Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Throw it Out!
In case you're sensing a theme in the photo, this is my Red Hat group -- the Red Hat Rovers. And two weeks ago we roved to Merrimack Hall here in town and attended a program by Gail Blanke called Throw Out Fifty Things.
Based on her book Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life, the program sought to empower attendees by encouraging us to literally throw out fifty things in our homes and unclutter our lives both physically and emotionally.
Gail is a motivational speaker, columnist and life coach in addition to her role as an author, and she shared with the audience her "6 1/2 Steps to Owning Your Power." * Conquer these, she says, and you'll be on the road to a truly exceptional life.
First, you tap into the power of a vision. When he was planning the Disney World property in Florida, Walt Disney told his crew, "Build the castle first" because that's where the magic is. We all need to determine what our "castle" is and build it first. Then once we've discovered the magic inside us, we can do anything.
Second, let go. Get rid of the garbage, the junk, the negative, the doubts and fears. She said, "If it makes you feel bad, get rid of it!" And this doesn't just apply to things. Remove yourself from negative relationships and toxic friends, too. This is where her book title comes into play. To get in the "letting go" mode, her book lays out a plan to go through your home room by room and declutter. And you are supposed to keep a list of the things you get rid of to give yourself a true idea of the "stuff" you've allowed to accumulate.
Third, make a list of defining moments in your life. These may be as simple as changing from first period biology to fifth and finding a teacher who lit a fire under you about science or as bold as a moment when your back was to the wall and you made the toughest decision of your life and your life took a 180 degree turn. When you string these defining moments together you'll see a pattern of tenacity and determination that will see you through anything.
Fourth, adopt an entrepreneruial spirit. Be open to new ideas. Be receptive to change. Be willing to let go of the past. As the old saying goes, "a rolling stone gathers no moss." In today's quickly changing world, you don't want to be caught with any moss hanging on you.
Fifth, develop your brand. Learn who you are, who you are not and what you stand for. A song lyric goes, "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything." Find out what that "something" is and take your stand. Gail said, "The world belongs not to the one who fits in, but to the one who stands out." And lest you worry that this might cost you friends, she also said that if enough people love you, the ones who don't, don't matter.
Sixth, learn the difference between fact and interpretation. Too many times we live our lives based on negative interpretations. Instead, take on a positive outlook and re-think how you react to events. Instead of calling things "problems," call them "challenges." Stop saying, "Don't forget to..." and replace it with "Remember to..."
And sixth and a half, find a song that becomes your "power song" and sing it. Pick a song that makes you feel good about yourself, one that emboldens you and reminds you that you're special and unforgettable and truly extraordinary.
So... I came home and I started my spring cleaning a little bit late. Okay, a lot late. Last week a local veterans' group hauled away about one hundred things I'd cleaned out of closets, cupboards and cabinets. A few days later I donated two boxes of children's books. And I still have to go through my attic.
I'm still trying to decide what my brand is. Gail gave us this sentence to complete: "I'm _______ and I'm the one who _________." Obviously my name goes in the first blank but I'm still working on the second.
The part I've enjoyed the most is trying to come up with my power song. She told of one client whose song was the Triumphal March from the opera Aida. Okay. Whatever cranks your tractor. Another client had a call-back interview with MTV and desperately wanted the job, so all the way to the interview she sang Elton John's "The B*tch is Back." And she nailed the job! I have a list of possibilities and they include Helen Reddy's "I am Woman," Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," Mariah Carey's "Hero," "Sisters are Doing it for Themselves" by the Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin and, believe it or not, Miley Cyrus's "The Climb." I may just have a "power playlist" because each of those songs speaks to a certain part of my life. Who says it has to be just one song?
You assignment (did you honestly think I'd give you a lesson about life and not hand out an assignment?) is to come up with your power song. Post a link to YouTube or some other site where we can all listen to it. And while you're thinking about what the song might be, throw something out!
P.S. Gail thinks Huntsville, Alabama rocks!
*Full credit for this information goes to Gail Blanke who empowered me that night. You can learn more by logging onto throwoutfiftythings.com.
Photo is property of Huntsville Hospital's Laugh & Learn program.