Hello in August!
Okay, I have a story for you. It builds, and it may impact you directly. So grab coffee, tea, wine, whiskey, water, and hang out for a few…
I have a closet, and a cupboard (is that even what it's called anymore?), and a desk. I also, before last week, had 8+ banker boxes full of documents, and files, and stuff I’ve accumulated over the previous few years. When you run a business, write books, raise babies, and lead a full life — as much as you like to keep things electronic, stuff piles.
This “stuff” is all supposed to go into that closet, cupboard, and desk. It “kind of” makes it there.
Not well. I also have a garage with a file cabinet. It’s a good sized file cabinet.
There is no excuse for not being the most organized woman in the world.
I’m a richly scheduled woman and…
I don’t know about you, but for me, when life is full, and there are things to write and kids to soak up every moment you can with them while they quickly grow towards college (sniff) — the first things to go are the “8 boxes” and keeping closets organized.
However, this has an energetic cost. I find it depleting to have ambiguity around organization. Also, clutter tires me out.
I’ll spare you the drama of my organization adventures, but let’s just say over the last two years I’ve hired three people for Project Organization for these exact eight boxes, closet, cupboard, and garage — and for “this reason” and “that” (all decent reasons, btw) — it still is not done.
Until last Friday. Ahhh… Friday.
Friday, my current organizer was scheduled to come over to continue the project. It wouldn’t get done in one day — she’d been clear, but there was light at the end of the tunnel. At least she could finish the studio and move all the boxes she'd been working on — that had been taunting my psyche for the last two months — out and into their proper spots.
I was excited. Friday morning, my phone goes "Ping!"
She texted in sick. There would be no clean studio today.
The light at the end of the tunnel went dark.
I had the entire day blocked for writing.
I’ve come to realize that sometimes things don’t get done because ultimately at the end of the day, there are some things you are supposed to do yourself. Especially the mundane. Not just because you want them done in a specific way, MORE so because often that “thing” is an act of closure, therapy, purging, and self-care.
Organizing and clearing your environment is an act of Energetic Nourishment.
So I did.
I walked into my studio, saw the files she’d been in the midst of wrapping up, and looked at that closet; contraction.
I walked into the garage — the area to be organized; contraction.
I looked at the cupboard that housed miscellaneous bundles of content and essential documents including my divorce papers from four years ago (they just needed to be filed properly, but who likes revisiting that sad stack of papers? Not me apparently.) Contraction.
And that was it. I could feel in my body (and soul) there would be no writing for me today.
Energetic Nourishment was priority #ONE: clear the schizzle.
Because here’s how it went down. Ready?
The whole project took me six hours. From start to finish. SIX HOURS.
My files are organized, I know where everything is. The mental anxiety of wondering where this critical document or that is (should it be needed), has been soothed. Warranties for my house stuff handled. Home information, in one spot. Those subscriptions I’m still paying for that I don’t use? Identified and on their way out.
My divorce papers have been tucked away, with a blessing and much love, in their proper place — not in my office.
My closet — the office closet? Oh… it is so gorgeous. I can see EVERYTHING that is in there. My energy clears, and my productivity jumps just knowing she’s organized and there to support me when needed.
The garage and cupboard? Lovely. And now being used properly. Who files papers in a kitchen cupboard anyway? Not me! (Anymore.)
And, bonus, I have a bundle of stuff to donate to people and organizations who want and need it.
That was all stagnant energy sitting in my home and office for the last two years. In a small but powerful bit of space. Draining energy, capturing my attention, and creating a quiet level of anxiety. That’s a lot of energy.
And it took a whole six hours to wrap it up.
Six hours, people.
Then something magical happened. I slept like a baby on Friday night. I woke up Saturday morning and I couldn’t stop writing. Good stuff. I got more done on Saturday in three hours of writing than I would have — guaranteed — all day Friday with those “energetic blocks” in my home. I know this for sure.
So what does this have to do with YOU and TIME and LEADERSHIP?
YOU: Where might you be avoiding projects or things in your environment that block your flow, irritate you, and are slowing you down in ways you might not know (yet)? This can be at work or home; this can take the shape of conversations you’re avoiding, self-care you’re neglecting, decisions you’re not deciding, or yes, good-old-fashioned organizational environmental stuff.
TIME: For two years — TWO YEARS people — every time I would think about that closet, wonder where a file was, know that those cupboards needed organizing, feel anxiety about the mess, etc., my mental and physical energy would drop. I’d feel contraction.
Moreover, when it was said and done — it took me 6 hours. And these were not painful hours. I listened to podcasts (getting smarter) and music (shaking my booty) as I worked — it was pleasurable! Plus the satisfaction of knowing that I was “getting right with myself.” In truth, the only “pain” of that adventure was in getting started and, even more painful, the story I had told myself about how brutal and boring this project would be.
On a roll of delight, for s*its and giggles, I decided to do some math.
Hmmm... 6 hours for this feeling of delight? How much time had I spent over the last two years “thinking” about this feeling... not delight? Well...
365 days x 2 years x 10 minutes a day of distracted/contracted energy whenever I would see it or think about it or wonder where something was (I believe 10 minutes is conservative) = 7300 minutes / 60 minutes = 122 hours of time/energy wasted on irritation and what I call the “ick” over those two years!
This is a bit over five full days of my life.
OR about 15 work days if I’m an 8-hour-a-day kind of girl.
That’s five days to play. Be with my kids. Taste wine. Read a book.
Or 15 days to connect with more humans, make more money, have more impact, write more books. You get my drift.
That’s a 2-week vacation!
How about you? Could you use an extra 5 or 15 days?
I’m almost embarrassed to share this with you. My excitement overrides the embarrassment though because this was powerful and I love it when stuff like this happens.
Now, I’ve created a monster in myself. I’ve found myself actively searching out ANYTHING that is even borderline “ick” in my field: conversations to have, cupboards to clean, agreements to clean up, questions unanswered, my car’s brakes that need love, my computer dropbox file (roh roh). I’m digging into them one at a time (in the cracks of my day) — and then delighting when the “ten minutes” I’ve just spent equals hours and hours of free and clear energy in my life. Yesterday with 8 minutes to spare before a conference call, I cleaned out my kids’ linens closet — in 6. (That’s bugged me since we moved in three years ago. Bamm!)
LEADERSHIP: If you can’t sense this yet, this all has a significant impact on leadership. I call this Energetic Leadership Hygiene (ELH). When we’re depleted, drained, distracted, feeling the “ick,” operating around stuff that blocks or breaks our flow, or not in alignment with our core values (one of my values is “clean environment”) — we are not in our clearest or most powerful resource state. This means we’re not optimally productive or energized, making our best decisions, as happy and light as possible, or as compelling for those we lead.
Think about it. Feel about it. Feel it?
One of the most significant quick shifts we see in people who work with me or come to one of my events is that they make progress in their energetic presence AND leadership impact — quickly — because they address the things in their IEP that are not humming. Cleaned closets, getting clear on what self-care means for them, starting some kind of morning practice to “clear their field” and set their intentions, or having a “scary” conversation they’ve been avoiding (sometimes for YEARS) — that ends up taking ten minutes to clear and create freedom and flow. These things all up-level leadership.
And the people around them feel it in their energetic presence and in their personal internal impeccability.
Our presence is our impact.
When we’re blocked energetically or heavy or in the “ick” — people sense it.
When we’re clear and in integrity with ourselves, people sense it.
And it’s all contagious.
Liberating, right? Why? Because this is entirely UP TO YOU.
You are in the power seat.
What do YOU need to do (and be) to make your power seat even MORE solid and powerful?
This idea is just ONE component of the IEP Method; building a robust energetic foundation and solid leadership presence. It is also just ONE of the areas we focus on during our IEP Live! events. (The next one is this October.)
In our two days together, we dig into YOU (the Essential You), your presence, your physical/environmental energy, your mental/emotional energy, your vibrational energy and impact, and your relational energy. We look at how these all work together to increase your ability to influence others AND feel good — and we ACTIVATE. This is not a workshop that you sit and learn and retain a little info and maybe use something someday from it with your big binder — this is entirely experiential, you will make shifts immediately (if you so choose) that go everywhere with you afterward.
And that’s just on day one.
On day two we look at how we apply all of this to your collaboration style and leadership impact with your team, organization, relationships, conflict issues, culture, and more…
It’s a special two days. Rich. And, we've just received approval by SHRM for Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP℠ or SHRM-SCP℠. You get 14 units when you come spend two days with me and attend the whole session. This is lovely. (More to come on this as we continue to get units cleared for IEP-Stewardship and others. Stay tuned.)
If you would like to dig into this work for yourself, please join me in Ann Arbor, MI on October 25th and 26th for our 2-day IEP Live! Leadership & Influence Intensive. All info for registration is here.
We still have spots — we’re about halfway full. So lean in, climb on, let’s go, we have some fun work to do.
With love always,
Also, if you are coming for IEP Live! It looks like we’ll be doing a book launch party for The Leader You Will Be: An Invitation on 10/24 afternoon/evening — info to come, so please plan to be there — it’d be so much fun to have you!