Dirty carpet and Business

As a Virtual Assistant I partner with small business owners to accomplish the things they are often capable of handling on their own yet realize they:

  • don’t really want to set aside the time to handle the project/task
  • aren’t passionate about it
  • they want to do “just right” so they delay in creating the necessary time
  • realize it’s not the best use of their time
  • Maybe, just maybe, they don’t really know the most effective and efficient way to achieve the desired outcome

I have found, with nearly every consultation, that the business owner has delayed in reaching out for help because of one of the reasons listed below.

How many of these phrases have you told yourself to justify NOT taking action:

  • I’m not ready
  • I don’t have the money right now to hire someone
  • I’m not worth the time it will take for someone else to help me
  • I can do it better by myself
  • I don’t have the time to get someone up to speed so they can take ownership of the project
  • I don’t want to ask for help
  • I may as well just do it all at once
  • After (fill in the blank) happens I’ll get to it

I know, firsthand, the things we tell ourselves. The way we justify not reaching out for the necessary help and expertise. I told myself nearly every one of these phrases when it came to cleaning my dirty living room carpet.

How my Lack of Action affected me the entire summer
I have a dog – a big, hairy, sheds-all-the-time lab/shepherd mix. We live on a dead-end street with lots of friendly neighborhood dogs so I let her run loose most of the time. We live in Wisconsin and springtime brings us lots of mud as the melting snow mixes in with the dirt and soil.

There are rugs when you first walk into my house. I don’t like these particular rugs but I have them there to try to capture some of the dirt that the dog, myself and my son bring into the house. I’m not a neat freak by any means but I do appreciate cleanliness and typically I will clean the carpets every spring and fall to get rid of all the little muddy doggy prints that freckle the carpet.

By the time spring passed the living room carpet was in dire need of being cleaned – aside from the muddy prints there was some soda spilled, and a cup of coffee that the dog’s tail whacked off the end table one day.

Just seeing the dirty carpet every day would frustrate me. I knew, really knew, that the dirty carpet was draining energy out of me. I was ashamed to even have anyone over to my house (family included so you know it was bad) because I didn’t want anyone to judge me based on dirty, freckled carpet. I’ve always been one of those “the door is always open” type of people and I happen to have one sister whose house could be featured, at any given moment, in a Martha Stewart magazine. So anytime anyone was fortunate enough to get past my front door I would immensely apologize for the dirty living room carpet.

April passed, May passed, June and July too….and I still didn’t create the time to clean the carpet. Jump forward to August. My son went to go visit his dad in Ohio for the month and I told myself it would be easier to clean the carpet while he was gone and I swore I would do it as soon as he left.

I didn’t do it when he left. Honestly, I don’t like cleaning the carpet, I’d rather spend my time learning Aweber or more about WordPress, but didn’t want to pay someone to do it for me. I told myself other excuses too, yet I beat myself up because it was truly important to me. I knew Jordan was coming home on August 31st. So this weekend was my last opportunity to do it.

In my mind it wasn’t as easy as just renting the machine. Once I had the machine I also had to ask someone to help me move furniture. I didn’t want to impose on anyone. I didn’t want to ask for help.

Are you asking yourself at this point what all the hub-bub was? Really, is cleaning the carpet really all that hard? After all, it’s just the living room right? If it was that important I would take action or better yet just pay someone else to do it for me (there are companies that clean carpet, right?)

I am somewhat of a perfectionist and believe if you do a job it’s worth doing it right the first time. I’ve been trying to “retrain” myself to do some things “good enough” and not all things have to be perfect. Because I live in very small place and to clean the carpets, the way I wanted, it would involve moving furniture all over the place so I could clean under the beds, the dressers, etc.

It wasn’t about just cleaning the living room carpets. If I was renting the machine I wanted to do it all at one time and really do it all! The combination of living in a small place mixed with wanting to really do it all at one time is why I wanted to rent a machine instead of having a company come in and do the work. I knew it would be a gradual process that would take the better part of two days.

So yesterday I went out and rented the machine and grabbed my sister’s boyfriend to help me move the furniture I could not relocate by myself.

My Mistake
As the living room carpet transformed into a beautiful, clean landscape it immediately hit me that I had made a huge mistake. I had waited too long to experience the relief and satisfaction I knew I would experience having the carpet clean. I had put off doing the “bad” room because I had convinced myself that to do it “right” I had to do the entire place all at once.

I could have easily rented the machine on two separate occasions. Once for the living room and then again for the bedrooms. After all renting the machine is only $26.99; not a huge outlay of cash. And by the time I cleaned the bedrooms the living room could have been cleaned again as it gets the highest amount of traffic.

This entire summer I have not invited people over, apologized to ones who saw the carpet, and overall subjected myself to a huge amount of self-flagellation. If it was so important, it seems logical that I would create the time to tackle the task, I am certainly more than capable.

The lessons apply to everyone

  • Even handling part of the task will relieve you
  • Break things down into smaller segments
  • It may “seem” having outside help is cost-prohibitive, however realize the emotional expenditure often exceeds the monetary outlay
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, we don’t have to do everything by ourselves
  • Often someone with more experience can achieve the desired outcome in less time it takes for us to fumble our way through it

What is draining your energy in business and life? Reach out today and you will take that first, most important step, taking action.