Monthly Archives: December 2013

To Free or Not To Free? That is the Question.

When I started my professional organizing business, Simplified Living Solutions, it was because I wanted to help people – never because I was looking for a get rich quick scheme. I am so strongly pulled towards helping people, especially hurting people, that it can sometimes be a curse. When I first started my business, I helped so many people for free those first few years even though they never asked or expected for it to be free! I just felt compelled to do it free. It’s a problem I have.

After a couple of years of taking vacation days to help people free, not sleeping, etc, I started to realize the toll it was taking on me to help people “free”. I began realizing that it really wasn’t free at all. To them, it was free. But to me, all of this free work was taking a real toll on me. I could feel resentment building. I could see my weight and stress level increasing. I was an absent parent for my children when they needed me because I was off helping others FREE.

I’ve worked hard on this particular issue of mine for many years now. It’s still very challenging for me not to help everyone free but I’m getting better. The people that call a professional organizer are usually people that are hurting for one reason or another; a death in the family, overwhelmed with stress from the chaos of their lives, going through a divorce, after a move, marital friction – you get the point. So for me it’s so difficult not to just want to fix it all for them FREE. I have people that work for me now and so that makes it a little easier because it creates a bit of a buffer between the client and I so I’m not inclined to impulsively say “I’ll help you free!”. (I’m a bit impulsive at times thanks to my “professionally undiagnosed but I know I have it” ADHD.)

Back in October a young Mom called for help. She told me her 2 1/2 year old daughter was starting chemo that week and she wanted to get her house decluttered and organized so she could get it cleaned and sterilized for her. My heart shattered into a million pieces as I listened to her story. As a Mom, I could immediately feel and understand the pain she must be going through. The minute I heard her story I wanted to rush over and fix everything for her. But I didn’t. The minute I walked into her home for our initial meeting and saw her little bald headed baby girl, I wanted to fix it all for her immediately. And of course for free. But I didn’t. I had to fight back tears as I spoke with her and watched her interact with her daughter. I scheduled a day for myself and another team member to work with her. We accomplished a lot in the time we were there, but certainly not everything she needed.

I hated leaving that day. I hated collecting payment from her for our services. I cried when I left. I looked at my other team member, tears streaming down my face and said “how do you charge someone like that?”. But I charged her. I realize this is a struggle that many professions face on a regular basis. When your income is based strictly on a service where you help people, it’s difficult not to let your heart get in the way. This particular client couldn’t afford to have us come back even though she needed the help. Again, fighting my own “do it free” issue, I didn’t succumb to my heart screaming to get back in her house and fix it all free. It felt unnatural not to, but I didn’t.

Today I found out through an odd series of events that this particular client is ready to humble herself and ask for help for free. The minute I heard she was asking for this I wanted to run over to her house and fix everything for her. Guess what? I’m going to. Being a professional organizer is my ministry. Yes, it’s now my full time source of income as well but by golly, she needs me and I want to help!

It’s About the Journey, not the Destination

Journey

This blog has sat relatively quiet since its creation because I’ve been unsure about the direction I should take with it since I haven’t written the Modern Day Noah book yet. (The book will outline my journey leading up to me taking the huge step of faith and how I finally knew I was supposed to.) I have struggled about whether the book or the blog should come first.

Although I’ve felt like I should be blogging about my everyday life, I’ve struggled with a lot of self-doubt and negative self-talk about doing that. Why should I write about my life? Who would care about my life? You haven’t hit it rich yet. You don’t have a grand enough ending to the “Modern Day Noah” story yet to start blogging about your everyday life, etc.

There are a couple of things I do know though, and I feel pretty certain and strongly about. One thing is that for whatever reason, people tell me that I motivate and inspire them. I’ve heard it enough that I now finally take ownership of that. I know that God wants me to use that quality, and my life as a Modern Day Noah who stepped out in faith when it made no earthly sense, to motivate and inspire people – and to introduce them to Him. I also know that people need hope and encouragement in their everyday life, from everyday people (and I’m about as everyday as they come!) who use their lives for something much bigger than themselves and are real about the every day challenges and rewards of that.

I believe that we were each uniquely created to accomplish really big things but the majority of us spend our lives believing that those big things are intended for other people to do – we’re not good enough. It is because of this belief, and what I am beginning to believe is my life’s message, that I feel I am to blog about my every day, ordinary life with all of the twists and turns that come with my decision to step out in faith when it made no earthly sense. I know there are great things coming. I can’t see specifically what they are, but I know and believe that they are coming.

I now know and believe the point and purpose of this blog is to tell an everyday, real story detailing my journey rather than the glamorized, perfect ending destination so that people can see through my life and my journey that if I deserve it and can do it, so can they!

I hope you’ll walk along this journey with me. I hope that the words and stories that I share will motivate and inspire you.