Welcome to Live Free Creative, the podcast that provides inspiration and ideas for living a creative, adventurous, and intentional lifestyle. I’m your host Miranda Anderson. And I hope that each time you listen, you feel a little bit more free to live your life exactly the way you want to live it.
Hello there. Welcome back to the show. I’m your host Miranda Anderson and you are listening to Episode 137 of the live free creative podcast. Today’s episode is titled Staying Centered Through Success And Failure.
As I begin the show today, I’d like to catch you up on a few things happening in life.
Spring is in swing here in Richmond. I have loved the sunshine. I jumped the gun though. A couple of weeks ago we had 75 degrees and sunny for several days in a row. And I thought this is the perfect time to put away all of my winter wardrobe and the kids and get started on our spring summer capsule wardrobes.
So I have this process that I go through. Pulling everything out for each of the kids. One at a time we go through, try everything on. I pull out all the summer clothes from last year.
I had fingers crossed some of them would still fit and turns out my kids grew a lot over the last year or so. Barely any of the clothes from last year fit with the boys. I have a couple of hand-me-downs that go from the oldest to the middle. And with Plum, we were essentially starting from scratch with her spring/summer wardrobe.
I had so much fun though, with each of the kids, we did a special day date and went out with our list.
We make a list of the things that they need for their next season’s capsule wardrobe. In this case, we were shopping for spring/summer, and we decided on five outfits. Tops and bottoms. And for Plum, a couple dresses. And then everyone needed new socks and underwear and a pair of sandals and a new pair of tennis shoes.
So once we had our lists done, we headed to the local consignment shop, which is one of our favorite places, and went through and found a few things that would work from there. For Plum, we were actually able to get most of her clothes right there. With the boys, we were able to find some things at consignment, and then we went on to a couple other local stores for the rest of their list.
I do this one-on-one with each of them. So it feels like a date like this one-on-one time we get to do their spring/summer shopping. It took about a week between all of the kids going through their clothes, donating the clothes that don’t fit anymore, and then going and picking up their new wardrobes.
It was so fun. We had all of these little dates and we’re done. Now at least the kids are done with their spring/summer wardrobes.
I flipped my wardrobe. So a few of my sweaters and the pants that I only wear in the winter and my winter boots and things like that I put away for next year. And I pulled out my summer things and went through the things that I had put away last year to decide what I still love, what fits me well. I’ve gone through and edited out from my current spring/summer wardrobe the things that I no longer care for.
What I haven’t done yet for myself is go out and take myself on a little consignment, secondhand shopping spree to fill in the gaps for my own capsule wardrobe for the upcoming season.
Before I had a chance to do that. First of all, I’m thinking about it a little bit. I’m getting an idea of exactly what I want to fit in with what I currently have so that I have enough clothes, not too many. And I feel like I’ve got all of the basics that I’d like.
But by the time I had finished with the kids spring/summer shopping, the weather had turned again, and it was back to like 40 degrees and rainy in Richmond. So I’ve put my own spring shopping on hold. I’m going to just hang out. I had to pull some of my winter coats back out because I got a little ahead of myself.
It’s still only March. I think we have a little bit of time before it’s actually totally summer weather.
It made me so excited to go through to start seeing some spring things, get the kids’ shorts and t-shirts out. And I am so looking forward to the upcoming months.
One thing that I love to include in our spring/summer shopping is bathing suits. Everyone gets one new bathing suit each year, and I add those to my kids’ Easter baskets.
I just bought them for the kids for this coming year. And they’re so cute. I decided to buy them at Mini Boden. I love their sustainability practices, the way that they care about the environment, and the suits are really, really, well-made. They’re really cute.
So those are on their way. And I will put those in the Easter baskets along with some little treats for the kiddos. Easy, simple Easter tradition.
The last exciting thing happening in our life lately is that I have ordered our artificial turf for the backyard area that has been a mud bowl for the last several years. I was able to talk to a local landscaping guy and get some information from a sod and lawn specialist. Everyone agreed that for our backyard, it would just be nearly impossible to grow sustainable grass.
It doesn’t get enough sun. And because of the shade and also the combination of the clay in the current dirt, the current actual soil is just not conducive to growing grass year round. Turf will give us the chance to have a really nice, sustainable play area. Whether it’s raining, whether it’s sunny, we can go out and have fun.
It’s not even a huge area. It’s only about 700 square feet. It’s the very center of our yard flanked on all sides by something. So we have the garden area with gravel on one end, we have the patio in front of the clubhouse on one. Other end. We have our actual patio off of our house on one side, and then we have the mulch playground and garden area on the other corner.
So there’s sort of this V-shaped bendy center of the yard that will be turf, hopefully by the end of April, I’m guessing. And. Our indoor/outdoor ability is going to just triple, quadruple, 10 times in capacity, because right now we go out and play in the patio area, or we can kind of sneak around the garden, but even just to walk across the yard from the back patio to the playground or to the clubhouse is kind of a mess because it’s just totally muddy in the center there.
So I’m really looking forward to that. I will share the process on my blog and on Instagram as we get going on it. And I can’t wait. Those are the exciting things happening in our life lately.
Staying Centered Through Success And Failure
The other day on our date night, Dave and I were chatting about life and about our experiences with feeling successful and feeling like things were going really well in life. And also times when things haven’t gone so well, or we’ve been worried about something or had some anxiety about things going wrong.
We hope that we can control everything. And sometimes you just can’t do that.
As we were chatting, I remembered a really poignant quote idea that I heard a couple years ago at a conference and realized that I think I may have shared the quote at some point over the last couple of years of the podcast, but I don’t think I’ve explored it really well.
And I wanted to just take some time today and explore this idea of remaining centered through our ups and downs or through our successes and failures.
One of the best examples of how I have heard of explaining this idea came from all of our favorite Joanna Gaines a couple of years ago at the conference Alt Summit.
Gabrielle Blair (or Design Mom) who runs the conference was interviewing Joanna Gaines on stage as one of the main talks of the event. I was of course, enthralled by Joanna Gaines. I think she’s incredible. I love the success of her show. I think that she and Chip, regardless of their incredible success, seem to have remained really down to earth.
Of course, I don’t know them personally and I don’t know a whole lot about them. But he way that she answered this question reinforced the idea that I have about her really being clearheaded and having a pretty good set of values beyond the success of her own business.
The question that Gabrielle asked was something along the lines of, Does it all feel the way you thought it would? All of the success that having the show blow up, having Magnolia, this whole square really that they’ve created in Waco and their business, and now their magazine and their home goods line and their paint line and their entire world just skyrocketed over the last few years.
Gabrielle was having this candid conversation with Joanna and she said, Does it feel the way you thought it would? Does all of this wild success feel the way that you thought it would? Or how does it feel? How do you even recognize your life among all of this really incredible success?
And Joanna turned to Gabrielle and she said:
You know, the way that I approach the idea of all of the success that we’ve seen in the last few years is similar to the way that I have always approached our failures. I recognize when I have had a business failing or we’ve lost a lot of money or we’ve lost clients or things didn’t work out for years and years and years, when we were working really hard and we had these big dreams and things weren’t all working out, we would always remind ourselves that, regardless of that failure, regardless of what wasn’t working out, we knew who we were, we were still the same people, we had our family, we had our relationship, we had our values, we had our faith and that we were going to be okay. We were going to just maintain the happiness and joy that we could create in our lives, regardless of the failure.
And then she said:
I think about my success that same way. It’s something happening outside of me. Myself, my family, my day-to-day life remains really similar. And the way I think about myself remains really similar. Because if we allow ourselves to be pulled up and down by our successes and failures throughout our life, we will never really feel centered. We will never really feel anchored.
Now this coming from a woman who has just seen wild success. And I can imagine a hundred other ways to answer that question, even in a really beautiful, humble way. I just did not expect the way that she compared her success to her failure and that the ups and the downs, neither one were really about her. Neither one really impacted or influenced the way that she felt about herself and about her life.
How many of you feel really, really good about the successes that you’ve had in your life, about the things that have gone well, that you’ve worked hard for and that you’ve achieved? I certainly have. I’ve definitely felt like, gosh, I’m so proud of myself. I did that thing that I really wanted to do or things are going my way.
And equally, how many of you have felt like something went wrong when it didn’t work out the way you expected or that you didn’t do it correctly? That you should have done something differently or should have recognized something differently, or you have some regret about the way it was all handled.
I know that I felt that way. When things haven’t quite worked out, not only do I sometimes feel like it’s my fault, but also just feel put upon or a little bit bad for myself that I really was hoping for something, it didn’t work out and that’s kind of a bummer. And maybe if I were different that it might’ve gone differently.
What I love about this idea that Joanna shared and that I want to just play with for a little while is the idea that our ups and downs are all outside of our core center. When we anchor ourselves deep in our own inherent worth and values, we cannot be moved by our outward ups and downs. These perceived successes and failures are things that happen, but they don’t happen to us.
They are circumstances. And they can feel exciting or feel a little disappointing. But they don’t affect the core of who we are or what we are worth or how happy or fulfilled we can feel in our everyday life.
I know for sure that during this last year, I have learned a lot about being still and not always having something going on, not always having something to do.
Sometimes it’s been really frustrating with the pandemic and the great pause.
And sometimes it’s felt really relieving. I’ve never in my life been able to be home and be comfortable being home as often as I have had to learn to be over the last 12 months. My coping capacity for mess, for boredom, for a lack of achievement, for not crossing things off of my list, has gone way up.
And I find myself feeling satisfied sometimes in the middle of the day when nothing is really going on. And I’m just content. Sitting on the porch. Reading a book in the middle of the afternoon or in the morning.
Sometimes I get out of bed at 8:30 and the kids are still sort of either playing or asleep. And I’ll pour myself my morning Perk and curl up in my robe on my little pink chair in the corner of my living room. And just sit there and just sit and think and do nothing for a whole 20 minutes while I sip my Perk and just think. Or just not even think, just sit and enjoy being alive in my body, in my home with my people and just being here.
And this is, I think, a learned behavior. I think it was forced upon me in a way that I had never expected because I have to practice being here. I love going and doing and changing and exploring and being curious and getting things done and working on something new and all of the adventures that can be really fun and also can serve as a distraction from just simply being.
I am learning and beginning to really internalize, in a way that I haven’t before, how we can be whole by simply being, by waking up and breathing.
I’ve said it and I’ve shared it and I’ve written a book about it and I’m learning and understanding it even better all the time. We are inherently whole. We are inherently good. We already are enough. And when we really tap into that, when we create some awareness around it, we practice some gratitude for it.
We support it through the way we take care of ourselves, the way we talk to ourselves, the way we surround ourselves with support, we’re able to live our lives out of desire and enjoyment rather than out of fear of failure or pressure or hustle in order to earn our worth in order to earn our success.
It’s truly so much more fun to choose what we want to do because we feel like it rather than because we think we should in order to become different in order to feel different.
Imagine what would happen if our successes didn’t puff us up and validate us. And if our failures didn’t bring us down and discourage us. How would it be to feel okay, to feel well, to feel centered regardless of what we achieved or didn’t achieve, regardless of what we attempted or didn’t attempt, regardless of what went well and worked out and what crashed and burned?
One of the things that I really loved about this quote and this ideas presented by Joanna Gaines was that I think it’s very easy for us to feel down by our failures and blame those on ourself, and then to be humble about our success and not take the same amount of credit for our success that we do for our failure.
It’s this weird inverse that we didn’t do enough if we fail, but we didn’t actually do it all if we succeed. And so when do we get to feel okay? When do we get to just be enough? I think that we find our enough-ness outside of either success or failure.
When we can see the ups and the downs as being not directly tied to our own personal worth, we’re able to find our worth a lot more easily.
Do you believe that you inherently have value beyond your roles, your definitions, your resume, your achievements, your to-do list, your accomplishments? Is it enough for you to just be who you are to just exist? Do you believe that about other people?
Sometimes I think the idea of inherent worth or inherent value is easiest when we think about children. Do we believe that children are worthy and valuable, even when they haven’t accomplished anything? In fact, when they are completely 100% dependent on others, as they’re growing up, do you believe that they are worthy inherently as they come?
And if that’s true for a child, when does that change for adults? When is the age at which you are no longer worthy unless you have completed X, Y, and Z, or earned this amount of money, or completed this amount of education, or have this relationship in your life, or this house, or these friends, or that vacation, or those shoes?
When does that change?
Or if it doesn’t change, then that truth can hold for us just as it does for a child, that are worth is inherent and our value is unique and individual.
If it’s hard for you to think about that for yourself, sometimes it’s easier to think about it for someone else. I love this quote from the author Neil Gaiman in one of his series he says:
Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world. I mean everybody. No matter how dull or boring they seem on the outside, inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world, hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.
Can you believe that about yourself? Inside yourself, inside your mind, inside you every day, there’s this incredible, wonderful, magnificent, brilliant world that exists. You’re the star. You’re the protagonist of this life. You’re the only one who’s living it.
That, in and of itself, is valuable. You are worthy. You’re the star of your show. You’re the main character in your own story and your ups and downs don’t mean anything about you personally. They’re simply part of the journey.
I want to share five simple and quick ideas for how you can begin or continue to establish yourself centered in your own life. So that you feel inherently worthy and you aren’t pulled to and fro by the successes and failures that you meet along your path.
The first one is through gratitude, specifically, keeping a gratitude journal.
I’ve talked about this dozens of times over the last couple of years, it’s such an incredibly valuable practice and there is so much research to support how writing down just a couple things a day or a couple times a week, things that you’re grateful for, that you appreciate that went well in your life.
Those moments of connecting your gratitude physically to a journal or a piece of paper reinforces the idea of optimism, looking for the good and acknowledging this underlying sense of appreciation in your life. It’s such a simple thing. So are you doing it? And if not, will you begin?
Positive Support System
Number two is to surround yourself with a positive support system.
Think about the five or seven people that you spend the most amount of time with, whether this is your family, whether it’s people in your pod, people in your neighborhood, or even your good friends.
Are these all people who are lifting you up and supporting and encouraging you? Do they want you to feel your best, even if everything that you want to do, doesn’t always happen exactly the way that you hope for?
Are they cheering you on? Are they encouraging you or are they always a little skeptical?
I want to tell you that it’s possible to find people who will support you, even if they aren’t in your best friend circle. You can hire a coach. You can join a group. There are places, in-person and a lot online, where you can be lifted up supported and encouraged, and you can opt into those.
It’s not even that you need someone to invite you to do. But you can sign up to have a life coach, or you can sign up for, for example, my creative mentorship program, where I will cheer you on and give you encouragement through the things that you’re trying to do.
And you opt in to those types of things. So surround yourself with a support system and recognize that you don’t have to share all of your heart with people who will not treat it the way that you need it to be treated.
You can have good friends and family members that you don’t have to share your dreams with. If you know that they won’t support and encourage them the way that you need, that’s okay. You can have the boundaries that you need for who you share that with in order to have the reactions and the support and the love that you hope for.
Number three is to be really aware of the messaging that you consume. This goes for social media. This goes for books and articles. This goes for songs and movies and shows. Are you consuming messaging that reinforces the idea of your worth? Or are you consuming messaging that holds up the idea that you need to do more, be more, buy more, in order to be worthy and be successful?
You can gauge some of this by simply how you feel. I will say that we have to be responsible for our own emotions when it comes to our social media use and the way that we consume media of all types and being responsible sometimes means recognizing that you don’t feel good, you feel a little envious or a little bit jealous or a little bit caught in comparison.
When you see this or that person’s posts on your feed. And you could just sit with it and do the mindset work and try to really dig into like, okay, I don’t want to feel that comparison so I’m just going to watch it over and over again and try to work myself out of it. Or you could just choose to unfollow or mute that person so that you can get there with the mindset work.
And sometimes it’s just so much easier to change that messaging and say, you know what, I would rather save my energy and only surround myself with people who aren’t triggering for whatever reason. There can be times and seasons of your life when one message will feel really uplifting and hopeful. And at other times it will feel really exhausting and frustrating. And you get to advocate for yourself by the type of messaging you bring in and have an awareness around what you’re consuming.
Maybe that means an overall reduction in your social media scrolling. Maybe it means setting a timer only getting on at certain times of day or after you’ve taken care of yourself through exercising and going outside and writing in your gratitude diary so that you set yourself up for success and definitely muting out the voices that contribute to you feeling like you are not enough.
Spend Time Outside
Number four is to spend more time in nature. This can be outside in your neighborhood on a walk. This can be going up into the mountains or onto the beach for a hike or a wander, listening to the waves crash or listening to the birds sing.
There is research that shows that our mood boosts automatically when we spend time outside the fresh air and the sunshine and our connection to the earth.
How it reminds us of really, underneath all of the show and all of the to-do lists and all of the projects and all of the accomplishments, who we really are, where we came from, how we can exist on this incredible planet.
That connection of getting down to the core of just being a human is really powerful.
And the fifth thing I want to share with you is practicing self compassion. One of the reasons that our failures can feel so hard is not because of the failure itself. It’s because of all of the things we make it mean about us.
And one of the ways you can avoid putting yourself down further through when things don’t go your way is by knowing that it’s okay, that you’ve done your very best, that you’re doing your best, and that your best is enough even if it doesn’t yield the result that you were hoping for.
Your best is always enough and your best doesn’t look the same all the time.
Sometimes your best looks pretty terrible. And it’s still just right. It’s still exactly enough.
Practice telling yourself I’m doing a good job. This is the best I can do. And it’s just right. Things are going to be okay. Things are going to work out regardless of how this ends up. I am still valuable. My life has incredible meaning. I’m surrounded by people who love me. And I love me. I’m worthy of that love.
Practicing self-compassion allows us to access this relationship to self that will anchor us, that will hold us and keep us centered through our successes and failures through our ups and downs. Rather than being pulled to and fro, we will remain grounded and fulfilled and loved.
My hope is that with these five tips and the idea I shared in this podcast episode today, that you will feel a little bit more centered despite the swirls of life around you. You will remember that you’re worthy in spite of all of your failures and all of your success.
Thank you so much for tuning in.
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I hope you have a beautiful week. I can’t wait to come back and chat with you again next time this week and every week.
I hope that you feel empowered to live a more creative, adventurous, and intentional lifestyle. Talk to you later. Bye bye.