Cleaning out the Cobwebs, Moving Foward

You always pass failure on the way to success.
– Mickey Rooney

When your office eats a stack of books, it’s crying out for help. And mine was screamin’ for a scrubbin’.

So I got down to it. And in the process, I had one of those infamous “ah-hah” moments.

When you go from being a corporate copywriter to a freelance copywriter, you might still be carrying some physical and emotional baggage that you don’t know about.

It’s no secret that I’ve been laid off, on average, every 12-18 months over the course of my career. And in excavating my office, I found that I was still hanging on to too much stuff (and in some cases, emotion) from my previous professional lives.

Tucked away in nooks and crannies, I found:

  • 37 versions—not including copies—of my resume, starting with my post-college job hunt
    (am keeping one from each job hunt for posterity/comparison; recycling the rest)
  • A binder stuffed with unemployment job search logs—from 6 years and 5 moves ago
    (I was in Texas then y’all. I now live near Seattle. These logs get recycled.)
  • 20+ pens from vendors
    (am donating these to the local humane society)
  • Three folders of funny cartoons that had made the cubicle rounds
    (am recycling these)
  • The “Bye-Bye” folder from a layoff almost four years ago
    (jeez, that long? recycling this)
  • Two wireless mouse devices from three or four years ago
    (am keeping these; handy for onsite visits)
  • A frayed, old power cord from a work laptop I no longer have
    (am recycling with other old electronics)
  • Five spiral bound journals with work notes
    (not sure yet; I usually keep all of my journals)
  • Over a dozen toys, tchotchkes, SWAG, mugs and other assorted “stuff”
    (am donating them all to Goodwill)

My two-day total of baggage filled two moving boxes and three garbage bags.

Here’s where I make my point…
Just like old workplace whatnots can turn your office into a dysfunctional storage bin (that eats books), the emotions associated with those whatnots can stunt your new professional growth.

Those emotions help form the roots of your self-doubt, uncertainty and fear. When what you need the most as a freelancer is self-confidence, purposefulness and determination.

Now that I’ve cleaned the junk out of my office, I feel like I’ve also cleaned out some emotional cobwebs I didn’t realize were still lingering.

By letting go of what wasn’t necessary, I simply started letting go.

And in the week since, I’ve felt physically lighter, more capable and more productive. I’ve taken several marketing strides for my freelancing business, including asking a designer to turn my hand-drawn rubber ducky into a computer-friendly rubber ducky. (Isn’t she cute? I think she’s cute.) I’d been dragging my feet on that task alone for months.

The result? I’ve gotten three new leads for solid clients. Just this past week alone.

I still haven’t found my lost stack of books. A sad story made sadder by the fact that my office is only 8’ x 6’. But, I did find over a dozen blank sketchbooks and  two king-size chocolate bars in a half-empty box of resume paper. Still unopened and still good.

What might still be lurking in your office?