Setting Standards That Make You Feel Amazing!

painting tools

Do you take a lot of pride in what you do and how you do it?

It’s a question that’s been coming up often as I pack to move to a new home and confront all the forgotten-about bits of stuff that even me- the queen of de-clutter- forgot that I had!

Some people advised me to just pack up my boxes, forget about painting walls and cleaning things.  I’ve been told I should let my building keep my security deposit to clean up after me because they might keep it anyway (so it is rumored).   Why should I bother with all the cleaning and painting and details if I will never see my money back anyway?

The answer: It would make me feel really bad if I didn’t leave something better than when I first arrived.

I didn’t always feel that way.

That switch in my own outlook from “Yeah, screw them, they’ll keep my money anyway!” to “How do I leave this better than when I first arrived?” was one of the best attitude adjustments I have ever made.  Setting a standard that makes life feel amazing. It’s a game-changer. 

pageant girls

I collected these vintage photographs- tons of them- when I worked for a major collector of Vernacular Photography. It was a time in my life where I had no margin for apathy.  Nothing I did was a small thing.  I had to not only care- I had to own every task in the day with a sense of importance.  Everything I did had to be better in the end than when I arrived.

This was the training ground for me.  The standard- while not about being perfect- was to be one’s best and contribute to a very powerful team as much as possible.

When I ask people about their jobs I hear lots of ” Ugh, it sucks so much, ” ” I hate it, ” I don’t care…”

I’ve been there.

Same goes for relationships. “It’s complicated,” or ” I just don’t know,” or the like.

Been there, too.

Have you?

In the excavation of the last few years on my life (4 to be exact) in this home, I have found some things that I certainly could have done without.  The chair that Bob ate the arms off of when he was a baby. The coffee table that I never liked.  The vitamins I never took.  The candles that have bad memories attached to them.

Some are being donated.  Some, recycled.  Some- like my favortite pair of boots that I have had through many phases of my life- just gave out.

broken boots

I’m excited that in all this upheaval I can see the light of a new phase starting.  A phase with even more engagement.  I am so excited to move to a place I really love! Here… I started to half-engage with life.

There are infinite ways to half-way engage with life. Sleepwalking, sort of phoning it in, thinking that maybe if you can glide by you won’t be found out for all the dispassion that you have.  Along with this whole ethos of “who gives a damn”, in rolls the apathy, numbness, mood swings, depression, confusion and anxiety.

Its amazing what can happen when you just go through the motions instead of connecting to the present. Things fall apart quite quickly.  The place I am leaving had zero – zero- maintenance issues until my feeling toward it changed and I wanted to move. Somewhat curiously hard to ignore how much we actually create… or destroy.. things with attention or lack of attention!

When I used to be far less present (*I still have many a day!), I would halfway do things just to get by. I wouldn’t really listen in conversations. I woudn’t do all I could to make a situation work out.

And when things didn’t work out… I felt destroyed. There’s nothing like the awful feeling of knowing you could have done so much more to make things better, even small, basic things.

Forgiveness helps you confront things more clearly.

Then you can change them.

If you are feeling that your life doesn’t look the way that you feel it should right now, you might want to start excavating the clutter. Unpacking boxes. Cleaning house. Taking a stay-cation.  Meditating in some way to clear your mind.

Then, when you have some free head-space… set standards that make you feel amazing.

Even if your efforts aren’t always appreciated, even if things don’t 100% always go your way, you are building awesome karma for the future and showing up for every day as more and more of your best self!  xoxo Dana



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