My name is Lela, and Consistency is my #34 CliftonStrengths theme. I can honestly say I have found peace (and efficiencies) with filing and organizing. But it took some doing.
First, the definitions:
CliftonStrengths – A Gallup assessment used to determine your ways of naturally thinking, feeling and behaving. The assessment is used by leaders, teams, and individuals to improve engagement (joy) and performance. (Formerly known as StrengthsFinder).
Themes – There are 34 themes, ranked in intensity order. (Important note for this essay – If a theme is ranked #34 for someone, it is a blind spot for them.)
Consistency ® Theme – “People exceptionally talented in the Consistency theme are keenly aware of the need to treat people the same. They crave stable routines and clear rules and procedures that everyone can follow.”
I didn’t always have peace with organizing. So how did I find peace? How did I find efficiencies?
Despite the fact that it took me 57 years to find this nirvana, I believe I have some useful experience to share. And I believe these lessons can apply more broadly than for my specific situation.
Acceptance – My husband has used various terms regarding my ability (inability?) to organize. I believe in a moment of deep frustration on his part once a long time ago, that the word “hoarder” was even uttered. Definitely he has used the word entropy. I had to go look that word up, and I assure you I didn’t like being associated with it at first.
With #Input high (that’s a story for another day), I love to collect things. For me, I love to collect things like books, photos, training materials, the copious random notes I take during meetings, and more. Couple that with #Consistency low, and let’s just suffice it to say that I don’t intuitively organize all my beautiful things.
My first shift came on the very humbling day when I accepted that organizing was not a natural gift for me. I was working with a professional organizer, and she was suggesting some VERY unnatural ways to arrange my belongings. She wanted objects placed in files, with standard file names, organized alphabetically. And she wanted me to build time in my calendar to regularly put my filing away. VERY unnatural, I tell you.
I was acting a bit defiant (with this coach that I was paying good money to get her expertise), and then the moment came. We’ve all had them. That humbling moment where I knew and understood and acknowledged and … accepted …. that I couldn’t keep doing things the way I had always done them or I would keep getting what I had always gotten. That moment when I realized that if the rest of the world was having success with filing, that perhaps there was something to it that deserved my intentional patience and attention.
So I surrendered and I tried it her way. That was over a year ago, and I am still filing her way. (Well, I did change a few of the terms. But I have standardized on them.) And I have incredibly more peace of mind.
Lesson #1? Accept all of who I am. Genuinely accept all of who I am, and build from there.
Want to know lessons 2 and 3? Post a comment or send me an email and let me know your thoughts.