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The Minnie Stories

Cleaning Up Your Act - Part 3


So okay….maybe I shouldn’t have sat in the Managing Director’s chair that night last year! But he’d left the office at six o’clock - and it was half past nine, and I’m still there. And I’m a bit tired…..I’d cleaned my lady in Fulham’s house at seven that morning, then her friend’s place in Chelsea. Then I went home and looked after my neighbour’s little girl for a few hours while she went to visit her husband in ….but that’s another story!

Then at five thirty I get into the offices to clean; and by seven I thought that I had the place to myself as usual; I quite enjoy that - it’s like the outside matches the inside of my head, which is most times the only place I can get a bit of peace, talk things over with all the different parts of me, or not, if I don’t feel like talking. And when the offices are empty, and my body is busy cleaning, I can be quiet inside and out.

So anyway, I’m making my way along to the Accounts department, when I hear something. To be honest, it scared me a bit….well it was so unexpected, wasn’t it? I realise it’s coming from the Accounts office… I get my mop in both hands ready to defend myself - honestly, I make myself laugh sometimes, the daft things I come up with………..! What did I think I would have done if it had been an intruder..? Squeegee-d them into submission!? But it makes you feel better, doesn’t it………..?

Anyway, I pushed open the door, as quietly as I could, and looked round it; At first I couldn’t see anything unusual………..then I heard the noise again, coming from the other side of the computers…. So I crept into the office until I could get a proper look……….and there she was - Melanie from Accounts, sitting at her desk, crying and snuffling her way through a box of Kleenex Balsam tissues!

“Bubbela, what’s the matter?” I said, and I went and pulled up a chair next to her, and put my arm round her. “What’s happened?” She’s a lovely girl - well woman, really; I think she must be in her late thirties; pretty, and small.

“Oh Minnie”, she hiccups into my shoulder, “I don’t think I can stand it here any more! I absolutely hate this job! The people are okay, but it’s the job itself……sitting at this bloody desk and computer eight hours every day, adding and subtracting ‘til the numbers are like ants marching over my life!”

She sat up a bit, and took another tissue, and I said

“So what would you like to do instead? And she looks at me a bit embarrassed and says shyly

“I’d like to be a dance teacher……”

“Nu? So why don’t you do that?” And she looks at me and half-smiles sadly, and says “I can’t afford to Minnie! It’s too big a risk - to leave a regular paid job when I’ve got Susie”

And I remember hearing that she’s a single mother, which must be really hard. And just as I’m wondering what I can say or do to help her, Miriam quietly says in my head

“It’s ‘either or’ again isn’t it?” Of course…….! So I say to Melanie

“You know Melanie darling, I’m a lot older than you (like that’s a big surprise to her, I’m sure!). And the funny thing I’ve found in life is that it’s not often about ‘either or’ - it’s much more often about ‘and’……” Now she’s sitting up straighter and her eyes are dry, and I can tell she’s actually listening.

“I mean, how would things feel different if you didn’t expect this job to fulfil you, only to pay your mortgage etc; and you start teaching dance in a small way, maybe evenings or weekends, and don’t expect it to pay, just do it to make you feel good? Would that maybe make a difference?”

And she looks at me wide-eyed, and suddenly grins. “What have I got to lose by giving it a go?” she says. “Thanks Minnie!” And she closes down the computer, and goes off home. And that’s when I finished cleaning and went and sat in the Managing Director’s chair, wondering still about Melanie…………

So what brought it all back to me today? Well, when I got to the offices again this afternoon, there were balloons and people having a drink; and there was Melanie, cutting a cake.

“Oh I didn’t know it was your birthday today !”

“It’s not, Millie” she laughed. “It’s my leaving party!” And she walked me over to a couple of chairs, and said

“You were right……..I took your advice, you remember? And I started teaching dance a couple of evenings a week, and it grew and grew! So then I was doing weekends as well. And the funny thing was, the job here seemed much more bearable….! And there was no pressure on me to make the dance teaching pay…..but you know what? It has! And I can afford to do less days here, which they’ve agreed to, and more days building my dance business!”

And she gave me a big hug

“Thank you so much Minnie….you’ve changed my life!”

“No, no-one can change anyone else, darling - you did it yourself” I told Melanie. But what do I know……a cleaner from Clapton?

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Cleaning Up Your Act

Introduction To The Story Collection

The Minnie Kerchevsky Stories

Real wisdom can often be found in the most unlikely places....not from teachers, coaches, professors and so on, but from ordinary people who have their own life experiences to draw on to help others.

Cleaning Up Your Act is a collection of the stories of one of these very special people.........

Minnie Kerchevsky is a so-called ‘ordinary woman’, a cleaner, a 'daily', with no pretensions, no super-ego... just a desire to make things better in any way she can; helping those around her to “clean up their acts” in her own unique and heart-warming way!

Minnie believes that what stops us being happy is thinking we don’t have choices - and that feel-good is a state of mind we can always choose to be in!

So in ‘Cleaning Up Your Act’, we gradually learn about Minnie’s own life and events - and how she dealt with challenges and learned how to see raindrops as sunbeams in disguise! - interwoven through the stories she shares about the people she impacts with the homespun wisdom that is the essence of who and how she is, because of who and how she has been.

Each of us has met Minnie, or someone like her, in our lives... and if we haven’t, we’re the poorer for it - so here’s our chance to put that right!



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In today’s economic climate, we all have to do more with less, and so we’re told that there’s a real and imperative need for a ‘can do’ attitude. Yet one of the most powerful secrets of business success is not just a ‘can do’ attitude, but an ability to ‘live’ your goals backwards. – in other words, to have a ‘can did!’ attitude instead…… and the ability to action it!

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When I was a child, there were two constants in my life….I loved learning; and I hated school. The two were apparently incompatible – with a couple of notable exceptions.

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