a simplified life · Contentment · Life Coaching · make better choices · Path of Peace · Simple Living · Simple Wisdom for Living · simplify

Essentialism: The Simple Explanation of Minimalism

Essentialism is best described as pursuing the Right Things so that we are able to Focus More on the things we Enjoy Most!

I’ve been writing about the value of simplicity for nearly 20 years. I enjoy breaking down certain mindsets of positive thinking or actions into bite-sized pieces to gain a deeper understanding of the terms or phrases that may present a new way of thinking. I’m a 60s baby and in the last 30 years, we’ve observed our music, vocabulary, schools of thought and even our food change in rather drastic ways!

I recently stumbled across the word “essentialism” during an Internet search.  It is highly possible that Essentialism just might be a new and better way of describing what so many of us seek when pursuing minimalism or a simple life. I recently noted a book on Essentialism that defines it as “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown. I read a summary of it that could certainly be the statement of the way I do life.

So what is Essentialism? Simply put, it is the identification, and then the continual choice, of living (doing, buying, seeking) ONLY what is essential. Quite similar to a life of simplicity, Essentialism elaborates on the saying, “less is more” to make it a declaration that “less is better.”

I have considered myself a “minimalist” since 1999. Something about the all around scare-tactics etc., of what Y2K may bring or cause, got me to thinking that I wanted to focus on making better and more meaningful choices in my life. Homeschooling offered my girls and me the opportunity to have a Cottage Industry that provided various income streams to fund the interests we had as well as wonderful opportunities to add much-needed skillsets equating to an interesting and well-rounded educational experience. 

After a divorce in 2003, and armed with a belief that God has and always will have a plan for me that is better than I could ever design for myself, I set out to learn what was most important, most enjoyable, and most aligned with God’s best for me. My goal was to best utilize what He had taught me in my life up to that point.

The biggest obstacle I faced was determining what defined me and what would be the important pursuits of my life going forward. Basically I learned to ask myself often, “Based on where I am and what I’m facing, what is the next basic right thing that will lead to the outcome that will positively impact me and everything / everyone I hold dear?”

Here is what I have learned: The Most Important Thing I Can Do is to Develop Healthy Boundaries, which basically means: Self-Control. Boundaries provide a Structure for Success in Life & Work.

Here is what that looks like:

I have been given the privilege and responsibility to prioritize my life! If I avoid doing it, someone else may step in and take on that role in a way that serves their needs best.  As we all know, those we surround ourselves with may act as if they know best how we should be living and what we should be doing, especially if they observe us mostly flying by the seat of our pants. Taking the time to prioritize our life and choices eliminates our being tied and / or obligated to others expectations.

I continually ask myself, whether I am at work or play, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?” It helps me to zero in on what is most important in the moment. If it isn’t important to me at the present time, I  simply choose to redirect my focus to what matters and what will have the most impact on the purpose I am seeking to achieve.

I want to live a life of Essentialism by design and, therefore, not default to living based on what is happening to me. I want to effectively learn to master my response to situations, good and bad, and be able to turn things around, and gain a positive outcome, if at all possible. This requires that I continually choose to focus on what is most important in any given moment and then act accordingly. Therefore, if unexpected circumstances attempt to throw me off balance, I have reserved my emotional energy to quickly and easily return to my “design” of living life, based on pursuing the right thing and focusing on what I enjoy most.

I don’t want to have it all and I don’t need to do it all. At one time, I actually believed  that I could and would do and have it all. Over time, I learned that this kind of thinking actually eliminates and distracts me from experiencing the highly desirable choices and experiences that I most enjoy. I find it to be critical to first clarify and then be willing to make the necessary trade-offs in order to pursue what is most important to me. One of the things I remind myself when I am struggling to stick with my plan is this: “I choose to NOT trade off what I want MOST for what I want right NOW!”

I have learned that I do not need to be ‘plugged into’ all that is happening either virtually or globally all of the time. Rather I have decided that the most important thing for me to focus on is what’s front and center of my actual world at the present time. I continually find that focusing on the few essential ideas right in front of me is typically more rewarding, and offers greater potential, than the many that may be trying to distract me.

The best form of Self-Control (Healthy Personal Boundaries), is learning to say no to the nonessentials so I can say yes to the things that really matter. It is an ongoing temptation to say ‘Yes’ to far too much and end up sacrificing time and energy on things that don’t really improve the quality of  life. I find it easier not to commit if I’m not certain that I can give 100%. And, it is always easier to turn a ‘No” into a “Yes’, if I find that I can jump in and do what is requested of me. This requires me to have the courage to say no firmly, resolutely and gracefully so that I can say “yes” to those things that I truly value and where I know I can purposefully make a difference.

The effectual pursuit of simplicity (essentialism / minimalism) is about arriving at a deep understanding of what leads to a happy and meaningful life for each of us personally. It has never just been about sacrificing or getting rid of stuff.

Sheri Geyer is a Mentor, Writer, Realtor, Wife & Mom

a simplified life · encouragement · Path of Peace · Simple Living · simplify

Begin with the End in Mind

How often do we neglect developing new habits because we think a positive outcome will take too much effort? Or maybe we start to improve our lifestyle only to give up prematurely because we don’t get what we want fast enough. It’s easy to allow today’s challenges to become tomorrow’s excuses.

Have you wondered how you became  a member of the Start-Big-Finish-Small-if-at-All-Club? Perhaps, you’ve set targets that are difficult to reach. Often, the pain of disappointment may leave you feeling burned out with little desire to follow through. Remember, you do have options. The breakthrough you’ve needed could be to practice thinking small to help you transform your life.

Often, we may be full of ideas and eager to establish a new plan. We may soon realize it’s easy to bite off more than we can chew. We want rapid success and no hitches. The size of the task and the time it takes to get there may make it tempting to throw in the towel. It may be frustrating trying to determine the best steps as opposed to just doing more believing this equates to doing better. By focusing more on the here and now, it is easier to find a steady pace that is easier to adjust to. Besides, it worked for the tortoise!

Whatever you hope to gain in your endeavors, you need to decide precisely what it is you want, and be specific as you define what exactly it is you hope to achieve. Reflect in why you desire this outcome. Goals are often more “real” if they are written. Decide what is a reasonable length of time to realize your desire and be realistic. Make it measurable so you will have a target at which to aim. Once you have a clearly defined idea of the what, why and how long to reach your goal, you can break down the entire process.

Here are a few tips for breaking it down into bite-size pieces:

1. Brainstorm all of your options and determine what can be divided into smaller, detailed steps. Each task is a stepping stone towards achieving your end result.

2. Simplify the action plan. Think of the steps as actions. When you understand what actions are needed to achieve your desired result, you can pull these together into a plan.

3. Establish daily and weekly tasks. When you create your action plan, work out a series of targets that you believe are possible to reach on the way to your goal. Keep it simple with many small victories to keep the momentum.

4. Keep on track. The small-scale approach is flexible and allows for instant changes.  Continue tweaking and completing the simple tasks so the end result will be well within your grasp.

5. Focus on your daily actions plans and not so much on the end date. Like the tortoise, concentrate on one small step and repeat consistently.

6. Master the art of delaying gratification. Though you may be tempted, avoid trying to rush things and bite off more than you can chew. Refer to the reasons why you want the desired goal. Concentrate on where you are in the journey, and not on what’s next. Reflect on how far you’ve come and what a waste it would be to throw in the towel.

In order for us to grow, we will need to allow ourselves to be stretched at times. In most endeavors, if we don’t grow, our plans and goals won’t either. Long-lasting lifestyle change requires an investment of your time and effort, as well as some patience. The road to achieving great things is much less intimidating when you break down the end result into smaller steps.

And absolutely nothing can compare to how you will feel when you finally make it to the place you wanted to be.

Sheri Geyer is a Realtor & Life Coach

If you’ve enjoyed this, please share! @Sheri_Geyer

a simplified life · Contentment · Life Coaching · Path of Peace · Simple Living · simplify

Roll with it, Baby!

Each day brings a variety of events. Some routine and anticipated things and some possible surprises. There is a strong temptation to judge the unanticipated happenings as bad or negative. We may feel it necessary to try to fight or run from these situations rather than embrace them for the good we can learn from them. 

We are unable to control or have advance notice on all that happens. We do have the advantage of controlling what we choose to think and do about everything that does happen. 

Even when we face negative situations, we can respond in ways that are helpful and beneficial. Developing a resolve to follow our purpose can be a strong motivator to not let our circumstances deter us from what we deem to be worthy of our most firm commitments. 

While the wind will vary its direction, by changing our sails we can allow our ship to maintain its course.

We can make a determination of what we will do with each day and the purpose we will follow for our life, and decide to live true to these choices. We will be surprised what we can do when we have the ‘want to’!

Sheri Geyer is a Realtor and Life Coach. 

If this has been an encouragement to you, please share @Sheri_Geyer. Thank you! 

a simplified life · Contentment · simplify

Simple Wisdom & Simplified Living

Merry Christmas to You! I hope that 2016 has been an amazing year for you! And if it has been a difficult one, I pray that there have been great moments that help you balance out the trials you may have faced.

My life has taken many turns this year, keeping up with the normal pattern of the last couple of years. Since moving to Savannah in September of 2015, we’ve had many good moments and also, quite a few challenging days.

My mom has moved from her Memory Care Assisted Living into our home and we are enjoying many moments with her. Most all of them are great and very rewarding. Sometimes, we’re back to parenting 🙂 We are thankful that it is working out and for some very special caregivers that can help when we need to call them.

I hope that you have noted that I have been doing some site updates recently and that you find them favorable.

Please note that I will continue to write regarding simple wisdom with additional perspectives regarding simplifying the complexity of life and eliminating the chaos.

The new site address is simply my name www.SheriGeyer.com and the trademarked title is “A Simplified Life”. I would love to have your thoughts and ideas on ways you have mastered simplifying important areas of your life. Please share them as you desire. I also enjoy your comments and I welcome them!

May 2017 be your best year yet!

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Realtor, Writer, Wife & Mom

Simple Wisdom for Living · simplify

It’s the Little Things…

While it may be tempting to believe that people only pay the most attention to the “big” things we say or do, in reality, it is the little things that shape our character and help others determine who we are. The kind of image we present to the world is often determined by our actions, comments, attitude, behavior and even appearance. These little things are often observed within the first few seconds of meeting someone, as well as when the unplanned event happens in our lives.

18 simple little things you can measure that can have a huge impact. 

1. Dress the part.  The appearance of our clothes, hair, shoes, etc., can make a difference in the way we are perceived . Consider those you will be meeting with on any given day, and make an effort to demonstrate that you value the time you have with them.

2. Be on time.  Being late gives others the opportunity to judge you without you even being there. If you say you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time, then be there at that time or communicate in a timely manner. (This is an area that I need improvement).

3. Keep your word. Down the road, if you don’t follow through, the comfort that person felt turns into discouragement, frustration and even anger. If you can’t keep a promise, don’t make it. If you do make a promise, do everything you can to keep it.

4. Respect others.  This includes all people regardless of the level of relationship that you have with them, as especially requires a concerted effort for those who have differing opinions or actions. If you look for attributes you respect in people, you will find them.

5. Say, “Please,” and, “Thank you”.  Small words. Lots of mileage. Expressing your gratitude to people for each act of kindness you receive, however big or small, shows that you see the good in people.

6. Smile often. Smiles are contagious and often will remind others that there are things to be grateful for and that life is good.

7. Be faithful to your partner. By being honest and true with your partner, you are showing that you know where your priorities are. You understand what it means to be in a healthy relationship. This holds true for relationships and business.

8. Speak clearly and make eye contact. Affirm the person you’re talking try letting them know you value the conversation and are engaged in the discussion.

9. Use humor. Used appropriately, humor can lighten the mood and bring people down from a tense state.

10. Greet people with a handshake or hug. Use the appropriate greeting to employ a warm and welcoming environment.

11. Be authentically You. Know what you want out of life and do everything you can to achieve it. Enthusiastically encourage that for others.

12. Listen to others.  Actively listen to what others are saying and resist the urge to craft your response while they are still talking.

13. Perform acts of kindness.  Open doors for others, get a neighbor’s mail while they are away, bring dinner to someone who is sick or just had a baby.

14. Be organized.  Schedule your day and know where you keep items at home, work, and in your car, etc. Life is less complicated when you aren’t constantly missing appointments or searching for needed items.

15. Compliment people.  Genuinely look for the good in others and make the time to let them know you noticed.

16. Be positive and focus on the good. Look for a solution instead of focusing on the problem.

17. Move past hurts.  Choose to let go of things people may say or do whether purposefully or accidentally. Confront in kindness when necessary. It is much more freeing than reacting in anger or becoming resentful.

18. Own up to your mistakes.  When you make a mistake, admit it, own up to it, do what you can to fix it and move on.

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Realtor, Writer, Wife & Mom

Follow and tag me @Sheri_Geyer #asimplifiedlife to connect and stay inspired.

If you enjoyed this article please share it. You never know when someone who follows you on social media may need a little extra inspiration today! Plus, it truly warms my heart to know when something I’ve shared has impacted you!

 

 

Family Ties · Simple Living · simplify

What’s On Your THANKFUL List?

It occurred to me recently that the things that I am most thankful for in my life have changed quite a bit over the years….

Today, I am thankful for….

*the one who thought she couldn’t get home for the holiday and now will be able to…

*friendships old and new…

*opportunities that I can choose from…

*an amazing hubby, daughters, mom and extended family that remind me of a future of promise…

*the ringing bells and twinkling lights that bring wonderful memories of Christmases past, peace for the present, and bright hope for the future…

*that my Grown-Up Christmas List is more about things that bring lasting joy, than the earlier versions that were mostly all about me…

And, I am most thankful for Jesus, in whom God used as a way in a manger that provided a way to the cross for me….

 

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Realtor, Writer, Speaker, Wife and Mom.