The Best Laid Plans…

September 2012. Originally copyrighted and posted in "Type for Life" by the Center for the Applications of Psychological Type, Gainesville, FL. Used with permission.

One of the quick activities I occasionally use to illustrate the differences between the Judging and Perceiving preferences is to ask, "What's a Plan?" Judging types usually say something like, "It's a documented step by step process of getting to the end goal." Perceiving types usually say something like, "It's some options to explore."

While I prefer the former definition, I also remind myself that sometimes the best "plan" is to stay open to possibilities. I recently observed the necessity of doing so at a wedding, which is usually a very planned event including multiple steps (literally and figuratively)!

It was to be a lovely outdoor wedding. When we arrived, the father of the bride asked my date, Ty, "Where's your brother?" His brother is a judge who had agreed to officiate at the wedding but wasn't there. We didn't know he was the official since we had simply passed on his contact information to the bride several months earlier and left it at that.

A series of phone calls began. The judge, it turned out, had lost track of time. In all fairness to him, he had recently presided over several high publicity trials and was enjoying his afternoon working on a tiling project using completely different parts of his brain and body. Whoops! He couldn't be there for at least an hour and the rose garden venue was only reserved for an hour.

This had happened once before to another member of the wedding party and a guest had filled in until the official arrived to complete the paperwork. They quickly asked Ty to officiate… not just because he had the same last name as the judge, but because he had done some theater work and they figured he could pull it off, and because he had known the bride since she was a little tyke.

The bride and groom were informed of the situation and readily agreed to the "new plan." They kept smiling. We all figured if they could handle this change with grace, their marriage was likely to handle other "crises" as well.

Several guests began Googling wedding ceremonies on their iPhones; they found 27. We all felt we were part of something special, but how it would unfold, we didn't know! Ty made it a memorable wedding by winging it; his ENFP was in full improvisation mode. He told the assembled guests he had played a priest in a theater production, although it was a priest at a funeral. That got us all chuckling! The "I dos" and the rings were exchanged.

The couple and wedding party exited, we all went through the receiving line, and then the judge showed up! He got them to say their "I dos" and to sign the paperwork (on the back of the groom crouching low), and we all went on to the dinner remarking on what a wonderful and memorable wedding it was.

And all because having a "plan" does have several definitions, thank goodness!