Women and entrepreneurs keep reading. You will identify well with what I am going to say!
As a thriving business owner and mother of a high-energy young boy, doing laundry is something I frequently do between training sessions. As I started my sixth charge the other day, I realized as I adjusted that dial one more time that it was a teaching lesson. Yes, my washing machine knows a lot about success, and we’d do well to pay attention. In fact, as women and business owners, some of our most powerful lessons about success and prosperity are right under our noses, perhaps even as close as the laundry room.
Sounds a bit crazy, I know. But our usual daily routines are opportunities to learn something. One of my favorite writers, the famous playwright Samuel Beckett (yes, the one who wrote Waiting for Godot) wrote that the habit is “la grande sourdine” and “the great deafener”. His works are powerful expressions of what happens when we get lost in our routines, when we keep repeating the same thing over and over again without being aware of what we are doing.
Success, Beckett, and a washing machine. A strange combination for you and me. Or maybe not.
I decided to pay attention and this is what my normal washing machine and laundry routine taught me about my success and yours:
1) Success is a process. You have to go through the whole thing. If you stop in the middle, you end up with a mess. And once you’re “done,” it’s time to start over with another load, another project or idea, that demands your attention.
2) You have to be careful what you put together. The ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘who’, ‘when’ and ‘why’ must all be carefully worked out or you will end up with a tangled mess and everything working together. The key components have to match and go with each other or you will regret it.
3) Once you have mapped out the process to successfully achieve your goal, you need to get up and get started. You can then monitor your progress as you go through the stages of the process. You must be patient and persevere. And you have to trust that the process will work, giving you the result you want, or better.
4) Each cycle of your process has a different beginning and end. Be sure to acknowledge those successful completions and celebrate your progress before moving on. Give yourself rewards as you complete each stage of the process and not just when you finish everything.
5) Stop airing your dirty laundry, stop blaming people, places, and things for your lack of success, and get to work. You are responsible for making a change in your life. Chances are no one else will take care of your dirty laundry!
6) Don’t forget the stain remover, detergent and fabric softener. Once you have started the process, you will notice that some components are missing. Be sure to add what you need to be successful; a mentor or coach who has done this before and can save you a lot of time, energy and money.
7) When you have reached your goal, take stock and figure out what else needs to be done. Do you want to air your ideas for a while or expose them to a more arduous and heated process of scrutiny: the dryer? The point is to realize that this particular goal can lead to more and it benefits you to consciously PLAN the process so that you can pick up another load and move on, connecting your successes into one long, complete line.
Next time you’re doing laundry, let me remind you that the process of finding what you want takes time, energy, planning, and focus, but you can do it, and then you’ll truly dress for success. Hey, I’m glad you’re pressing your ear against the top of the washing machine to listen, but let’s roll around, okay?