Amanda: Hey guys. . Welcome back to the podcast. I am Amanda. I'm Laura. I'm Kendra. And just a reminder, please help us out by reviewing the podcast wherever you listen to it. If you, if it's not readily findable on your phone just by scrolling down, you might try checking it out on your laptop or whatever, but the more people that leave likes and reviews, the more people that can find us.
So, thank you very much for doing that. And today, we are going to talk about one of our favorite books, Essentialism. And, take it away, Laura.
Laura: Yeah. So if you have not read this book, we highly, highly recommend it. It is, I, it is becoming one of those classics of management and business and just like how to order your life. So check it out. It's by Greg McKeown and he has his own podcast and has a delightful British accent. So, and the audio book he reads himself, so it's lovely, but in this book, he really talks about what it means to live the life that we really, really want to live.
And this is one of the things that we focus on in coaching so much. So he starts by saying, if you had to choose the activities that you were going to do. Think about the ones that if you have an hourly rate, like so, if you're an ER doc or you know, somebody who works, if you can calculate your hourly rate by just dividing the number of hours you work per year by how much money or how much money you make by how many hours per year.
What tasks that you're currently doing are worth the hourly rate and what can you delegate to someone else or stop doing? All together and the thing that I think about in this that I. I'm still intending, I have not accomplished this yet, but it's laundry. Like I spend so much time doing laundry and why am I doing that?
I need to just take it and drop it off somewhere and let them do a wash and fold because it's a ridiculous use of my time. But he says, instead of making just a millimeter of progress and a million directions, He began to generate tremendous momentum towards accomplishing the things that were truly vital, getting rid of some of the things that are not important.
And then he says to discern. The first is to choose what What it is you wanna be doing? Discern, am I investing in the right activities? Most things are really trivial and very few are vital. So, so many things that we do, we are, don't create meaning for us. And so we want to shift that time and energy, our most valuable resources to things that really are vital and important to our lives.
He says the way of the essentialist means living by design. So that's like what we talk about with our clients a lot is choosing ahead of time what it is we want. So living by design, not by default or not just allowing life to happen to us. Instead of making choices reactively, meaning like putting out fires.
The essentialist deliberately distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many, eliminates the non essentials, and then removes obstacles so the essential things have clear, smooth passage. So, in other words, essentialism is a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost impossible.
Effortless. So identifying the things that are the most, most important, eliminating things that maybe, you know, aren't necessarily unpleasant, honestly, like I like doing laundry sometimes, but is it the best use of my time? And then he says, after choose and discern, there's trade off every, just, uh, just to remember that every time we say yes to something, we say no to something else.
So if we say yes, I am happy to run a, you know, I'm happy to run some huge project for my kid's school if it is creating a lot of meaning and connection with my child great if it is really accomplishing the things that I want to most in my life great, but if not let's just reevaluate that and he says this and lots of other people have said this too if you don't prioritize your life someone else will and I think many of us have had that experience where we did not feel in control of our lives, because we had said yes, too many times to too many things that it really didn't light us up.
Kendra: Yeah, I really love that. Oh, yeah, because yeah, because I think that was a big thing for me. It was a big kind of like, in the face was just that I. I didn't realize the value of everything I was saying yes to that was not aligning with my value system. And so I was just extremely tired and everyone was like, how are you doing?
I'm tired. Or what's going on? I'm tired. I mean, that was my response to everything. And yes, I, you know, I thought it was normal. I'm a mom of two and you know, attending wife, all the things, but honestly, I felt like, “does anything in this life bring me joy?” You can't just go through life like it's like you can't just continue to just like have life happen to you and I think that's the big deal like we feel like life is happening at us or to us and Just not having the ability to choose.
It's kind of one of those things I think that contributes a lot to that feel the feelings of burnout or just like overflowing into work life everything.
Amanda: So yeah, we were never meant to do Everything. And yet, we're conditioned, many of us, to never say no. Like, you're capable of a lot, so you should be doing more, shouldn't you?
One of the, one of the worst thoughts that was a core belief in my soul, that ended up not serving me, it probably serves other people, it was like, to whom much is given, much is expected. Like, that sounds perfectly lovely, right? But it just meant that I was incessantly on the hamster wheel because I felt blessed forever.
So maybe I need to do more. Maybe I need to do more. Like, that thought, that core belief was so not useful for me.
Laura: Well, I'm going to say that actually that is one of my core beliefs, but the way it gets twisted is when it means you should do more trivial things. That's not what it means. It means that you need to live into your life so fully that you are magnified, that your impact on the world is the greatest that it can possibly be.
Not that you go run all the PTA stuff, you know, I mean, although I know,
Amanda: Yes, that's the biggest thing is, is that value list? Like I was not clear what my values were. I was not clear on what was the most important thing to me. And I just felt like that same thing. I can, so I should. I mean, that was my, that was my tape rolling right. I can do this, so I should. I have the talents to do it, so I should.
And that drove me right to the ground. Yeah, yeah. It's so weird how the same statement can be beneficial for you or a huge detriment if you're looking at it outside of your own alignment and values. Absolutely.
Kendra: So speaking on that, like, why do extremely intelligent and capable people do this? Like, we're sitting here talking about these thoughts or this tape that rolls in our head and we are all of you listening.
And, you know. We are extremely intelligent and we're capable and maybe that's why we get ourselves into this is because we do believe in our capabilities or abilities and so, you know I love how he kind of broke this down and it just made so much sense to me and you know I tell you this book when I would listen to it and then I went back and I read it.
I just I mean, it was like every page I turned, like, like, things were lifting, like, like, I just felt like unburdened. I mean, it's almost like when I get in the Word and read Scripture, like, you just feel so unburdened. But he was just like saying, no. Take this away. Don't do this. Like the pursuit of the, of the, you know, absolute vital.
And I was just like, wow, I'm just feel very unburdened. So, number one, we're given too many choices. He talks about this, just like I said, the tape and I identified with this, I identified as I can. So I should, so just because we can, doesn't mean we need to. And the idea was this preponderance of just so many choices and there's just so much that tugs at us.
So if we're a mom of kids in school. You know, we need parent volunteers. We need parent leadership committee. We need someone to be on the board, you know? And so it was like, someone came to me and said, I think you'd be great on the school board. And I'm like, awesome. I've never done that before. Let's do it.
I had no idea what I was getting into. It's like a 6 year sentence, not sentence, but it was 6 year term and I got re upped like, in the middle of COVID and they needed, you know, a healthcare professional. So I got re upped against no voting or anything. And it was just like, yes, while I felt that I served a purpose, honestly, it wasn't until that, like, last year when we were in the middle of COVID, just needed some direction, you know, on the front lines, but I will say that, you know, that has been many of a time you feel like, I don't know if it's just maybe an ego trip or what, but when someone comes to you and it's like, I think you'd be great at this.
You're just like, let's do it. We're easily manipulated by that. I know, we just walk right into it. Right into the ego. Yeah. Instead of like pause, Wow, thanks for thinking of me. Let me get back to you. Right? Whatever. I don't know. But anyways, um, It's the idea that there's just too many choices and then this rolls right into the second point too much social pressure So there are many influences in our lives Kind of effect are that decision making ability and everyone has an opinion.
And so now with social media, I tell you, we are in opinion overload and this idea of everybody's truth and just live your truth and this is your truth and my truth. And, you know, You know what, that is actually opinion overload. Everyone's truth that they talk about is their opinion. And you know what?
Unless you get, unless you get quiet and figure out what really means the most to you and what your value system is, you are going to fall into that trap. And then, you know, the third point is this idea is that we can have it all. You know, I, I was. Thinking about this and I'm like, think about how many songs like I've heard just in my lifetime that talk about this idea of like, oh, yeah, you can have it all and, just go after it.
You can have anything, you know, yes, while that is true, while if you are determined to accomplish something that is true, you can have anything you set your mind to. But get quiet and figure out what that one or two things are. And this is what the irony of it was, he talked about how the idea, the word priority, what, you know, it's came out of like the 1400s.
And it, and you know, it was the idea that there was a priority. It was singular. And it wasn't until the 1900s that, you know, our society decided to make it plural. How ironic, now we have priorities, right? And he, and I love how Greg puts it because he, he does use a lot of business examples, but he, he talks about going into business meetings and like, you know, the guy leading the meeting or whoever was leading the meeting was like, okay, guys, we're going to talk about our top 5 priorities right now, or top 10 priorities.
And he said, really, we have 10 priorities. Clearly. We don't we don't have direction or clear. We don't have focus. And so it's just that idea that we have. Created our own monster. We took priority, meaning the best, the premiere, the most, and made it plural. Like for some reason we can have five or 10 priorities.
So that's quite ironic.
Amanda: I, that is so eye opening that the word didn't even exist until the 1900s. I think to touch on when you said too much social pressure, the area that I found this sneaking up in my life is like Kids sports and kids schools and like, how dare I send my kid to a public school. None of my friends are doing that.
So maybe my kid's going to get all screwed up because they're all sending their kids to this fancy private school. And wait, I don't think that I really am not even interested in all this travel ball, but everybody else is doing it. So then maybe I'm putting my kid at a, I mean, are you serious? Like, but so.
Easy to get sucked up in that and it took a lot of like, I'm still working on it. Cause I'm like, I don't, I mean, no one wants to put their kid at a disadvantage. Right. But like, is that even it's just so funny to me, but that is one that I noticed, like, I am going to have to intentionally like overcome this social pressure.
Because just because everybody else is doing it, I don't think it's right for us. Like, I don't, I don't think anybody's having a good time with this.
Laura: Yeah, and that's where it's so important to know who you are and know what your own values are. So you can consult yourself instead of like consulting the rest of the world.
What you're supposed to do.
Amanda: Yes, but with parenting, like, how do I know? I've never been a parent before. It was so easy for me to get sucked into, they must know what they're doing, and I don't, you know, that sort of thing. But anyway, I could spend a whole entire podcast on that, so let me move on. So how do we start to approach life as an essentialist?
Number one, explore and evaluate. Do I love this? This is the whole principle between, behind Marie Kondo's, does this spark joy? Does, like, why is this even here? Do I love this or not? Like, why am I doing the thing? Do I love it or not? And really start to question, are you doing it because of social pressure?
Are you doing it because of external expectations? Are you doing it because you don't know your worth and you're trying to prove it? I mean, there's a lot of things that we can go into, but just notice, like, why are you even doing this in the first place? the ones you love, stick with it. Number two, though, is eliminate the activities and the efforts that don't make the highest contribution to your life and do not compare.
You do not have the same journey as your neighbor. You do not have the same journey as a different, you know, mom or spouse or partner at work or whatever it is. Eliminate the things that you can eliminate. And then number three, execute. Develop a system that makes executing your intentions. The things that contribute the most, the things that you love, make a system that makes executing that as effortless as possible.
And this is a trivial, um, example, but if we're gonna talk about cleaning out your closet. For years now, I, I, every once in a while I have an organizer that comes like, just help me. Get things. Fixes it from being upside down to right side up. At least temporarily, until she comes again. And every time we go through my closet, I don't hoard a lot in my closet, but there are things that have been sitting there for a long time.
So this is the system, just for my closet, and just extrapolate that to something else in your life. But this year, we hung everything with the hanger backwards. So, like, the hook was pointing at me instead of pointing away from me. That means that one year from now, anything that I have not worn hasn't been turned around on the hanger.
Well, that's super easy because I, all I literally have to do after a year passes, I see the things I haven't worn in a year. And so I just pull all the hangers that are facing at me, and that gets cleaned up. Simple. Easy peasy. And you can do something just as easy as that for other, other decisions in your life.
I have this amount of time to make this decision. If it's not made by then, then it's not that important. Gone off the board, you know off off whatever it is. So those are the things To start to approach life as an essentialist. Do I love it eliminated? If not and make a system that makes executing your intentions as effortless as possible.
Kendra: Yeah, I love that.
And I, you know, on, I was thinking about this too, like, what a better way to actually model this behavior for our kids. I mean, we talk about the social pressures of our kids having to just do all things and be all things and they don't love it. And, you know, honestly, on that same, Amanda and Laura know this, like, my son was in baseball and I loved that he was in baseball, but it was like 55 games this summer.
We had no summer whatsoever and we are traveling everywhere and then he didn't make the team. And I was just like, oh, my gosh, like, death to our family. We're going to the, you know, And he said to me, mom, I actually didn't love it anyways. And I was like, oh my gosh. And then this summer that we didn't have travel baseball, we actually got to do some stuff as a family.
It's like, look, mom, we took the boat out. Look, mom, we got to go to the lake. Look, mom. And you know what? Like that was what he was like. I love this. I love just going out on the boat one day or like having the freedom to do that. And when he said that, I was like, Like it went on and I was like, oh, this is the legacy that I really want to leave is doing, and my kids understanding the value of doing the things you love.
And nothing else matters. And that was huge. Like, gosh, I could implement this and just be that example. And then my kids. Don't spiral down the vortex of too much to do and not enough time. Right. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we're, we're overscheduled. And then we're the kids. Yeah, being an example for the generations to follow could be huge.
Yeah, that's huge. Well, thanks guys for joining us today. We are going to follow up this episode with a part two So stay tuned and we'd love for you to go check out our website We just had a great time doing a webinar and we are here for you So until next time you are hope you are a gift to medicine and the work you do matters