There are jobs that come our way that will be less than simple. This is inevitable. Like it or not, this is life. Either way, the job still needs to be done. No amount of avoidance or procrastination is going to change the task at hand. Oftentimes, however, the most intimidating idea that keeps us from attacking the challenge is the first idea, which is, where do we begin?
Think of a messy room. Or better yet, think of a messy storage room, which has not been straightened up in years and you are the one that will have to clean up.
Not only do you have to clean, you have to organize the shelves. You have to put everything in order, throw out what doesn’t need to be saved, see what can to be salvaged, sift through the junk, check the quality, check to see if anything is broken and then see what shelves you have available for free space.
Imagine walking into this room. You open the door and turn on the light to see a mess that needs to be straightened up. The clutter is so much that you cannot see the floor. Everything is strewn around. Everything is dusty. There is no order. There is no organization. There’s just a mess, which you yourself will have to clean. Imagine this being the kind of mess that makes you wish you never opened the door and turned on the light to begin with.
Where do you begin?
I remember my first day as a helper in my union. This was my first job as an engineer’s apprentice. Mainly, the work is dirty, heavy at times, and mostly mechanical.
I was shown the shop, which is where all the tools and equipment were. The chief engineer pointed to the messy shop and said, “Clean it up,” and then walked away.
All I can say is there was a lot to clean. There were three rooms and all of them looked destroyed.
There were pipes not in the pipe rack. There were pipe fittings all over the place. There were old parts from old jobs on the floor and no organization whatsoever. I had to put tools away and place them on the shelf. I had to see what was worth saving and what needed to be thrown away.
I was given eight hours to clean up this mess, which, it appeared to me as if it took years to make it this way.
In fairness, I was not sure what I signed up for. I wasn’t sure if the chief was engineer was hazing me or if this was just an initiation thing.
Either way, I had no choice. There was no way out of this. I had to do what I had to do.
I was new on the job and if I wanted to keep my job, I had to do as I was told. I didn’t have to like it; and I didn’t have to agree with it. I just had to do it.
I had to clean the everything. I had to organize the belt rack for the fan belts. I had to organize the small rack of electrical fittings and put away all the little nuts and bolts that were loose. I had to organize the shelf with the nuts and bolts too. Nuts needed to be in size order. The bolts did too. Washers had to go where washers went and lock washers had to go where lock washers went.
I had to make sure the plumbing supplies went where they were supposed to be. Then wipe down the work stations and tables; oil the pipe threading machine, and then clean up the metal scraps around it. Then, I had to sweep and then mop. I had to prep everything because then I had to paint everything the next day.
I found above all, the most intimidating idea about this job is where to begin? First, I had to grab a bin. I started to throw out the trash. I got rid of everything that was no longer needed.
I made room and cleared out some space. I cleaned up all the loose parts and placed them to the side. I swore I would never have this room cleaned in time but nevertheless, the room shaped up nicely and very quickly. In fact, the room shaped up nicely and quicker than I imagined.
I just needed to find my starting point. I had to find my plan of attack, figure out my strategy, and above all things, I had to block out the distractions from things, like say, the clock which hung above the slop sink because the idea of time can be a punishing aspect.
Time is one of two things, too quick or too slow. Clock-watching can often make the day move slower. Sometimes, clock-watching can make the day move painfully slow. There have been times, which I am sure we’ve all asked, “Good God, can this day move any slower?”
As well, there are times when I am in crunch mode; I have to move quickly and get things done but time slips by. The pressure builds, which prevents me from operating at my best. And sometimes I panic; sometimes I cut corners and skip a few steps that prevents me from reaching my best performance.
When it comes to the idea of coaching or life coaching, this is really the same thing. Where do we begin?
How do we organize ourselves?
Not only that but once the shop was clean (and I mean this in a mental, figurative sense,) how do we keep it this way? Otherwise, we will have to go through the process again and again and again.
The important part of wellness is maintenance. I suppose as a maintenance worker, this is why I compare a wellness plan to the first job I took as a helper.
I had to learn the shop and where things went. I had to learn how to keep the shop clean. I had to learn how to maintain order, keep it, and remain consistent with my changes. Otherwise, I’d have to unnecessarily repeat my effort.
If you are like me or like most of the rest of the world, then it is safe to say that you have gone to the doctor at least once in your life.
Safe to say, the doctor prescribed medication and as directed, the doctor said, “Be sure to finish the prescription.”
There are times when we feel better. And sometimes we forget what we went through to feel better.
If we forget, we run the risk of suffering a relapse. If we forget to maintain ourselves, we run the risk of ruining our creation.
We have to be consistent with our strategy to improve. This way, life becomes easier instead of periodically easy and then periodically harder.
Basic maintenance becomes easier and eventually becomes routine. We just have to prioritize our shelves right and organize our mental shop in a way that we can find what we need, work safely, and keep ourselves clean.