Just Start Somewhere

Years ago, I worked in a bookstore and the manager asked me to create a large display.  He said I could be as creative as I wanted to be, just make sure it reflected the season (which happened to be Spring).  At first, I was excited.  I consider myself to be fairly creative and was eager to get to it.  I cleaned off the shelving and display area, brought in a bunch of books, stationery, and knick-knacks that the store sold regularly.  I stood back and surveyed my “canvas.”

I stood there a good long time.  Nothing was coming to mind.  My mind was completely blank.  I had absolutely no idea how to start.  The longer I stood there, the more anxious and frustrated I got.  And the more pressure I put on myself to make it just right, the less I could actually think.

Eventually the manager wandered over to see what I was up to.  He looked at the empty area, and then looked at me.  I shrugged as if to say, “Beats me.”  Then he said this:

“Just start.  Put something up there; it doesn’t have to be right or perfect or even good.  Just. Start. Somewhere.”

And so I did.  I started arranging and rearranging and putting things up and then taking them down again.  I gave myself the freedom, the right, to do it wrong in an effort to eventually get it right.  It didn’t need to be perfect; I just needed to begin somewhere.

As an organizer, I can say the same thing to my clients.  When they look around their office, or home, it most often feels overwhelming and they, like me, end up saying “Where do I possibly begin?”  And many end up never beginning.  That’s where a skilled organizer comes in, takes their hand, and gently urges them to Just. Start. Somewhere. 

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