I was reminded of this just yesterday, because almost exactly one year ago I took on this beautiful building for People Building as our new home and the day that I moved in, it was kind of chaotic. In fact, the day that I moved in, it was just a bit overwhelming and it was quite late. It was the day after things really started to sink in. I had that sense of all logic and rationale flying out of my mind. The situation was so overwhelming. The degree of work that was required to get this office into a functioning office, was just unbelievable.
The day before I moved in it was still an operating hairdressers. There were sinks and hair everywhere. When I was talking about it recently I described it as: ‘a form of mental constipation’, it was just that there was so much that needed to be done, I had no idea how I was going to work through that process. I didn’t know what to do first, I didn’t know where I should start and the next day after I moved in I actually hid and refused to come into the office because it was from floor to ceiling with boxes of our office belongings.
Now, if I had stuck my NLP hat on in that moment, this is what I would have done: I would have thought about the perspective of Gemma from the future, because you see the great thing about Gemma from the future is that she has figured out all of the problems that existed in Gemma of the now, or Gemma of the past. What that means is that she would have been able to think about, the fact that I overcame all of those problems and she would have been able to give me a solution on how to do it or at least how to get started.
Obviously Gemma from the future wasn’t going to land in a space rocket and come in and give me a hand but I could do that within the safety of my own brain. Using my own mindset, my own attitude, I could think about what would it be like a year from now, when I’d resolved it all and office is looking amazing. I could look back and notice how I would have done it, what was the very first thing I did to get started? Then work backwards to figure out exactly what it was I needed to do first.
Bizarrely, the very first thing that happened that did get the ball rolling to decorating and laying carpet tiles, was cleaning. The very first thing that happened was we got the place clean and once it was clean and tidy, it was much easier.
Making it clean and making it tidy, gave me a better perspective of the physical space, and having that better perspective of the physical space then gave my brain the opportunity to start thinking of what I was going to do with it. How I was going to lay it out, where furniture needed to be and what decorating needed to be done.
I’ve had that experience as well since then. If you saw my desk at the moment you would see that it’s a bit cluttered. But, sometimes when I experience overwhelm with my work the first thing that I do now is tidy up. I clean up my desk and I put things into decent piles and maybe even write my notes up onto a nice clean new post it note. And, something about doing that, for me, it gives my brain space to think about how I start to tackle the real problems. And, that might be something that’s useful for you too.
It’s just a little psychological manoeuvre -by clearing the space, it helps to get things sorted. But, the very first thing that you should do is consider what would it be like in the future to be looking back in the past on this situation right now and how will you have resolved it? That takes you out of your own body in that moment. It stops you from being the you that you are now, and it puts you in a more solution focused frame of mind.