The Blog

Do Your Outsides Match Your Insides?

8412601296_optFor all intents and purposes, let’s just say that “judging a book by its cover” is an accurate measure. Does your appearance reflect who you really are?

  • Do you come across well put together at first glance, but inside your head, you’re actually a disorganized frazzled mess?
  • Do you act cool, calm, and collected, but are actually internalizing a great deal of stress?
  • Does the exterior of your home appear to be well manicured but inside, it looks more like a bomb hit it?
  • Does your shiny car look sleek and sharp on the road from a distance, but under closer inspection, its interior looks more like a “mobile” mess?

First impressions are powerful.  They matter.  People can quickly form an opinion and they often make assessments based purely on first glance. But be mindful that they can be very misleading.  The impeccably dressed and coiffed person may give the distinctive impression of being really organized.  This “dress to impress” style exudes a professionalism, a polished confidence, and yes…success.  This image commands positive attention. But let’s suppose, it’s all just a facade.

Maybe he or she really struggled to find cleaned, ironed, or appropriate clothing that morning, or possibly they just barely arrived on time for an appointment by the skin of their teeth (and no one noticed). In fact, this “seemingly” organized person could have raced out of the house, harried and stressed, leaving a trail of clutter behind and nobody would ever know.

The expectation is that your “look” should reflect your authentic personality, style, and attitude. The caveat to this is that you may dress one way outwardly, but are really a different person on the “inside,” thereby sending out mixed messages.

Perhaps you are not inherently organized at all, but just love the idea of being organized so you dress the part. Paying attention to how your “outside” appearances reflect your self-image can be very enlightening, particularly about how people react to them.  It can work in your favor.  It may even opens doors, that would otherwise be closed.

When your outsides don’t match your insides, it requires a sensible acceptance in order to balance the two.

Here’s the enigma: neat and tidy does not mean organized.  Two different things, indeed.  You can purchase beautiful and decorative containers and still be searching for things.  It has less to do with the packaging or appearance and more about poor organizing systems.

On the other hand, many high-powered executives can operate quite efficiently behind messy desks cluttered with unruly paper piles, because their systems work. The incongruity is that an untidy office does not mean you can’t be successful and driving fancy cars does not mean you’re wealthy.  This is the obvious paradox when insides and outsides are conflicting.

But because we live in a culture that appearances do matter, connecting your outsides with your insides can ultimately affect your productivity. Your physical demeanor can have a huge impact on your mental attitude. When you look good, you feel good. You attract like-minded people, and self-confidence soars. The law of attraction is based upon this positive “like” energy.

Consider this. Paying attention to detail on your physical appearances might inspire a change in other facets of your life. Don’t stop at the mere surface, see if you can make an internal change.  Dig deeper.  Align yourself inside.  When you feel more harmonized, you will be more synchronized.  Balanced.  Inside and out.  

Check the mirror.  Don’t just look organized. Aspire to be organized.  Walk the walk, for real.






Read this post on single page to comment →

The Power of Praise

cheerleaders_opt-1Everyone needs a cheerleader now and then. Who doesn’t love a compliment? We all respond well when we are told we look great, or we’re doing a great job. We feel validated. Make no mistake about it, “flattery gets you everywhere,” because it feeds our productivity and nourishes our success.

In fact, the casual “pat on the back” often provides us with the significant encouragement to fuel us towards reaching our goals sooner, more than later. Even the smallest acknowledgment can make the greatest difference in someone’s self esteem, thereby building self-confidence and impacting personal productivity.  Do not underestimate the power of praise.

As Organizing specialists, we can identify the key obstacles that cause our clients to feel “stuck.” While the analytics may reveal obvious shades of poor time-management, insufficient space, procrastination, fear of failure, etc., they are not the only culprits.

There is one more piece to consider.  The big “S” word, i.e. Support, or lack there of. This is a huge component of motivation and decision-making.  Whether it be a Professional, friend, or family member, sometimes just having someone standing by your side can inspire you to get “unstuck.”   When someone is rooting you on, it not only encourages you to do well, it propels you forward to even greater heights.  Ask any marathon runner who crosses a finish line, or any athlete who relies on their fans to cheer them to victory.  Everyone performs better with an active fan base and supportive audience.

At a recent NAPO Conference this year, Psychologist Dr. Ari Tuckman shared specific strategies to help increase a person’s motivation.  He suggests that if we cheerlead bits of progress, it can have a huge impact on a person’s motivation to succeed. Very powerful thinking.  Good therapy and coaching are super effective for this specific reason. Likewise, my role as a Professional Organizer not only embodies a facilitator of change, it also includes my being 100% cheerleader for my client.  For me, it cannot be separated, it is one in the same.

So ask yourself, do you have a personal cheerleader?  When you’re down, stuck, or overwhelmed, having positive backup could be a game changer. Get the support and help when you need it. Don’t go it alone.  You shouldn’t have to.

Gimmie a Y…

Gimmie a O…

Gimmie a U…


Whatever you’re doing, keep up the good work.  Keep going, you can do it!  The power of praise can be pretty powerful. Do you have a personal cheering squad that has made a difference in your life? Do you think that having someone “champion” your endeavors impacts your motivation?  Even if YOU believe in YOU, it feels good to know others do too.

Perhaps you never thought about it before, but I invite you to now…and continue to motivate some more conversation. I believe you can.

Read this post on single page to comment →

What it Means to Be a Successful Parent: Weighing In on the Apples Seeds

apple_optGrowing up with “do as I say, not as I do” was confusing. When I think back to my childhood (boy, am I’m aging myself), I can remember my parents smoking cigarettes, but forbidding me to ever try; I recall their using inappropriate language but threatening to wash my mouth out with soap if I ever did.  Don’t get me wrong, my parents did a stellar job in raising my brother and I, and we had a wonderful childhood, but perhaps they weren’t paying attention to the fact that we were indeed watching.

We understood at a young age that we shouldn’t model their bad behaviors because the natural instinct for any parent was to protect their children from harm’s way.  They only wanted the best for us, but as children, we only wanted to grow up and be just like them.  So we absorbed it all; a blend of both good and bad traits.

When my children were small, sugary cereals and snacks, fast food, and carbonated drinks were daily indulgences for all of us.  Twinkies, devils dogs, and Hostess cupcakes were family favorites. I reflect back with tremendous remorse (and huge dental bills to show for it) and question myself if it was ignorance, bad parenting, or both.  But in my defense, health and nutrition were not held to the high standard that they are today, and back then every kid seemed to be romping along in happy candy land, on a perpetual sugar high. It was a repeat of my own childhood.

Now with the trendy rise of wellness and fitness consciousness, I have noticed a new generation of parents who are paying closer attention to healthy living. No more apple juice, soda, white bread, or unhealthy snacks.  But they too, are making healthier choices, and living more wholesome lives.  They are leading by example.

The ultimate challenge of  successful parenting is being a positive role model for our children through our actions, because they really do speak louder than words.  Instilling good values is so important but we must demonstrate them, not merely preach them. Teaching them to think for themselves, to make mistakes and learn from them, and be accountable for their actions are only some of the key ingredients for their success.  These are sustaining life skills that they will utilize as they navigate through the world.  Our objective is to prepare them for the many challenges they will face by providing them with the proper tools.

Undoubtedly, parenting is one of the most difficult roles we take on.   There are no tutorials or standard manuals, and there are certainly no guarantees that great parents produce great kids. 

There is no such thing as the “perfect” parent, but if we remember that our children are paying attention and receiving behavioral cues all the time,  perhaps we can modify some of the bad habits they are apt to inherit. Here are some pitfalls; 

  • If you’re a bit messy and your clothes are strewn all over, don’t be surprised that your kids aren’t putting their toys away. It’s not their fault their things don’t have proper homes, it’s yours. Teach them about the benefits of being organized.  It’s an essential tool they will utilize the rest of their lives.
  • If you’re generally harried, disorganized, and struggle with punctuality, your kids are likely to miss the bus or be late for scheduled appointments. Or worse,  just struggle with time-management in their adult lives.
  • If you are a compulsive couch potato, perhaps your child will also prefer TV over other activities.  Likewise, the avid reader will most likely encourage their children to enjoy reading too. Monkey see, monkey do.
  • If you are not eating healthy or exercising regularly, they probably will be less inclined to do so for themselves.
  • If you don’t recruit your family to help and share household responsibilities, they will not learn these skills.
  • If you don’t use kind words and manage your temper, don’t expect your children to respect others.  Don’t be shocked if they don’t play nicely with others.
  • If you don’t set parameters, the lack of discipline might impact their adult life.


Unquestionably, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  Children are so impressionable, so impress them. You are their role models so model good behavior.  Lead by example.  Plant those good habit seeds early, they will blossom well.

InfluenceThe goal is to nurture and protect your child, yet foster independence and self-esteem.  Teach them well, love them hard, and they will thrive.  As parents, one of the most gratifying jobs is to aid them in reaching their fullest potential.  If you can do that, your work is done.  You will have succeeded.

How would you measure success in your children?  Ever wonder what kind of parents your children will grow up to be? Hmm…that could be very telling.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t make a difference whether our kids turn out to be exact mini versions of ourselves, happy hybrids, or completely unique.  It only matters that they’re good apples.  And the secret to that my friends,  is all in the seeds.




Read this post on single page to comment →