Ep 088: Getting Intentional with Holiday Traditions

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This time of year it sometimes feels like we've got things kind of backwards. We care so much about creating a special holiday and not missing out (you know, we all have FOMO) that we go way too far and end up trying to create such a special atmosphere, that it's very not special. We go out of our way with our traditions, we stretch our schedules and budgets thinner than we are comfortable with just to make Christmas super special. It ends up ruining the special occasion we tried tirelessly to create! It's like our traditions have become really overbearing. They start to feel really heavy and they're not fun anymore. We have stopped looking forward to them. Traditions should not detract from the season. They should elevate it. So, let’s put our traditions under the light of intentionality and get back to what serves us and our families best in this season.

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • The ways our society has bent traditions backwards.

  • How you can choose and carry out intentional traditions that are good for your family.

  • Why it is important to view traditions as things that should bring joy to the holidays, not subtract from it.

Mentioned in this Episode:


The holiday season is almost here! Oh my gosh, it can feel super overwhelming but it doesn't have to be that way this year. What if this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids? My course, Merry Little Christmas, will do that for you! It is just $15 and I know that it will help guide you through a simple, yet fun holiday season!

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who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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From the dawn of time, mothers have warred through unmatched trials, the pain of child bearing, seemingly insurmountable piles of laundry, PMS.  The time has come. Mothers all over the world will gather, trash bags in hand, war paint on their faces, an unstoppable force against the clutter that fights to steal their time.

Warriors Gather! Declutter Like A Mother 2019 is upon us!

Visit alliecassa.com/warriors to enter this 30-day challenge. Don't worry, it's free!


Hey, lovely friend! So, this episode is Getting Intentional With Holiday Traditions. I title my own episodes and I really wrestled with the title of this episode just because the word ‘intentional’ is so overused. It's like describing things in seasons, like how people say and I always say, “Oh, it's just your season of life; Oh, if you're in that season…” It's kind of annoying and overly done, but there's really no other way to say it.

I sat here for a few minutes just thinking about this episode and the title and I was trying to find a way to say “doing something with your holiday traditions” or “changing your holiday traditions.” There's just no better way to say it than getting intentional with your holiday traditions. So sorry, saying the word intentional again and it's so annoying. There's really no other way to say it.

We are talking about that today. Taking our holiday traditions, putting them under the light of intentionality and asking ourselves, “What is this doing? Is this serving our family in the right way? Is this on purpose? Is this helpful? Is this pointless? Is this out of obligation? Is this running us weary? Is this intentional?” So, we’re going to talk about traditions today.

Alright, so this time of year it sometimes feels like we've got things kind of backwards. I know we talked about this last week a little bit in terms of simplifying Christmas, and presents, and with other people and all that stuff, so you haven't listened to episode 87, go back and listen for sure. But we tend to just kind of get it wrong and have things backwards.

We care so much about creating a special holiday and not missing out (you know, we have that FOMO) that we go way too far and end up trying to create such a special atmosphere, that it's very not special.

We go way out of our way with our traditions. We stretch our schedules and our budgets way thinner than is comfortable for us just to mark a special occasion, and then that ruins the special occasion, so it's pointless.

Joshua Becker wrote once that “traditions should not detract from the season; they should elevate it” and I really love that. Well said, Josh, if you're listening for some reason. Joshua Becker is amazing. I'll link to his blog. You know, we like each other. We're friends. We email a couple of times. I like him. He's awesome. And he said that once in a blog post and it just really struck me. I mean that's where it's at. Traditions should not detract from the season. They should elevate it.

It's like our traditions have become really overbearing. They start to feel really heavy and they're not fun anymore. We have stopped looking forward to them.

Raise your hand if you've ever had the holiday season come at you when it feels like it just happened and all of a sudden it's upon you. That one thing that you always do every year pops into your head and you feel that let down feeling of, “Oh, I'm going to have to go to that thing. I'm gonna have to do this thing. I'm gonna have to see this person.” This is what's leading to adults dreading the holiday season rather than looking forward to it.

It just kind of ruins it for all of us. If we're not looking forward to it, if we're not enjoying it, our kids aren't going to very much either, even if we give them an awesome Christmas. They can sense that. They can feel that. And it should be magical for all of us.

I did a little research and I found some pretty saddening stats. Apparently 69% of Americans said they would skip gift exchanges this holiday season if their family would agree to it. And then when they were asked what they like or don't like the most about the holiday season, Americans’ top three answers about what they liked the least involved buying things. They said things like commercialism, materialism, financial stress, shopping and being in crowds all the time.

Basically we're doing what we hate. And it's kind of not shocking at all that we don't look forward to it like we did when we were kids.

I feel like I'm mentioning Joshua Becker multiple times, but another quote of his just popped into my head that I share all the time and that is that “minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts from that.” You all know that I am all about applying minimalism and simplicity to our lives, not just our homes. It all starts at home, but then it spills over into everything.

Under that light, why are we doing this? It's not right. It's not creating joy. It's not creating abundant life for our family. So, let's apply minimalism to this, to our traditions. Let's ask what's intentional here? Let's stop being the 69% that say, “I just wish that we could skip exchanging gifts. I hate this. I'm unhappy. I don't enjoy the holidays because it’s filled with all the things that I hate.” Let's say ‘no’ to that and let's move forward in a more intentional way.


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Hey guys! Have you heard Declutter Like A Mother is coming back? I'm super excited! This is my annual challenge. I'm beyond ecstatic to even be saying this to you guys!

I look forward to this every year. It is the one time of year that I just clear my schedule. I show up. I'm live with you guys. We’re chatting. I'm answering questions. We are focused on decluttering.

The whole premise of Declutter Like A Mother is 30 minutes a day, every day, for 30 days. That 30 minutes can be broken up throughout the day or done all at once, whatever you need to do, but the point is my whole community comes together. We rally. We become decluttering warriors. We focus. And it just creates this team atmosphere unlike anything else. That's why I get so amped up about it and I'm always urging everybody to join.

Last year we had over 40,000 women from all over the world joining together, showing up to the live streams, reading the emails, decluttering their houses, and getting insane results.

This is the time! If you like accountability, if you like that team feeling, if you like me and you want to hang out with me and hear me talk about this in a really focused, intentional way, Declutter Like A Mother is where you need to be!

It's totally free to sign up. You can go to alliecassaza.com/warriors and you'll get the signup page. Totally free!

I want to see you there! Let's do this!

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Let's talk about how you can choose and carry out intentional traditions that are good for your family. That you really look forward to doing every year because you're not doing them out of obligation anymore.

Firstly, I think you need to know that you have permission to be super basic. I am giving you full permission to be a basic girl and keep it simple. You don't need to over obligate yourself.

Here's an example from our life. Our biggest tradition, the only one that no matter what we do this, is just baking sugar cookies. It is so simple. It's so basic. But you know what? A handful of years ago when we weren't being simple and we were giving into the more and more and more holiday season BS, we missed baking sugar cookies one year and Bella said something about it and she was really sad. What happened is that it had gotten lost in the hullabaloo of all the holiday overstretching and over obligating and it didn't happen.

And we love it. My kids love it. They look forward to it. I look forward to it. It's a win/win. Why did that get skipped?

It's okay to just shove everything else completely to the side and say we're stripping this down to its bare basics (because that's what minimalism is about) and it's okay to stay super basic and simple. Don't look at Instagram and what all the other moms are doing and feel that FOMO, let that comparison win over. It's okay to be super simple and just say, “What do we love to do?”

Even if it's like, “Wow, you're only tradition is baking sugar cookies? That's ingenious. Way to go. You're really killing the holidays.” You are because that’s what you love to do. That’s what your kids love to do. It's okay if it's super simple.

I mean there were years when I was so burdened and, like I said, so over obligated that baking sugar cookies with my kids didn't happen, like that one year. Or it would happen, but it made me annoyed and stressed out and cranky with my kids. And it wasn't an enjoyable process because of that. I was trying to do so many other things that it ruined our main and favorite simple tradition.

There's an example to kind of inspire you. What do I mean? What am I talking about? How can you get kind of intentional in this way.

I think another thing you can ask yourself is what are the things that you and your family love and look forward to that might've gotten smudged out by stressful obligations. Ask them. Talk to your kids. Talk to your spouse.

What I hear a lot is that you, as the mom, want to simplify. And your kids have some pretty basic, simple holiday traditions that they want to do. But your spouse is really wanting to go all in, really wanting to go over the top and pushing back on you about wanting to simplify.

Talk to him. Pull him aside and ask him “Where is this coming from?” Don't be condescending. But just like, “Hey, what's the root problem here?” Usually when I help somebody dig into this, it's usually the husband, and he's feeling like the holidays are a time where he gets to spend more time with his family. He's feeling a little bit guilty that he misses things and he wants to go all in because if he doesn't, he feels like he's not a good dad. I see mothers do this, too, especially working mothers.

If one person in the family is really feeling a lot of pushback to just simplifying and streamlining the activities and the traditions. Ask yourself or ask them, if it's not you, “Where is this coming from? What's the root cause? Why do you feel like that?”

I think the main point is in choosing what traditions are going to stick, what's worth it to you, is just having that conversation with your spouse and with your kids. And if your kids are super little (good for you for starting early, by the way) but then just talk to your spouse. When your kids are old enough, you can ask them what's going on and kind of reevaluate.

It's okay to let a tradition die. It's not going to ruin your kids' lives if you used to have a tradition that was standing for years and years and years, and when you realize that it wasn't serving you anymore, you dropped it. If you keep going, that's going to ruin your holiday. That's not good. That's not what you want.

I think it's so funny (and I'm talking to myself here too) how people will cling to something that is just not working for them because it's something that they've always done and they have some kind of guilt or obligation around keeping that up.

The main thing to remember is just because your family has always celebrated the holidays in one way does not mean that that can never change. It doesn't mean that you can't shift expectations. You can be the first person to have a new idea and say, “Let's do this instead.” Even when it comes to relatives and people that are outside of your immediate family.

And since basically 70% of us would rather not exchange gifts, if everyone agreed, you know your family might thank you for bringing that idea to the table.

It's not about going way the opposite way and being against gifts and against tradition. I love both of those things and we have a lot of that in our holiday season in our house. But it's about gifts that add joy to the holidays, not subtract from it. It's about choosing traditions that add joy to the holidays, not subtract from it. Ask yourself, “What is the reason for this season for me and my family?” And then intentionally choose traditions that align with that.

So go! Get your butt out of here. Make a list. Figure out what that's going to be for you guys.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

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Ep 087: A Simple Christmas

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Hello December. Hello Christmastime! Hello trying to be minimal and simple during Christmas. Anyone struggle with this? I think much of the problem is that our society puts an overwhelming amount of pressure on Christmas and focus on the wrong things. We reach for what we want rather than what we need (and what will bring us true joy). Not to mention the serious FOMO we face during the holiday season! We're afraid that if we don't buy lots of presents, overbook our calendars with holiday activities, and go all in that we're missing out, or our kids are missing out, and we're not doing a good job. Like we aren't giving them a proper Christmas. But everyone has has different family situations, budgets, and ideals that need to be considered. I hope you find this episode encouraging and helpful as you take action on simplifying your Christmas!

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • The reality of what Christmas means (and costs) in our society.

  • Quick, actionable tips on simplifying Christmas that you can apply this holiday season.

  • The value in finding your sweet spot and what matters most to you and the power of letting go of the rest.

  • How to deal with relatives and the parts of Christmas that aren't in your control.

Mentioned in this Episode:


The holiday season is almost here! Oh my gosh, it can feel super overwhelming but it doesn't have to be that way this year. What if this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids? My course, Merry Little Christmas, will do that for you! It is just $15 and I know that it will help guide you through a simple, yet fun holiday season!

A_Merry_Little_Christmas_B.png

who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


Don't have time to listen_.jpg

Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

_______________________________________________________________

Hey guys! Have you heard Declutter Like a Mother is coming back? I'm super excited! This is my annual challenge. I'm beyond ecstatic to even be saying this to you guys!

I look forward to this every year. It is the one time of year that I just clear my schedule. I show up. I'm live with you guys. We’re chatting. I'm answering questions. We are focused on decluttering.

The whole premise of Declutter Like a Mother  is 30 minutes a day, every day, for 30 days. That 30 minutes can be broken up throughout the day or done all at once, whatever you need to do, but the point is my whole community comes together. We rally. We become decluttering warriors. We focus. And it just creates this team atmosphere unlike anything else. That's why I get so amped up about it and I'm always urging everybody to join.

Last year we had over 40,000 women from all over the world joining together, showing up to the live streams, reading the emails, decluttering their houses, and getting insane results.

This is the time! If you like accountability, if you like that team feeling, if you like me and you want to hang out with me and hear me talk about this in a really focused, intentional way, Declutter Like a Mother is where you need to be!

It's totally free to sign up. You can go to alliecassaza.com/warriors and you'll get the signup page. Totally free!

I want to see you there! Let's do this!

Hi, beautiful friend! I cannot even believe that I am recording this episode right now. Christmas. What's even happening right now? I don't want to be cliché and say what everyone else is saying and that I can't believe it’s this time of year again, but…I can't believe it's this time of year again.

Also, here in southern California it's not super Christmasy and it kinda never is. Brian and I were just talking this morning about how we were really over not living in a state where we get to have the seasons.

But anyway, it is Christmastime and I love Christmastime! Even if I don't live in a state that feels super Christmasy, we have a lot of traveling coming in this season and we will be going to places where it's Christmasy, so that'll be really fun.

But I wanted to just do an episode about this kind of beastly topic that I get asked about all the time and it's been really hard to know, “Hey, how do you have a minimalist Christmas? How do you simplify Christmas?”

That's a really loaded question. It's really hard to answer. There's a lot of things that go into that and even more things that go into it, the more specific I get with the person that I'm talking to. I know each of you have different family situations. Each of you have different budgets. Each of you have different ideals.

Sometimes these big questions are really hard for me to answer, but I didn't want to let this season go by without having an episode about it and at least addressing some core points because there are some things that you can just take and run with, apply to how your life is and what your circumstances are (you know how your family is) and play it by ear and live your life.

So, I'm not going to shy away from this, even though ‘a simple Christmas’ is a beastly topic to me and it can be a little intimidating to be like, “Yeah, here's my episode on a simple Christmas.”

Of course, I can't cover all the bases and dive really deep into all the things, but before I get into this, and I'll mention it a couple more times in this episode because it's that important, I do have something that I created last year and put together. I spent a lot of time on this. I surveyed hundreds of thousands of people and got down to the nitty gritty, a deeper dive into what does go into simplifying Christmas. And that is what A Merry Little Christmas is all about.

A Merry Little Christmas is a mini course that I have. It's only $15 and it's something that I put together that really just dives a little bit deeper. We can only get so deep in podcast episodes.

It's broken down into “here's the sections of your holiday season, and the things that can feel really stressful, really overwhelmed, really cluttered, really heavy and how we can just breathe simplicity over all of that and make it lighter.” I get really specific.

For example, one big question is what do you do when your relatives or even your husband just doesn't want to simplify Christmas? They want to go big or go home and all you want is less? How do you handle that? What do you do when your ‘live at home together’ family is just really all about simplicity this year and your relatives are feeling weird about it and they want to give your kids a ton of crap? How do you have that conversation? What do you do?

I really just dive deep and get specific about all of those things in that little course. And again, for $15, that's pretty great. It's a seasonal thing that I like to do to help you guys out and really get a little bit deeper. So that is there. And you can just go to alliecasazza.com/jolly to check that out. And again, $15, you can see a breakdown of what you'll be taught in there. We'll talk about that again in a little bit.

But for now, let's dive into this basic episode on the topic of simplifying Christmas.

I think the first thing to say is that we need to look at the problem with our society and Christmas. Again, this is a huge thing to talk about, but what it comes down to is that Christmas in our society, in our culture right now is a business. And it's a 400+ billion dollar one at that.

It's raking it in and it's fooling so many people into financial ruin with this idea of “You've got to give your kids a great Christmas. Oh! You've got to get Billy what he wants for Christmas. You’ve got to get your daughter that one thing she really wants for Christmas. Go into debt. You have to get them a present. You have to spend more than $25, obviously. You have to make it feel really special. You have to make sure that you spend the same amount on them is they spent on you last year.”

There's so many little lies. The Christmas industry is, like I said, raking it in and fooling so many people into financial ruin.

A couple of years ago, it was around January, when I had called our finance company for our car and I remember Brian and I just had them on speaker phone when we're calling with some kind of question. I don’t remember what it was. We were calling them and we were on hold for forever and when the woman finally came on the phone, we had been on hold for so long and she was like, “Hey, I'm so sorry about that wait. At this time of year, we have so many repos from people going into serious debt and not paying their bills around the holiday season that we just have a lot of people on hold trying to get their cars back because they were repossessed.” We were like, “That is so sad.”

But we also totally get it because it's a lie that so many of us buy into and it's easy to buy into it. Just the reality that people are getting their cars repossessed. They're not paying their bills. They're skipping on their mortgages. They're going into serious debt because of the Christmas culture.

I think that a lot of the time, maybe we're a little too prideful to simplify into what fits our means. I think we're focused on the wrong things, reaching for what we want rather than what we need. And what we need is what's going to bring us joy. Simplifying things down to those basics. And those basics look different for everybody.

Simplifying things down to, “What's going to make this Christmas joyful?” It's certainly not going to be a repossessed car and a crap load of debt, right? It's like we're buying into the business’ lies and really missing the point. I don't mean that to sound really overly cliché, like ‘let's just get back to the point of Christmas and Jesus is the reason for the season” and all those things which, you know, of course is truth. I'm not trying to say, “We're just missing the point. Let's just get back to the heart of it.”

It has to be deeper than that. It has to really mean something. We need to realize how much we're buying into the lies and really truly missing the point of this season.

I think the core of this problem that we have is fear. I think it's a lot of real serious FOMO, fear of missing out. We're just afraid that if we don't buy lots of presents, if we don't overbook our calendars with holiday activities, if we don't go all in and create this immense fun in this season that we're missing out or our kids are missing out and we're not doing a very good job and that reflects on us.

It's like we aren't giving them a proper Christmas if it's not insanity. What we're really doing when we live this way during this time of year is we're setting a really unhealthy precedent for our kids.

I share this in the Merry Little Christmas course in the beginning of the intro lesson because it's so important, but I'll share it here too because it just popped into my head.

I remember years ago having a conversation with my dad. My dad and I are really close. My parents are still married. I have awesome parents. They're super awesome. You guys, if you follow me on Instagram, you've seen them because every time I posted anything about them, I get a million messages about, “How are those are your parents? They look so young.” They're not; they just have great genes and I hope I got all the good genes from them.

But my parents are awesome and I was having a conversation with my dad. My Dad was an awesome dad. He did a great job. We were talking about parenting and regret. It wasn't near the holiday season or anything, we were just talking about parenthood.

I remember asking my dad, “Is there anything that you really wish you would've done differently?” Out of all the things he could have said, he said, “I wish that I would have not gone so over the top with Christmas for you kids because I felt like I set a precedent and it kind of took the focus off of what it needed to be on. And I never really felt like we were spending good time together. It felt like I trained you guys to look forward to a crap ton of gifts.” And I remember that. We had awesome Christmases. I encouraged my dad that I felt like, “Well, just so you know, I think you're thinking of it in a different way. I don't think of it that way.”

My parents were pretty well off and they didn't spoil us during the year at all. We had what we needed. That was it. We never got toys randomly, but my parents went real big on Christmas and birthdays and that was fine. I never really felt super spoiled. I know my siblings have said something different than me, so I don't know, maybe that was my personality responding to that parenting differently. But anyway, that's what he said. And he said that out of anything he could have ever said…he could have said, “I wish I hadn't spanked or I wish that…” I don't know, he could have said anything. And he said that. That really struck me, especially because it wasn't around the holidays; it's not like it was on his mind.

I'll always remember that. That really struck me huge. I think it's important to just like ask yourself, where do you want to go? Where do you want to go with this holiday season? How do you want this to be in your family?

I think it's important to note that it's not that it's bad to go big on Christmas. I'm not swinging way the other way with this. What I'm talking about is messed up priorities where people are spending beyond their budgets and killing themselves during the season, packing in way too many activities and making themselves way overly busy and way overly broke because it's too much.

So, if you want to go big and Christmas and that's your family’s thing, do it, whatever. But if you're stretching yourself too thin, you're feeling really busy, you're missing the point. Your family's not feeling closer during this time. If you're feeling financially burdened, then maybe it's time to reflect and go a different way.

If you want to get back on track, just kind of back to the heart of the holiday season, but you feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. We're just going to dive into some ideas that I have, some things that we do in our family, and some solutions that I think I have to this problem.

We're keeping it as helpful as we can, but it's just a beast of a topic and the Merry Little Christmas course is there for you, so just remember that, okay? Alliecasazza.com/jolly.  It’s a $15 course. It gets way deeper and specific into issues.



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Hey friend, can you even believe it? The holiday season is almost here. It's coming! It's crazy that it's already here!

Oh my gosh, this season can so easily feel super overwhelming, not very fun, really stressful, and it just doesn't have to be that way this year. What if, imagine with me for a second, this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids?

I've put together a little mini course called A Merry Little Christmas and it does just this for you. I created this last year and it's been enrolled in by thousands of moms all over the world and they are loving it. It's coming back this year and here's what it does for you.

It basically will simplify everything about Christmas and the holiday season for you as a mom. You get an aerial view over what you want your Christmas season to look like.

We talk about what your intent is, what's important to you, what your focus will be. We talk about decorating your house with a simplicity mindset and prepping your house for the holidays.

What if your husband wants to go super overboard and doesn't want to simplify the holidays? How do you handle that? How do you transition your kids to a simpler Christmas when they're used to you just going all out? How to make new traditions. How to handle buying your kids presents in the minimalist way? What about relatives and all of their gift giving? How do you handle after Christmas? And a bonus for me is all about decluttering the toys for purposeful play.

This is a really awesome little course. It really packs a punch and it's only $15. So, head to alliecasazza.com/jolly and you can enroll for just $15 and get your holidays started off on the right foot.

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All right, so first let's talk about a basic question. How do you even simplify Christmas because that can feel really overwhelming. Ask yourself what you want. What do you want? What does it look like? What does your ideal holiday season even look like? What really attracts you and your spouse to the holidays? Is it baking? Is it having a lot of fireside talks with your family? Is it a lot of activities? Is it a lot of getting out? Is it going somewhere where there's snow, if you don't live somewhere where there's snow? Is it totally doing it a different way and maybe you do live somewhere where there's snow and you don't like it and you want to plan a family trip to Florida every year and just ditch it and have a super, non-traditional Christmas? Whatever it is. Ask yourself what do you want?

Then I think out of that, have a conversation with your spouse and your kids about what they want. I think a lot of the time your family and especially your kids will really surprise you and be a lot simpler than you think. Maybe not your spouse. Maybe your spouse is giving some resistance to simplicity here. And they're going to be like, “Well, when I was a kid we went all out and it was so fun. I want to do that for the kids.” And that's okay. You can talk about that and find a compromise.

But usually with our kids it's a lot simpler than you think. The most random and smallest little traditions will really strike a chord with them. And that's their favorite thing. And it's so small and simple that maybe sometimes some years it gets pushed aside. It doesn't get the space that it needs because you were busy doing other things and you didn't realize. But you're missing out on your kids’ favorite tradition that was really simple.

You don't even have to do all the things that your family wants to do when you have this conversation, but just start that talk and just listen. Get to the heart of what's on their list. What can you do that meets their core desire? For example, maybe you ask your kids, “What do you guys want for our Christmas season? From the end of November through December, what do you want to do?”

Maybe you noticed that all the things on their list is being outdoors. Going to visit Santa’s Workshop in your town. Going out and playing in the snow. Going up to the mountains or going to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Maybe you notice a theme that all the things they want to do are out of the house. Maybe you notice that it's all inside the house. Maybe you didn't realize how much older your kids were getting and they just want to hang out with you at home, bake sugar cookies, sit by the fire and make cider.

Maybe you'll notice a running theme. You don't have to do everything on their list, but you notice a common theme and you can say like, “Okay, I can see that your core desire is to be at home, stay cozy and hang out. Let's plan some days where we just block it out to set aside time to do that.

Just have that talk and get real with yourself and your family. I think it's very, very easy to not realize how much we're going overboard because we feel pressured to show up and make something awesome for our kids and our families, and then it's too much. It’s not even what they wanted. We're missing the whole point and that really sucks. We don't want that to happen.

Another step in simplifying Christmas is talking about gifts. Set a limit for gifts in your home. What that is for you depends on you. It depends on your budget, but I don't think it should just depend on your budget. I've been on both sides of budgeting.  A few years ago, a limit to my gifts would have been because of a budget issue. I don't have that budget issue now, but I limit my gifts because I don't want to set a certain precedent for my kids. I want to keep it simple. It's very sweet and unstressful. I order a few awesome gifts for my kids off Amazon and I'm done. I'm not a part of the holiday psycho stressful shopping and I love that.

That is a big piece of the joy that I feel around the holiday season. I'm not a part of that rushed-out-of-the-house-shopping. Even if I'm going to get a really special in-person-present for somebody on my list and I have to go out, it's not crazy because I'm not doing that for everybody. I'm not overspending or really stressed out. It's simplified.

Think about the gifts in your home. What's the limit that you need to set? What is your budget? What’s too much? What do you feel like is a good amount for your kids?

Just to give you an example, we keep it pretty simplified. We typically do three gifts per kid. They don't have any theme. I know some people like to do something to read, something to wear, something to play with and all that. That over complicates it for me and it makes me feel even more stressed. If that simplifies it for you, go ahead. Look up that list online. It's awesome.

But for me, I don't like those limits. I just think three great gifts per kid, plus a stocking with some little fun goodies in there, usually candy, maybe some Hot Wheels for Emmett because he loves Hot Wheels and he always loses them when we're out. Little simple things and that's pretty much it. I'm not psycho about it. Like, “Oh my gosh, three gifts per kid and that’s it!”

I can't remember a time when we went over that. Usually three gifts per person. I'm able to make those gifts really good ones and that makes me feel good. They're good quality gifts that this kid is going to love and that's it. It doesn't matter if our budget is 10 times higher this year than last year. The gifts don't reflect that really. It's still the same amount of gifts.

I think the next step in simplifying Christmas would be to stop comparing our Christmases to others’. It's okay to keep it really simple and get your kids coloring supplies and blocks. You don’t have to do a big thing like a trampoline or a gaming system, or one big family gift.

It's okay to keep it small. It's also okay if it is your season to go big. Ask yourself, what's going to work for us? What's going to simplify this so that we as the parents can enjoy this time and have magic in it as much as the kids do.

Looking at the gifts that other moms get their kids and feeling like you're less than, looking at what the other moms are taking their kids to and feeling like you're not doing enough to celebrate, that's not helping you. It's not furthering your holiday season. It's not furthering your growth as a person. It's not helping your family in any way, shape or form.

We really need to be mindful of that and just learn to appreciate like, “Wow, that's so great that that family did that. What a great idea. You know, maybe someday when it's our season to do things like that, we'll do that too.” Find your sweet spot. Consider your season of life. Consider your schedule, your work. Consider what matters to you. Decide what's going to feel good for your family this Christmas, and then let the rest go. Just unabashedly let it go.

Moving away from how to simplify Christmas, a lot of the time people struggle with how to deal with relatives and the parts of Christmas that aren't in your control. You can have this mindset of, “Okay, I know what matters to me this Christmas. I know where my spouse is at. I know where my kids are at. I know what we want. We've got this simplified Christmas that feels really good to us in mind and that's what we're going to head for.”

But a lot of time the holidays involve other people who maybe have a different ideal than you, or maybe you've always had a certain tradition that you're ready to drop and the other people aren't ready to drop it. It can get tense. The holidays can already get tense because they involve family. If your family is imperfect and there's people involved, it can get a little tense.

I think that it's something to just navigate mindfully and have your boundaries. Don't be super self-centered and like, “Hey, we're not doing that tradition anymore. Sorry.” Communicate. Find some balance.

Maybe there is something that you go to that’s kind of an obligation, but you're loving on your family in this way when you go to that Christmas party and you show up for them. But you don't say ‘yes’ to all the things. You don’t show up to every single house because everyone's gotten divorced and the family’s split up a million different ways, and you feel really obligated.

Maybe you can find your sweet spot with where your boundaries are and where you show up, step outside of yourself and give to the people in your family and your extended family in the holiday season, but you're not giving so much that you're not able to pour into your family, which is really important.

I understand that that can get really complicated and I've totally been there. We have divorce on one of the sides in our family. It's very complicated and messy and people are not very nice and it gets really difficult. I feel for you and I understand that. All I can say is just pray about it. Think through what you want, what matters to you. In your gut, run it through like, “What would it feel like if we went to this party? What would it feel like if we didn't? What would it feel like if we hosted our own party and brought everyone to us? And if they don't want to come, they don't have to. What would it feel like if we just said ‘no’ this year? What if we just traveled and left this year?”

We've done all of those different things and now we kind of feel like we have our sweet spot. And even though other people are being kind of nasty and not cool, we know we're making the right decision and we don't feel like we're being selfish. We just feel like this is what's going to work for us. And then over here we've got something that we go to that we really don't want to go to, but we love our family and it's about family this time of year and we're going to go to that anyway. Finding that balance.

Also, when it comes to gifts, getting a little bit more practical, it can really, really help when you feel like you're working on simplifying your space, you're getting rid of stuff, you're going minimal, and then here comes Christmas and you're worried that it's totally going to undo all your hard work - it doesn't have to be that way.

One thing that's really helped me is creating a wishlist for my kids’ gifts. I have found that people want to be the ‘present hero.’ What I mean by that is every relative wants to be the one who gets your kid the thing they really, really want and swoop in and get them the awesome thing and have your kid love them. And that's the core of getting presents is that your relatives just want your kids to love them and they just want to love on your kids and it's a way that they can do that. Because kids love presents of course.

So tell them what your kids want. Talk with your kids. Create an Amazon wishlist. Create a Target wishlist. Just create a paper list and have your kids mail it to everybody and maybe put a little note in there for grandma, “Hey, just so you know, this one that I circled, she really wants that and if you got her that you'd make her whole holiday.” The relative is going to get that thing. They want to be told what to get. They don't want to just randomly waste their money and get random stuff that your kid might not even like.

Take advantage of that. Tell them what to get. And then you can kind of have a little bit of some control over the things that you know your kid is going to love and the things that you know they're going to use. It's going to be good for them. It's not going to be a waste of space because they're going to love it or they're gonna use it. It's going to grow their imaginations or whatever it is.

I'm not saying to be hyper-controlling and make a wishlist for your kid without talking to them and putting a bunch of educational stuff on there. It's your kid's holiday. Let them like toys. It's okay. But people just want to be told what to get. It's going to be so much easier for you to take on some more toys if you know that it's things that your kids really wanted, or that is helping them grow their imagination or whatever it is.

I also think that there's something huge to be said about just talking. Communicate kindly to your relatives, as much as you can and as it fits the relationship, where you're at. Talk to them about your simple lifestyle that you're pursuing, especially if it's new and it's different than what you guys have done in the past. People can't read your mind. They don't know where you're at. They don't understand what your aim is and they might think that you're just trying to be controlling and keep them from loving on your kids and you're not. But they don't know that, so just let them know.

Communicate kindly and sweetly. “This is just where we're at. I definitely want to have Christmas with you guys and we definitely want to do presents if you guys want to. Here's a list.” Maybe even through talking you'll find that your relatives are kind of on board and they don't want to do a gift exchange this year.

You guys know who I am and what I do. I've been doing this. I've been well known for doing this and talking about what I talk about for years. Just last year was the first year that our relatives were onboard with not doing a gift exchange and it was really freaking awesome. It was the best Christmas we ever had. Tensions were low. Typical relationships that kind of have a difficult time getting along - it was great. We had great conversation. We ordered pizza. We had an awesome holiday celebration. We watched Christmas movies and we exchanged no gifts. They brought coloring books and crayons for my kids and that's it. It was awesome. Everyone realized how awesome it was and now that's our new thing, and they're finally on board with just ditching the gift exchange thing.

My parents still get my kids gifts and that's great. That's fine, because we have a separate Christmas Day thing with them, but I mean extended relatives like my grandparents, aunts and uncles and all of that. They're on board and it's awesome.

It might take time to get there. Maybe you're lucky and they're onboard now, but if not, it's okay. Just find the common ground. Communicate kindly. Don't be over-controlling. Simplify what you can. Let go of the parts that you can't.

And remember in the A Merry Little Christmas course, the $15 one, all of this is really dived into deeply if you really need help with this. If you feel like you really want to make changes and you really want to enjoy the holidays this year, you're feeling a little panicked, go get that. It's going to be a great $15 that you'll spend and it's not going to be regretted and I can help you a little bit deeper in there.

Next week on the podcast we're going to talk about traditions, which I think is going to be really neat for you guys. Kind of on the topic of simplicity, but more so towards traditions and how to choose what's going to be worth it. What's going to be good. We're going to talk about that next week.

Go get yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

Go simplify your holiday. Love you guys. Let's talk about traditions next time.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

EP 086: Becoming Your Full + True Self with the Enneagram (with Enneagram Coach Beth McCord)

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If you're unfamiliar, the Enneagram is a personality test of sorts, but it's so much deeper than that. It has been a vital tool in understanding myself, my husband, and my children better. It has helped me heal some serious wounds from being misunderstood. And it has really helped me feel more alive and confident in who I am! The Enneagram will guide you through transformation and growth as you walk through a simple three step process of discover, explore, and become to your truest self. Beth McCord is a wealth of wisdom on this topic and I am so excited for you to hear from her perspective in this episode!

 
 

In This Episode Allie + Beth Discuss:

  • What the Enneagram is and how it is different from other personality tests.

  • Why the Enneagram matters and the value it places on truly discovering who you are.

  • How the Enneagram will help you better understand those around you.

  • A brief description of each Enneagram number.  

Mentioned in this Episode:


The holiday season is almost here! Oh my gosh, it can feel super overwhelming but it doesn't have to be that way this year. What if this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids? My course, Merry Little Christmas, will do that for you! It is just $15 and I know that it will help guide you through a simple, yet fun holiday season!

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who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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Hey, beautiful friend! Oh my gosh, I am so looking forward to sharing today's episode with you!

I am talking with Beth McCord today. Beth McCord is Your Enneagram Coach on Instagram. She's got a really great following. She's so active on that platform and she shares so much wisdom. So, before we even dive into this today, if you're not already following Beth on Instagram, head to the show notes and get that link or search for her on the Instagram App. It's so worth following, very insightful.

If you're unfamiliar, the Enneagram is a personality test of sorts, but it's so much deeper than that. This has really transformed my life in the way that I understand myself, my husband and even my children as they're starting to get a little older and I can see more of who they are. I could just go on and on, but I don't want to do that in this intro. I just want to dive into the episode because Beth gets into so much of the details.

This is such a great episode. I really encourage you to continue listening even if you kind of feel like, well, I don't really know what this is or I don't really know how it will help me. It will. It's amazing and it's going to be followed by a second part episode that'll be coming soon that’s focused more on the Enneagram and marriage.

This is really a great tool to get to know yourself better and to understand yourself more fully. The Enneagram has helped me heal some serious wounds just from being a person and being misunderstood. It's just been really great to know myself and who I am in Christ more fully. This is an excellent episode that kind of dives into what the Enneagram is. Beth is just a wealth of wisdom and we're going to dive into the conversation with her now.

ALLIE: Hi Beth! Welcome!

BETH: Hey, thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here!

ALLIE: Me too. Okay, so why don't we start by just having you introduce yourself to everybody listening.

BETH: Yeah, so I'm Beth McCord. I live in or just outside of Nashville, Tennessee and I am an Enneagram coach. I started yourenneagramcoach.com. I get the privilege of watching people's lives transform and grow right before my eyes by taking them through a simple three step process of discover, explore, and become your truest self.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. That was well put, very to the point. I just want to jump right in because I think this is going to be a really meaty episode. I’ll prompt you for a couple of questions, but I really just want you to feel free to talk and just take over this episode.

Why don't you tell us what is the Enneagram and how is it different from other personality tests? Why does it matter? All of that good stuff.

BETH: Well, so the weird word, Enneagram is a Greek word where “ennea” means nine and “gram” means diagram or drawing of some sort. And so, for the listeners out there, they may not realize this, but there's a nine-pointed geometric figure, or a nine-pointed star, inside a circle. And that symbol has great meaning and implications of why we do what we do, which is what the Enneagram is all about.

A lot of typologies out there, which are great, are really talking about your preferences, behaviors and things that are happening outside of yourself. And this typology is speaking to “why” you think, feel and behave in particular ways.

The way I like to describe the Enneagram is that it is an internal GPS, where it is helping you to not only know why you do what you do, but to also help you to steer yourself back into your right path for your personality type.

When do you veer off course? A lot of us will be going around, you know, like driving on a highway and the GPS knows your current location, right? Which is your main Enneagram type. And then we have a destination that we're aiming for, which for us would be the healthiest version of our Enneagram type. Through Enneagram books and other resources, we can know what that looks like for your type. And so, we're trying to obviously stay on that path, right?

Well, we fall asleep, we're texting, we're distracted, whatever it is, and we veer off course, and we often land in common pitfalls time and time again. And we get stuck. We're confused. We're irritated with ourselves or we put ourselves down. You name it. Because it's like, “Why am I doing this? Why am I stuck? This isn't working.

Well, we don't know why we're doing it because it's just happening to us. So, the Enneagram is gonna help you to know why you do what you do, but it's also going to let you know before you veer off course that you're veering off course. We call that the rumble strip on the highway.

So just like all of us are driving along and we get distracted or whatever's happening, we hit that rumble strip, you better wake up and get aware of yourself so that you can stay on your best path. Because if you don't, you are going to veer off course.

And what happens is (whereas hopefully this doesn't happen to your listeners when they're driving) that when we hit the rumble strip when we're really driving, we do get back on path. But what happens in the internal world is we've been so used to our personality telling us to veer off course. Like thinking, “Oh this is going to help.” It's like muscle memory. We hit the rumble strip and we’re like, Oh!” And then we just veer off course and we’re like, “What? This did not help.” But we don't know any other way of doing it because we've done it that way our whole life.

The Enneagram is going to show you how to stop veering off course. It's going to take a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of work, super hard. But man, is it so much better than being in those pitfalls. It's so much better than being in our own quicksand or pits.

So, the Enneagram is going to help us to understand that and hopefully, if we have other people in our life that are doing it with us and encouraging us, man, it's so much easier. So that is kind of the first understanding of the Enneagram, is it being your internal GPS.

ALLIE: Okay. I love that analogy. Can you give maybe a little bit of an example, either from yourself or from someone you've worked with, of what that exactly would look like? Because I think it's a great analogy, it's super clear and it helps us understand like, “Okay, I get why this isn't really a personality test exactly. It’s way more than that.” But can you maybe give an example of what that would look like with the getting off track and coming back for a specific personality type that you've worked with?

BETH: Absolutely. Yeah. So as a coach, one of the things that I'm trying to help people to do is become A.W.A.R.E, and that's an acronym. I use the acronym to also help illustrate this with a personal story. So, the acronym A.W.A.R.E is the first A, which is “awaken” - to awaken to ourselves that we actually do things that aren't always helpful, but also what do we do that is amazing and wonderful. So, the “awaken” is a really important step.

The second one is the W, which is “welcome,” and we want you or us to welcome what we're observing. And it doesn't mean like, “Oh, I just can do whatever I want. I'm just going to welcome it.” No, it's don't have accusations against yourself. Don't have self-condemnation, fear, and shame. Christ has already taken care of that. What we're really wanting is to welcome it in the sense of, “Oh, I see it and I'm going to just hold a space for it so that I can grow from it.”

Anytime I'm putting myself down or accusing myself, that only sends me even further in a bad place. Whereas if I can welcome it, I can then more honestly open it and give it back to the Lord in a way that my hands are open versus this closed, clenched fist.

The A is “ask” and we want to ask the Holy Spirit for clarity and understanding of why this is happening, what is going on internally for us. We want to ask the Holy Spirit to give us that clarification, wisdom and how to navigate our heart.

And the R is to “receive.” Receive the knowledge, insight, and the blessings of who we are in Christ. It's already ours. A lot of us are trying, straining, striving, working so hard to get in the room we're already in.

So I'm in my office right now and if I was like, “Oh, Allie, if I could just be in my office,” and you’d look at me like, “Uh, you’re already there.” Right? That's kind of what we're doing with Christ, and forgiveness. You already are His beloved child. Stop striving in the way that your personality is trying to convince you that you must do and simply just rest in the arms of Christ that you're already there. That's the receiving.

Then the E is “express.” Express who you are through the gifts and the qualities that God has designed you to be. Meaning, as a type 9 for myself, how has God designed me to be the healthiest version of myself that reflects Him and His glory and bless others, and also I get to enjoy. We went to express that.

So an example of using this kind of analogy and the Enneagram as an internal GPS, here's a great one. About a year ago, we were heading off to Philadelphia for a work presentation that I was going to do, my husband, my daughter and I, and we had to get on the road, let's say about 8:00ish. I woke up 15 minutes later than I planned. So we were 15 minutes behind schedule, which isn't the worst thing, but when you're living in Franklin and you have to get all the way up to Nashville in rush hour, not the best plan, right?

Well as a 9, when people understand the Enneagram, what they're going to see is that there are lines that are connected to each type. There's two lines. My two lines are connected to type 6 and type 3. And as I teach them in my course, Discovering You, it's the basic foundational aspect, Cliff Notes version of the Enneagram, what they'll learn is when each type is struggling and under stress, they're going to take on some of the attributes of another type.

So for me, I don't become a 6 but I take on some of the attributes of a 6. So all of a sudden this peaceable type 9 who can be easy going, all of a sudden became irritable, defensive, testy, anxious, worried. All these things that are not fun for anyone to be around, but my family was getting the blunt end of it because I was running late. And so I was mad at every red light, every traffic stop, every school intersection, you name it. I realized in that moment I hit the rumble strip inside and I was like, “Oh, I totally know what's going on. I am anxious because what if we’re late? And this is a job thing and I need to get there.

So all of a sudden I realized I'm under stress and when a 9 is under stress, I take on those attributes, but I don't have to. Now, what I told them was I said, “I totally see what I'm doing guys. I'm so sorry. I'm just really anxious about being late, but this isn't your fault. This is mine.” But I did say, “I don't know if I'm going to be any better until we get there, but at least I do know I'm doing this. And it's mine to own.”

So, then that gave a better conversation for us to navigate. And also they didn't feel like they had to defend themselves or get upset or push back or try to fix me. They were like, okay cool, mom owns her stuff and it's still not going to be pleasant until we get there, and we did, we got there fine. But at least I recognized what was going on and why so that it could call my internal resources down

ALLIE: It’s not an excuse to just do whatever. But it helps you understand that I'm reacting like this and I can control a lot of it, but I'm not going to be super peppy until this is over.

BETH: Exactly. Yeah. And they could support me too. Sometimes my family has seen me all anxious and worried where I haven't hit the rumble strip or I'm hitting it, but I'm not paying attention, and they can see I'm worried and anxious about something else. And they can say, you know, obviously if they're doing well, “Hey mom, I can see you're really anxious and all worked up. Are you okay? Or is there something I can do?” Instead of them being like, “Oh, why are you this way?” That's not going to be helpful to me.

But if they can have compassion and understanding for why I'm doing what I'm doing, all of a sudden they can move into my world with compassion and love in a totally different trajectory that can snap me out of it and make me feel like, “Oh, thank you so much. You totally saw what I needed and I really appreciate that.” Or just having the love, compassion and mercy is so important.

So also each type, the path of growing, like when I step out and do my own business as a type 9, which is really hard for a type 9, my family can go, “I'm so proud of you. I know this is really hard, but we're seeing you take action and doing it.” Whereas maybe another type they build businesses in their sleep. Not that it's ever easy, but it's not at the same level. But for that type, maybe doing something that I do is easy for me, is super hard for them.

So if we understand each person's growth path and we see them moving in that, we can cheer them on, support them and encourage them versus just being like, “Well yeah, that's easy. I can do that.” You know, it's, “Oh no, I see that you're working really hard. Thank you so much.”

So that's in a nutshell how you can kind of see how the Enneagram can be really powerful.

ALLIE: Yeah, yeah, for sure. And in all of the close relationships. I'm just picturing understanding this about really, really close friends that were doing life with. Just as you're talking, I'm just imagining if this got bigger and we really dove in and understood ourselves and those really close to us, I mean just how powerful it is in conversations instead of being kind of like, “Why are you even worried about that,” which is my reaction to certain people. Really understand, “I see that this is her big thing, her struggle

BETH: Like for instance, if you and I were to become friends, (I’m a type 9; you’re a type 8) 8’s are perfectly fine with confrontation, in fact they call it “confrontational intimacy” while the 9 is running far from confrontation of any kind. Even just a little tension or debate is super uncomfortable for us. But now that I understand the heart of an 8, I'm like, oh, okay, cool, I can totally go there.

Not like I want them to be at conflict with me, but a lot of times what I'm seeing is, “Oh! I see behind this tough facade or this intensity and I see this really tender heart.” I know we’ll get to this at the back end of the show, but I see the heart of an 8 now and so it allows my 9-ness to go there and not take it so personal or like this big personal attack like, “Oh, okay. Yeah. So she's just enjoying this conversation and it's not what my personality says it is.” That allows us to have a whole different relationship than a reactionary relationship.

ALLIE: Yeah. That's incredibly powerful. I love that. So, before we get into maybe a little bit more personal stuff, can you go over the types and just as briefly as you feel is good to give a brief explanation of each one?

BETH: Absolutely. I'd love to. We've talked about this before, so I'm just going to give your audience kind of a heads up. I’m going to literally just kind of go through it pretty quickly without us having a lot of chit chat or back and forth because going through all 9 types, it’s really important to hear everything and it can be really challenging for people to find their main type, so we just want to give a due diligence to each.

In finding your main type, a lot of people want to go take tests (and I have a free one on my website and some of them can be very helpful) but tests are only about 75-85% accurate. And the reason why is that the Enneagram is trying to help you to name your internal world. Well that's really hard if you don't know your internal world, right?

So a lot of times we can get mistyped through the test. What I recommend is that you listen to what I'm going to say here, but also under my free test is this pdf that I'm actually going to go through right now and you can download it for free. It's Step 2 under the yellow button “take a free assessment” so people can go ahead and access it. Use it as a fun party conversation starter as well.

When you're trying to find your main type, there are core motivations - remember we talked about why we do what we do. There's four things that I really want people to look at. You have a core fear that you're always running away from. You have a core desire of the thing, “Oh, if I just had this life would be amazing or perfect.” And then we have a core weakness, an Achilles heel, the thorn in your side, that keeps tripping you up all the time and you're so frustrated with it, but it won't go away. But God's strength and grace is made perfect in these weaknesses. And then we have a core longing. This core longing is what our heart has always longed to hear and still longs to hear.

Those are the things you want to listen to. A lot of people are like, well, can I have a core fear over here and a desire over there? You're wanting to find the type that has all of these the strongest. Okay?

Type 1 is the “moral perfectionist” and their core fear is being wrong, bad, evil, inappropriate, incorruptible. So what they're desiring is to have integrity, to be right, to be virtuous, to basically be the good boy or the good girl. It’s all about ethics and morals.

Their core weakness is resentment. And this resentment is really anger that's been repressed. A lot of ones will say, “What? I’m not angry.” But the resentment kind of comes up into being critical, judgmental, nitpicky. Why the resentment is there is because for them they have a loud inner critic that is constantly berating them and telling them what's right and wrong.

Because when they walk around, the inner critic sees the missing things with the errors of the world, the imperfections, and it leaps out at the one and it assaults them. And they think this happens for everyone else too. So if there is something on the carpet that shouldn't be there, they think everyone else sees it too, just like they see it. And then when others don't, then they get hurt and frustrated like, well “Sue didn't pick that up. How could she have missed it? She must be leaving it just for me?” Then the resentment comes up, so it makes sense.

But the message the 1 longs to hear is you are good. That would be so amazing for them. And so, what I teach as I coach people is how the Gospel answers all of their core longings. We don't have time to go through it now so people will have to hang on and go through that another time, but the core longing is always answered by Christ. So the 1’s are wanting to know that they are good.

The type 2 is the “supportive advisor.” They fear being worthless, needy, dispensable, inconsequential, and unworthy of being loved. What they really long for is to be appreciated, loved, and wanted.

Now their core weakness is pride. The pride of the 2 is first the inability and unwillingness to acknowledge their own suffering, emotions and needs, and so what they do is instead they focus on others' needs and emotions, so when a 2 walks into a room, they're feeling other people's feelings and they have this intuition of what they need.

They move into that person's life so they assert themselves and insert themselves in a way that is helpful for that person. Whether the person has asked for it or not, wants it or not, the 2 is going to insert themselves because their core longing is that they want to be told they are wanted and loved for being who they are. And they think that they'll only get that if they serve and help in some form or manner. So the 2’s pride blinds them to their own needs and make them focus on others only.

Now the difference between the 2 and the 9, we'll get to the 9 a little bit, is that again, the 2’s are always feeling that they need to insert themselves into people's lives. The 9’s are much more accommodating when asked and more withdrawn, not inserting themselves.

The type 3’s are the “successful achiever” and they fear failing, being incompetent, inefficient, exposed, worthless, or unable to appear successful. The core desire is that they want to be valuable, admired, have high status in regard, to be well respected by others. So, for them it's all about image. Are people seeing me as successful and admirable.

Their core weakness is deceit. Deceit for them means that they are deceiving themselves into believing that they are only the image they present to others through their success and achievements. So I tell people, this is kind of like my husband was a place kicker in college, and with place kickers, there's a saying, “you're only as good as your last kick.” If you missed, you’re horrible; if you made it, you're amazing.

That's how a 3 feels about achievements and their image. If I was successful, I must be amazing. If I was anything less than 100% amazing, I'm the worst. They're always striving to be successful so that they will feel loved. What they really long for though is to be told that you are loved for being just who you are. You don't have to achieve or do all these accolades. You are loved for simply being you.

Now, the type 4 is the “romantic individualist” and they fear being inadequate, emotionally cut off, plain, mundane, defective, flawed, and without having a certain significance, an authentic significance in the world. They desire to be unique, special, and true to themselves. So knowing their authentic self, that's their big core desire.

Now where you are going to understand them a little bit better is their core weakness. And this is envy. Now, envy is the feeling that something fundamentally is missing in the, but they look around and they feel like others possess these qualities that they lack. They long for what they're missing and they feel like they have to get it in order to be loved. So think of the 4 as being like we're all puzzles and it's like we're putting this puzzle together and at the very end there's that missing piece and you're like, oh man would've been so great. It was going to be a beautiful puzzle, but now it's defective. That’s how the 4 feels about themselves inside. So in order to be loved, they have to present a unique, significant image of themselves so that the world will look past this flaw and see something worthy of being loved.

What they long for is for someone to say, “You were seen and loved for exactly who you are, special and unique.”

Type 5’s are the “investigative thinker.” They fear annihilation, being ignorant, invaded, incapable, not existing. They're afraid of having obligations placed on them and intruded on. Their desire is to be capable and competent. Where you're going to understand the 5 the best is through their core weakness, which is avarice. Avarice here in the Enneagram means that they feel that they lack inner resources and that too much interaction with others will lead to catastrophic depletion. This leads them to withhold themselves from contact with others. Thus they hold onto their resources and minimize their needs.

So think about the 4’s as this internal battery like on our phone. They only have, let's say 20% for the whole day. And let's say those extroverts out there have a Mophie Case on and they go be with people and the people hit that Mophie Case button, then it's like they're good to go forever. Introverts might only last maybe 75% of the day.

But the 5’s only have about 20% for the whole day, every day. So if that was you, you would have to ration out your battery life for the whole day. You’d have to know what your schedule looks like, you know, how much do I need here and there. And so, people start intruding on them. That's like someone taking their phone and start pressing a livestream and it's going to suck the battery even faster and it's like, “No, you can't do that. I need this for other things. I don't know what I'm going to be able to recharge.”

So 5’s recharge by being alone, having time to think through their thoughts and feelings and process them. When they're with people that get drained really quickly and that is the core thing for the 5. They also love to have knowledge to make them feel secure and competent.

Now they long for someone to say, “Your needs are not a problem.” They feel like giving anyone any of their needs is going to overburden them, so they try to minimize their needs and do it in their own way.

Now the type 6 is the “loyal guardian” and they fear fear itself, being without support, guidance and security, being alone, blamed, targeted and physically abandoned. What they desire is security, guidance, and support.

Now the 6’s is are the most complicated on the Enneagram because they're the most contradictory in and of themselves. They can be strong and weak. They can be courageous and fearful. They can be extroverted and introverted. They can be pretty much anything that has two sides to a coin.

And so a lot of times what you'll hear is 6’s will go, “well, it depends” when they're trying to find their type and it depends on the circumstances. So for the 6’s that are out there, if you were to go around saying, “well it depends,” it might be you.

Their core weakness is anxiety. And this is a constant scanning and preparing for worst case scenarios. Now we talked about the 1 having a one loud inner critic; the 6 has an inner committee that is constantly chiming in with all the possible scenarios - some of them worst case scenarios, some of them just planning and predicting - but it's all around scanning for what might happen and preparing. That brings a lot of self-doubt and confusion because it's like, “well, which one do I listen to?”

So then they go outside themselves to look for advice, whether it's through belief systems, people, mentors, etc. And so they are wanting to hear other people's advice. Now they may or may not go along with it, but they feel a sense of security by hearing other people's viewpoints.

Their core longing is they would love for someone to be able to not only say, but prove that you are safe.


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Hey friend, can you even believe it? The holiday season is almost here. It's coming! It's crazy that it's already here!

Oh my gosh, this season can so easily feel super overwhelming, not very fun, really stressful, and it just doesn't have to be that way this year. What if, imagine with me for a second, this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids?

I've put together a little mini course called A Merry Little Christmas and it does just this for you. I created this last year and it's been enrolled in by thousands of moms all over the world and they are loving it. It's coming back this year and here's what it does for you.

It basically will simplify everything about Christmas and the holiday season for you as a mom. You get an aerial view over what you want your Christmas season to look like.

We talk about what your intent is, what's important to you, what your focus will be. We talk about decorating your house with a simplicity mindset and prepping your house for the holidays.

What if your husband wants to go super overboard and doesn't want to simplify the holidays? How do you handle that? How do you transition your kids to a simpler Christmas when they're used to you just going all out? How to make new traditions. How to handle buying your kids presents in the minimalist way? What about relatives and all of their gift giving? How do you handle after Christmas? And a bonus for me is all about decluttering the toys for purposeful play.

This is a really awesome little course. It really packs a punch and it's only $15. So, head to alliecasazza.com/jolly and you can enroll for just $15 and get your holidays started off on the right foot.

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The type 7 is the “entertaining optimist” and they fear being deprived, trapped in emotional pain, limited, bored, and missing out on something fun. So, the true FOMO’s of the world. They desire to be happy, fully satisfied and content. But you're going to find their core weakness is in glutton. And this isn't just about food. This is a gluttony of life. They have an insatiable desire to fill themselves up with fun experiences and stimulation.

So in order to avoid emotional pain, avoiding the internal anxieties of life and anything that's negative, they flee out into the world and plan fun, exciting things to do. They are always future-thinking about what could be. So it's not like “I have plan A and maybe B; I have plan A, B, C, & D, because you never know if you get bored or stuck somewhere.”

The problem is they're like a kid who is starving for several days and they're looking for substance and they go and they find these fun, cool things and they take a big bite out of it and it's just cotton candy. It tastes really yummy and it looks really fun, but it's not satisfying. What they really long to hear is you will be taken care of. This deep, empty space will be completely taken care of.

Now the type 8 is the “protective challenger” and their core fear is being weak, powerless, harmed, controlled, manipulated, and at the mercy of injustice. Now they desire to protect themselves. Their core weakness is lust, which is really this constant need for intensity, control and self-exertion. They're constantly pushing themselves onto circumstances, goals, desires, people. They push. I call them snowplows because we need these huge, beautiful, diesel snowplows to push away big snow, but if they're not used correctly, it can also be damaging. But we need them and they're such beautiful instruments of God's grace to pave a path for others. Now, the core longing, what they long to hear is, “You will not be betrayed.”

Last but not least, the type 9 is the “peaceful mediator.” They fear being in conflict, loveless, shut out, being in a discordant relationship, overlooked or in any inharmonious relationship. They also really fear just not having a sense of our presence being important. Just being overlooked is a really big thing.

Now their desire is to have inner stability and peace of mind. That's what they are constantly striving for.

Their core weakness is sloth. Now this isn't a physical laziness because there's a lot of 9’s that are actually super busy, but this is an inner slothness. A not knowing of one’s self. Not knowing their likes, desires, talents, needs - you name it - because they have forgotten them because it's easier to go along to get along, to keep the peace. Why would I want to assert my voice or my desires or what I want if there's going to be any kind of tension or conflict? 9’s would rather just go along to get along so they forget themselves, which means they live in a fog.

So if you were to ask me right now like, “Hey Beth, let's go out to lunch later.” I'd be like, “Yeah, cool.” And then you'd say, “Where do you wanna go?” And I'd be like, “Uh, I don't know. Where do you want to go?” That’s the instant thing that a 9 wants to say because we would rather at least hear where you want to go versus say where we want to go. But if you were to say, “Okay, well here's three options,” then I feel okay picking one of them because there's no conflict because you've already given me options. But if you were to make me have an option, I'm going to constantly think, “well, what if she really wanted something else? Or what if she hates pizza?” So that makes a 9 feel very uncomfortable.

ALLIE: I'm just laughing because one of my closest friends must be a 9 because all the things that you're saying are just...It's so funny and I get so annoyed. I'll tell Brian, “Why can't she just pick something?” It's just so funny.

BETH: Yeah. And we're so afraid that if you didn't like that, then there might be some sort of separation in that relationship, which of course it’s not, but that's how it really feels.

So the core longing, last thing is, 9’s desire to be told “your presence matters.” And that is the 9 types.

ALLIE: Thank you so much! Everything that you hit on is like, okay, clear as bell. Got it.

So I feel the strongest towards type 8 (I haven't done the “wings”) but I also feel strongly pulled towards type 5 and the things that come with that. No matter what type you are, what do you do with this?

BETH: Actually, just what you said is exactly why I'm here and why I do what I do. When people look at the symbol, when they see a type 8, they're going to see lines to both 2 and 5. So when you're under stress, you're going to actually take on some of the unhealthy attributes of type 5, where you're going to pull back, become more isolated, withdrawn, shut down a little bit. And sometimes for the 8 it's more about gathering knowledge and information to be back on the offense because they're feeling like they're on the defense, like they might be harmed and controlled. So, they'll pull back into that 5 space, gather information to make sure that they won't be harmed and controlled.

But also the 8 are pushing, pushing, pushing so hard that sometimes your body is like, “I keep telling you to take a break and you won't.” So then you become sick or something happens and you're laid out in bed because you didn't take that time. And so, you know, you can push all you want, but when the body says, “uh uh” it's going to force you into that space.

So what I try to tell 8’s is instead of being like, let's say a light that's on a dimmer switch being at full blast, you know, where it's really bright all the time? I'm like, just dial it down just a little bit to about 85%. That's still a lot. Whereas the 9, that’s me, I'm like at 30% and it's like, Beth, you know, you might want to rev that up to 45%, you know?

So the 9 is the opposite. But for the 8, I'm like, hey, just dial it back a little bit. Conserve some of this. Take care of yourself. You're still going to be plowing forward and doing amazing things, but not at the expense of who you are. It will also catch up into relationships where you're pushing people too hard and expecting them to be at the same level you are as an 8.

But then the other thing about what you were just saying is when you're doing really well, you're going to take on some of the attributes of a healthy 2 (that's where the other line for the 8 goes) and you are going to be plowing a path for others. Because the 2’s are wanting to help people and this 8 has this huge machine to plow a path, and having people behind you follow you in that direction.

So a great example of that is Martin Luther King Jr. There were a lot of people in the civil rights movement, but he was the one to take on the opposition and plow the path for people. And that is a beautiful example of a healthy type 8.

ALLIE: That makes so much sense for me. I don't want this to turn into like Allie’s Enneagram therapy session, but it makes so much sense. It just does because when I feel like I'm at my most emotional, spiritual, mental healthfulness…that's what I do in my business. Like the snowplow analogy, I am helping people and that's my heart.

But when I get into the unhealthy end of things, I shut down. My business is affected. I feel like I can't do all the things that I have scheduled, especially if it's something energy depleting like livestreams and I just don't show up. I can't. And it's so hard. That's why I think self-care, reflection, prayer, meditation and those quiet spaces are so important for me because if I don't get those…Those things are already scheduled whether I'm emotionally healthy or not, so I need to prioritize staying emotionally healthy.

BETH: Exactly. And here's the thing - growth is hard. And with your personality, when you start to understand why you do what you do and what's harmful or not helpful versus what is, to move in the direction of growth feels like the opposite of what your personality is. I mean it will literally throw a temper tantrum.

But if you know why it's doing what it's doing, you can be the adult and the parent to parent your personality back in line like, hey, I know that you think we have to push really hard. As an 8, that feels true. But we've seen time and time again that that actually can harm me if I push that hard. So this is what we're gonna do. We're gonna push at 85% versus 100% so that we can go longer and benefit people more and ourselves.

That's where Enneagram coaching can be really powerful. I take people through a process called “Exploring You” where we break down a personality into five sessions so that they can learn, stretch and grow without being overwhelmed. We would do stuff like what we're talking about today – “When was the last time you burnt out and what does that look like?” Then you would tell me and I'm like, “Okay, so what would it look like to do that in a healthy way so that you can prevent yourself from going in that direction again?” When you get there - it's not going to be easy - but at least you now have the tools, the resources and the understanding of why it's happening. Does that make sense?

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. And even you just even saying that small example of “what did it look like, what would it look like if…” That has been a pattern for me of like going, going, going super long. But then when I do burnout, it's so hard, abrupt, devastating and it affects everything. I just shut down. Then I start to get even a little depressive because I'm not plowing through things and meeting goals and keeping going. It’s catastrophic

That is one thing that drew me to the Enneagram is because it helped me feel like, “oh my gosh, I understand this about myself.” I'm doing things publicly all the time and so I'll get a lot of not really flak, but just questions like, “Wow, you do a lot of self-care. How do you prioritize it that much? Why do you…? How do you…? What does your husband do that you have so much of this time?

I immediately go into the defensive, “Well I need it. Why do I have to explain it?” I feel controlled and judged. I freak out. But it helped me see this is why I've been so drawn to self-care and white space in my schedule, and I will not let this day of the week be full of anything because I have to have that.

And I think what's so beautiful about all of this is that we all have things like that. It's just different and if we can just respect everybody's differences and give each other that space, I mean it's just so helpful. It's so empowering.

BETH: What I tell people is we're walking around all the time with different colored sunglasses on. Okay? And so if people look at my symbol or my logo is the Enneagram assemble with dots on each of the points and each of the dots have a different color. So the type 8’s color is kind of a maroon color and the type 9 is a purple color. This is just fictional, but it's like you see the world through maroon and I see the world through purple. Well, if I walk around going, “Oh, why is she doing that? Doesn’t she see it should be like this?” Or “Why would you say it so bluntly? Why can’t she say it nicely or softly?” You'd be like, “Why can't she just be direct and just say it like it is? Why does she have to always be so careful in her wording?”

But now that I know 8’s and you're going to get to know 9’s better, it's like us taking each other's glasses and putting them on for, even if it's a brief second, to go, Oh, okay, so 8’s are blunt and straightforward because they respect honesty and authenticity because they fear being betrayed or blindsided. And if someone isn’t honest and straight up forward than I might be blindsided here because I don't know if they're truthful or not. So then it's like, oh, well that's why 8’s are so direct. Now, can they learn how to be tactful in their directness? Sure. But if you understand why it's happening, you don't have to freak out as much.

Also for the 9, if you realize how incredibly fearful it is to lose connection of any kind and the feeling that that has as a 9, you will understand why they're so soft and gentle in their approach to people because they don't want any kind of harm to be done because it feels like utter death to them. And so then it's like, oh, well, hey, guess what? Now that I know that you're an 8, I'm like, sweet. I can be more direct and honest as a 9. I don't have to be so soft and sweet and so we can have this more blunt, direct conversation.

It just helps us to understand and navigate those relationships more. Also, how I can speak into your life with clarity and love that is in your mother tongue, in your dialect versus mine. And that is really powerful. That's what will change marriages because the stuff that I want to hear is not what my type 6 husband wants to hear. I know your husband's a type 2 and the things that you want aren’t the things that he wants.

That doesn't mean we have to be unauthentic to ourselves, it means how can we be our authentic self in a healthy way, but navigating in relationship and the way that they need to hear it.

ALLIE: Right. We’re out of time, but we're going to do another Part 2, circling around that with Brian on marriage, parenting and doing life together because it is hard when you're different. I just think, again, it's so empowering to understand all of this about ourselves and our loved ones.

So thank you so much! You broke it down so clearly. This was great.

BETH: Great. Well I can't wait for the next one. People are gonna love that one.

ALLIE: Yeah for sure!

We'll link to you Beth and her site and all the things that she mentioned. You guys can go and get her free downloads and all that good stuff.

Thank you so much for your time, Beth!



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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

Ep 085: Stop Over-Complicating Things

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It is SO easy to overcomplicate things. We spend so much time looking for the perfect answer instead of looking for the best answer for right now. We prolong jumping to action and learning as we go. And let’s be honest, most of the time we are afraid to say “yes.” One thing I have learned in my own life is that the best adventures and most beneficial things come from saying “yes” way before I was ready and way before it was perfect. Sometimes you have to just go for it and stop overcomplicating things!

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • How starting right where you are, with what you already have and know is the best first step.  

  • Ways you can use the resources you have to take action and see change happen.

  • The power of believing in yourself and knowing that you already know what to do. Just do it!

Mentioned in this Episode:


The holiday season is almost here! Oh my gosh, it can feel super overwhelming but it doesn't have to be that way this year. What if this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids? My course, Merry Little Christmas, will do that for you! It is just $15 and I know that it will help guide you through a simple, yet fun holiday season!

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who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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Hey, beautiful friends! I'm so excited to be sitting down and chatting with you today. This episode is going to be pep-talk style. It's going to be pointed. It’s probably going to be short. I just want to kind of give you a kick in the pants. It’s my favorite thing to do and it kind of just comes naturally to me because I do it for my own self and for my friends and I just want to address some things.

In what I do, I spend a lot of time talking to other moms and hearing from other moms publicly. So, doing live streams, taking questions for Q & A episodes for the podcast, things like that. And so, so, so often I see the moms I work with overcomplicating things.

They're looking for the right answer, the perfect answer, instead of looking for the best answer for them right now, or just taking action and learning as they go. It's like they're afraid to say “yes” and they're procrastinating action.

One thing that I've found and I think the reason that I'm drawn to noticing these things in other people is that the best adventures and the most beneficial things in my life have come from me saying “yes” way before I was ready, way before it was perfect and just kind of going for it.

I'm going to give you a quick example from right now in my life and that would be with our adoption. I haven't shared publicly a lot of details just because it's messy and we're just kind of figuring things out, filling out paperwork, getting physicals and TB tests, and all these behind the scene things that you have to do. But with our adoption, we've changed types three times now. Actually no, that's a lie - twice. We've changed adoption types twice and it's messy. But the thing is is that we always knew we would adopt and as soon as we felt like, “I think it’s time. I've been thinking about it a lot lately,” and Brian’s like, “Yeah, me too,” and we decided, “Okay, it's time.” We didn’t wait.

We didn't overcomplicate it. We didn't blame it on prayer and super extend the time before we started. We just knew it was right. We knew it was meant for us. We had already prayed about that. We knew it was time. We knew it was what we wanted to do, but we didn't really know how. Foster? Domestic? International? There's a lot of decisions to make.

So, we just started. We knew it was time and we were in the right arena, although maybe we would land in the wrong seat. That's okay. We're just going to start.

I shared this on Instagram recently and I said something like that. “Sometimes in life you land in the right arena but just in the wrong seat and you need to move over and that's okay.”

Start with where you're at, what you already have, what you already know and just dive in. Trust that as you walk forward, as you pray, as you seek what's right for you, as you seek what God has for you, the right doors and windows are gonna open and shut.

For example, let's say you want to lose weight. Don't overcomplicate the process by buying a bunch of books on certain diets and researching like you don't have a clue. Just decide, “I'm unhappy. I don't feel good. I want to wear this type of outfit and feel great. I'm done with this.” Download the Nike run up and go for a jog. Stop drinking soda. Make a decision and just go. Do what you know and just start.

Today is a day that counts toward progress and if you let it go by, it's just one more day that you didn't start. It's just one more day that you were doing the thing you've always done and not doing the new thing. Stop letting yourself gather resources, procrastinate, wait and put it off. Use the resources that have already been put in front of you.

For example, a woman messaged me the other day telling me that she has always been overwhelmed by her home and she has always been unhappy. She's always been stressed when she walked through the door, and that she found me and learned from me that clutter was the cause of a lot of her stress and resentment in her life and toward her family. She had seen stuff about the Your Uncluttered Home course that I offer. She knew what it was about, but she delayed enrolling and just kind of was like, “Eh, maybe later.” Finally, one day she just did it.

She enrolled after she came to her email again and it was there. After going through just the very beginning of it, her life completely changed. She applied it and immediately everything was lighter and she hadn't even finished the rest of the course.

This is what I'm talking about. Just friggin’ start. Use the resources that have already been put in front of you, the things that you already know, and just walk forward. What you need will be provided for you as you go. It's okay to change your mind. Don't worry about what other people are thinking. Don't worry about how stupid they think you are. Don't worry about if this is the perfect time, the perfect place, the perfect path, or the perfect way you can go about this. Just start.



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Hey friend, can you even believe it? The holiday season is almost here. It's coming! It's crazy that it's already here!

Oh my gosh, this season can so easily feel super overwhelming, not very fun, really stressful, and it just doesn't have to be that way this year. What if, imagine with me for a second, this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids?

I've put together a little mini course called A Merry Little Christmas and it does just this for you. I created this last year and it's been enrolled in by thousands of moms all over the world and they are loving it. It's coming back this year and here's what it does for you.

It basically will simplify everything about Christmas and the holiday season for you as a mom. You get an aerial view over what you want your Christmas season to look like.

We talk about what your intent is, what's important to you, what your focus will be. We talk about decorating your house with a simplicity mindset and prepping your house for the holidays.

What if your husband wants to go super overboard and doesn't want to simplify the holidays? How do you handle that? How do you transition your kids to a simpler Christmas when they're used to you just going all out? How to make new traditions. How to handle buying your kids presents in the minimalist way? What about relatives and all of their gift giving? How do you handle after Christmas? And a bonus for me is all about decluttering the toys for purposeful play.

This is a really awesome little course. It really packs a punch and it's only $15. So, head to alliecasazza.com/jolly and you can enroll for just $15 and get your holidays started off on the right foot.

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What do you need to do to get started? If you need to get some skin in the game, like paying money for a helpful resource, just do it. If you need to get some guidance in taking on something that you want to change, go get that. But don't delay it, overcomplicate it, and find excuses to leave things how they are if you're unhappy. Usually you already know what to do, most of the time.

For example, I see this a lot in live streams and you'll see it too if you ever come to my live streams. A lot of women so often will answer their own questions. Of course, there's no judgment there. It's a common thing. It happens all the time. We all do it from time to time, but this is one place where you can see it happen really clearly.

When I do a general Q & A live stream, a lot of the time the woman will come on and they'll answer their own questions. For example, they'll say something like, “I really want to get into a routine, but I just haven't made time for it.” Well, you just answered your own question. If your question is, “how do I get into a routine,” you just said you're not making time for it. You're not making time for what matters because it doesn't actually matter to you. You need to get your mind right. You need to understand what this is going to do for you.

Also, a lot of the time we use our excuses as badges of honor, so much so that we don't actually want to rid ourselves of them. Because if we rid ourselves of our excuses, our difficulties, and the things that are holding us back, we have no excuse to stay stagnant. We have no excuse to stay where we're at.

I'm just going back to losing weight because it's always on the top of my mind as an example because it's something that a lot of people struggle with. I've gotten some comments like, “You always use dieting as an example, like stop doing that,” and it's like, “Well, if you don't like it, then I don't know what to tell you because it's just something that we all struggle with as women and it's always on the top of my mind so I'm using it as an example.”

So, let's say that you want to get healthy and you're just feeling really yucky, you don't feel good, you just know that you're unhealthy and you want to make changes. A lot of the time I'll see women say that they want that, but they come up with a bunch of excuses to not make that change because what would happen if they were no longer overweight?

What would happen if they were no longer the one who struggled with this? Who will they be? What will this do to their identity? What will it do to their marriage? What will it do in their friendships? Who will they be as a person? What will they do? How will they cope if they can no longer binge eat?

I've shared openly my struggle with overeating, emotional binge eating and all of that stuff, so I'm speaking from experience. It can rattle you to your core. You can think, “I'm unhappy. I don't feel good. I want to make this change in my life” (whether it's clutter, weight, marriage stuff, parenting stuff, personality stuff, whatever it is) but a lot of the time you keep getting stuck in the old same habits because you don't actually want to part with that part of you and you don't really know who you'll be if that’s not a part of you anymore.

We really have to dig deep and understand, “Why am I this way? What's going on with me?”

I'm going to leave you, after this quick little pep talk, with an action step. I want to know what is it that you've been putting off, for whatever reason, that you really need or really think that you want to do in your life? Name that thing, and just write out any thoughts that come up. Is there any reason that you maybe actually don't want to do that? Or have been putting it off? Is it a little deep, like actually not knowing who you'll be if you're not this person that struggles with this thing? Is it something that you joke about a lot, that you're using as an excuse?

Jot down all those thoughts that are coming up for you. Spend a few minutes on this thing. What is it that you've been putting off? What is it that you really need or want to do in your life? Get it all out.

Then I want you to go and start it. Even if it's imperfect. Even if it's not exactly how you thought it could be or the best it could ever be, just start it.

So, like Brian and I starting our adoption even though we weren't really sure which route we wanted to take and we've switched a couple times, and to finding exactly where we were supposed to land.

Even if it's getting healthy and you don't really know much about the Ketogenic diet, the Paleo diet or Whole 30, but you just know that you're unhappy. Just cut out soda. Start taking walks.

Just start with what you know.

If it's clutter and you know that you're unhappy, but you just don't really know what's wrong with your house, you don't really know where to start and you feel like you're excusing yourself away from making changes, go and listen to the last episode that I posted about me writing your ‘why’ for you in terms of decluttering, and get your butt in gear.

Let go of things. Clear out your junk drawer. Attack that closet if it's bugging you. Simplify your wardrobe. Let go of some of the excess dishes you keep washing for no reason.

Just go and start. Even if it's imperfect. Just start right where you're at.



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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

Ep 084: Putting Off Decluttering? I Wrote Your 'Why' For You

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When it comes to decluttering, many people get stuck on the hurdles that come up in the process. They don’t take action, they procrastinate, and they never dive into it. When I realized that my stuff didn't have to own me and that I could live my life instead of cleaning up after it all the time, everything changed. What you need in order to take on anything new, anything hard, any big change in moving away from the life you've lived and into the new life you're going to live, what you need to do that, is a solid ‘why’ underneath you. Your ‘why’ will push you forward to keep going and keep making these positive changes when things get in the way and it feels too hard. So if you are putting off decluttering, I promise this episode will show you why you need to do!

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • The importance of your “why” and how it pushes you toward making positive changes.

  • How materialism is linked to narcissism and and depression.

  • Why she wants to see you move forward with decluttering and the value it will bring to you and your family.  

Mentioned in this Episode:


The holiday season is almost here! Oh my gosh, it can feel super overwhelming but it doesn't have to be that way this year. What if this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids? My course, Merry Little Christmas, will do that for you! It is just $15 and I know that it will help guide you through a simple, yet fun holiday season!

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who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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Hey ladies! I'm so excited for today's episode because we are getting scientific.

Also, I am sitting in the desk chair at my hotel. I am recording this month's episodes during a hotel getaway, and the chair that I've just moved into for this episode is making farting sounds. So, if you hear a weird sound, it wasn't me. It was the chair. I promise.

Anyway, let's dive in. I want to get into this. I'm super excited.

What I'm mainly known for is decluttering and the problem that people get super hung up on is these tiny hurdles that come up in the process of getting rid of your excess in your home. And not just the tiny hurdles; even the big hurdles. The point is that they don't take action or they procrastinate. Or they let a problem get in their way, be in their way and stop them, whether they've been making some progress, and then they get held up and stop, or they never even start because they are so held up on the hurdles.

And the thing is is that I don't talk about this for nothing. This isn't just something that I randomly do, or that I kinda like talking about, or that I'm just good at. This stuff really matters. The reason that I talk about decluttering, the reason that I've built a business, a podcast, a blog, an email list, and all this stuff around this topic is because it is my life's work. This is my story. I was robbed of my motherhood. I was not living it. I was super overwhelmed. I was struggling with depression. I was missing out on my life, on my days. I was shooing my kids away from me so that I could catch up on the housework and letting these mundane pieces of life be my life, own me, and take all my time and focus.

When I realized that my stuff didn't have to own me, that I could put it in its place and simplify so that I could focus on what actually matters, and that I could live my life instead of cleaning up after it all the time, everything changed. And that's what I do. That's what I share.

It's frustrating to me when I see people not understanding that. I get that life is really busy, really full, and there's a lot of different things pulling at your focus and attention, but honestly it breaks my heart every time I see a comment or hear someone saying that they don't have time to declutter and simplify, that they hate their house, that they feel stressed when they walk in the door, yet they're doing nothing to move forward.

I think the biggest thing that I see - there's like five main things that I see - but the biggest, most common one is just that people are seeing decluttering like this big futuristic task they want to take on but haven't started yet, and that is just not how it needs to be seen at all.

It can be started immediately. The good thing about decluttering is that you pretty much see results right away. It's like instinct gratification. You get rid of something, you have more space and more time instantly. And that's pretty rare. It's not something that happens with everything.

So, I find myself getting super frustrated with women who are complaining about their homes, feeling like they're stressed when they walk in the door. They don't have enough time in their day. They're unhappy. They're dissatisfied. They're unfulfilled. And it's like you’re making this decluttering thing this big thing you're gonna do some day instead of just starting.

Some of the biggest excuses that I hear are, “I'm busy. Well, my husband isn't really on board. He doesn't get this. Well, but I work full time. Well, we're moving soon, so I'm waiting,” which that's my least favorite one because why would you move your crap into a new house when you have a perfect opportunity to declutter now while you're packing and only move into your new space what you want there?

You know, “We're renovating. It's hard right now. I'm afraid to hurt people's feelings if I get rid of certain things. Well I don't know what to do with things that I decide not to keep. Should I sell them? Should I donate them? Like I could use the money.

It's so frustrating because when I tackled all the clutter in my house - six years ago when I started this process, before minimalism was a fad, before there was a documentary about it, before there were a billion books on the topic - when I started this, it was nothing. I didn't even know that it was called minimalism. I had no idea it was a thing. I was just a desperate mom crying out to God on her bathroom floor and saying, “Please help me. I know that I'm called to abundant life. I know that I'm not living it right now and I know that you did not intend to exclude mothers from that promise, so tell me what I'm doing wrong. Please help me.”

When I figured this out, I tackled all the clutter in my house and it was the worst time for me. I had three kids under age three. I was seriously struggling with depression and all I wanted to do was go to bed and turn on Netflix. I had no money, a huge overwhelming house. It was my first year of homeschooling and things were crazy. I had every reason not to do this. My marriage was a mess. Seriously, every reason not to do this.

Brian was not on board. We've talked about that a lot and there's an entire lesson with an audio interview between the two of us in Your Uncluttered Home where we talk about how much he was not onboard with letting go of things, how we worked through that and how he wasn't on board for two years. I had every single excuse, everything against me, every reason not to do this, and yet I did it.

What you need in order to take on anything new, anything hard, any big change in moving away from the life you've lived and into the new life you're going to live, what you need to do that, is a solid ‘why’ underneath you. Your ‘why’ will push you forward to keep going and keep making these positive changes when things get in the way and it feels too hard.

So, I started to get really frustrated with all of these excuses that I hear and all these things. I get it. It's hard to make change. It is. But really what these are is excuses to not move forward.

And I decided, you know what? I'm going to write your ‘why’ for you, so that's what I'm doing today. I'm literally writing your ‘why’ for you and showing you, here's why you need to do this. Here's why no matter how much you have going on, no matter how far away you're moving, no matter how much you are afraid of offending people by getting rid of stuff they gave you, no matter how against this your husband is and how that feels like a huge hurdle, no matter what's going on, why you need to do this now.

So, I'm a Christian and as such I rely on Scripture a lot of the time and I've written articles about how minimalism is living biblically and all that stuff. It's good stuff. But today I want to talk about how science is, as always, catching up with Scripture and it backs this up so well.

So first, let's dive into an article published by Leaf Van Boven at the University of Colorado. His article focused on the fact that investing financial resources in experiences makes people happier than investing in material possessions. He basically came to find that materialism is directly linked to narcissism and depression. That's pretty heavy.

He cited that several studies have shown that the more people focus on materialistic goals, the less happy and satisfied they are with life in general. Think about that statement. That's super intense. Several studies have shown that the more people focus on materialistic goals, the less happy and satisfied they are with life in general.

Now, if you're familiar with Scripture, think about how many things can you think off the top of your head that back that up? That the message is to store up treasures in heaven and desert what is here on earth and focus on eternity. Focus on what really matters. So, we're just being told again what we already know.

There is something that I want to read you, too, from another article on this study that was done on studying people and things and the relation between that. This is what it says, super scientific, ready?

The way people describe their homes may reflect whether their time at home feels restorative or stressful. This article uses linguistic analysis software to analyze 60 different dual income spouse's self-guided home tours by calculating the frequency of words describing clutter, a sense of the home as unfinished, restful words and nature words. Based on a principle components analysis, the former two categories were combined into the variable stressful home and the latter two into restorative home.

Over three weekdays following the home tours, wives with higher stress home scores, had flatter diurnal slopes of cortisol, a profile associated with adverse health outcomes; whereas women with higher restorative home scores had steeper cortisol slopes. These results held after controlling for marital satisfaction and neuro-neuroticism. Women with higher stressful home scores had increased depressed mood over the course of the day, whereas women with higher restorative home scores had decreased depressed moods over the day.

It's okay if you need to use your phone app to skip back 15 seconds and relisten to that a couple times; I had to read it like five times because it's a lot of scientific words and it's a lot of information. Basically what we already know and what I teach all the time, this is backing that up. That the amount of clutter in your home is directly correlated to the amount of stress. More stuff - more stress. Less stuff - less stress.

So, these people did a study on dual income spouses giving a self-guided tour of their home. They took note of the types of words they used to describe their rooms as they went through and gave a self-guided home tour. They found that the words they used, the way they described their home, the tone they used, and the way they felt about their homes in general, were so directly tied to the amount of excess, clutter and stuff in the space. This really matters.

There's another study that I want to draw attention to. It was done by two people. One was named Darby Saxby and the other was named Rena Repetti. These two did a study that was published by Sage Publications and the study was called No Place Like Home. Here's a quote that I pulled from it. “The home can be a place to unwind from the work day, but when housework and home repairs compete for the attention of time-strapped, working parents, home can become more of a source of demands than a haven from the outside world.” Who is feeling like they want to raise their hands up to this? Like the house can become such a demand for your time and attention and needs so much work, that it ends up being like this giant chore list and task lists versus a haven from the outside world. What can we do to make our homes more of a haven? For ourselves, for our husbands, for our children, for our families as a whole?

Create less work. And that is why I so, so, so am hard hitting about minimalism.

This study by Saxby and Repetti also found that it's likely - “highly likely” to quote them - it's highly likely that individual's feelings about their homes also shape their everyday fluctuations in stress and mood. So how you feel about your home is how you feel in general. It's how stressed you are. It's how your mood is in general. It affects your thoughts. It affects your inner workings. It's so important.

There was another study done at Harvard that said that “eliminating clutter would cut down on housework by 40%.” How would your life even look if you had 40% less housework every day? That is a lot less burden for you.

Another study done at UCLA, which I talk about all the time, found that the more stuff that’s in a woman's house - they only did the study on women because they found that men weren't affected enough to show results, which I think is hilarious - but this study found that the more stuff that was in a woman's house, the higher her level of stress hormones (cortisol). The same study also found that women subconsciously relate how happy they are with their home life and family to how they feel about their house. So, the more clutter and chaos in the home, the less happy the woman is with her family and her life.


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Hey friend, can you even believe it? The holiday season is almost here. It's coming! It's crazy that it's already here!

Oh my gosh, this season can so easily feel super overwhelming, not very fun, really stressful, and it just doesn't have to be that way this year. What if, imagine with me for a second, this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids?

I've put together a little mini course called A Merry Little Christmas and it does just this for you. I created this last year and it's been enrolled in by thousands of moms all over the world and they are loving it. It's coming back this year and here's what it does for you.

It basically will simplify everything about Christmas and the holiday season for you as a mom. You get an aerial view over what you want your Christmas season to look like.

We talk about what your intent is, what's important to you, what your focus will be. We talk about decorating your house with a simplicity mindset and prepping your house for the holidays.

What if your husband wants to go super overboard and doesn't want to simplify the holidays? How do you handle that? How do you transition your kids to a simpler Christmas when they're used to you just going all out? How to make new traditions. How to handle buying your kids presents in the minimalist way? What about relatives and all of their gift giving? How do you handle after Christmas? And a bonus for me is all about decluttering the toys for purposeful play.

This is a really awesome little course. It really packs a punch and it's only $15. So, head to alliecasazza.com/jolly and you can enroll for just $15 and get your holidays started off on the right foot.

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So basically, there's your ‘why.’

If you've been coming up with excuses…You're moving. You're waiting for your adoption to go through or your baby to come. You're renovating your house right now. Your husband just doesn't really seem to get it. Things are just really busy and you're in a really full season. Your kids are all in sports and school is really hectic. You're going back to get your degree and you'll wait till later.

These are all good reasons to wait, but if you're coming up with an excuse and you're putting this off, I'm here to tell you, look at how serious this is. Seriously, look at what this will do for you and what you feeling lighter will do for your family. Could you even get a better ‘why’ than this?

What I want this episode to do, I want it to be a pep talk and I want it to say, “Stop overcomplicating this. You know what your problem is. You know exactly what the solution is. Just do it. Just do it.”

I've said this before, but I'm just going to leave you guys with this: This is your why. Feel free to come back and revisit this episode and listen to it over and over again to get amped up and remind yourself why this matters, why it's worth your time.

If you're having trouble finding the time, decide this is a priority. What do you do with priorities? You pencil it in. If you need to go and get a physical at the doctor and it's important to you, what do you do? You call them. You make an appointment. You put it on your calendar. You find the time. You get the time off work. You create space. Whatever it is you need to do, you make it happen. You put it on your calendar and you show up.

Treat this like that. This is an appointment that you cannot break. This matters. It's affecting your psych. It's affecting your mood. It’s affecting your stress levels. It's affecting your marriage, your motherhood, your family. It's affecting your kids' childhood. It's affecting everything. This matters; so treat it that way.

What I did when I was in the throes of decluttering, in the very beginning of all this, was I set aside Monday and Saturday mornings just for a couple of hours and I would just have at it. So schedule time. Find some space. Even if it's 30 minutes a week, it's something. Don't let this become nothing.

What I don’t want is this: I don’t want you to hear this episode and hear like, “Oh my gosh, she's so right. This is so important,” and then get really worked up to where it's such a big deal that again you find yourself in a cycle of seeing it as this big thing you’ll do someday that’s really important to you, but you’re not going to do right now.

Yes, it's a big deal. Yes, this super matters, but 10 minutes is better than no minutes. Do something. Clear out your junk drawer. Take a look at your closet and just get some stuff out of there. Go into the toy room with your kids and say, “Guys, I bet you could each find 10 things that you don't really play with anymore that we can give to some kids in need. Let's see who can find 10 things the fastest.” Just do that. It'll take you 10 minutes.

Just start somewhere. Stop over complicating this and just do it.

Once you decide this is important and you're going to treat it like an appointment and pencil it in, the other common hurdle is where do I start? You have two choices.

You can start somewhere that is sucking up a lot of your time and energy. Maybe that's your laundry for you. Maybe it's your kitchen. You just feel like you have way too many dishes and somehow, even though you only have four people in your house, you end up with a massive pile of dishes to wash every night. Start with the dishes. Simplify. All you need is a dish per person. Let the rest go.

Maybe it's your kid's toy room. Maybe you want to start there.

Start somewhere that’s really over complicated, that’s sucking your time and energy from you and just start there.

Or you can start somewhere that’s really easy. A really easy ‘yes and no’ decision area like the bathroom. The bathroom is so often just loaded with clutter. I was just talking to a friend and she told me that she bagged up four full trash bags of stuff just in her tiny little bathroom. It's not even a big bathroom.

But the bathroom is typically not a place where we store sentimental items. It's usually easy ‘yeses and nos’ like old makeup and hair tools that don't work anymore that we're holding onto for whatever reason. Start in there and let that be an easy ‘yes and no’ area, and build the momentum you need to keep going.

The point is that you're just starting. Stop waiting. Stop making this seem like this big thing you have to do someday. Start now. Start making progress. You will finish.

Eventually you will get to the other side where you can say, “Wow, the things in our home are the things we love and the things we actually need. Things are lighter.”  You’re going to be in maintenance mode and it's going to be awesome.

But first you have to stop making this way more complicated than it actually is.

You'll have to let this episode serve as your big ‘why’ and let it push you forward and just start.

So, you already know what your problem is. You already know your ‘why.’ I just wrote it for you. I just said it to you.

You know exactly what the solution is and now it's time for you to just do it.



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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

Ep 082: When It Feels Like Your Whole Life Needs A Reset

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We have all hit the place of frustration in life where we know that something (anything!) needs to change. It feels like nothing is working. Usually it starts out with just one area. Maybe you get really frustrated about consistency in your routines. Maybe your marriage is on the rocks. Or maybe you struggle with actually doing the things you want to do. Whatever it is, it usually starts with one or two small areas that just aren’t working and you grow in your frustration. Then, the overwhelming thoughts begin. You feel like your life is a mess and you need a complete overhaul.

We all need a reset every once in a while; a fresh start. And I am here to help with that! I have done it many times before and I am sure I will do it many times again. So, when it just feels like your whole life's in ruins, you’re really frustrated, and it feels like nothing is working know that it is time (and it is ok!) to hit the reset button.

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • Why it is important to realize it is ok to feel frustration and overwhelm.

  • Practical things you can do to give yourself a break and start fresh.

  • How you can focus in on what the key domino pieces are that are affecting everything around you.

  • The power of starting with one thing (even if it is small) to see big changes happen in your life.

Mentioned in this Episode:


The holiday season is almost here! Oh my gosh, it can feel super overwhelming but it doesn't have to be that way this year. What if this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids? My course, Merry Little Christmas, will do that for you! It is just $15 and I know that it will help guide you through a simple, yet fun holiday season!

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who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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Hey you! I'm so excited to talk to you today. I'm actually in a hotel room right now and it's so quiet compared to my house. Even in my office, it's just loud cause I kind of hear the kids playing and doing things inside the house when I'm recording. And I have a big AC unit out there because it gets really hot and it just is loud and rumbling in the background all the time.

It's so quiet in here, I feel like I'm screaming. I feel like the people in the room next to me are going to start banging on the wall or something just because it's so quiet. I don't know how to talk in this much quiet. It's very weird for me.

And my sound editor is going to have an easy time doing this episode. So that's nice.

We started booking a day in a hotel room once a month so I can get my episodes recorded away from all the chaos and the noise. Away from the kids. And I can just focus and really zoom in on the issues that I want to talk to you about in each episode and just feel at peace, calm and focused and kind of in that mindset just all at once record the month’s episodes.

I'm actually in the hotel room right now recording this episode and November's episodes. So, it's really nice and I just feel…I've been feeling kinda lonely today just in here by myself writing and outlining these episodes and it's really nice to talk to you. So, I feel like I'm just with a friend having coffee.

Anyway, this episode is in October, but it's actually not a part of Allie Reads October. If you're listening to this and you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about, for all the rest of the month of October we did what we called Allie Reads October, and it was basically a month that was meant to inspire you to read more books, grow and dive into a book on a topic that you want to stretch yourself in and grow yourself in.

We introduced a bunch of really cool authors and had some really big names on the show and some not so big names, but people who have a lot to bring to the table and have really cool books out. And it was just really, really fun. I think we'll probably do it every year, but don't quote me on that.

But even though this episode is in October, it's actually not a part of Allie Reads October. I wanted to do just one normal episode for this month and this is something that I've been wanting to talk about for a while and it just hasn't really fit in anywhere, so I'm excited to dive into it today.

But before I do that I wanted to give you guys a little bit of an update on The Purpose Show and kind of an announcement for how things are going moving forward.

I've been talking about this this week on social media, so you may already know, but I've decided to go down to one episode per week on The Purpose Show.

I think a lot of people when they hear this are going to assume that maybe it's all been too much for me and my team, or I'm running out of content or something. I’ve quit a podcast before that I co-hosted with my friend, Kelsey, and even though we came on and we just kind of explained where we were at, what our plans were and that it just wasn't really working anymore and we were going to separate, people love to put drama on any kind of changes like this, I think. But that's actually not the reason that all.

Two episodes a week has been great. It's been really good and it's been really nice to be able to have a lot of time slots to go over the topics I want to go over. I kind of feel like I have this well of unending content in me and I never feel like, “Oh, how do I fill all these spaces?” I never feel like that and I'm grateful for that because I feel like with motherhood there's just unending ideas and things to talk about.

But the real reason that I'm going down to one episode is not something that I'm afraid to share with you at all. There are actually a few reasons, but the main ones are firstly that I have been evolving as a content creator, as a public influencer or whatever annoying title you want to choose to call it. I feel like all the titles that go for what I do are kind of self-involved and irritating and I hate using all of them, but whatever it is you want to call me, I've evolved in that role and just kind of found my footing in podcasting. I really like it.

I really liked that it's me talking. It's my voice. My sarcasm, sense of humor and just my tone and the way that I mean things shows up really well here. It's hard to do that sometimes in writing. I just really enjoy podcasting.

As I've evolved over this last almost year and hosting my own show, I've realized that what I tend to do is give really pointed actionable episodes. It's not really just me sitting down and talking and kind of inspiring you and then walking away. I'm really a blunt and logical person, so when I write episodes, they tend to be really to the point and actionable. I say all the time that I want you to leave here with action steps that are clear to you, that you know exactly what to go and do to kind of get the ball rolling if you're wanting to change this area of your life.

It's really neat because as I've been watching the reviews on my show on itunes...by the way if you love the show, you should leave a review because they're everything for podcasters. And once a month we pick someone who left a review and give them a free course. So, you should go do that on itunes.

Anyway, when I have been searching through the reviews looking for feedback, content ideas and things like that, I noticed a theme. Pretty much everybody says exactly what I just described, that the episodes are really pointed and they give a lot of action steps. People listen to them and then they go and they take action on them. That they're all so great and they love them. They feel like they know exactly what to do to change this area of their life after each episode. And that's so great. But I've been feeling like having an episode come out on Monday and having it be really pointed and actionable, then having another episode just a day later is just a lot.

And you guys know I'm all about being intentional and purposeful and I really would rather have one episode a week that you guys can wait for, be excited about, take in and then have a full week to take real action before the next episode comes out.

I want to provide quality content, not a quantity of content. So I know it's kind of a bummer and a lot of you are going to be sad that there's less episodes, but I promise you with one a week you're going to have more change in your life and you're going to see more of a difference in what I'm saying to you because you're going to have time to go and act on it. You're going to also see a lot more quality in the content itself because my team and I are going to be able to kind of just hone in on one episode a week and really give it our all.

And that's definitely not to say that there won't be bonus episodes. I've been doing bonus episodes all year and maybe there'll be more of them now that there's less regular content. So every once in a while there will be two episodes a week, but just the core content is going down to one episode a week.

We’re sticking to Wednesdays and I think it'll be a really fun way to make your hump day a little bit brighter and I think it's going to be really, really good. I don't want to overwhelm you. I want you to take action.

There are a few other smaller reasons, but that's really been the main drive for me. I really just want to simplify things. For those of you who are business owners, on the business side of it and kind of the back end of running all of this…I mean if you guys aren't super familiar with me, we don't only have the podcast, there's an active blog. I’m working on writing a book next year.

We've got a lot going on in the business. It's very much not just me sitting at a microphone behind, you know, doing the podcast. There's a lot of moving parts and a lot to manage. So, on the back end of things, simplifying down to one episode a week really, really helps streamline our process. Now we can send one email a week letting you know, “Here's the new episode, this is what we're talking about this week. Click here to listen.” We can hone in on everything and just be really, really simplified and easier to manage.

I've been looking for and praying about ways to streamline and simplify all my processes in the business as I close out 2018 and get ready to go into 2019, and all the new and huge things that are coming. Plus, our personal life stuff like our adoption is going to happen, hopefully geez, in 2019. There's just a lot coming. A lot of it is really good and I want to make sure I have space for it.

So, those are all the little reasons that we're going down to one episode a week. It's kind of a unique thing that I'm seeing right now because all I'm seeing everywhere else is people increasing, adding episodes, adding more blog posts, taking a second book deal even though their first book just came out a week ago, and all of these things.

I love growth and I'm always seeking to meet my goals, up level, get better, know better/do better and that whole thing. But, you know, I'm human and I know that I can't up level in every area at the same time. I'm choosing to focus on what I know I'm good at, on what I know works and do my best work in my best places. Then whatever extra room I have for other things, that's fine. So, I think that this is going to make The Purpose Show even more potent and powerful and I hope you agree with me.


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Hey friend, can you even believe it? The holiday season is almost here. It's coming! It's crazy that it's already here!

Oh my gosh, this season can so easily feel super overwhelming, not very fun, really stressful, and it just doesn't have to be that way this year. What if, imagine with me for a second, this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids?

I've put together a little mini course called A Merry Little Christmas and it does just this for you. I created this last year and it's been enrolled in by thousands of moms all over the world and they are loving it. It's coming back this year and here's what it does for you.

It basically will simplify everything about Christmas and the holiday season for you as a mom. You get an aerial view over what you want your Christmas season to look like.

We talk about what your intent is, what's important to you, what your focus will be. We talk about decorating your house with a simplicity mindset and prepping your house for the holidays.

What if your husband wants to go super overboard and doesn't want to simplify the holidays? How do you handle that? How do you transition your kids to a simpler Christmas when they're used to you just going all out? How to make new traditions. How to handle buying your kids presents in the minimalist way? What about relatives and all of their gift giving? How do you handle after Christmas? And a bonus for me is all about decluttering the toys for purposeful play.

This is a really awesome little course. It really packs a punch and it's only $15. So, head to alliecasazza.com/jolly and you can enroll for just $15 and get your holidays started off on the right foot.

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Okay. Having said all of that, 10 minutes into this episode, let's dive into the content for today.

So this episode, the whole idea for this was kind of born out of something that I do all the time, which of course a lot of my episodes are, but this is something that I do when I get to a place where it just kind of feels like nothing is working. It's usually not really true, but it kind of feels that way. I think at some point or another we all get there.

Usually it starts out with just one area. Maybe you get really frustrated that you keep not doing what you need to do to change your fitness level. Or maybe you keep not doing what you need to do to stay in your routine. Or maybe it just feels like you're never, ever, ever caught up on the laundry so you kind of have a lack of a laundry routine. Maybe it's that and your marriage is on the rocks. It’s one or two little areas that are just really not working and making you really frustrated.

Then the thoughts start flooding in with all of the areas in your life that are a mess. You feel like you need to change your entire life, like you need a complete overhaul. You need to get away from the kids for like three days and just revamp everything.

Because you feel that stress, you're snappy with the people that are closest to you. You're super frustrated with everyone and everything. This is just the place we get in every once in a while. I would say I probably get there, I don't know, maybe once a year. It's just kind of a part of life, which is why I want to talk about what to do when that happens.

I think it's important to take action and get yourself out of that, use that frustration to leverage yourself out of it.

This, what I'm describing right now, is actually why I created Unburdened. Unburdened is one of my ecourses. It's the one that I talk about way less than Your Uncluttered Home, but it's basically my philosophy of simplicity and minimalism for your life, not just your home, although home is definitely part of it and it's a section in that course.

This is like when you get here, you do kind of need an overhaul. It feels like every single thing is going terribly. It's not. It's usually a few key areas though, so you need to look at your routine. Look at your schedule. Look at how you're spending your time. Look at how your home is functioning. Look at what you're committed to. Look at how your house feels. Look at what is taking up space there, if it's affecting you. It's kind of everything.

The other stuff I talk about in my course Your Uncluttered Home is all just for home. The A-Z of getting minimalistic in your physical space.

But what about when everything else gets like that? What about when you just feel like you have no routine? Everything's a mess. Life just feels like this massive hurricane that you're surviving, gripping onto something and holding on through instead of enjoying, living and thriving in.

What about when everything else needs minimalism, everything else in your life?

I'll link to Unburdened, by the way, if you guys are wanting to get in there. It's a smaller course and it's a lower price than Your Uncluttered Home.

But let's dive into a little bit about what to do when you get to a place like this.

So, when it just feels like your whole life needs an overhaul, you're really frustrated and it feels like nothing is working, the first thing you need to do, step one, is you need to realize that it's not all true.

You're doing a lot of things right. Okay? I need you to focus on the grace and on the good. If you're listening to this and you're in this season right now, (even if you're not, you should do this anyway) I want you to just take a second and think right now of three things that you're doing right.

Maybe everything kind of feels messy and your marriage is not on the rocks, like your marriage is going well. Maybe you've been really connecting with one of your kids lately and that feels really good to you. You've been doing a really good job of understanding them and responding better to their behavior instead of what you normally do.

Maybe you're super caught up on the dishes or the laundry and that is going well. Maybe you've been being more intentional with how often you're on your phone.

Think about something that's going right. Even if it's small. Even if this morning you ate a healthy breakfast instead of your usual bagel and cream cheese. Even if it's small, just think about some of the things that you're doing right. Because there are things.

It's not totally true that everything is a giant frigging mess. It's just a feeling of total frustration and overwhelm.

And I like to describe it like this. The things that are going on in your life are all domino pieces, so your life is like dominoes, and when one or two or a few dominoes get knocked over, it affects all the rest of the pieces and they all fall, right?

So, if you feel like you have a lack of routine in one area, you've been making poor choices in another area and one of your relationships feels really sloppy, those three things are key things that are going to affect everything else.

Imagine this. Have you ever noticed that maybe if you feel like you're really behind in one area, and you kind of feel gross, overweight and blah because you've been making poor diet choices lately, like those two things - you feeling kind of gross and a part of your life really lacking routine - will affect your marriage or your intimacy with your husband. That's because of the domino effect. Okay?

So, realize that it's not totally true. Not everything is messy. It just feels that way. There are a lot of things you’re doing right and you’re feeling the effects of a few dominoes falling over and affecting all the other ones. You feel totally frustrated and overwhelmed. I think that can help put that into perspective. So that's step one.

Step two is get out a journal, or my favorite way to do this is the notes app in my iphone. I use my notes app for all brain dump things. I just did this recently. I made a list of what's not working.

After you address the things that are working, the things that you're doing right, and you get a little bit positive, go ahead and go to that frustrating place and focus on what's not working. What are the key domino pieces that are affecting everything else? Now remember not to get super hard on yourself and make a list of every single thing ever. Like, “Oh I don't floss. I don't dress well enough. I hate everything in my closet. I hate my hair color.” Just focus on the key things that are affecting everything.

For example, you’re not feeling good. You don't feel good because you've been eating really bad. You've been eating a lot of takeout. You haven't been cooking as much because your family has been busy. Your skin is broken out. Your jeans are tight and it's just making you feel like crap. So there's one.

Maybe the second one is your kitchen is always a mess and you just feel like there's no routine around doing the dishes, sweeping up and just getting your house to feel put together. So, you're lacking a home routine.

Maybe one of your kids is just really acting out and you feel super distant from them and their behavior is really affecting your day. So maybe that's one.

And then maybe you've got like 17 loads of laundry to do and it's just really overwhelming and you feel like you're never caught up.

Those are some key domino pieces that are affecting your life. So just make a list. What's not working?

Then after you make that list, go in and underneath each thing you put on your list, put some possible solutions. Here's the key with this: You're not writing down, “Here's my solution. Here's what I'm going to do.” You're not doing that. You're writing down possible solutions.

So, let's just say that you have no routine when it comes to meals, when it comes to serving your family, and this is one of your key domino pieces. Some possible solutions would be checking out a meal service like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. Maybe you decide that you work at home and you always seem to skip lunch, get really cranky, feel really sick and then you binge eat later. So maybe you'll set up having lunch delivered by Uber Eats or Seamless or you know, get a college kid that's wanting to be a personal assistant and deliver your lunch for you. I'm just being creative. But you have solutions. You're just throwing out possible solutions.

Again, this doesn't mean you're going to do this. It doesn’t mean you're immediately going to do all this. You might, that would be great, but you're just throwing out possible solutions. When you do this, it gets your brain going and you leave frustrated-victim mode and you get into problem solving-awesome-be-a-mom mode. And that's where we want to be, right?

Maybe another thing that you brainstorm is not stressing out less about the content of a dinner, like how Paleo it is or how Keto it is, and just get Blue Apron, get Hello Fresh, and just start making something. Just see if I can make cooking happen in the middle of this busy season that we're in.

So yeah, you're just brainstorming solutions. I'm out of brainstorming solutions for this specific problem because it's not my actual problem right now. But you can see where I'm going with this.

Let's get back to the health example just because this is on my mind right now. I was just talking to a friend about it yesterday. Let's say that you’re feeling unhappy. You feel blah. You have no energy. Your jeans are feeling a little snug. You just don't feel good. You’re not yourself. So, let’s brainstorm solutions for that, if that's one of your key domino pieces.

Maybe you can say, okay, let's look at my schedule. I want to do some form of movement or exercise for 30 minutes, four days a week. I need to start work at 9:00, so I'm going to get up at 6:45 every morning. Instead of just waking up to the noise of my kids and starting my day accidentally, I'm going to set my alarm for 6:45 and take a walk, do Pilates or yoga, or go to the gym or whatever for 30 minutes, four mornings a week, and we're going to make it Monday through Thursday. And that's that.

Let's say you have some plans. So, Monday you're going to use your Nike App and go for a run. Tuesday, you're going to do yoga from YouTube. Wednesday you're going to go for a brisk walk. Thursdays you're going to go to the gym or do Pilates in your living room or whatever it is. You come up with a detailed plan. You're just brainstorming solutions

Remember we're exiting frustrated-victim-mode and entering problem solving-be a-mom mode. Just keep brainstorming. Don't let perfectionism or little hurdles get in the way of getting out of this place.

Let's say another thing you brainstorm is “I'm going to download an app and start keeping track of what I'm putting into my body each day.” So, you brainstorm that and you download My Fitness Pal or something similar and you start tracking your food, just getting more intentional and mindful about watching what you're eating.

Maybe you set an alarm on your phone for 7:30 and you say, “7:30 p.m. This is when I cut off. I'm not gonna just graze and eat mindlessly at night anymore after the kids go to bed.”

Maybe you try something new, like a certain diet or something that's been attractive to you that you want to just try and see how you feel. Maybe you set some alerts in your phone to go off that remind you to drink water. Maybe you cut the cream out of your coffee. Maybe you do Whole 30 for a month. Whatever it is.

Sometimes when I'm identifying the problems, they'll get more specific. Like, I’ll identify, “Okay, well I'm not feeling good and I'm not eating well, but really the main problem is my nighttime snacking problem.” So what are some solutions for that. Stop. Thank. Write down what you're feeling. What might be the reason that I want to eat right now? Because the kids went to bed. It's quiet. I'm bored. I'm downloading the emotions of the day and I'm reaching for food.

Maybe you set a strict bedtime, you're going to go to bed at 10:00 every night. Maybe you're going to make sure that you eat more dinner and have more protein in your dinner so you're not actually hungry. Maybe you have a big thing of lemon water at night or make yourself a turmeric latte at night so that you're enjoying something and you're not feeling like you need something.

Maybe you go for a walk at night instead of eating. Maybe you ditch the junk food in your house. Maybe you decided I'm not going to have any alcohol in the house. I'm going to only have alcohol on date night with my husband. Things like that.

You're brainstorming out the problems. I'm sorry if that was way too many examples. I'm just trying to get as specific as I can and brainstorm out all the possible solutions in my example so that you see what I'm doing. You're just listing this all on your notes app on your iphone, or your journal, or your Google Doc, or whatever it is. It doesn't matter.

You're brainstorming it all out. What am I going to do? What could possibly help me with this? This is not your to do list. It's just, “Okay, here's one of the key dominoes that's a problem. It's affecting all the other dominoes in my life. What are the possible solutions here?” And you're just brain dumping that all out.

So next, after you've done all that, you kind of get out like what could possibly help me here, you're going to start with one thing. You're going to look at your notes on the changes that might help you and you're going to pick one thing.

Like…okay, it is really bothering me that I am never caught up on the laundry so I'm going to minimize or get rid of the stuff that we don't really need. The clothes that are just unnecessary and just getting into the laundry because they exist. We're going to narrow things down to a simplified wardrobe for each member of my family. And then I'm going to do one load of laundry every morning after I do five loads of laundry tonight. So, I'm going to stay up a little late. I'm going to watch The Office, do a few loads of laundry, fold them and put them away. And thereafter I'm going to do one load of laundry every morning while I have my morning coffee.

That's a small, simple change that’s going to get you out of this frustration mode and into some action.

Or going back to the health analogy, I just set an alarm to stop eating at 7:30 at night and a reminder to take a walk. I got all the ingredients to make a yummy turmeric latte so that I feel like I'm enjoying something and I'm not needing to have a snack.

Side note, the turmeric latte thing is a real idea that I did for myself. It really helped me. I've shared my struggles with overeating and emotional binge eating and this was something that's really helped me. I go back to it often. I don't have it every single night all the time, but it's something that I really enjoy and it really helped me with my late night snacking. I will link to that recipe for you guys. It's from Nutrition Stripped and it's really yummy. So, I’ll link to that for you guys since I've mentioned it so much in this episode.

So, you just start with one thing and you go from there. Okay? The key to taking action is to set reminders. Where are you during your day? Do you use Google calendar? Do you look at your fridge, your mirror? Put a Post-it Note, set a reminder, or make your phone go off to remind you, whatever it is to do the thing that you're setting out to do.

And I want you to take this last little thing from me in this episode and I really want you to say it over and over and over again to yourself, and I want you to really feel the power, the freedom, and truth in this: This new day, this brand new day - even if it's nighttime right now - this day, this new day, can really be the first day of the rest of your life. The beginning of the new you.

It's only a mundane day. It's only like, “Um, another episode. Yeah, I could totally change that. Whatever,” it's only mundane and pointless if you let it be. That choice is in your hands. You can make this day exactly what you want it to be and that is really a powerful truth.

Today can be the day that you remember was the first day that you started acting different. That you started making changes. That you pulled yourself out of the ditch and started acting like the new version of yourself. The one that takes action, that isn't perfect, but they see the problems, they see their frustration, and they exit victim mode and enter problem-solving mode. That choice is in your hand every single day and that is so amazing and incredible. Really soak that up and take the freedom in that. You can make this whatever you want it to be. It's only mundane if you allow it to be.

So, I hope this was encouraging. I hope this was actionable and that you can go and start to problem solve, take action and remember that you don't have to be the victim. You really don’t. It's all up to you. It doesn't matter who did what or who is currently doing what. You don't have to be the victim unless you choose to be, so go! Take this new day, take action and let this be the first day of the new you of the rest of your life. Go problem-solve what is weighing you down.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

Ep 080: Creating A Cozy Minimalist Home with Myquillyn Smith "The Nester"

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A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important to me which is why I am excited for Allie Reads October here on the podcast! All month I am interviewing some amazing authors. We will talk about their books, life, and living a life of purpose and intention.

Myquillyn Smith is a blogger and an author. She's written The Nesting Place and her new book, Cozy Minimalist Home (which is right up my alley). Myquillyn and I talk about ways you can create a space that is both cozy and minimal in your home. She is really great at teaching her audience to create an atmosphere that allows them to live and focus on what really matters to them, and less about maintaining their stuff.

Use the hashtag #AllieReadsOctober to share with me this month. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action? I cannot wait to see what you share!

 
 

In This Episode Allie + Myquillyn Discuss:

  • Ways you can give cozy a purpose when it comes to creating a minimalist space in your home.

  • What it means to give your eyes a Sabbath on your home and why it is so powerful.

  • How you can bring your own sense of style into your home while still pursuing minimalism.  

  • The difference between a stuff manager and a home curator.

Mentioned in this Episode:


It’s giveaway time! Myquillyn’s book, The Cozy Minimalist Home, is incredible and I am SO excited to gift it to one of you. Head over to The Purpose Show Facebook Community for your chance to win! I cannot want to connect with you this month on all things book related. #AllieReadsOctober

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who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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Hey, sweet friends! I'm so happy that October is finally here! For months I have been planning and dreaming this up for you and I'm so happy to finally unveil what it is I've been working on!

This month, October, is all about reading. We're calling it “Allie Reads October,” and the purpose behind this is for me to inspire and encourage you to read more often. Reading is such a gift. We take it for granted way too often, myself included, but reading is powerful. You literally have a whole new life in your hands when you read a book.

A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important. I read all the time and I wish that I would have started sooner and so I'm taking that passion of mine and turning it into Allie Reads October. Every October here on The Purpose Show, we are turning it into author central.

I'm interviewing some amazing authors this month and we're talking about their books and I want to see you use this Hashtag. I'm going to be checking it every single day on Facebook and Instagram and I want you to use it. #alliereadsoctober.

Share with me. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action?

Let's celebrate this month October! Allie Reads October. We're going to talk about authors and books and encourage each other to read more books.

I encourage you to get other people involved in this. Get your kids involved. Encourage them, read with them, next to them or to them, or have them read in their own quiet time. Share this with your friends. Let's encourage each other to get better equipped to live an intentional life by reading more.

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Hi, sweet friends! Welcome to The Purpose Show! I'm so honored that I get to be a part of your day today and that you're taking time out of your busy life to listen to my show. I'm also honored at the guest that I got to have on today and so excited that you get to listen in on our conversation.

Myquillyn Smith is a blogger and an author. She's written The Nesting Place and her new book, which just came out, is called Cozy Minimalist Home and it is just right up my alley. And if you're here and you love The Purpose Show, it's right up your alley too. We dive into talking practicality when it comes to your home and decorating and how to create a space that is both cozy and minimal and that serves you and works for you.

So, I'm so honored to welcome my guest, Myquillyn Smith. Here's our conversation.

ALLIE: Hi, Myquillyn! Welcome!

MYQUILLYN:  Hey Allie! Thanks for having me today.

ALLIE: Yeah, I'm so glad that you're here. You are one of our authors for our October book month. And your book Cozy Minimalist Home, is your second book, right?

MYQUILLYN: It is, yeah. My first book was called The Nesting Place. It was all about embracing imperfection. And so, this one is more hands-on, how-to approach decorating in your home like a cozy minimalist.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love it. So, one of the main reasons that I wanted to have you here is because, I mean, we do something pretty similar. I talk to moms about simplifying their space and in doing that you really simplify your life, and you create an atmosphere that allows you to live and focus on what really matters and the people and less about maintaining your stuff. So, when you came across my desk, I was like, “Oh my gosh! This is amazing!”

I love that you really talk about this from a decorating perspective because while I love to decorate, I actually studied interior design like you and then ended up not…I just didn't like doing it for other people.

MYQUILLYN : Yes, I get that.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love it. I just want it to be for me. I don't know how to describe and teach that. It's just not my gifting at all, but it is for sure yours. So, I feel like everyone's going to be really excited about this episode and you're kind of filling this gap I have. I feel like I know how to do it, but I don't know how to show you how to do it and you do that so well.

MYQUILLYN : Well, thank you. You know, I didn't want to go in people's homes. I'm such an introvert. And so, I did some design school and I was like, “This is the pits. I don't want to go in people's houses and move their recliner.” But there's something about the internet and encouraging women to do things themselves, I can do that.

It's been like 11 years now. I'm one of the grandmothers of the Internet when it comes to that. It has been so fun. People can actually change their homes, which really in turn helps us change the way we function, and changes our lives in many ways.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. I love it. So, I just want to dive right into this book and what it's about and just pick your brain a little bit.

Basically, the whole thing is cozy becomes clutter when there's no purpose behind it and that we don't have to have cozy and minimalism opposite ends of the spectrum. They can actually live together, which I love.

I actually have a really modern style. I like clean lines. I like a lot of white. So I feel like I kind of fall a little bit stereotypical minimalist in some ways, but I never want my home to feel like you can't sit down and put your feet up on the coffee table. I let my kids jump on the couches. I want my house to feel warm and welcoming and you talk about that same thing so well. That you can have cozy and minimalism in the same space and, you should really, because it serves such a purpose. So, can you talk about how we can give cozy a purpose and what you mean by that?

MYQUILLYN: Absolutely. I love that question. You know, cozy, really the whole purpose, is to be comfortable and to let us let our guard down when we come in people's homes.

I think for a long time I thought that cozy was a style. So I thought, “Oh, I want my home to be cozy so I need to get more and more pillows from Target, and more and more throws, and more things on my coffee table,” but that is just filling a house up. When you kind of flip it and think of the purpose of cozy is to serve the people, then you have a starting point and you also have a finishing point.

And that's what I could never grasp in the early years of making home was I never knew when it was finished. I just kept feeling like I needed to add more stuff.

But when I thought about cozy as that tool that I can use, same with minimalism, thinking of it as a tool. So instead of two opposite extremes, they actually can be BFFs, that are tools that we use in our home. So, the cozy brings in that comfortable feeling and the minimalism brings in that peaceful feeling. And I know all of us want both of those things in our home.

It just made sense to me and it kind of helped me find my way because I really admire minimalism and minimalists. I love that. But I also love beautiful things in my home and want it to feel warm and welcoming. There are so many of us, that's really what everyone wants. No one wants a cluttered home when it comes down to it. We might not behave like that, but you know, on paper we would say we don't want that.

And the same with a super sparse, unwelcoming, cold home. Minimalists don't want that either. So, we're all somewhere in the middle of that. It just depends on where we fall and a lot of that has to do with our personal style. But a cozy minimalist at the heart, when it comes to home, she wants the most amount of style with the least amount of stuff.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. Your book is divided up. I really feel like you kind of get to the point. It's not a difficult read. It's not super thick and loaded with stories. In the beginning, you just kind of talk about how you got here and your journey with this and then you dive right into like practicalities, which I love.

But in the beginning, you kind of talk about how you realized that you were more of a stuff manager instead of a home curator. I love the way you phrase that. So, can you talk about that and kind of unpack that and what's the difference?

MYQUILLYN: Yeah, you know, I didn't realize I was this stuff manager at the time. It took us moving from a bigger house to a smaller house, which is a trigger for many of us. And I realized I had collected a lot of stuff. I think it started back when we had a younger family and we would move into a home and we needed a chair for a desk and a lamp to work next to. So, we actually needed things for our home and so I would go thrifting. I would find it at a great price and give myself a high five. Like, “look what I did!”

But I didn't have that feeling of enough. I never knew when to call it, when I hit that line of okay, I have enough lamps, I have enough chairs. I just knew like, oh, if one looks great, I guess 10 more chairs would look 10 times as great. And I found them for a great deal for $7.

So that got me in a little trouble. I didn't trust that if I was good enough at finding a deal in the first place that I would be able to find it in the future. I had a lot of fear about, you know, what if I need that later, what if I get rid of it now and I need it. So, I was holding onto things out of fear.

Then when we moved it was a huge burden. I realized that I was spending a lot of time moving stuff, organizing stuff, taking care of stuff, washing stuff, fussing about stuff, tripping over stuff. And I'm like, I am a freaking stuff manager. This is crazy town. This is not how I want to live my life.

I felt like my stuff was in charge of me instead of me being the boss of my stuff, kind of like a museum curator, of really being intentional, which I know you appreciate, about what comes in and also what goes out.

When it comes to design, I think something no one ever talks about is the fact that we always have to be on our toes editing. I think we all can agree in our life we need that margin and white space, but we also need that on our walls, on our mantle, in our kitchen and in our bedroom. It covers so many areas of our life and I was ignoring that for a long time.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. I think we get kind of caught up in what everyone else is doing or what typically is done. I always use the example for my own story of the kitchen. I don't like to cook. It's just not my favorite thing. I started to, six or seven years ago now, figure out like, oh, my life is ruled by the maintenance of my things. I started to clear that. I stopped putting every single thing on the countertop. Only my coffee maker and my Kitchen Aid were there. I put the toaster oven, the crock pot and things that I used, but not every second, underneath the countertop and it cleared my counterspace. It takes me, like what, two seconds to pull out the crockpot to use it.

But the ambiance in my kitchen is so much lighter, I actually started to enjoy being in there. I would make cooking this ritual where I pour half a glass of wine, put some worship music on, and just be in my kitchen. And I was enjoying that space instead of maintaining stuff, going into my cluttered kitchen and then doing my least favorite thing at the end of a long day.

And it's so funny how just clearing, and I’ll get into it in a second how you talk about quieting that room, lightened my load so much and actually made me enjoy something that I was dreading. I mean every day I cooked and I hated it. It sucked. It matters, you know?

MYQUILLYN: Yes. It's such a great example and I think again, like for the longest time I was really attracted to like what you just said, but I assumed that meant like every space in my house needed to be cleared off.

But what you said is the perfect example. If we can give ourselves the gift of maybe one cleared off space per room and not worry about the rest. That’s such a nice baby step. You kind of become addicted to it because it's so nice to come home to.

It doesn't mean that your kitchen island is empty 24 hours a day. What it means is it's empty and ready for you to mess it up and use it and have life there. And that's the beauty of having a few designated empty spaces or surfaces in your home. It’s so that you can use them to the fullest, live in your house and not have to move seven decorative things off just so that you could get to a space, which was the story of my life for a long time.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. I love that. I think that's going to be the quotable that we use for this episode. It's so obvious, but it's a light bulb moment for so many of us because that's just how you do things. Especially in the Instagram sphere, everything's got to look perfect and there's three little things set by the sink just perfectly. And that's not practical. I always see people's homes like that and think like, is that always there? Because that sucks. Like it's in your way. You can’t even wash your hands without moving a little bird out of the way.

MYQUILLYN: That is so true.

ALLIE: So, can you, and you kind of did a little bit, but if there's anything left there, I really want everyone to leave this episode feeling equipped and like, okay, I've got it and they can go and take action. So, can you explain a little more the feeling of having how you talk about like “just enough” in your house? What does that look like?

MYQUILLYN: Whew, that is really good. Well first of all, you know, I think sometimes we can think like, oh well this is just for people that are super visual or this is just for people that are “designery” or are born with that gene and that's so untrue. I think most of us can attest to that.

There's even a study that shows that when women walk into their own cluttered home, their cortisol levels rise, which is so unhealthy for us. I do not need a person in a lab coat to tell me that. I have experienced that in and of myself. So just knowing that helps me to realize that I need to be able to draw the line. So where is that going to be?

And I think the grace in the cozy minimalist message and in the minimalist movement is that your line might be in a different place than mine. And that is okay. That's what I love. What you need in your life right now is different than what I need. If you have babies. I have three boys that are 21, 18 and 17, so for me in my family room, we have tennis shoes, backpacks and phone chargers. And I'm okay with that.

So, when it comes to thinking about enough, like if you think about furnishing a guest room. So, in my olden days I would say, “Oh, I get to furnish a guest room. I'm going to find every pillow that will work with my style, that I can afford, that I run into today.” And that would have been my cutoff. Whatever I can find that I can afford.

But now as a cozy minimalist who wants the most amount of style with the least amount of stuff, I will say, “What can I get the biggest impact from that will serve the person who needs to stay in the room?” So, if I'm a person in the room and I get up in the morning I want to put my feet down on a cozy rug. I need to have privacy so there needs to be something on the windows. I need a light to read by. I want them to have super cozy, the comfiest sheets in the world. The things that help the people, that is my line for coziness.

I can't go too over to the minimalism and have zero sheets on the bed. That is crazy. But also, I don't need 24 pillows on the bed. We get to decide that line based on how people are going to use it and how the stuff serves the people.

ALLIE: Yeah. I love that. You're perfectly leading into my next question. I hate when I'm going to do a podcast and they send me the questions beforehand because I'm like, “No, it's just going to feel forced.” People are going to think that I did that because you're leading me literally to the next question.

But I was going to ask you if you could talk about that shift between trying to make your home look better and making your home serve better. As somebody who appreciates a beautiful aesthetic and I really love design and style. I am with you where I tend to naturally be kind of like, well these throw pillows are all beautiful and on sale and they go perfectly in this room. They just look so great, but then it sucks to throw 58 throw pillows off the bed before I climb in. How do you kind of make that shift and maybe find the balance between those two things?

MYQUILLYN: I think a lot of us think like, okay, I want to approach my room. It needs a change. It needs to be freshened up. So, I guess I'm going to the furniture store. False! Stop! We never start in the furniture store.

One of the ways you always start is you think about how you need to use that room in the next year or two. So not how you used it in the past, not how you're going to need to use it when your parents move in in 10 years, but what season of life you're in right now and how you need that room to serve you.

Even if the builder said, well that's the dining room, it doesn't matter. You get to decide and be the boss of your room, how it's going to serve you. And when you start with that mindset, then you are able to step into that and allow your rooms to work for you.

So, then you'll say, “Oh, we're going to have family game nights? We need a surface big enough to play the games that we like to do together.” If you're going to eat pizza in your room, nothing wrong with that, but you probably don't want to get a silk sofa. You get to think about how you're going to use the room.

What that does is it helps with decision fatigue. Isn't that the scary part? It's making those decisions. That's all design is, is making smart decisions about your home based on what you like and how you're going to use it.

So, as you think about how you're going to use it, that really limits your decisions, which in this kind of world is actually a really good thing. I think it's so helpful to know this is exactly how we're going to use our room. It doesn't matter what my mother-in-law says or how the people who lived here before, this is how we need to use it now. And that's how you move forward in that.

ALLIE: Yeah, that's very, very simplified. I think that's where everyone gets held up. One time I did a Q & A for “what's troubling you with decorating” and everybody’s was this and I didn't know how to describe like, “Well, just do it. What do you need in the room? Like just do it.” It just comes naturally to me.

But that’s the answer to it. What are you using it for right now? Don't get overloaded with what it was supposed to be. Our dining room is our homeschool area because that's what we need. You can make it beautiful. You can make it cute and stuff, but it's got to be functional above all. I think you just hit it on the head. That's what's holding everybody back is that feeling of decision fatigue and like, “Is this what I’m supposed to do?” And it doesn't matter. What do you need? I love that.


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Most people know I'm a blogger and a podcaster, but that's really just where the inspiration happens. I can only scrape the surface of equipping you to bring positive change to your life here. That's why I create online courses on my Private Students-Only Platform.

I don't spend months creating courses for no reason. This is where the action is. My courses are for the serious doers out there. If you want to see focused, real change happen in your life - change that lasts - this is what my courses are for.

This is where I dive all the way into actually implementing minimalism in your home and simplification to the cluttered parts of your life as a mom. We get legit detailed in these courses. My students have incredible success rates that they share in our Private Students’ Community and you can see some of their testimonials on my website.

I work really hard to keep my courses priced as low as I can, but you guys know I totally get being on a crazy tight budget, which is why I also have payment plans available

My courses are different from each other. They each serve different purposes and will take you to different places in your life. Don't overthink which one to start with. Just go to the website and pick one that's resonating with you and enroll.

For Purpose Show listeners only, you can take 10% off any course you choose with the code PURPOSESHOW.  Visit alliecasazza.com/nextlevel for the breakdown of all the different courses I have to offer, how they're different from each other and which one might be best for you.

I cannot wait to cheer you on and take you onward and upward. Motherhood is much too sweet a time to be spent in survival mode.

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ALLIE: So, you talk a little bit in the book about giving your eyes a Sabbath from your home. Can you elaborate on that and what did you mean by that?

MYQUILLYN: Well, what I meant by that is kind of what we touched on in the beginning is about having margin, and a period of rest in our life, which some of us do that on Sunday where we kind of set up our life to have that rhythm and routine of a built-in rest.

But for me, when it came to my walls, I would put something on my wall and be like, well that's too small, so let me add 20 other things. I felt like any empty space in my home was a problem that needed to be solved by filling it. And I didn't realize the gift of having some white space on my walls.

A practical step to learn to appreciate that is what I call “quieting the house.” I do it one room at a time even though I say house. But sometimes I'll do a major “quiet” if I'm going to attack the whole room. I'll take everything out except the big furniture. I'll take the artwork off the walls, the lamps out. It helps you to see your room with fresh eyes again.

But if you just need a little reset and if your room feels a little off, sometimes the simplest thing to do is just to take everything off the walls and tell yourself I'll put it back by 5:00 tonight or maybe you give yourself permission to live with it empty for 24, 48 hours. Something kind of magical happens when you do that. And every time, without question, I realized that I have too much stuff out.

A lot of us over time add to our home. We bring home a little trinket from Target or Home Goods or whatever and we are constantly adding. But unless we take the time to intentionally subtract, and I like to subtract kind of like all in one, and then I'll bring stuff back.

Allow yourself to like, “Okay, I'm gonna take out all the chotchkies, or I'm going to take out all the artwork, or I'm going to clear off every surface and let it breathe for a night. We're going to use this room tonight as a family without stuff on every surface.” Just wait and see how your family reacts. Even the dog notices. It is crazy.

ALLIE: Yeah. That's so funny. I love that. Would you say that that's maybe a good place to start or is there another way you would have people start implementing this whole idea?

MYQUILLYN: If you've never really attacked a room and focused on that one room, got it looking the way you've always hoped so that you can use it the way you've always dreamed, not so that you can show it off or have it in a magazine, but so you're comfortable using it, I have a whole step process that I go through in the book. It's not anything mind-boggling.

I mean, it's really just talking to your family and telling them. “I'm going to work on this living room for a while so it might look different. So just be prepared. It'll be okay.” If it's the room you usually watch TV, maybe set up another space. Also creating a pinboard. With that room in mind, you just pin with passion anything that for whatever reason you like. You don't have to explain it.

There's some back steps like that that are so simple and they're not intimidating. You're not going to a furniture store and dropping money on a new sofa. Nothing like that. Those simple ways to start, what they do is they give us some little wins and they make us excited about our home. Then we start thinking about how we're going to use it and what we need to set up for. Maybe your kids are going to do homework in there.

So then, and only then, do you start touching things in your room and quieting the room, taking things out. And then maybe a few days later you start moving your furniture around to make sure it's in the right place for your next season of life. You start with what you have. You shop your house. You may look around in other rooms. If you do need that homework table, maybe have a table in the garage or at your mom's.

So there's just really simple steps like that. You're looking for things that you like, that you can use. It's all fun and happy. I mean decorating is fun, but it's not always easy if you don't know where to start.

And so, we really walk through an order of things so that you're not painting your walls green and then you realize that the rug that you love isn't going to go with that. So that takes a lot of the fear out of it, just knowing what the next simple step is. You don't have a huge deadline. You can do this over time as you're working, as you're making dinner or whatever it is.

But it feels so good to have a room that you're proud of because I know when I hate my room I'm a lot less likely to volunteer to host the baby shower, or the community group or whatever it is. And then when I do host it, I'm distracted by how it looks. So, if I can just do a few simple things to get my house in a place where I'm not embarrassed of it or I love it, how about that? Then I am ready to use it the way I've felt called to use it all my life. And that's what I really want for women.

ALLIE: Yeah. I was just going to say before you starting saying that. I love that. It's kind of like when you feel more confident about yourself, maybe you got healthier, you got a new outfit and you just feel amazing, the first thing you want to do is go out on a date night with your husband or go out with your friends, like get out.

We have moved a lot and the first thing I always did was the main living room so that I can have people over. The thing with your home is when you feel confident about it and you love even just one main room, you immediately start serving people and loving people better with your home, which I think is such the point of what we're here to do.

I feel like a lot of people think that this kind of stuff is surface, or extra, or just “not right now,” but if you would just decorate your house better by subtracting from it and start to feel better, cozier, and more confident about your space, it affects your life. It affects how you feel about your family.

And I know what study you're talking about. The one that UCLA did where they did the saliva swabs on the women, and literally the more clutter, the higher the cortisol levels, and the less clutter the less cortisol. And that is a screaming fact. This matters. It's not surface. It's not about having a perfectly clean house and taking that amazing Instagram snap.

It's about having a space that you walk into and you feel like you can take a deep breath and invite your neighbor over who's having a bad day without feeling embarrassed. It's affecting the way we live our lives well and it's so important. I love what you do.

Okay, I feel like a lot of what I hear and what I do with these women is that they're afraid to declutter. It feels so final and abrupt like “officially I'm letting go of this,” whatever it is, even though they're pretty sure it's not serving them and they can live a full life without it. I think they're attaching themselves to their things and that’s super common. I used to struggle with the same thing.

In some circumstances I feel like it's beneficial to maybe temporarily remove something instead of forcing yourself to make that final cut. You talk about that. That's what the whole “quieting” your space is, just kind of temporarily removing something and see how you feel. So, have you done that with anything kind of big? Where you thought, “I'm going to temporarily remove this big thing that everyone else needs.” And then you saw that it was better without it or you kept it? Or anything that you can think of that was kind of like, “Wow, I can't believe I actually made this shift.”

MYQUILLYN: That's such a great question. Let me dwell on that as I respond in other ways of just sharing, because I love pretty things and you love pretty things too. I know it. I love beautiful things. I love having beautiful things in my house, but I don't love them more than having a home that works for me. And so, to always have that in my head helps me be able to part with things.

The beauty of working through our house one room at a time and then kind of being done...the goal is to kind of forget about your house so you can just invite people over and not have to think about the state of your house. Wouldn't that be ideal? That's the number one thing.

Once we work through our home and you feel confident about every room, you don't want to junk it up. You kind of want to get rid of it. And so, it kind of automatically happens where you're like, “Well I'm not gonna mess with that. I just spent a lot of time making sure that really works for our family, so I'm not going to keep extra stuff.”

My family has never guilted us about if they have given us something and we've gotten rid of it. I think that comes up a lot. And you know, I think part of that is just being an adult and saying we don't need it. And if you love it so much you are welcome to have it back or sell it. I hear that so much and it makes me sad. First of all, it's just an old sofa. Let them have it back if it's such a big deal.

So many of us are living with things we hate because someone was kind to us, but we are afraid to hurt their feelings, thinking they're going to be mad because we want the home that they decided they want. They didn't want that thing in their house anymore. But now you have to keep it? It's crazy.

I think bigger stuff is easier for me than the small things for some reason. I don't know why. I'll keep a little trinket for way too long. We've been through a couple of pianos because we used one for a while and then we didn't need it. No one guilt-tripped us and I'm so grateful for that. I want to keep that in mind with my own boys as they get older. I never want to guilt them with furniture gifts and the expectations that are tied to that.

ALLIE: Yeah, like what’s sentimental to me has to be sentimental to you. That whole thing. I see people do that a lot with their kids' toys, which is so funny because this is a place where I started. I don't know if you know my story at all, but I had this terrible life where I was burdened and overwhelmed. When I started to just purge it all out of my house, I started with the toys and it was so easy for me like, “Well this isn't my stuff. This is all pointless, loud, and they don’t even play with it.” But I see people doing this. “Well I had this when I was a kid.” Well, do they play with it? No. It’s as if your kids will have the value that you had. I think people are afraid to hurt people's feelings.

It kind of comes down to a boundary issue a lot of time. My great grandparents passed away and their home was beautiful, like 70’s legit furniture, and my mom and my aunt brought everything down from the Midwest out to California and gave me everything. It was like, “Well, I'm so glad and I will keep this lamp but I don't really want this.” And they were so offended but they didn't want it. I think letting go of like, “Well, I'm not obligated here.” Again, it's just a boundary issue.

I think that what you just said about that sets people free so much. You’re not obligated. There's no secret contract that you've got to hold onto this and value it for at least 10 years.

Okay. So Cozy Minimalist Home comes out this month and you can get it anywhere, right? Amazon? Barnes & Noble?

MYQUILLYN: Anywhere. You sure can.

ALLIE: Awesome. I'm so excited for you. I have your first book and I have this one too, obviously. It's such an easy read. Both books. Very simple. It doesn’t run on  unnecessarily. You make your point. You back it up with some examples and then that's it. You show us how to do it and I love that. For moms, especially, that's the kind of writing we need. What can I do though? Like help?

MYQUILLYN: Yes. I hope it's super applicable. That's my goal. Thank you for those words. Super encouraging.

ALLIE: Yeah, for sure. Well, thank you for being here with us. I'm so excited that you were here and that you're sharing this with these women. I think it's going to be just really practical and really helpful and we all need some more of that.

MYQUILLYN: I hope so. Thanks Allie.


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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

Ep 079: Essentialism: The Key To A Life Lived on Purpose with Greg McKeown

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A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important to me which is why I am excited for Allie Reads October here on the podcast! All month I am interviewing some amazing authors. We will talk about their books, life, and living a life of purpose and intention.

Greg McKeown is the author of the book Essentialism (one of the most important books I have ever read!). He is really good at taking people through the areas that are consuming too much of their time and guides them back to what is essential. In this episode, Greg guides me through that journey in specific areas of my own life and I am excited for you guys to listen in!

Use the hashtag #AllieReadsOctober to share with me this month. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action? I cannot wait to see what you share!

 
 

In This Episode Allie + Greg Discuss:

  • What the paradox to success means and how essentialism is the antidote.

  • The power that nonessential things have and why we get sucked into them without really knowing it is happening.

  • Practical steps you can walk through to focus in on what is truly essential in your own life.

Mentioned in this Episode:


It’s giveaway time! Greg’s book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, is incredible and I am SO excited to gift it to one of you. Head over to The Purpose Show Facebook Community for your chance to win! I cannot want to connect with you this month on all things book related. #AllieReadsOctober

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who doesn't love a GIVEAWAY?

Reviews are everything on iTunes! Would you take a minute and click here to leave a review? Email hello@alliecasazza.com with a screenshot of your review on iTunes. You'll be entered to win one of Allie's amazing courses for FREE!  

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.

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Hey, sweet friends! I'm so happy that October is finally here! For months I have been planning and dreaming this up for you and I'm so happy to finally unveil what it is I've been working on!

This month, October, is all about reading. We're calling it “Allie Reads October,” and the purpose behind this is for me to inspire and encourage you to read more often. Reading is such a gift. We take it for granted way too often, myself included, but reading is powerful. You literally have a whole new life in your hands when you read a book.

A book can teach you something new. It can inspire you to make positive changes in your life and can take you to a different level in your life. Reading is so important. I read all the time and I wish that I would have started sooner and so I'm taking that passion of mine and turning it into Allie Reads October. Every October here on The Purpose Show, we are turning it into author central.

I'm interviewing some amazing authors this month and we're talking about their books and I want to see you use this Hashtag. I'm going to be checking it every single day on Facebook and Instagram and I want you to use it. #alliereadsoctober.

Share with me. What are you reading? Did you get any of the books from the authors I’m talking to you about? Are you reading a different book? How are you taking this challenge to read more and putting it into action?

Let's celebrate this month October! Allie Reads October. We're going to talk about authors and books and encourage each other to read more books.

I encourage you to get other people involved in this. Get your kids involved. Encourage them, read with them, next to them or to them, or have them read in their own quiet time. Share this with your friends. Let's encourage each other to get better equipped to live an intentional life by reading more.

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Hey beauties! Welcome to another episode of The Purpose Show! Today's guest is just such a sweet, kind, esteemed person. I am so honored to even be recording this intro. I just wrapped up our interview and it was so good. I am so, so freaking excited for you guys to hear this interview.

Greg McKeown is so many things. He is one of the smartest guys I've ever had the opportunity to speak with. He's a gem and he is such a good man of faith. He's a family guy, he's an author. He's so accomplished. I just sat down with him and felt like being here with him was so, so good.

Greg is the author of the book Essentialism. I've written blog posts about this, shared it and talked about it a lot over the past two years or so. I think the first time I read it was about two years ago.

I wanted to have Greg on the show specifically for this month, where we're really talking about my favorite authors, diving into books and reading more. This book is so important. It's so important that you read it. It's actually a really great book for listening as well, so if you prefer audio books, this is one of those where you could totally listen to it and really still gain everything that you would gain if you are reading it in paper. I know sometimes you get an audio book and you listen to it and you're like, “Dang it, I really wish I had that in paper.”

I think it's a good one. You're going to want to maybe take some notes to reference later, but it's totally one you could listen to.

This interview with Greg was one of the most powerful interviews I've had so far in my career. It was practical. He takes me through essentialism in my own life right now, at the time of this recording. We opened my phone together and looked in settings and found that I was spending a lot of time texting and doing things on my phone that I didn't realize was still so bad. You guys know I talk about phone time and getting intentional with that all the time, but the phone is a part of my job and I have to talk to people in my business throughout the day. And just seeing that number, the amount of hours was such an awakening for me and so humbling.

There's always room to grow and improve and yes, there's basically no time spent on social media, but there's a lot of time spent texting and how can I improve that? Is that worth the time? He takes me through practically speaking, essentialism, and setting up a part of my life and what is essential.

It's so good. I can't wait for you to hear this. I'm so grateful to Greg for totally just taking over this interview and making it a practical life changer for you guys. I think hearing the examples that he walks me through is going to help you actually go and make changes in your life today. I am so, so excited. All of that to say let's dive in with Greg. This is so good.

ALLIE: Hi Greg. Welcome! Yeah, I'm excited. So we're just gonna dive right in. You are the author of Essentialism of course, and I love the story in the book about how you got into essentialism. Would you mind just kind of opening up by telling that story?

GREG: Well, there’s two parts to this story. The first is I was working with Silicon Valley companies and I noticed this pattern. The pattern was when people were focused on the right things, it led to success, which we had tons of opportunities which actually got in the way of continued success because it distracted them from the very focus that had led to success in the first place. I call this the paradox of success.

But simultaneously I also had an experience in my personal life that I realized this isn't just a business phenomenon and this is a human phenomenon. And I received an email from my boss at the time that said, “Friday between 1:00-2:00 would be a very bad time for your wife to have a baby.” (I mean she was expecting otherwise that's an even stranger email to receive.) And sure enough, we were in the hospital, our daughter is born in the middle of the night, Thursday night. We're in the hospital Friday morning and instead of being present, focused, invested in the singularly important moment, I was feeling torn, stretched and pulled in at least these two different directions.

How can I keep everybody happy? And to my shame, I went to the client meeting. And really I walked away from that, in hindsight, clear, as I'd made a fool's bargain. I violated something essential for something nonessential. And I learned from that a simple lesson which is if you don't prioritize your life, someone else will.

And really, that's me, but the people listening to this right now can ask themselves some litmus test questions. Have you ever found yourself being stretched too thin at work or at home (like I was)? Have you ever found yourself feeling busy but not productive (like I was)? Have you found your day being hijacked by other people's agenda and feeling that you don't have a choice, you just need to do it all? If the answers to any of those questions are “yes,” then this is what I wrote Essentialism for was to try and address people like me who find themselves saying “yes” to those kinds of questions.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. I think everybody can relate to that in some way, and I think especially in motherhood specifically, I mean now you have four kids, right?

GREG: That’s right. Four children.

ALLIE: You understand that things are popping up all the time and while some of it is a little outside of our control, there's a lot of things in just being a parent and being involved in school, sports and things, and things just kind of come up. A lot of the time it feels like, like you say in the book, how can I do all of this well? And that's not the question that we're supposed to ask.

So, having said that, can you talk to us about what essentialism is. I know you break it down to a few steps in your book.

GREG: Yes. So, the problem is this paradox of success is the undisciplined pursuit of more. This is the problem. Where you feel like you have to do everything for everybody and that your job is really to stuff everything in. Because if you can stuff it all in, then you can have it all. This is the illogic of nonessentialism. This is our problem. This is the challenge that we have to overcome.

And the antidote to that challenge is the disciplined pursuit of less, or essentialism. Essentialism, really, is this perpetual, continual, pursuit of (1) What is essential. (2) Elimination of what is nonessential. (3) The creation of a system that makes execution as easy as possible in supporting the things that you've identified as being most important. That’s what essentialism is.

ALLIE: Yeah. Okay. That makes sense. So how exactly do we begin to discern what is really important for us in our lives when it can all feel like, oh, I can see how this is important, I can see how this might be worthwhile. If it helps to answer it, how do you discern what's actually important for our lives?

GREG: So, Allie, are you up for a little experiment? Let’s take this conversation out of the philosophical and let’s make it sort of practical and apply it. As people are listening to this, they can do the same exercise themselves. Of course, their answers will be different.

The first thing to do is to think about importance continuum. So, think about the room that you're in, right? One side of the room is like 0-10% important. It’s one far side of the room. And on the other side of the room is the most important, the very most important things, maybe 90-100% important, or the essential things.

So, you've got this full continuum and everything that we do or could do can be placed somewhere on that continuum. Does that make sense first of all?

ALLIE: Yes.

GREG: So, Step 1 in essentialism is to explore what is essential, to create space to explore what is essential. And you’re doing that now, and I'm doing that now and everybody listening is doing that now. We are creating space to think about not just what’s good or important, but what is very important, the essential things, this 90-100% area.

Here's what I want you to do. The first question I have for you is what is something right now that you know to be very important, essential, that you are either not investing in or you feel that you are underinvesting in right now?

ALLIE: I would say revenue-producing tasks in my business keep getting pushed to the back burner.

GREG: Revenue producing tasks in your business. Tell me what that means just a little more concretely.

ALLIE:  Writing some emails that will take me a lot of time that I keep pushing off that will produce revenue that we're needing to meet our goals for September.

GREG: Right. So, you've got some emails that need to actually be created and sent out. That needs to be done. It's a job. You know it needs to be done. You’re pushing it off. There’s something about this that’s not pleasant. I'm sure a variety of things, but that’s the work. Why does it matter to you?

ALLIE: Because it’s my family's livelihood. It's our revenue, our money. We need it.

GREG: Okay. Give me one more level of why. Why does that matter to you? So you need it for your family. That's your revenue stream. Why does that matter? Give me one more level of why.

ALLIE: I don't know if this is right, but what comes to my mind is that I also can't get these women into the program that will change their lives if they don't buy it. And then also we can't do the things that we need to do as a family and as a business, if that money doesn't come in.

GREG: Okay. This is jugular. This means your double bottom line is affected. That's what you just said. It drives the mission. No margin, no mission. If you don't get the revenue, then you can continue to make the contribution you want to make professionally to all of these people and also within your own family. You want to be able to provide so that they can live, grow and succeed. This is why.

Okay, we have now identified what matters and why it matters. Now a little more just on Step 1, this exploring what’s essential is, what would success look like? Like how would you know that this work was taken care of? That it was completed?

ALLIE: Spending about two hours, really thinking through the wording and the copy that would go into the emails. Actually writing it, proofreading it, editing it, and sending it off to my business manager for execution. That is my part of finishing that.

GREG: Perfect. In total? You said two hours, but was that two hours the first part or was that total? What do you think?

ALLIE: Total task done.

GREG: Ok, total task, two hours. That’s Step 1 done.

Okay. Now we're going to move Step 2, which is the opposite side of this continuum. What we now are looking for is an activity that you know to be very unimportant, nonessential, that you're still spending more time in than you think it deserves. Give me something that you go, “You know, I wouldn't mind spending this much time, but I'm probably spending this much time.” Something that is still nonessential in your world.

ALLIE: I would say this week, kind of trivial, but time consuming, catching up on the laundry from a bunch of trips that we just took. I could easily give that to someone else.

GREG: Okay, so we've got laundry on there. How do you do on social media?

ALLIE: I delegate a lot of it, but I do spend quite a bit of time.

GREG: More than you wish you did? Would that also be on your list?

ALLIE: Yeah. I could cut that down for sure.

GREG: Okay, so I want to do this because I think this is a fun thing, and by the way you're being helpful and brave to even do this experiment right now.

Okay. So, do you have your phone with you?

ALLIE: I do.

GREG: Okay, so everybody listening to this do the same thing. Pick up your phone and don't get distracted by it. Look up, go to settings in your phone. Under settings, go to battery. Under battery is listed all the apps on your phone right now. It will be preset. There's a blue tag there we preset to one day. Next to that blue tag is seven days. Will you click seven days? And then next to that seven days there's a clock face and I want you to click that clock face as well. Okay?

Now what you can look at. Now, this is just one tiny but factual resource for how people are spending time. Underneath there now you will see how much time in minutes and hours you have spent on all of those different apps over the last seven days. Do you see that? Anything striking you?

ALLIE: I'm surprised by how much texting. 5 ½ hours texting? I feel like I don’t text that much, but this is humbling.

GREG: 5 ½ hours texting?

ALLIE: 5 ½ hours in Messenger; 7 minutes only is in the background.

GREG: You’re doing it. You can't believe that, can you? Because you're running lean in your life. You’re already applying these principles in your life. You’re already above average. But you could be above average in today's world and still, in fact everyone is, still sucked into nonessentialism. This is the power of nonessentialism. It's everywhere. And it’s not everywhere by default, it’s everywhere by design.

I think you said Messenger, but it could almost be any messaging app. How much money has been spent, how much effort has been spent building a system to make it effortless for you to be on Messenger. If it was neutral meaning if the world was not built nonessentialist right now, then we might say no money has been spent on it. You just live and you can choose to focus on one thing or another and it's just neutral.

But it's not neutral. Billions of dollars have been spent building the machine that you're using, the phone that you’re using to be on Messenger. Billions of dollars have been spent by the team at Facebook to make sure that Messenger is built a certain way. All of this should help us to see why, “My goodness, of course I'm doing this.”

Now just found yourself 5 ½ hours. Now I don't know how much of that for you is productive. I'm not saying every time you're using Messenger that is a waste of time. Can you tell me what you would like that to be?

ALLIE: I would like to cut it in half. I know a lot of the texts in this are business management texts that need to happen. For me, I’m thinking 5 ½ hours doing anything that isn't really money producing or intentional living is not okay with me no matter what I was doing.

GREG: Yeah. I remember the first time I ran this exercise with myself when I was first testing this and I was surprised too. I found an app, for me it was news. I was reading way more news in terms of hours per week than I realized and I thought, okay, that's got to change. That's not what I realized I was even doing. That's one of the reasons I like just running through this little exercise

So, let's say you said you cut it in half. That's what you wanted. Look at that. We just found you over two hours, which is exactly the amount of time you're looking for. And we didn't get too close off the goal. We didn't get too complicated about this. We didn't have to get into lots of jargon. We just identified the extremes.  

Now, that is not sufficient. That might be sufficient for you because you might be somebody who just has a high execution capability so you'll translate this. You'll make you make the decision and you'll go into operation.  

So, we've identified in Step 1, what's essential. We've identified Step 2, what's nonessential. And the trade-off is the inherent part of the essentialist strategy.

Essentialist strategy means trading these things off. It’s not just saying “yes” to something important. It's not just saying “no” to something not important. It's making the trade-off between the two so that you are now living a more essentialist life than before.

Once the decision is made, the tradeoff, we now move into the 3rd Step, which is execution. Execution has multiple parts to it. A nonessentialist approaches execution in a very forced way. At the last moment, I'll make this thing happen. You know, I'll stay up till midnight trying to get these emails done, let's say, at the last moment. This is one approach, but what I have found is that essentialists approach execution from how do we stack the deck in our favor?

That's what we're trying to do. That's what I want for you. I want us to right now build a system that means that it is more likely than not that you will do it, and even if you don't feel like it. So that while you do feel like it, right now in this conversation you feel like making the change, you're making the trade-off, you use that discipline to build a system that means you'll execute even when you don't feel like it.

So, it’s a different way of using your discipline currency. You're buying a system instead of trying to buy directly the execution. You want to build a system that encourages execution.

So let's do that. So, the first thing I want you to do is I want you to describe for me a graphical progress mechanism. Oh my goodness, that’s a lot of words. A chart of some kind that you use. Now I can give you options, but sometimes people have preference. They have some way that they like to do this.

Seinfeld uses a calendar and he makes a red cross over every day that he has sat down and written comedy, and if he doesn't do that he won’t do it because this is the hardest part of his work. And so, he has a visual representation and his goal is to have as many consecutive days in a row.

So, let me give you another alternative. A star chart. Literally a star chart, just like we would use with our children. We're all big children. We love star charts. You could have a stock chart, but I'm asking for a graphical representation of the work that needs to be done. What sounds right to you?

ALLIE: I have a big calendar on this wall in my office that's just for looks and I would just put a big x on each day that I did what I need to do so I can see it.

GREG: Okay, so let's break it down. Let's say that it's half an hour a day until you're done. Is that how you'd want to approach it? So every day you get half an hour done. Every day you have traded off, like I might even encourage you to have one red diagonal line for every day you spend half an hour writing these emails. The second line that makes the “X” for every day you've given up half an hour of time on Messenger, so you are actually keeping yourself honest for both elements of the trade-off.

Okay, now we have checklist, we have a graphical representation. Now we need a reward. This is an external carrot. This has nothing to do with the intrinsic benefits that you will gain, and of course, motivate you inherently to want to make these trade-offs in the first place. But I mean something very tangible that’s some reward for you. Every day would be ideal, so every day I do this, every day I get both “X’s” I get to…what? I get what benefit? What’s something for you?

ALLIE: Being able to read in the evening. I never do it because I'm catching up on things I didn't do during the day. I would love to be able to sit and read for a half hour before I go to bed instead of finishing up work things.

GREG: Super. So, you have a favorite book and you're going to get to read it. If you do this, you get to reward yourself by reading this. Okay, good.

Now we need to take away. We need something that if you don't do it, you don't get it. Not just that you don't get to read the book. Something that is, again, tangible, physical. I can give you examples from people that have done this before, but does anything come to mind for you? You want to examples?

Okay, so I have one person who has a hundred-dollar bill pinned up on the wall. On any day they do not do what they've identified, they have to rip up the $100 in multiple pieces, throw it away. It cost them $100 if they don't do it.

I have another person who has a favorite wine. Both his reward and take away is this. He gets to drink his glass of wine if he does what he's committed to, and he has to pour down that glass of wine, just pour it down the sink, if he doesn't.

Here are examples. I can give more but what do you think?

ALLIE: I liked the money one because it motivates me and because my task is directly related to creating revenue and so it really hits me because it's a physical, it's related and it's a big reminder.

GREG: It’s a physical, direct representation of exactly what you're trying to do. I like that too. So literally, your job is to get $100 bill and pin it up right next to that calendar, so it's there.

By the way, how do you feel about that? Like tell me about the emotion of it, the thought of taking that and ripping it up. How do you feel about that?

ALLIE: I feel incredibly stressed even just thinking about it. It's funny because in writing these emails, like I'll make much more than that. If I don't do it then I'm losing. Not only am I losing that money from not writing the emails, now I'm losing $100 that could be given away to somebody who needs it or used to pay a bill. It's so painful.

GREG: What it is, what the research shows, is that a takeaway is generally about six times more effective than a reward, which is just amazing. I almost wish it wasn't this way, but it seems to be. Certainly when I share these ideas with people it’s the part that gets people's attention. Everyone's listening to this part. Oh my goodness they think, “I have to throw that away. I have to give that thing up. I have to rip up $100.”

ALLIE: My palms are sweaty just thinking about it.

GREG: The goal isn't to stress you out, but it is to give teeth to this commitment. We say we're committed, but somehow we're more committed at the moment that we're willing to rip up $100 bill. Somehow that changes the emotional intensity behind what we're saying.

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Most people know I'm a blogger and a podcaster, but that's really just where the inspiration happens. I can only scrape the surface of equipping you to bring positive change to your life here. That's why I create online courses on my Private Students-Only Platform.

I don't spend months creating courses for no reason. This is where the action is. My courses are for the serious doers out there. If you want to see focused, real change happen in your life - change that lasts - this is what my courses are for.

This is where I dive all the way into actually implementing minimalism in your home and simplification to the cluttered parts of your life as a mom. We get legit detailed in these courses. My students have incredible success rates that they share in our Private Students’ Community and you can see some of their testimonials on my website.

I work really hard to keep my courses priced as low as I can, but you guys know I totally get being on a crazy tight budget, which is why I also have payment plans available

My courses are different from each other. They each serve different purposes and will take you to different places in your life. Don't overthink which one to start with. Just go to the website and pick one that's resonating with you and enroll.

For Purpose Show listeners only, you can take 10% off any course you choose with the code PURPOSESHOW.  Visit alliecasazza.com/nextlevel for the breakdown of all the different courses I have to offer, how they're different from each other and which one might be best for you.

I cannot wait to cheer you on and take you onward and upward. Motherhood is much too sweet a time to be spent in survival mode.

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GREG: There are many other things that we could do to aid in execution. I could go through them. I mean, you could take Messenger off your phone for this week. You can turn off your phone altogether for this hour a day. You can give your phone to somebody else. You can write out your email and not even be on technology. Just write it out on paper so that you don't have that distraction in place. One thing that I think we should still do is now building an accountability partner, right? So who is going to help you stay accountable to what we've just described? I want a name.

ALLIE: Hayley, my business manager, that’s her job so I would enlist her for that.

GREG: Okay. So let's do now this part of the exercise. There’s two better reasons to do it this way. One is to practice for this conversation with Hayley, but there's a second benefit to it and I'll get to that after we’ve done it.

I want you to tell me like as if I am Hayley. I want you to explain to me what we've just done just as if I am Hayley. Just tell me what we've just done and where you're looking for help.

ALLIE: Okay. So, I’ve decided that I need to write some email copy for 30 minutes every single day and I need you to hold me accountable to that. If I don't do it by 5 PM Pacific, then I have to rip up $100 and sweat. I would say, check in with me at 4:00 every day as a kind of you have one more hour to get this done if I haven't done it already.

GREG: Okay. I love that. I thought that was so clear. You gave structure to it. Because we'd used the systematic way of building this, you were able to express some of that.

Let me share something that I would encourage you to do and I actually want you to do it again now, based on this idea. And let me just say this is universally not done when people go through this exercise. Even though we just did it, they still miss it, and that's because…I don't know why really, but it's very inherently human, to not explain why.

For some reason we assume people know our intent and it’s the cause of an enormous number of human relation challenges. We assume people know our intent and in fact, it is unknowable. Our intent is the most private part of us. It's like deep down in our secret part. A big improvement to becoming an essentialist is to express “why am I doing this” before asking people to do what.

You don't have to get through the whole thing again, because the structural part was really clear, but can you just express, as is if I'm Hayley, why do you want to make this change?

ALLIE: Okay, I want to write this email copy every day because this task keeps getting pushed away until the end of the month and then it becomes a point of stress. And without this done, we are not able to meet our revenue goals. We are not able to give to the charities we would like to give to in the amounts we'd like to give. And everything as whole in the business becomes very stressful, versus peaceful and well planned.

GREG: Yeah. And there was even a little more because... I loved what you said…but there was more. There was, “This is jugular to the business and to my family. This is personally important to me. This is personal for me to make this change because it provides for my family, it provides for our business. This matters to me.”

What everybody needs, who is listening to this, is to be as clear about what they're trying to do, what's really important, what's essential. As clear, and as many reasons as possible for why because that produces the emotional energy to be able to then make the trade-off. You need to have your “yes” be clear, poignant, visceral, strong, emotional, so that it gives you the energy to make the trade-off to build this system. That’s what pours energy into the process.

By the time you're done with the process, the process is feeding you, so that when the emotional strength isn't there, the system is there. You've now got an accountability partner. You've got a graphical representation. You've got a reward system for doing it and a takeaway for not doing it.

Now we have gone through the 3 Steps. That's one application of essentialism. What's essential? What’s nonessential that can be eliminated? And let's build a system to support it. How do you feel as we went through that process?

ALLIE: I feel so good. I feel inspired and encouraged, because life is just so loud. You get distracted by other things and you forget like, what are the things I actually need to do though that have to get done? I've been distracted by, you know, we just started our busy season as a family with sports and homeschool, extracurricular activities, and all these things and they're great. They're good. But they're distracting from the things that we won't be able to do those things if these three, four or five things don't happen.

And so those essential things are getting pushed because they're time consuming and it's such a reminder of that is not the order that is going to bring me a peaceful life at all. So I feel really smacked across the head and a good way.

GREG: {laughing} Well, I don’t know how I feel about having created a smacked across the head sensation for you, but I liked the idea that what I heard underneath of all that was a sort of wake up and an empowerment. A sense of first of all, I am not doing something that I clearly can do and now I’ve got a system that’s going to encourage me to do it.

What is your current confidence level in actually doing that within the next week?

ALLIE: I feel very confident actually. Writing emails and writing in general is what I feel I'm most good at and I like doing it. I don't know why it always gets pushed. It’s probably really just a time thing. I don't think there's much in-depth heart things that I am not dealing with about it because I like writing and I am confident about it. But just the reminder and like you said, the awakening of this matters more than you're treating it like it does. Let's set this up so you'll do it. I feel very, very confident that I'll do it and I would never rip up that $100 bill so I will do it.

GREG: Yeah. See, there's a few things you see. Something you just said I really liked was the idea that this exercise drew into contrast all these activities that were muddled in the middle that appeared to be all approximately the same level of importance. We've got the sports, we've got the extracurriculars, we've got curriculum that we've got to get through. We've got all these activities, we've got the emails to write, we've got Messaging, communication to have with other people. It sounded to me as if it was all melding into the sort of the middle area of that continuum. It's all pretty good and it all kind of has to be done.

ALLIE: Yes.

GREG: But when you try and stretch the continuum and be more precise, you find actually some things are hugely important. They’re way up one side and some things are way off down the other side. Of course, some things are in the middle. I mean that's the idea of a continuum. But by stretching the continuum, you start to see they aren’t all approximately the same level of importance.

Some are way more important. Some must be done first. They enable the other things in fact. Like the kingpin in bowling, you hit the one right thing and it will have a positive effect upon many other things. And that’s confirming that you've chosen something that isn’t essential.

But let me just go one step further with this. The continuum we’re describing isn't static. Meaning, if you take the whole continuum you just described, a year from now, five years from now, whenever, everything that you now think is 90-100% important, that could be stretched to be a whole new continuum.

I don't want people to get stressed out listening to this, but things that used to seem important can be eliminated altogether. When you say, you know what, I'm done, I'm done with television, you can be done with television. These are extreme things to say. They'll sound extreme.

I am done with Facebook. There's no need to be on Facebook. I can be on Facebook one minute a month, a year. I am just done with it. Suddenly the things that you used to go 90-100% become your whole life. You're spending all of your time on what you have identified previously as 90-100% important, so your whole life is now full of things that used to be just sort of a portion of your life.

And that process continues and continues so that in the new continuum, you keep looking for those items in your “new” 90-100%. This is the 90% rule. You keep on looking for 90 % and above. You keep trading off your 0-10. This is why it's a disciplined pursuit. It's an ongoing process so that eventually your life is fuller and fuller with more and more of the most important things.

So that's how essentialism is different than almost every other productivity and efficiency approach anywhere. This is about perpetual pursuit. It's not about doing more things, it's about doing more of the right things. And you keep on doing that and you keep on becoming more selective. Things that you would have said were 50% important last year, now are no longer even on your list. That's gone completely when you keep on becoming more and more selective.

And this way you become far more valuable. Your contribution goes up significantly. And over time your stress can also be decreased at the same time. That’s the value.

ALLIE: Yeah. That’s amazing. My mind is blown all over again just talking to you.

GREG: I'm pleased because essentialism for me continues to be a stretching, challenging model for me as well. I'm a struggler. I'm learning this and I continually try to apply these ideas. I have found that over time it's a richer journey than it was in the beginning. It gets richer and richer over time. It's not like an idea for me, like many of the ideas I’ve come to and even fallen in love with through my life to say, “Okay, that's done. I'm done with that. I'm moving onto the next thing.”

For me, it is something that the more I live it, the richer it becomes, the more and more selective I can be, the better the opportunities. I'm investing in the right thing, so that means you get more of the right things coming. Relationships are the most important. People get better and better.

You get to discern better. At first, someone might be saying, “Hey, I'm going to go on dates with my wife.” Then eventually someone says, “Well, hold on. I’ve been doing that every single week. I never not do that. I'm going to start designing and planning it at the beginning of the week, not just last moment. Start designing it.”

Over time you become more and more thoughtful, more and more selective as you take this very rich journey into essentialism. Because the beauty of life…and whether it's useful or not…the overwhelming reality is that almost everything is in fact noise, but a few things are so valuable, so important that they are incredibly useful to identify and pursue.

I'll give a business example of that from a quote I read years ago that has been helpfully haunting to me. And it’s this: “All you need is the one right idea to live like a king for the rest of your life.” The idea that I think is powerful in that is that it’s not about ideas; I can have a million ideas. But find the right one, the most important one, now it’s rich.

This is true, I think, in all of life. It's all about trying to pursue that trade-off with other things so that we can keep pursuing and discerning even more clarity within what we've identified as important.

ALLIE: Yeah, and I think even just the idea of what you're saying for so many people listening and for me, is just what would life even look like if the only things I spent time and energy on were things in the 90%. Things that really mattered, were so worth my time, that were essential, that have to happen. I would imagine you would have a lot of free time that would either end up being fun and play, which you also talked a ton about in the book and I love that chapter, or more time spent on those things.

GREG: Exactly. Something that has been profound to me is I read a graphical essay available online that’s called The Tail End, and in it the author is giving graphical representation of how much time we have remaining or how little. He shows, for example, the crescendo insight that he has is that he plots out all of the face-to-face time that he will have with his parents. And he crosses off all of the face-to-face time he has had so far. And he concludes that by the time he left home he had had, I think the number was 94% of the face time he'll ever have with his parents.

That's like a shocking insight. It’s a shocking thought to me, but totally real. I mean once you leave, you can talk on the phone, yes you can meet in person, but unless you will be incredibly deliberate, and even then, you have spent that face-to-face time. That is done. Of course, as a parent we can see that from a reverse point of view that “Okay, we are all in the tail end of our parenting. We are all in the tail end of our lives in a sense, so we have to use our time differently.

This is all to set into context. The idea that in the final analysis we have so little time remaining that if I don't spend it constantly searching for the 90% and above and pursuing those things, then I will be trading off those 90% and above for trivial things. I'll be making a trade-off. Now it might not be as dramatic or as foolish as the trade-off I made to go to this meeting instead of being focused on my wife and daughter on the day of her birth, but it will still appear a fool's bargain in hindsight.

I'll give you another positive because I know there's lots of negatives that have depressed us all, but I remember a positive for me, I went through a similar process like you and I just did and identified a top thing for me, an essential thing, would be speaking to my grandfather each week. I was probably at that time spending about 15 minutes a week on Facebook. Not a lot of time, but some time. It's still 15 minutes, right?

And so I stopped. I made that trade off. Almost every week for the rest of his life, which was a couple of years or something at that point, I spoke to him on the phone and that was my trade-off. Nobody hearing that story has ever said to me, I think you really should have spent that time on the Facebook. It’s obvious. In hindsight, it’s obvious.

People can make these trade-offs. You can live a life that really matters. You can make small adjustments. Don't get down about the times we get it wrong. Of course, we get it wrong, but keep coming back to what's essential.  

I’ll leave you on this. When you are on a flight from San Francisco to New York, the plane is off track 90% of the time. It gets to where it's supposed to get because it keeps coming back. It comes back to being on track. That's exactly how I feel about living essentialism.  

We’re going to be lost. We’re going to be nonessential. All of us will be off. How frequently can we come back to that primary question, what is essential? What do I need to be focused on next?

As we do that, the faster we come back, the less time we waste and we get to celebrate the wins that we're having and feel encouraged every time we get it right. Write it down. I do that in my journal. I write down every day the things that I felt grateful about, the essential things that did get done. It's a positive cycle and I don't have to feel discouraged about all the times I messed it up today. Keep coming back.

ALLIE: Yeah, just kind of constantly calling things under the light and looking at is this essential and do I want to keep going with this? I love that you say that. It's not about get it right and then live your life that way. It's about keep bringing it back underneath the light and looking at it and asking yourself and checking in. I love that.

GREG: That's exactly right and you said it perfectly.

ALLIE: This is amazing. Thank you so much for making this practical. It's so helpful, but it's overwhelming sometimes and I think that you made it practical and gave those examples with me and my stuff. It's so, so helpful. I just thank you so much for being here. This was so great.

GREG: Well, I very much appreciate it and best of luck to you and all your followers and listeners.

ALLIE: Thank you so much, Greg.


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Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

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