-By Jaime Willis
“The hardest thing to do is to be true to yourself, especially when everybody is watching. “
As you may have read earlier, I am trying to simplify my life. Specifically, I am trying to simplify the amount of junk that I’ve accumulated in my home so I am living in a clean and serene space. If you’ve known me for any length of time in real life, you know that this goal is a HUGE challenge for me. Which is why I’ve spent the last twelve weeks working on it with the help of my life coach, Lindsay, who has helped me set small goals and stay accountable to them.
Two weeks ago, we set a goal of getting another part of my apartment sorted through, but I failed spectacularly. Not only did I not get that part of the apartment cleaned, the rest of my house went to hell in a handbasket as well. It wasn’t pretty and I wasn’t looking forward to the check-in with Lindsay.
As Lindsay and I spoke about what (didn’t) happen, I realized something pretty profound about myself. While I value cleanliness and simplicity, I don’t at all value the time it takes to make that happen. I’ve chosen to stay busy with two jobs, friends, & family, and chores are never going to hit the top of my ‘to-do’ list.
How can I resolve valuing the end result of something that I have no energy to make happen? Outsource it! Lindsay and I realized that I was just setting myself up to fail every time I tried so hard to commit to some sort of massive cleaning schedule — because I will never ultimately choose to spend my time that way. I committed to researching what services in DC can help me both reduce my clutter and provide housekeeping services and report back in my next coaching session. I also committed to doing three 1/2 hour “clean sweep” sessions before my next meeting with Lindsay.
Remember what Matt and I have said time and again about talking about your goals? Of course, over the next day or two, I was sharing my new research project with my mentee, Jessica, who was visiting DC for the week. Guess who offered to help me sort and declutter? Jessica was so pleased to be able to help me out as I have helped her over the years. She came over the next day and in three hours, we were able to clean up the bathroom, kitchen, and living room, including rearranging the furniture, dusting & sweeping the floors!
I couldn’t wait to report my success to Lindsay at our next session — with Jessica’s help, I’d been able to accomplish so much more than I could have in my own 1.5 hours of work, making a huge dent in my project. Lindsay and I are almost finished with our coaching sessions togethers, so we agreed to do our final session in August, which will give me time to finish de-cluttering my bedroom and hire a cleaning service before I report in again.
What a gift to myself — a permanent plan to keep my house clean in a way that honors my own values and time management. If you are thinking, oh, that’s so nice for you Jaime, but I can’t afford a housekeeper, note that I am choosing to cancel my cable television service and use that savings to pay the cleaner. I would rather my money go to allowing me to live in a serene environment every single day than the occasional entertainment I get from television shows, most of which I can watch online.
Lessons I learned in my three months of coaching?
- Speak up! Tell people what your goals are and you’ll be so shocked at how often you’ll get assistance to get them accomplished.
- Know Thyself! A lot of my coaching sessions were really about figuring how why I valued a clean home and why, oddly, it wasn’t happening. My sessions would have gone completely differently, for example, if the only reason I wanted a clean apartment was to impress my friends or to finally live up to my mother’s reputation (My mom is Martha Stewart’s midwest doppleganger!) By understanding the reasoning behind my values, I was able to come up with solutions that will continue to work for me — something I’ve literally NEVER been able to do before.
- Baby Steps! When you are tackling a big goal, especially one you’ve tried and failed a lot of times before, take it easy. It may not seem to you that it should take three months of coaching to get a clean and decluttered home, but the slow, methodical way my coach and I have approached this goal has me comforted that my ultimate success will be PERMANENT. That’s totally worth it.
I can’t wait to check in with you guys in August (with pictures) and show you my new and improved, serene, apartment! I hope this blog post has given you some insights on what coaching is like and how it can help you permanently change both your outlook and your success on some of those nagging goals you face in your life. Feel free to email Matt or I for more questions or to schedule a free trial coaching session!