Deep Cleaning

May 1, 2015

I have been in the same time zone for a few weeks now. It’s been great. For some educational consultants, travel slows down this month. Schools are getting ready to finish up, celebrate graduation, get hiring done. The break has offered me time to breathe, get healthy, and write a book. (FYI: Having Hard Conversations ‘2.0’ is in process!)

And while I write, I also avoid writing. I do my best spring-cleaning when I procrastinate. I have cleaned out my bookshelves, my files, my closet. Been to the tailor, the shoe repair guy, and Good Will. I have purchased a new doormat, detailed my car and have spruced up my plants – all succulents in this time of the California drought, of course. I am working out daily – watch out when I am putting my bag in the overhead bin – I am getting hella strong! I am flossing and taking my vitamins. Sleeping well and seeing sunsets.

Doing the ‘norm’ when it comes to cleaning – clean closets, clean sheets, and clean teeth is easy. Deep cleaning is far more uncomfortable. Like cleaning up your relationships with self and others. I have the gift of time and the emotional space to ask some ‘deep clean’ questions:

  • Where am I living with regrets in my life? What action can I take to get ‘complete’?
  • What do I need to take action on sooner than later?
  • Is there someone whom I am not facing head-on?
  • Is there anyone who I am putting off or not dealing with?
  • Who do I fear running into on the street? At a party? At the airport? At a conference? Can I get beyond this fear? How?
  • Have I cleaned up ‘messes’ in my family life?
  • Have I made peace with past significant others?

These are great questions educators should gift themselves time to ask as they are finishing up the school year. As I watch colleagues move on from one position to another, from one district to another, I wonder if or how they can and are ‘finishing well.’ We can take our pictures off the walls, leave the appropriate binders on the shelf, and make sure all the files are left for the next person. BUT, honestly, that is the least of it. Trying stay clean up in the present before you move to the future is not easy, but so much easier in the long run than cleaning up when things have gotten gritty and icky and take lots of scrubbing. Believe me, I am emotionally pink from the internal exfoliation. But now new skin is surfacing, and I am hopeful. Happy scrubbing.

If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to call me, 650-868-1916 and we can Face Time, Skype me at jenniferabrams, or email me at jennifer@jenniferabrams.com and we can set up a time to talk voice to voice. I look forward to hearing from you!

Cool Resources

I’ve been reading lots of magazines and newspapers lately. The flight attendants love me because when I go to the bathroom I bring them magazines! For those that want a quick intellectual nugget, here are some cool articles.

For a More Creative Brain, TravelThe Atlantic Monthly
How international experiences can open the mind to new ways of thinking.

The science is in: God is the answer – Maclean’s Magazine
Research shows kids raised with spirituality are happier and healthier in the vulnerable teen years. Why aren’t we all signing up?

The selfish truth about word of mouth (why referrals don’t happen) – Seth’s Blog
Of course you will be eagerly and often referring your friends and neighbors to your dentist, insurance broker, lawn mowing guy and that book you just read. Actually, not so much.

The Toll of a Solitary Life – Well Blog – The New York Times
New research from Brigham Young University shows just how bad loneliness and social isolation, even for people who prefer their own company, can be for health.

About Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams

Jennifer Abrams considers herself a "voice coach," helping others learn how to best use their voices – be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague and supervising an employee. Jennifer holds a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in English from Tufts University. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Jennifer's latest book is Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives. Her previous publications include Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community and Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs. She has also created a Corwin Press e-course by the same name.

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Exceptional Presenter

“Jennifer Abrams is an exceptional presenter and author. Her workshops are motivational, memorable, and extremely useful. The lessons and skills that she presents are easily shared. Jennifer is charismatic, down-to-earth, and outstanding to work with. We truly enjoyed having her present to our administrators.”

Nekeya Irby, Executive Director
Office of Professional Development, Detroit Public Schools, Detroit, MI