Let me set the scene…
…a lovely Saturday evening
…a glass of wine
…Dave Matthews’ iconic voice serenading my soul
…my home office
It was a perfect impromptu date, happily purging my space of items that stayed a few years longer than necessary. I was gloriously carrying armful after armful of crap out to my trash & recycling. Truly cleansing it was to empty out 10 year old file folders and repurpose the contents in my scrap paper pile. And dismantling a table, because I no longer needed the extra space to house the extra stuff, wickedly exhilarating! The excess was walking out my door, and would be taken away in my recycling bin (and my neighbor’s, if we’re being honest).
Not the sexiest way to spend a Saturday evening, however it provided more rejuvenation and renewal than I could have imagined! I felt lighter, freer even. Not just that I got rid of so much baggage, but also that space was created for something new to enter in.
How often do you do this?
As Americans, we carry so much material excess. It’s weighing us down and taking up valuable real estate that can be allocated for something new, or maybe not replaced by anything at all but rather an overall commitment to the simplification of life. What would your life look like if you could de-clutter in one area? I’d imagine your space would not only look tidier but what could it do for your spirit? Would there be more peace or maybe, less to maintain on the “to-do” list?
It is much easier to point out physical clutter but mental clutter can have incredible power to derail, overwhelm and confuse. We all live life from our own perception, which is a unique combination of our DNA, experiences, values, needs, personalities and a variety of other factors. The filters we use to make decisions may no longer be serving us as effectively as they once did 10 or 20 years ago. Your career was in a different place and your family dynamic has since changed. You may even feel the imaginary brick wall preventing forward movement. Or at least forward movement with any sort of ease. Like you’re trying to run a race while wearing lead boots! Are you familiar with that feeling?
We’ve all been there! The difference is those who acknowledge the “stuck” and decide to do something about it, while others tend to set up camp and hang out for extended periods of time. I’ve personally walked through seasons where I set up that tent, started a fire and looked at the dark night sky for far longer than was healthy. Yes, I eventually found my way out of the wilderness, but boy was I weary from the length of the journey. Then, other times when I called on help because I didn’t have the time or desire to make it a permanent address.
So, how do you begin the process of removing the mental clutter? I’m going to invite you to think about what you think about with this little exercise:
1. Pick a day where you can create some space to record your thoughts
2. On a piece of paper or in your phone, list decisions you make, assumptions you have or conflicts (external or internal) that arise. At this point you’re just making observations.
3. With each log in the journal, also write down what the information you recalled in your brain that helped you make that decision, come to that assumption or take that stance in an conflict
4. Then ask the question, “How might this thought not be serving me?” and talk it through with a coach or friend
Actions stem from thoughts and the way to change behavior is to first change the thought. Just like cleaning out the clutter in a room, sometimes our thoughts have to be “taken out to the trash” to make room for the new. When we think about what we think about, we’re intentionally walking around in the room of our minds to see what’s old, tattered and no longer of service. And because we live from our own perception, sometimes we can’t see what is old, tattered and no longer of service and a fresh set of eyes or ears can drastically speed up the process.
So, if you’re thinking “it’s time to get out of this wilderness”, please contact me and we can schedule a complimentary coaching session. A client recently remarked, “It's amazing how you can intellectually know something but not really be practicing it until you speak to a coach. Coaching transforms plans into actions.”