Tag Archives: go after your dreams

Tears of Joy!

Last week I traveled 4 hours away to help a client of mine that had moved out of the area a few years ago. Although she tried to find a professional organizer in her area to help her, the one she found was new and was just as overwhelmed with the situation as she was. So much so that she has since gone out of business. Unfortunately, there are no other professional organizers in her area, so she reached out to me for help. Her initial email to me said “I know it would be a lot to ask you to come and help me, but I’m fairly desperate and have lost all pride”. How do you say no to helping someone when they say something like that, no matter how far away they are?

Since she had only unpacked the essentials, and left everything else out in the garage when she moved in 3 years earlier, I knew we had to start in the garage. As with any organizing job, finding the place that “clogs” up the rest of the home and unclogging it is crucial. The garage took the longest amount of time to complete, but it was also one of the most rewarding spaces because of that. Now all of the stuff that was in her house that really should be in the garage was able to be filtered out into the garage zones once we had them established.

Garage-Before-After

Garage – Before & After

Next we moved on to the kitchen space, then the closets, the living room, the master bedroom/bath, the laundry room, the guest room and the home office. We worked for 6 straight days, all day long and got through the larger part of her home. Letting go of things you love or thought you might use someday is always difficult and that was no different for this client. But with each passing day, she gave up more and more. She even went back and let go of things she had decided to keep only the day before. I was so proud of her and all of the hard work she invested in this process.

Kitchen-Before-After

Kitchen – Before & After

Home-Office-Before-After

Home Office – Before & After

Home-Office-Before-After

Home Office – Before & After

She had shared with me before I came that her master bedroom and bathroom were the areas that were bothering her the most. She couldn’t find peace anywhere in her home. She felt overwhelmed, stressed out and beat down – something I commonly hear from our clients. I knew the sense of relief she would feel when her master bedroom and bathroom were clutter-free and organized and so I didn’t let her see things changing as I was working. I wanted her to see it ONLY when those spaces were completed.

Once I had the areas organized, I let her look. Her mouth immediately fell open as she blurted out the words “I think I could cry”. With that, she threw the entire upper part of her body down onto her outstretched arms on the bathroom counter and began crying uncontrollably. I began crying. I knew how much relief I had brought to her life. I knew how long she had wanted that space back in control and peaceful. But her reaction was priceless and beautiful!

Bedroom-Before-After

Bedroom – Before & After

Once my client stopped crying, she stepped back and stared at me in disbelief and exclaimed “this is definitely your ministry, a life-changing ministry at that!”. I know it seems funny to most (and even to myself sometimes) to leave all of your financial security behind to follow what you believe God created you to do. But knowing you have the ability to use what you love doing to change people’s lives in such a dramatically positive way and choosing not to go for it makes absolutely less sense! 

We’re Not Promised A Tomorrow

One of the biggest battles I had when it came to quitting my job was that I had already invested 26 year there and only had 3 1/2 years to go until I could retire with a great pension check coming in every month for the rest of my life. It seemed so foolish not to wait it out after sticking it out there as long as I already had. Nobody does that!

On top of that, I’ve always been a very responsible person that does what I need to do and what I am supposed to do without any regard to how I feel about it. I had two children that I had to support solely on my own and so there was no room for questioning whether to continue working there or not regardless of how miserable it made me. I considered myself a “lifer”, like a prison sentence.

But once I realized about 15 years ago that we were all put here for a reason, for a purpose that is much bigger than ourselves, I’ve had a different perception of life and what it is supposed to look like. And it’s made just doing life status quo much harder for me. For the first 25-30 years of my life I focused all of my energy on just merely surviving this thing they called life. I was so consumed by the hurt, pain and confusion from all of the injustices bestowed upon me in my early life that I couldn’t see or feel anything past that. I was doing life from a reactive place not a proactive place, from a victim mentality. I didn’t realize that we could create our own lives!

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As soon as I understood that we have the power to create the life we want to live, it was much harder to sit in a job that I detested. From the minute I opened the doors to my organizing business, Simplified Living Solutions, and the phone started ringing off the hook, I’ve battled with staying where I was. Every time I would remind myself how lucky I was to have such a great job with wonderful benefits and I only had 3 1/2 more years to go, those thoughts were quickly met with thoughts of how I want to live my life now, not later. What if I didn’t live long enough to do it after I retired? We’re not promised a tomorrow. I knew with such a strong gut feeling that I didn’t want to leave this life without feeling like I had lived it to its fullest. I didn’t want to take a chance that tomorrow may never come.

I don’t mind working at all, I actually like it. So I knew that if I had to, I could always go back to working a “real job”. But I knew I had to take this leap of faith because I loved the feelings that helping others get organized gave me (in addition to what it gave them). I loved the satisfaction of knowing that I had made a positive difference in someone’s life and I loved encouraging people and reminding them of their greatness. I loved knowing that I was making a positive difference in the world in which I live, rather than merely surviving it. Life wasn’t meant to just survive, we are meant to thrive in it! That’s what I’d like to help more people understand earlier in life than I did so they can get to work living their life to the fullest!

Make Someone Happy

Don’t You See, We’re All Jacked Up?

There is nothing I love more than sitting down and having a real heart to heart conversation. The minute I meet someone, I want to know everything about them. I want to get deep inside their soul. I want to know about their lives, what makes them tick, what makes them who they are. I want to know about their hardships, their victories and how those have impacted who they have become. I love, love, love psychology and I think that’s why I find exploring everyone’s lives to be so fascinating.

Interestingly enough, because of this curious, direct and non-threatening quality of mine, people tell me things they have never told anyone else. I know that they do that because they feel “safe” with me because I am sharing the same type of information about my life with them. I have no secrets and often share stories of my challenges and how they have made me into who I am today to encourage and inspire others. Many times I share how those very challenges turned into blessings in disguise.

Blessings in Disguise

Throughout my life I have always gotten the impression that being an “open book” was not a good quality. However, I don’t seem to have the skill set to do life any other way. I’ve never understood why we wouldn’t all be an open book. Why wouldn’t we want to share our burdens, hardships and victories with one another to encourage, support and educate each other? Why wouldn’t we want to just be honest with ourselves and others?

I have found that by being completely open about who I am, why I am who I am – in addition to my own personal challenges and victories – that I have been able to help and encourage others. It has allowed others to feel safe enough to lower their guards and just speak their own truth without hesitation. I sincerely believe that is one of the main purposes of Modern Day Noah – to share my journey in a completely honest and vulnerable way including my own imperfections and insecurities, but with the ever resounding “they’re not going to knock me off course” attitude so that others are encouraged to go after their dreams with that same resolve.

You Make The Choice

Do you realize that there is not one among us that is perfect? Do you realize that we’ve all had our fair share of heartache, pain and hardships? Do you realize that each and every one of us is “jacked-up” as a result of those things? Admit it. I’m jacked up, you’re jacked up. But the reality is that if we are open enough to look closely at the situation, we can find the blessings from the pain we’ve experienced and use it for good.

As I mentioned in another post, I was sexually abused several times by several different men. Would I like to have that horrible, horrible experience again? Heck no! Did I see it as a blessing when it happened? Heck no! But when I look closely at it, I’m able to be thankful (well if I’m being 100% honest, I’m only a little thankful) that it happened because it has helped to shape me into the person I am today. Because of those experiences, I truly understand pain. It has given me a compassionate heart that wants to help and encourage the hurting. I understand how it feels to have your own feelings and needs ignored – trampled on. I understand the impact that pain is having on them. I understand what they need to feel built back up again. I am able to use my own painful experiences to help others change the direction their life is heading in a positive way. For that, I am thankful.

Top 5 Things I Did Before Taking the Leap

As you’ve learned through this blog, it took me a long, long time to follow God’s lead and quit my full time job. By quitting I gave up awesome medical, dental, vision and mental health insurance, my pension that I would have been able to draw in 3 1/2 years and a guaranteed bi-weekly paycheck. Needless to say, I didn’t just run and take that leap of faith without some planning. Here are the top 5 things that I did to prepare:

Top 5 Things to Do

Prayer: I prayed the same prayer over and over for years. Through those prayers I believe that God slowly changed MY attitude and beliefs until I was finally convinced that this was His will and that I could do it. In my opinion, prayer doesn’t have to be perfectly scripted or said in a certain order or way. Prayer for me is just like having a conversation with God, a continual conversation regardless of where I am or what I am doing – driving, cutting the grass, cleaning the house, whatever.

Listen: Of equal importance to prayer is creating a quiet or still time so that you can hear what He has to say. For the greater part of my life, whenever I was in the car, the radio would be blasting the entire time. I had to have it on from the minute I got in the car, until the minute I got out. Not anymore. At least 50% of the time I’m driving, I drive without the radio on. It’s amazing what that quiet time will do for you. Listen to your intuition. Listen to your gut. Listen to your thoughts. Listen to what others say to you. So many times God speaks to us through others. Mostly I listened to the peace within me about the decision to leave.

Save: I saved enough money to pay an entire year’s worth of both my car and house payments. Those are the most important things and those are the things that would affect my credit if they weren’t paid. I realize the importance of impeccable credit and so I do my best to keep my financial affairs in order.

Got my finances in order:  I met with a financial adviser several times. It’s funny, she immediately said I should never leave my job. Five minutes into sharing my story with her of how God had been speaking to me, even she changed her tune. I refinanced my house with a lower interest rate, looked at all of my expenses and “cut the fat” as they say (turned off house phone, changed cable providers in order to drastically cut prices, etc). I made sure all of my debt was paid off other than my car and house.

Be proactive: Not only did I have anything and everything to do with my house and car checked over to be sure nothing was wrong with them, I did the same with me. I refilled as many prescriptions as many times as I could under my great insurance benefits before I left. I had a sleep study done. Had any dental work done that I needed. Went to each of my specialists and my regular doctor to make sure everything was going well with me physically.

By taking care of all of these details so carefully, I think I warded off a lot of problems and was well prepared for whatever or wherever this leap of faith would take me. So far, so good!

I Dare You to Prove it, God!

I’ve made many, many mistakes in my life and so when I began feeling a prompting from God to leave my full time job I wasn’t prepared to just run after that without being 100% sure that was His will. For the better part of my life I’ve been on my own with no one at all to fall back on and so I wasn’t prepared to walk away from every speck of my financial security without being certain this was what He wanted me to do.

There were so, so, so many ways I felt God telling me that this was what He wanted, but I needed something concrete to be sure. Other than the day that I audibly heard God tell me that it didn’t make any earthly sense for Noah to build an arc either (read that story here), this was by far the most obvious, glaring way in which He let me know He meant business and that I better get to work preparing to follow Him.

Now I realize that this story is going to sound like a story out of a story book, or out of a feel-good movie. It’s so far-fetched that it is going to be hard for you to believe this really happened. But I think that’s the entire point I am trying to make with this blog and impending book, that God wants to play an active part in everyone’s lives. I want people that don’t know Him to realize that there really is a God and He’s not just floating out there somewhere. He’s walking through this journey with you and He’s got big, big plans for you if you’ll just let Him in.

Let Him Shine Through You

Okay, enough of that, now on to the story. Once I audibly heard God’s voice reassuring me that although me leaving my job didn’t make any earthly sense, it was what He wanted me to do, I was pretty darn certain that I knew God wanted me to walk away from my job. However, I was scared. I knew I wouldn’t have anyone to fall back on if things blew up in my face and so I needed to know with certainty that He was telling me to do this. I needed something concrete from Him.

I was almost constantly “in conversation” with God about this. On July 1, 2012 my business account only had $56 in it. I remember so clearly saying to God in resignation, “OK God, if this is what you want, I need a very clear sign. Once you give me a clear sign, I’ll do it. If you put $20,000 in my business account before year’s end, I’ll know without a doubt that this is what you want and I will follow.” I remember even laughing out loud as I said this because I knew that if that were to happen, that would be a miracle. I also nervously knew that there was a very great possibility that would happen, and then I would no longer have an excuse not to follow His will for my life.

Can you believe that there was $20,000 in that account by October that year?! (That was exactly one year after He audibly spoke to me!) It was as if God said you gave me until year’s end to get the money in your account but I want to make sure that you understand that this IS my will so I’m putting it in your account earlier! Now let’s get on with this! ~ So I did.