The Siren Song of Clutter

By Rebecca Layton Gunter

The world of business is
fraught with indecision.

Your path is a long series of educated guesses followed by agonizing second guesses about whether or not you did the right thing. If business is a big part of your life — as it is mine — well, then, you’re probably at some sort of crossroad.

The idea of “crossroads” is showing up everywhere in my life lately. It’s kind of a thing.

Every day, I am seeing men and women of great skill and talent doing the cha-cha-cha at a crossroad. Three kids or no kids; corporate cog or frazzled entrepreneur; paper or plastic.

I hear about crossroads at business functions and my friends bemoan their own indecisions. I’m at a few crossroads myself: keep peddling my failing business or work a job? Care for my aging dad or move him to a community? Support my husband’s dream to open a restaurant or stay out of it? Medicate my ADHD kid or let her run wild and just be herself?

Idling at a crossroads is exhausting and it takes a big toll.

When you are stalled at a crossroad, your life’s potential goes unrealized. The hand-wringing and negative self-talk take their tolls. The “should I / shouldn’t I’s” can really wear on a person. Tired people make safe and easy choices; choices that have BIG IMPACT on their future selves.

The unhappy Bookkeeper at a crossroad can be the happy Events Coordinator in a relatively short time once he hurdles in that direction. The unhappy Bookkeeper will keep attracting clients who “just need Quickbooks” while she idles at a crossroad.

You will always get stalled at a crossroads if you’re standing in the wake of her evil twin: clutter.

Keep it or toss it; sell it or give it away; do the thing I can do (but don’t love) or risk it all to do the thing I want to do (but don’t know if people will pay me to do it). It’s not about the physical things as much as the mental things we do or don’t do. All that mental clutter can stop you in your tracks. But you don’t have to let it.

Either you own things or things own you. Every time you hear the word “should,” it is the siren song of clutter. Find yourself thinking —  “I should keep that, it belonged to my dead aunt.” OR “I know how to do spreadsheets, and people have paid me to do them, so I should just keep building my business on those services, even though I don’t love doing them.” OR “I should be on Twitter, but I just kinda hate that platform.”  — and you’re in trouble.

You’re going to stall at a crossroad with all that clutter mucking up your vision and direction. Condition yourself for nimble leaps over crossroads on the path to happiness and smug self satisfaction. Say no to things you don’t absolutely love.

Clear the clutter. Donate it, sell it, or trash it, if you don’t absolutely love it. If you’ve got unwanted clutter on your to-do list, on your mantle, or on your resume — get rid of it.

Think deeply about all of the people that you admire. Are they stuck in the muck of indecision about the “shoulds” and the “what ifs,” or are they living a life you wish that you had?

Drop kick your “mehs” and “maybes” to the curb and stomp on. If it’s not a f* yes, then it’s a f* no. Clear the clutter and leave that crossroad in the rearview mirror. Then manifest that shit.

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Rebecca Layton Gunter
Chief Coffee Officer
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