My client *Nina yesterday started pacing back and forth.
“I just feel really anxious right now. I just feel kind of upset!” she said, exasperated, as she wore circles in the floor going from the kitchen, to the office, then back to the kitchen. “I just didn’t realize how much stuff I had or how bad my disorganization and clutter is!”
I said to her calmly, as I sat with a pile of disks fanning away from me like a ballerina tutu made of CDs instead of tulle, “That is normal. We don’t realize the burden we’ve accumulated because we put it in boxes and folders and closets because it looks presentable and manageable, but all we’ve really done is found a way to store and not deal.”
What she was going through is completely normal. She’s not a hoarder- but 20 minutes into our Chaos session, she felt like she was one.
Why? Because I made her face all of her sh*t. I made her take it all out and go through every bit of it. And she had a mini panic attack.
That’s normal. That will happen, should happen, and there’s something amazing that happens after you go through it.
But here’s the truth for anyone who is an actor, singer, song writer, model, entrepreneur, etc in LA:
You are overwhelmed because you have too much shit (even if it is “neat”) and you’ve made it literally impossible for your career to move forward until it is taken care of.
We were in her tiny washroom which had been converted to her office/music studio. It was the size of a small apartment bathroom. She had a closet, a desk, a chair and small table.
Inside the typically deep shelved, non-functional closet that apartment renters in LA know all too well about (seriously, who designed these terrible closets across the entire city???) , Nina had a massive amount of office supplies, 3 ring binders for organizing taxes and business info, bins of wires for her electronics and music devices, keepsakes, hundreds of CDs for her singing demo and other musical influences, a dream board that was curling and faded on the wall, inspirational quotes cut out of a magazine and pinned to the wall, extra pieces of furniture that had been pushed to random corners that took up prime real estate where she should have had open space, pictures, and on top of all that, dust.
This is not the house of a hoarder. This is the room of an artistic, talented, beautiful, intelligent 20-something fantastic woman who, in the heart of LA, is trying to simultaneously grow a business and jumpstart her music career.
Which is pretty effing awesome, if you ask me. Yet, typical.
Very. Very. Typical. For LA, at least.
In LA, a heavy percent of the population is an aspiring something who has another job on the side. For Nina in particular, she was doing ALL THREE! Job, startup AND music. And she was trying her best to live a healthy and organic lifestyle.
Talk about pressure.
Here’s where the breakdown happens. It isn’t because she isn’t talented, isn’t creative enough, doesn’t have a good enough business idea or even because she doesn’t have the proper connections.
The issue is her power and effectiveness over her environment. She doesn’t have it. But she desperately wants it and needs it. To-do lists make you feel like you have it. Binders and plastic bins make you physically feel like you are achieving it. But those are temporary escapes.
Even though things are (somewhat) neatly tucked away, she is literally drowning in the disconnect between clutter, organizing finances, organizing her career, and keeping papers and other items tucked away that are old, unnecessary and yet another thing added to the always amassing, yet vague, “To-Do List” in the back of the brain.
The problem is common and it is debilitating to anyone who is trying to start a business, move a business forward, increase their income, have a thriving artistic career or feeling at peace. There is always a feeling that something isn’t completed, something needs to be done, something has to be taken care of. And this incompleteness lasts for years! YEARS, on very small, seemingly simple tasks. Like installing a new water filter that has already been purchased and is still in the box.
To battle this and try to be successful at what the rest of the population considers “getting a lucky break” would overwhelm even the toughest cookie.
As the session moved forward and Nina and I, together, battled everything in only her studio/office closet, the panic started to subside and I could see her energy level raise.
First, she hesitated to even throw away a broken straw purse that she had intended to fix the strap of for years. She put it to the side.
Then, as we rooted through her demo cds, boxes of antiquated and outdated headshots, notebooks full of old song ideas, taxes, and motivational self-help books, Nina left the room with a stained ottoman to dump in the trash. When she came back, she picked up the purse. “I don’t need it do I? Do you think this is cute?”
“Honestly it looks like the filler from the bottom of an Easter basket.”
She looked at me, slightly offended at my bluntness, then laughed. “You’re right. I’m being ridiculous. I don’t know why I was so hellbent on holding on. It was just going to stay tucked away neatly for another 3 years. I don’t even know where to go to fix it, and I don’t even have the interest in looking up a place on the internet.”
She tossed it.
Then, it was like a weight had been lifted. Nina started tackling the box of headshots, then the cabinet full of boxes for electronics, you know, the ones you keep for years in case they ever break.
She started moving faster and with ease, as if she knew exactly what she was doing, where things should go, what was necessary to let go of.
We haven’t finished yet- but at the end of our Chaos session, Nina and I have a plan in progress.
Each thing her life that she is devoted to, music and her organic greens business, will have a section of flawless detail.
Paperwork, forms, schedules, supplies, marketing material, tracking of income, tracking of advertising, taxes.
All of it, purged, simplified, and each with it’s own neat area and system. After acknowledging everything that has been tucked away, we threw away the unnecessary, put back the essentials, then formed an organizational plan for her sales, her music marketing, her income tracking and her resources.
Because you can’t reach your potential of success when the clutter overwhelms your creative.
How creative could you possibly be on a canvas that has already been painted and trashed, compared to a blank white canvas?
Stay tuned– Next article is the 6 Steps to take to Battle Overwhelm and Get It Done Once and For ALL! and How to Be a Success in LA
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