As a fledgling mom, laundry is something I do a lot. Into my sixth load the other day, I adjusted that dial yet again and realized that this was a teaching moment. Yes, my washing machine knows a great deal about success—-and I would do well to pay attention.

Sounds a little crazy, I know. But I really do think our everyday habitual routines are opportunities to learn something. One of my favorite writers, famed playwright Samuel Beckett (yes, the one who wrote Waiting for Godot) wrote that habit is “la grande sourdine”—“the great deafener.” His plays are powerful expressions of what happens when we get lost in our routines, when we just keep repeating the same thing over and over without conscious awareness of what we’re doing.

Success, Beckett, and a washing machine. A strange combination. Or maybe not.

I decided to pay attention and here’s what my ordinary washing machine and the routine of doing laundry taught me about success:

1) It’s a process. You’ve got to go through the entire thing. If you stop in the middle, you end up with a mess. And once you “finish,” it’s time to begin again with another load—another project or idea—that demands your attention.

2) You’ve got to be careful what you put together. The “what,” “where,” “who,” “when,” and “why” need to be carefully sorted out or you’ll end up with a tangled disarray and all of it running together. The key components have to match up and go with one another or you’ll be sorry.

3) Once you’ve planned out the process to successfully achieve your objective, you’ve got to get off your derrière and start. Then you can monitor your progress as you go through the stages of the process. You must be patient and persist. And you’ve got to trust that the process will work out, bringing you the outcome you desire—or something better.

4) Every cycle in your process has a distinct beginning and end. Be sure to acknowledge those successful completions and celebrate your progress before you move on. Give yourself rewards as you complete each state of the process and not just when the whole thing is done.

5) Stop airing your dirty laundry—stop blaming people, places, and things for your lack of success—and get to work. You are the one responsible for making a change in your life. Chances are, no one else is going to take care of your dirty laundry so hunker down and get to it!

6) Don’t forget stain remover, detergent and fabric softener—Once you’ve started the process, you’ll realize there are some components missing. Be sure to add what you need for success—a supportive Mastermind group, a professional development class, a mentor or coach who has done this before and can save you lots of time, energy, and money.

7) After you’ve reached your goal, take stock and figure out what else needs to be done to follow up. Do you want to air out your ideas for a while or expose them to a more arduous, heated process of scrutiny—the dryer? The point is to realize that this particular goal can lead to more and it benefits you to consciously PLAN out the process so you can take up another load and run with it, connecting your successes in a long, full line.

Speaking of, I’ve got a load of things to do right now, so let me leave you, hopefully not spinning…

Next time you do laundry, let it remind you that the process of going after what you want takes time, energy, planning, and focus, but you can do it and then you will truly clothe yourself in success. Now, get going, would you?!!

“The only thing that ever sat its way to success was a hen.”
--Sarah Brown

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Barnsley Brown is a professional speaker and coach who loves helping busy professionals create balance and prosperity. Want to have 2+ more hours every day for who and what you love? Find out how with Dr. Brown’s fun, info-packed report, “How to Overcome Overwhelm in Seven Easy Steps” at