Declutter Your Career: It’s Time For An Annual Housecleaning

by @thewritermama on November 25, 2012 · 3 comments

We are cleaning house. The outgrown clothes must go. The old, abandoned toys are in boxes. One load of stuff has already gone to Goodwill and another will follow as we finish up the annual purging of things that we no longer need that might benefit someone else.

And I am not only purging physical items from our home. I am also conducting an annual cleansing of my professional life. I am an extremely creative person, so without an annual purge to assess what to keep and what to let go of, there would be no room for growth next year. And things do tend to pile up in my creative wake.

I need some serious room to grow next year. And I bet you do too. So take a look at your stuff. What have you got? What do you want to keep and what needs to go?

Sometimes letting go is bittersweet. I let go of The Northwest Author Series this year after creating it and re-creating it for five consecutive years. Letting “my baby” go was hard. I didn’t want to do it. I dragged my feet. Ultimately, I simply knew that it was time to let go, whether I liked it or not.

So gradually, I took the steps to shut it down. And what do you know, I survived. I also got some very nice compliments about the quality of all of my hard work and lots of appreciation from those who were speakers or regular attendees.

Keeping in mind that I would not be able to grow my business the way I wanted if I didn’t let go, helped me summon up the courage to shut The Northwest Author Series down. It also helped me to acknowledge a truth that had emerged — I did not want to continue giving up the time with my family on Sunday afternoons.

Now that my daughter is ten years old, I don’t have that many Sunday afternoons left before she is all grown up and I want to enjoy every moment of her tween and teen years. I am sure if she was your daughter, you would feel the same way.

So I let it go, and it’s gone. May it rest in peace. I am glad that I was able to stop while I still loved doing it.

Are you feeling like it’s time to clean out your professional house? Here are some angles to consider before you proceed:

  1. Work you get paid to do
  2. Work you don’t get paid to do
  3. Work you do that you could delegate to someone else
  4. Household work you do that you could delegate to someone else
  5. People who drain your energy and resources
  6. Online offerings that no longer work for whatever reason
  7. Any offerings that consistently demand too much of your energy
  8. Whatever you do habitually that dissipates your energy
  9. Whatever you do consistently that hinders your personal power
  10. Whatever you do that interferes with your connection to your intuition
  11. Patterns of relating that no longer serve you and others
  12. Any pattern of behavior that consistently tears you down, bites you in the butt, or blows up in your face

When you read these considerations, some ideas may immediately jump to mind of things you want to consider cutting from your future to-do list. Listen to these impulses. Don’t be surprised if you feel scared or anxious about making changes.

Change makes many people anxious. But if you are not willing to gradually change, then you can’t gradually grow.

Once you have determined the kind of changes you need and want to make, go about making the changes gradually and with sensitivity to others. Remember that you can’t make others feel good about your decisions to change. You can only commit to change, follow through on it, and communicate as clearly and kindly as you can.

You might go for years without making changes. You might be the picture of perfect consistency. And you will be surprised to hear me say that there is something seriously wrong with perfect consistency.

Because life wants to evolve. And if you are not evolving with life, then you may be fighting life.

So get brave. And face the music of change, if you feel have changes to face.

Change will come gently, if you let it. And change can happen gradually, once you surrender to it.

And if you stubbornly refuse and consistently resist, change will likely turn on you one day and soundly kick your butt.

If this has ever happened to you you, don’t hate change for coming. Just remember that change is always coming and get yourself and your career ready.

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