top of page

That Won't Work For Me.


Yes, you are! I am, too.

It's not such a bad thing.

It's a rare person that has no resistance. It's the inner voice that says, "Slow down a bit. Think about what this means." It's a built-in response that helps keep us safe by stopping us from leaping without looking.

Automatic resistant responses, though, can also stop us from positive modifications to how we spend our time and money, use our things and environments, and think about what's working for us and what's not.

When people want a change, there is a wide range of professionals ready to help. From therapists, coaches, organizers, decorators, and accountants, to engineers, travel agents, surgeons, and car dealers, there are plenty of people ready to help clients find an answer to the question of, “How can I….?”

Decades ago, when I started organizing professionally, I was naively surprised, and a bit puzzled, that people, especially those with a history of chronic disorganization, would resist any change in their habits of how they managed their time, information, and their stuff. After all, they had called me to help them do just that.

While I couldn’t command them to buy a certain car, or prepare their overdue taxes, I had answers to their questions about, “How can I organize my calendar to get everything done? What’s the best way to track emails? Which way should I do this? Where is the best place to put these things? Would you help me figure out a few ways to improve this issue at work?”

We’d usually figure out a solution to their question, together. Yet, for some people, it seemed no answer or solution was the “right” one. I'm fairly patient, yet admit that even I got a little frustrated.

Then I realized there was another factor in the mix that was practically an entity: resistance.

“We have met the enemy,

and he is us.”

I learned to listen for resistance’s roar that was sometimes a whisper:

· I can’t do it that way.

· That won’t work for me.

· I don’t like how that looks.

· I’m too creative for that.

· It’s not that bad.

· My spouse is just uptight.

· My boss is overly picky.

I discovered that sometimes those statements are true and provide an avenue for discussions that lead to better solutions.

But sometimes “resistance” statements are automatic defenses against a change that feels uncomfortable, like a lot of changes seem initially.

Is the resistance based on:

· A bad experience?

· Caution?

· Lack of time, space, or money?

· Habit?

We can work with that. Let’s recognize resistance’s voice and see what happens when we poke a few holes in its inflated logic.

Tell me what you’re thinking. If this idea doesn’t work for you, what about that one?

Whoosh, the hot air of reflexive opposition dissipates.

Try a little change, a slight adjustment, a small step toward what you want. One degree of adjustment changes the destination.

I don’t need to be a therapist to recognize resistance when I see it, but I do know when it’s time for a client to chat with a therapist to try to work through the hold it has over someone.

When there is no acceptable answer, no solution, no trick, tip or idea, or discussion that can help improve a client’s professed need, I know it might be time for a therapist or other resources that can help you learn to listen to your inner voice that’s asking for attention.

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

· Do you hear yourself when you resist a change, a suggestion?

· Are you habitually resistant to certain people or philosophies?

· What are you resistant to?

· Share a time when you were initially resistant and later were happy you tried something new?


bottom of page