Living and Organized From the Inside Out

“Satisfaction lies in the effort,
not in the attainment —
full effort is full victory.”  – Gandhi


Autumn is a wonderful time to get more organized – whether it be cleaning out a closet, getting your paperwork in order, prioritizing for the new school year or getting more organized and disciplined about an exercise program or preparing healthy meals for your family. Autumn is a good time to harness your energy inwards after all the activity and business that accompanies the summer months.

One of the most challenging aspects associated with making changes is that as you proceed with a new habit, over time, you may fall back into habitual patterns and without realizing it you may find you are attempting again to get things done the “old way.” In other words, you “fall asleep” and behave in mechanical ways. When you “wake up” you discover that you have resorted to your feeling-centered patterns. These are the underlying or unconscious thoughts and feelings that drive your every action and decision in life. These are the thoughts and feelings that keep you from making the changes that you desire. This can be a very frustrating loop and it takes a lot of effort to break this pattern and make conscious choices, one choice and one day at a time.  Getting your life organized from the inside out is about living up to your full potential; it is about tapping into your true essence and allowing the beauty of your soul to shine through. It's about living an authentic life. When you notice that you have fallen back into the old way of doing things, take a deep breath, and then simply continue on – taking action, taking the next step. Remember your point of power is in the now. All you have is this moment of reality to take inspired action and bring about positive change.

Joey (not his real name) has been a coaching client for the past 7 months and we began our first coaching session just after Joey went through a really nasty divorce. Joey was feeling overwhelmed and was wondering how he would ever manage to get his life in order. The cost of his divorce was devastating on all levels, not just financially. Joey wanted to live life to its fullest, he wanted to move past the regrets and loss and create deeply meaningful connections. Joey wanted a fulfilling life; he wanted to be living from the inside out.   As Joey sank into the chair in my office, he said “I find that as I achieve one milestone along the way towards my goal, it would be so easy for me to let go of my breath and say – phew, did that – and then fall right back into my old, comfortable and familiar ways.”

We discussed that one thing that may be helpful for Joey is to note when he’s ruminating and then stop and ask himself  “Well, if I'm thinking about it so much, what can I do right now about it?"  Using the rumination as a trigger for action, instead of just a continuous and tiring reverie, allows Joey to honor his feelings and put them to use in a way that is more productive.  The worst case scenario, is that if he can't — or chooses not to — take action directly tied to those ruminating feelings, then he can say something to himself along the lines of "If I can't do something on that goal right now, I don't have to think about it or keep it top of mind right now,"  which seems to have a positive effect of turning down the volume on the rumination, and providing head space to do something else.  

To get you started on organizing from the inside out and create a more meaningful life here are some tips to de-clutter your home, office or any space. If you're one of those people who are surrounded by clutter and just can't seem to get organized, then you may lack the skills of organizing, which can be easily learnt. Organizing should be broken down into a step-by-step process and below are three steps to help you on your way:

 1. Analyze – If you are in the process of organizing your office desk you most probably have lots of paperwork to sort through. It’s important that you look at your existing situation and ask questions: 

What’s working?
What’s not working?
What pieces of paper are most essential to you?
Why do you want to get organized?
What’s causing the problem?

2. Strategize- Decide what you need to help you get organized. Take small steps and create a plan on how to continue taking action on your organizing project. Estimate how much you can accomplish. Be realistic!

Remember that organizing from the inside out isn’t about tidying up and moving things around. It is about getting rid of stuff that is clogging up your life. One idea I like is to photograph sentimental things you can't bear to part with. It is the memory you cherish, not the item.
 3. Action- Jump right in and start organizing!
PLEASE REMEMBER it’s important not to get stuck in the first two steps of analyzing and strategizing. Often it’s best to jump right in at number three and follow Nike’s prescription “Just Do It!” and an even better idea is “Just Do It Now!”

I have often heard people refer to the book “Organizing From the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern, I have had it sitting on my bookshelf for many years now and it was not until today that I decided to browse through it and see if I could find any pearls of wisdom. Visit her blog at 

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