Over this past summer we remodeled our home. Looking back, I would have done things VERY differently for sure. Because we were replacing the carpet and old tile with wood floors, we only had a few spaces to store our furniture. Those small spaces (bathrooms and the laundry room) were not enough to house all our furniture. Therefore, it wasn’t uncommon to come home from being gone and find the kitchen table on the front porch and the refrigerator in the living room. It was a fun game for a few weeks. Dinner was kind of like a picnic, but it got old very fast. One evening they laid the floors between the kitchen and the family room area where the table ended up that day. We had to cook and fix our plates, go out the back door, go through our bedroom and do parkour (graceful jumping) over the fresh floor in front of the stairs to get to the family room area. This wasn’t easy with a dinner plate in your hand. Caleb and Abby were the most graceful jumpers. Our attitudes, productivity and joy were all impacted by the chaos in our setting. For months after we were done with the remodel, we would go searching for the refrigerator in the living room out of habit.
As a former HS English teacher, I used to teach the importance of “setting” in a story. Setting sets the stage. The setting gives the tempo and mood for a story. Imagine a romantic dinner set at McDonalds. Think about a dramatic spiritual moment set in a bar. The setting really matters. It impacts the interpretation and outcome of a story.
We are living a story. What kind of story do we want to tell? Do we want to be average? Make a minimal or average impact on the world? Do we want average kids and an average spouse? Do we want to make an average income and accomplish average things? One area we can use to impact our story is the setting. We have a lot of control over our setting. We can change and arrange things to set ourselves up for above average success.
Here are 4 ways successful people arrange their setting for success:
- They have a personal space. This may be a corner in your room or a closet. This may be the spare bedroom or a home office. The type and amount of space isn’t as important as having a space that is yours. This can be a space to do your devotions or write or work. It doesn’t matter what you do, just that it is yours. You should design this pace to reflect your personal taste and needs. Do you need peace? Go minimal and play calm music. Do you need motivation? Tape pictures of things that energize and motivate you. Do you need inspiration? Hang quotes and impactful images that move you. You get my point. Create a space to escape the emotional vampires and recharge your batteries.
- They simplify. A recent study out of California reveals the connection between depression and clutter. Get rid of the excess. This is a great principle that works in every area of our lives. Creativity and success grow in the margin we provide in our lives. If you are overwhelmed with stuff and activities, you won’t have the energy to succeed.
- They physically set up things to maximize their time and energy. A good example is if you want to learn to play an instrument, set it in a place where you see it and can practice easily. You won’t practice as much if it is a chore to get set up. Put your personal items in the same place every time. Larry’s wallet and keys are ALWAYS in the same spot when he is staging thing for work. Only have useful items in your home. Don’t buy stuff just to decorate. Buy things that have meaning and usefulness. Think about your desk or work space. Is it distracting or is it set up to maximize your time? Do you have all the things in the same place to accomplish your tasks or are you unorganized and spending time looking for things? Think about your kitchen and cooking space. Do you have the right items staged in the right place? Do you clean up things as you go or do you leave it all a mess to be dealt with later?
- They create a safe setting. Our setting needs to be a place of encouragement and safety. A place where we can be ourselves and know we are loved. Surround yourself with encouragers. Not “yes men,” but true encouragers that uplift you and challenge you to be the best possible “you” that you can be. You will have people who want to see you fail. Don’t allow those people to set the mood and setting in your life.
There are many aspects of success that you can’t control but you can control a lot things about your setting. Take a few minutes to use this checklist below to evaluate your setting and see what small changes you can make that will pay big dividends.
Yes = 3 points
Sometimes = 2 points
No = 1 point
_____ 1. I have a personal space that reflects my tastes and needs.
_____ 2. I know what energizes me. (Peace, motivation, inspiration……)
_____ 3. My personal space is clean and organized.
_____ 4. I am usually on time and remember appointments.
_____ 5. My home, personal space and car are free of clutter.
_____ 6. I rarely have to look for things.
_____ 7. I am very organized and plan ahead.
_____ 8. I think ahead and stage things for the next day.
_____ 9. When I cook or do projects around the house I have the items for that task all in the same place.
_____ 8. I have at least one person in my life that provides encouragement and accountability.
____ 10. I take time every day to recharge myself personally.
____ 11. I have extra time in my schedule for creativity.
____ 12. I have margin and don’t have every second booked.
If you scored 26 or lower you should consider reevaluating your setting. You could be limiting your success by not having the right setting.
Next week we are going to talk about mindset. What types of thoughts and attitudes does it take to live a fulfilled and successful life? Let’s chat next week. It all starts in your mind!