Surround Yourself With Encouragers

Written by Martha on May 8th, 2012

A week ago I was in Baltimore, MD, surrounded by 800+ of my fellow organizers at the 2012 NAPO* Conference. Yes, I did have a seafood dinner while there.

We gathered for advanced training and encouragement from experts in our field, to greet old friends, and to take care of Association business. The camaraderie was great and I met some amazing people.

I am constantly surprised at Conference by the many unique businesses represented. Organizers specialize in relocation, business processes/ productivity, senior transitions, planning for student success, organizing for the disabled, coaching persons with ADD or who hoard, and efficiency in home management, to name a few.

On the other hand, the one unifying trait I see at Conference is that of serving. I am convinced that people and businesses need to increase efficiency now more than ever. My fellow organizers have the same mindset – that of helping their clients learn how to save time, money, and frustration by eliminating excess and simplifying everyday routines.

In a society that proclaims more is better, that promotes consumerism as patriotism, and where sitting still is seen as sloth, it is so nice to hear a voice of reason!

At the end of her lecture on disorganization perpetuated by the latest technologies, veteran organizer, Judith Kolberg, shared this story from the New Yorker magazine:

Bumping into Mr. Ravioli  by Adam Gopnik  
New Yorker | September 2002
My daughter Olivia, who turned three, has an imaginary friend whose name is Charlie Ravioli.
Olivia is growing up in Manhattan, and so Charlie Ravioli has a lot of local traits: he lives in an apartment “on Madison and Lexington,” he dines on grilled chicken, fruit, and water, and, reached the age of seven and a half, he feels, or is thought, “old.”
But the most peculiarly local thing about Olivia’s playmate is this: he is always too busy to play with her. She holds her toy cell phone up to her ear, and we hear her talk into it: “Ravioli? It’s Olivia . . . It’s Olivia. Come and play? O.K. Call me. Bye.” Then she snaps it shut, and shakes her head. “I always get his machine,” she says. Or she will say, “I spoke to Ravioli today.” “Did you have fun?” my wife and I ask “No. He was busy working. On a television”

This is the saddest commentary of all. A three-year-old’s imaginary friend doesn’t even have time to play with her!

Let’s make some changes, want to?  Do I wish I had listened more when my children were toddlers? You betcha! Let’s slow down and take a look at what is truly important… and it’s not the stuff!

Surround yourself with like-minded people who will both encourage you and hold you accountable to slow down, spend time instead of money, and enjoy the moment.

*National Association of Professional Organizers,

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