I’ve been talking about choosing a “smaller life” lately. In fact, I got into a bit of a rumble with my book lady last week because of something she says is provocative – though it is still my truth.

I’ve got an unpopular opinion, the kind that might get me unfollowed but it turns out that it’s true for me.

If you know anything about me—I’m a big fan of the truth. I like it because it’s real, sometimes it’s raw, it’s often unpolished, imperfect, and without pretense. It doesn’t try to “make everything better” or “make everyone happy.” Don’t bother wrapping it up or putting a pretty bow on it—the truth is a liberator and it’s a zero-sum game.

Sometimes I wrestle with the truth, I’ll wrestle with wishing things were different than they are, I’ll even try to arm-wrestle people pleasing and justice/making it fair. The truth doesn’t care about fair sometimes. That’s something I struggle with too.

What I found that was true for me (and not such a popular opinion) was that covid was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Covid/the pandemic woke me up. The life I was living was a good life, for the most part, it was a true life based on the story I was telling myself. And that story “worked” quite well. At the time, the metrics I was using for my life “working” were this:

– Fat bank account

– Big team

– In-demand for speaking gigs all over the place

– Business doubling/tripling in some areas

– New programs being launch ALL the time

– Super busy schedule filled with all the things I liked doing

– Reliable childcare

– Trips and travel pretty much whenever I wanted

These metrics informed me that I was valuable, I was important, and I had made it. The leap I took to build my business from scratch worked out—look at all the evidence I had.

All of these things were true for who I was and what I wanted/valued at the time.
And then the pandemic happened, my business grew more but in different ways yet life was very different.

There were no more planes and no more stages. The demands that lent themselves to notoriety just didn’t exist. The rules of the game that we had all been operating on went out the window. At first it was scary and then it felt SO DAMN GOOD.

It wasn’t that life pre-pandemic wasn’t true, it was that an infinite reset button was hit around the globe. I could either panic or I could get curious. Either I could mourn the hamster wheel I had been on or I could develop new metrics and discover who I was/am in this new chapter.

And, the best part was, there was NO precedent.

There was no “right” way to do it, there was no example of success to follow or a “should” that I should strive for. It was a blank slate and (after being scared sh*tless for a hot minute) I felt liberated.

Choosing a smaller life goes against the grain.

Did you know–People aren’t so happy these day? While home sizes in the US have grown by 150% since 1980 (yet the number of occupants decreases). And one study found that 72% of successful entrepreneurs suffered from depression or other mental health concerns. Successful CEOs are depressed at more than double the rate of the general public despite the perception of power. What kind of life do you want?

Covid presented an invitation—what do you really want? Who do you want to be?
I couldn’t have been happier.

And guess what—on paper, I probably should have been miserable. I was going through a divorce, had my heart broken, moved from my home and away from my family, was raising my daughter by myself (no more nanny or domestic help), there was no school, there were no speaking gigs, and the future of everything was in the balance.

I decided that while my ‘old life’ was a good life, what did I want for this chapter?

I chose what I like to call a ’small life.’ It’s filled with carefully curated ways of being—my time is mine, I don’t just give away my attention and focus. I work less. I’m the one raising my daughter, I’m the one at 3:15pm pick-up. I only say yes to speaking gigs that are a HELL YES, and I choose less. This small life has me paying attention to the sunrise and going to bed a bit earlier. This small life is about roots, maturing the way a tree does—rooting down, growing up, growing out, and not being held back by my scars or obstacles.

I’ve gotten to know myself in a way that I just didn’t have time to do in my old life. It wasn’t that I didn’t know who I was but perhaps I didn’t have the time or desire to go this deep.

This chapter right now is my small life, and I love it.

It doesn’t mean I’ll never be on a stage again, it doesn’t mean that I’ll never be bopping to multiple cities again (I’ve got a book tour in my future). But what it means for me is that I’ve chosen this life and it’s a good one.