During my student days, I moved frequently to and from Oxford, London, Paris, Jerusalem and Cairo. I became adept at packing and organising – and friends often asked me for help. I worked for 20 years as a university lecturer, writer, editor and consultant, and became fascinated by the role of motivation. This led me to enrol in a coaching certification programme in 2008. While training, I realised I could apply coaching skills to my zest for decluttering – and so my business (JLP Coach) was born! Now I work with clients of all ages and from diverse backgrounds, helping them to simplify their space and their schedules. I offer talks and workshops on time management and productivity, and train teenagers how to get organised and prepare for exams.
#8. Can you use your favourite word in a sentence?
Serendipity means being in the right place at the right time. More than a happy coincidence, it’s about finding purpose in the moment.
#9. Now can you make it rhyme?
Now that’s a challenge! How about: Serendipity, aligned with authenticity?
#10. BOOOOOM. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t worry so much about what other people think. Be yourself and find your own path to success. I used to worry that people would laugh at me for becoming a professional declutterer. Now I’m proud to belong to an industry that makes a real and tangible difference in people’s lives.
#11. What’s the best thing anyone’s ever done for you?
Earlier this year, Joanne Hanson offered me a contract to write two books for the What’s Your Excuse series that she created. I’d been toying with the idea of writing a book for years but was deterred by the fear of dealing with agents and publishers. So it was a huge honour to be approached directly – all thanks to Twitter! On a personal note, my wonderful teenagers bring me breakfast in bed with home-made cards on my birthday – that’s the best thing ever!
#12. Tell us, what’s been your ‘career-defining’ moment?
While training as a coach, an elderly neighbour who had been widowed some years earlier asked me to help her sort through clothes that had belonged to her husband. It was an emotional day for both of us: I listened closely to the stories she told and asked questions that prompted her to decide what to keep and what to let go. I also suggested specific charities that would make good use of things she was ready to donate. At the end of the day, she thanked me and said: ‘You could do this as a business”. I’d never considered the possibility of becoming a professional organiser but she planted the idea and then referred me to a friend who became my first paying client.