I Hate Ironing! And Other Leadership Lessons

I hate ironing. I abhor it. No, I don’t think you really understand. (That’s my daughter’s verbiage, because truthfully, I couldn’t possibly understand what a 15 year old might be going through.) But I digress.

I have had a hate/hate relationship with ironing since the beginning of time. My clothing purchases are bought with the ironing board in mind. If it needs to be ironed, keep it very far away from me! And if I do buy something that requires that kind of detailed attention, well, it usually hangs in my closet for months on end until I feel bad enough that I spent money on something I don’t wear. Then the claws come out and I do the deed to appease my guilt. Following that I get totally irked that I succumbed to such a stupid purchase in the first place.

Consider how much time is wasted in one’s life by simply ironing a piece of material. I rest my case.

Then there are those beautiful people in my life who iron their pillow cases. No, actually they do! Miss Martha, Miss Martha, what the heck?!! I’ll never understand it. Martha Stewart can say she loves all things home and hearth, but it’s easy to pretend to enjoy ironing when you have minions to do your bidding, yes?

Yes, ironing has been a thorn in my side. Until recently.

I inherited a brand new iron from someone leaving the country and she just wanted me to have it. Nice. Because like, really, that’s all I’ve ever wanted…an iron. Hmph. However, here is where the transformation begins.

I'm not wrinkle freeJust like anything new, I had to give it a try just to see how wonderful this ultra-glide thingy was. Not bad, not bad. Then I added water so it could steam the test clothing. Eureka!! What an incredibly insane experience! My clothes that I love to hate because they’re wrinkly are now pristinely pressed, no word of a lie. I had no clue ironing could be this easy – or enjoyable – or take so little time. Who knew?

Then I got to thinking about the lessons one can derive from such inane activity, and guess what? There are a few things to be learned.

With the right tools, the job becomes so much easier.

I’ve never had a decent iron, apparently. Put a good one in my hands though, and watch me go! What would happen if we gave that same consideration to tasks that are less than enjoyable? How would the job change if we had tools that set us up for success?

Why don’t we invest in those things that will help make tasks easier? Why do we put up with inadequate tools that frustrate us?

With the right tools, the task becomes less daunting or avoidance-worthy.

If we have what we need in front of us to do it right, the chance for error is significantly reduced.

If there’s a good iron to be had, it’s more likely the job will get done.

The right equipment allows for successful completion. Lack of it creates avoidance, at least for me. Who wants to set themselves up for defeat or for a job poorly done? Not too many of us, I don’t imagine.

With successful moments in tow, we’re more likely to hit the repeat button.

Now that I have this easy-breezy tool that almost irons clothes on its own, I’m buying clothes that aren’t based solely on their lack-of-wrinkle-ability requirement. Truth be told, I actually peeked over at my pillow cases thinking, “Wow, wouldn’t they look so much more inviting if I ironed them?” Okay, no I didn’t!

A person’s creativity and productivity are increased when they have a measure of success. Take me, for instance. I wrote pretty much this whole thing in my head while I was using my nice, new, shiny ultra-glide thingy. I guess I should leave you to judge whether it’s creative or productive.

So this entire experience begs one crazy question. Why do we so often refuse to make one small change that could revolutionize not only the task but our outlook and performance? Oh, maybe a second crazy question. Why won’t we provide the same for those we lead, whether it’s at work, at home or in the community? Okay, one more question. Is it just me?


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  1. #1 by szojkah on September 17, 2013 - 12:43 pm

    I love it! Great thoughts attached to an activity which I enjoy. I love to be alone in my room with my iron and the remote which I don’t need to share!

    Sent from my iPhone

    • #2 by shandracarlson on September 17, 2013 - 2:41 pm

      Thanks! It’s amazing what happens when we open ourselves up to thinking and doing things differently. Having good tools to work with helps a lot too!

  2. #3 by Jackie O'Neill on September 20, 2013 - 9:10 pm

    Great blog…..I loved your analogy using the task of ironing because I too loathe ironing. Made me really think about what areas in my life I could have more success with if I invested in the right tools or better yet, what tools could I help provide for someone else to help them succeed.

    • #4 by shandracarlson on September 21, 2013 - 11:44 am

      Thanks Jackie! It’s easy to just put up with what we’ve got and sometimes don’t even know it could be better/different! I’m glad you enjoyed it and if it inspired you to think of ways to help others, that is music to my ears. 🙂

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    "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." ~ Jack Kerouac
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