I am a firm believer that your surroundings tell a lot about the state of your career, finances, relationships, etc. and that the more clutter and junk you have, the less room you have to grow and the less space there is for new things to come into your life.
When clients first come to me, there are many that are so miserable in their jobs or careers that they need an escape. They want to do something else but they feel stuck and trapped or they have so many options rolling around in their head, they can't focus. They are scattered and frustrated and jump from one idea to the next. Needless to say, this is not a good time to decide something that could take up a significant portion of your time for the near future.
So, one of the first things we do is a life audit that deals entirely with the tangible things they experience in their life on a day to day basis. I have them keep a journal where they record everything they do and eat over a 3 day period. Once they finish that, we go over their days and dissect them by looking at their surroundings. Amazing insights come out of this exercise.
What inevitably happens is they identify tangible things in their life that are causing them to feel stress and out of control, which transfers to feelings of anxiety and despair when it comes to their career, relationships, or what have you. I worked with one gentleman who felt so trapped in his job and situation that he was having panic attacks on a regular basis. When we dissected his journal I discovered that he had been living in a house that was filled with unpacked boxes and a garage that was busting at the seams with stuff he never used.
Even worse, he had just moved all of this stuff into a new house. He had just enough room to fit his car in the garage but he said every day that he went to get in his car to go to work, he would look at the stuff and feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety. He finally started parking the car out front so he wouldn't have to see it. Unfortunately, out of sight is not always out of mind. He never put it together that the clutter that was filling his house was preventing anything new and fresh from coming in.
I gave him an assignment to do what he had to to unpack his house and clean
out the garage for good. I gave him the names of places he could get a dumpster and encouraged him to hire some help if he needed it. And, he had 7 days to do it. Why the time line? It forces you to make a decision on things. When you are pressed for time, you just go with your gut and move on - instead of hemming and hawing and talking yourself in to keeping something that is only getting in your way. I also provided him some resources and tools to use for organizing...as well as my "de-cluttering" services.
10 days later when we met for our session I could literally feel the tension slipping away. He had a lightness to his voice I had never heard - but more importantly, he felt like the biggest weight had been taken off his shoulders. He had no idea how much the "stuff" and living in clutter was weighing him down. He said he was sleeping better and had even taken a few trips to the gym, which he hadn't done in months. He said by de-cluttering his surroundings and creating more physical space in his life, he was able to make room for good things to happen.
When we finally started talking about his job and his thoughts about a career change, he had more clarity and better yet, a resounding sense of hope that until then had totally escaped him. There are things that we have in our life - whether we realize it or not - that are getting in the way of us having everything we need to feel good and clear and focused. For some people it is a bad habit like alcohol or drugs. For some it is a
negative relationship and for others, it is their garage.
What is getting in your way?