Today’s episode is based in something that I’ve talked a lot about before, and that is the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I first read this book from an entrepreneurial standpoint, but I think the practice of essentialism is applicable to anyone and everyone.
For me, the biggest take away from the book was this idea that in order to become an essentialist, you have to practice only saying Yes to things, people, and events that are a Hell Yes. And you basically say No to everything else.
That makes sense and sounds good enough on the surface level, but when you dig a little deeper, Greg McKeown makes clear that that means saying No to things that might be a Yes, just not a Hell Yes. That means saying No to good things. Which is exactly where today’s podcast episode comes from. Because I think it’s a very important point to make when we get serious about deciding how we want to spend our time and how we might reach any goals that we have for ourselves, whether it be in life or in business.
Like anything you want to be good at, it’s going to take effort on a weekly, if not daily basis. It will require you to be mindful of not only big decisions, but little decisions. And ideally these decisions are either leading you toward or away from whatever it is that you’re trying to get to.
So I do think it is equally as important to have some sort of direction. In fact I don’t think you can really practice essentialism if you don’t have some sort of goal or direction that you are trying to work toward.
And I make the point that it is going to be a daily practice, because it’s not easy to say No to things that would usually be a Yes. To say No to otherwise good things.
I’ve used this example before in my Instagram stories, but for a season of my business I completely stopped blogging, because it wasn’t a Hell Yes for that season. I had a lot of other things that were at a higher priority for where I wanted to go and what my focus was for the given season of my life and business. Blogging is a great thing. It helps my audience, gives me exposure, and I enjoy doing it as a creative outlet. It’s a “good thing”, but it was not a Hell Yes for my given season. Therefore it was a No.
The same could be said for training really hard versus just moving my body and maintaining. There are seasons where pushing my body to new limits is a Hell Yes and there are seasons where that’s a No. That doesn’t mean that I don’t work out at all, it just means that going hard in the paint is not a Hell Yes for the given time.
Like I said, the practice of essentialism takes daily efforts and mindfulness. It’s not easy to say No to things that are Yes typically. But the more you do it, the more you see how beneficial it is for your life and getting you where you want to go.
I would also note that it’s very freeing. It felt so good in that season of my business where I didn’t blog to know that I could go back to blogging at any time. Just because it wasn’t a Hell Yes for a month or two of my business didn’t mean that I would never blog again. it didn’t mean that it was forever a No. It just meant that for a given duration, it needed to be a No in order to create space for my Hell Yeses.
We’re humans with feelings and passions and desires. While I am all about being multi passionate (look at Hilary Rushford, Jenna Kutcher, Joanna gains and Jordan Dooley). All doing all the things successfully. But they did them ONE. AT. A. TIME.
I truly do believe you can do all the things, just not all at once. This is a pillar of Essentialism. It’s literally the cover of the book. Instead of putting your efforts in 17 directions and getting nowhere fast, focus in on ONE or TWO directions and go ham.
I’m sure you’ve heard this suggestion and logic in some way before. It’s common knowledge that focusing on one thing is more productive than trying to focus on multiple. It’s why multitasking is not ideal.
You can even take me for instance: I don’t want entrepreneurs and coaches to see me and think that I did 1:1 and group coaching and Instagram and blogging and podcasting and business courses and having 1:1 biz talk power hours and being an affiliate for brands I love FROM DAY ONE. I can only do all of those things because as I streamlined services and learned to be efficient with my time, I created space to add other things I was passionate about. And then I can stagger and stack those services accordingly throughout the year.
Jenna Kutcher and Hilary Rushford have both talked about this process and being a multi-passionate entrepreneur. Essentialism is the MOST important for people who tend to gravitate toward 43,000 directions or tasks at one time. You know who you are.
Sometimes you can’t do it all. And that means letting go of GOOD things. Things that might even happen later on down the road. But not right now.
And that is winning fam. You become more free and productive and effective when you accept and practice letting go of “good” things.
Especially when you drill in and realize it can happen later. You’re not saying no FOREVER. Just right now. I know of an entrepreneur who wanted to, even planned to write a book. But she was getting married that year and the book quickly became a No. Not No forever. But No for that year. And she’s writing now, after her wedding, in a much more spacious time. NOW the book is a Hell Yes. And I guarantee it’s a better book because of that.
So how do you pick? What’s a Hell Yes and what might be good, but not right now?
First off (this is the clear, actionable part):
Then go back, what are your top two? And what can wait? Trust your gut on this one. And trust that doing less with more effort will be the better route to go.
And then base as many decisions as you can around those one or two goals.
Remember it won’t be perfect.
It will take effort and awareness – mindfulness. And that’s 100% okay.
When you feel these phenomenons, and you will if you’re human, (especially if you’re multi-passionate) return to your top two. Ask what’s essential and let everything else go.
Try not to feel restricted by that, but rather FREE. You can let it go and come back, IF it’s still important.
I feel confident saying that you’re better off making a go at essentialism than NOT and remaining the same.
I’m sure you’ll learn something either way.
So if you’ve practiced essentialism before or something similar, give it a shot with the clear mindset that you’re going to say No to Yeses, and good things. And in doing so, you’re not eliminating them completely, you’re just saying, not right now. It’s not a HELL YESS, YET.
Just to let you in on some of my Nos that will likely someday become Hell Yeses:
-Writing a book
-Creating a programming course for coaches
-Hosting lifting seminars around the country.
-Living in a 5th wheel and driving the states and Canada for 3-5 years.
-Honing in on nutrition and hiring a WAG coach to put on as much mass as I can.
All otherwise awesome things. But not right now. So I say No, and they remain in my future, as a Yes, but not a Hell Yes, YET.
Hope that helps.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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