By Sunny Simon

While flipping through one of my favorite foodie magazines I noticed this tip: “Lower the bar. Try a no-prep picnic dinner with hard-boiled eggs, hummus, pita, olives, snap peas and grapes.” That picnic menu is appealing, but what commanded my attention was the sentence suggesting we “lower the bar.” I find that phrase counter-intuitive. After all, I named my life and career coaching business, “Raise the Bar High,” and now a chef somewhere on the planet suggests we keep it simple and stop trying so hard.

After spending a few minutes massaging that concept into my brain, I recalled a recent dinner at a friend’s home. She served us a hearty but simple meal of chicken chili and cornbread. On the way home my husband raved about the dinner. When I asked him why he found it so appealing, he informed me he enjoyed the simplicity of a no fuss meal. I knew he mentally compared it to one of my “company’s coming menus” which were never uncomplicated. I sighed thinking Chef Anonymous was right about lowering the bar.

The food tip converts to a life lesson. We don’t always have to go create the whole enchilada. In fact, recently a friend of mine famous for producing incredible cakes decided to buy one for a child’s birthday party. She reasoned by keeping it simple, she could spend less time in the kitchen and more time with her guests.


There are multiple applications where it is prudent to lower the bar. If your dreaming of that high performance uber-expensive Porsche Cayman GT4 but you know it will be the next century before you can save enough to purchase one, take it down a few notches. It is possible to fall in love with a less expensive, lower maintenance model.

Some friends were putting off getting married until they could afford an exquisite destination wedding. I suggested they were missing the point about celebrating a marriage, acknowledging that often guests mail in a RSVP regrets because travel expenses prohibit their attendance. After having some candid conversations with friends and family, they found it to be true and happily tied the knot in a local venue.

What about you? Are you overly concerned about perfection? Should you lower the bar and give yourself some breathing space? Think about altering your plans.

As for me, I’m embracing easy is best. Forget the pan seared rib eye steak with Béarnaise. Tonight the menu is chicken chili and cornbread.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog,