"I never realized how little life sticks to your plans."
This was a comment sent to me in an update by an attorney client. Just a few years ago, she had dealt with major traumas - personal cancer, death of a child, and then a collapsed relationship - all in quick succession. Now, several years later, she has opened her own law practice and has to deal with business challenges familiar to all the self-employed, while still coping with residual effects of the other traumas.
Yet she remains optimistic, enthusiastic, and amazed at how help seems to appear as it is needed. She came to consider me as one of her "angels," sent when her business venture was sorely in need of organization and direction. Is there anything spiritual in this surfacing of assistance when needed? I tend to think that a large part of this is being open to knowing yourself - your strengths and your limitations -and then recognizing the strengths in others. When you accept and celebrate others' capabilities, it can bring to you the skills and connections you need at that moment.
At the start of a new year, this is a perfect time to conduct a personal assessment. One area to start with is organization. How often do we chide ourselves because we aren't organized? As driving, successful business people we know we are capable of so much, yet for some of us that degree of organization we wish for, and which we know is vital to our increased productivity, continues to remain out of reach.
One area I worked on with this specific client was to accentuate her strengths of compassion and relationship building, which were positive for her area of law in estate planning and probate. While she developed her client base, I was her guide in how to set up the office, how to focus on daily priorities, and how to delegate.
In evaluating your own strengths, consider how you present yourself to clients. Does your setting showcase your abilities? Most people would prefer to deal with someone who isn't kicking a path through stacks of papers, trying to reach his or her desk to find an order or file. We like doing business with someone that we know will follow up with us as needed. Projecting an image of being in control can be a strong asset to business growth.
If your skills don't lie in setting up the details of a functioning office, there are two options: 1) learn the little tools, tricks, and techniques to become organized, or 2) allow someone else to assist you so that you can concentrate on your area of expertise.
As you strive to become more organized in various areas of your life, you need to also recognize that organization isn't an end in itself Being organized simply means that you will be ready when an opportunity arises. If a new business venture presents itself but you can't find the paperwork you need to submit, you've lost the opportunity. An organized workspace would have let you complete the process easily and be prepared to take part in that venture.
While we can hope that an "angel" will appear just when we need it, we can also choose to be proactive. Instead of waiting until there's a situation that demands we change and get organized, we can be prepared ahead of time. This decreases the stress in our daily lives, not just at work, but on all personal levels. It's comforting to know that we are organized and in control, ready to deal with any situation that arises.
In the boxing ring, fighters are trained to be flexible and roll with the punches. That certainly can apply to any aspect of life since, as my client realized, life doesn't always stick to our plans. Getting organized first will make it easier to roll with those punches.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Denise Landers is the author of "Destination: Organization, A Week by Week Journey." She helps businesses and individuals accomplish more with productive office systems. For more organizing resources, go to www.keyorganization.com.