Cleaning Out The “Closets of Our Lives”

There’s a great deal of ink and media attention, including a Netflix special, on Maria Kondo’s KonMari organizing method. If an item you own (clothes, memorabilia, tchotchkes) doesn’t “spark joy” for you; send it off to another owner or charity. I read her book when it was on the New York Times bestseller list. While watching the Grammys, I promptly organized 20 drawers and my purse shelf!
Her message, methods, and mantra remind me of a section I wrote in The Secrets of Savvy Networking and share in my keynotes and coaching.

It’s a facet of #Networking I called Clean Out The Closets of Your Life; a phrase both style maven Diane Parente and speaker extraordinaire Patricia Fripp use. What we do with our closets applies to our personal and professional networks; which we need to examine, evaluate and assess, repurpose or eliminate.

Some people who talk/write on networking extol the virtue of “networking Up” — interacting with people who can boost your business, career, positional power and limit or eliminate the rest. This is where networking often gets a bad rap as “using.” My idea of “cleaning out” is different. It’s not based on who you think can do the most for you. It’s based on how you feel about the interactions with them, their company and contributions. If they contribute to “agita”… the price is too high to pay.

What I do in my savvy networking presentations and wrote in The Secrets of SAVVY Networking is ask people to:

Make a list of the people they spend a lot of time with.
Make another column with a list of the people whose company they REALLY enjoy.
Draw lines between the names on the 2 lists.
If there’s a name on the first “Spends a Lot of Time With” list that is not on List 2, put a big circle around that name.
Start strategizing how to spend less time and/or disengage from the people who don’t “spark joy.”

Disengaging is not easy but Cleaning Out The Closets of Our Personal and Professional Lives—distancing from those who contribute to our discomfort and dismay— allows us to find the time and add room for people who do “Spark Joy!”

Susan RoAne is a speaker/educator/coach who’s known for her practical and entertaining presentations. She is also the author of the (legitimate) best seller HOW TO WORK A ROOM®, celebrating it’s 30th Year in bookstores and The Secrets of Savvy Networking et al.

About Susan RoAne

Susan RoAne leads a double life as a sought-after professional keynote speaker and a bestselling author. Known as The Mingling Maven®, she gives diverse audiences the required tools, techniques and strategies they need to connect and communicate in today’s global business world. The San Francisco Chronicle says she has a “dynamite sense of humor.” To hire Susan to speak for your company, association or college, 1.415.461.3915