[2 Minute Read or Listen Below]
A quick Google search of life's top stressors returns arguably positive events such as getting married, starting a new job, retirement, and moving to a new residence.
One might expect the positive nature of these events would negate their stressfulness. However, their persistent appearance on stressor lists contradicts this theory. At first glance, one explanation may be these life events create fear or concern about the unknown. A few of these events also involve daunting project management.
My Mom is currently downsizing from a single-family house (with an attic and a basement) to a 900-square-foot condo. It is incredible how much can quietly accumulate in 50 years when space is not a concern. In addition to the items one might expect from so many years of living in the same place, my Mom also received many things from my Grandmother's home after she passed away. So, my Mom spent the last several years filtering through my Father's items after his passing and then her Mother's. She also released items of her own in anticipation of an eventual move.
But, the availability of space can be misleading. Mom thought she was well-prepared for this moment and, to her credit, has made tremendous progress. However, as downsizing is upon her, and she views her possessions through a different lens, she realizes how much remains. I can't even count the times I've heard her say, "there is just so much stuff!"
It isn't easy for Mom to anticipate what daily life will look like without the responsibilities of maintaining a single-family home. This uncertainty makes it feel challenging to know what items she might need. Through all of this, she is doing amazingly well. Any move is stressful, but this process is going smoothly because of Mom's prior consistent and steady efforts to eliminate things from her house. I don't think either of us can imagine what we'd feel now if she hadn't done that incremental work.
Often, my clients feel overwhelmed as we prepare to navigate the paper and digital information accumulated in their offices. They have usually lived with these overwhelming feelings for so many years that they have no idea where to start to resolve them and have very little confidence a solution even exists.
Like my Mom, my clients are intelligent and competent people, and our working together is a positive step. Yet it is common for them to feel apprehensive because they don't know what to expect. I encourage them to focus on their ultimate vision - what life will look and feel like when our work is complete.
The other day, I asked Mom what she's looking forward to after she moves into her condo. Her response - sitting on her balcony with her feet up! I'm thrilled to say that vision will be her reality very soon.