Monthly Archives: April 2017

What’s Your Power Base: Love or Fear?

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.”                                         –Mahatma Gandhi (brainyquote)

I’ve been reading an incredible book about power. Until recently, my thoughts about power had taken a negative bent: bullying, threats of violence, demeaning words or actions, etc.  The kind of stuff I hope no one ever associates with me.

Personally, I’m not at all interested in having power in an aggressive or assertive way; but I’m very interested in how I can use my power of information, intent, skills, and passion to help move people to the next level of their lives.

When I was choosing a visual image for this post,  waves seemed like the perfect metaphor for defining the two kinds of power: “power to” (Gandhi’s love based) and “power over” (fear based).   A wave’s power to carry a skilled surfer beautifully to the shore has a much different feel than when those same waves have the power over us to physically knock us down when we least expect it.

According to social psychologists J. P. R. French Jr. and B. Raven, there are six basic bases of power:

  1. Coercion: Threat of force, disapproval, or rejection. The main goal being compliance. (Generally Power Over)
  2. Reward: The right of some to approve or deny rewards. (Both Power Over and Power To)
  3. Legitimacy: Generally granted as a position of authority. (Both Power Over and Power To)
  4. Expert: Based on knowledge, experience, and skills. (Both Power Over and Power To)
  5. Referent: Based on affiliation. (Both Power Over and Power To)
  6. Informational: Based on the potential to utilize information. (Generally Power To)

As examples, using power with children:

  1. Coercion: “Adults don’t like children that don’t eat their vegetables.”
  2. Reward: “Unless you eat your vegetables, you don’t get any dessert.” Or, “If you eat your vegetables you can have ice cream for dessert.”
  3. Legitimacy:  “I’m an adult, just do what I say.” Or, “As an adult, it’s important that I keep you safe.”
  4. Expert:  “I’m better than you at this, just do it my way. Or, “As an adult, I know you need a life jacket if you are going to the beach.”
  5. Referent: “I love the energy of a two-year old!” Or, “No wonder they call it the ‘terrible twos,’ they are all undisciplined and wild.”
  6. Informational: “I know multiple ways to solve this problem.  Let’s explore the best one.”

How do you want to be known for using your power?

Cindy Jobs

Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteLevels I and II Certified (8 certificates) Member, Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Coach Approach for Organizers

Honoring Earth Day

“The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. For more information, visit

The three pillars of environmental responsibility:

Reduce.  Reuse.  Recycle.

Reducing the amount of waste we create and energy we consume is the most effective, and possibly simplest, way to help Mother Earth.

A few easy suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of mail that comes in your home by unsubscribing from mail you don’t want or need. These websites can help you with that:
  • Reduce energy consumption (a big drain on the environment) by turning down the heat, shutting lights off, carpooling when possible, lowering the temperature on the water heater, washing your clothes on the “cold” setting, etc. Every little bit helps!
  • Create a network of friends and neighbors to borrow or lend items you don’t use frequently. For example, I have a table saw.  Once I completed the project I purchased it for, I only use it a few times a year.  I’d be happy to loan it to a friend or neighbor.  What do you have in your house you could do the same with?  (Facebook is a great way to get the word out.)

Finding a way to reuse what no longer serves in its original purpose or you no longer need is another great way to help the environment.

How to do that?

  • Using Amazon’s Give Back Box® program “you can donate items you no longer need to charity with ease and bring new life to your empty Amazon box.”
  • Look at any sturdy packaging you may be about to throw away.  Can it serve another purpose? Shoe boxes become drawer organizers.  Empty cottage cheese containers become food storage. Tin cans become pencil cups (you may want to decorate them up a bit.)  You get the idea.
  • Invest in reusable shopping bags.  In addition to the kind the retainers sell, there are some really fun and practical choices on Amazon.
  • Use cloth vs paper napkins.  The energy it takes to create a paper napkin is unbelievable!  The stats, are enlightening.   I would imagine the energy consumption to produce paper plates and plastic forks would be similar. Use “real” silverware and dishes whenever possible.
  • There are many, many great charities that support individuals that could really use what you don’t need.  Do some research on what’s available in your area.  Give where it feels good.

And then there’s recyclingPixabay RecyclingRecycling has been around for long enough that most of us are in the groove.  As a matter of fact, some cities are actually fining folks that don’t recycle and compost efficiently.

Some thoughts on this:

  • Check your local municipality for recycling guidelines . . . I’m amazed at how much they differ from city-to-city in Puget Sound.
  • Go that extra step when looking to make a purchase and look for items made out of recycled products.

At Organize To Simplify, we are dedicated to giving back to others and the environment by celebrating Earth Day every day!

Part of our Giving Back philosophy:

“Together we can help others and the environment by reducing, re-purposing, and recycling items you no longer need to lessen the long-term impact on our environment.”

What can you do to celebrate Earth Day every day?

Cindy Jobs

Organize to Simplify RGB

Member Color - Web
National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website
Level I and II Certified, Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Graduate: Accredited Coaching Program

Boundaries: How are they working for you?

One of the most powerful things we can do for ourselves is set our own boundaries.

So, why are boundaries so powerful?

    • Boundaries can be high or low (“Never call before 7:00 AM” or “Try not to call too early or too late.”)
    • We can set, break, or remove our own boundaries depending on the circumstance.
    • Boundaries can be based on many factors:  laws, ethical codes, personal morals, ethical beliefs, advice from others, our own personal needs, etc.
    • Boundaries, once established, can guide us to comfortable personal behavior.

As an example, a few of my boundaries are:

Personal safety:  I do not knowingly or willingly put myself or anyone close to me in danger.  What might that mean?

  • Unless I know someone well, I don’t allow them in my home or car.
  • I generally don’t go out at night by myself in unfamiliar areas.
  • I keep doors locked.

Working hours and conditions:  I make every effort not to work nights and weekends because I don’t want to take time away from family and friends.  I also won’t take clients that are outside of a comfortable commuting distance.

Organizing Clients: Several of my clients struggle with ADHD, OCD, bi-polar, etc.  If they are not committed to understanding their challenges and working with medical and mental health professionals, they will not be committed to the organizing process, so I won’t work with them.

Coaching Clients:  I take coaching very seriously.  If a client does not commit to the personal effort involved with coaching (engage in self-work and reflection between sessions, they agree not to play the blame game, they come to coaching sessions prepared and on time, etc.) they will not be successful with the coaching process, so I won’t work with them.

Communicating boundaries:  One of the keys to successful boundaries is clearly communicating what those boundaries are.  Whether it’s verbal or written, clearly expressing your boundary will help people manage themselves to your expectations.  If clearly communicated, it is much easier to address issues when boundary violations occur.

Renegotiating your own boundaries:  One of the beautiful thing about boundaries is that we can renegotiate, or ignore them entirely, based on any particular circumstance.  For example:

  • I coached a client late in the evening before a difficult family discussion.  She was nervous and wanted the family meeting to go well and it was important to me that I gave her the support she needed (working hours boundary broken).  She’d never asked for this special accommodation before, so I didn’t feel taken advantage of.
  • On my way home the other night, I spotted a woman walking alongside a major thoroughfare holding what looked like a little dog (I’m a dog person, so that caught my eye).  It was dark, rainy, and I’d been away from the house for nearly 12 hours.  I just wanted to get home.  But I couldn’t let it go, so I turned around.  She’d run out of gas and was walking (with her little dog) the 2 miles to the gas station.  So, by myself at night (first broken boundary) I stopped and invited this woman and her dog into my car (second broken boundary).  All ended well, but major boundary infractions happened that night!

What boundaries do you have?  What boundaries need to be set or communicated?  How could you benefit from clearly defining your boundaries?

Cindy Jobs


Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteCertified Premium Subscriber, Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Coach Approach for Organizers

What’s your motivation?

“Motivation is a fire from within.  If someone else tries to light that fire under you,            chances are it will burn very briefly.”   Stephen Covey

Motivation.  It’s an intriguing thing.

  • Some people seem to have more of it.
  • Motivation varies widely from person-to-person.
  • Even within ourselves, some days we seem to have more of it than others.

Here are some keys to managing motivation:

  • Define the motivation.
  • Define what success means to you.
  • Motivation is easier to come by when we do something we love.
  • Track your progress in effort, not results.

Defining the motivation:  Motivation comes in different forms.  Most studies conclude that internal motivation is much more powerful than external motivation.  So, to be successful at a task, define your “why.”

Motivation comes up frequently with my coaching clients.  One client engaged in coaching because “I want to be better at my job, and part of that is learning to work outside my comfort zone.”  That coaching relationship is incredibly successful. Yet another client engaged in coaching “because my mom thought it would help motivate me to keep my room clean and get better grades.”  Suffice to say, that coaching relationship didn’t survive.  He was doing it for the wrong reason: someone else.

Defining the motivation is the first key to success.  Do it for you, not someone else.

Clearly define success:  With any goal, there needs to be a definition of success and what it means to you personally.  Depending on what success means to you, the motivation may be different.

I have a client that is a successful business person.  He has a clear definition of what success in 2017 will look like.  It’s not “I’ll make more money.”  It is a very clear, hard number.  Hitting that sales number means several things:  It reinforces for him that he’s good at what he does (internal motivation) and he will be able to provide an amazing trip for his family next Spring (external motivation).  For him, internal and external motivation go hand in hand, but only because he has a very, very clear picture of what “success” means to him.

Do what you love:  I have friends who LOVE to exercise.  They get up at 5:00 AM to go to their favorite class.  They feel better (both physically and mentally) when they are engaged in their passion.  On the other hand, there would need to be some serious external motivation to get me to follow their plan.  But, ask me to get up at 5:00 AM to meet a client so we can get their garage cleaned by noon and I’m all in!

Motivation is just easier if we are doing something we love.

Track progress in effort: Sometimes even the most motivated people get sidetracked when they don’t see the results as quickly as they anticipated.  Rather than focusing entirely on the end game, focus on the effort.

If you are looking to write the next great novel, motivation can be lost if it doesn’t come together quickly.  Rather, acknowledge that you will feel accomplishment by writing 30 minutes every three days. The internal motivation of progress, versus the frustration of not being finished, will help accomplish the long-term goal.

What are you motivated to accomplish today?

Cindy Jobs


Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteCertified Premium Subscriber, Institute for Challenging Disorganization
Coach Approach for Organizers