Leap and the net will appear – Mary Carlomagno

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By Mary Carlomagno

Leap and the net will appear is an ancient philosophy that encourages one to dive head first in to unknown circumstances while remaining confident in the courage of the leap. I am pretty sure that whoever came up with this notion never wrote a novel. I am familiar with the idea of leaping, after all, I am a regular at a Barre class taught by a former Prima Ballerina. I know exactly what it feels like to leap into unknown circumstances.

As a professional organizer, I have leapt plenty, parlaying a layoff from book publishing into a new career as a nationally recognized expert with a penchant for writing what she knows, predominantly shopping and closet organizing.

Heck, I have even been on Oprah helping other over indulgent shoppers. I was not scared then. So why does the notion of writing a novel scare me more than anything I have ever faced in my career?

The answer is simple. I believe in my heart that Judy Blume, Jhumpa Lahiri, Susan Minot, Diana Gabaldon, Richard Ford, Amy Tan, Philip Roth, John Irving, and Helen Fielding may be personally annoyed with my writing a book. And those are just the living authors that might take umbrage. I shudder to think what F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austen, or Edith Wharton might say! I believe that I am not worthy to be in their company. This fear debilitated me for ten years.

After I wrote my first non-fiction book, I quickly shelved the first draft of my novel and went back to writing prescriptive articles about how to organize a mega shoe collection and how to find color chromatic file folders that capture your true personality. Along my path of avoidance came many more clients, many of whom were fighting their own fears: like exiting Nordstrom without purchasing or throwing away a “perfectly good” plastic bag. These examples show how resilient people can be when moving out of their comfort zones. I would encourage these clients to engage in the process of doing rather than focusing on how things will turn out. This philosophy has moved many of my clients from managing the anxiety they feel about the project to managing the project itself. Perhaps there are more correlations between my organizing life and my writing life than I thought?

And suddenly, the ancient philosophy starts working its magic. Leaping without the knowledge of what the outcome will be is exactly the point. The power comes in the leap itself. If you don’t leap, you will never know what’s possible.

Mary Carlomagno is a bestselling author, organizer, speaker and spokesperson specializing in helping individuals and groups embrace simplicity in everyday life. She is one of the nation’s leading experts on organizing and a frequent contributor on national television, radio and print. Best Friend For Hire is out now.


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