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About Cecilia

I am a Life & Clutter Coach and IST Practitioner. I LOVE helping writers, creatives and entrepreneurs just like YOU, make their homes and lives into supportive containers for their creative AND personal lives.  

Cecilia's sharp, crystalline insight has kept me on track in my creative life, my business life, and my emotional life for the past six years: she's a triple threat!

 - Sarah Selecky, author of Giller Prize nominated This Cake is for the Party

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Saturday
Jun072008

Live Life - Motivation

My Bathroom - The Great Teacher

Sit down and gather close, I would like to tell you a story about my bathroom. 

One day, while cleaning my bathroom I decided that this time, I would really get it clean.  Being an elderly bathroom, clean is a relative term.  There is some age old dirt in this bathroom that no amount of scrubbing and nasty chemicals can get clean. 

Never the less, I let my perfectionist loose and attempted to clean the uncleanable.  I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned for an entire afternoon and still it wasn't quite clean enough. 

I had a brain flash!  What I really needed to do was PAINT the bathroom, that would do the trick.  So, I spent the following day painting my bathroom from head to toe.  Walls, ceiling, cupboards, door and windowsill.  I had now spent two days performing a chore, that usually takes no more than half an hour. 

What's interesting, is not so much the amount of time that it took me to clean the bathroom, but what happened next. 

After finally finishing my task of cleaning/painting the bathroom I stood back to admire my work.  But instead of seeing how clean and fresh my dear old bathroom was, all I could see were all of my mistakes.  Everywhere I looked I could see mistakes, patches where the paint was not quite even, tiles that could have been scrubbed a little cleaner, mistakes, mistakes, mistakes.

I had run into one of the many perfectionist monsters, actually a couple of them:
  • It's never good enough
  • When you do something right it's very small and when you do something wrong it's very BIG.
If you are a perfectionist I'm sure that you can relate to the story of me and my bathroom. 

Maybe you had a super productive day clearing clutter and at the end, all you could see were the places you didn't clear.  Perhaps you finished a big project at work or school and instead of celebrating your success you beat yourself up for the project you hadn't quite completed. 

If you're anything like me, this happens on an almost daily basis.  Instead of looking at our day and going through all of the things we've accomplished we can only see everything we didn't quite get to.

The next time this happens you're going to do what I did with my bathroom.  In fact, I encourage you to try it RIGHT NOW!  This tool is called:

Three things
  1. When you find yourself going down the road of mistakes, STOP.
  2. Take a deep breath
  3. Get out a piece of paper (or an imaginary one)
  4. List three or more things that you accomplished today or in a given situation.
  5. Give yourself some love
Now this might sound simple, but it is a powerful tool.  When I found myself strolling down mistake lane in my bathroom, I left the room, took a deep breath and came back in and this time I was only allowed to look at what I had accomplished, which was an awful lot.  Suddenly I could relax and really appreciate all of the good work I had done, instead of beating myself up.

Warning.  Your perfectionist mind will try to edit what "counts" as an accomplishment.  I'm here to tell you that it all counts.  If you're having a challenging day this could be your list:
  • got out of bed
  • had a shower
  • ate breakfast
Again, there is no accomplishment too small to be included in your list. 

I would love to hear from you! Please email and share with me the three things that you've accomplished today.  I promise you, I will hold a party in my heart for each and every one of them.  Email me at spaceforlife@gmail.com.

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Reader Comments (1)

Oh man! I did this exact same thing one day a looong time ago, in Montreal, with a bathroom , and an angst about a boy. I ended up painting it, the whole thing - even our TV this brilliant deep ocean blue. It was so therapeutic! Your story just brought it all back. And I did see all the mistakes too, but I was also so overwhelmed by the great feeling of the new colour, that it washed all the details out!

Nice to see you rblog!

June 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersarah

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