While driving home from vacation, my husband noticed our gas gauge was dangerously low. In an instant, I could see fear overtaking him. Physically, he was sitting more upright, body tense and he became agitated.
To ease the situation I said, “Calm down (spouses love when you say that) the worst thing that will happen is we run out of gas.”
Our options were to call for help, walk or ride the bikes we had with us to the gas station. Although inconvenient, nothing we couldn’t manage.
When I become fearful, I have trained myself over the years to ask, “What’s the worst thing that will probably happen?” My answer usually calms me down.
I have found that a lot of my clients were not getting organized, because they let fear paralyze them.
One of my current clients experienced the typical fears disorganized people go through.
When she called me for the first time, she said, “I have known about your services for years, but was afraid to call.”
I’m glad she called. Before hanging up, she said, “I feel so much better after talking with you. I feel like I have hope.”
When I arrived at her home, she met me at my car. My years of organizing for people told me she was afraid to let me inside and needed assurance at the curb.
I’m happy she let me in. She found me to be compassionate, understanding and ready to tackle the project.
She was afraid to get started, because she had tried other times and didn’t make much progress. I assured her that once we got started she would know how to continue.
We began in a room I knew would be easy for her. While organizing, she kept making references about how she was afraid to tackle other rooms, because items there had more sentimental value. When we eventually worked in those other rooms, I didn’t have to comfort and coach her any more than I did in the first room.
One day, she met me at the door in tears, “I let go of a game that belonged to my (grown) son.” When I asked my daughter about it she said, “He would have wanted that game.”
She was afraid to continue for fear she would keep making mistakes.
Later while talking with her son, she broke down crying. Her son said, “Mom you’re being silly, no big deal.”
She was also afraid we couldn’t work together without her husband present. We now have had more sessions without him. In fact, she likes surprising him with the progress we make.
When she found out I sometimes organize homes when my clients are not present, she said, “I would be afraid to have you do that.” Next week, my first solo session is on the calendar.
If you have been afraid to get organized, take a minute to reread this column and notice how many times my client was afraid of something that she didn’t need to be.
When fear keeps you from getting organized, you just have to move. Don’t deliberate, over-think or try to rationalize. Just act.
David Schwartz sums this up best with his quote, “Do what you fear and fear disappears.”
We made it to the gas station. No worries.
Lori Firsdon owns Forte Organizers in Centerville. She does onsite organizing and speaking engagements. For more organizing tips, visit ForteOrganizers.com.