I went hiking with my fella on the weekend and at the beginning of the walk we went down many steps. As we descended the side of the hill, although we both chatted away, we both had in our minds that we would be coming back up these at the end of our long hike. As we walked and got more tired we started to make comments about the hill that awaited us on the way home---we both dreaded it.
While we thought about and discussed that hill awaiting us, we stopped enjoying where we were now and noticing how lovely it was. It suddenly reminded me of my clients who have a room in their house they are avoiding: it’s the one that has many memories and is very cluttered. They usually steer me into other rooms so that we don't have to go in there. However, they are constantly thinking about having to do that room. They are dreading it. We might open the door but they take one look and quickly shut it again. It is too much to bear.
I was working with a client the other day where this was the case. So I sat her outside the room on a chair with a section of a table that was clear. From her seat she couldn't see inside the room. I collected small handfuls of items and placed them in front of her. She looked at each thing one by one and made a decision for each of them. After a few hours she looked around the corner and was surprised about the amount of area we had sorted and cleaned away.
Sometimes the idea of a project (walking up a hill or organising a room) is too much to conceive. However, once we make a start, little by little, just looking at one step or one piece of paper at a time we will get there, surprisingly fast and without much concern at all. As Mike and I realised when we were at the top of the hill, we looked back and wondered what we had even been worrying about!