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Decluttering, Personal Branding, Success: the benefits and why it is all critical

At the end of this blog post please download the personal re-branding file.

I recently decluttered again. It's the 10th time this year. Each time I do it, it hurts more. I know that it shouldn't hurt, it should feel good, but it doesn't.

The time before this, I went through my shoes. In that collection of very expensive shoes were a pair of Gucci shoes I bought for more that $1,000 and wore twice. That's $500 a wear. I've had those shoes for 10 years or even longer. So, the storage has cost me probably another $1000. So, it's $1000 a wear for shoes I don't like wearing. I also threw a pair of R.M.Williams boots I love, and a gorgeous pair of swede riding boots. It hurt but there were benefits.

The benefits are obvious. Clean and simplify. If I didn't wear it in the last 6 months, it rises to the "soon to go" list. My sister and brother are the complete opposite. They never ever let go. And in throwing these things I love away, or selling, or putting in the Opp-shop, I understand why they hang onto things.

I realise the pain comes not from letting go a pair of shoes, but more about what they represent. The Gucci shoes are from an era of global stage presentations, a time I loved, and no longer do. I guess the shoes mean letting go that aspect of my life too. The R.M.Williams gorgeous boots are my standard outfit for "bush chris" the me I was during the ten years presenting in Canada. (I rarely wore boots in Australia too hot). So, when I look at those shoes they are a part of my story, my identity, and letting them go, is never ever easy (unless something went wrong and you really want to forget the past).

Another letting go process I went through was my amazing Himalayan trekking gear. I had nothing but the best and when that gear suddenly went into the "declutter" list, it hurt like hell. My spine surgery is successful but I will, for the sake of self-preservation" never carry a heavy pack again up mountains, so, the gear and the packs had to go. I would have found it easier to amputate a foot with a pen knife, the gear represents a part of me I love so much, I even have a picture on my desk of me with all the pack on in the Himalayas. I love that "identity" - letting go the pack, the tents, the sub zero sleeping bag was not just a financial heartache, but more a crisis of identity.

If you'd asked me 24 hours before the "declutter" I would have denied the existence of this historic attachment to the old me. But standing looking at the virtually perfect trekking gear and knowing that I'd not used it for a few years and probably never would, hurt like hell.

In both the declutter of shoes and trekking gear, I found the best fit solution. I didn't sell things. I found someone who would appreciate and use them, and gave the gear away. It felt good to find a new home for my gear and giving things with generosity, fed my identity as a nice person.. I guess. Either way, I have no regrets and more space in my life for the future.


Our goals and ambitions require an identity. If you wish to become a superhero, it's wise to wear the clothes and cape of a superhero. Hence, the books on our book shelves and shoes in our cupboard play a crucial role in the creation of an identity we wish to become. This is a key to success.

Recently a client faced the need to upgrade their car and it became a nightmare not between car choices but between aspirations. There were choices of cars that suited the family, cars that suited a wealthy entrepreneur and cars that sort of did both. The range in car prices was inconsequential although it was up to $100,000. The range in aspiration was even wider. Hence, decluttering is key because identity is revealed in material choices.

The Gucci shoes I gave away, were an identity worth far more than the price of the shoes. The trekking gear was representative of a business strategy worth far more than the gear. And all those things, shoes, tents, jackets and sleeping bag are immediately replaceable - but that wouldn't work. You see, it's the enthusiasm under which we accumulate these objects that reveals their value to us. When I bought each item of trekking gear, after painstakingly researching the best of the best, the cost wasn't the decider, the impression, the representation became the value of the goods. My trekking gear is, or should I say, was, irreplaceable. I could even spend $20,000 to buy the best but it would be a meaningless purchase to replace what may have cost me $20,000 and was worth to me $1,000,000. Things have a worth far greater than their value.

Things have a worth far greater than their value.. - Leonardo da Walker

Take time for example: the time spend sipping pina colada, can be valued at zero because the individual just wants to escape life, or it can be valued in terms of seduction of a priceless love or the building of a powerful relationship. Time has a value and when we attach things to it, like enthusiasm, impression, inspiration that time becomes priceless. It can't be replaced.

Motive changes everything... trekking gear bought for the cheapest price, shoes bought for impressing others, time spent escaping life all carry with them the stigma of failure. A sad day at the office, a moment of expressed or repressed frustration, angry judgements, these and more penetrate our motives and make whatever we create, disposable and worth only the residual of what we paid for it.

When I worked in Canada there was a shop in Vancouver that sold Porsche design luggage very very cheap. I bought so much from that shop and always in the spirit of building my business. I justified every expense as a representation of the success I demonstrated to legitimise my teachings. My brief case, my suitcases and more were of the most beautiful leather and designed by craftspeople out of Germany. Recently I realised that this "impression" or "personal brand" no longer suited the identity of who I now represent in the global market. I found people I really thought suited those products much more than me and helped them in encouraging their own rebranding.

RE- Branding You and the Art of Declutter

There is a "thing" called the law of averaging. It means when two people meet and form a relationship, the net result will be an averaging of the standards of both. A backpacker in Sydney meets a tycoon from the USA and fall in love. Their net worth averages, their self worth averages, their self-respect averages. This may turn out to be to the benefit of both. She, the tycoon might thrive on a more calm and relaxed lifestyle with a joint at night and a villa in Byron Bay. He might start that business he was thinking about. Either way, there's an averaging effect. Both lose, both win.

So rather than declutter in moving from relationship to relationship, a process that changes identity, one can, on a regular basis look at themselves in the mirror and ask what needs to be re-branded. This involves three steps:

  1. What are my goals, independent of my relationship, for the next three years.
  2. What do I need to let go of that helped me get from the past to the present.
  3. What do I need to have in order to treat myself as I wish to become. (see #1) for details.

Each coaching contract I do with clients involves serious rebranding. There is no better word for it. Re-branding.

Re-inventing yourself has an even more accurate connotation. It means to shift gears. But to reinvent yourself we need to reverse engineer you.

Reverse Engineering Yourself

Once you have completed your VIP process, you will know the you - you wish to become. The entire purpose of a vision setting program is behavioural change. So, in setting your vision for the next few years you'll also be declaring the you you need to become in order to get to those outcomes. Confused?

The you that is you, right now, got you to here. Kicking and screaming you made it to here. Well done. However, there's a caveat on the congrats. And that is, the you that is you isn't good enough to be the you that you want to be. Gaining ground, improving your career, transforming your wealth, improving your love life, travelling to far off lands and being super fit, the current you can't achieve it. If it could, you'd be it.

If you were good enough to achieve who you want to be, you'd already be it. - Leonardo da Walker

Treat yourself as you wish to become.

Treat yourself as you wish to become.

If you're thinking: "when I become fitter or faster or better or bigger" I'll be happier, sink that thought right now. Never have more people failed in life from any other single piece of BS than this. It's the nightmare on nightmare that makes covid 19 look like kindergarten. More have died from the "someday I'll" philosophy than any war. And you can blame all this on those who sell "motivation."

Motivation is the promise that if you do x,y,z you'll be happy. And if it weren't for nature, it'd be true. However, nature predates motivation, it beats it. What nature says is "hahaha so, you're going to be happy when you get to ..... but by the time you get there, I'm going to create yet another x,y,z bigger and bolder and smarter than the last one. I'm going to keep that happiness just out of reach. Go on, chase it....

Universe, god, nature, buddha, whatever you subscribe to has already given you everything you need to have what you want. However we handcuff ourselves to the past and find it hard to realise that other behaviours are available and needed to get us where we want to go. We tighten our shoes so tight we can't walk and then set the map to the road ahead. It sounds stupid, and it is.

Reverse engineering simply asks you to become the person now who achieves the goal you have in the future. That person might be less emotional, more discerning, less frustrated, more elegant, more sophisticated, less clumsy. These are decisions, not therapeutic process. We must become who we need to be in order to achieve our goals and stay contented.

Nobody treats you better or worse than you treat yourself so, it's wise to start here when moving in the direction of your goals. This is the first step in reverse engineering your brand you. Find out how a person who achieves your outcomes in the next two years behaves once they achieve them. More disciplined, earlier nights, study, diet, exercise. This is not self improvement, it's goal achievement. Targeted changes you need to implement now to become the person who has achieved your goals. It's incredibly powerful and will always require declutter.

Setting those goals for the future is situational. If you are stressed and set goals as a stress escape you'll fall short of inspiring goals. If you are too fearful of dying you'll be conservative or the opposite can be true too. So setting goals with a coach becomes a really important aspect of your monthly coaching process.

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