Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

How a Sewing Class Shaped My Life

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Clients come to me consumed with life challenges. They feel like they are working so hard, and yet not getting any closer to where they want to be.

Does this sound familiar?

A metaphor I often use to help people when they find themselves in this place is rooted in a story from a sewing class I took years ago at F&S Fabrics on Pico in West LA. I’m a secret crafter, not a very talented one, but a crafter, nonetheless.

As I was cutting the pattern with those big giant fabric shears, the sewing instructor noticed my cut was rough, zig-ziggety, and all over the place.

She asked me how I was aligning the scissors. And I was like, “Duh.  I’m cutting along the chalk line of the pattern.”

“Yes, but which part of the scissor are you lining up”, she said.

Again, I was like, “Duh. The base of the scissors; the part where the scissors meet the fabric, of course.”

“Exactly. That’s your issue. Instead, focus on the tips. Keep the points of the scissors aligned with the pattern and you will always get a successful cut.”

At first, I thought, “What does she know?” But I’m nothing if not a diligent student, so I gave it a shot.

And guess what? I focused on the tips. My cut was perfect and my mind was blown.

When I started coaching and got certified as a MAPS Business Coach, this scissor lesson returned to me like a lightbulb.

It was the perfect metaphor for creating success in life, according the tenets of MAPS Founder and The One Thing author Gary Keller (also of Keller Williams Realty)

In order to prosper—just like cutting a good line—we must let our goals and intentions, the tips of the scissors, guide our choices in the ‘now,’ or the base of the scissors in this metaphor.

By letting our here-and-now be guided by the goals and intentions of where we want to be in the future, we move out of being reactive and easily distracted—zig-zagging—to instead live with purpose.

In other words, aligning everyday decisions with long-term goals makes the difference between realizing our dreams and falling short.

So, what does this look in real life?

Let me share an example from personal experience.

I have Fibromyalgia. I also have and a weakness for carbs. This is not a great combination. For years, I struggled to manage my eating. I would simply tell myself don’t eat ___________ (insert yummy carb item here.)

It wasn’t a winning system, to say the least. The allure of say, a Bob’s Donut from the Original Farmer’s Market was just too great to resist.

But after my MAPS training and learning to ‘goal-set to the now,’ something shifted.

I went from only focusing on the right now—whether or not to have the donut in that moment—to asking myself, “Will this donut get me closer or take me further away from my goal of living healthfully with Fibromyalgia?” The answer was obviously no.

With the context of knowing eating the donut would keep me from where I wanted to be — off the pattern line, so to speak — I had more resolve to follow through and make the healthy choice.

It’s a very small shift, but one that has helped me, as well as my clients, make very big changes.

So give the ‘scissor metaphor a try and let me know how it goes, at [email protected]. I’m here as a resource for the Larchmont Buzz community.

Also, please send me any questions or situations you’re struggling with. I promise to get back to you…particularly now, as we’re all dealing with so many of the same challenges — it’s the perfect time to reach out. Your question may just be the spark for a new post that ends up helping not only yourself, but someone else in our community. (All communication is, of course, private and privileged.)


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Betsy Rosenfeld Vargas
Betsy Rosenfeld Vargas
Betsy Rosenfeld Vargas is a certified Fearless Living Life Coach. Raised in Los Angeles, she attended Marlborough School and was the President of Cuisine à Roulettes at St. Vincent Meals on Wheels. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA from USC.

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