Like many, I love before and after photos. Before the internet, we’d look to women’s magazines to view the astounding transformation of homely, dumpy women into radiant, sexy, put-together figures of admiration. Reality TV capitalized on our love of a good makeover, whether it be weight loss, cosmetic surgery, home or lifestyle transformation. Oprah has made millions on featuring shows that essentially depict people moving form before to after. She has paraded her own body through a rotating pattern of before and after.
The “before and after” phenomena is a promise of hope and change. — Promise of “hope and change?” Where have I heard that, before…ah yes, a presidential campaign of 2008! — We LOVE the promise of hope and change. “Before and after” is tangible evidence of real change that occurred for someone, and is therefore possible for us. It’s particularly appealing, because it jumps right over the process and rewards us with the finished result.
As a professional organizer, I especially love a good home makeover, and love not only the before and after snapshots, but all the “during” moments, too. I love the process of starting somewhere and assuredly moving toward somewhere else. And when I say “assuredly”, that doesn’t always mean I know how to get there. In fact, what I often find thrilling is that I will meet a new client in a “before” stage of clutter, overwhelm, and exasperation, and not have any idea how we’re going to get to the other side. I have faith, once we engage, the path will reveal itself to us. There’s a lot of logistical problem-solving, and often confrontation of feelings and beliefs that must be met along the way. No two paths out of clutter have looked the same for any of my clients, but guided by general principles of organization and a willingness to surrender into the process (with support form someone else) – my clients have found themselves standing on the “after” side of “before”.
Change is very hard to create alone. I believe it requires a compelling, felling-based desire to have something else. It requires lots of support — often physical, emotional, and spiritual — from other people. Change is a process — it can happen quickly, but is more likely to happen slowly –so it requires a lot of grit* to pass through the “during”.
*grit: frustration, weariness, not looking pretty, confused, vulnerable, angry, awkward, ego-deflating….
“Why does it have to be so hard?” I can hear myself say during many a gritty moment…well – more on that tomorrow!!