I have a confession to make. I might as well get it over with as it's not going to change.
My name’s Alice and I’m chronically disorganised.
There I’ve said it.
Pretty embarrassing thing for a life coach to say, hmm? I promise this story ends well, though, so stay with me...
I’ve gone through different phases in my life with my disorganisation, and my relationship with it, including terrible stress, shame, embarrassment and overwhelm.
I’ve done the equivalent of “crash diets” to get organised, and then fallen off the wagon and back into mess and panic. I’ve done this many, MANY times in my life. I’m afraid I’ve never really been able to relax and surrender into my disorganisation – I hate it.
Like a serial dieter, there has been the same cycle of self reproach and sabotage. Misery.
The funny thing is, I actually thrive on order.
I like organising things and ideas, work much better, concentrate better and am able to relax when I have a clear routine and everything is organised.
And that’s actually the case for most of us. Everyone’s different, but we all feel better when there is some kind of form or structure to our lives.
So what’s the deal? What’s going on with us “messy” types who struggle to keep to time, get everything done and lay our hands on what we need, when we need it.
If you’re disorganised, you haven’t got it all wrong.
I’ve always secretly felt that somehow I “lack moral fibre” as a teacher once reported of my dear dad, who was pretty similar to me in this regard. In fact, while there is a lot you can do to take action and get organised, we have to start by understanding ourselves a little better.
Individual differences are what make the world such a wonderful place. But it's no good if we are heaving ourselves over hot coals for not being like everyone else.
We’ve got to do what’s right for us, which starts with KNOWING what’s right for us, and THAT starts with knowing ourselves.
A great place to start with that is looking at your strengths. Here’s what I learned when I read this inspiring book Now, Discover Your Strengths. It had a massive impact on how I understand the way I do things.
1. My natural talents are what make me so special at what I do.
I know my “maximiser” (recognise people’s strengths), “developer” (cultivate potential) and “empathy” traits are what make me a super coach. My “ideation” trait means I’m great at pulling together ideas. “Self Assurance” means I can put myself out there, and gives me the confidence to work for myself. Without these, I wouldn’t even be here, doing what I’m doing. So I’d better start celebrating!
2. When I looked at my profile, I saw that “focus” and “discipline” are really not so low down the list after all.
But because they aren’t my top strengths, they get compromised in favour of the other things I love to do (and SHOULD be doing) a lot of the time.
So now I’ve established exactly where my strengths DO lie, I can stop giving myself such a hard time and start working out some strategies for managing things so I’m not being constantly ambushed by myself.
In this blog post I share the thoughts and beliefs that will roadblock you getting organised and how to replace them with something a little more… supportive!
In the meantime, go over and take the free strengths finder test, find out your strengths, and tell me what you learn about yourself from doing this.