As a business professional, I am known for organizational efficiency. But as a kid, my parents used to refer to me as “the messy one”. Why couldn’t I keep my room clean? Why did I never pick up?
1) It was my room.
2) I liked seeing my stuff.
If I was making something, writing a story, or sorting my comic books, it was a work in progress. It never made sense to put something away that I was going to use again the next day. When I was about 12, I moved the dresser into the closet. I didn’t need the closet; I hated wearing things you had to hang up! All that was left in my room was a bed and a series of yellow bookshelves filled with plants – with plenty of room on the floor for my latest endeavors.
I know now that I’m not messy; I’m practical. But we grow up defining ourselves with labels like “messy” and they’re hard to walk away from.
So what “facts” do you tell yourself about who you are?
“I have great ideas for stories but could never be a writer.”
“I’m not good enough to be an artist.”
“I don’t have a great voice.”
“I love to write music but I’ll never get it published.”
“I could never start my own business.”
“I’m not good at …”
If you think you can’t do something, where did that idea come from? Did someone tell you that growing up? Or maybe you tried something once and it didn’t work out. What passion did you walk away that it’s time to reintroduce back into your life?
Exercise to get on a different path
1. Brainstorm a list of things you’re bad at.
2. Examine the list and circle things you wish weren’t true.
3. Pick the #1 circled item that you don’t want to be true.
4. Go on-line to figure out ways to change this “messy” truth about you. You don’t need permission from anyone. You just need drive and a vision to get your unique work out to the world.
5. Figure out your first step on the path and add that step to your planner.
6. Create a deadline. “I want to figure out X by X date.”
7. Take baby steps as you move forward. You are trying to learn something new, to take a step beyond where you thought you could go.
Throughout the process, be gentle with yourself and trust the voice inside that says, “You can do this.” And remember – being organized can get messy. Then you emerge in a whole new place.