Make A Clean Sweep

Sometimes, we must get rid of something old in order to make space for a new thing. We may need to give up an old goal or dream in order to have the energy to pursue a new and better goal and dream. Sometimes, we need to make a clean sweep.
 make a clean sweep
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Imagine you have more. Not more things. Not more demands on your time. Not more projects. Not more stuff to take care of. No, imagine you have more . . . More space. More freedom. More time. More energy. What would that look like for you?

I’m not in the habit of reading obituaries in the local paper, but one caught my eye recently. It described all the many things this particular person had accomplished and concluded with “he lived a big life”. Now, I didn’t know this man but my guess is that he lived simply with little unnecessary complexity. It’s difficult to accomplish much without the space, time, and energy to focus on the important matters.

“Hold Your Dreams Lightly”

In “Step 24. Simplify Everything” of The 28 Laws Of Attraction, Thomas Leonard writes that we must “hold [our] dreams lightly and not squeeze the soul out of them.” He urges us to “stay open to the possibility that you might ultimately fulfill them in some great way that you haven’t even dared to think of yet.” [Leonard]

Sometimes, we must give up a specific outcome in order to make way for – dare I say it? – a better result. “If you start now to simplify your life considerably, you’ll be creating the space to respond well to all the new stuff. Without a lot of space, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed.” [Leonard]

A Dream Abandoned

In my late teens and early twenties, I had a great dream of being a writer. And I did some writing – poetry and songs. I even began a Brautiganesque novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mad Dog.

I kinda, sorta thought of myself as a writer, but the truth is I did more thinking and dreaming and talking about writing than I did in actually writing. This half-formed dream stood in the way of my making much progress in my life.

A Dream Fulfilled

But in my late twenties, in a serendipitous (or so I thought at the time) event, I enrolled in the computer programming course at my local community college. I became a programmer.

Right away, I could tell this was a good fit for me. It required logical thinking and the ability to simplify abstract tasks into specific steps. And it satisfied my urge to write like nothing else ever had. I was writing (albeit computer programs) and being creative and actually getting paid to do it!

Stay Open to the Possibilities

I feel pretty sure I would never have had much success as a songwriter, poet, or novelist. I didn’t have the burning desire to keep me focused on what I needed to learn and do.

But by “staying open to the possibility” that I might fulfill that creative desire in another way, I stumbled upon a way to “fulfill them in some great way that [I hadn’t] even dared to think of yet.”

I just needed to be willing to accept that there were multiple ways to reach my ultimate goal.

Why Simplify?

Sometimes dreams represent themselves, Leonard writes, and “sometimes they represent other wishes in disguise.” [Leonard] That was certainly the case for me. Once I let go of a dream that wasn’t working, I opened up to the possibilities. And found my calling.

But what if you don’t even have time to dream? What if you are so focused on one specific outcome, you can’t see all the other possible outcomes? Or what if you are so inundated with stuff and commitments and obligations that you feel tied down and stuck in place, smothered?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it might be helpful to take steps to free up your time, your space, and your energy.

Maybe it’s time to make a clean sweep.

Make a Clean Sweep

Thomas Leonard was the “father” of the life coaching concept. He created a number of programs for coaches to use with their clients or for people to use on their own to improve themselves.

One of these programs he called “Clean Sweep”. The Clean Sweep Program consists of 100 actions that enable you to free up space, time, and energy. The program focuses on four areas: environment, health and emotional balance, money, and relationships.

Leonard also helped co-found Coachville, the largest online Coaching community of its day. It is the repository for the different programs Thomas Leonard developed. Here you can find a copy of the Clean Sweep program. I encourage and challenge you to work through this program. As Leonard writes in the program introduction: “You have more natural energy when your environment, health and emotional balance, money, and relationships are all operating at a high level.”

Make Room to Dream

Often, we must get rid of something old in order to make space for a new thing. Sometimes, we stop one activity in order to have time to engage in a new activity. And we may need to give up an old goal or dream in order to have the energy to pursue a new and better goal and dream.

Sometimes, we need to make a clean sweep.

Is now a good time for you to do a clean sweep of your own? If you are not making progress on your BIG goal, or you’re feeling stuck, or are a bit lethargic and lacking energy, perhaps a clean sweep will help you get back on track. Or if you’re feeling overwhelmed, rushing about but making no progress, or smothered by too many things and too much to do, making a clean sweep can help you clean up old messes and make room for new endeavors.

What might you need to quit, change, or give up in order to embrace your Excelerated Life™?

Excelerated Simplicity™ — freeing yourself from unnecessary complexity — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.

Read more about the Excelerated Life™.


Leonard, Thomas. The 28 Laws Of Attraction. New York: Scribner, 1998.

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