Stand Out

“How will joining take me to the next level?”

Last month, I was contacted by a woman who wanted to know more about NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals). Because I have been a board member of NAPO Chicago for several years, I field this type of inquiry from time-to-time. Most of her questions were about how NAPO would take her business to the “next level.” I invited her to join me as a guest at our next meeting.

The truth is, NAPO will not propel her to the next level unless she is ready to do the work. We will be there to provide education, networking, coaching, social media influence, a national conference for productivity and organizing professionals, etc. But we cannot shout about her from her rooftops. That she has to figure out for herself. She has to determine if she ready to, “stand out.”

For most of my life, I was quiet about “standing out.” I was raised to be politely humble and I guess I interpreted that to mean something along the lines of, “don’t make a scene.” This worked out pretty well because I skewed more toward the introvert side and blushed when too many people looked at me at once.

But now, because of my years as owner and founder of Declare Order Professional Organizing,  “standing out” feels like a celebration! I have turned my unique perspective into an asset. In fact, I seek out ways to “stand out.”

In six years, I went from knowing next-to-nothing about running a business to being interviewed ABOUT my business via podcast in Los Angeles! I am considered an “expert” in my field and recently taught a Continuing Education Class at a local community college. This summer, I was contacted by an on-line service professionals start-up to be included in their list of “Top 8 Organizers in Chicago.” (And no, they did not ask for a fee.)

Being an entrepreneur has taught me to be comfortable standing out. When I started on this path, I did not know that it what it would teach me! So to that woman who came with me to the meeting (and any other quietly productive entrepreneurs out there), “Put your whole self in! And stand out.”

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