Back in 2009 I only knew two things for sure: I wanted to work from home, and I wanted to be less busy.
We live in a culture that idolizes busy, it seems almost necessary to say how busy you are, how much you have to do, how little time you have. And here’s the crazy part: it’s _easier_ to be busy. The easiest thing to do is just say yes to all commitments, all tasks, all chores, all the things anyone asks you to do. If you see everything as urgent – that’s the sweet spot for being busy, never having time, and never really getting anything done.
You want to be busy? Start saying yes to everything. Complicate your life, complicate your relationships, complicate your diet, complicate your exercise routine, complicate your work tasks… you’ll be busy in no time.
Being less busy is harder. Simper, but harder. Because living a simple life, being less busy, takes CHOICE. To be less busy you need to learn a magic word. To be less busy you need to practice a magic word.
That’s it. No. A simple, rich, un-busy life starts with saying no.
No to what does not fit in who you want to be, where you want to go in life, what goals you want to accomplish. No to every habit, activity and thought that does not serve you.
Now do you want to talk about hard? Because simple is hard work! Simple is rolling up your sleeves and doing what you have to do to create a life you love and never want to run away from. Simple is learning to say no, because if you don’t say no to what does not bring you to your best self you are simply saying yes to hurting yourself – which will eventually hurt and/or burden the ones you love most.
Back to 2009… I wanted to work from home, and I wanted to have time… breathing room, space.
I tried so many things in this entrepreneur journey of mine, some stuck and I’m still doing them today, others fell away because – are you ready for it? They did not serve who I wanted to be, so I said “no”.
I could look at these attempts that fell away along the journey and call them failures and be upset, but here’s the thing: they WERE failures, GOOD failures. Failure forward, failure towards the life I wanted to live, the person I wanted to become.
All the failures I am going to talk about were things that at some point I thought were going to be great, and after trying them, I discovered that they did not, in fact, fit in to the simple life I wanted to create.
Failure is necessary for growth, for learning about yourself. Failure means that you are closer to the full potential you can reach because you have stepped up one more ring on the ladder, you have learned something valuable.
Here we are talking about professional growth; this is true for anything. Every time you fail at something you are given the opportunity to grow.
I’ll take a moment to note that mistakes and failures are not the same thing. A mistake is either repeating a failure (hoping for a different outcome to come from the same actions), or a misguided attempt that should be avoided – mistakes usually come from carelessness, selfishness or pride. Mistakes hurt us, but more importantly mistakes can hurt others.
Failures, on the other hand, teach us, make us grow, make us bolder, teach us what doesn’t work and let us try to find what will. Don’t be afraid of failure, avoid mistakes at all costs.
Let’s go down memory lane…
Opened a translation business that is still in operation today. This was born of skill, and the form and subject matter have changed through the years, but it’s a business that’s been serving me for 11 years. Forward Translations
I had been doing digital scrapbooking for a while and many people liked it, so I decided to take on a few clients. After client #2 I found that this did not serve the life I wanted to live. The work took much more from me than what I was comfortable charging from clients, and I lost all the joy in it. Failed. Learned. Moved on.
Started a photography business that is also still in operation today. This business was born of joy, of a passion, I went out and acquired the technical skills I needed, and the business blossomed. I was able to craft so much of the life I desired with this business, and a few years down the road my husband joined me. This business has also changed with time, and a few years ago I chose to have a more administrative role and Lucas is the man behind the lens. Kaehler Photo
I opened an etsy shop and failed almost from the start. Why? Because soon after I opened it, I realized I did not enjoy creating things for the sole purpose of selling them. It did not bring me joy or fulfillment. Failed. Learned. Moved on.
I partnered with an MLM because I believed in and loved the product. I failed at it because the way the business was run was not in line with how I believe in doing business, and I didn’t want inventory in my home. Failed. Learned. Moved on.
I started offering online English lessons because I have worked with the English language in some capacity (translator, teacher, tutor) since I was 18 years old. This failed quickly as well, because it was soon incredibly clear to me that I hate teaching. All the work teaching entails did not serve the simple life I work to create, and it did not bring joy or fulfillment. Failed. Learned. Moved on.
Started a new business that is all about empowering and supporting women to create a life they love while working from home. Women wear so many hats, and as we build our lives it is incredibly easy to be overwhelmed and under-satisfied. I show women how to have breathing room, while still kicking ass at work and motherhood.
Yes, businesses have come and gone and stayed, but the CONSTANT is learning how to make this work for me. There is nothing better than gaining joy, fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment from your work. There is nothing more satisfying than helping others through the work you do.
It took some mistakes, some failures and a LOT of learning to understand how to work from home and not be busy, overwhelmed or always behind. It took learning to say yes to what created the simple life I loved and no to what created overwhelm, anxiety and frustration.
I went from pajamas at 2pm and eating snacks all day because I had no idea what my day would look like, to getting dressed for the day and knowing exactly how to fuel my body.
I went from wishing I had time to work out and eat right to working out 6-7 days a week and eating like I love my body and want to nourish it well.
I went from feeling like I had no time to play with my babies to spending quality time with my kids every day.
I went from random work hours and crunching right before deadlines to structured hours, more free time and days off.
I went from working late nights – because baby! to structuring routines – because mama needs to keep her sanity.
I went from never having time to see friends to having lunches and play dates.
My point is this:
- Be ok with failure
- Figure out what you REALLY want and MAKE THAT HAPPEN.
- Let go of what you suck at and what drains your energy and move on. Focus on your strengths and joys.
You get to choose the kind of life you live, you get to create your life. We do this every day, with every choice we make, so why not be intentional about it? Why not put thought, energy and decisions in to living a life you love, a simple, rich life… instead of trying to catch up to what someone else says is a good life.
Go for it. Live a life you love!
Keeping it simple,
PS. Here’s a resource to show you how to organize your time in a SIMPLE way, according to what YOUR priorities are, and what YOU want to live. Download my Time Blocking guide HERE