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Time for a Purge Party?
By Todd Durkin
It is said that “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” It is easy to say, but many of us have a difficult time staying neat, organized and clutter-free. Yes, admit it, some of us really are pack rats. The truth is that clutter does build up in our lives and, if we don’t get rid of, it will affect our overall performance. What I discovered this past week was how to make a major improvement in my business and personal life that will drastically change the way I act, think, and perform. If you want to “go for greatness,” I have a great technique for you.
By Todd Durkin
Todd is the founder of Fitness Quest 10 & Todd Durkin Enterprises in San Diego, CA. He leads a staff of 26 employees, trains over 25 NFL athletes, and motivates companies, teams, and conferences throughout the country.


It is said that “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” It is easy to say, but many of us have a difficult time staying neat, organized and clutter-free. Yes, admit it, some of us really are pack rats. The truth is that clutter does build up in our lives and, if we don’t get rid of, it will affect our overall performance. What I discovered this past week was how to make a major improvement in my business and personal life that will drastically change the way I act, think, and perform. If you want to “go for greatness,” I have a great technique for you.

I was doing a bodywork/massage last week on a dear client and mentor. His name is Mont Dickinson and he has run large companies for the better part of 40 years. We were talking about business and he shared an experience he did with his companies every year that made a huge difference in the workmanship, organization, and performance of his teams. He told me that every year they had their entire team (Sometimes in the thousands!) take part in an annual “Purge Party” where everyone on the team was responsible for cleaning out the entire business and starting fresh. Mont said it was a powerful way to clean shop, keep it safe, and keep your customers with a good impression. Furthermore, he pointed out that if you want to run a solid organization, it must be run like a tight ship and one thing that was important was “organization.” And one of the best ways to get organized and keep things clean was to have a “Purge Party.”

A light bulb went off . I said, “Boy, do we need to do that with our team”. It has been seven years since I’ve opened my business, and I’ve never had a “Purge Party.” In the fitness industry, we don’t like to use the word “purge.” But for this one day, I’m going to use it in a different context. A purge is nothing more than a good old-fashion spring cleaning or cleanse. I was so excited that I organized the event that night to take make it happen two days later, on Good Friday.

I figured what a great time to clean out your life. Easter weekend. A time for new beginnings. Cleanliness, organization, greater clarity, purity, and just a great feeling of starting fresh  -- a rebirth. So that’s what the Fitness Quest 10 Team did on Good Friday afternoon.  We had a “Purge Party” and what a party we had.

Here is how I organized it:
  • I divided our office up into five zones
  • I created five teams and assigned a leader to each; they were responsible for assigning the specific responsibilities to their team-mates.
  • The only instructions I gave them was to purge our office and clean it out as best we could.  We would create two large piles on the front deck. One pile for garbage. One pile for “I don’t know what the heck this is and we need to go through it and find out if it’s garbage or where it belongs.”
  • I told them the team that had the cleanest zone would earn a FREE MASSAGE for each of its members.

This “Apprentice” style competition had our team members hustling and working hard for a greater good. I saw people doing things to our business that I never envisioned. I shared with them the expected end-result, gave them the autonomy to get there, and was astounded by how they did it.

Here are some of the highlights of the 2.5 hour cleanse with over 15 Fitness Quest 10 team-members “purging” our place.
  • A team working together to clean out things that had not been touched in years.
  • We had people scrubbing floors, toilets, under treadmills, cleaning fans with Q-tips, cleaning dumbbell racks with toothbrushes, teams scrubbing marks off the wall to make it cleaner, shredding and organizing files.
  • Our offices were cleaned out of old magazines, papers, clothes, notes and post-its that had accumulated in drawers and cabinets.  I’m talking brand new like we were just moving in.
  • Old-equipment and apparatuses that we hadn’t used in a while that were ready to be donated away.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen more transformation of a business in a 2.5-hour time period. TEAMWORK, LEADERSHIP, AND COMMUNICATION were very apparent. It was a powerful team-building experience and one that we will use again.

I was so impressed by the RESULTS. My wife Melanie came up to the office that late afternoon and was shocked. Clients came in over the weekend and noticed something “different”. I was so excited about the results that I went home and started purging my home office, my garage, and everything. Melanie was wondering what the heck was going on and I told her “No, I am not nesting and we are not pregnant. I am doing some purging and celebrating this Easter weekend with some serious spring cleaning.” More important, my mind is fresh, there is less “clutter” in my life, and that will allow me to further see and attain my vision.

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. On the high season of the Christian calendar, it is nice to celebrate Easter and a purge at the same time. As we expand into our new facility in just a few weeks, it feels good that we have gotten rid of so much clutter. Increased energy, increased organization, improved impressions, and a clean breath of fresh, uncluttered air—ah, it feels good. Thanks Mont.

I leave you with this assignment:
  • Schedule an annual purge. Purge your home, your desk, and your office.
  • Commit to doing this within the next two weeks and watch the clarity of your vision and watch how much more effective you are in getting things accomplished.
  • Report back to me and let me know your experiences. Whether you run a one-man show, are part of a small team, or part of a large organization, let me know how it affects your “mind-set” and if you mysteriously improve your results, profitability, and attaining your goals after completing this exercise.

A few reminders in regards to purging:
1.  If you purge papers, be sure to shred the important documents that have name, information, banking information, etc.

2.  Accounting records should be held on to for 7 years.

3.  Have plenty of cleaning supplies on hand (garbage bags, scrub brushes, mops, cleansers, etc.)

4.  Have a garbage pile, and an “I don’t know file.” Have the entire team go through the “I don’t know file.” and discard if not valuable.

5.   If in doubt, throw it out!

6.  Smile and enjoy the new found space in your life!

P.S. All of our team members that participated in this event ended up earning a massage. I couldn’t pick a “winning” team and was so impressed with everyone’s passion, willingness to help, and desire to get the business looking clean. What a team!

 
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