4 steps for inner-spring cleaning

Finish the phrase ‘spring’ and you just might be thinking about chickens or flowers (or snow if you live in Chicago!). But earlier today when I called my grandmother, we realized we were both thinking about the same thing: spring cleaning.

Either way, there’s something soothing about the quiet, repetitive handiwork of cleaning. The smooth, glossy finish on a clean countertop sparkles in a sun ray. The satisfaction of running a hand over a freshly scrubbed porcelain sin.

The feeling of a fresh start keeps me scrubbing away, even with the knowledge that it will get dirty again. A few days or hours will pass, and a new mess will be made.

Similarly, there is something deeply rewarding about personal ‘spring cleaning.’ Straightening out jumbles of thoughts like inexplicably tangled earbuds (What on earth happens in my pocket?). Clearing out any half-truths, or memories stuffed in the back of our mind’s closet. Brushing out cobwebs of old stories we’re telling ourselves on the inside to cover-up reality. It’s a whole different level of mess.

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Our most powerful message comes from our mess.

But finding that message takes a little bit of gumption and a whole lot of elbow grease.

No less than two weeks before quarantine was announced, I found myself going through my own personal ‘spring cleaning’ in the form of a SOAR (Strengths – Opportunities – Aspirations – Results) exercise. Replacing a SWOT (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats) analysis, SOAR is a forward-looking lens to problem-solving. Using strengths and emergent opportunities as its foundation, SOAR encourages aspirational thinking to help those of us who might not naturally ‘dream big.’

I’m a huge proponent of facing my fears, weaknesses and short-comings – I reflect on those every morning – but there is something akin to magic when you give yourself the gift of reflecting on your strengths, opportunities and then imagining what the future might bring. The exercise is especially helpful for those of us who usually focus on where we fall short, or shy away from naming our strengths in fears of being boastful.

So if you’re looking for a bit of personal ‘spring cleaning,’ I’ve put together a simple SOAR exercise for your personal use.

SOAR gives you permission to get a fresh perspective on your mess, and create a new message for the season ahead.

Give yourself permission to SOAR.

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