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Make Life Easy: Thriving Through Simplicity with Emily Ley

by | Jun 28, 2021 | Q&A

Our society is becoming increasingly complex. We’re bombarded with new information and ideas daily. New and improved technologies are making the world develop in more directions than ever before. Amidst all the hubbub, we might find ourselves getting overwhelmed. We’re constantly striving and moving forward, perhaps not realizing that we’re getting burnt out. 

Sometimes, we need to pause and reevaluate our lives. How can we make life easy? How can we thrive against hardships?

In this week’s episode, Emily Ley, bestselling author and founder of Simplified, joins us to talk about her goal of helping you make life easy. She shares the value of simplifying life and getting rid of clutter. Emily tells us why it’s okay not to strive for perfection and how grace can be a better alternative. She also discusses the biggest challenges people face today, the importance of building and growing yourself, and her three steps to achieve organization.

If you want to learn valuable tips on how to make life easy and simple, then tune in to this episode!

About Emily

Emily Ley began as a wedding invitation designer in 2008. She is the founder of the lifestyle gift and stationery brand Emily Ley Paper and Gifts and founder of Simplified, a brand of planners and organizational tools for busy women. The Emily Ley brand is sold in more than 600 stores worldwide and has been featured by leading media outlets such as Better Homes and Gardens, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Disney Baby, Stationery Trends Magazine, Southern Weddings Magazine, and Domino.

Emily has been featured in Forbes and many national publications. She is also a bestselling author. Her works include Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy, A Simplified Life, and Growing Boldly: Dare to Build a Life You Love. 

Passionate about balance, organization, design, and motherhood, Emily is a sought-after speaker at conferences nationwide.

She is currently residing in South Florida with her husband, Brian, their preschooler Brady, and their twins Tyler and Carolyn.

If you want to learn more about Emily, you may visit her website, connect with her on her personal Instagram account, the Simplified Instagram account, or tune in to her podcast.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
  1. Understand why simplifying our lives can make life easy. 
  2. Discover what “building” is and why it’s so important.
  3. Learn three easy steps to organizing.

Resources

Episode Highlights

[04:03] Why We Need to Talk About Simplification

  • Today, the world has become more complicated and open. It is going in more directions than ever before.
  • Emily likes to simplify things by looking at and subtracting the number of things we’re doing so we can give our full attention to the things that matter the most.
  • You have to declutter first so that you can simplify what you have left.

[06:54] Make Life Easy Through Simplification

  • Emily’s mom taught her how to value simplicity and take something complicated or messy and make it more orderly and peaceful. 
  • Growing up, it was something she enjoyed doing.
  • She decided to make this quirk about herself into a business, creating the Simplified planner.
  • The business also stemmed from her desire to make life easy.

[09:07] People Who Thrive in Disorder

  • Even if you’re not Type-A, rhythm and routine are still important. 
  • They’re natural parts of life. 
  • These make us better and allow us to thrive; they make life easy.
  • Simplification serves everyone as a whole, even if you’re implementing it in different ways.

[11:37] Grace, Not Perfection

  • Emily embraced this phrase in her life when her kids were born. She felt like she was the only one struggling and that every other woman she knew was not.
  • She had such a deep desire to be excellent and be able to organize and control everything.
  • You can find a lot of joy in the messiness of life if you allow it to be enough.
  • Allow yourself to find joy, peace, and satisfaction in the journey.

[11:37] On Perfectionism and Control

  • Emily admits that she’s a person who loves to be in control of everything. 
  • She learned that there are things in life that we can’t control. 
  • When Emily was pregnant with her first son, the doctors told her that he would have many issues. 
  • She was terrified during this time, but she also learned to let go and be comfortable with the unknown.
  • Later on, Emily’s son was born without issues. 

 [17:31] On the Challenges Caused by Social Media

  • It’s all about perspective. Social media has allowed many opportunities to happen for us.
  • On the other hand, we may feel pressured to think that we’re not doing enough and being enough.
  • But we have to realize that social media is a highlight reel. No one posts their mistakes online.
  • Be proactive with your social media use rather than simply being reactive.
  • Follow people who build you, make you feel good, and inspire you.

[20:32] The Biggest Challenge People Face Today

  • According to Emily, people crave balance.
  • We all crave some sort of peace, where we feel like things are not at odds with each other.
  • Having balance in your life is like riding a bike. 
  • You should not go too hard for too long in any one direction, or else you are going to fall.

[24:00] Lessons from Emily’s Business

  • Emily has been in the business for 13 years. In 2017, her team decided to close the wholesale side of her business and lose 40% of revenue to focus on connecting with retail store owners.
  • By doing that, they were able to double their revenue the next year.
  • If you take the risk and simplify things like Emily, you make space for growth and fulfillment of your mission.
  • What Emily would do differently is that she wouldn’t burn herself out once every three years.
  • Listen to the full episode to know how Emily’s business has grown from selling office products to growing a community.

[29:18] The Role Emily’s Faith Has Played

  • Emily was not raised in church. She felt this was a weakness for a long time.
  • But what she has learned is that she speaks to her faith with almost a childlike faith.
  • It is important to her to make everyone understand that they have a seat at the table no matter who they are or what they believe in.
  • Emily admits that she had to become more confident in speaking about her faith. 
  • This journey invites more people to be a part of what she’s been doing.

[32:02] On Starting a Podcast and Releasing Growing Boldly

  • In January 2021, Emily was able to free up some time to start a podcast after years of people encouraging her to do so. She shares that she enjoys doing something new. 
  • The release of Emily’s latest book was delayed nine times because of COVID. It came out on March 23. 
  • She turned in the final manuscript in February 2020. 
  • Emily wrote the book with the intention of it applying to anyone in whatever stage of life they’re at.
  • She shares stories of people who went through challenges and thrived.

[36:40] The Importance of Build

  • Emily wanted her book to focus on forward momentum and moving on, not on being still. Now is the time to move your feet.
  • The word build is really important to Emily. She always goes back to this word when choosing a word of the year.
  • To her, building means you have a vision, and you put in the work for what you want to happen.

[38:02] Writing the Book

  • Emily had to step away from social media as she was writing her new book.
  • As she was writing, she realized that she had done some bold things in her life. 
  • However,  she feels like she’s currently playing it safe.
  • Growing boldly is also about growing as a human. Be bold in your decisions and words so that you are your most authentic self.
  • Emily dedicates her new book towards her hopes and dreams for her middle child, Tyler.

[43:02] Three Steps to Organization

  • In short, the process is: simplify, plan, execute.
  • When you have something complicated, the first thing you do is to get rid of the excess. This process is called the ruthless declutter.
  • Pull out anything that is not the best, the favorite, or necessary. These things will have to find a new home. You then spend less time rummaging to find something.
  • After you simplify, add some structure, and then you can now use whatever the thing you’re organizing is.

5 Powerful Quotes from this Episode

[04:27] “I like to talk about simplifying things in terms of let’s look at the mass of what we’re involved in and what we’re doing. And let’s talk about what we can subtract so that we can give our whole hearts and our whole attention to the things that matter most. A lot of times people will talk about, like, let’s simplify the big pile. But you’ve got to do the work to declutter first so that you can simplify what you have left.” 

[12:23] “There is a lot of beauty and joy to be found in the messiness of life, if we allow it to be enough…perfectionism can be far outweighed by allowing yourself to find the joy in kind of the journey along the way.”

[22:00] “If we’re not balancing the season of relentlessly hard work with relentlessly pursuing rest and nourishment and the filling of ourselves that we have to do, then we will faceplant… what if we got really proactive, like we said about the way that we’re managing things, the way that we’re managing life, and making sure that we’re filling up and not just pouring out?”

[37:14] “To me, building means that you have a goal in mind, you have a vision for where you’re headed, and you’re putting the pieces, the big ones and small ones in place to make it happen.”

[39:20] “Growing boldly doesn’t just mean building a great business, or a great marriage, or great ministry. It’s also about growing as a human and being bold in your decisions and your choices and your words, so that you are your most authentic self.”

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To growing and becoming all we are created to be,

Tim