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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« Do Watching People Make Changes Motivate Us? | Ask the Expert: Harold Taylor »

What Motivates You to Do Anything?

It all started with a single “yes.” I’m amazed by how this one “yes” has provided me with an ongoing source of motivation.

Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience when one decision motivated a chain of actions.

What was the “yes?” About eighteen months ago, I said, “yes” to the invitation for applying to be on the Board as President-Elect of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD.) I was voted in and took office a year ago. My term ended yesterday as President-Elect. Today begins my first day as President. I’m passionate about ICD and look forward to continuing the great work that’s being done with a fantastic team of volunteers and staff.

There are many positive things that I’ve been motivated to do since making that one decision. What’s possible for you? Consider saying, “yes” to something that stretches you outside your comfort zone. Observe how this motivates your actions. How will motivation appear? These are a few areas where my motivation was supercharged:



I love reading and always have a big, rotating stack of “books to read” on my nightstand. In preparation for my new role, I’ve been motivated to read more books about leadership. Some of the gems have included Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek and Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. To my delight, the pile keeps growing.



Knowing that my new role will demand more of my time, I’ve been motivated to build in guilt-free relaxation time including weekends away. The weekends have provided me with longer stretches to unwind, relax, and think. They’ve included anniversary weekends with my husband in the Hudson Valley and wonderful beach weekends with the girlfriends at The Ocean House B&B on the Jersey Shore. There’s nothing quite like getting away or being by the sea to put things in perspective.



The “yes” motivated me to exercise regularly. The day flows better when I begin with some simple stretching and walking. When possible, I take additional “green” breaks during the day in the woods or by the river. These are rejuvenating and great for my physical and emotional wellbeing.



Journaling, blogging, and letter writing have increased, or at least continued as a result of the “yes.” Writing is one of my creative outlets – a venue to process, develop, and share ideas.



Motivation to try things I’ve never done has accompanied the “yes. Some of these firsts have included taking Comedy Improv classes, doing a Skype interview with Smead, and traveling to Japan later this year to speak at the JALO (Japan Association of Life Organizers) conference.



Even when I was very young, it was always been about people and building relationships. During this time I’ve been motivated to continue nourishing my current relationships while building new ones. I’m grateful for my community of family, friends, colleagues, and readers like you.


Have you made a decision that has motivated you to take other actions? I’d love to hear about your experience? Come join the conversation!

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Reader Comments (16)

Linda, Thank you for sharing how your "Yes!" has resulted in ongoing motivation for you. I've said yes to some things in my life recently that have resulted in a similar domino effect - amazing how one word can have such a long reach.

I wish you the best as you begin your term as ICD President. You're going to be a fabulous president and ICD and its subscribers are lucky to have you (with your incredible energy) at the helm!



July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Sharb

Thank you for sharing this, Linda. Like Andrea, I also find that decisions we make can often have that domino effect. I'm so happy to read about all the positive changes that have occurred for you since making the decision to be ICD's President. We ICD subscribers are lucky to have you lead us!

July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

I feel like I've been doing a bit of leaping myself, especially in promoting my business: radio interviews, joined 2 new organizing groups, Smead podcast:), and some new client challenges. I find it incredibly empowering to take the risk. If it doesn't work out, I've learned. If it does, I've opened a new door.

July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

The theme her is that you said "Yes" to something positive and a lot of positivity came out of that!


July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Sicalides

Saying yes to pursuing another career beside Architecture, have me here. I enjoyed a lot watching organization tv shows, but one day, looking for information I asked myself if being PO could be a good thing for me, I said yes and started this journey. Same happened when I started blogging, several friends kept telling me "you should write about your point of view in different topics" One day said yes and here I am. As Diane says is a domino effect. The yes is a key that opens unexpected doors.
Congratulations on your term as President to ICD.

July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

Always wonderful and inspiring reads, Linda! Taking on new projects have made me adopt "web-free" weekends as much as possible, eve if it's only Sundays, and the pay-off is great. I sleep better and have a quieter mind. My goal now is my morning walk!

July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHelena Alkhas

Congratulations Linda on your "Yes". I think there are different times in our lives when the YES is possible. As I have a young family my YES will be more local, but as my family matures I hope to say YES to things further away and more time consuming. Great article that makes us think. I love your outlook.

July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

Wow oh wow! I'm overwhelmed by your wonderful responses to the "yes" factor and my becoming ICD Prez. Thank you for being here and for sharing your ideas and support. What an amazing group you are!

@Andrea- Ahhh. The "domino effect" of the yes. Love that. I look forward to hearing about all the great things that will be coming your way. It's been wonderful working with you on the ICD Board. I'm going to miss you.

@Diane- I know that one of your recent yeses has resulted in your new book that's about to be published. So exciting! I wish you all the best of success with it.

@Seana- Love how your leaping has resulted in empowerment, learning and new possibilities. Go Seana!

@Anna- You got it! The yes has led to many positive outcomes.

@Nacho- What a wonderful journey your yeses have led you on so far. Love what you said that, "The yes is a key that opens unexpected doors." Beautiful!

@Helena- Sounds like your yes has led to habits new and ready to be formed. For me, when I added "take walk" to my daily to do list, I was able to form that habit.

@Jill- You're so right that there ARE different times in our life for saying yes. Like you, when our girls were young, I only took on projects and volunteer work that was less time intensive. There's a time for everything. It's great that you know which yeses are right for you now.

July 1, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I can think of three times when I've said YES despite hesitation, and they've all been very positive experiences.

1 - when I was asked to join the National Board of Directors for POC to replace a Director who decided to step down mid-term. A valuable experience in itself, I made great industry connections, many of whom later became clients in my VA business.

2 - when I was asked to contact local employers about an upcoming job fair. I blogged about that in 2008 (see ) but I continue to benefit from that experience even now.

3 - when a new VA client wanted me to commit to working for her for 40 hours per month. I'd never agreed to that type of arrangement before, because I wanted to keep my schedule flexible for organizing jobs. It worked out so well that I ultimately gave up organizing so I could focus on my VA clients. And I've never looked back...

Though not adventurous by nature, I do think the comfort zone is highly overrated!

July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Love reading all these positive responses to the "yes" factor.

Truly it is that an initial event sparks us to say yes, that we continue on with the motivation and momentum of that positivity. Like you Linda, when I feel called to lead, to connect with other as a team and do my best work with clients that I feel that momentum.

Thank you for bringing us all together today to think about how and why we take the next step.

And as an ICD subscriber, I am very excited for our industry as you lead us to take the next step together!

July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Yay! So happy that you're both here with us adding your wisdom to the conversation.

@Janet- What great examples of how a single "yes" pushed you through your comfort zone to have some wonderful, life-changing experiences. I love how you said, "you never looked back." Sometimes we don't even realize when we say "yes" to something how many good things will happen because of it.

@Ellen- Love that word, "spark!" Good choice for describing how that momentum or motivation builds. It's exciting that all of you come together here to talk and share. Since we live in different parts of the world and rarely get to meet in person, this is the next best thing. So happy that you're part of the ICD community and that I have your support. Looking forward to leading this dynamic group made up of wonderful Subscribers like you.

July 1, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Keep saying yes Linda! And reap all that comes your way. You deserve all the wonderful yesses that come from another. And aren't we the lucky ones to benefit from the original yes of you as our ICD president!

July 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

Leslie- Thanks so much for your encouragement and support of the "yes" and ICD. I'm excited about the next part of the ICD journey… being on the path with other passionate, intelligent, creative ICD Subscribers like you. Exciting times ahead!

July 2, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Great post Linda - and you are so right about how opening one possibility has a blossoming effect. I've been also thinking about the reverse - what happens when we say, 'no.' Learning to limit options so you have time for what is most important is critical to success (I recently spoke to a group on The Power of Saying 'NO"). However, what about the 'no's' that are through fear or thinking small (the opposite of your blog!). What about the 'no's' that limit us or reinforce negative beliefs? The 'no's' that stem from 'I don't feel like it' or 'why bother?' I wonder if some of those are the hidden precursors of aging, or being dull or discontented... When we say, or think 'no' are we in some way telling the universe to back off, and limit our opportunities as we have limited our activities? Mmmm....

July 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Lasky

Susan Lasky - I have no doubt that what you're saying is true. I know someone who finds it so difficult to step out of their comfort zone that they say 'no' more often than not, and I think they're missing out on a LOT as a result.

July 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Susan- Great to have you with us. Love the word choice, "blossoming effect." Nice. So true that we can also get into the "no" pattern, which at times is appropriate as Jill had mentioned above. However, it's good to examine where that "no" is coming from - fear or overcommitments. Thank you for bringing the other perspective to the conversation.

@Janet- They don't call it "comfort zone" for nothing. And while it's often the easier and more comfortable place to live, staying there too long can limit our experiences. But I recognize that it's an individual's choice. We can't be pushed to explore beyond the zone until we're ready. It just doesn't work that way.

July 3, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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