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“Making It Happen”: An Interview With Sunny Schlenger


Posted on April 8th, by Pamela Ravenwood in People Making It Happen. 2 comments

Organizing your life is more than merely putting things away in labeled cabinets and files. What we keep or throw away, how we createsunny schlenger space is tied directly to our spirit – this is what author and coach Sunny Schlenger has been teaching and writing about for over 35 years.

“I believe that everything in your Life is connected. Understanding the connections between what you love, what you do, what you’ve saved and what you want out of Life will start you on an amazing journey of discovery and personal development,” said Schlenger.

Schlenger would be the one to completely understand the connection between space and spirit as she is a graduate of John Hopkins University with a Masters in Counseling. When working out what she wanted to do with her life, she said after working four years in a mental health hospital, she quickly realized two things, a) she didn’t want to do a type of work that didn’t have immediate results as she is very action oriented b)she wanted to work for herself.

“When I was young I told my mother I wanted to work at a number of jobs. She said that was impossible. I then realized in the work I do as a consultant, I get to be a part of a number of other people’s lives and it’s just as if I were doing the work. I feel as if I really do get to have my dream.”

I met up with Sunny in a coffee shop in Sedona. What an honor to get to interview somebody that Regis Philbin interviewed on television not long ago. Plus Schlenger wrote the best seller from the 90s “How to Be Organized In Spite of Yourself”, a book that influenced Harvard University to adopt and integrate her approach within their Training and Development Program.

But this is the beauty of living in Sedona, there  are so many people who live here who are amazingly talented.

In interviewing Sunny I not only wanted to know more about her philosophy of organization but also how she made a success of herself in business. Her answer – I made a lot of mistakes and learned from them. She also added, “if you do your homework and go by your gut feeling, it’s really hard to screw up. You learn as you go along, the trick is to not become paralyzed with fear. I tell the people I mentor, do something, it is better to risk a mistake than not take action. You will always learn something despite the outcome.”

She also spoke about choices and how people procrastinate because they have so many choices or don’t know how to make a decision. Or, people just don’t feel they have the right to work for themselves or take a creative approach to what they are doing.

“My biggest job is giving people permission to do what they love. So many of us are so limited until somebody brings this to our attention,” she adds.

organizing for spiritAnd then my personal favorite, “don’t assume everybody else knows more than you. Everybody is fighting the same battle of doubt and you more likely know more than you give yourself credit for.”

Last I asked Sunny, what I ask almost everybody – how did you promote your business or yourself.

Having tried many methods her answer was through networking groups, speaking engagements and writing. Sunny was a columnist and appeared in publications such as Women’s World, New York Times and other well-read publications.

Today she is promoting her work more online and is building a tool that allows people to take a quiz to identify their personal style and ways they can improve what they do. The tool is close to launching, she said, it is in beta. Oh, and she also will be working from Guatemala where she was invited to train trainers on her style of organization.

Retired – hardly. Even after 35 years, Sunny Schlenger is still creating and moving, teaching and volunteering, making change and loving life.

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