Column 01 – Progress NOT Perfection, by The FlyLady, Marla Cilley

Here we are again embarking on a brand new year with all the joys and anticipation that it brings. In 1999 I woke up on New Year’s Day determined to get organized. That determination is what made it happen! The reasons behind that purpose had more to do with fear that people would find out my dirty little secret.

Now I share my shortcomings with the world because if I am having a problem then many of you are too. I am not ashamed of who I am or how I got here. Every bad thing that has ever happened to me has made me who I am today! I am very proud of how I have taken those things from my childhood and not continued to abuse myself with those thoughts and actions. I can’t change those years of growing up; but I can see when I allow that shame to enter back into my life and delete it.

I use everything that happens these days to help teach me a lesson to help others. I look at the situation and say to myself. What am I supposed to learn from this and usually an essay comes from it and maybe even the theme of a new book. Life is too short to just skating from one problem to the next and not use those lessons to teach ourselves how to not repeat them and help others.

Skating is what we do best. Do you remember when you were in school and you did just enough to get by. Instead of reading a chapter that was our homework assignment and answer the questions at the end; we would skip the reading part and go straight to the questions. There we go skating at an early age. We were proud of ourselves for finding a shortcut to getting our homework finished. We were just too stubborn to understand that we were really making more work for ourselves in the long run.

If we had read the chapter, processed the words in a quiet environment and listened in class instead of day dreaming; we could have answered those questions easily. Instead we picked and skimmed the reading looking for the answer. This kind of piecemeal learning robbed us of our education. Did you ever think this is why you can’t remember anything from high school? You were skating to just get by not feeding your hungry brain the knowledge it was starving for. Then came test time; you had to cram instead of using the babysteps of your homework to be able to pass! We thought we were so smart.

This happens today. We are good at hiding it from others. We skate at home and in our work life. At work when you skate you will eventually be found out and your job is at stake. You don’t have that problem at home or do you! You really know the truth and that truth makes you feel guilty. The guilt manifests itself in many ways; weight gain, financial problems, clutter taking over and relationship problems. When we are confronted with our skating; we deflect the attention on us to the problems around us. It doesn’t work; you are found out!

When we skate through life we have our heads down and we don’t see what is going on around us. We are skating as fast as we can and as a result we go round and round in circles; doomed to repeat the mistakes and stay stuck in our ruts. How do we stop this vicious circle that we have created for ourselves?

You join FlyLady to try to get your house in order but you start skating all over again. You just want to jump to the end of the chapter and start answering questions without allowing the process of FLYing to help you find the peace I have promised you. There are no short cuts.

Whenever someone complains that FlyLady is not working for them we ask have you started to declutter your home. Are you getting dressed to lace up shoes? Have you shined your sink? You see you just can’t skip to the end without going though the babysteps that help you get there.

Don’t make it harder than it really is! Take your BabySteps and enjoy the process!

Progress Not Perfection; let’s get out of our ruts, raise our heads and open up our eyes to focus on the prize of peace in our lives!

For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out her website and join her free mentoring group at or her book, Sink Reflections, published by Random House and her New York Times Best Selling book, Body Clutter, published by Simon and Schuster. Copyright 2010 Marla Cilley. Used by permission in this publication. Helping women around the world get their home organized. Copyright 2001 - 2020 FlyLady and Company, Inc.