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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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In The Other Side of Organized, Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® will encourage you to get organized enough to reduce the stress of life’s details and make time to embrace your passions. Already, thousands of clients and readers have found help and inspiration in her advice, personal reflections on change and connection, and vision of what can be accomplished when you find that sweet spot between chaos and perfection.

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« How to Use That Energy Boost You Get From a Fresh Start | 12 Most Popular Organizing Concepts to Help You Focus »

How to Get a Fresh Start After Embarrassing Yourself

There’s nothing like embarrassing yourself to crave a do-over or fresh start. It’s often a minor perspective shift that helps us to reflect and begin again. How timely that my year started with such an incident.

I was ready for that first Monday back from the more leisurely holiday schedule. I woke up knowing where I needed to be and when. My morning routine resumed with my wake-up alarm, exercises, shower, dressing, breakfast and deskwork. To gear up for the day and week, I double-checked my schedule and list of to dos. The New Year had arrived and I was looking forward to the first organizing session of the year.

Like I often do, I set a timer as my auditory cue, so that I wouldn't be late to my client's. The timer rang so I got ready and left. The day was going as planned. Even with some traffic, I arrived at my client’s on time…or so I thought.

As it turns out, I got there two hours early. My client wasn't home. After some confusion (it still hadn’t occurred to me that I was early), when I realized my mistake about the start time, I explained and apologized to her gracious husband and said I'd return at the correct time. So much for the organizer being organized, right? This was embarrassing to arrive at the wrong time...the really wrong (as in two hours early wrong) time.

Next steps…laugh at self and find the nearest Starbucks. Having this unexpected block of time, I enjoyed slowly sipping a latte and writing this post. I used to write at Starbucks, but hadn’t done that in a while. This was a welcome change of environment. And somewhere during the latte drinking and writing, I came up with a few reminders that helped me shift my perspective and embrace a fresh start. I hope that the lessons I found would be helpful for you the next time you have an incident.


Linda’s New Year's Lessons:

  • Mistakes happen.
  • Discover the gift in those mistakes.
  • Be flexible.
  • Don't assume.
  • Improve looking and listening.
  • Find the humor.
  • You’re human.
  • Add this one to my bloopers reel.


Are there any “situations” you’d like to share with us? What were your takeaways? What helped you to move forward after an embarrassing incident? What allowed you to embrace a fresh start? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation.





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Reader Comments (16)

Oh Linda, I am sure we have all done this, I know I have. I think we are more embarrassed because as organizers we are presumed to be "perfect". I think showing our clients we are as human as them, and can re adjust will only benefit them. Finding the humour is key.

January 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

Off the top of my head, I can't remember being in an embarrassing situation, though it has certainly happened. Maybe I haven't been putting myself out there enough!

January 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

What a funny anecdote. I'm sure all of us have had some funny confusions in our lives. I think is a augury of a great year ahead. Thanks for sharing.

January 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

I agree with Jill on why we would be more embarrassed by this situation than the average person. At least you were early, not late! I am most embarrassed when I call someone by the wrong name. I want to melt into the floor. But your conclusions are right... embrace our imperfections, rectify any wrongs, and move on.

January 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Linda -- We've all done it. I was there to work on the client's home office and she answered the door wrapped in a towel. She was in the shower and I was 30 mins early.

Early however is so much better than 1/2 hour late or 2 hours late.... yep, we're human, laugh it off and move on.

January 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSandy Stelter

What a great way to start the New Year by "hearing" all of you voices! I'm appreciative of the understanding and story sharing.

@Jill- Thanks for normalizing this one. And you're so right that our clients do assume certain things about us. In fact, as you suggested, my client was actually relieved to see my imperfections.

@Janet- You're funny. Maybe a new word to consider for 2016?

@Nacho- Glad you liked the story. I appreciate your thoughts about it being a positive indicator for the coming year. Let's hope.

@Seana- I agree that arriving early was better than late. I can understand being embarrassed by calling someone the wrong name. I've definitely done that (or forgotten someone's name…equally embarrassing.) But as we're all saying here, we're human, not perfect. A bit of forgiveness and humor goes a long way.

@Sandy- It sounds like you had quite the surprise when you arrived early. And I agree with you and Seana that early is better than late. But mostly, acceptance about our humanness…and then move on.

January 5, 2016 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

This post is PERFECT for me today as I just hosted my webinar this morning with new technology and let's just say it was a little rough around the edges! I was embarrassed because I was totally prepared and excited and then things slowly started going wrong. Not exactly my fault but still. However, I'm lucky because I get to fix everything and do it again and better tomorrow! My big takeaway from today was thank goodness I forgot to record the webinar! lol

January 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAutumn Leopold

@Autumn- Congratulations on hosting your first webinar AND for having the guts to work with unfamiliar technology. What a terrific attitude you have with letting go of what you can't control and activating your do-over option to make it better tomorrow. I'll be thinking of you and cheering you on as you go for round two. Good luck! Thank you for sharing your story.

January 5, 2016 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I attend many conferences, and I almost always call somebody by the wrong name. I used to be mortified and obsess about it for months. Now I just go right back up to the person, tell them they've won a prize because I called them the wrong name, and offer to buy them a drink.

January 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterValentina Sgro

@Val- One of the things I've always loved about you is your great sense of humor AND ability to cut through the non-essential and get to the heart of things. You've shared a great example of how you "got over yourself" and turned distress into a game of sorts. You lightened your burden and enhanced the situation. Love this! Thank you for sharing.

January 6, 2016 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love reading posts from my organizer friends like you Linda b/c I get a good story and then a beautiful list breaking down the process on how to move forward!
People with ADHD can get hung up on any one of these steps especially letting go of the mistake. Adding a timeframe for this process - "I will wallow in self pity for 17 minutes!" - helps to move us through the process.
Also humor is such an essential part of this process.

Last Cam thought - It can't be called a process if we don't move through it.:)
Thanks and wishing you a HNY!

January 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCameron Gott

@Cam- So happy you liked the story AND the list…or "process." As you so aptly stated, "It can't be called a process if we don't move through it." The other piece you mentioned is getting "hung up," which is true for everyone. Letting go applies to so many parts of our lives be it physical stuff, unhealthy habits, or perspectives that are no longer useful. Always enjoy hearing your thoughts. HNY to you too…and thank you for joining us!

January 6, 2016 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Love reading all these "humanizing" posts. We hold ourselves to a high standard and gaining of perspective through humor and gratitude keeps us in the groove of what we do. I have too many embarrassing moments to share here. But I am definitely going to save Linda's list and Cam's 17 minutes of wallowing to put to good use in the future.

January 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

@Ellen- Great point about loosening the high bar we set on ourselves through humor and gratitude. That would be an interesting idea for a post to list ALL of our embarrassing moments. For now, I'm happy to just list this one. I'm glad the list I shared along with Cam's "17 minute" idea will be useful for you going forward. I appreciate you being part of the conversation and helping to normalize our human experience.

January 7, 2016 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I think this is a fun start to the new year! Thanks for sharing and for showing the humor in the situation, too. We've all been there. Every last one of us.

Sometimes I'll dwell on a mistake, but for the most part I learn from it and make a course correction so that it doesn't happen again.

January 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlys Milner

@Alys- Great to have you with us for the first post of the year! As you said, we've all been there…and from reading everyone's responses, I can see that it's definitely the case. It's great that you've figured out how NOT to dwell, to instead learn and grow. All great skills to have.

January 8, 2016 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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