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Kathi Burns on Getting Organized
Since some of our listening audience may not yet know who you are, would you please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Kathi Burns, CPO®. I am an agent for change and work as a Certified Professional Organizer and Image Consultant. I founded addSpace to Your Life! in 2003 and published my book How to Master Your Muck—Get Organized. Add Space To Your Life. Live Your Purpose! in September 2009. I was honored and blessed to be acknowledged by Good Morning America as a successful woman entrepreneur in the second year of my new career.
You are a great success. Because of what you've accomplished and where you are in life, what would you tell others to inspire them today, regardless of where they are in their life?
It doesn’t matter where you are in life right now, it matters where you think you are in your life right now. I know that the principal of thought, word, deed is very powerful and works significantly in our daily lives. If we think about something long enough, speak about it as if it were so, and act upon it with confidence, it cannot help but become manifest in some form. Even if we have some sort of disadvantage, we also have a unique advantage as a direct result of that challenge.
You are a co-creator of your life. You can create a small life or choose to design a very big life full of wonder and excitement. Life is an unlimited resource just waiting to be expressed. It is up to you to choose to see your life that way and live it to its fullest potential.
We all know that inspiration can change lives. Can you share a personal story of someone who inspired you and made a difference in your life or a defining moment or experience that inspired you or changed your life?
I found out that I was passionate about organizing and when I offered to help a friend in need.
I met my friend Lyn Snow shortly after I relocated to San Diego. At that time, Lyn was spending her time healing from cancer and recreating a career that would require her to spend less of her emotional energy. I was on a quest to redefine my life and find a new career that I could embrace with passion.
Lyn was a bona-fide pack rat and thrift-store junkie. She loved shopping for bargains and her home was bursting at the seams from her accumulation. She was undergoing medical treatment and we both decided that she needed to clear her house and closet to create new beginnings and add more energy to her life. We began clearing in earnest. At the end of the first day she said, “hey you are really good at this and you were really gentle when you made me get rid of the things that no longer served me.” I replied. “That was really fun!”
As I continued helping Lyn, I had an epiphany. I realized that my quirky passion for change is exactly what people need when they want to transform their lives. Many folks are afraid and resistant to change even when they know that they need it. With that discovery, I realized my greatest strength could now be used to help people transform and improve their lives. Instead of being the detriment that it was in the past, my openness to change means that I can effortlessly help clients change and see them transformed long before they can. As I gently hold the space and see them already at their goal, they can move into it and embrace it fully for themselves with less effort.
Lyn and I began our new career quests together and, ironically, both began working full-time in our new careers at the same time. She became a Soul Collage Artist and I created addSpace To Your Life!, a Professional Organizing and Image Consultancy. She wrote the first client testimonial stating, “Kathi was fabulous and the best! It was painless and actually joy producing. I heartily recommend her!” Without Lynn’s insight and support I would have never discovered my true calling and purpose in life as a change agent.
You make it look easy, but I'm guessing you've experienced challenges in your life. Can you share with our listeners how that has strengthened you to reach success? In other words, how do you overcome adversity?
If I am stuck with anything, I make some sort of change in my life. I have found that a small, seemingly insignificant change in a physical environment can produce a result in my life experience way out of proportion to the size of the act. Just one simple change opens my life to new possibilities in ways I could never imagine.
Everyone has ideas on how to improve their lives, whether it be a new job, moving to a new city, or finding love, but change can be a bit scary sometimes. Can you please share an experience with us where you "stepped off the ledge" with only faith, and took a big risk, based only on your belief that you would succeed?
My husband and I lost our business and basically everything shortly after 9/11. Instead of getting a "real" job, I decided to forgo that security and instead create a company that used my skills and passions. We started addSpace To Your Life! with very little money, in fact, only $49. We printed business cards and made fliers to hang on doors. Since we didn’t have money for marketing, I walked and hung fliers door-to-door to announce my services. We lived hand-to-mouth for almost a year. I held onto the faith that my company would succeed because I knew innately that helping people embrace and move through change masterfully was my true calling in life.
How can others do what you did?
Here's my advice: Take the time to clear away the muck from your environment. Get rid of anything that does not serve who you are right now. Muck is a powerful saboteur of creative expression and can become a roadblock to your success. When you are stuck, it is difficult to bring your unique gifts to the world. You often become frustrated or face financial failure. Muck blocks your ability to be free and follow your heart to live your passion. Clear the muck or the broken systems in your life. This will help you learn how to change gracefully and with less effort than you can imagine. This is why I titled my book How to Master Your Muck—Get Organized. Add Space To Your Life. Live Your Purpose!
What process, steps or exercises do you recommend that our listeners could do right now and each morning, to improve the quality of their lives?
Spend time each morning clearing away the muck in your head with meditation or prayer and then plan what you wish to accomplish that day before you begin working or checking emails. Set your path, before it sets you off your path of greatest fulfillment.
What's the greatest joy in your life?
Sharing my life and creating a deep friendship and spiritual connection with my husband, Rob. Also, helping people move through change with joy, ease and success.
If you had to wrap up the wisdom of your life to leave as your legacy—call it YOUR BRILLIANCE—what important things that you've learned would you want to pass on to others?
If you wish to make significant change in your life, the easiest way is to add space wherever you can in your surroundings and in your mind. It could be as simple as cleaning out your desk drawer or spending a few moments each day in a state of non- thinking in prayer or meditation. When you do this regularly, you will have more space to think more clearly which will help you discover your purpose in life. Once you find your purpose, you will be filled with unbridled enthusiasm, joy and success!
If you had just one more thing that you could accomplish in your lifetime, what would it be?
Wow—what a tough question! I want to stay on the path of my true purpose and follow the lead of my soul in all ways. If I can remain true to myself and stay on that path, I know that I will accomplish great and unexpected things!