I was talking with another professional organizer, Aimee Krummenacher the other day and we were reflecting on how the catch phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” just doesn’t ring true for us.
We agreed that people respond to authenticity. Acting like you have experience or expertise that you don’t have may seem like a good idea when you’re first starting out. But I think it’s stressful. And it doesn’t really benefit anyone.
When you start out in a new field, it can be hard to be confident and recognize your value when you lack experience. I know I felt that conflict when I first started my organizing business, back in 2005. But I also recognized that I was not at my best when I was not being authentic. So I stopped trying to pretend I had more experience than I had and just went with honesty. At the very beginning, my organizing expertise was derived from my own experience or my experience helping friends. And that’s okay.
Of course, as time went on, I didn’t have to worry about faking experience. And certainly I’ve gained expertise through my education and training as well as experience working with clients.
Even now, sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s best to present myself as I am, not as I think people want me to be. That means:
- I let people know I’m messy
- I’m not shy about telling people about my part-time job at the International Institute
- If I backslide on habits, I admit it
- I tell folks how much I benefit from the help of other professional organizers
- I admit that sometimes I don’t always follow my own advice.
I’m honest with clients in person and I feel free to chronicle my foibles here on my blog.
For me, there’s nothing worse then being inauthentic. If I’m presenting myself authentically a potential client may discover that I’m not the best organizer for her (or him). And that’s perfectly okay. It’s much better than their feeling deceived!
Janine Adams is a certified professional organizer and owner of Peace of Mind Organizing. She specializes in working with chronically disorganized client, primarily in their homes, helping them create the order they crave. She blogs regularly at her website and offers concise, downloadable Organizing Guides for purchase. With life coach Shannon Wilkinson, she also offers a 28-day e-course called Declutter Happy Hour.