Are you screwing yourself by trying to be too awesome? Maximizers vs Satisficers

maximizingAs a part of the Freedom Junkie tribe, you probably suffer occasionally from FOMO.

Aka: Fear of Missing Out.


In fact, there’s a scientific term for us FOMO-ers – called “Maximizers.”

Maximizers try to milk the very best drop out of everything. They want the best flight itinerary, the absolutely most awesome choice of toothpaste, the best deal on the car they just bought (and they will price compare LONG after the option to return the car has passed)… you get the gist.

At first glance, you might be thinking: Ummm…. Maximizers are pretty f**cking awesome!

So, what’s the problem?

Maximizers suck at being happy with what they ALREADY have.

And it takes them forevs to make a decision (because they want to make sure they aren’t jumping the gun and missing the “best” decision).

While planning fun trips and scoring the-best-in-the-world cake pan, Maximizers are constantly riddled with guilt & regret over past choices.

Maybe they just took the most amazing trip EVER… but the Maximizer follows the gripping account of their latest adventure with: “But if we had only waited 2 weeks to go, the weather would have been perfect!”

How did they even know what the weather was like after they left??? They know.

Because they wonder if it could have been even better and looked that shit up.

They sought out proof.

Part of the issue these days is Maximizers are up against more options than ever.

Can people feel worse off as the options they face increase? The present studies in the social sciences suggest that Maximizers are particularly prone to this.

(BTW…Are you feeling a little uncomfortable recognizing yourself in this description? Yeah. Me too.)

So what’s the opposite of a Maximizer? A Slacker?

Au contraire! They are called Satisficers. Not “Settlers,” mind you. Satisficers.

Gretchen Rubin, a Positive Psychology researcher, states:

“Satisficers are those who make a decision or take action once their criteria are met. That doesn’t mean they’ll settle for mediocrity; their criteria can be very high; but as soon as they find the car, the hotel, or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied.”

Satisficers don’t settle for second best. Instead, they:

1) get clear about exactly what they want and what would feel good
2) when they achieve that, they stop “wanting” and feel content

So WTF is wrong with that?


Maximizers apparently don’t have a standard other than having the best experience…in hindsight. They don’t know what will make them happy, so they just keep going for the best and better and better and mo’ bettah. They will rarely feel satisfied, because they are not clear about what they want. Or how they’ll know when they’ve arrived at a place where they have permission to feel…satisfied.

(This is why Clarity is so important in all the work I do with my clients!)

Not convinced that being a Maximizer is all that bad? Here are the things that Maximizers suffer from far more than those who are Satisficers:

•    less happiness (for realz!)
•    lower levels of optimism
•    lower self-esteem
•    decreased life satisfaction
•    more depression
•    increased perfectionism
•    higher levels of regret
•    less satisfied with consumer decisions
•    more likely to engage in – and be adversely affected by – social comparison
•    more associated with poor adaptation and self-blame
Now I don’t know about you, but after reading that list, Satisficing sounds pretty sweet.

So how can we get more clear about what we need to be Satisfied…and hence a Satisfier?

Top 5 Tips to Feel Satisfied (Finally!) (Bonus suggestion: for a year‘s worth of tips, join the Urban Wellness Club here)

1. Know what you want, what you crave, what you desire. Knowing this in detail – so detailed that you can feel it ripple up your spine – will help you manifest it, and surrender once it has arrived.

2. Ask yourself, “Is it worth X to me?” Screw what other people think something is worth. I learned this when mastering the skill of bargaining in Asia. It exhausted me…until I found that I could give myself permission to pay what I thought something was worth, instead of comparing what other awesome deal someone else got – or might get. Pay it happily if you think it’s worth it – after just the right amount of due diligence.

When you buy something, and later someone brings up it was less somewhere else or that they paid less, remind yourself, “I don’t care. It was worth what I paid to ME.” Celebrate it!

3. Remember that you can be a Satisficer in one arena but a Maximizer in others – choose wisely! This can screw us up when we are Maximizers in this like relationships but are cool being Satisficers with burritos. Strive for Satisficing in the really core areas of your life, which will encourage you to get clear about what is most important to you – where it counts.

4. Set yourself up for less Decision Overload. Have routines (routines make the decisions for you during that part of the day since its just what you do!); go to smaller shops and stores with fewer options

5. Learn to “need” less. In other words, Simplify. When I was working and traveling in Asia, I loved how I went to the corner shop and asked, “Do you have toothpaste?” and they said, “Yes!” And plopped down one tube of toothpaste onto the wooden shelf in front of me. No choices. That was the toothpaste. I was thrilled. Way easier then “tartar control” “whitening” “flouride or non-flouride” “paste or gel” “baking soda or not?”

Want more help living a life feeling ridiculously indulgent and satisfied instead of craving something you can’t even describe? I’ve got a whole YEAR’S worth of juiciness for you at the Urban Wellness Club, and general registration is open (think: inspiration to live into your desires and make them real NOW – not “some day.”) Throughout the year I help women like you crystal clear on what they want… what deeply satisfies them… and then do what it takes to get it. Learn more by clicking here…

Ahhhh…. bliss <3

If that sounds orgasmic, I assure you – it totally is.

Today, I dare you to not regret a decision you make – when you catch yourself ruminating about how you could have done it “better” or if you could have found it for $10 less somewhere else, let it go. Share with me below what you did!


Ready to dive deeper into this? Check out Freedom School and see what everyone’s obsessed about. It’s not just group coaching. It’s a mindset revolution that you won’t want to miss.

Forget About Six Figures – How to Know When Enough is Enough (how much money is enough for you – really?)

I’ve been discussing a lot about the topic of “Six Figures” with fellow coaches, and collectively, we pretty much want to vomit when we hear business coaches talking about “making six figures off your first launch” or when we see all the cheesy marketing out there that promises you’ll make the elusive “six figures” if you study that person’s “Blueprint” or “Map” or “6 week Program.”

As part of my goal to simplify for the year, I wanted to know what was my true minimum income I needed to be happy and still feel fulfilled with the things I want to do in life – and be able to offer my gifts to the world.

I knew that the siren’s call of the 6-Figure income was a distraction and a constant nag in my past, and I wanted to know what was truly enough for me?

But first … who came up with Six Figures being The Goal, anyway?

It seems to me that a lot of people are starting to drum up their idea of success – whether in their business or in their career working for someone else – as making at least six figures. Let’s be honest – it is implied that once you make 6-figures, you will be much happier and healthier (and likely better looking LOL ;).

You and I both know – when we step back from the media influx – that making 6-figures doesn’t really make you happy in the deepest sense of the word. And it certainly doesn’t make you markedly better looking unless you plan to spend at least half of that on some serious facial reconstruction.

Studies have shown repeatedly that above $70,000 there is not a statistically significant change in happiness until you reach WAY more than the $100,000 mark. And even at that point, it doesn’t increase by much. To boot, some of the only studies that have shown that more money can make you happy are related to you giving that money away.

So there.

Then why are we still all sucked into this idea of 6-Figures? I admit that in my early days of coaching, I definitely used the 6-figure mark as the point at which I’d finally tell myself that I’d arrived as a successful coach.

The bullshit part about that is that it felt like that goal negated all the powerful transformation that was going on with my clients and my business BEFORE I hit that 6-figure mark. Nothing was “enough” until I reached that. I’d always feel a little less successful as a coach, no matter how many gorgeous emails of gratitude I received or comments on my blogposts about how I was helping someone.

I finally had enough of that carrot being dangled in front of me. Screw it, I thought. Why did I think I needed to make 6-figures anyway? I have lived an amazingly fulfilling life traveling the world making only $14,000 a year when I was a climbing guide. I had so many life adventures and rich experiences with quality human beings that are in my life to this day…and all while making far less than 6-figures.

I now know that I had the goal of 6-figures because that’s what all the business programs I was taking referred to as a milestone. And I knew that I needed to know what was my “enough.”

This is not to negate that milestone. It WAS truly amazing the first year I made 6-figures. But you know what? It wasn’t that long ago. I have been a coach since 2010 and only in the last 18 months did I finally hit that mark. I came damn close a few times, and felt “less than” because of it. What a shame, right?

My life was actually quite awesome BEFORE I made 6-figures too! I traveled and loved and adventured and rested and played and dined…and the only “negative” was that I felt I was not enough because I hadn’t met the 6-figure mark. Something must be “wrong” with me if I hadn’t done that yet. And now that I’ve hit that mark, I ended up giving away the amount I made above that to a freakin’ awesome non-profit!

I realized that the reason I was content and happy before I made my 6-figures was because I had cultivated a strong happiness practice of meditation, exercise, community, contributing to society, and play…and I was making ENOUGH.

How did I go about discovering that sweet spot number, and how can I help you learn how much money is ENOUGH for you?

So glad you asked;)

I challenge you to discover the actual number of what is the minimum you need to earn in order to be happy – not just alive and surviving, but happy and thriving. What is the actual MINIMUM amount you need to make in order to pay your bills, have some fun, and offer your gifts to the world?

EnoughLots of people start adding things to the list that they really don’t need, like “I really need to eat out twice a week in order to be truly happy.” Well, if that’s true for you, then go ahead and put it in there. However, beware of the things you think you “must” have in order to thrive.

I LOVE eating out, and quality whole food is an experience that eats up a huge chunk of my budget, but I have decided that if I could hit a restaurant once or twice a month, that would suffice to meet my “eating out” desires. If it’s not having to do the dishes that I like, or even liking to not have to cook as much, I could alternatively have scrumptious dinner parties or potlucks…and make ample use of my dishwasher and offers to help clean up.

The reason it is totally worthwhile to know what how much money is enough for you is this:

When you know what “enough” truly is for you, abundance flows even more freely. (tweet it!)

Isn’t it ironic? Once you know what you need to live in simple abundance, even more abundance can then flow into your life!

I know this is true for me. It wasn’t until I vowed to really simplify my business and my life that abundance flowed in even more easily.

I believe this is partly because once you know your minimum, anything above that is easy to see as a blessing, and more than enough. And as the Law of Attraction Goes – energy goes where attention flows, and when you see the world as an abundant place, guess what? More abundance comes your way.

This doesn’t meant to stop striving for the 6-figures if you want to. Rather,

It means not identifying your self worth or happiness with that 6-figures number, and being able to know how to enjoy this wild and precious life of yours with…enough.

And appreciating the abundance you DO have as well!

Discovering your “enough” also doesn’t mean using your minimum number to represent what is the bare minimum you need to live on in order not to become homeless or destitute. We are talking about the minimum you need to be happy and thrive.

It is a potentially tricky thing to figure out, and our minds can really mess with us in regards to what we really “need” and want. However, it is absolutely worth doing.

Discovering Your “Enough”

Be sure to set aside at least 1 hour to do the following activity, and create a sacred space to do it in (think: candles, favorite beverage, incense, calm music, views of nature, or whatever floats your boat when it comes to sacred space).

What you’ll be doing is:

1) coming up with a monthly budget of your minimum needs per month

2) and then adding in the one-time expenses you plan to have each year such as plane tickets, gas and lodging or camping for a road trip, or gifts for yourself or loved ones.Total these items.

3) Then take your monthly budget, multiply it by 12, and add it to the one-time expenses total.

(Don’t panic – I’ve created a spreadsheet to help simplify this for you – you’re welcome;)

Then – before you know it – you will have your minimum! Your enough.

After that, you may see a beautiful thing – what you need is actually already right in front of you…or at least much closer than you thought. And it’s often a helluva lot closer than 6-figures.

My enough is $5,000 a month. Again, I could be happy with less, but we aren’t calculating here what minimum I need to just be content and hang in there. I have lived off of FAR less the majority of my pretty amazing life.

However, what we want to figure out is what is the minimum to live a lifestyle that is awesome for you. And for me, that includes a couple of long vacations a year, monthly payments for my airstream and mortgage, and eating out now and then, among other things. I also now have a baby which has added significantly to my monthly minimum needs!

Suffice it to say, I was super psyched to see that my number was WAY below 6 freaking figures. I know if I make $60,000 a year, I will be able to live a life in alignment with my values and goals and dreams. If I make more than that, I’ll have more to give away and to do cool things with. And perhaps save a little more too, which has always been an – ahem – weakness of mine.


To help you out, I’ve created a cool little spreadsheet you can use. When I discovered this, it helped me feel so much more relaxed about money! Here’s the key:

Do the worksheet first for your minimum (what are the basics you need not just to survive, but to thrive in a simple way)…and then duplicate it to then use for your “more than enough” goals as well – those things that are icing on the cake, like a camping trip in Morocco instead of at your local state park (both of which are fabulous!).

I am a Mac user so I created this in the easy-to-use Numbers program. If you have this program, click here to download the Numbers version. I prefer this version since it let’s you split out annual expenses and income as well as monthyl (my life definitely doesn’t split up into neat monthly events;)

If you don’t own the Numbers program, click here for the Excel version. It isn’t as elegant as the Numbers design, and is “only” a monthly budget, but you can still do it and have it get you get clear

You can use the Monthly and Additional Expenses tables in the Numbers form to come up with your minimum (you don’t have to fill out the income tables for this exercise). I also recommend you do this exercise on your computer so you can take advantage of the spreadsheet’s functionality (it adds things up for you!).


:: you may have to do this several times before arriving at your number

:: this number will change with time – as you change, as your circumstances change (like mine with a baby), as life happens

:: you may have to start with your “ideal” numbers before you can whittle things down to your “enough” numbers. Therefore, you may want to make a few duplicate copies of these spreadsheets on your computer before filling them in.


Once you’ve realized how much you need to make, what does science show us about the ways that money can actually bring us more happiness – if at all? As I said earlier, giving money away to others in need is a big way to help yourself feel better. This is why tithing is a part of almost every spiritual tradition. But wait – there’s more!

Another great guideline is this:

Use your abundance to buy experiences instead of things.

Hands down this is a common practice amongst those that have more happiness than others. They spend their money on experiences instead of things. Read: festival tickets instead of a new stereo; plane tickets instead of a 60 inch flat screen on which to watch people traveling; regular outings to a dance club in order to sweat your prayers instead of another pair of shoes.

I hope this has inspired you to have the courage to discover what is financially enough for you. I find that it will truly create more freedom in life, and abundance in one’s mindset and in reality as well. So go for it!

Since change comes with taking action, I want you to know I am committed to reading your responses and will reply to each one. I really want you to do this!

Please comment on the blog below, and let me know what is now possible for you knowing your “enough.” What did you learn in doing the activity? Feel free to share what your “enough” number is as well. I think it is awesome to see the ranges that are possible.


If you want to join a squad of people that will help you navigate this wild and precious life, come check out Freedom School – for rebels like you. It’s not just personal growth for rebels. It’s Jedi training for the new world.

Simplifying is complicated

365lpgSimplifying is a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.

There is So. Much. Stuff. to sift through. So many papers. So many itty bitty tchotchke things. So many decisions to make:

  • Do I keep this?
  • If not, do I sell it? Give it away to friends or family? Donate it to charity? Set it out on the street with a FREE sign?
  • Will I need this in the near future?
  • Why the hell did I keep this? It must have been for a reason…maybe I shouldn’t toss it until I think about it a bit longer…
  • Will my husband think it’s weird that I want to keep this? Why do I care??!!!
  • What if I die tomorrow…should I put a note on this to not read it but just burn it? (this is what I often think about when I look at my stacks of old journals).

So you see my point.

I wrote a blog post on how to make these decisions, but man, the more stuff you have, the more epic it gets. If you can trust me on this one: get rid of “it” now (“it” being that thing you’re wondering about and will likely eventually let go of).

You won’t want to do what I’m doing and get rid of it later along with hundreds of other things.

Kind of like cleaning the kitchen as you cook.

What do you guys do with your journals? I am thinking of reading through them (once this new mama has found time to wipe my arse first), then ceremoniously burning them. But there’s still the conundrum of what to tell people to do with them should I die first.

I never knew simplifying could be so morbid!

How to Decide What to Let Go Of – Getting Rid of Things Part 2

365lpgAs I dive into radically simplifying my life to create more true freedom, I decided my next step was to tackle my storage area downstairs. We pretty much live upstairs in our two-story house, and use the downstairs only to visit the laundry room or to prepare the guest rooms for visitors.

There is a lovely large living-room-sized area that most would use as an entertainment room, but we don’t watch TV and only rarely have time for movies these days, so it goes largely unused by us…except for the space I take up with storage.

There are boxes and boxes of books down there (and more in the small storage-cottage in the backyard that needs to be fixed up still). There are also bottles of potions and herbs and tinctures. Tubes of lotions and creams and samples I’ve received over the years. Layers and layers of clothes that I haven’t used in months, maybe years…All tucked away for “just in case” moments, or to “maybe give someone to use when they’re visiting.”

There’s old mixed tapes given to me by high school boyfriends, exquisitely written love letters that I received in my 20s, photos of when I thought I looked particularly hot when I was 13 and had big hair. Birthday cards, ticket stubs from trips to Paris and Istanbul, notes from my father who passed away in 2008.

And in my process of simplifying, I admit that it is very, very hard to decide what to let go of. Isn’t an exquisite love letter worth holding on to? But what am I really holding on to? Am I holding onto the idea that someone actually loved me that way, just in case I feel unloved – or worse, unlovable – someday?

What about the memory of the person that wrote me the birthday card, or the images that ticket stub from my first Turkish bath experience brings up?

And my books…I LOVE books. When I moved up to Alaska, so much of my U-Haul was filled with books. That was probably dumb, as I likely could have bought all those books again for the same price it cost me to create room for them in a larger U-Haul. But the reality is, I have a connection to those books. I held them. I took notes in them and dog-eared the pages. I had major ah-has and joys and new ideas and adventures that came from them. It was worth bringing them up. And the scent…ahhhh the scent of my books…

downstairsstoragesmallBut check out the mess all these “memories” creates. And this is just my downstairs storage area after I’d already been at it a few hours! I was so caught up in getting going, I forgot to take a true “before” photo, when the boxes where stacked 4-5 boxes high and I was trying ti “hide” them with a Guatemalan cloth draped over the top. Grant it, it is a bit more messy because I unpacked several of the boxes, but you can get an idea of the amount of “stuff” down there. Zoiks!

There are even more boxes out back. They stack 4 high as well, some super heavy with books, others with pillows and picture frames and potpourri sachets…

I was able to sift through about half this stuff in an afternoon and set aside a bunch of things for the thrift shop or consignment or the garbage can. But it’s the small things – the letters, the ticket stubs, the cards – that I struggle with letting go of.

photoOne thing I have to remember is this: letting go of the thing doesn’t mean letting go of the memory. I think at times we worry that if we let go of something, we may even forget the memory of how good it felt, or the joy.

But the reality is, that memory is always there. The “thing” can be a trigger for the memory, but if we held onto things for each memory we wanted to have, our lives would look way messier than even my downstairs storage area.

Of course, there are some things worth holding onto for the memory it jogs – like the notes from my father that bring a sweet tenderness to my heart.

But the old love letters? I don’t really need those anymore. I wish there was a place we could send good love letters when we were ready to let go of them, so that they can be appreciated by others, though…

There’s also a lot of other things I am ready to release, even though they make me feel good when I think of the memories they bring up.

I am learning that letting go involves a deep sense of confidence and courage. In order to let go, I need to trust and know that I would be able to create that once again in my life, if and when I should need it again.

When I let go of an old love letter, I have the confidence that I can call in love like that into my life again should I need to. When I let go of a ticket stub up the Eiffel Tower, I have the confidence I can go back there whenever I would like. When I let go of a sweet birthday card, I have the confidence that there will be many more of those to come.

Ultimately, in order to let go, I need to believe that I am lovable, worthy, and capable of manifesting whatever I wish.

No wonder this shit is so hard to do!

I’ve come up with a few questions I’ll ask myself as I make these decisions:

1) Is the energy I receive from this thing received on a regular basis? If not, how often?

2) Is the energy I receive more than the energy I put into holding onto this thing – whether energy in the form of physical space in my life, mental or spiritual energy, money, or time?

3) Am I holding onto this because I am afraid I would not be able to manifest the type of memory it creates in me again? If so, I need to seriously consider letting go and instead working on my confidence, courage, and manifesting the feelings and life I want in the present moment.

4) Am I holding onto this because I am afraid I will forget the memory it stirs? This alone is not a reason to let go of something, but it is a point of reflection to begin an honest discussion with yourself about the reasons behind holding onto it.

I’m hoping these questions will continue to help me clear out the clutter. They have been super helpful so far!

Do you have other questions to add to this list? Do you have similar experiences to share? Please let me know below  – I’d love to hear it!

Note: This is one post in a year-long series about me committing to radically simplifying my life over the next year. To see where it began, click here. You can read additional Simplify 365 posts by heading to the Blog.


Simplify Your Life – How to Start Letting Go and Getting Rid of Things

365lpgAt the beginning of the month, I committed to a year of radical simplification – at least radical for me. Influenced by my Full On 365 blog, I decided to call it SIMPLIFY 365!

Frankly, I was feeling overwhelmed by the abundance that had entered my life, and wanted to create more time to simply BE. My first challenge is to get rid of things, and Part 1 of this is getting rid of my nice things that take too much energy.

Why start with my nice things? They are going to be harder to let go of, and I tend to start with the harder things so (hopefully) it just keeps getting easier. Plus, I’ll want to sell many of those things, which takes more time. My not-so-nice-stuff I can more easily and readily give away.

Plus, I have way too much crap to sort through to start with the not-so-nice-stuff (there…the real reason;).

BMW on trailerI began by selling my my BMW F650 GS. Here it is loaded in the trailer as I reluctantly bid it farewell. While I really didn’t want to do it, I wasn’t riding it much anymore. Alaska is not the most conducive environment for the cautious rider that I am, and having a baby made it something I probably wouldn’t be doing with any regularity for a few years. It tipped the wrong way in the current equation I am trying to hold in my mind:

Does the Energy In = Energy Received?

Nope. Not anymore!

That’s one of the things I am learning: this process of simplifying life is good to revisit regularly, because our needs change, our identity changes, our priorities shift.

photoWhen we hold onto things that are no longer part of who we are, they can literally and figuratively hold us back. (tweet this)

And holding myself back has nothing to do with creating SIMPLE FREEDOM.

mira skis tellurideThe other project is selling my condo in Telluride. I bought it at the peak of the real estate boom when I fell in love with this stunning box canyon. When the clouds parted as I stepped out to hit the mountain’s slopes for the first time, I looked up valley and a feeling ran through me that I hadn’t felt since I was a climbing guide in the Himalayas. I felt small, and wonderful, and in awe. I bought my condo the next day.

That’s me near outside of my condo above the San Miguel River the day I bought it. And yes, those AT skis were considered PHAT back in the day.

I loved living in Southern Oregon with Ashland’s Mediterranean-like weather, abundant fresh organic and locally grown food, my tight community of cosmically thinking friends, proximity to our local ski mountain, people on the cutting edge of alternative medicine, gorgeous rivers…but it did not have the abundance of BIG mountains that my soul yearned for. It had one big mountain near it – Shasta. But this woman get hot and heavy for mountain RANGES.

Now that I live in Alaska, I’ve got that kind of taken care of;)

So I put my condo on the market recently…at a time where it has dropped in value from when I bought it.

Will I lose money? Yes. Sometimes it just helps to be real, yo.

The question is…how much?

I have a feeling the Universe will support me on this one. My motorcycle sold in less than 24 hours. A good sign. My condo has had almost daily showings since listing it. A good sign.

My life has been filled with good signs, the Universe telling me I am on the right path in creating true simple freedom. Things are flowing.

While my condo is being shown, I am going to now embark on tackling dust and must and likely the gross bits of mice poo as I dive into the storage shed to begin THE GREAT PURGE. Wish me luck!

I will write more about specific tips as this journey continues, but I do know that the first step in learning how to start letting go and getting rid of things is to start with what is easiest and quickest so you can gain some momentum. For me, it happened to be letting go of some big and very nice things. That would give me the most bang for my buck in terms of letting go. And to be honest, selling a motorcycle and listing my condo were a lot easier to do than the alternative: sifting through ALL those boxes in storage…

Please share with me below any tips or stories you have of letting go of things when they no longer served you.

Note: This post is one in a series where I commit to radically simplifying my life in the upcoming year. To read about how it all started, click here.

Simple Freedom – The Beginning of My Journey Into How to Simplify Life

deewilliamsWhen I was at the World Domination Summit, one of the speakers I found particularly inspiring (and hilarious!) was Dee Williams of Portland Alternative Dwellings and author of The Big Tiny. That’s her over there in the superhero cape (she absconded with a Delta airlines blanket). She gave an absolutely motivating talk on minimalism and choosing SIMPLE. She lives in a 84 square foot swelling – and LOVES it.

Listening to her describe the joy of selling her house and building her 84 sqft dwelling and loving every minute of it reminded me of the absolute contentment I felt when I lived out of my car for 7 years.

Everything I owned was in the back of my Volvo station wagon. My prayer flags were hung along the rear windows, and I’d fall asleep under the stars in a place like Joshua Tree, feeling so at peace knowing that all I needed was with me, and that I could go anywhere I pleased and do anything – climb, hike, raft…without having to pack;) I had no utility bills, no cell phone bill, no marketing deadline I had to meet.

I had a PO Box in Santa Cruz that I checked whenever I rolled into town. I forwarded my mail to strange and remote parts of the country if I knew I’d be there awhile. When I needed a shower, I always found one. People took me into their homes and fed me really good food and offered me to sleep in cotton sheets (cotton is so yummy when you’ve been in a sleeping bag most of the year).

Obviously, that’s a whole lot easier of a lifestyle to live in your 20s when you don’t have kids or own a home. However, I’d be amiss to say that having that feeling was impossible as an adult, with or without a family and/or a home.

I know there are nay-sayers who have the excuse that this isn’t possible once you “grow up” and have responsibilities. Our society accept stress and chaos as the norm. We argue that it’s a part of life in our society that we have to accept – most certainly if you’re a successful entrepreneur. But I’ve made a mistake.

In my own way, I’ve let myself get lost in that belief.

I lost sight of my goal – true SIMPLE freedom.

That FEELING of ease, contentment, relaxation along with freedom.

Despite all I have learned about creating freedom in life, I let myself believe that being a successful entrepreneur means being location independent at all costs, that I “have” to blog once a week, that I must have a constantly updated sales funnel, network at all times, and be interviewed on as many podcasts as I could.

I let myself believe that I wasn’t fully living unless I was learning EVERYTHING that I possibly could. Reading in all my free time – or listening to an audiobook or streaming a lecture. I filled every possible minute with something awesome, productive or geeky. I made myself So. Damn. Busy.

Then there’s the STUFF.

When I worked on my money mindset early on in my business (I grew up VERY poor and had to work on the whole money-is-evil thing) and accepted abundance into my life, I let it manifest as feelings AND things: a condo in Telluride at the base of the ski mountain, a home with killer views and an adorable sauna on the hill above the theaters in Ashland. Clothes made of delicious fabrics, a Subaru that was only a year old and Certified Used (I still can’t bring myself to buy a new car LOL;). Vacations where I’d not think twice about the cost. You get the idea.

It was in my mind that as long as I let these things flow and come into my life with ease, that my life would be full of ease as well. However…

My current experience (and I’m open to it changing) is that I was totally wrong.

The reality is, the more stuff you have and the longer your to-do list, the more you have to deal with – whether it’s with ease or not.

It doesn’t mean more stuff is “bad.” You all know me too well to think that I would judge abundance as bad. I’ve worked too hard on my mindset to let that happen;) It just means that whatever and whomever you allow into your life, you have to care for it.

And that takes energy.

This goes for people, things, thoughts…all of it.

When you have a relationship, you need to check in, create time to connect, compromise, talk about what to do for dinner, and have finance meetings. When you have kids you need to make lunches and drive them to school and events and talk to teachers and go to multiple birthday parties.

It means that when you have a condo in Telluride, even though you may put your mortgage and all bills on autopay, you still have to repair fans that break, replace deck furniture, or have someone shovel snow in the winter when you’re not there…

It means that when you have a house on the hill, you need to schedule your utility bill payments, fix plumbing leaks, keep up the landscaping. You need to flip your mattress and touch up the paint and get the moss off the roof.

When you have nice clothes you need to make sure to wash them on gentle cycle and pull out the ones that need to be hung to dry. You need to have hangers that don’t snag. You can’t trust your husband to do the laundry;)

The tchotchke around the house needs to be dusted and moved around to find things.

When you have a business, you need to keep the energy flowing and give and create and let the world know about it so you can help more people. When you have multiple programs and care for them immensely, you revisit them and improve them. This can all be fun – for me it IS.

Most of the time.

But it is really easy to let it get out of control as an entrepreneur. There are so many things you can keep doing, and the task is never done. I’ve watched so many videos about how to create a proper work day when you work from home/wherever you’re at, and taken workshops on time management, avoiding overwhelm, and how to create systems in your business.

And I implement what I learn. I delegate. I have a Virtual Assistant and people who help me do tasks at home. I…try my best.

Yet the bottom line is, running a business, having an abundance of things (even if they’re awesome!), traveling a ton – it takes effort to keep them going.

While all of these things are not bad (and are actually quite yummy!) they are not SIMPLE.

Some will say, “Let it be easy, Ana! What if you let it be easy and effortless?” I ask my coaching clients that sometimes. “What would happen if you just let this be easy?”

The reality is, it would be easier – but it would still be more stuff in my life that I had to care for – even if it was caring for it with more ease!

Again – more ease, but still NOT SIMPLE.

We are here on this beautiful planet with this one precious life (at least in this incarnation) and no matter how “easy” we can make something, the more you have to deal with, the less time you have to NOT deal with things. The less time you have to JUST BE. To stare at the clouds. To sit quietly with a friend.

multitasking Check out this really vulnerable photo I’m sharing of me below. It’s a photo of me breastfeeding, checking email on my iPhone, and looking something up in a book. I’m holding a pen in my mouth (I like to take notes) and while you can’t see it, I’ve got my computer open in front of me on a stand streaming a lecture. And my baby is like…6 weeks old.

None of this was anything I HAD to do. I planned for my maternity leave and pre-wrote emails and posts and had my VA helping me out on social media and with my groups. I LOVE learning and was taking this time to soak up more info, make the most of my time off, and geek out.

Something in me had deep FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and was not ok with simply BEING.

My husband took this photo and showed it to me with a joking smile. I laughed back.

I looked at it later and cried.

I had forgotten l’arte di non fare niente: the Italian saying for The Art of Doing Nothing. Hell, I even wrote a blog post about it once. And it was high time to tap into it again.

I wasn’t about to waste this precious time in my life with my new baby on catching up with my FOMO needs. I am so grateful my husband took this picture because it was a big ol’ bitch slap in the face about how present I was being in my life.I was doing cool shizzle, going to cool places, experiencing the miracle of birth and life…learning a TON too! Yet while all these are good things, it was too much.

Here’s the deal: you can earn more money – with ease – and have more yummy stuff – with ease – and do tons of amazing things, be location independent…

But in the end,

Freedom Is a Feeling (tweet this)

And for me, that feeling is supported by simplicity as well.

No matter what your life looks like on the outside – whether it is one filled with travels, adventures, financial abundance, location independence, or none of the above, if you don’t FEEL free, you aren’t.

photoThat’s why meditation and cleanses and spiritual practice are such an important part of my life. I constantly need to cultivate that inner freedom. Freedom from my own sh*t.

Many of you know about my Full-On 365 blog, where after another cancer scare I committed to living Full-On EVERY DAY for a year. It literally transformed my life.

So I stand before you today, fully aware of my need to bring back simplicity and presence into my life, and am committing to a deep process of simplification for the next year.

365lpgLet’s call it Simplify 365, shall we? 😉

I’ll be entering into simplification like I’ve never seen it before. Letting go of things, people, thoughts, and experiences that no longer serve me. I will get rid of many of my nice things – not because they are bad, but because I don’t want to have to take care of them anymore. And I will definitely chuck my not-so-nice things.

I will practice saying, “No” to all that doesn’t create flow and joy in my life. I will reign in my finances so that I understand them and they are easy to assess instead of not paying attention to things simply because it’s never been a big problem (the not knowing creates mental chaos that I need to undo!). I’ll lay out my crap in front of you so you can know that it IS possible to have true simple freedom too. For me, that’s the point of writing about it, after all.

I’ll be blogging about my journey regularly, sharing what Simplification goal I’ll set for that day or week or month, and let you know how I’m doing – my challenges, my successes, my embarrassing truths.

I’ll be using lots of tools as I learn more about how to simplify life: blogs and tips from masters of this art that have been practicing this consistently for years, books, interviews with Simplification masters…and YOU all, who I am sure have lots to offer me on this journey as well.

vulnerabilityBrené Brown inspired me to do this even more authentically when she said, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” I’m bankin’ on it!

So feel free to join me on this latest adventure. Maybe it will inspire you to even join me with each challenge I set before myself – or create your own!

My first step? Getting rid of some of my nice things that take up too much energy:

I’m selling my condo in Telluride. At the base of the ski lift. Right on the river. On the top floor. In a crappy real estate market. Ouch. Stay-tuned to see how that goes…

Share your tips or challenges with simplification below – I can tell I’m going to appreciate any help and camaraderie I can get!