Five Leadership Lessons From Moving House

Five Leadership Lessons From Moving House Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

We have been moving house, the first time in over twenty years and I’m glad we waited. I can’t imagine doing this regularly. Admittedly, we had twenty years of stuff to move, donate or dispose of. A task that has seemed more daunting than some of the mountains I’ve climbed. At the same time I’ve learned a lot and it has some similarities to common leadership challenges I see. Here are five leadership learnings.

#1 You have to move with the change.

We moved to a much smaller house and with it comes a change in mindset. There is much less space to store things. We have much less privacy and we get to spend more time together. Change is a constant theme but when it happens we expect to carry on as though nothing has happened. Instead, we will be better served to think about how we need to change to align with the changes around us.

#2 Don’t avoid making the tough decisions.

I held on to too many things that I was never going to use again. It was easier to find a space to store it than decide to give it up. We do this every day with our ‘to do’ lists. They contain a list of things we’d like to get to but for many we never will. We are better served to make the tough decision and say no.

#3 Something unplanned will happen.

It always will. None of us can predict the future perfectly and there will always be surprises. Mine was disconnecting the washing machine to find the faucet leaked. Not great when you are getting ready to sell the house and have painters starting. At the same time, we couldn’t have predicted it so we dealt with it. No big deal in the end but we could have made it so much bigger and more stressful. Do you know what I mean?

#4 It will get worse before it gets better.

When we started packing, it was almost fun and it felt rewarding. Over time this feeling diminished until I started to wonder if we would ever be done. We seemed to have endless amounts of things stashed in every space in the house. We did empty the house and in the end it felt good. When you take on something difficult, it may be exciting at first but it will get tough. Remember, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

#5 Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

Perhaps the most important. When you are working through a challenge, it is easy to get down on yourself. We get tired and irritable, at least I do. We are probably not at our best. It’s ok because we are human. This doesn’t mean its ok to be a jerk, but we also needn’t chastise ourselves for anything that goes wrong. It’s part of the journey.

I hope your moving house experience was less stressful than mine. If it wasn’t, I hope you learned something from it!

Comments (6)

Thanks Andy, I will be keeping these thoughts in mind as we endeavor to remodel our kitchen.

Good luck with the remodel! As I’m learning with our house build, agreeing expectations upfront is key.

Andy what great parallels. Made me think about applying Marie Kondo’s “Life Chaing Magic of Tidying up” when it comes to meetings or projects. You can acknowledge that the project/meeting served a purpose at the time and now it no longer does. Honor the contribution and say goodbye!

Interestingly I started reading Marie Kondo’s book over the weekend and yes you can apply it to meetings. Great point!

Things rings so true! We just moved into a new home in Jan and sold our former home last week. The time in between allowed us to ease into the move, EXCEPT for the last 2 weeks! We had so many little things in the old house that would have been resolved with #2 AND the compassion and the focus on the journey was not always obvious and will be something that I recognize gets lost in the shadows of perfectionism in other threads of my life. I am holding on to that nugget and applying it elsewhere now, THANK YOU!

Letting go of things is so hard.I was brought up not to waste things but I realize now I needed to have a tougher assessment of did I really need this in the first place and do I need it now.

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