Sometimes I’m so focused on the practical, pragmatic business reasons behind green-meetings standards that I forget how they relate to everyday life. In reflecting on the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards and ISO 20121 Event Management Standards, I was struck by how much they resemble dating. Seriously.

A little background first. ASTM/APEX is a set of nine formal, voluntary standards developed by the meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events industry to give planners and suppliers prescriptive, measurable specifications for producing events in a more sustainable manner. They cover everything from accommodations and exhibits, to food & beverage and transportation. The ISOS standards offer guidelines for everything from small local celebrations to mega-events like the Olympics.

How are they like dating, you ask? Read on for seven examples.

1.  It’s exciting when you first start dating. The anticipation of what the person will be like. What they will look like. How the experience will be. Will you have a great time or be counting the seconds until the date is over? It was like that for me when I starting working with the standards. I was so excited that our industry was finally going to have something that everyone would be implementing equally. Some days I enjoy working with them, and other days I want to run screaming from the room.

2. You can become obsessed with dating or a person (or with achieving the standards). You think about them all the time. You want it to be perfect. You talk to friends and colleagues about it. You want to know what others are doing. You begin to think they are the end all, be all. You may get so caught up in them you obsess about being the best or the first.  You can get sucked into that type of obsession satisfying or achieving ISO 20121 and Level 1 of the APEX/ASTM standards.

3. If you don’t have a date or aren’t dating, you make up loads of reasons why it’s not important.  “I have no time.”  “I haven’t found anyone I want to date.” “I’m not interested.” “It’s just not my thing.” “I have too many other things I’m doing.” Replace the dating idea with sustainable practices, and those are the statements that pop up most often.

4. The more you do it, the more you want to talk about it. Those of us who work with the green-meeting standards love to share our experiences. We get so involved, and we’re learning so much we just can’t help ourselves.

5. More people are talking about it than are actually doing it. Have you ever had a friend who talked about the date they were going to have or the person they were going to ask out, but never actually did? Or how they’d like to be dating, but for whatever reason aren’t? Or someone who said, “Oh, we should go out sometime” and then never actually asks you? Green standards. Same thing.

6. You will always remember your first date, whether it was good or bad. Trust me, you’ll always remember your first experience when you dive in and adopt a standard, good or bad. My first experience with the standards was exciting because we were blazing a trail for the industry in green-meetings practices.  It was the excitement and anticipation of what was possible that kept me engaged in the standards.

7. Everyone has their own version of what makes a good date, but at a fundamental level, it’s about putting your best foot forward and feeling good about the experience. Standards, too, are about looking good, striving, achieving something and feeling good about what you’ve accomplished.

The more you think about it, the more you’ll discover just how similar green standards and dating are. We’d love to hear your ideas on this idea. Please leave your comment in the boxed area below.