Executives in business suits play tog of war on outdoor field

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”  ~Napoleon Hill

Sometimes I wish that weren’t true.

I can accept that continuous effort is required to achieve something—it’s the idea that growth involves a degree of struggle that can sometimes sap my energy and make me want to take a nap rather than move forward.

If organizing ourselves and our time were easy, we would always be on time and never waste a second looking for anything.

Unfortunately, Americans waste 1 year of their lives looking for lost or misplaced items. Time is a precious resource and the best way to maximize it is by simplifying our lives and staying organized.

One of the common threads I hear from those I consult is: overcoming struggle and re-engaging when you feel overwhelmed.

It’s notable that struggle is present at every stage of a process—at the beginning of a project, when a bump in the road occurs, and even when the finish line is in sight and it would seem easier to complete the project than to walk away.

When you hit a wall, it can be hard to get up and try again.

Most of us (myself included) would rather avoid the wall and move onto something new—the low-hanging fruit. It only grows more complicated when another person or people are involved and potential conflict becomes part of the struggle.

If you find yourself up against a wall, these three things will help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible with renewed commitment and even enthusiasm:

1) Accept the fact that struggle/frustration are a necessary part of the process.

To build muscle, you first have to rip it apart. And the more organized you become, the less you’ll struggle with physical clutter and the more you’ll struggle with emotional and psychological clutter. The physical stuff is always the easiest to tackle.

2) Remember that you deserve to be happy.

Happiness is available to us all. It doesn’t require money or talent or even great intellect—just willingness to experience it.

3) Showing up is 90% of the process.

So many people can’t even get into the on-deck circle, let alone take their turn at bat. Just showing up puts you in the game and once you’re in the game, anything can happen—and something definitely WILL happen. Don’t miss out on what’s possible by not even playing.

If you can’t avoid struggling, it’s helpful to know that everyone does it and that everything you see around you involved someone’s struggle to turn an idea into something real.

Now it’s your turn to do the same.

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About The Author

Andrew Mellen's picture

Andrew Mellen is an organizational expert, public speaker, and the #1 best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!

Andrew has helped tens of thousands of people worldwide to declutter and simplify their lives while regaining time for the things that matter.

A sought-after authority on organizing and productivity, Andrew's addressed audiences from The Great British Business Show to TEDx. 

Corporate clients include American Express, Genentech, NetApp, Time, Inc., and the US Depts. of Education and Homeland Security.

The media has dubbed Andrew “The Most Organized Man in America.” He writes a featured column called “Ask The Organizer” in Real Simple. In addition, he has written for and/or appeared in: The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, America Now, The Lisa Oz Show, The Nate Berkus Show, Oprah & Friends, Martha Stewart Living Today, ABC, NBC, CBS, CW11, HGTV, DIY Network, LiveWell Network, KnowMoreTV, Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, Family Circle, USA Today, GQ, InStyle, All You, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Healthy UK, American Way, numerous trade and travel publications, and NPR.

He leads workshops and speaks internationally while maintaining a private practice working with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, trade associations, and non-profits to CEOs, award-winning filmmakers, and authors, as well as overwhelmed parents everywhere. 

In 2013, Andrew founded Unstuff U®, the world's first completely virtual personal organization training center, offering classes, workshops, and other online resources for businesses and individuals. 

Andrew is a member of the Experts Collective and serves on the faculty of the New York Open Center in New York City. He speaks frequently on the intersection of spirituality and organization at places including Omega Institute, San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, All Saints Church, JCC Manhattan, and the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, among others.

Previously, Andrew was an award-winning playwright, actor, producer, and director and the former Artistic Director of Alice B. Theater (Seattle), DC Arts Center (Washington, DC), and Shuttle Theater Company (New York). He is a contributing author to Yes Is the Answer: (And Other Prog-Rock Tales).

Andrew lives by his motto: More Love, Less Stuff!® 

Find him on the web at andrewmellen.com.

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