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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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How Authentic Decisions Lead to Growth and Possibilities

We need self-trust in order to make decisions. When we make choices using our best, authentic self we have the opportunity to grow and seek exciting possibilities. Having just returned from the Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) conference in Toronto, I noticed a theme of decisions, growth and possibilities during my journey.




Colette Robicheau, Linda Samuels and Karen SencichOver 22 years ago, I decided to become a professional organizer. Because of that decision, I’ve had the opportunity to develop wonderful relationships with my organizing colleagues. When I was in Toronto, I conversed, laughed, and learned with some of my long-standing and new colleagues from Canada and the United States. While classroom settings are fine, there’s something special about the impromptu learning that happens when engaged in direct conversations. In addition to the colleagues I featured in the following paragraphs, I also treasured the lively conversations I had this week with Colette Robicheau, Karen Sencich, Marie Potter, Leslie Josel, Regina Lark, Georgina Forrest, Jennie Vlietstra, and Christine Janes.



Linda Samuels, Stephanie Deakin and Ellen FayeOne of my greatest joys in Toronto was spending time with POC, NAPO, and ICD leadership. Making the decision to accept a leadership role as ICD President has given me a seat at the table with some of the most brilliant, compassionate leaders in our industry. There’s nothing more growth and possibility provoking than talking with inspiring leaders like Stephanie Deakin, POC President and Ellen Faye, NAPO President. It's been so rewarding to connect with them at our industry conferences. Congratulations, Stephanie on your successful conference! What a fun, engaged group.



Jill Robson and Linda SamuelsNo matter how we connect with people, there’s always a social aspect. In the case of one particular group, our connections began through social media and blogging. My decision to join this community about five years ago brought me in contact with wonderful people from all over the world. At the POC conference, I had the opportunity to mesh the virtual with actual by having a chance to see some of my Canadian friends in person like Jill Robson (first time ever!), Heather Burke, and Janet Barclay. There’s nothing quite so special as being face to face. What amazing conversations we had (this time in person) about family, organizing, blogging, mindfulness and more.



Laurene Livesey-Park and Ruth Betz-EssingerAside from my choices that resulted in growth opportunities and enhanced my possibility thinking, I wasn’t the only one making positive decisions this week. When it was announced at the annual meeting that there weren’t enough POC Board members as per the Bylaws, three POC members stood up to self-nominate. This ignited the energy in the room. The volunteers that stepped up made choices that will bring positive results and possibilities for POC and for them individually.


Linda Samuels and Alison LushIn addition, there were many POC attendees that wanted to learn more about ICD’s education about chronic disorganization. At the Expo, the ICD booth had lots of enthusiastic visitors. For ICD’s Basic CD class, the room was packed. As a result, many POC members decided to join ICD, take teleclasses, research info on the ICD website, and purchase publications. They’ve made education a priority so they can better help and understand their chronically disorganized clients. Special thanks to Ruthann Betz-Essinger, Laurene Livesey-Park, and Alison Lush for talking with potential ICDers, organizing the ICD booth, and helping with the class. It was a bonus to have time to hang out with you!


Making authentic decisions based on what we value leads to growth, opportunity, and possibilities. What have you noticed about decision-making and possibilities? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join our conversation.





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Reader Comments (22)

Some of my clients struggle making decisions. They worry that they will make a wrong decision so they procrastinate. However; procrastinating is in itself a decision. They are deciding not to decide! That's sort of like treading water - working hard to stay in the same place, working hard to go no where. Some decisions, even after weighing all the pros and cons can leave you wondering if you've made the 'right' choice. Making a choice, a decision to take action, puts you in control. Even if the decision turns out to be 'wrong' the hidden benefit can be personal growth and experience.

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

@Diane- You've described decision-making, procrastination, and growth so well. Making decisions are challenging at times, especially ones that take us outside our comfort or "known" zone. But you make a good point that making "a" choice gives us control over an outcome. It places us on a path, which can lead to amazing experiences.

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Love this post on decisions. Its like a circle - good decisions lead to more confidence with decisions, more confidence leads to growth, and then more growth leads to thinking about what else is possible. As you have suggested in this post, it's about the resources, energy and people you have around you that empower decisions, growth and possibilities. I am always reminded that creating a team makes all the difference for me, my clients, colleagues, and social media connections.

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Linda, I can honestly say starting my career as a Professional Organizer and attending this years conference were the best career decisions I have ever made. I agree with everything you said in the post. Meeting your colleagues in person cements the relationship on a deeper level, I am energized by the conference, and I think that will spread into our POC chapter and into my work with my clients. I look forward to spending time with you again in person and meeting even more colleagues in Vancouver next year.

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

I love the connections we make in a social setting. There is nothing like the way we relate over food... sounds silly, but sharing a meal helps us to take off our masks and be more like our authentic selves. I wish I could have been there and met some blogging friends. We "up our game" when we share and learn from one another.

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Ellen- What a great image…decision-making as a circle. I love that! And you're so right that good decisions beget more good decisions by building that confidence muscle. From there, the doors open to growth, learning and possibilities. I appreciate you bringing up the idea of "team" and the many areas we can build them. Essential!

@Jill- What a testament to you with your willingness to make these life-changing decisions. But in addition to making the decisions to become an organizer and attend the POC conference, you also are reflecting about the positive outcomes you have and will continue to see. So many exciting things ahead. This is wonderful! I can't wait to see you again too (in person.) For now, I'll be happy with "seeing" you in the blogosphere.

@Seana- Were your ears ringing? Your name came up in Toronto. I wish you could have been with us too. I can't wait to see you next month for the NAPO-CT conference. You're absolutely right about relating over food. It's a relaxed way to gather and share ideas, all while bonding over delicious tastes. We learn so much from "being" together…in the many ways. But for me, that face to face time is absolutely precious. It's a full body, visceral experience that transcends the written word.

October 27, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

What a terrific post. And being there first hand with you in Toronto I had a front row seat to it all. Although you didn't say it specifically, what I gleaned from your post is that decision making is also a balance -- listening to yourself, your head, your heart and feeling your way based on your authentic self while balancing the energy, resources, education and learning around you. When you put those together, to Ellen's point, it creates that team that enables you to feel confident in your decision making. Loved this!

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterleslie josel

Linda, First I want to say it was so great to see your smiling face again at our POC conference!
I have always loved to volunteer. Getting involved with POC--at the Chapter and Board level--has opened up a world of growth and possibility that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. Yes, it's made for a busy life--a little too busy at times--but I wouldn't change a thing. And even though I have completed my time on the Board, the connections that I've made will last a lifetime. It is those connections that will help my business grow in ways that I couldn't have imagined.
I love to learn and will continue to do so by getting back to my ICD courses. I also plan to attend the 2016 conference in Portland. Can't wait--this year's conference in Cleveland was another great ICD experience.
Thank you Linda for being such a great connector.

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Mendler

Thank you Linda for this inspiring post which has already sparked many wonderful contributions!
How I now frame my own decision-making: I believe that 1) my senses take in much more than I realize, 2) all that is subconsciously combined with my previous knowledge (including everything I am unaware of having learned), 3) it is all processed as if by a CPU (subconsciously) and what pops out at the end, I refer to as my "instincts". I cannot see or cite the underlying arguements, but I believe they exist. In the past five years have been experimenting with trusting these instincts as the basis for many decisions, and I've experienced a huge success rate. (In her POC Conference session on Blogging, @Janet Barclay also underlined the importance of authenticity.)
The conversation you are encouraging here is important and valuable for all of us. Thank you!

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAlison Lush

Linda, this is a wonderful synopsis of your conference experience. Thank you so much for mentioning me!

I couldn't agree more with what you say about the impromptu learning that takes place when colleagues get together. One of my favorite quotes (which appeared on one of the slides in my presentation about blogging) is:

"A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

It was so lovely to see you again at POC Conference. I'm just sorry we didn't have more of an opportunity to catch up. This is a delightful and provocative post; a wonderful synopsis of the weekend and thoughtfulness for us to enjoy. Thank you.

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn Caldwell

@Seana, I totally agree with what you said.

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

"Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on. Growth demands that we move on. Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck, never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them." Henry Cloud

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Mendler

What a great synopsis of the POC Conference Linda! It was so wonderful seeing you again and I am so happy we were able to grab a few minutes to catch up.

And what a wonderful topic. Authentic Decisions - brilliant!

My decision to attend conference this year came with a lot of processing. There is a whole lot of stuff going on at the personal level and I wasn't sure the timing would work this year. As it turns out, it was the best decision I could have made. Much of my learning did not come out of the sessions I attended - although there was learning there too. It was through those moments of connection with my colleagues that have become people I call friends - this definitely includes you dear Linda - that will propel me towards growth ... and knowing the possibilities are endless!

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGeorgina Forrest

How wonderful to "hear" all of your lovely voices!

@Leslie- Great pulling together of the pieces! And yes…completely agree with you that in the best scenarios there is a balance that accompanies decision-making.

@Cathy- It was awesome seeing you in Toronto too. I love POC organizers. Everyone is so friendly and enthusiastic.The POC Board has been fortunate to have you as a volunteer these past five years. It's great that you notice growth from your experiences. I'm thrilled that you're going to "get back" to your ICD classes and can't wait to see you in Portland. It'll be wonderful to cross paths again.

Thank you also for the fabulous Henry Cloud quote. That's a keeper…and so are you!

@Alison- What a beautiful description and awareness of your personal decision-making process. I love how you honor yourself by careful listening and sensing. Have you read Malcolm Gladwell's book, "Blink." What you describe as "instinct" or what I sometimes refer to as "gut" or "intuition" is what Gladwell talks about. Experts will know an answer in a moment without being able to analyze why. That "knowing" comes from all that you've described.

@Janet- I loved your blog synopsis too. I was impressed by how much you captured. I realized that while I visited the vendors and attended the sessions, what I came away with most was the time spent talking with people. Thank you for sharing here the wonderful Longfellow quote. How true it is! I'm adding it to my collection now.

October 27, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

This conversation keeps getting better. Thank you for stopping by to share.

@Carolyn- It was fantastic seeing you too. We'll have to catch up at the next conference, if not sooner. Are you still smiling? Congratulations for winning the prestigious Harold Taylor Award. How wonderful to be selected by your peers for this honor.

@Georgina- I'm so glad we grabbed those chairs when we did. I loved catching up with you. One thing I've noticed is that most of us have "stuff" going on. Life is rarely simple. But even with the stuff that can pull us off track, it's amazing the energy we can get when we decide to embrace those areas of our lives that are growth-inducing (like attending conferences, conversing with friends, traveling, volunteering, stepping outside our comfort zones.) I'm so glad that even with all your "stuff," you decided to be in Toronto. And I'm with you 100%…the possibilities are endless. Keep me posted.

October 27, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

How always lovely and sweet you are with a strong splash of understated wisdom .... to my friend and amazing leader - Linda. As I write in this little box, an inner smile shines from within.

October 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMarie Potter

@Marie- Now you're making ME smile. Thank you for your words of support. I'm so glad we made time this week to talk. And by the way, I forgot to mention how fantastic the new POC site looks. You and your team are doing a great job with the redesign. It's clean and fresh. Keep me posted on the launch.

October 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thanks for sharing Linda! I agree with you about opening yourself up to opportunities for growth and making education a priority - Monica Ricci challenged me on the SIG leaders call the other night and I was a little panicked but later realized she was right - much growth has resulted in situations out of our comfort zones. I also like the people I see in leadership roles, like you and Sheila Delson and want to be around them more, so yes, I will be open to more possibilities like this!

October 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Deinstadt

@Andrea- I'd love to hear more about Monica's "challenge." And I absolutely agree that growth comes from the challenges we face and the opportunities we are willing to accept that ARE outside our "zones." One of the great joys of being in leadership is access to all the amazing leaders. They're inspiring, passionate and dedicated. I get so much energy from being around them, so I completely understand your desire to do more of that. Just remember…you ARE one of the leaders. If it weren't for you, we wouldn't have our thriving NAPO Westchester Neighborhood group. Look how you've helped our group to develop. My deepest gratitude for you.

October 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

"When we make decisions on what we VALUE." That's one of the first questions I ask of an organizing or coaching client. It is a big question I consider when I decide where to put my volunteer time.

Values play a key role in significant relationships, financials, free time uses, whom I choose for friends, our reactions and responses.

We are so much happier when we know that we are (a) aware of what we do value and (b) can see the values in our daily lives and (c) we know we are not compromising our values.

November 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSue West

Sue- Ahhh. I can see how important that "VALUE" is in your life. I love how this is one of the first questions you ask of your clients. And it looks like you understand how it influences your own choices. Your clarity is beautiful.

November 2, 2015 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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