I once read an article that argued that how “clean” your closet is matters. It argued that if you have a messy or disorganized closet, you likely have a messy or disorganized life. Clean closet; clean life.
Admiral McRaven, a former Navy SEAL with 37 years of experience at all levels of leadership has famously encouraged us to “make your bed” every morning. Why? Because, if you make your bed, you already have started the day with an accomplishment; a completed task. It puts us in the mindset to achieve more throughout the day. It reminds us that we can have a positive impact on the world around us. After all, we already did- we improved something.
I had lunch today with a former colleague and was reminded that this can ABSOLUTELY look different depending on the structure of our lives. For parents with young children, a messy closet might not be telltale of a messy life. I was reminded that making a bed might be exceptionally hard task to do when you have young children. Perhaps your first accomplishment of the day is to feed and bathe your children, and get them to school with a packed lunch. Talk about servant leadership!
What I wanted to convey is this video isn’t then so much “make your bed” every day or “clean your closest”. Rather, it’s: find small ways to improve your environment around you. Making time to improve or clean something in your personal environment can feel really great, but improving your environment in other ways, can feel good too. After I had lunch with this colleague of mine, I put gas in my car and got a car wash. THAT felt good. I got the mail out of the mailbox and picked up our packages. THAT felt good, too. A recently had a client ask if we could move our regularly scheduled meeting time because she felt she desperately needed to get a pedicure. I was easily able to accommodate the change in scheduling, but she profusely apologized anyway. No apologies were necessary- I was THRILLED that she was taking the time to take care of herself, especially since loving herself and treating herself is exactly one of the things we’ve been working on.
Plenty of people DON’T make their beds or keep clean closets, and they lead wonderful and amazing lives. Ultimately, what I want to convey here is this: in general, if you have chaos and disorder in your personal life and your personal space- it’s likely that other parts of your life will suffer. It could be your career, your health and fitness, or it could be getting that pedicure, like my client. Having structure in our lives helps us ALSO have balance in our lives- and balance is what allows us to fill out ALL parts of our wheel- the mental, the social, the physical, and the spiritual.
I do think that there’s something to be said for what Admiral McRaven argues but running a load of dishes, turning off the lights, or taking out the trash might be your form of starting the day with a completed task is also a great way to put yourself in a mindset to win or conquer the day.