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What does a messy environment say about your mind set?

I’m late for a meeting and I’m looking for a book I need to take with me. “Have you seen my copy of The Seven Habits…..?” I shout across the house to my partner. “No!” a disembodied voice floats back. “Wouldn’t it be on the bookcase where you put all your books?” I run over to face the shelves and see a horrid melee of horizontal, vertical and diagonal books strewn all over the place. My stress rises and frustrated I storm out the house without the book.

Hours later I return home, go to the bookcase and find the book eventually. I resolve to tidy the bookshelves that night. Within a week they are back to the way they were, a mirror of my overwhelmed and stressed state of mind I was living with at the time.

Messy mind

Have you noticed how your outside world is a reflection of your inner world? Maybe your inner world is a reflection of your outer world? Or perhaps you live with a partner whose messy habits reflect their mind which leads you to feel stressed, unfocused and inefficient. Maybe it’s the other way around?

It seems pretty clear- it is a two- way relationship that suggests that your mind and the environment you live in influence each other.

Environment Issues

When I deal with environment on client calls, clients always report that they feel so much calmer in themselves when they have decluttered, organised their office, pruned their e- mail inbox or even tidied the bookshelves.

There is something inherently stressful about a messy environment. You can’t find things, there is no order, there is little or no space and the space itself feels unharmonious. The result is that you are less efficient and calm.

Because the mess creeps up on you over time, so too does the stress and pressure that comes as an outcome. You may not even notice it until you reach a crisis point and you want something at the last minute for an important meeting.

Now I am not saying that things need to be spick- and- span at home or work for you to enjoy peace and calm. The compulsive order of Julia Roberts’ character’s husband in Sleeping with the Energy is perhaps taking it too far. Some people prefer more order than others and for things to be cleaner and tidier than others. It is, as ever, about what really works for you.

Mess leads to stress

So, if you find yourself getting stressed because you consistently find it hard to find things, perhaps you want to look at your environment and see how you can be more ordered? And I do not only mean your physical environment. Any place where you inhabit space can be a source of order or disorder.

If your accounts or e- mail boxes are not organised they are also things that can prey on your mind and create discord.

This is really about taking care of the mind so that it remains as calm as possible for as much of the time as you can. That was certainly the mindset I arrived at that made me look at these sources of stress that were easy to dismiss. In fact, because they are so often out of sight, they remain out of mind so much of the time.

When you set aside time each week or month to do the books and keep on top of it, the mind can remain calm about how things are balanced.  It knows where the paper work is and that things are up to date. If you don’t, the mind keeps going back to it, telling you that “you really must do the books you know!” It takes up mental space.  That could otherwise be used more productively in creating more products or marketing material in business.  You could use it to enjoy quality family time.

In my own experience, I think it comes down to prioritising the environment you occupy to allow you to be calm and efficient. For many it just doesn’t seem important and so gets pushed down the priority list. Until it becomes urgent and then it is a stressful scramble to get it done.

Peace of Mind

Clients report that they feel so much calmer in themselves when they have decluttered, organised their office, pruned their e- mail inbox or even tidied the bookshelves.

I invite you to make your peace of mind a priority. It may take a little shuffling to make the time. In my experience it is worth it.

There is a saying that “if you want something done, give it to a busy person”. The truth of this is because a busy person who is effective and efficient HAS to be organised and that includes the organisation of their environment.

Saving time because you know where your pens are or where that e- mail is or you can find your invoice or even that book saves you seconds that build to minutes, hours and days over time.  The peace of mind you maintain helps to keep you in harmony and tranquil.  A person who can be relied upon to be efficient, trusted and reliable.

A stressed and overwhelmed mind is more likely to be untidy and disorganised. A mind jumping from one thing to another never truly completes a task.  It’s deemed the tidying up unimportant because it’s already on to the next thing. To those with that mind set, keeping things neat and tidy is all well and good.  Who has the time? Often, it’s more like who can be bothered? Yet, you now know that if you take the time to organise things, it does reduce your stress and overwhelm which in turn impacts on your productivity and creativity. A mind struggling with long term stress is never as creative or productive as a calm mind.  When generally calm the mind may respond to short spikes of stress in a very creative and productive way.

A chance for compassion

I guess this gives us the opportunity to offer support and compassion to our partners and work colleagues. If you are less tidy and causing other people stress, perhaps it would be good for all concerned, including you, to be better organised and reduce your own stress as well as theirs.  If you share your life with someone less organised and tidy as you, perhaps you can approach the situation with more compassion.  Understand that they themselves may be stressed and finding it hard to cope. The mess and disorder is a by- product and so perhaps the stress itself can be dealt with first?

I am writing this because we have had our environment thrown into chaos. Damp proofing work has meant we are living and working on the top floor of our house. The mess we were warned would be challenging. Indeed, it has been. The challenge to our peace of mind has been quite something. Yet, we were prepared and organised.  We created an environment that allowed space for relaxation and work while the builders were in. It has worked really well.

It was only possible because we prioritised our peace of mind. In the past I have been frantic about the smallest things due to my lack of organisation and discipline to keep my environment in order. Having learned the lessons, I am more mindful about my environment.  As well as how it impacts my mind and so my productivity, creativity and wellbeing.

Over to you

What do you do with our environment to keep your mind calm? Do you notice how even things like a messy in box can impact your wellbeing? How does it feel to you to walk into a messy environment? What’s it like walking into a place that is clean and tidy? Please share your experiences in the comment box at the foot of the page or on social media. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Pass it on

Know someone who lives or works in disorder and clutter? Perhaps you know someone who complains about never finding things? Maybe you know someone living with a partner or family where this is an issue. Or perhaps it is a work situation? Why not forward this blog to them and see whether it helps.  If you’re new to Potentiality Coaching and would like to sign up to the monthly newsletter you can do so here.  Thank you.

Perfection versus Excellence

Do you strive for perfection or excellence?

Do you expect your self to meet the same high standards all the time? Have you noticed that  you bully your self towards perfection, telling your self off for not achieving perfection and giving your self no or little praise for a job well done?

Or for you, is it the opposite? In knowing you will not reach perfection, you often do not try your hardest or may not even try at all, thus avoiding disappointment, ridicule and the effort of a thankless task?

Perfection- a tough master

I was given a different perspective on this recently and wanted to share it with you. Perfection is a tough master and may not be the best way forward to realise your fullest potential. In many respects, perfection is a moving goal post, never fully satisfied. It is not compassionate and is often harsh. In this competitive environment, with others and your self, it is often challenging to give fully of your self, to be open, authentic and self expressive. And yet this is what you must do if you are to be honest with your self and others in your work, life and relationships.

I was at a wedding recently. One of the readings was from Gift from the Sea’ by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. As well as a beautiful message for the couple in their new adventure together, it offered a lesson to the audience about the ebb and flow of relationships, life and love. I could discuss endlessly about this so what I want to do is focus on the ebb and flow of your relationship with your self.

Emotions- an ever- changing state

So often we expect so much of our self. In the pursuit of perfection we chastise our self for perceived short comings and rarely celebrate our successes. We are all dynamic, emotional creatures, changing state almost constantly. I can feel super confident in one moment, then moments later be filled with doubt. Perhaps you are the same or similar?

Anne Morrow Lindbergh alludes to growth being the only constant to:

  • grow in our abilities, to cultivate existing ones and develop new ones;
  • strive for excellence in all we do rather than focus on perfection;
  • give our self permission to fail so we may learn and become better at what we do;
  • manage our self more skilfully when we’re feeling weaker and more vulnerable;
  • push hard when we are feeling confident and strong.

Strength- meeting life’s challenges

Our strength is not in perfection. Rather it is in noticing where we are right now and learning how to meet life’s challenges wherever we are: in our self- confidence, shyness, fearfulness, joyousness, doubtfulness, excitement and all the emotions that we feel.

Surely life success is about understanding that ebb and flow within the relationship you have with your self and learning to marry that with the vision you have for your life? This requires love, compassion, care, patience, empathy, freedom, imagination, respect, accountability, giving your self a break and so much more. In short, the qualities for a long and lasting marriage that cultivates the growth in both partners.

Excellence- living an impeccable life

The marriage with your self is a life- long relationship and it is important to strive for excellence in that relationship. So that you may live an impeccable life full of meaning and purpose as well as mistakes and learning, so that you may not be perfect, rather the most excellent version of your self you can become.

Over to you

Do you strive for perfection or excellence? How do you view your relationship with your self? What impact does this have on your life choices? How do you choose to meet life’s challenges and your personal goals? I’d love to hear from you and your experiences of striving towards your life potential.

Why not………..

If you found this article useful and interesting please pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word.  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.

Do you lose your Focus & Confidence?

Confidence & focus can ebb & flow in life- how can you get it back?

Confidence & focus can ebb & flow in life- how can you get it back?

Have you noticed that some days you are flying high? As a consequence,  everything you do is ‘on purpose’, feels directed and meaningful?

Then other days you are not quite on it? You get side- tracked by other things and your day runs away with you? Therefore, you feel less directed towards what is meaningful and ‘on purpose’ for you.

 

And sometimes your heart just isn’t in the game.  On those days your mind won’t focus on what is really important to do at that time.

On days like these it feels like you have taken two steps forward only to find you are right back where you started? Isn’t that right?

First of all, let me tell you this is not the case. If you have made strides forwards towards your goals those steps can never be lost or taken back. How you are feeling in this moment may be very different to yesterday or even this morning, but that does not mean you have taken a back step. You feel different is all!  There is learning and growing in managing that shift with skill and compassion.

These shifts in our feelings as a human creature can be seen most clearly in sport. I am a fan of tennis and I marvel how the tide of a match can be so firmly with one player. They cannot put a foot wrong……. and then something switches. Suddenly the ball starts going long or wide, it erodes the player’s confidence and then the other player is in control and dictating the match. You see it in both individual sports and team sports.

Focus and Confidence

So here are some tips for those days or moments when you are ‘off your stroke’ or just not ‘feeling’ it:

1. Remember what to focus on and focus on it. It is easy to get caught up in what is NOT working rather than focusing on your life purpose or your specific goal or target.  Consequently, issues must be addressed and can be in the context of your bigger plan.

2. Stick to the basics. You know what works. Go with what you know to be effective. Very often the simple stuff gets forgotten in the larger plan. If you are new to an arena then learn the basics and keep doing them.

3. It’s not about perfection. It’s about excellence. Be as excellent as you can be today and may be recruit assistance if you feel you need it. Feeling a little low or under par is normal for all of us at times. Consistently striving for excellence means your base line performance rises over time. Perhaps building a team of people around you can off- set these inevitable times.

4. You’re having a bad day? May be look at that? Take a look at why you are feeling what you’re feeling?  You may find learning in that.  As a result, that may be the inspiration for your next step forward.

5. Breath deep and take stock. Reflect and review and see if you have missed something. Did you prepare well enough? Is there something going on at home that you cannot shake? Is there an health issue? Be honest with your self and address with compassion whatever comes up.

6. Always keep learning. One of the sayings from a great martial arts teacher was ‘You are always training for the fight you cannot win yet.’ There is always a situation that is too challenging for you to deal with in an excellent manner. Great! There is more to learn and experience to gather. It will continually make you better at what you are dedicated to.

7. You have come so far. Look back at where you were 6 months ago, a year. If you keep a diary or journal, look back at the hard times of the past or simply reflect on where you were and understand you have grown so much. There is always further to go, more to learn, more potential to uncover and realise.

Over to you

What do you do if you are having a difficult day? How do you shake it off and rally your self? Do you let your self run with the funk or do you carry on regardless? I’d love to hear from you and build a resource of on- line wisdom that allows people to tap in to their true potential.

Why not………..

If you found this article useful and interesting please pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word.  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ .  When you do, you’ll get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.