What You Will Hear:
- A Mom’s Career/Family Decision
- Leave Corporate and Become a Mompreneur
- Stay-home Mom Launching Business Story
- The Real Problem Beyond Your Clutters
- How Busy Moms Can Get More Organized
- Less Clutter, More Profit for Busy Moms
Listen to ReLaunch Show on iPhone or Android App
More about our featured guest
Cena Block, the founder of Sane Spaces, shares her career transition from corporate to a “mompreneur”, and how she became a guru in helping busy moms to get organized.
Check out Cena's book
The resource Cena mentioned (and we use too!)
[00:02] Joel: Welcome to Relaunch, your daily dose of inspiring stories, fresh ideas, practical steps and solutions. You can think of this show as being your personal prescription for relaunching into the life in business you love and if you are a daily listener, welcome back to the show and thank you for tuning in and thank you for being involved in the before and the after show online conversations and if you are new here just know that you are among friends and speaking of friends Pei, we have the best group of friends right here in the Relaunch nation. Wouldn't you agree?
[00:46] Pei: Absolutely, I think we have to take some time to thank them, just briefly.
[00:51] Joel: Absolutely. Well, one of our listener friends, Scott Valentine…[chuckle]
[00:55] Pei: Oh, I know what you are gonna say…
[00:57] Joel: Yeah, yeah, yeah you do. He sent me, just the other day, the coolest tweet, and I didn't know you could do this but did you know he could do this? He actually tweeted me a coffee, did you know that that was even possible?
[01:09] Pei: I know. That mocha from Starbucks, that's your addiction of some sort.
[01:14] Joel: Did you tell Scott about my mocha addiction?
[01:16] Pei: No.
[01:17] Joel: [chuckle] Well he found out somehow and it was pretty, it was fairly early in the day, a few days ago and all of a sudden a little tweet popped up and gave me the good news and basically here's what the tweet said, and he wrote it out, it said, “Enjoy your next coffee on me. I truly appreciate your hard work and your selfless dedication. A five star podcast.” And wow, that was a tremendous tweet.
[01:47] Pei: Honestly…
[01:47] Joel: And what great feedback.
[01:49] Pei: Yeah, if that coffee wouldn't keep you up, that tweet would. [chuckle]
[01:55] Joel: Well, I thank you so much Scott and I didn't know you could do this but apparently you can so go to @tweetacoffee on Twitter and you can make someone's day just by sending them a tweet and I assume that you can pick your amount that you want to tweet out so again, Scott, thank you for the tweet and making my day. Alright, joining us on the show today, a lady I like to call an organizer extraordinaire and she helps moms on a mission gain clarity and systematize their work flows so that they can create profit during their part time hours. She is the founder of sanespaces.com, I'm getting over a cold here so I'm trying to annunciate my letters as best I can. Sanespaces.com and she's got a great book out, it's called Time To Toss It and that is a blueprint for helping people get uncluttered and get organized and Cena Block is on Relaunch today. Cena, welcome. Welcome to today's show.
[03:11] Cena: Thank you so much. I am thrilled to be here today in the studio. Thanks so much.
[03:16] Joel: This is so exciting to have you on and you've been listening to Relaunch shows on your own time so we really appreciate you reaching out to us and volunteering if you would to come on the show and tell your relaunch story and we've all seen experienced numerous launches and relaunches throughout our lives and what I generally do is I generally ask our guests to zero in on the relaunch that has been the most significant or that has been the most transformational for them and I'd kind of like to do that with you here in just a minute or two and as I was getting ready for today's show I read a little bit about that morning that pretty much changed your entire career track, kind of set that relaunch in motion and if I remember correctly, it was early in the morning, it was about four or five o'clock in the morning. The limo was, the limo that was to take you to the airport was already parked in your driveway kind of idling away with the driver in there, your bags were already packed in the trunk and ready to kind of whisk you off for another action packed traveling, working week and something happened that kind of changed everything, pick up the story from there, would you please?
[04:41] Cena: Yeah, yeah. Great set up, thank you. Yeah, so I was a working mom and it was this moment that I really realized the difference and that there was a crack in the armor, a chink in the armor so to speak of the lifestyle that I was living but yeah, here I was and I was running upstairs in the wee hours of the morning to kiss my toddler goodbye for another two or three day trip that I tried to keep minimized but they happened quite frequently and went to kiss him and I felt that he was warm with a fever and as a parent you know a fever. I don't know whether you're a parent but if you have had a child you know that a fever is unfakeable really. Tummy aches and boo-boos are fakeable and they always want the attention, but a fever is not so fakeable, so I went to kiss him, and he's a very light sleeper, he rolled over in his sleep and then his little feverish eyes looked up at me and said, “Do you have to leave me, mommy?” And I almost immediately answered without even knowing but my answer was, “No, no I don't have to leave you.”
[05:52] Cena: Yet here stood all of the setup for me to go off on another work adventure and I stood there facing what I know now in hindsight was a clash in my values, in my core beliefs. And that was that one someone that I dearly loved needed me, I would be there and that I would not be gone somewhere else, unavailable, not present. And I said no, and it was a big no. It was a huge ripple, because it was at a time in my career that things were really unfolding quickly. I was an up-and-coming leader. They had sent me all kinds of fancy leadership training. I had great potential. And this tiny little inconvenience of having a child at home, and much less a sick child, was something that a lot of people in my same life zone were expected to just roll over. And I said no, and I turned around. I sent the limo away. Got my bag back. [chuckle] Sent the limo away and said, “I'm calling in to the meeting down in Dallas and you all can deal with it because you've got an agenda and we can do this, but I have a sick child who only needs me, and I have to be here.” So that was, in hindsight, I would say… You know, you talk on the show all the time. That was the seed. That was the original seed and it was an unconscious, “absolutely I need to be in this place at this time.”
[07:26] Joel: Okay, so let me ask you this, and thank you for sharing that story with us, Cena. So you made a choice, a relaunch choice at that moment, during that day that, “You know what? I'm gonna stay home and care for my sick child, that I'm just gonna push off to the side the things that I'm expected to do for my career.” At what point from that day forward did your relaunch turn into a relaunch of necessity. And by that I mean that it all of a sudden became necessary for you to not just be there for your family when they needed you, but also to be there for yourself, and to experience yourself in a deeper, more meaningful way?
[08:19] Cena: I think, you've said it, I'm sure, thousands of times on the show, there are so may steps on the path, but there was the opportunity that showed itself several years later. There was Smile Surgery, which was one, which, of course, I was so far into my business that they couldn't live without me, and of course, how could I take time off to have critical surgery that I was seriously not able to function, but they couldn't live without me. So there was that like, “Come on now. This is ridiculous.” And then there was… After that there was an opportunity for a restructure and I was restructured out after asking for it. So, those particular milestones, as I look back, were huge pieces in that decision making process, the “when the opportunity came to jump off of the corporate grind.” I would never have left. I loved my job. I was a training professional. I loved what I did. I loved my staff. I never would have left if it weren't financially a paved pathway. I got a little tiny golden parachute and I justified my decision to walk away for my career for a little while because I had some financial readiness. So then, I got what I asked for, but that still was not satisfying after some time.
[09:41] Joel: So, what was the length of time from that morning with your sick child to the departure?
[09:51] Cena: Like six years.
[09:52] Joel: Okay.
[09:52] Pei: It was six years, yeah. And everybody is on a different trajectory, but so many stories are similar. There's a physical thing, or there's an emotional thing. There's a relationship thing. There's an uncontrollable factor, or several, that continue to show themselves, when I think that it's part of the entrepreneurial journey for sure.
[10:11] Joel: Okay, very good. So, I'm curious about this, when Pei and I are talking with people about their relaunch, and it could be a personal relaunch, it can be a professional relaunch, or kind of a weaving of the two together. There's a lot of things that people either learn about themselves, or they're relearn about themselves. And you know what I'm talking about here, 'cause you've listened to the show. The things that you learned or relearned about your potential, your possibilities, your value and your worthiness. So, I'm curious, just take a deep breath here and talk about some of the things that you've really connected or reconnected with once you decided that, “You know what? This is something that I have to do.” Not just step away and form your own business, not just for my family, but also for myself and for my dreams.
[11:10] Cena: Yeah. Well I just remember after separating, then we relocated to Pocono Mountains from the middle of Bergen County, New Jersey, which is a very hustle-bustle place. So there was several iterations of this, but once I finally got what I wanted, which was the to be at home with my kids. I felt… I went through a lot of self doubt. I felt ashamed. I felt I had given up. I felt that I was not living to my potential. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, waking my husband up going, “This is it? This is… I'm wasting my talent.” Like there was this potential, this burning inside that I was not… How can this be? I either have to be all or nothing. I either have to be way over the top in my career or I have to be the most incredible super mom. Like there's no, there's gotta be a way. There's gotta be a secret formula. And I just remember feeling like I was happy-ish. I was very happy-ish. I had a great social life and wonderful friends. I had finally surrendered to that part of being a mom, that I accepted it as a wonderful place. I think when I was in my career, I rejected it a bit saying you know it wasn't enough. But I had accepted it, but then there had to be more. And I just felt like I needed to contribute more. So a lot of the relearning came in deciding to launch my business.
[12:40] Cena: And you know, I think with every time, every time you face a fear, and often you don't even realize these are fears, at least in my experience, you don't realize your up against a fear. What it feels like is not enough money or you know my story usually is usually not enough. It feels like “Who, me? I can't.” or it feels like, “Oh, that will never be possible.” or, “Oh, that doesn't exist.” So it's not necessarily for me, “Oh gosh, I'm afraid.” That doesn't come to my consciousness. What comes to my consciousness is the next challenge, the next learning opportunity, and some kind of block. So, I'm working into this whole idea of I've become kinda a junkie to flow and what your life… Really, living a life that you love is all about flow. It's all about setting yourself up for success. So, organizing is one piece. Systematizing is one piece. Figuring out what your bigger picture is and making a contribution and giving back is another piece. Being a whole integrated person is another piece. Those are all pieces of this constant living, breathing puzzle of what it might be for your life to work the way you need it to.
[13:55] Joel: Very well said. And we're going to talk a little bit about organizing and systematizing your life a little bit later on in the show, give some very, very practical take aways in a few minutes if that's okay with you? But…
[14:10] Cena: Yeah.
[14:10] Joel: But I'm curious about this, Cena. How did you get past the doubts or the push back that maybe you were giving yourself?
[14:27] Cena: How do you get past it? I think the first step of getting past it, is recognizing it's there.
[14:33] Joel: Okay. What did you recognize?
[14:35] Cena: So, behaviors, procrastination, doing other things besides that which was pretty apparent that needed to happen, distracting myself, focusing…
[14:51] Joel: What kind of distractors? Because we all have them.
[14:56] Cena: Yeah, yeah.
[14:56] Joel: I mean these are things that we all do. So this…[chuckle]
[14:59] Joel: So, if we talk about, talk as friends to one another, what are some of those distractors that you find yourself fiddling with so you wouldn't have to or you could avoid something that really needed your attention?
[15:12] Cena: Yeah. So as a mom entrepreneur, your greatest distraction is your kids. It's the greatest thing ever invented, because they will always need you and they will always need your attention. And so, a lot of people kinda sabotage their desires to have a business, because they don't set up child care or they don't have a contingency plan in case something goes wrong. So we, I work on this a lot with my clients, is where's your time going and what your doing? So that would be something that would happen, is that I would just, I'd have this big business goal, or I'd want to launch a program, or a training opportunity, or in a webinar, or whatever, and I wouldn't because something would come up. Well, things will always come up.
[15:53] Joel: Absolutely. Okay. So how? Was there a shift or a tipping point when you just decided to get absolutely real with yourself in the developing of your business?
[16:10] Cena: Yeah. I think the original version of Sane Spaces 1.0 was an organizing business. So, I was helping people declutter. And very soon, like within two and a half to three years of business, I felt my clients were, felt more like a case load, if you will. I had post traumatic stress, ADHD, brain trauma injury, level 4 hoarding. There's a whole hoarding scale of exists blocked, pests, feces. Like I mean it was really scary and I remember at the time…
[16:51] Joel: Okay. So you're talking about you working with a spectrum of people with different needs and challenges? Is that…
[17:00] Cena: Yeah, different needs and challenges. Yeah. And then under the umbrella of Sane Spaces, which was I'm a professional organizer. So, when I remember you know putting, loading my gear into the car, 'cause I always would come with gear, tools, and stuff, things that people need to help get them organized, and it was a very warm afternoon and I was loading my car. It was like 85% humidity or some ungodly heat. I was heading out to do a project in a garage, which of course nobody wants to do a garage project when it's that kind of weather around here. But I remember loading stuff in and just standing in the middle of my driveway, sweat pouring off of me with a tub in my hands of gear, and just looking up to God and going “really?”[chuckle]
[17:47] Cena: Like really? This is what I'm supposed to be doing to make a difference? And that was it. I knew then at that point, that getting organized at the point, I remember the feeling as though I was standing at the abyss. I went to one client's home, and some of the stories that people have that result in clutter are, they're incredible. They are unbelievable. And, I felt almost as if it was, without social services lining up and families lining up, because most often, clutter is really just a symptom of a lot of pieces in someone's life not working.
[18:31] Joel: Now, that's a great point. And let me ask you this, is that something that caught you off guard as you developed your organizing business, that clutter was sometimes a symptom of a deeper issue?
[18:45] Cena: It caught me off guard. It derailed me, like made me wanna scream and run the other way. I had no clue. And I don't think a lot of people get that, and that's why when I think I had to get that far in, like I was credentialed with the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. I had attended hundreds of hours of training. I had done hundreds of coaching hours. But it just, to me, it always felt like it was one piece, like a tiny little piece. What really people needed was to line up all of their synopsis and all of their systems, and their life, and their values, and all of those pieces so that they could start moving as an integrated whole in the direction. Because what happens in the clutter world is when we treat the symptom, which is the clutter, you'll see so often, you'll see so often, especially if you watch any of the national programs that are aired, that there's a backsliding. It's like any other addiction. Unless you treat the addiction, which is your lifestyle, unless you treat that addiction and create the life from the seed that you wish to grow, you will consistently have that layer as a symptom.
[20:01] Joel: Hey, Pei. I think we found our passion. Are you hearing her?
[20:05] Pei: My goodness. Yeah.
[20:06] Joel: Well, to helping moms on a mission get organized and systematize their life, that's who we're talking to. Go ahead, Pei.
[20:14] Pei: So, I'm curious. People hire you before to organize their stuff, their physical stuff.
[20:22] Cena: Right.
[20:23] Joel: ‘Cause that's what they think, that's what they think the problem is.
[20:24] Pei: Right. So, how did you or how do you get them to realize their problem is beyond that?
[20:33] Joel: Good question.
[20:33] Pei: I mean, 'cause people may not wanna hear that.[laughter]
[20:40] Cena: I found that no, I guess, my passion is really letting moms own who they are and creating a life that works with mom being first. That was a huge surrender to me. Because to me, I think many of us are growing up in a, growing through a time where being a mom is just, is seeming to be another list of things to do, when it's really not. It's a part of your identity. It's a part of how you make every single decision. It is a driver. It's a key ingredient to who you are in the world. And if you don't accept that, then you will constantly be coming up against things. And I believe that they may manifest in any way. They may manifest in relationship problems. They may manifest in infidelity. It may manifest in not being great at your job. It may manifest in not… Addiction. It could manifest any way. Could it manifest as a physical problem? But it does.
[21:51] Cena: And I think, I truly believe that from living from the inside out, you've gotta get through all the expectations of what the world has for you, all the things that you've set up in your early years. You gotta get clear with your ego. You gotta break it all down. And sometimes that process, that process is kind of hard to be intentional with unless you're ready to jump into that sand box.
[22:16] Joel: Absolutely. Coming in for a landing here, Cena, really appreciate your time today. Talking with Cena Block. She is our guest today. Founder of sanespaces.com, also the author of a great book. You need to check this out. It's called Time To Toss It. As we come in for a landing here, Cena, let's get a couple of practical tips that people can start using, that I'll start using today.
[22:46] Cena: Yeah.[laughter]
[22:47] Joel: To help get my act together so we can get more…
[22:51] Pei: It's about time.
[22:53] Joel: Right? It's about time, right? So, I can get my act together, get organized, and get uncluttered. Go.
[23:00] Cena: Okay. Here we go. First thing is three things a day. When you think about the next several weeks and what's happening, focus in on your top three every single day. Write them down in front of you wherever you are. Put them in your book, put them in an app, whatever makes you happy. Put them on a Post-it note. But put it in front of you, the three things that you want to accomplish during that day.
[23:24] Joel: So, these are like priorities or goals.
[23:25] Cena: Priorities, yeah. Whatever they are, and it doesn't really necessarily have to be. That's one thing.
[23:30] Joel: Got it.
[23:30] Cena: Getting yourself organized has a lot to do with how you're managing time. And, we all have the same amount of time, and some of us manage it with a different sense of priorities. So, if you struggle with time management and if you struggle with that feeling of not getting anything done, my invitation is that you track your time. Now, if you become a client of mine, I make you do this for a week by the minute, and you hate me for a little bit. But through that process, you realize exactly how you are making decisions every single day that is leading you down the path where you find yourself right now.
[24:08] Joel: Right, great tips! So listing out our three goals or priorities for the day, go ahead.
[24:14] Cena: Yep, top three. Track your time, right? That's the next one. And then there are a lot of little ways to work, but anytime you find yourself doing something a second time, if it's in your business or if it's in your life, I recommend that you either ask yourself, “Is this something that I could create a routine out of, so I don't have to think about it again?” And if it's a routine, then put it on your time list to tackle at the interval that it makes most sense.
[24:48] Pei: Okay, so list your top three, track your time, and then look for repeating patterns, or if it can be developed into a routine.
[25:01] Joel: Yeah, because the less you have to think about really nominal things like laundry or shopping or whatever, the less you have to think about it, the less brain space they take. As soon as you turn it into routine, “Well, I go shopping every Friday morning, or whatever.” And so, the next thing becomes, when I go shopping, I need a list, so that becomes a routine and you don't think about it anymore. You've created, in essence, a work flow.
[25:27] Joel: Nice, creating a work flow.
[25:28] Pei: Very good. Yeah, just like when we sit in a car, we put on the seatbelt, it's subconscious. So when we develop a success routine that we don't have to…
[25:41] Joel: We don't have to rethink it. We don't have to relearn how to…
[25:43] Pei: Yeah, spend the brain power to think about it, yeah.
[25:47] Cena: Yeah, that's a very simple thing, but it works in business as well, and this is where I think people sometimes get befuddled, but right now we're living in such a time that makes it so much more convenient and easy to run a business, a work-at-home business or a self, solo business, because we can track things in any number of ways. One of my favorite tools now is, of course, Google Drive because I can share that with anybody, but anytime I have a repeatable process that I have to do in my business, I go into Google Drive and I've created a very easy template, what do I have to do, step by step process, how often does it have to be done, and delegate it. So I can do that, or I can do it myself, but it's there. The other tool I love for a home business person is Asana. It's a free app and it is a project management tool that helps you really, avoid email, because everyone that you need to be attending to certain tasks can be in that app, and everyone gets flagged at the same time. You can move tasks, it's a fantastic tool, I love it!
[26:57] Joel: Great tips! And we use both of those, Google Drive, we're big believers in. Asana is something we use with our key team players and great tips.
[27:06] Pei: And we'll put those links, plus her link in our show notes.
[27:11] Joel: Let's do that. Cena Block is our guest today. Sanespaces.com, the place to go. Time to Toss It, that's the book. We'll have all of the links to the social media hotspots in the broadcast show note. Just go to joelboggess.com/195. Cena, I really appreciate your time today, bye bye.
[27:31] Cena: Bye-bye.
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