I love asking my clients to describe to me, in detail, what their living space looks like. This one question gives me a boatload of insight as to what’s happening in their life.
Why? Because our living spaces are self-portraits- a reflection of our inner lives; from the paint color on the wall, to the pile of clothes on the floor to the curtains on the windows.
I coached a client once, whose house was occupied with dozens and dozens of unopened boxes. I knew I had my work cut out for me. As I expected, she had a lot of emotional baggage from her past that she had never dealt with until now. On each call, the first thing I would ask her was, “How’s the unpacking going?” because I knew enough to know that her progress in tackling each box was telling of her progress in coaching (and ultimately her life).
Are you familiar with hoarders? Ya know the people whose houses are filled from ceiling to floor with things like beanie babies, mannequins and even bottles of human waste (yes, that’s a real thing.). If you’ve ever seen the A&E reality show, you know that there’s something much bigger and deeper going on with these people than just a collection of stuff. There’s an intense emotional attachment and strong beliefs that drive these people to reside in a home that seems unfathomable to most. It’s a complete self-portrait of what’s going on inside themselves.
Now, I’m sure you’re not a hoarder! But, I can assure you that your living space is more telling than you may realize.
Start with your desk/ office area. Are documents filed in folders or do you have papers and books all over the place?
Look at your floor, which represents the foundation of your life. Is it covered in dirty carpet or shiny hardwoods? Is it bare or consumed with laundry?
Look at your walls, representing the relationship you have with the outside world, are they light, bright or dark?
Here is a short description of my office space when I first started my business:
My office can look a little messy, which is odd because I’m an organized person. My desk is on the small side with only one drawer. I have a lot of papers, binders and folders all around it. I have two long windows and always keep the blinds closed. I have picture frames, but I haven’t changed the pictures in years.
Here is the translation as it relates to my life:
My career is not quite stable yet and pretty messy. There are a lot of odds and ends that need tidying up. I’m starting out very small. I’ve been hiding behind close doors for a while and must put myself out there and expose myself some more to get to where I want to go. My social life needs work.
At that time, nothing could be closer to the truth!
Now, it’s your turn. Go through your entire home (or bedroom if you’re living in a dorm or live with your family) and write a detailed description of everything you see. Then, go back and see how the words you wrote describe your current reality. It’s SO insightful…and fun!
Pinpoint which areas of your home (and life!) need some work. Choose a starting point, even if it’s small, and start there. It doesn’t matter whether you start inward or outward, you’ll find yourself “matching” the two shortly after!
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