Expert Interview - Owning Your Happiness
At some point in our lives, we have all felt weighed down by our "stuff". Clutter can creep up on us without us even knowing it. Have you ever tried packing to move and wonder "Where did I get all of this stuff"? It just seems to multiply!
It's a relief to know that there is life beyond all of the "stuff". We had the opportunity to interview Lianne Hofer, founder of The Clutter Consultant, about 'owning our happiness' and 'the myths of more'. Stop letting your stuff own you and work towards being happy without the weight of all the clutter.
Hi Lianne! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us about "owning your happiness"! First, can you tell us about yourself and what you do?
I have been graced with a very full life. One of the most notable moment is when I was 4, while running errands with my mom, I made the decision to BE HAPPY. I watched her pull the vibrancy out of our waitress at lunch that day and just knew there was a different path for me to follow. I carved a life that includes leaving my career in dental and embarking on the path of entrepreneurship. It has not always been easy, this path has been sprinkled with lessons and gifts that I would not change for anything.
The Clutter Consultant, a residential organizing company, empowers women to blossom and serves clients who struggle with the things around them. Interestingly, I started this company because I wanted to organize closets and make some side cash for vacations and trips to the spa. The business became so much richer then I ever dreamed allowing me to discover the grit I did not give myself credit for. I have met truly amazing people and made a difference for many in so many ways.
More recently I studied and earned the title Reiki Master and Master Teacher, even teaching internationally. There is no greater joy then seeing someone experience the universal love of Reiki. I worked with Marci Shimoff, in her inaugural class, as a Happy for No Reason® Certified Trainer so I could share the steps I took to BE HAPPY!! Teaching makes my heart sing when I can make a difference in, and for, someone's life. What a beautiful journey it has been!
I am so curious about "owning your happiness" - tell us what that even means.
When I was 4, running errands with my mom, we went to the local diner for lunch. (I loved going there because they had tile floors and I would wear my "big girl shoes", the pair that clicked when I walked, and they had 2 person booths where I sat across from my mom, like a big girl.) This particular day my mom was in rare form. The waitress came over to the table snapping her gum, swagger in her walk, a bright smile on her face. She took my order, asking about my doll, my shoes (oh those shoes) and making me feel like princess. As she took my mom's order I saw her smile fade, the gum stop snapping and her shoulders slumped. She almost drug her heels away as she walked to get our drinks. I knew in that moment, I would be happy.
The simple act of focusing on becoming happier has a powerful effect. We can't always control what is happening around us but we can control our responses. Watch how often you blame outside circumstances or shame yourself in a situation. When we complain we give our power away. True ownership of happiness is responding like a victor in a circumstance, shift the focus to look for the solution and for the gift or lesson in the moment. When we add making peace within ourselves, happiness will show up. Declare you want to BE HAPPY and make decisions to support that declaration.
We have heard there are two main myths around owning your happiness. What are these myths?
Oh wow, the 'Myth of More'. I feel like so many people get caught up in this. It's so easy to keep accumulating things in order to search for happiness. What can we do about this?
As a residential organizer I have seen this first hand! We seem to believe the more we have the better we will feel about ourselves, our lives and our homes. We are advertised to believe having this "thing" will make us happier. (Look at the grins and laughter in all the advertising, no wonder we subconsciously think this) Seriously, have you seen the Amazon boxes on recycle day at the curb?
One of my clients had a two story closet. It was filled with amazing clothes, shoes and accessories. So much was piled up, the items on the bottom no longer fit AND still had tags. After we pulled 97 boxes of donations and consignment options, there was still 85 wardrobe boxes to move! Take a look in your closet and see if you could part with the dress that doesn't fit anymore or is a bit dated. I did, it was liberating! We all have it, even those of us with a standard sized closet.
Try to love what you have. I employed this technique going through my own cabinet and found a full service of crystal stemware. Pushed to the back. Foggy from sitting unused for so long. I considered these as I washed off years of grease and dust. What do we use? We use chipped, mismatched glasses from some event years ago. What do we have? Gorgeous crystal glasses. In that moment these glasses were liberated to the lower front cabinet for daily use and I feel special when I have a glass of water or iced tea. Dust off those pretty glasses you are saving in the back of the cabinet. Use them for dinner or your next firepit night. See how you feel. You are special and deserve to use the things you have been saving for a special day. The day has arrived!
I have definitely heard so many people say "I will be happy when...". I know this applies to almost all of us (including myself). Please tell us a little bit more about this myth too!
Pay attention to what you say. It is amazing how many times a day we say things like, I will be happy when my co worker changes departments, when I get a raise or promotion, when I get married (or divorced), when I have a baby (baby girl, baby boy, the second baby), when I get that degree, buy that house, retire. Maybe you have used the phrase "I will be happy when I loose 10 pounds!!"
When you are truly happy, you are happy now, in the moment. This myth of being happy when a goal is met keeps us chasing the carrot and not living our best lives. Let's say you enjoy podcasts and the drive to work gives you time for listening to them, unbothered. Maybe that drive to work isn't the worst. Do you enjoy a social life? Heading out on the weekend to meet a new partner may be more fun then you considered? At work, is there someone you work with that you enjoy their sense of humor? Focus on watching for the next one liner they drop.
Notice the sun on your skin, the carefree laughter of children, the birds singing or the notes your kids make for you. Small shifts in focus can make each day happier. These inspired actions help the shift. Our perception of how happy we will be when we attain these landmarks is skewed. How old is your car? How happy were you when you first got it? Are you still that excited to get in it daily? Do you keep it as clean as when it was new? Typically we over estimate how happy we will be when that new job, child or relationship shows up. Being happy with what we have now gives us the ability to have greater, deeper happiness overall.
Do you have any guiding principles to live by in order to be happy and stay uncluttered and organized?
Second, believe that the universe is out to support you. I hear this mentioned a few times a day in general conversation. It is amazing how much support is out there. When a client is struggling with letting something go, I recommend keeping the focus that if that item was meant to be with them it will show up again. One client let go of a book and then wished they had kept it. The next week, what felt like a random gift, was the same book given at work as a reward. The book now had a cool story to go with it as well as being a great title.
The last principle is the Law of Attraction. What you appreciate comes back to you, many times, multiplied. It is the shortcut for happiness. It always surprises me how someone will struggle with letting go of something and once we choose a charity to take the things to, they can walk up to the shelf and pull half of it to give away. Then, I get a call about a promotion at work or a new relationship. When we make room for new things, new things can come to us.
I think so many people have this idea in their head that decluttering and living a more minimalist lifestyle means getting rid of everything. Is this the case?
Being more minimalist is simply living easier with less not that you need to strip down your home to only the essentials. This lifestyle is having things in your space that support your life and the life you want, not clinging to the life you had to get you here. Minimalism is about letting go of spending your free time managing the stuff in your life and actually enjoying every day.
Phew, I know many of our readers will be glad to know that this process does not have to feel overwhelming. Any final words of wisdom we should know?
Make it fun. Small steps. I like to leave a bag in the closet for clothes and one in the kitchen for other things. When it is full, it goes to a local charity. Set a timer, 10 minutes of focused time organizing or letting go is more beneficial than trying to spend a whole day.
Wow, that's great! One more thing about you - Do you have anything exciting you are currently working on?
Currently, I have a first level Reiki class forming and I will be speaking at a retirement community in Florida about letting go to move forward! I am also supporting a book launch discussing mindsets and emotional intelligence and at several networking groups in Charlotte. If your readers would like to take the happiness class I teach, they can connect with me through my website or Facebook page for next dates, as these are ongoing.
Sounds like you have so many amazing things going on! I know our readers will be thrilled to know about the classes you offer. Thank you so much for answering my questions! Before we part, can you tell our readers where to find out more about the amazing work you do, or get in touch with you?
Awesome! I know many people would love to reach out to you to learn more. You know I have to ask this before you go - What are your favorite Roses and Azalea products that you've personally tried?
The Konjac sponge. I bought it for my son for his acne and it made such a difference!! He will use it because it is easy to use and soft. I have ordered two last time (and may have put the second one in my own shower)! Next order I am excited to try the pure sponge from the latest additions.
This was such a powerful reminder that happiness is not ultimately derived from things, and such a timely message as we move into this holiday season.
If you are wanting to start on the path of decluttering your home or life, learn more about Reiki, or take one of her classes on happiness, Lianne is a wealth of knowledge. Feel free to visit her website or reach out to her directly.
As the holiday season is starting to come closer, and we head into the final months of 2020, I am wishing you much happiness, joy, and health❣
Website | liannehofer.com
Facebook | facebook.com/TheClutterConsultant
Instagram | @AwakeningHappiness