Getting organized got you down?
Find Success In Each Day
I was recently asked at a presentation how we as Organizing Maniacs manage to keep our sessions positive when working with clients who are chronically disorganized. I found myself taken aback by the question, not because I was stumped, but because I have never thought of it as something that I have to ‘manage’ to do. My answer was, and is, that it really isn’t hard for us at all. We love working with our clients and helping them achieve their goals. If we felt it was an inconvenience, we’d likely be working in a cubicle somewhere from 9-5pm. But we aren’t. The staff at Organizing Maniacs frequently remarks on the courage it takes our clients to even pick up the phone and reach out for help. This act alone is praiseworthy. No matter what happens in our sessions or how difficult our clients may find it to alter their habits or let go of some of their items, they are on the right path. They are actively working towards their goals, and that means that they are successful.
As a general rule, it is said that it takes 21 days to change a habit. Twenty-one days! That’s three solid weeks – of doing something unnatural and hard! Anyone who takes on this task and sticks with it through all the ups and down is someone easy to congratulate. So many times my clients apologize during our session for not doing a task they had meant to do before we met again or for doing a new strategy wrong. But these are not things to feel sorry for; they are byproducts of success. Success is not a one-step process and you have to be willing to experience all that it takes to get there and to be kind to yourself along the way.
This is especially true for organization because getting organized isn’t something that a person does once and then check it off the list. It requires constant maintenance. I was working with a client last week who looked at me exasperated and said “I’m really trying to get my life together, my office just doesn’t look like it!” I looked back at her and replied “You are getting your life on track, the only problem here is that life doesn’t stop for you to do so.” We then had a discussion about all that she had accomplished in the past week – a big project completed at work, a birthday party for her daughter, having a contractor come in to complete some repairs, and general managing of the household. She had done all of this, PLUS spent time sorting and purging old paperwork. Until she had heard what her week sounded like from an outside perspective, she was genuinely down on herself for not doing enough. Once we talked about it, however, she felt much better and realized that she really was taking positive steps toward her goal of getting her office organized.
I think it’s easy for anyone in today’s world to forget to focus on the good things about themselves. We are pushed by ourselves and by those around us to always be improving. My young niece came home with an assignment from her school teacher that was supposed to be focused on character building. She was told to make a list of all the things she disliked about herself so that she could then work to change them. I was appalled. I told her she was not going to complete that assignment, but instead was going to do something different. I asked her to instead write down all the qualities she had that made her a great person. Then, I asked her to write down people she admired and ways she could make her actions look more like theirs. She had a hard time coming up with positive qualities for herself, but not for others. I had to start her list for her, saying all the things about her I love and admire. In the end, she felt really good about herself and had a plan for how she could improve without feeling like she wasn’t already good enough as she was.
What’s my point? I guess it’s simply – be kind to yourself, as often as possible, in all that you do.