[00:00:03] Hi, you're listening to Two Booked Up a podcast about business and personal development books and the conversations they ignite. I'm Rowena Mabbott.
[00:00:12] And I'm Shelley Tonkin Smith. Today on Two Booked Up. We're having our final conversation about Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. And we are going out for the bang on this one, because not only are we going to be talking about Essentialism, we are also going to be bringing together a few of the thematic threads that we've seen being woven across the other two books that we featured in the season.
[00:00:39] So those are The Four Tendencies and The Lazy Genius Way.
[00:00:44] Yes, and I love it when these common themes start to emerge, but the topic we're going to be diving into today is how embracing essentialist principles in our career or business can lead to greater confidence.
[00:00:57] Oh, and I know this is your absolute gift, your talent. It's your jam, Rowena. I could even say it is your highest level of contribution as Greg puts it in the book. So for those of you who don't know, Rowena is an excellent Career and Life Confidence Coach. She's coached many people to step into their innate confidence, including me.
[00:01:20] And really when you feel confidence, so much shifts in your life. So Ro, I can't wait to hear what you have to share on this topic. And I know you've got lots of extra resources that you are going to be sharing with our listeners too. So let's get started.
[00:01:35] So as we have talked about now over the last three episodes, the idea behind essentialism is to eliminate all the non-essentials in our life. In order to focus on what really matters. There are three main steps to becoming an Essentialist: explore, eliminate, and then execute. So when you explore, you're taking yourself on a bit of a journey to figure out what's important or essential to you.
[00:02:06] One of the ways you can do that is to play, which was the topic of our last episode in my coaching practice. I often use the word "clarity" or "clarify" here. We explore with the idea of gaining clarity on what's important to us. Then Greg uses the word eliminate. I prefer to use the word simplify. We're doing the same things though.
[00:02:27] We are removing what's not essential. And once you've explored and eliminated, it's time to execute and take action on this newfound clarity you have. That's where I believe you experience confidence. So Greg's formula. Once he's established, the essence of an essentialist is explore. Then eliminate, then execute.
[00:02:51] My version of that formula is clarify then simplify, and then you achieve confidence.
[00:02:58] Excellent. I love it. I love it.
Explore (or Clarify)
[00:02:59] Okay. So I'd love to dive into that first step to becoming an Essentialist here, which is explore or clarify. But like before we even dive into what Greg McKeown says in Essentialism, I think we can take some of these parallels and draw some of the parallels that we've seen between the three books we featured when it comes to gaining clarity and exploring what's going on in the gray matter between our respective ears.
[00:03:27] So you noticed some parallels in the books that we've shared, Rowena.
[00:03:33] Ah, yes, absolutely. So our first book was The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. The essence of this book is getting to know one's self.
[00:03:43] And when you know yourself and others, you are both happier, but also you can be more effective and productive as a parent in your life and in your business. So our key take home from this was that getting to know yourself is key to having a happier life.
[00:03:57] And if we are looking to feel more confident, we've gotta remember that confident people know themselves, they are authentic and genuine. They know their limitations, their skills and their strengths. Embracing the strengths of our tendency, is one of these aspects.
[00:04:14] In The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi, the key message we took was the importance of naming what matters. When you name what matters and remove everything else that doesn't matter. You essentialize as Kendra calls it. This in turn gives you the ability to be a true lazy genius, to be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about those that don't.
[00:04:38] Yes, there are definitely a lot of nice parallels and complimentary messages in The Lazy Genius Way and Essentialism. We found it was very interesting to have these two different authors takes on similar concepts in some instances. And I, I really just. Think like as a little aside note here is I think this indicates the power of you adding your voice and your unique experiences to the conversation.
[00:05:02] It's like really what we love doing here at Two Booked Up is using the book and the concepts is the starter of a conversation. So for example, naming what matters in The Lazy Genius is very aligned with the whole concept of Essentialism and Greg McEwen talks about a similar idea in chapter three, which is discern in Essentialism and he talks about the un- importance of nearly everything.
[00:05:28] So those are two very similar concepts that are coming through, but we have Kendra's voice that we have Greg's voice. So by the way, if you haven't listened to all the prior episodes where we dive deeper into all three books, you can do so at twobookedup.com, you can find those episodes or you can go and subscribe to Two Books Up wherever you are listening. Now, go and subscribe to the podcast so you can get the back catalog and all our future episodes.
[00:05:53] Yes, absolutely. Definitely go and listen to those episodes. If you haven't already. So we've got a few crossovers and parallels here. When we then combine these two themes, knowing ourselves and naming what matters. We arrive at one of the key tenants of essentialism, where Greg McKeown calls finding our highest point of contribution.
[00:06:16] He illustrates this with the Venn diagram in the book where the highest point of contribution is the perfect intersection of the three circles. One circle represents the right thing. One represents the right reason. And the last represents the right time. Using this approach, he encourages us to ask ourselves the questions.
[00:06:36] What do I feel deeply inspired by? What am I particularly talented at? What meets a significant need in the world? Basically the intersection of your, what, why and how is the alignment of your strengths, which likely show up as part of your tendency, as well as your values, and what matters most to you.
[00:06:58] This highest point of contribution can then be used to help determine what will bring you the greatest meaning and, and be aligned with who you are and what you're interested in now, as you might suspect. When we do this and it is worth listening back to what I've just said, and perhaps getting a bit of paper and writing this down for yourself, or read the book.
[00:07:18] When we do this, we have greater clarity and a whole lot more confidence in ourselves and in our decisions. Now, if you'd like to learn a little bit more about this, I've also written a blog post called A Key Step for Clarity: Determine What "Enough" Means for You, which you can find in the show notes, the link will be down
[00:07:37] Yeah, thanks for that resource Ro. I think it's so important for us to get clear on what enough means for us. It's so easy to default to this question. Um, am I doing enough? And really we feel that a lot as homeschool moms, am I doing enough? Or I feel like I've done enough. But is it enough? I found there's kind of like two things are true here.
[00:07:59] The answer to that question is sometimes both, no, you haven't done enough, cuz you never will do enough. And yes, totally. You've totally done enough. So they, they can be true at the same time because I think you, as a person need to get clear on what enough means to you. And then you can have a clear answer, but like just looking at it from the outside, I don't know, you know, who knows if you've done enough?
[00:08:24] Only, you can know if you've done enough.
[00:08:27] But yeah, back to that Venn diagram, that's in Essentialism in the first section of Essentialism. You know what that reminds me of Ro? It's one of your pearls of wisdom. That's actually become a bit of a guiding phrase in my house with both my husband and I, and we say,
[00:08:44] how do I get paid to be me? So how do we choose job prospects or projects or clients or, or whatever? How do we use that filter of like, how can I get paid to be me where I can just show up and be myself that I can get paid for doing what I do. And then also feel like I'm making a difference in the world.
[00:09:08] So it's like those three parts of the Venn diagram. I am just being me. I show up, how can I do that? How can I like craft my life and design my life in a way and choose the things I do so that I can get paid to be me? And listeners. How can you just get paid to be you? So I think those questions, which just a reminder are, what do I feel deeply inspired by?
[00:09:34] What am I particularly talented at? And what meets a significant need in the world? They're so helpful in finding the clarity we need to find our highest point of contribution, not what we should do. It's our Highest point of contribution. So then it means it's easy to make money. It's easy to make a difference.
[00:09:54] It's easy to feel in the flow while you doing so. But I think it all starts with getting clear on the answers to those questions. And then also just revisiting all of that from time to time, right? It's not one and done.
[00:10:08] You are so right. Absolutely. It is not one and done. That is for sure. And there isn't, thank you for the reference to the article. There is an article. Funnily enough called Get Paid to be You. Um, which actually talks exactly about that. So that would be worth checking out,
[00:10:23] we'll put that link in the show notes as well.
[00:10:26] But you are absolutely Shelley, the process of exploration and gaining clarity is a journey. But one of the guideposts on that journey is your set of values. So we've talked about this because your values are things that matter to you and confident people are deeply connected with their core values.
[00:10:43] They have a sense of purpose or a bigger why, which really resonates for them. This alignment with naming what matters and clear values is very common for those who are confident in their career, business, and life. And it does come up in both Essentialism and The Lazy Genius Way. It is also where I work with my clients because when we talk about values and what's the core things that matters to them more often than not what comes up for my clients are things like family, making a difference or feeling like their work has meaning. So getting clear on or naming what matters to use Kendra's language helps us get clarity. So I have actually got another resource for our listeners, which is a whole blog post on knowing your values and how to live with intention. And again, we'll put that link in the show notes as well.
[00:11:34] Okay. Great. I'm loving how the principles in Essentialism are reflecting in your coaching process. Having gone through your coaching process, uh, reading essentialism, I can see it's very aligned. And I think that getting clear on what's is important to you is just such an important insight that's come through for us in Essentialism. But then, you know, once you've got that clarity, once you've done that exploration, the hard work kind of starts doesn't it. And I mean, that happens in coaching when we are working to build confidence, but it's also the next major step on the essentialism journey too.
[00:12:14] Yeah, you're right. And it is kind of where the hard work really starts because once we have clarity, The next step is to remove everything that is not part of what we've identified as mattering to us. And this pretty much is the essence of Essentialism: to identify what is essential and remove everything that is not essential or gets in the way of us doing the things that are essential.
[00:12:38] So this. Basically brings us to the process that I call simplification where removing or saying no to requests and commitments is kind of the really important thing. This simplification or being intentional about your use of time and energy is where I work with my clients as well. So this removal of commitments or saying no is actually, seriously, really hard to do. And it is particularly hard for those of us who are moms like Shelly and I and business owners, again, like we are, and it can be really challenging to say no to opportunities or remove commitments from our family schedules or from our personal schedules, because we are conditioned to believe, particularly as women.
[00:13:18] That we can do everything. And if we just work a little harder and faster, we can fit it all in. And that hustle culture, that hustle culture mentality has led to so many people feeling burnt out and overwhelmed. And I think this is where Essentialism really comes into its own. We don't need to do everything.
[00:13:38] We should not try to do everything. Instead, we should focus on those things that we have deemed essential for us. Let's reemphasize it: just the stuff we believe is essential for us and what we value.
[00:13:53] Yeah. And so this is where I see another big callback to The Lazy Genius Way. So the things that we eliminate are those things at the lazy end of the spectrum, the things we get lazy about or ideally eliminate entirely in some cases. And then when those things are eliminated, we just have so much more head space, so much more capacity to bring our highest level of contribution.
[00:14:18] Yeah, absolutely. And can you see that this is leading us closer to confidence because when you're not overwhelmed by things that don't matter, you've got the space to bring more of your genius, your zone of genius, your highest level of contribution, whatever you wanna call it.
[00:14:33] But I am gonna caution our listeners as Shelly, you and I both know. Simplification does take some work cause simple does not always mean easy. And simplification is not really simple, but don't worry. I've got you. I've got some hacks to share with you in another post. I have a lot of articles on my site and they're all available for free. This post is called Simplify Your Life for Clarity and Confidence.
[00:14:59] And in it, I share my top seven hacks. So again, that link will be in the show notes.
[00:15:04] I love it. I told you this is Rowena's jam. This is like what she lives every day. So, alright cool. We've explored. We've eliminated --with some hard work. And then the next step is the execution piece. So we've got this clarity, we've eliminated the non-essentials and then yes, I do see how these steps will like build a nice foundation that we need for greater confidence.
[00:15:31] So this is where in essentialism, Greg gets into that last step, which is execution.
[00:15:39] Yep. Absolutely. And we can execute with more confidence. We don't follow an essentialist model and live with intention as the end goal. Like let's be quite clear. They're the tools we use and the strategies we embrace. They aren't the outcome that we are striving for. We're actually doing it because we want to live a purposeful, meaningful life where we feel happier and more confident.
[00:16:03] Now I'm gonna go a little bit back to perhaps some of the stuff we talked about in The Lazy Genius Way, because one of the classic examples here is perhaps decluttering. We don't declutter so, remove items from our homes, for the simple fun of decluttering. Well, to be honest, some at least most of us don't some of us might, but generally one doesn't, but we do, we declutter it for the transformation that it brings, whether that be the clear spaces that lower our stress, or we experience a greater sense of ease and spaciousness when we have white space in our homes. Maybe in our thoughts or as you and I've often talked about, and this is kind of the essentialist part when we have white space in our schedules. So we've cut back on our commitments.
[00:16:48] And so the reason we clarify, simplify, and focus on the essentials, is that it transforms us into confident individuals.
[00:16:57] Now, whether that confidence be in our career, our life or our business, when we know we are focusing with intention and another word for intention is, being deliberate. So when we are deliberate about what we are focusing on our time on our activities, tasks, people, or deliverables, that actually mean something to us and are aligned with our values, we can walk with confidence and our decision making is easier as well.
[00:17:23] Here, we have another common theme with The Lazy Genius Way. I I think I shared this quote in a previous episode, but I'm gonna share it again and I quote, "As you create systems around what matters don't focus so much on the end game instead, think about how you can continue to grow comfortable in your own skin and enter a room with confidence and calm." End quote.
[00:17:46] So in the last section of the book, Greg goes through all the ways you can execute and actually implement an essentialist life. These include setting up buffers in your schedule, removing obstacles that get in the way of your essential intent, making progress with small wins, setting up routines that get you into the flow, focusing on what's important now - so in the moment - and embracing essentialism as a lifestyle. Each of those items. Each one speaks to a life, lived in confidence, not arrogance, but a sure certainty of what it is that you came here to do. And that all starts with the first two steps of exploring or gaining clarity, and then eliminating the non-essentials or simplifying that's the foundation you need to live this essentialist life with confidence.
[00:18:40] That is so good. I really love that it's not this kind of macho kind of overconfidence. But rather this certainty - I like that - in ourselves, certainty in our strengths and our weaknesses. And here we come back to getting to know ourselves. So I, do have another common thread alert here. In The Four Tendencies, we learned that your tendency determines why you act or why you choose not to act so. I think this ties in really nicely into the execution piece of Essentialism. I think it might be a good idea for listeners. If you reading Essentialism to read that last section, that Executes section of essentialism with their tendency in mind.
[00:19:24] So like, I think to the chapter on using time buffers, um, as a Rebel I love that idea because it feels like I'm beating the system and getting what Greg calls an unfair advantage. I'm like. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I'm all for creating white space. If I can get this unfair advantage. Uh, for an obliger though, they'll use buffers so that they're not late for meetings or that they don't miss a deadline or let someone down.
[00:19:52] So that's just one example, but if we can combine this idea of our tendency, the way we respond to expectations and then take action or not, with those essentialism execution pieces, phew, like I, I think we can be powerhouses combining those two ideas.
[00:20:10] Absolutely. And I love that. That's an awesome common thread. And I'm gonna go riffing off that if you took another chapter, like Progress the Power of Small Wins. There's a lot of excellent evidence there to convince questioners, to start small and celebrate each little win along the way. And through that potentially getting over the analysis paralysis that we talked about that sometimes afflicts questioners, and we upholders, we can also use our tendency to stay consistent and small changes when taking small steps is a really easy way for an upholder to stay consistent because with regular small steps, we actually get big results when they all add up.
[00:20:51] Such great stuff, Ro yeah, I think in this whole discussion, you've demonstrated how the formula that you mentioned at the top of the episode can work in practice. This idea of clarify, then simplify. and then you reach the state of confidence and let's not forget, I'm gonna remind everyone, get paid to be you.
[00:21:12] You know, that's gonna be my top takeaway, don't you?
[00:21:16] So listeners, what do you think? Let us know what you think about all of the amazing insights that Rowena has shared today. And if hearing about Rowena's coaching approach, has you intrigued, you can learn more about the coaching offers, the supports and the services she offers on her website, that's rowenamabbott.com. And you can find all of these links as always in the show notes.
[00:21:41] Thanks Shelly. And yes, as Shelly said, all those links will be available in the show notes and I encourage you to check them out. And any of the other articles on my site, there are, I think at last count, nearly 200 articles you can access for free. So that's all there now after all of that and given, this is our final, full length episode for the season.
[00:22:02] You probably know what my question is for you, Shelly. Shelly, what are you reading right now?
[00:22:07] Ah, I've just finished a book that is completely out of my, general taste and what I would generally choose. It's called Nettle and Bone, by an author called T Kingfisher. That's a pen name. I believe her name is Ursula Vernon, and she's written a lot of kids' books. And why I really love this book is it's a book for adults, but, it brings in the sort of fairytale, tropes, spins those a little bit on their heads and it results in a really fascinating and different story for me. And I think it's gotten some really great acclaim. So I would recommend that if you're looking for something different to read, Nettle and Bone by T. Kingfisher, highly recommend. And Rowena, tell us what are you reading at the moment?
[00:22:52] Ah, thanks. Silly. Like you I've just finished a book. And the book I finished reading is Man's Search for Meaning by Victor E Frankel, which is an absolute classic and one that I recommend everybody reads or listens to at some point in their life. If you are not familiar with it, the first part of it goes through his experiences in concentration camps, but then it also talks about how we can find meaning and purpose through our lives. It's also quite good if you've got an interest in psychology or psychotherapy. And he also does then explain in the end back part of the book, it's an introduction to logotherapy. So it's not exactly a light read.
[00:23:32] There are a lot of references. Um, so it took me a little while to get kind of get into it, but I'm really glad I've read it. So it's definitely one that I can feel satisfied that I've read. And it gave me a lot to think about.
[00:23:42] Oh, wonderful. I, I was gonna ask you, was it, was it more of a heavy, more intentional read?
[00:23:47] Yeah, it was definitely an intentional read. It had been sitting on my, it had been sitting on my shelf for some time and I had decided I needed to read it. Now.
[00:23:54] well done. Yeah. And, uh, so you read it in hard copy, right?
[00:23:59] I actually listened to it. I had it sitting on my shelf and then when it came to the crunch, I listened to it instead.
[00:24:06] Interesting. Yeah. RO and I have had some interesting conversations about reading or listening to books. And we were saying that, uh, yeah, we just finding that, listening to these, more meaty books is sometimes better. I don't know. We it's, it's appealing to me. Uh, it feels like I've got this wise teacher kind of teaching me, uh, the some heavier topics.
[00:24:25] And Shelley, I think that you're giving a beautiful little teaser for some of our upcoming episodes, because that concludes the episode for today and our discussion of the book Essentialism.
[00:24:37] So we hope that by sharing our stories of Essentialism and what that can look like in our lives and careers, you can also see opportunities to focus on what's essential in your life, career, or business.
[00:24:48] And do let us know if you try it out. Or if you would like some support as you do so. You can learn more about the support and services we each offer on our websites. The links to which of course are in the show notes. I can be found online at rowenamabbott.com or on Instagram at Rowena Mabbott and Shelley. Where can listeners find you online?
[00:25:09] So my copywriting business, you can find at ShelleySmithCreative.com and then all my writing about business homeschooling and other musings, I have made a new home for them at ShelleyTonkinSmith.Com. And then on Instagram, I'm Shelley Smith Creative. And so send us a DM or a comment on our podcast posts. We'd love to hear what you thought about this episode.
[00:25:34] Yes. We love having the comments and responding and interacting with our listeners. So keep an eye out over the coming weeks, as we've just hinted. Whilst the full season is wrapping up, we have a stack of brilliant bonus episodes coming your way.
[00:25:50] Yes. And we'd also love it. If you'd tell your friends about Two Booked Up, you can find us on Apple Podcasts on Google Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. And then please subscribe or follow us on your podcast player.
[00:26:03] That's the best way to get all our future episodes.
[00:26:06] Thanks so much for joining us on Two Booked Up today. Join us in the next episode where we're gonna tell you about a fun series of holiday episodes we're preparing for you. See you then.
[00:26:16] Bye bye.