Archives for August 2017

Do You Confuse Motion with Progress?

Why is it when you go to put stuff away the item never seems to end up, or stay, where it belongs? You definitely remember you had that item in your arms, piled high with other stuff, and yet, where-oh-where did it go?

The towels for the bathroom are nowhere near the shower when you step out. The linen cupboard crammed full of everything BUT towels. You shake your dripping wet head in amazement — How did the pile of bills and magazines end up in there?

And, where did the fresh, new bottle of cleaning spray go? It’s certainly not under the sink where it was supposed to be. Oh, but I did find the shampoo and nail polish I bought weeks ago and couldn’t find.

You know how it goes — you begin in one room, closet, or drawer, and before you know it, you’ve got the entire house in an uproar of clutter and piles. Nothing is where it is supposed to be, and every room you enter, you find more things that need to go elsewhere.

Like that junk drawer in the kitchen which has everything in it you didn’t know what to do with so you stuffed it in there. Batteries, rubber bands, pencils, hair clips, light bulbs, nail clippers, toothpicks, scotch tape, tools, recipes, warranties, and the list goes on. A mind numbing jumble of unrelated stuff.

Then you realize, as you spin round and round that every room is much like the junk drawer — a mind numbing jumble of unrelated stuff. And, nothing seems to be where it is supposed to be.

In fact, you don’t have a clue, any longer, what things need to go where. Your mind races with the craziness of how hard you work to keep up with it — and, the hours and hours you have already spent organizing, storing, tossing, or hiding it.

How did it get so out of control and unorganized so quickly? I’m pretty sure, you say to yourself, that I have been constantly putting things away or tossing them.

All that busyness and yet, so little to show for it.

Is it possible that you may have confused constant motion and busyness with true progress? Maybe you have made the same mistake many of us have, which is to assume that motion is equal to productive action.

It really is a common mistake and so easy to kid ourselves into believing we really are making progress.

How can you tell if you are? Ask yourself this one simple question — And, be honest, this isn’t a test — Is my destination getting any closer?

You might have to redefine what being productive really is and what it means to you. And, in doing so, consider doing only those things that have more of an impact on your predetermined outcome.

Which assumes you have decided, planned, and are clear on your outcome. But, what if you aren’t clear on that? Well, then, begin there. That would be your first productive action. To get crystal clear on what it is you want it to be or desire it to look like.

Beware … the minute you decide to focus and take productive action, you’ll most likely trip upon and experience these five saboteurs. They will definitely throw you off track.

 

Saboteur #1. Sedatives. Those things that numb you out. I’m not talking about what  might be your favorite drug of choice here, but all the other things that sedate. Activities like social media, television watching, talking on the telephone, playing games, or even reading a book. Notice which ones are your favorites and be alert when they crop up and steal your progress.

Saboteur #2. Bright Shiny Objects. Or, as my friend used to say, “Look, there’s a chicken!” In other words, anything that distracts and catches your attention which seems far more enlightening than what you are currently working upon. An example of this, when it comes to tidying up, is seeking out and buying that perfect container to help you organize. You haven’t even gotten clear on the outcome or begun to purge, and yet, off and running you go to the container store.

Saboteur #3. Dreamland. You spend hours and hours dreaming of what it will look like and never actually take productive action steps to get it. There hangs the vision board you created and yet, you are no closer to the vision upon it. Don’t get me wrong, dreaming and planning (and a vision board) is a necessary and most critical first step. However, at some point you need to take an action step to achieve it.

Saboteur #4. Information Seeker. You are driven to seek and gather more and more information or inspiration before you even begin. And, the gathering never ends. You take yet another class or workshop, read another ‘how-to’ book, or watch another video, AND you never take a single step closer to the outcome you desired.

Saboteur #5. Resistance. Every step of the way you encounter opposition, defiance, and roadblocks. That could be frustration, fatigue, anger, or other dramatic events that stop you. Most likely it will be your mind shouting at you, “This is taking way too long. I’ll never get it done. This is hopeless! This is way too hard.”

No matter which saboteur shows up —  most likely all five at some point or another — recognize it for what it is. Discomfort. Or, maybe even fear.

Unfortunately, there are no magic answers to keep away discomfort and fear. However, the best and most valuable guidance that I can give you to overcome the saboteurs, is what I was given to guide me. Two, simple ideas.

First — Get comfortable with uncomfortable. Anything worthwhile in life is going to press your comfort zone. Take a deep breath, acknowledge it feels downright awful, and keep on going.

Second — Do it afraid. When fear rears its ugly head, face it, deny it, and keep on diving in. Just like the boogeyman under the bed, seldom is it real.

And, in turn, as you chase away those saboteurs, you will experience how purposeful action is the best way to get rid of clutter and stay tidy.

What is Fun? Is there a magical answer?

Does time really fly when you’re having fun? 

Sure seems that way, doesn’t it? The joy, peacefulness, and passion grabs us and we’re in another zone — a happy zone with no connection to the world revolving around us, or the amount of time slipping by.

It is a great place to be, isn’t it? Our hearts and souls crave it. We race out the door at the end of the work day or week, ready to embrace this illusive thing we call fun.

We chase after it like a butterfly collector with his big, handy net — swooping and twirling to capture the beautiful energy.

Swoosh here. Twirl there. Hold the net just right and the fun will be captured and confined for us to enjoy.

funBut, what is fun?

When asked, most adults fumble for an answer — racking their brain for what they consider fun. There must be a magic answer, one that will make life easier, more light-hearted, and far less serious.

Whether in our minds, dreams, or reality, we ache for the joy we are meant to have. Our spirits remind us that it is our birthright.

Yet, when we make a list of what we believe would be fun, what usually pops forth is either a costly or time intensive endeavor. We sigh with discouragement when we realize we cannot afford it. We do not have the time or dollars to do it right now, or maybe ever.

And, the fun, as we defined it, is put on the back burner.

As one of my clients said to me about fun, “I’m scratching my head … last time I had fun? I think it was before I had kids!”

Could it be that we have defined fun in a way that sabotages it before we even begin? Could it be that we douse the spark before it even ignites?

I have helped many clients redefine this for themselves, as they bemoan the lack of joy, peace, and fun in their lives. They have narrowed down their day-to-day lives to a mind-numbing sameness, anxiously awaiting their few weeks of vacation, or, the escape into the weekend.

Only to face the mound of chores, bills, errands, and piles of stuff at home.

I wish I had a magic wand to help wave away the heaviness that shuts down their fun, joy, and happiness. A magical “fun wand” in which a simple swoosh of it would help the world embrace joy once again.

To embrace delight, bliss, and satisfaction without the worry or struggle on how to afford it — in time, energy, or money.

Here’s a little known secret … you have had that “fun wand” in your backpack of tricks all along. And, all you had to do was whip it out and use it.

Abracadabra — Poof!

A simple shift in how you see and define fun. With a wave of the wand, the elusiveness of fun disappears. In a puff of fairy dust, your predetermined belief of what fun MUST be is gone. You are forever released from the requirement that it has to be somewhere else besides where you are right now. And, what magically appears?

Your consciousness and beliefs change, in an instant, and you now know that fun is enjoying wherever you are and whatever you are doing … no matter how stupid, mindless, or without purpose it may seem.

Fun is purely and simply pleasure at doing something you want to do, anything that puts a smile on your face or warmth in your heart.

My client said it this way, as she waved her magic wand … “Fun is that which gives you pleasure and fills you up emotionally. It has no other purpose but to be fun, it’s just like play, there is nothing ulterior in playing, it’s just fun

Indeed it is AND, by the way, no money is required!