Clare’s Clutter Clearing Story
When I started to clear my clutter, I had no idea how I wanted my Best Life to be. I had no idea what was going to make me happy or enable me to reach my full potential. I knew I didn’t want the life I was living, but what did I want instead?
As a teenager I had wanted to be an architect. I would spend hours drawing buildings in perspective on my drawing board, copying them out of my dad’s Chartered Surveyor magazines, colouring them in, imagining and designing the interiors. My dad was a Project Manager and Chartered Surveyor, and even to this day I remember visiting a friend of his who was an architect and thinking how wonderful his home was. I believe he had designed and built himself.
When I discovered it would take me 7 years to become an architect and that it was very competitive, my fear of failure and impatience kicked in, so I chose a regular, 3-year University degree instead with no specific job prospect at the end of it. At the age of nineteen, studying until the age of 30 seemed like forever. How ironic then, that I wouldn’t discover my Best Life career until I was 30….
In my final year at university, I attended several lectures that were arranged to help final year students decide what their next step in life was going to be. One lecture I attended was about teaching, and it triggered a spark in me.
Having been a Sunday School teacher in my teens and a volunteer student tutor while at university, visiting a school in a rough part of North London every week to be what is now called a classroom assistant, I had enjoyed feeling like I was making a difference. To see the lightbulb go off in a student’s head, to be able to make something that had previously been unfathomable to them suddenly make sense felt good.
The only problem was that to become a teacher I needed to do a one year post graduate teacher training course which had to be paid for. I also needed to be financially supported while I did the course. My few hours working in a department store each week was not going to fund that extra year. I believed I was dependent on my parents financing me to do it, which meant I had to ask them to financially support me.
I clearly remember asking my dad. His office in London was near to where I lived, and one day I went to meet him and invited him back to my flat on his way home to talk. As we walked up Marylebone High Street, I told him that I’d been going to various lectures to help decide what my Best Next Step in life was going to be.
As we got to the last pedestrian crossing at the top of the street, just outside The Rising Sun pub, I summoned up the courage to tell him I’d decided I wanted to become a teacher. Without breaking his stride, he looked straight ahead and said, ‘you don’t want to do that’. ‘Why not?’ was my reply. ‘Because teachers don’t earn enough’ came the response.
And that was it. Conversation over, hopes dashed, back to the drawing board. I never questioned or challenged my parents when it came to big decisions like this. He never actually told me what he imagined me doing as a career – in part I think because he only knew what he didn’t want me to do rather than what he did want me to do, and partly because I think that despite the expensive education and opportunities, I’d been given, he never really saw me having a career.
I think, deep down, he expected me to use my education to make good connections and marry well. My mother told me he had wanted her to give up work when they married, which she did. She was academic and very capable, but she felt she could never fulfil her potential because her parents could not afford to send her to university. She would have studied Latin. She would later learn Hebrew, in part I think because she, like me, enjoyed learning. I think she would probably have preferred to have a career, rather than a family.
My mother came from a generation of women who only really had three career options: secretary, teacher or nurse. She had briefly been a secretary, and I think for her, if I chose one of those limited options, that would mean I had wasted all the opportunities I’d had, and that she wished she’d had. She wanted me to have more choices than her. In her mind, my Best Life did not involve choosing one of the limited options she’d had. Ironically, I would also become a Personal Assistant / Office Manager at the start of my career – a more modern version of a secretary, just like her.
I now know the conversation I had with my dad that day was a significant moment in my life. My LIFE Timeline clearly shows this event at the start of a self-destructive period in my life because I didn’t know what to do. My parents had always been so influential in my life decisions, I’d always done what they told me to do, trying to please them in the hopes I’d get some emotional kindness, compassion, and praise in return. Yet because I was financially dependent on them, I never really felt I had choices. Now I felt lost at sea.
So, as I did so often in my early 20’s, I turned to my therapist for help and advice. Meg asked me: ‘If you could do anything in the world, money no object, what would you do?’ Nope. Nothing. Just architecture or teaching, but mum and dad would never fund me doing an architecture degree – not another 7 years.
For the next 3 years I would go in and out of jobs never feeling happy, settled, fulfilled or as though I was living my Best Life. More-often-than-not I reached a point where I thought ‘is this it – for the rest of my life?’ I worked as a Personal Assistant and Office Manager, I was good at it, but I always felt it wasn’t what my parents had invested in my education for. I was a Construction Project Manager for a while, just like my father. I was good at that too, but I wasn’t passionate about construction. I thought working on a £250m project would impress him. He couldn’t understand how I got the job with no construction training.
Despite all those years doing jobs that didn’t inspire and motivate me, I find it ironic that my desire to become an architect or a teacher all those years ago did come true when I started Clutter Clearing. I help people create homes. I teach people how to clear their clutter. I get to see the lightbulbs go off in people’s heads. I get to empower people and see them transform their lives. I’m able to make something that had previously been unfathomable to them suddenly make sense. I (hope) I get to make a difference. I thrive on the daily challenges of running my own business.
My Best Life is what my gut feeling had told me all those years before at university – but I didn’t listen to it. That’s OK, because if I had listened, Clutter Clearing wouldn’t exist, and you wouldn’t be reading this!
If you don’t know how you want your Best Life to be, when you’re clutter free, look at your LIFE Timeline and Wheel of Life Reviews for clues. Most importantly, start to listen to what the three parts of you tell you.
- Your head (logic and reason)
- Your heart (what excites you)
- Your gut (intuition)
If two out of the 3 parts agree, then go for it. Don’t get distracted by the ‘how’, and don’t be influenced by other people. Just trust yourself and take the next step. If I had procrastinated until I knew the ‘how’, I would never have cleared my clutter, I would never have found my passion, Clutter Clearing wouldn’t exist, and I would never have become the teacher I’d always wanted to be. Learn to trust that your head, heart and gut will guide you towards your Best Life.
You can clear your clutter fast, or you can clear your clutter forever, but you can’t clear your clutter forever, fast.
If you NEED to clear your clutter and you’re ready to accept that you can’t clear it forever FAST, click on this link and visit my Help Centre to find out how I can help you get started. https://www.clutterclearing.net/clares-help-centre/