your plate? Be deleted from the to-do list? What is your low-bar?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Send me an email ….

***This writing was originally published for the Empowered Women Circle newsletter. I published the work here as it fits into the evolution and creation of this site, and my most recent journey "on the way to the loo" & writing life.***