Hey, lady. I see you. I see you living your life and grinding and hustling because that’s what everyone says you’re supposed to do. I see you saying yes to all the things because you’re afraid that a “no” will mean missing out on an opportunity. And I see you exhausted and depleted at the end of every day, wondering if it’s all worth it. I see you because I’ve totally been there. And it sucks. So. Let me tell you about being an essentialist.
Right off the bat, let me say that I’ve definitely not reached master-level essentialism over here. Let’s call it a work in progress. But I can tell you that every time I apply essentialist principals to my business, I’m glad I did. Essentialism is kind of like minimalism, but with a lot more mindfulness. The author of the book I’m reading calls it “the disciplined pursuit of less.” Like Marie Kondo-ing your life and business.
And if you’re reading this but you’re not an entrepreneur, I can assuredly tell you this: essentialism is a life thing, for everybody. Not just for business. Not just for entrepreneurs. This is something that can truly change the way your life feels on a daily basis.
We are all busier than we need to be, and for some reason busy-ness has become so glorified. Being over-worked, over-committed, and overwhelmed is now the norm, and for some it’s a badge of honor.
I’m gonna be honest: I’m not here for it.
When I started reading this book, it was like I finally found a philosophy that put succinctly into words the things that I had been feeling for so many years. I don’t want to be all things to all people. I don’t want to be able to do it all. And I want to say no to things and protect my time without feeling judged or shamed for it. Turns out — these are all basically essentialist ideas.
What Exactly is Essentialism?
One great sentence from this book that puts it in a nutshell is: “…once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”
How totally free does that make you feel?! The chance to say no to the things that don’t truly matter, and to thoroughly invest in the things that really light you up.
The key is to know what lights you up. To get really freakin’ clear on your goals, and what matters in your life, and what exactly you want your life to be like. For me that has been the true jumping-off point of understanding essentialism. An honest look at my life, my business, my goals with both of those things.
How to be an Essentialist as a Female Entrepreneur
So how can we use it? They’re awesome ideas but how does it actually apply to being an entrepreneur and how will it help a business? Here are some ideas that you can try today.
Get Clear about Your Goals
Start by having an honest conversation with yourself. What do you want out of your business? What do you want it to be? Where do you want to be in five, ten years? Get super clear here.
After all, if you don’t know what you want, how will you get there?
Identify What Will Get you Closest to Reaching Those Goals
This is where things start getting harder. We as female entrepreneurs tend to want to take every opportunity that comes along. But the reality is, not every opportunity will actively push you closer to your goals. Some opportunities just end up being a drain on resources and stealing time from the pursuits that would really further your business.
So when opportunities come along, sit with them for a moment and really consider how they fit in with the goals you have for your business and life.
“I Choose To” Instead of “I Have To”
Basically, a nonessentialist would come up against something that they don’t really want to do, or that doesn’t further their goals, and think, “Well, I guess I have to…” But an essentialist approach would be to find the opportunities that fit within the goals she’s aligned for herself and think, “I choose to do these things instead of those other things.” Sometimes this means a trade-off, and that’s okay. Rather than letting FOMO set in on the things you say no to, get in the mindset of being pumped to truly invest in the things that you say yes to.
Master the Art of Gracefully Declining
And speaking of saying no, get comfortable with it. Make yourself a script if you need to, for those moments when you’re wavering and feel pressured to say yes to a project when you really don’t want to. I promise, it gets easier every time.
Less but Better
This for me is the idea that really hits home. I think we’ve all been there: overcommitted at work and all of a sudden you’re producing things that you aren’t necessarily proud of, just to get them done and off of your plate. But pursuing this idea of “less but better” is so exciting to me — a chance to really commit to being awesome at a few things, rather than mediocre at a lot.
I’d love to know how this all sits with you. Does it resonate? Does it sound crazy? Have you read the book? Let me know your thoughts, and if you’ve made any essentialist moves lately. 😉 xoxo