“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
-Leonardo Da Vinci-
Keep things simple.
Sounds like that should be an easy task, right? But so many of us struggle with simplicity because we are not designed for it, or rather, we are, but it is ingrained in us to overcomplicate almost everything. Because if it seems too simple, we must not be working hard enough. And if we are not working hard enough, how can we measure success. And if we can’t measure our success, that must mean we are failing. And if we are failing, we must not be good enough. By the way, none of this is true. In my opinion, it is a big reason why most days we feel like mad hatter madness going on in our mind, body and soul. It has been beaten into our minds that we must hustle, work hard, and burn ourselves out if we want to achieve our goals.
If this is resonating with you, I have been there too. That was my old mentality, and let me tell you, it didn’t work out for me so much when I achieved my goal, but I also suffered from burnout. We have adopted a culture of “let’s make that much harder than it has to be.” Whether it is healthy eating, working out, the way we structure our day at work, or even just regular daily tasks, so many of us tend to think that if we are not hustling, filling every single minute of the day, or working super hard, we must not be doing enough. Guess where that leads you? Stress-Ville! Some of you might be there right now.
I just recently, like last week recently, had to simplify my business. I couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t actually achieve the one big goal that I set because I had overcomplicated my company. Let me explain.
A couple of months ago, I set a goal to serve 1000 women with my new digital course Unleash Your Inner Contagiously Positive. I realized I couldn’t do that without some focus, so this weekend, I simplified my business. I took a moment to think about what I really, really, really love doing at Contagiously Positive and made a list of all the things I was doing that no longer brought me joy and would take my attention and energy away from my goal. Then, I simplified my entire website services and business plan to only include what I was actually going to be working on. It felt so freaking amazing! I removed 3 courses that I was good at facilitating but it wasn’t where my passion lies, but I was still teaching them, because it came from my old days when I was in the construction industry. Every time I would teach one of them, I felt drained. I could hear my own advice, saying, “just because you can do it and have been doing it, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it.” I had overcomplicated my entire business without even realizing it. I created a massive barrier that wouldn’t let me achieve my goal by filling my days with everything but the thing I wanted to be working on. Why was I doing this? Because I was doing the things I was used to doing, not being mindful of what I actually needed to be doing. I always say, what worked yesterday, may not work today. How much of what we do is just out of habit? But I’ve always done it that way.
Moving forward, I will now have more time to spend on the things that bring me the most joy, help me achieve my goal, and are the things that I’m the strongest and most passionate about. Talk about energy boosting! This will help me stay focused each day, instead of feeling scattered and stressed out. And, it will make my message really clear and consistent. And, it will be pretty great for time management.
By not overcomplicating things and simply thinking of ways to simplify your life, your health, your business (giving yourself an I’m only human break) you are giving yourself the greatest gift – ease and flow. Simplicity lightens the load that we so quickly pile on ourselves. There is so much power in simplicity – way more power than hustle, hustle, hustle, stress, stress, stress.
Simplicity can mean many things.
- It can mean starting where you are, focusing on this moment, today, instead of worrying and stressing out that you have not gotten where you want to go yet. I call this future-tripping. I get hung up here often and have to remind myself to come back to the now. That means having faith that you will get there, and wherever there is will be so much more satisfying if you don’t arrive burnt out, stressed out, maxed out with nothing left of yourself to give.
- It can be choosing to make one healthy meal that can feed you for three days instead of trying to make a different meal, three times a day, seven days a week.
- Simplicity can be choosing to exercise twice a week, instead of stressing out over how you are going to fit in seven 1-hour workouts. Or maybe you take your family for a walk so you can mix family time with fitness time. Or working out at home because the gym is 40 minutes away from your house.
- It can even be making the choice not to add another chore to your already full day. Trust me, the laundry will still be there tomorrow. Philosophers say there are no constants in the world because things are always moving. I disagree…laundry, laundry is always constant
- Simplicity can be looking at your to-do list and only putting on your list what you know you can actually do that day, so you don’t get overwhelmed by a three page list. Start with your top three, must get done, will feel so good when it is done, priorities. Then, start a new list.
Now it’s your turn. Let’s start with a little inner Q&A. This will help you see what needs little shake up. Then, baby step your way towards simplifying the most stressful areas of your life.
- What do you actually want to do? Not what you are good at, not what you have always done, not what you think you should do, but what you want to do.
- Once you have this list, what can you do to start putting the pieces in place to actually be doing the things that you want to do?
- What is one thing you can let go of, or choose to do that will simplify your day? Think about something that is causing you stress, is there a way to make it less stressful? Does it actually have to be done in this moment? Is it truly urgent or can it wait until tomorrow or next week?
If you want to make happiness your permanent default setting that you return to when life happens, start by making your life sophisticatedly simplified.