For the past several weeks, I’ve been talking about (when I’m not working on) my big summer project which I call Transforming World Headquarters. I’m not just tidying up, however. This project requires going through files, piles and boxes.

Every book, every file, every note to myself is being examined to see if it belongs—or needs to relocate to a more congenial environment.

One of the more tedious—but eye-opening—parts of the project has been going through stacks and stack of magazines. In many instances, I can’t begin to fathom why a publication was saved in the first place.

My biggest collections are back issues of Ode and Fast Company. I began to notice that  much of the content of Fast Company seemed weirdly dated, even though the issues are less than six years old.

Another thing that caught my eye in both magazines were the full page ads for upcoming conferences and events. There were ads for huge events, with celebrity speakers, for social entrepreneurs, green businesses, alongside spiritual retreats guaranteed to be life-changing.

Grand, lofty undertakings.

That’s where I began to grow uneasy. After all,  I’ve spent that past several months discussing, planning, eating and sleeping the upcoming Joyfully Jobless Jamboree. I don’t know when I’ve been so excited about an idea.

But now I began wondering, “Is it lofty enough?” This event is about celebration and connection. We’re talking about fun and play and creativity. Are we being frivolous?

Doubts were swirling and I began to feel a bit shaky. 

Then I turned a page in Fast Company and saw a little interview with one of my entrepreneurial heroes, Rick Steves. He was talking about his business and why he does what he does:

When I’m in Europe, I’m breathing straight oxygen. I’m 10 years younger, I’m bolting out of bed in the morning, making new friends, learning new things, putting the puzzle together, coming home, and making a lot of money. It’s pretty cool. 

Breathing straight oxygen. Defying gravity. Being joyfully jobless. 

Thanks to Rick Steves few sentences, I was reminded, yet again, that I want to live in a world of people who are doing just that. With nobody left out. 

Most of all, I needed to remember that celebrating how far we’ve come is necessary if we intend to go farther.




4 Responses to “Finding Treasure in the Clutter”

  1. Nancee McPherson

    I have a new appreciation of Rick Steves from reading the stuff you post. And I love that quote. That’s what I’m looking for in my life. My stacks and boxes of magazines are mostly decorating 🙂 Just moved into a 440sq ft place and going thru stuff slowly. Paring down to essentials.

  2. Penny

    Fun, play and creativity are life giving and vital to a healthy life. There is no way that could possibly be frivolous. The older I get the more aware I am of how those activities feed our spirit.

  3. Lisa Montanaro

    Hi Barbara-

    I am so proud of you that you are going through your clutter and making some decisions about what to keep, and what can be purged! Good for you.

    And, I, too have been inspired by your posts where you quote Rick Steves. I have always been a fan of his books and shows, but now am a fan of his entrepreneurial spirit as well.

    Keep up the decluttering! 🙂

    – Lisa

  4. Barbara Winter

    Thanks, Lisa. There’s nothing like visible progress to add inspiration to keep going.

    And I don’t have it posted on the site, but I’ve written a couple of articles about what Rick Steves can teach us about building a business. He’s also talked about how he loves small family-owned restaurants and hotels that are run with passion so that’s what he recommends in his guidebooks. I figure he’s done more for small businesses in Europe than any other person. He’s one of my entrepreneurial heroes…and then I get to watch/read all that great travel info on top of everything.

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