I had a breakthrough with one of my long term clients recently, and it was so amazing and inspiring that I'm going to share it with you. For the longest time we had been struggling to make her office "look" neat. I would spend a couple of hours attacking it like a tornado each week, recycling, piling, and straightening. By the time I left, the office would look great, but no matter how hard I tried to create super simple systems that worked, when I showed up for our appointment the following week, my client seemed just as stressed out as if I had never been there. Clearly something wasn't working. It seems so obvious now that even though she was aware of the fact that her office was "a mess", that wasn't really the problem. Her disorganization was actually internal, and totally rooted in the clutter she was carrying around in her head. We were able to figure this out together, and rather than try to fix the problem, I had a huge realization. As I opened my mouth I could hardly believe I was saying it: "Oh my goodness, I don't think you're actually disorganized!"
Since then it has been painfully obvious that organization is not a concrete thing. Some wildly successful people are able to navigate chaotic lives and focus on tasks amidst stacks of paper, while other wonderful, beautiful people are tormented by a garbage bag worth of clutter they just know is blocking their energy flow. This all has me wondering, if organization is something you can perceive, or desire, regardless of your circumstances, then what exactly is it?
First I checked out the dictionary, then I checked out the human body. Both opened the door to some remarkable insights about this mysterious state of peaceful order that remains frustratingly unattainable for so many people.
Let's start with the definition...
Organize: To put together into an orderly, functional, structured whole.
Now if you ask me, that definition is obvious and a little vague. It does remind me that "organize" is an active verb, and I like the part at the end about creating something whole. This is what I've been saying all along about the different areas of our lives being totally connected. But drawing particularly on my knowledge of the human body, I couldn't help but wonder about the connection between our systems of vital organs, and being "organized". What can our lungs and kidneys possibly have in common with our file cabinets and closets?
Check this out:
Organ: A differentiated part of an organism (something alive) that performs a specific function.
Wow! So let me see if I can translate my epiphany here: the human body - your body - is naturally organ-ized! It's aliveness is the result of these separate organ systems functioning in specific ways that come together to create a whole (your body). Just like the organs functioning inside your body, "being organized" is simply the system of everyday living. Now there's some food for thought.
What I want to focus on here is "aliveness". Functional systems are an indispensable part of life, but these systems themselves are also alive. Being organized should therefore be a constant process of growth and change, and not just an end result or an illusion of static perfection. When my client and I were stuck in a need to establish perfection within her workspace, we totally ignored the fact that just by going about her daily life, she was actually revealing the systems of her ideal organized state. The best way I was able to support her was by recognizing these natural systems of living, and tweaking them so that they could function better together, just like the organs in your body work together to keep you going. If you pay attention to your natural systems today, what do you notice? Is there an area in your life where your organs are failing, or are you simply failing to see how the functional parts of your daily life breathe energy into the bigger picture?
Info@idealspaceconsulting.com - Chicago, IL 60626 - 877.557.1717
© 2010-2014 Ideal Space Consulting