Aug
18
Personal

a lesson from picking brick


Last week my mom and I walked into a local brick supplier store. I needed to pick out brick to redo the hearth of my fireplace. I expected it to be a fairly simple decision. Right? I mean, how different can brick be?

Turns out VERY. Just like everything else in this remodeling process - the choices are endless.

I've come to realize me and remodeling don't mix. I've only had acid reflux three times in my life - the last semester of my senior year in college, after my dad's brain aneurysm and in the past few weeks. There's a constant tightness in my chest.

I'm spending tons of money.
I have to prioritize and decide how all the money is spent.
There are endless choices and each decision involves an intense learning curve.
I have to live with the ramifications of my choices for many years to come.
There are a gazillion moving parts that have to be managed and thought through.
And I'm doing all of the above alone.

I know I should be having fun with the process but I'm kind of ready to be done. My mom says I don't deal well with change. She's probably right.

So we're in the brick store staring at the wall of brick and I'm trying to envision what will look best in my family room. The man behind the counter tried his best to be helpful. He talked about thin brick verses full brick, showed me the different brands and talked through endless ways of laying out the brick in a pattern on my fireplace. All the while I was staring at the wall of brick as my chest tightened further. TOO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT. TOO MANY CHOICES.

I'm guessing that if the salesman had listened a little to what I was saying about what I liked and didn't like, he could have helped narrow down and simplify my choice. Instead he continued to pile on the options and the confusion.

My mom and I left that day without having made a decision on the brick.


Since then I've been thinking there are an awful lot of parallels between the experience of remodeling and that of planning a wedding. Besides the doing it alone part, all of these descriptors definitely apply to wedding planning:

I'm spending tons of money.
I have to prioritize and decide how all the money is spent.
There are endless choices and each decision involves an intense learning curve.
I have to live with the ramifications of my choices for many years to come.
There are a gazillion moving parts that have to be managed and thought through.
And I'm doing all of the above alone.

My experience in the brick store has reinforced a valuable lesson for me. As Harry Beckwith says in his amazing book, Selling the Invisible, "Your prospect does not want more to think about; your prospect wants less." It has helped me to relate to what an engaged couple must be feeling when they step into my office to talk about their wedding photography. If I give them a ton of information and choices, I will only be complicating their decision. They will leave my office more confused and frustrated than when they came. But if I keep things simple and help guide them to a choice, they will leave feeling confident in their decision.


I went back to the brick store a few days ago having researched images of finished brick projects online and paying attention to every brick building I drove by in hopes of figuring out what I liked and didn't like. And I made the decision in 10 minutes. Today this brick is being installed on my fireplace hearth:


The decision is made and one more thing is done. Regardless of whether it was the perfect choice, I have determined to be happy with it as long as my new house and I shall live.


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