Today on The Systems Made Simple™ Podcast, business systems expert Courtney Elmer reveals the secret to clear clutter, get organized and experience the benefits of deep emotional healing.
When you look deeper, the desire to clean and clear clutter is not just about increasing productivity and getting organized so you can focus better. It’s an attempt to fix what’s going on in your inner world that feels out of place and out of control.
That’s why inside today’s episode, we’re talking about how to clear the three things that cause you to feel cluttered inwardly, so you can experience deeper emotional healing (and so the clutter you see outwardly is less likely to come back).
BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING TO TODAY'S EPISODE, YOU'LL LEARN:
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You’re Listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Episode #45, which is all about how to clear clutter, get organized, and start emotional healing.
Last week on the show we talked about 7 of my favorite tools you can steal from me to clear clutter and streamline and simplify your digital workspaces. It’s important to keep your workspaces clean and clear of clutter so you can stay focused, get organized, and get real work done without all of those annoying distractions that suck your time, energy, and attention. But no matter how organized you are, if you clear clutter and get organized, it will only go so far.
There's a saying that goes, “as within, so without”. This means, that if things feel a mess and out of control in your external world, it's not going to change permanently until you get a grip on what’s a mess and out of control in your internal world. Going through a stack of mail or deleting a bunch of emails in your inbox to clear clutter is not going to fix the problems that are going on within. Until you do that, the mail will keep piling up, your email inbox will still overflow, and you’ll constantly burn your energy trying to get organized and clear clutter but only go around in circles.
So today we’re talking about how to clear the three most common causes of clutter in your internal world, so that the clutter you notice in your external world is less likely to resurface (or at least, it won’t bother you as much., how to get organized, and be on the road to emotional healing. You ready? Stay tuned!
You want to know the problem most people experience? They look at their life and see problems. They don’t want those problems, so they do everything they can to fix those problems. They want to clear clutter and get organized. They also want to start emotional healing.
But the problem with this is that the problems that you experience in your outer world will keep coming back until you start tuning into, and paying attention to, the problems going on inside of you. Have you ever had an experience, almost like deja vu, where it’s like the same scenario keeps happening over and over and over again?
Maybe you keep getting into the same kind of fight with your spouse, or the same kind of miscommunications keep happening with a certain team member. Where it feels like no matter what you do, the cycle just keeps repeating. Same song, different verse. And you start to wonder, "What am I missing here? I feel like I’m doing everything I possibly can to get this thing under control, but it feels so out of control! How can I clear clutter and get organized? What’s the key to emotional healing?"
If you’re too busy spending all your energy on trying to change the situation that’s happening outside of you, rather than looking within yourself to see what needs to be changed, you will continue to struggle. You will not be able to clear clutter, get organized, and start emotional healing.
But we resist change! We resist it because on an unconscious level, your mind likes safety. It likes stability. Change is foreign, which is why old habits are so hard to break, especially when it comes to clearing clutter and getting organized. We’re going to talk more about habits in a second and I’m going to give you a powerful secret that’s going to make it a lot easier to change them. But first you need to understand that when you spend all your time and energy trying to “fix the problems” in your life and business, in the world outside of yourself, it’s going to take you a lot longer to get the results you want and to actually see the change you say you want, because you’re going about it the wrong way.
Instead of an outside-in approach, you have to start looking at your life from the inside out. In order to heal whatever is going on in your outer world that feels cluttered and out of control, you’ve got to clear clutter, get organized, and work to get things in order in your inner world, first.
Now, there are three main causes of what I call "Internal Clutter." The 3 causes are: fear, negative emotions, and current ways of being--all of which hinder emotional healing. We’re going to dive into each of these in order to understand how to clear these sources of clutter in your inner world. Let's take a look at fear, first.
Fear both causes the problems and prevents the result that most people want. Fear is the worst advisor in your life, and you've probably heard this said before: conquer fear, or it will conquer you. Now a mistake a lot of people make, particularly entrepreneurs who have been in business for a few years or more, is that they tend to throw money at their problems. Throwing money at the problem is not the same as facing the problem. You heard me say a moment ago that until you shift your perspective on the problems in your life, you will continue to experience problems.
So step one to clearing this clutter internally is starting to look at every problem as an opportunity and to ask yourself: what is this teaching me? There are many fears, many Universal fears: fear of loss, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of judgment, fear of inadequacy, fear of letting go, fear of regret, fear of not being able to start emotional healing. And many more.
As a coach, one of my jobs in working with my clients and my students is to help them realize what fears specifically are cluttering their life and preventing them from getting the results they want, and to help them dismantle those fears, help them get organized, and start the emotional healing journey. I'm going to give you a hint here today: an easy way to clear the clutter of fear is to start noticing and dismantling the fears that you feel is to personify fear. So whenever you're feeling that fear, one of the ways to clear clutter internally, is to personify fear. To literally imagine that fear is sitting across the room from you in a chair looking at you, staring at you, and to listen to the advice that it's giving you. What advice is it giving you? What is that fear saying to you right now? How is this hurting your emotional healing? And is it true?
Imagine for a moment you had 10 times the confidence and overcoming fear wasn't even a question in your mind. What's the scariest thing you would do differently in your business? Notice what comes up for you first. Then take a moment and notice what's stopping you from doing it? What year are you allowing to get in your way?
The truth is, you have absolutely nothing to fear. Nothing. But there’s a difference between knowing this as a concept, and living your life this way. When you can identify what's holding you back you can choose to take your power back and experience the greater freedom and impact you deserve.
Imagine what would become possible for you in your business and in your life, if fear didn’t get in the way of you and your dreams? How much more energy would you feel, and how much more joy would you experience, if you stopped giving your power away to fear? How would you be able to start emotional healing?
Fear will always be there because it's part of the human experience. However, when you allow yourself to get present to the fear(s) you’re currently feeling, and learn how to clear the clutter of fear from your life, it loses its hold over you and you can begin to conquer it for good.
Another source of internal clutter is something we’re going to label here as “negative emotions.” These are the emotions that you experience on a daily basis that we would consider to be unpleasant. The opposite of joy, and happiness, and freedom, and fulfillment — emotions like anger, sadness, guilt, shame, hurt, and fear— fear is also an emotion. Fear is actually a feeling based on a belief of an unwanted, or unpleasant future. Or in other words, it’s a feeling you feel because of a belief you believe.
Negative emotions work the same way. They are feelings you feel, because of beliefs you believe. Now you've heard me talk about limiting beliefs here on the show before, and if you're just joining us for the first time, episodes 18 and 19 with James Wedmore are a great place to start if you are not familiar with what limiting beliefs are and how they prevent you from the success that you want. This is why awareness is the number one best skill that you can develop particularly as an entrepreneur because awareness is the doorway to change. Nothing's going to change until you become aware that it needs to change, right? It all starts with clearing clutter, getting organized, and starting emotional healing.
Negative emotions cause a lot of clutter in your life that needs clearing. They weigh you down. I like to think of negative emotions like a backpack of rocks that you carry around on your shoulders. Without getting into the science of it all, those negative emotions will continue to get activated within your cells and feel more intense every time you feel that emotion until you release the emotions and literally clear the emotional clutter from your body.
Let’s say every time you experience anger for example, it’s like you're picking up another rock and putting it in that heavy backpack. And that backpack continues to grow heavier and heavier until you dump it out. This is another thing that I work with my clients on, particularly my one-on-one clients, is to help them clear clutter that's been built up from negative emotions that they've been carrying around with them since birth. It prevents them from clearing the clutter and starting emotional healing.
Can you imagine what it would feel like to clear clutter, get organized, and dump out that heavy backpack? Can you imagine how it would feel to start emotional healing?
To experience the freedom, and the joy, and the fullness of life that is available to you in every moment, when those negative emotions aren't weighing you down anymore? Now one of the ways you can cultivate your awareness muscle is to notice in the moment what feelings you're experiencing. When you're having a heated argument with your spouse for example, what feelings are you feeling, specifically?
Your feelings are an indicator. They’re there like the indicator lights on the dashboard of your car. And negative emotions will flash when something is wrong--which prevents emotional healing. They will let you know hey, pull over and pay attention bc if you keep going, it’s dangerous. Your feelings are there to keep you on track. But you’re not taught this in school!
Abraham Hicks’ emotional scale is a great tool to help you identify what emotions you’re feeling, because if your default state is on the bottom end of the scale, your life is not going to be as joy-filled as you want it to be. You're not going to experience the success that you want to experience. So you have to become present to your emotions and work on changing your default emotional state to clear clutter. Those entrepreneurs who are most successful —today’s biggest influencers, the ones you look up to and aspire to be, do this work daily. They know this. They are MASTERS of their emotional state. They know how to get organized to clear clutter. They know emotional healing.
Sadly, this is the kind of work that most entrepreneurs aren't doing, and they wonder why they struggle. They're focused on their marketing efforts, they're focused on lead generation, they're focused on creating the perfect online program, or generating more sales, they're focused on their next launch or their next big thing that's coming down the pipeline.
They do all of this work and put all of this time and energy and effort into creating the successful business of their dreams... and they don't achieve the successful business of their dreams. Then wonder why, because they're working so hard. That's what we're all about here at the effortless life — to help you understand that it's not about the amount of effort that you put into your business... there will always be someone out there who will out-effort you and be more organized.
This inner work is the real work. It’s the hard work. And if you truly want to be successful, it’s the only work that matters. This is why the students that we work with inside of our programs go on to achieve such incredible results. In fact, one of our students comes to mind right now, who went from making virtually nothing in revenue to generating over $3MM in a single month. Do you think that happened for her because she changed her marketing efforts? Because she showed up more on Instagram stories? Because she started constantly emailing her email list? NO. It happened because she shifted what was going on inside of her internal world that was preventing her from getting the results she wanted in her life. And when she cleared that clutter, got organized, started emotional healing, and she went on to do great things in her business. And guess what? It didn't just happen one month. She has continued on the same trajectory, outperforming her competition for the last two years since.
So how do you bring about lasting change to clear clutter of negative emotions for good? How do you go about dismantling fear and releasing negative emotions, and changing your emotional state when it's become a habit? How to get organized? How do you start emotional healing? You know what they say about old dogs and new tricks, right? Well that's what we're going to move into here next. The third primary source of internal clutter, which is your current ways of being.
CURRENT WAYS OF BEING
When I say ways of being, I’m talking about your habits and your behaviors. The actions you take in your life, which, again, are linked to the beliefs you believe. Don’t believe me? Go listen to Episodes 18 and 19 and see what I mean!
Now, I don't know if you have studied habits and how they're formed, or have read the book that just came out recently called Atomic Habits, which is fantastic and I’ll link that up in the show notes for you too, because if you’re not happy with the results you’re getting in your life or in your business care about getting different results you SAY you want to get, then you owe it to yourself to study your HABITS and to understand HOW you form your habits. Because when you begin to recognize how habits are formed, and why they’re so hard to change, then you’ll be light years ahead of those people out there who want a different result in their life but have no idea how to go about getting it, because they don’t understand habits.
There are three layers that make up your habits. The outer layer is the outcome -- that’s the result you want. The middle layer is the process you’re using to GET that result. And the inner layer is your identity — or in other words, who you are BEING to get that result.
So you can think of this like a target. The outer circle is the outcome, it’s what you HAVE. The middle circle is the process, it’s what you’re DOING, and the inner circle is your identity, who you’re BEING.
So what most people do is they focus on the outcomes that they want, but aren't getting, right? We can use weight loss as a really easy example. Someone might say, ok so the result I have right now is that my clothes aren't fitting. I don't like that, therefore, I want to eat healthier, because I want to feel comfortable and confident.
So the way they go about achieving that is that they might start DOING things differently: maybe they start working out, or eating healthier, whatever that process looks like.
The problem is most people stop here, and wonder why they’re not getting the result they want. And it’s because they haven’t changed who they are being on an IDENTITY LEVEL.
Outcomes are what you get. Processes are about what you do. Identity is about what you believe.
So when it comes to building habits that last, it's not to say that focusing on one of these levels over the other is necessarily better or worse.
Each of these levels work together to bring about change.
The problem is that most people make the mistake of spending all their time and energy trying to change things from the outside in. Most people work outside in: HAVE, DO, BE. They think to have the result they want, they have to do something different, and then they’ll be the kind of person they want.
It’s this same old song and dance of focusing on fixing things in your outer world, and never looking twice at what’s going on in your inner world.
But how many times have you tried to change your own habits this way and failed? How many times have you tried to clear clutter and get organized but it never worked?
The easiest way to get the results you want and make it so much easier to take action to get those results is to start on an identity level. It’s not an outside in process. It’s an inside out process. BE… DO… HAVE.
When you focus on changing who you are, and what you believe, FIRST, instead of trying to force change on the outcome, it will naturally bring about the result that you want. So it's so elegant in its simplicity.
Outcome based habits focus on what you want to achieve. Identity based habits focus on who you wish to become.Imagine for a second you’re someone who is trying to quit smoking. And imagine yourself in that moment of resisting a cigarette, someone offers one to you and it’s in that moment you have to resist, right? Because you’re trying to quit. So someone focused on an outside in approach might say, No, thanks, I'm still trying to quit. Whereas someone who is working inside out and is shifting their identity simply says, No, thanks. I'm not a smoker.
Behind every system of actions, there's a system of beliefs that are driving that action. You get that. What people don’t understand is that when they never address who they are being or what they believe, it's really difficult to experience the change and the result they want.
You may want more money, but if your identity is someone who consumes rather than creates, you’ll continue to be pulled down by spending versus earning.
Maybe you want better health. But if your inward values are ordered toward comfort over accomplishment, then you’ll always be drawn to relaxing, rather than to training or to working out. So the ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity — part of who you are.
It's one thing to say, I'm trying to do this, or I want to do this, vs. I'm the type of person who does this.
SO what if changing the results that you're getting is as simple as changing the way you speak about who you are. Instead of saying, I want to make six figures this year in my business, or from my digital course, or whatever. I'm the type of person who is committed to doing the actual required everyday to build my business, right? Focusing on the identity versus the result.
We've all said things to this nature before, right? Usually on the contrary. You might hear people say, and maybe you’ve said this yourself, Oh, I'm terrible with directions, or I'm not a morning person, or I'm bad with numbers, or Oh, I'm scared to go on stage, right? I'm not, I'm not a good speaker. I'm always like, I'm not good with technology, all of these identity statements.
And think about how that impacts the results you’re able to get.
So this presumes a question: if all this boils down to your identity, and that your identity comes from your beliefs, then where do your beliefs come from? And how are those formed? This is one of the things we talk about at length inside of the EffortLESS Life Academy because it’s an essential component you must understand to become the Visionary Leader your business needs to succeed. We talk about how to clear clutter, get organized, and start emotional healing.
Whatever your identity is, right now, you only believe it because you have proof of it in your life. And you might have heard me say this before, I'll probably say it again. Your brain will look for evidence of your beliefs in your life. It’s like when you go to buy a new car, and then all of a sudden, you start seeing that making model everywhere all over the road, it's because that's what you're tuning your awareness to. Your brain is looking for that evidence.
So you can think of your beliefs like the dial of the radio station that your energy and attention is tuned to. And therefore that's the, that's what's going to come over the airwaves. That's what you're going to find evidence of in your life.
So there's really just two steps to shaping your identity to changing your identity. To change your ways of being -- clearing out the old ways and habits that don’t serve you, and replacing them with new habits that do serve you. First you must decide the person you want to be. And the second one is to prove it to yourself with small wins.
So instead of saying I want to write a book, think about well, who is the type of person that publishes a book? It's probably someone who's pretty consistent that practices writing regularly, and pretty reliable. So then your focus can shift from writing a book, which is outcome based, to I'm the type of person who is consistent and reliable, which is identity based. Subtle, shift, huge difference.
That's the beauty of habit. That's why even the name of the book I recommended to you, is called Atomic habits. It’s based on the idea that an atom is so small, it's actually 99% empty space. Which is kind of weird when you think about it, because if everything is made up of atoms, and yet here we have like physical things, but yet those atoms are all 99% space, like you get into a really weird conversation there about, “wait, how is all this empty space, right things in the physical world. But it's about the idea that these changes are so small, it's just 1% change.”
Over time, it compounds just like interest in a stock or something like that.
That's really powerful when you think about it, that it does not have to all change at once, just a little bit over time. To win an election, you don't have to have 100% of the vote, you just have to win the majority. So as long as you are voting to make those small changes to shift from outcomes based habits to identity based habits, instead of focusing on what you want, focusing on who your being to get it, and do that the majority of the time, you are well, on your way, you're light years ahead of where most entrepreneurs are who don’t understand this is why they struggle.
So we covered a lot here today. I might have bent your brain a little bit. Was this helpful? Did this offer something to you? Are you ready to clear clutter and get organized? Are you ready to start the emotional healing journey?
If you want to learn more about this and how to actually take these concepts and apply them to your life and business to get the results you want, results like our student Christina who went from $0 — $3MM in a single month, then you can take the next step right now and register for the in-depth virtual training where I walk you through our 5-part, proven methodology called the Visionary Leader Formula™ to help you become the Visionary Leader your business needs to succeed. You can register right now at courtneyelmer.com/ceo, that’s courtneyelmer.com/ceo
And if you’ve ever got a question you’d like to ask me--whether it’s about how to clear clutter or get organized-- I’m a real person. I hang out on Instagram @theeffortlesslife.co . where you can find me and send me a DM. I always look forward to hearing from listeners like you so I look forward to seeing your name in my DMs there soon!
Coming up next week on the show we have a really cool guest expert who is a Tony Award winning producer, filmmaker, and what he describes as a soul-aligned business coach. He’s going to be here to help you tap into your creative intuition and to trust yourself more so you can overcome any fear you feel surrounding marketing, and stand out authentically with storytelling so your personal brand connects with your audience and converts to sales. So go share the show with your entrepreneur friends and let them know that’s coming up next week so they can tune in with you and learn how to become the Visionary Leader your business needs to succeed, too. Until then, go live YOUR EffortLESS Life® — I’ll see you back here next time on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast.