decision making

Ep 111: A Simple Practice for Daily Happiness, Mindfulness & Making Decisions with Emily P. Freeman

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Did you know that, on average, you make 35,000 decisions every single day? That is a lot and feels overwhelming! But decision making doesn’t have to be that way. If we shift our focus from putting off decisions, putting pressure on them, or ignoring them and we turn our focus to the next right thing, the whole decision making process will be more fun and less intimidating!

Emily Freeman is the founder of an incredible movement called The Next Right Thing. She has a book and a podcast around this theory of focusing on the next right thing in front of us and the power that has in our decision making. Give yourself permission to stay in the moment and take action on the next right thing! (Like listening to this episode, because it is a GOOD one!)

 
 

In This Episode Allie + Emily Discuss:

  • Advice for mama’s of teenage girls (because we all need it, right?)

  • What The Next Right Thing movement is, where it all began, and how that phrase will help you in your decision making.

  • Practical steps you can take when making decisions, even in those mundane, day to day decisions.

  • What unmade decisions do to us and the power they hold over our lives.

Mentioned in this Episode:


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This conversation is all about decision making and staying present as you focus on the next right thing and I have the perfect freebie that will support you as you shift your perspective in this direction!

Phone Settings For Our Present Life walks you through what phone settings I have set up on my phone and a less extreme alternative for those of you who might not want everything turned off. It tells you exactly what to do in your phone, and also a lot of the heart behind why you might want it like that. Why I think it's important and where technology maybe should be in our priority list.

The less distraction you have from your phone, the more present you can be to make those every day decisions. Because 35,000 decisions every day is a lot! So don’t miss out on this free PDF. I know it will help you take action, feel more present, and do the next right thing.


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.


Hi, beautiful friend! Oh my gosh. This conversation that you are about to listen in on is life-changing. If you will really just quiet your mind and give this interview, which I can't even call that, it was a conversation, an amazing conversation. If you will give this your focus, oh my goodness, it will shift your perspective, change your life, and give you some really simple keys to simplifying your decision-making process, finding quiet in the midst of your very full life.

If you’re listening to this, you are likely a mom or a very busy woman and you need this. I needed this. It was so good. This was one of those rare podcast conversations where I was shifting around in my seat because it was so good. It was moving me and had me thinking, really thinking, and it was just so good.

Emily Freeman is my guest today. She is a beautiful soul. I was so happy to sit and talk with her. She is the author of The Next Right Thing, which is a book that's actually based on a podcast she started, which the podcast is also called The Next Right Thing. I love listening to her podcast. It's one of my favorites. It's one of the only ones I actually do listen to. Emily really has a good personality. She's very pointed when she speaks and she gets to the point, which I like. I just really liked her.

Her book, The Next Right Thing is simple, soulful practices for making life decisions. Emily talked a lot about decluttering your soul and your brain, and uncomplicating the art of making decisions day-to-day. Not big life decisions but day-to-day, because the average person makes 35,000 decisions per day. Obviously this is something we need to be talking about and looking at.

Emily is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She's an incredible soul and this conversation is worth giving your time to. So let's welcome her and enjoy this conversation, ladies. I know I did.

ALLIE: Hi Emily! Welcome!

EMILY:  Hi Allie! Thanks for having me here!

ALLIE: Yeah, I'm so excited to talk with you. I'm super excited to get to know more about you and introduce you to our listeners. I think that we have a lot of overlap in the things we talk about and that's always super exciting because I feel like you get me and I get you.

EMILY:  I feel that way too.

ALLIE: Yeah, I'm excited. Okay. Before we get into all the other things about the amazing book that you've written, which I read in one sitting yesterday.

EMILY: So impressed.

ALLIE: It was so good. I made space for it because it was so good. I just want to learn a little bit about you and have our listeners connect with who you are.

So tell us about, tell us about you. What's your personality type? Do you know what you are on the Enneagram and all that good stuff?

EMILY: I do. On the Enneagram, I identify with Type 4. I probably lean more towards the 3 wing, but as I get older a little bit, I'm finding more 5 tendencies in me a little bit. My sister's a 5 on the Enneagram, so I kind of get that space too.

I don't even think I identified really as maybe a creative person until maybe college or after college. I didn't see myself that way. But as I've gotten older, that part of me has come more fully alive and I think has always been there, but I never really gave it a name or gave myself credit for being creative, which I actually believe everybody's creative. Creativity expresses itself differently in different ways in each of us.

I think when people listen to my podcast and then they meet me in real life, I think they're surprised that I laugh really loud and talk pretty fast and I'm a little kind of sillier maybe than they expect. Because the podcast is a little more contemplative and slower paced because that's the purpose of that show. While that is me and that's my personality, you know there are different aspects and facets of personality that come out in different places.  

ALLIE: Different settings. If you're in a person-to-person social setting, you get an energy that's different than when you're sitting at your desk talking about your work.

EMILY: Right. Exactly. And that's kind of what it is. And I think in general, I feel most like myself when I'm writing and when I express myself through writing, but I feel most alive when I'm communicating with people or speaking or using my voice to say words, even if it's just with other people in a small group setting or even on a stage speaking at an event or something. That wouldn't be my preference to do that a whole lot. But when I do it, there is a certain sense of fulfillment I think that comes in those moments.

ALLIE: I love that. I'm the same way. I really don't like speaking when I'm planning to go speak somewhere, but once I'm on that stage, something happens where I come alive and I'm like, “I need to do this more.” And then I'm like, “Well, maybe not.”

EMILY: I've never heard anyone say it that very way. I feel the same way. The hardest part of my job is prepping to speak somewhere. But then once I get up there, it doesn't feel hard at all compared to the prep. Sometimes I’m like, “Am I doing this wrong? There's gotta be a magic way that I haven't figured out.” But I don't know if there is. I think that's just part of the job,

ALLIE: I think so. I've never heard anyone else really say that they didn't love speaking either. I think people do it because they love it and they're good at it, but not a lot of people are really willing to push themselves past their comfort zones, I think. And I am. So that is that for me. I will only take the ones that are super worth it because I don't like it very much.

EMILY: I love it. I totally resonate with that.

ALLIE: Tell us what is your absolute favorite thing to do when you are by yourself?

EMILY: Well, I love being by myself, so that's a favorite thing all alone. I can spend a lot of time just looking out the window, which sounds so boring, but I live a lot of life in my head, so having the space to actually stare out the window. A lot of times I will go back through journals that I've written in, old journals from years ago, and reflect on things I've learned or ways I've changed or the way our life has changed. That can be really life giving for me to sort of see patterns and to spend some time in reflection. Also reading when I'm alone. I'll either watch a show I love or spend some time with a book that I love. Lately I have been craving reading more fiction because I haven't been reading a lot of fiction and so I sense that itch to read a really good story.

ALLIE: I go through really long seasons of not reading it at all. fiction, when it does come into my life, it's a happy escape from the norm. Regular books, nonfiction books, they don't do that. You’re thinking about your life as you're learning this new thing. It's just when the fiction has a special place.

So, tell us about your family.

EMILY: My husband John and I have been married for almost 18 years now and it's gone by really fast. That's weird because I remember when my parents were married for 18 years, you know? That’s so weird. We have three kids. We have twin girls who are 15, they're in 9th grade. And then we have a son who is almost 13. He's in 6th grade. This was a big year for us, first time middle school for our son and then first time high school for the twins. Lots of transition, but they've made them fairly smoothly. And so, we're navigating interesting teenage waters these days with our family, which has been really a gift, but also it makes you realize, “Wow, we've been parents for 15 years. We still don't really know what we're doing a lot of the time,” because we've never been parents of these kids at this age. It's always learning and staying on your toes.

ALLIE:  Do you have any advice for those of us with girls that are…my daughter's 10, so setting the stage for those teenage years? What would you say has been helpful and that you think you did well?

EMILY: That's a great question. A lot of times it's the things that you don't realize and you might just do naturally and they don't feel like a big deal. But I had a mom tell me once that people always commented on how close she was with her teenage girls. And this mom said, “It started with the Barbies. I would play Barbies with them or play the games that they wanted to play when they were young.” So then as they grew, it was really normal for them to just let her into their world.

Though I'm not the best Barbie player…I was when I was younger and was actually playing with them, but as the girls have gotten older, one thing is they have each other. They're twins, so they do a lot of that themselves. But being around and letting them know that I was present. I think I discount the value that that has.

When I look back and I think, “Oh, I should have had more serious and intentional conversations with them about A, B, C, you know, about all these really big important issues.” And maybe that would've helped, but I don't know if they would remember, but I guarantee you what they remember is time spent and just me being around.

And I think that's sometimes a filter through which I make decisions about work or travel or whatever…there are seasons when I'm not able to be fully present because I am traveling or working. But then when I'm home, I'm trying to be all there. I think that really goes a lot further than we realize.

Maybe 10 years from now I'll look back and remember, “Oh yeah, that was important,” because when I think about my own relationship with my mom, I don't really remember specific conversations or “lessons” that she taught me. But I do remember her presence and I remember her just being there. And I think that's really important, and I think a lot of times overlooked.

ALLIE: Yeah, I love that. Your kids have always gone to school?

EMILY: Yeah, they're all three in public school. Charter School for a couple of years, but mostly they're in the public school.

ALLIE: I love that, cause we homeschool our kids and it's not out of a love for homeschooling. That is for sure. It's just the flexibility of schedule because we like to bring the kids with us when we travel for work. But a lot of the time when I talk about being intentional and making time and being present, people – mothers - will blame it, “Well you homeschool, so you're always together.” And I am always trying to get a conversation with somebody who does not homeschool and has that because I don’t think that's it.

I actually think it can make it harder because you think, “Oh we have all day. We're always together. There's lots of opportunities for that.” And it actually slips by even more. I love that you said that and that your kids go to school. It’s not a lack of the availability of time. I think it's what you do with the time you do have together.

EMILY: Right. Yeah, that's a great point.

ALLIE: Okay. So, you are the host of The Next Right Thing podcast, which I love because it's short, pointed. It's one of those shows that if I'm listening…sometimes I just want silence because my life is loud and my kids are still really little and my oldest is 10 so I've got a 4-year-old, and lots of boys, so it's very loud…but sometimes I want to listen to something while I get ready and it's perfect because the episode is done by the time I finish doing my makeup or putting my hair up or whatever. It's easy and pointed. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like the podcast is really short and pointed and bite-size perspective shifts and the book is still not super long or anything, but just really beautiful and a little deeper.

I really love the way you wrote this book. It's amazing. And it's also called The Next Right Thing.

When I immerse myself in an author, I've been looking at your website and I followed you on Instagram and read your book in one sitting yesterday, so I have to remove myself and, “Wait, for somebody who does not know any of this, let's start from the beginning.” What is the next right thing, this movement you started? Tell us what it is about or if you want to share where it started for you. Anything that you want to give us the 101 of The Next Right Thing.

EMILY: Well, that phrase, “the next right thing,” it's certainly not one that I came up with. It's been around a long time and has been said by a lot of really smart people over the years.

The first time I remember hearing it was when I was in college. I was a transfer commuter student at a school locally here. Because I was a commuter student, we had to fight for parking. I had to get to the school an hour before my first class started just to find street parking. I also learned to be a really great parallel parker by the way, so I can whizz into a parallel parking space, no problem.

But I would get to school early and then there was nothing to do because there wasn't a smart phone back then and no podcast to listen to. So I would listen to a little radio show that was about 15 minutes. It was like one of my podcast episodes. It was called Gateway To Joy and it was hosted by author Elizabeth Elliot and she would often quote a little poem that was called, “Do The Next Thing.” It was kind of sing-songy. It stuck with me because as a 18, 19, maybe I was 20 by that time -year-old, that was really powerful for me because it's the time in your life when you're looking at the future and you're looking at all of it at once and it can be overwhelming to say the least. And so that little small encouragement to just do the next thing, do it with prayer, do it consistently, was really helpful for me. It kind of just lodged in the back of my mind all those many years ago.

But then as I've grown and started writing, I find when I look back over books I've written and blog posts I've written over the last decade, I find that phrase here and there, “just do the next thing” or “do the next right thing” in my own writing, just kind of tucked away.

It was only about two or three years ago when I had a big decision to make that I started recognizing how this unmade decision that I had to make had a lot of power. And I think that's true across the board for a lot of us that unmade decisions hold power. They hold our attention. They keep us on our toes. They can have the power to wake us up to God, to friendships, to communication or whatever. Or they can also have the power to shut us down. To procrastinate. To put the decision off. To delegate it to somebody else. That's a lot of power that unmade decisions have.

A lot of us want to go ahead and make the decision and we want to be done with it. Others of us, we'll drag our feet.

It was sort of two things happening. I had this decision to make, but then on the inside level, my inner life, I was looking at how that decision was informing my relationships and the way I related to God and to people. That’s when I started to think, “Oh, this decision-making thing. There's something to this. I want to explore this.” And I thought it would be my next book because I'm a writer and that's what I do.

So, I started taking notes on the decision-making process and how this unmade decision was causing me to question some things and solidify other things and how my own spiritual formation was becoming a real big part of this decision-making process. But as I tried to write it as a book even after I made that decision, it was so stubborn and did not want to be a book. It was the worst. I tried to force it into an outline; it would not do it. Finally, long story short, I decided maybe the medium that this idea wants to come to life in is not in written form, but in spoken form. That's when I had the idea to explore this idea of decision-making and doing the next right thing in a podcast.

What should I call it? Decision again…how about I just call it “The Next Right Thing,” because that's the phrase that has always helped me approach decisions a little bit in a more friendly way and not such an intimidating way.

If it was “just do the right thing,” I think it's like, “Well yeah.” But that's kind of intimidating and we don't always know what's right, but when we put that word “next” in it, I think that makes it a little more approachable. We can usually access the next thing that's right in front of us, even if we're not quite sure what the exact right thing is to do.

So, that's kind of some background. That phrase has stayed with me and I'm sure will continue to stay with me for the rest of my life because this “next right thing posture” has really changed not only how I make decisions, but also how I move through my day in everyday life.

ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely. So, what does that look like? Maybe give me some examples because I'm curious about the mundane stuff. You say we make 35,000 decisions a day. Is that right?

EMILY: That's what I hear. I've looked it up in many different places and that's the number that keeps coming in. Isn’t that crazy?

ALLIE: And you know, in my personal day-to-day life, I've been working through when to apply grace to myself and went to keep pushing because I've been finding myself feeling really exhausted and done for the day very early in the day. And I'm like, “Okay, I've been trying…do I need to move my exercise so it's not in the morning? What is it that I need to do?” And reading this book…I intentionally left it for right before I interviewed you so that it would be fresh…in reading this book, I'm like, “Hold on 35,000?” I know my life, I know my job, I know how many people are on my team and I know my kids are always with me, so I'm just gonna assume that I probably have more than the average person.

EMILY: I think you probably do.

ALLIE: I was thinking, “You know, I think it's that.” I think it's just the constant like that. What is the New York Times article about decision fatigue?

EMILY: Yes, it's a real thing.

ALLIE: I don't really know what to do with that information, but it helped me feel like it's okay. It makes total sense. I'm constantly being talked to and some of that quiet I have control over (like with my phone) but a lot of it I don't. Like with my kids, they're here and I don't want them to feel, “Don't talk to mom. She's going to be pissed or whatever.” I want to be there, but it's just exhausting. And little things like, “Yes you can have applesauce or are you going to have slides at your presentation at this conference?” I don't know…things like that. It's just constant. So, I guess my question, messily, is what do you do with that in day-to-day? What do we do with that information? What does this next right thing look like lived out in those mundane things every day. And is there a way to avoid that exhaustion that I've been going through?

EMILY: Well first I would say to answer your question, I think that you showing grace to yourself is always the next right thing. Because it sounds to me like your personality, I can totally relate with it, probably you might never be a person who needs to totally push herself because it sounds like you naturally push yourself. You probably need to intentionally not push yourself sometimes, especially in your life stage. Man, that's so tough.

But as far as the mundane things, it's such a great question and I gotta tell you, it's in the mundane things where The Next Right Thing concept is the most helpful for me because I will literally wake up in the morning and maybe I'll have a little morning routine that I can rely on, which is really helpful, actually small, short morning routine.

But after that, sometimes I'm like, “Uhh,” and I'm literally spinning in my living room. Where should I start? What do I do first? Because everything feels like it has equal importance. When someone says, “Well, do the most important thing first,” it's like, “Well guess what? It feels like there's 20 of those.” Everybody else has their own idea of what's “important.” So, choosing one I think is helpful.

That whole idea of “the next right thing” sometimes is, “Okay, go take a shower.” And then I get out of the shower and it's like, “Okay, now what's the next right thing?” I’m going to listen to this podcast while I do my hair, okay. Giving myself permission to stay in that next right thing while I'm in it, knowing that I'm going to have the opportunity to ask the question again in 15 minutes. And that helps.

It’s like a weird mindset-magic that happens for me personally when taking a shower is my next right thing and I let that be my next right thing for 15 minutes. Then I can be in the shower and it almost feels like time expands because I'm not spinning in my mind about, “Well I'm taking a shower now, but really I should have been making the grocery list and running out to the mailbox,” rather than forcing myself into spaces where I can't be all at once because we can really only do one thing at a time, even the best multitasker among us. We might be doing many things in succession really quickly, but you can't chop an onion and peel the oranges at the same time. You can do them really quickly, but it's one at a time.

But giving those activities a little bit of bumper room in between each other by asking the question, “Okay, now what's the next right thing?” And trusting yourself to choose. If there's 10 things and you can't figure out which one's most important, then there isn't an answer there. There isn't a wrong answer. Just pick one.

I can't tell you how many times I have not done that and I've looked back on my day and been like, “Wow! I got nothing done, but I was working all day long.” Because I was frenetically switching, task switching, from half an activity to half an activity and it wore on my energy. It made me grumpy because I didn't finish anything. And I felt like a failure even though I was just as tired or maybe more tired than I would have been had I just chosen three things and finished them to completion, and then gave myself permission to say, “What is your next right thing.”

And the final thing there is let the next right thing sometimes be it's time to close the day. It's time to be done with work today or whatever the thing you're working on. That is a valid next right thing.

ALLIE: I love that so much. Yesterday, I was frustrated because I was faced again with that feeling of, “I’m feel tapped out. I feel like I will not be able to even cook dinner and deal with my…and that's when it's a trigger…when I'm thinking, “deal with my family.” That's not how I want to come to the table at the end of the day, you know? I was feeling like, “There's no way.” But there's all of my task list (Emily was like “20 things left”) and they were big things. I just reached out to Hayley. She's my right-hand man. She helps run the company and I said, “I just don't know what to do.” And she was like, “Well, none of these things are pressing right now. Why don't you just be done for the day?”

Why do we give ourselves this fake urgency? Because I assigned it to today, a long time ago when I was just putting my tasks in Asana, I was like, “Well, this task needs to be done today.” I think it was funny cause I laid on the couch, I just laid there like a Zombie vegging out for a second. And it was like how often do we do that to ourselves where it is so unnecessary and it's so urgent, but we’re are the ones that have the power to say this is not urgent anymore? It's just one of those novel concepts. It's so obvious, I think to certain personality types.

EMILY: It is and I love that you pointed out that you reached out to Hayley because number one, I think we all need a Hayley in our lives, whether we're writing or whether we are just running a household or whatever the thing is. And too, looking back, that was your next right thing, was to reach out to her and to let her be a co-listener with you to your own energy and your own life. And for her to say, “I'm going to be a “no” mentor to you right now. It’s time for you to say “no” and close the day.” What a beautiful next right thing that you did without even realizing it. I think that's so great that you have her and that you know, “Okay, when I'm at my wits end, I’m going to reach out to Hayley.”

ALLIE: I think sometimes we just get stuck in our own heads and we can't have that aerial perspective over our own life because we're just muddled. It just gets messy.


Hey sweet friend! I'm interrupting this incredible conversation that I'm having with Emily because I wanted to let you know that I know when I'm having conversations like this on the podcast, it really gets me thinking. It really gets me inspired.

This was one of those conversations that when we were recording, I just really felt alive. I felt really excited. I felt super inspired. I was thinking to myself, “I need to make sure that I come back and listen to this episode myself later on.”

Those recordings are rare, but when they happen, I feel like I'm on fire inside. I get so amped up about what we're talking about. I think that happened here with Emily because well, first of all, she's amazing and this conversation is so good, deep, and just extraordinary. And I think also because there's crossover with what I talk about, and I'm passionate about this, so it really gets me excited for you guys.

What I wanted to do is just draw attention to a freebie that I've created in the past for you guys that has become a fan favorite. People love it. It really deals with something that you wouldn't think is really deeply impacting your day, but it is. It deals with your phone settings.

I talk often about how I have my notifications basically turned off in a lot of ways. They're really turned off. I don't get my phone vibrating, making a noise, or lighting up when I get a text message. I don't have social media interrupting my day. My phone is a side note. It's extra so I'm living my days focused on what's in front of me, on my family, on my work, on whatever it is that I'm doing in real life that day. I don't think that technology should be able to tap us on the shoulder and interrupt our actual, real life whenever it wants to.

I talk a lot about that and I have this free download called Phone Settings For Our Present Life and it literally walks you through exactly what phone settings I have set up on my phone and a less extreme alternative for those of you who might not want everything turned off. It tells you exactly what to do in your phone, and also a lot of the heart behind why you might want it like that. Why I think it's important and where technology maybe should be in our priority list.

If you're interested in getting that, it's totally free. It's just something that I have on my website that I thought would be important and helpful to draw attention to while you're listening to this episode.

To get that for free, go to alliecasazza.com/shownotes/111.


ALLIE: I love something that you talk about in your book, how unmade decisions will smoke out things that we’re addicted to, like these hidden addictions. Not like addiction to alcohol and addiction to other things, but addiction to needing clarity or needing the approval of other people before you make a decision. Can you kind of unpack that for us? I just thought that was so astute and wise. I’ve noticed it in my own life when I've had to talk through things. Can you talk about that?

EMILY: It’s such an interesting thing to think about because it's very meta to think about how we make decisions, because usually we don't think about the process. We just either do it or we don't do it. When I think about decisions that that give me the hardest time or the ones that I'm procrastinating on, that's what I think our decision making and the process can begin to smoke out those addictions that we don't even realize are there.

For example, sometimes when I'm putting a decision off, the reason is because I'm afraid of the people I'll disappoint one way or the other. If I make this decision, these people are going to be disappointed. I make that one, I'm going to let these people down. Sometimes it's just perceived. I'm just afraid I'll let those people down. It might not even be real, but it's a fear of that.

And that can be an addiction to really deeply caring what people think to an unhealthy degree. Or it could be, I put something off because I am addicted to my own comfort. Even just buying a plane ticket. It's like, “Uh, I don't like the feeling I get when I'm having to make a decision that's definitive. I leave at this time and I get back at this time.” There's something in there that, though it might just be a quirky thing that we do, there could be something in there if we listened to our life that we realize could unlock a deeper issue. So, it's like these surface unmade decisions can actually inform something that might be happening beneath the surface.

And another thing, I think when we put decisions off, a lot of times and you mentioned it, it's because we are addicted to a sense of clarity. We think that until I know everything there is to know, and until I feel a perfect peace, I will not move. But in reality, a lot of times the peace and clarity come on the other side and it's once you finally make the decision and walk into the foggy future, that clarity begins to reveal itself to us over time.

Sometimes we're never sure if it was “right” or not. We just did the next thing we need to do at the time. That addiction to clarity, if we're waiting to feel clear, perfect peace, man, we might be waiting for a really long time.

Marie Forleo talks about clarity comes from engagement not from thought. Sometimes we think, “Well, if I think this through every single possible outcome that could come from this decision, then I'll have clarity.” But her point is a good one in that a lot of times it's engaging with the decision, engaging with our life, that actually brings the clarity to us as we move forward, even as we're carrying some question marks.

ALLIE: As you're talking about this, I'm just thinking about people who struggle with anxiety and I'm wondering do you have any experience with this helping ease just regular anxiety? Does that even make sense? This is not in my notes, this is an unformed question, but how does this affect people that struggle with being anxious in those little moments, unexplained anxiety?

EMILY: Well I think that's a great question and first of all I think sometimes we feel shame when we have feelings that we can't explain. Anxious feelings or fearful feelings.

And I just want to point out that feelings are always valid. They might not always tell us the truth, but they always give us information. So if we're feeling anxious, pay attention, you might not be able to explain it, but it can be a red flag of something that could be really helpful to know. But it's okay if you can't explain it. I think paying attention to those triggers when we do feel anxiety and maybe getting beneath that and asking yourself why.

Another thing in an anxious place, especially when it comes to decision making or something I'm being asked to do, try to put into English words what you are afraid of. Sometimes fear is a smoky enemy, but when you get down to it and you put it in English, it loses a lot of its power because you realize, oh, I was afraid…just general fear, but when I put it in English it’s like, “Oh no, actually, I'm afraid that I will miss my daughter's performance.” There can be really specific things. Once you have that fact or that information, you might be better equipped to deal with the thing you're actually afraid of and saying it out loud can help loosen some of the power.

One question I like to ask myself when I'm feeling stuck in a decision is am I being pushed by fear or am I being led by love in this decision? And looking for the fear and the love in decision making can be really informative. It might not always help us make the next decision, but I think it can give us a lot of information about, “Okay, oh I am afraid. Well why is that?” Asking the question beneath the question when it comes to fear.

I know sometimes even just asking that question, “Oh, am I making a decision out of fear or am I making a decision out of love,” sometimes that alone is enough to help us know maybe not the whole decision, but at least our next right thing.

ALLIE: That makes so much sense. I love that.

You talk about naming in your book and I also really loved this section. You have those two core principles about choosing the next right thing and having sole minimalism, which we will totally dive into. I might be wrong; I think this was the next section. I actually marked this section that I wanted to read so that you could expand on it. It's so good and you lead into it with saying “put into English words.”

You say in the book, “sometimes indecision is the result of a busy schedule or a hesitant personality. Other times it's because something within us remains unnamed and we simply don't have enough information or self-knowledge to move forward. Without a name we can't be specific and there's nothing fear likes more than nonspecificity.”

I just love that because it's true on so many levels. And I think you just touched on it with the anxiety question a little bit about like, well, what is it? Because it's either going to be a little ridiculous and you'll realize that, “Oh well, this thing isn't going to happen,” or it could totally happen, but you now can take steps to protect it or help it not happen.

Can you talk a little bit more about that naming? Examples that you have done or anything that you could help us see more clearly that in our day-to-day life?

EMILY: I think it's a great question and I think it is an important part of the decision-making process that's often not talked about and overlooked. We go straight from, “I have to make a decision,” and then we jump straight into whatever the decision is without taking a little time to listen to our own life. Part of that listening process is putting a name to some things.

I'm trying to think of a good example. I share the story of the Writebols in the book where Nancy Writebol, who was diagnosed with Ebola virus when she was a medical missionary. During that time, I saw a news brief where she and her husband, after she was better, were giving a news conference about her experience.

She and her husband shared a lot of the difficulties, a lot of the fear. They thought she wasn't going to make it at one point, but she pulled through and they talked about their faith. They talked about the hope that they had in God. But that there were also some hard times.

I was on the elliptical at the gym when I was watching this news conference and I was listening. At the end of it, it was so interesting because the news commentator summed up the news conference with the Writebols and she said how beautiful their story was. She said their's was “a narrative of joy.” I had to take my earbuds out and stop the elliptical because first of all, I thought that was such a beautiful way to say that, “a narrative of joy.” But it was also really counterintuitive to call that a narrative of joy because they were talking about her recovering from Ebola, this terribly life-threatening sickness.

And I thought, you know what? The “narrative” is the keyword there because each plot point in their life when she was on that bed and very sick and her husband couldn't even go in the room because it was too dangerous, that was not joyful. That was dark, filled with grief and probably a lot of fear and anxiety. But when they look at the whole narrative of her life and even of the experience, the whole thing, they could name that narrative as one of joy, even though each plot point was not joyful.

When it comes to my life, oftentimes I am tempted to look at the plot points and call that the story. And I can get stuck in a difficult day or difficult moment, an argument or relational disagreement, a work setback. And I can say. “This is hard.” And I named the narrative hard, difficult, fearful, anxious, wrong, discouraged. Rather than letting that day or that moment be a plot point in a larger story, a larger narrative. It’s an example of taking a step back at your life and seeing it for what it is on the whole. It doesn't mean that those plot points aren't to be named. They are.

Sometimes I think we rush too fast. I think we can do both. We will either wallow in the difficulty and refuse to see the narrative that's bigger, or we feel shame for feeling the difficulty. So, we will rush too quickly to the joy or to the hope. Or when we see someone around us struggling, we will be uncomfortable in their struggle, so we'll rush them to a narrative of joy, but they need to be in that plot point and name it because we cannot heal from what we do not name. And don't confront.

I think a lot of times we're walking around with a lot of woundedness and a lot of things from our past, decisions that we've made, that maybe we regret but we haven't named it regret. Instead maybe we are living under a banner of disappointment or whatever the thing is, but we didn't trace it back to a certain decision at a certain time in a certain place. Call it a plot point but don't make it the whole narrative.

Making that differentiation between a plot point and the narrative has been really life giving for me and has freed me up to let the hard things be hard, but not to let them define the whole story.

ALLIE: I love that. I love it so much. It's such a perspective shift. If you can do it now before a really hard thing happens, then you're going to be equipped with that when it does hit. I have a really dear friend that I grew up with that she was fostering a little boy and he actually ended up getting murdered by his birth mom. It's this awful thing. I'm watching everybody around in our lives try to get them where they wanted them to be faster. We're seeing these people that we all love in pain, in incredible pain, that really none of us understood because that's a very unique trauma. No one had gone through it. And naturally, you don't really know what to do. But as I went, I flew out there, and I sat with them, I noticed people were uncomfortable with their discomfort and wanted them to just feel better.

It was exactly what you're saying, rushing them to get into that narrative that makes us feel better. Like, “Oh, you're not in pain anymore. I'm so glad you got through that. God is greater.” And it's like, they're not there yet. They're really upset. I learned so much about that.

But I love that you talk about that for ourselves too. Not forcing and not rushing that clarity, and that knowing of this is what’s in my story. You don't need to know sometimes. And that's so hard for my personality, but so true.

EMILY: I so get that. I shared this story, you might have read, but I had some back pain and I went to get a massage. My mother-in-law was like, “You need a massage. I'm going to pay for that.” I'm like, “Eh, okay.” But when I went the massage therapist, she told me, she said, “Actually, which side of your back hurts?” And I was like, “It was the left side.” She said, “Well, I actually noticed more trouble in your right side.” So immediately I'm like, “What does it mean?” You know?

I was like, “Well, tell me, what does that mean that it’s the opposite side? And I kind of freaked out like, “Oh great, I have a whole back that's troubled.” She very calmly answered and she said, “Um, it doesn't mean anything. It's just information.” And I thought, oh I was trying to rush to an explanation, but she was making, forcing me to be satisfied with information.

And sometimes that's all we get. We don't have an explanation or a diagnosis. But sometimes naming it and seeing it for what it is and letting let that be enough. That might be all we ever get. And like you said, it can be super hard and frustrating, but it still can be helpful.

As we move forward, especially with people who are in trauma situations, like you mentioned, the more comfortable we get with carrying our own question marks, I think the better friends we are to those who are living in a giant question mark that none of us understand. We can more quickly and empathetically identify with where they are and let them be in that space. Which I think is where a lot of people need to be sometimes for an amount of time that we might not be comfortable with.

ALLIE: Yeah. The whole idea and the philosophy behind doing the next right thing is really a beautiful way to live in a really beautiful way to show up for others too. It’s not just about us.

I do want to talk a little bit about the soul minimalist idea that you present. I think it's in the second chapter or something. It's kind of like a crux of the whole point of what you're saying. I love that you call it soul minimalist because that's what we talk about here on The Purpose Show is minimalism in all different forms.

I saw that it was in the Table Of Contents and I was tempted to jump to it, because as a minimalist and one of the teachers of this, I'm like, “I don't know what that even means.” I feel like I'm out on some secret and I want to know.

It was so beautiful the way you talk about it, so I want you to explain what that is, what you mean by that and how you practice it.

EMILY: Well, Joshua Becker, who writes about actual minimalism in his books and on his blog, Becoming Minimalist, I heard him say once that minimalism is not that you should own nothing but that nothing should own you. I think people who practice minimalism in their homes and in their lifestyle, you want freedom. You want to not have things so much that it's overcoming you. That it becomes the boss of you rather than the other way around. And so, he talked about how we often have regular input of things into our homes, but we don't always have regular output.

And when I heard him say that, I thought, “Oh wow!” Because I'm always thinking of the inner life, I thought how that is also true on the level of my soul. When it comes to the interactions that we have everyday, deadlines that are put on us or that we put on ourselves, emails that we get, conversations with people, family members and friends, and strangers, that is constant input to our psyche, to our soul, our mind, our will and emotions. And we carry that stuff around. Especially when it's difficult. We carry that stuff around. Our souls are very sticky and all that stuff sticks to us. It’s constant input, but we don't have a regular practice, many of us, of output.

In fact, many of us don't even realize we're carrying stuff around all day, every day. And we also wouldn't even know how to get rid of it if we tried. And so, this idea of not owning nothing, not emptying your insides, but having none of that own you, can apply in the inner life as well as the outer life.

For me the way that practice can be brought into my everyday life in reality…What does it look like to become a minimalist on the soul level? The same way decluttering is to our home. For me, silence and stillness is to my soul. That really literally looks like some intentional time when I can get it, or during my morning routine, I'll sometimes set my phone for just a couple minutes, sometimes 10, usually 4 or 5 minutes, set it, hit start. And that time is just a time for me to sit in stillness and silence.

Sometimes I will name, silently, some of the things that I'm carrying. Usually for me, it's an interaction with someone that rubbed me the wrong way, or a way I felt dismissed in a conversation, an argument that maybe I had with my husband that morning, a way that I was short with my people. I will name that and then imagine releasing it into the presence of God, but doing it without an agenda.

What I’ve said so far is a lot more than I usually do during that time of silence. That's one way of releasing, but sometimes it's just silence for the sake of silence and letting that 5 minutes of silence be my next right thing. Knowing that when the timer goes off, it will go off. Sometimes it feels like it's been 20 minutes; sometimes it feels like it's been 5 seconds, but it will go off in five minutes. Problems aren't necessarily solved and the world isn't necessarily changed. But I am a little better prepared to face my problems and to enter the world because I have cleared a little bit of space on the inside.

I don't understand it fully. I don't know fully the science behind it, but I do know that when I'm able to do that I feel a little bit more like myself and a little bit more able to confront the day with some space so that those things are not owning me because I've recognized them and I've spent some time in silence to let them go.

ALLIE: I love that so much. It's so true and it's funny to me that mindfulness and meditation is this hot topic right now and it's like this is biblical. This is this idea of being quiet and not always filling your every second with noise and grabbing your phone, or whatever it is, is not new. It's just affecting us at a much deeper level because we need it so much more, I think. People are really grabbing onto it. Just being still and being quiet.

I think that for Moms, what I always hear when I talk about this is, “Well, how do you find the time when there's always somebody there?” I think that, and I want to know what you think too, but I think that sometimes silence, it doesn't have to be perfect silent, perfect stillness where you're on the floor and there's no one. Sometimes it's just a quiet moment.

I know you mentioned, I don't know if it was in the book or podcast that you mentioned but, the walk to the mailbox or you wait one extra second before you get out of the car and wake your baby up from their nap in their car seat. Little things. I mean is there anything I'm missing in terms of busy mothers trying to find that stillness?

EMILY: I think you said it so well Allie. I think that can be a great first step practice is if you can't even find 5 minutes, and sometimes we can't. I mean, I had twins, two babies at once. I remember the relentless, it was almost like there was no one big decision. It was just 10 million tiny decisions. And I didn't know if I was making any of them right. It was just so hard. And those five seconds you get alone are so sacred and sometimes you feel like, “I need to take a shower.” When you finally get that time, you want to spend it doing something that feels really life giving.

Quite honestly, silence doesn't feel life giving to all of us all the time. We don't see an immediate benefit. It's a slow work. If we don't know exactly what's going to come of it, sometimes it can feel a waste of time. So instead of maybe doing it that way, doing exactly what you said, have it be an unconventional spiritual practice of almost playing a game of finding the silence, the natural silent moments in your day that already exist in your day. You're not recreating the wheel.

It could be walking to the mailbox. It could be, like you said, sitting in the car for five more seconds. And letting it be five full seconds. That can actually go a really long way.

If someone is there and helping you with the kids, let them be there. Don’t stay in that room. Leave the room. Leave the house if you can. If you work outside the home, maybe you're able to get to work a few minutes earlier than everybody else and just take that time to be silent time.

I think that we all have silent moments in the day, but we tend to fill them with something else just because the truth is, it is a lot easier to stay moving and to stay distracted than it is to be still and to be silent. It just takes a lot of intention.

I never want to make it sound like this is easy, but I think it is worth it. It's a slow work and it is a reteaching of ourselves, of the values that silence can have in our lives. It can really begin to nurture us in ways that the distractions and the noise just aren't able to do.

ALLIE: Yeah. So, so good. I mean, gosh, so good. So, The Next Right Thing, the book is out?

EMILY: It's out. It came out April 2nd.

ALLIE: Good. Awesome. It's so good you guys! And I love the minimalistic look of it. It looks really cute on my coffee table.

EMILY: Good. That's the goal.

ALLIE: I mean if it can't be in an Instagram photo, why do you even write it?

EMILY: Why would you even write it? I completely agree.

ALLIE: Okay, so guys, I'm going to link in the show notes to this book, and to the Emily’s podcast. It's so good. And so short. I think the average is like 10 minutes, 12 minutes per episode. So short. And just pointed and good.

Other than that, where do you show up online? Where do you want people to go and find you?

EMILY: Yeah, I love Instagram. You mentioned Instagram. I'm at Emily P. Freeman there. That's probably where I spend most of my time online.

Also at emilypfreemen.com is my website where you can find the podcast and the books there too. And then, of course, The Next Right Thing Podcast.

ALLIE: Okay. Thank you, Emily! This was so good. I really appreciate your time.

EMILY: I loved it. Thanks for having me!


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 101: Stop Over-Complicating Decision Making

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We all do it. We all over-complicate decision making because sometimes it is easier to not make a decision than to take action on a decision. But unmade decisions carry unnecessary weight and unwanted stress that shouldn’t have to carry. Some decisions cannot be made right away and need time, but whenever they can be made right away, just do it. Just get it done. Do what you have to do to come to a decision as quickly as possible - then you won’t have to carry that load any more! On the flip side, if you have a big decision to make, I hope you find this episode helpful as I share how I process making decisions (and avoid over-complicating them!)

 
 

In This Episode Allie Discusses:

  • The weight unmade decisions carry.

  • Understanding the difference between decisions you can make now and decisions you have to process through before you can take action.

  • Various ways she processes through decisions.

  • The power of taking action even while you wait to make a decision (and what that actually looks like!)

Mentioned in this Episode:


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The Hassle to Harmony video series is open for enrollment right now! This is a FREEBIE I have been working on just for you! If you feel like your days are full of hassle, like the things that need to get done are not getting done, and that is causing you a lot of stress and chaos, I want to help you find harmony. This 5 day video series will help you structure your life, calendar, and daily rhythms and routines.

We are going to talk about boundaries for your phone and other people so that you are focused on what matters and not letting obligations, phone sounds, and beeps, buzes, and alerts constantly pull your attention from where it needs to be day to day. We are going to talk about rhythms and routines. We are going to talk about owning your time and shifting your mindset. We are going to talk about living with intent.

This is a LIVE thing so if you are listening to this episode when it first came out, hear me … this is happening right now! It is a totally free, 5 day video series. So it takes place over 5 days, 1 video each day. The videos are short and pointed! This series is designed by me to help you focus, prioritize, and clear the surface of your life. Don’t miss out of this FREE video series! Enrollment is open now!


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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 friend! I want to quickly tell you about a free 5 day video series that I have been working super hard on creating just for you for the past couple of months. It is finally ready and free enrollment is open! This video series is called Hassle to Harmony and that is exactly what it is going to take you from and to. Basically, each day there is one short video that is going to redirect your perspective and get you refocused.

So, Day 1 is called “Quiet the Noise” and we talk all about your phone settings and setting yourself up to not be constantly distracted from what is right in front of you. Day 2 and Day 3 are about rhythms; Day 2 is for daily rhythms and routines, Day 3 is for weekly rhythms and routines. Day 4 is all about owning your time and shifting your mindset out of victim mode when it comes to time and how much time we have. Day 5 is all about how to live with intent, because you don’t get to where you want to go by accident, only on purpose. I really want you in here! It is going to be so good!

This is not something that is going to be open for forever, this is a live freebie sort of thing. Enrollment is open now and it is free! The videos will go live on April 8th and only be available for a few days. So after Day 5 is over, they will be gone and off the internet. This is something you will want to partake in while we are going through it together. To get this free video series go to Hassle to Harmony. I can’t wait for you to see this!


Hey beauties! Welcome back to The Purpose Show, or welcome if this is your first time listening! I'm so excited because today we've got another stop-over-complicating pep talk episode. I love these!

We've been doing them for a little while. There are several if you wanted to go back and find them. Basically, what this is…I guess it’s like a personal philosophy that I have in my own life. I try to simplify everything that I can. It stems from minimalism, my story, and my own personal motherhood of how my life was before and then how I came to figure out that my problem and why I was struggling with depression, overwhelm, I was yelling at my kids and snapping at my husband, nagging, and just not the person that I wanted to be in any of my close relationships because everything was overstuffed and over complicated.

As I purged that physical clutter, it taught me something philosophical about the internal stuff too. I found that we overcomplicate things so much of the time from healthy eating, housework, marriage, relationships, and things like making decisions.

So, the stop-over-complicating series is just kind of an ongoing thing that I do when inspiration strikes.

I was going through my Instagram messages, as I do sometimes, and looking for the types of things that make episodes that you guys need, and this came up a lot. Then I had a conversation with a friend over lunch that lined up with this and I was just like, “It's happening. This is showing up in my path over and over again. We're going to do a stop-over-complicating episode about making decisions.”

First, what you need to know is that unmade decisions weigh you down. When you know that something needs to be decided, you've got to decide something that you're going to do, big/small/whatever, unmade decisions wear you down. It's like a mental clutter. It affects us. It makes us feel stressed.

Some decisions, I realize, cannot be made right away and need time, but whenever they can be made right away, just do it. Just get it done. Do what you have to do to come to a decision as quickly as possible.

For example, today I was going about my day. I've got my schedule. I've got my to-do list. I'm just getting stuff done. And something small came up. My COO got in touch with me and she was like, “Hey, I just need you to look over the two emails that I sent you. Could you do that?” And I said, “Sure.” I started to add it to my to-do list and I stopped myself and thought, “This is adding length to my to-do list. I'm sitting at my computer right now and I'm not in the middle of anything. I could just check them right now.” So, I checked them right away and got it done. Then the decision was made. Everything was out of the way and my to-do list didn't get any longer. It only took me a couple minutes.

Try to avoid adding things to your to-do list and just get it done whenever possible. Don't interrupt important work, but whenever possible, just get it out of the way. Because when things linger and they're not finished, unmade decisions are lingering, it weighs us down and it causes stress. It literally causes your cortisol to rise.

We need to get decisions off of our plate whenever we can. So, call whoever is involved and talk through it real quick, go for a walk and pray about it, ask God to show up and He totally will, for those smaller decisions like are we going to do this trip? Are we going to send that email? Are we going to have dinner with your parents? Whatever it is, just get it off your plate whenever you can.

But sometimes decisions are bigger and you need more time, or some other circumstances outside of the dry decision need to fall into place for you to know what to do.

I want to share with you guys my mental process on making decisions. The reason is I get asked a lot how we seem to make so many really big decisions so often, and so confidently.

First of all, I want to say that that is just the outsider's view on the inside. On the inside obviously I'm not live streaming on Instagram me and Brian fretting over a decision or arguing because we think we should do something different than the other person thinks. You're not seeing all of that. But I will say that our life is really full and really intense.

There's a lot of things that are a byproduct of our business and the fact that we're seen that bring up a lot of big decisions. We've made a lot of big decisions. We've made them very publicly and we've even gone back on them very publicly. Both of those are decisions…like making the initial decision and then making the decision to not move forward anymore with the original decision, to change our minds. We do make those decisions very confidently because of the process in making decisions that we have in place.

I'm going to just share my personal decision making process.

First of all, I'm an external processor, so I need to talk things out. I will grab my husband and we will go for a walk around the block and just talk through something. I will literally just go up to him and say, “Hey, I really need to talk something out.”

Ashley, she's on my team. She runs the podcast and my schedule. She and her husband were hanging out with me and Brian in Nashville and I saw her doing the same thing. And I know she has the same personality type as I do, or the same number on the Enneagram, and I know that she's also an external processor, which is one of the reasons that we work so great together because we can talk things out and come to decisions very quickly and effectively.

I saw her do the same thing to her husband, Billy. She said, “Hey babe, will you pause real quick? I need to talk something out with you.” She said a few sentences and came to her own decision without Billy really even doing anything. And that's exactly how it works for me.

Brian is an internal processor. We talked about this in our marriage episode. I don't remember which episode it was, but I'll find it and link to it for you guys in the show notes. We talked about our difference in personalities and how it can cause conflict, but how we work through it and make it work for us instead of against us.

One of the things that is a part of that is the fact that he processes internally, so it'll seem like he's not listening because he's just quiet and still because he's thinking, and I have to talk it out.

When I need to make a decision, I've got to talk it out. So, if I need to call Hayley (that's the COO that I mentioned earlier) and talk something out with her for a business decision, or if I need to go for a walk with Brian, if I need to just pace downstairs while Brian sits and does nothing and just talk it out, but there's gotta be another person there and I've got to be talking it out to that person.

Even if they just sit and do nothing and they don't contribute to the conversation, I've got to talk it out. It's weird. I wish I could change it because it's unfortunate when I am running a business. I wish I could just sit and think about something and come to a decision, but I can't. I have to process it out loud. There has got to be another living body there.

So that is one of the things that I do. There's no shame in that if you're resonating with that and you're like, “Oh, I think I'm an external processor.” To learn to talk it out, get your people in your corner and talk it out. Offer to take your mom to lunch and just talk it out with her or get the kids in the car and go for a little drive and just talk things out with your husband.

Figure out a way for you to be able to do that because as you talk it out you work through the problems. 95% of the time you come to your own conclusion without the other person even doing anything, or doing much of anything. You just needed to start your brain flow. The way that external processors start their brain flow and get it flowing is by talking it out.


Hey girl! Ok, I am interrupting what I was talking about because I want to tell you about this one more time. I feel like when you are listening to a podcast, they are talking about stuff and most people have ads and sponsorships from other companies and stuff like that. But this is important and I don’t want you to tune it out!

The Hassle to Harmony video series is open for enrollment right now! This is a LIVE thing so if you are listening to this episode when it first came out, hear me … this is happening right now! It is a totally free, 5 day video series. So it takes place over 5 days, 1 video each day. The videos are short and pointed! This series is designed by me to help you focus, prioritize, and clear the surface of your life.

I help a lot of women in my course, Your Uncluttered Home, clear the surfaces in their homes, declutter, and implement minimalism but this is for your life, calendar, and structure of your days. I am going to help you set up a few rhythms that are going to help you function really well. It is called Hassle to Harmony for that very reason: because if your days are feeling really hassled, the things that need to get done are not getting done, there is a lot of stress and chaos.

We can help harmonize that, and sync it up to where it needs to be.

We are going to talk about boundaries for your phone and other people so that you are focused on what matters and not letting obligations, phone sounds, and beeps, buzes, and alerts constantly pull your attention from where it needs to be day to day. We are going to talk about rhythms and routines. We are going to talk about owning your time and shifting your mindset. We are going to talk about living with intent. This is legit stuff! We are dealing with big issues here! I really want you in there.

Again, this is something that is happening LIVE. So you can’t listen to this episode in the future and go back and get this. It is happening live right now! The opening for free enrollment is right now - again, totally free! You can go to Hassle to Harmony and sign up for free! You will get 1 video for each. After Day 5, these videos are going to be removed. So you want to not only sign up live, take part in the videos, open those emails, watch the videos when they come to you so that you can take in this content while it is here. Once again, that link to sign up for FREE is Hassle to Harmony.


Another idea, especially for those who might be more internal processors, is to journal through it or do a pros/cons lists. Something with pen to paper. There's power in that. Just start journaling. Just start writing. Open up your journal and just write, “I'm in the middle of making a decision about whether or not to take this job” or “I'm in the middle of making a decision about how to handle this disciplinary issue with this child.” Whatever it is, just start writing.

It doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t need to be pretty or perfect. Just start writing a sentence. When your pen starts to flow, your brain starts to flow and you will have no more issues journaling through this problem. And pros/cons lists…old school, but it’s amazing. They work. Try it.

I also want to talk about another part of my mental process of making decisions is just sleeping on it.

Studies show that our subconscious actually works things out for us while we sleep, and that's an amazing, amazing gift that our bodies and our brains give us. So, give your decisions some time to air out. Give it some space and watch what happens while you sleep.

So many times I will go to bed not really knowing what to do about something, just kind of sifting it around in my brain a little bit. I'll talk it out with Brian and go through the evening like that, and not really come to anything exactly. But I'll go to sleep and I'll wake up and I'll know what to do.

This also happens when I need an idea for something, like a business idea or a way to communicate something to the kids for homeschooling, and I just can't really figure it out. I'll go to sleep and just ask myself, “What could I do to teach them this important topic in an effective way? What's going to work for my kids?” And I go to sleep with that, and wake up in the morning and have the answer. Try it. Sleep on it. See what happens.

Another piece of the process for me is imagining the details of each choice, each option. Take a second and imagine that I chose option A and walk down that path of my life with that choice. Visualize the details.

Let's say that you're trying to decide if you're going to homeschool or send your kids to school. That's a big decision. So, imagine the details. Imagine yourself homeschooling your kids. Imagine the hard days, the frustrations, what conversations might be had, how you might feel, how they might feel. How will your child's personality show up as a homeschooled kid? How will your personality show up as a homeschooling parent?

Imagine the days. Imagine them being there when you wake up. What would you guys do in the morning? What time of day would you start school? Imagine, feel yourself walking through your life (not your life, cause that's overwhelming) but a couple of days as this decision has been made, we are homeschooling. Let yourself feel what it feels like to live in that decision.

Then option B, sending them to school. Imagine the details of getting them a backpack. Packing them up each day, having to wake them up early. Imagine the pros and the cons of each choice. The con of homeschooling...it's hard having your kids there all the time. Imagine yourself doing that.

But that's also a pro. How does it feel to enjoy every moment with them?

Sending them to school…con…they don't get to rest in the morning until they're ready to wake up. They've got to get up super early and jump on it and get ready for school. Pro…you have time in your day where you are a little bit separate so it makes being together all that much sweeter.

Let yourself live out each option. Imagine yourself living in it. Sometimes you get a gut feeling…one feels really great even though it's a little scary and feels hard and you're not sure but still you know that it's right.

That's mostly my process for making decisions. I hope that was helpful.

Just going over it before I move on…talking it out because I'm an external processor. Journaling through it or making a pros/cons list. This is helpful for internal processors. Sleeping on it. Giving decisions time and space and just seeing what happens in the morning. Imagining the details of each choice option. See how I feel living in each decision in my head.

I also want to talk about something that I see happening all the time. I think it's important. Obviously, it's important for me that I pray about my decisions. That's something that I do for pretty much everything, like ridiculously small things and huge things.

But I think it's also really important to walk forward while you pray and think about what to do. Don't just stand still until you know everything for every step of the way.

One example is for when we were buying a house. We didn't really know what we were supposed to do, where we were supposed to live. A house came up in front of us and we just walked forward and moved forward with buying it. We had just started to like, “Okay, we're going to pray about this, we’re going to move forward feeling pretty good about this. We are just going to move forward until the door closes.”

There's power in doing something while you wait until you know what you should do. And there's power in that type of faith in action because lots of people wait to “hear from God” before they do anything. But God so often shows us what He wants for us by opening and closing doors as we walk up to them. So, praying, “God, show us. If you don't want this house for us, let it not work out. Just give us a hard ‘no,’ give us peace about walking away and canceling this deal. Don't let it work out in some way.” And God did that for us with the house.

And He'll do that for you with whatever your decision is.

One quick thing to note…sometimes living this way makes you look silly. It makes you look fickle. It makes you look like you don't have your ‘you know what’ together. You know, like, “Oh, we're moving across the country.” Actually, no we're not, but who cares?

This is your life. The one and only. Live boldly. Walk forward. Prayerfully move on. Stop feeling bad about changing your mind.

Also go listen to episode 17. It's called, “it's okay to change your mind.” It's amazing and powerful. It's another pep talk and I think you might need it if you're listening to this one and vibing with what I'm saying.

I just think there's something to be said about not sitting still and waiting for God to tell you, “This is exactly what I want you to do. This is exactly how it's going to feel. This is exactly what's going to happen.” So often that’s not how He works.

So, pray and move forward. Start walking. Start going towards something that you feel good about. Ask God to align your heart with His. Ask Him to align what you're doing with His will, but move forward as you walk and pray and seek out what is right.

Sure, you might look silly and people might think, “Hey, I thought you were taking that job,” or “I thought you were going to homeschool,” or “I thought you were moving.” And you're going to be like, “No, that ended up not working out.”

Who cares? It's okay to change your mind and it's okay to just walk forward.

Stop over-complicating decision making. It's stressing you out. It's not worth it.


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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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