My new mantra: Let it be Simple

Nico's toes. Just toes.

I’m overwhelmed.

Right now. Last week. Last year. I will likely be overwhelmed later tonight, tomorrow and the next day. It’s just kind of how I roll.

I try to relax as much as possible, keep things fun and easy, but the truth is it’s (insert expletive) hard to juggle all the things we juggle in our lives. It’s hard to make a living in this crazy world, raise kids, cook a meal or two and maybe even scrub the tub every once in a while. I don’t know anyone who isn’t overwhelmed.

Are you overwhelmed?

I also just discovered that I am “highly sensitive.” A friend of mine has been telling me this for years but I was never clear what she meant. So I took a quiz! And it turns out that one of the reasons why I can barely surf the internet, listen to the radio in the car, or just generally take in too much stimulus (without shorting out) is because I am highly sensitive. Go figure. Anyway, in this full on life with social media and the like, I know I’m not the only one who feels overwhelmed a lot of the time.

Cures for overwhelm

There are things I do to keep myself calm.

I take a bath every night.
I eat lots of good food.
I go to the occasional yoga class.
I say no a lot. I try to only say yes to things I really want to do.
I don’t work at night and prefer to watch Project Runway, Parks and Rec, Modern Family and other brilliant nonsense with my husband on Hulu.

Good enough

Most importantly, I practice a policy of “Good enough.” If you lean toward perfectionism (I certainly do) you probably run the risk of never completing certain tasks. Things just aren’t quite right yet with that new website, just need to edit that piece a bit more, just need to learn a few more tricks before I hire myself out…

Sometimes we perfectionists never actually finish anything!

But here’s the thing:  Good enough is usually really effing great. Sometimes it’s actually excellent. Often, months after I published something I considered “good enough”, I realize it was just right, perfect even.

Strive for good enough! You will be amazed at how much more gets done and how much more free you will feel with making choices and exercising your creativity.

And finally, my new mantra.

Just let it be simple.

I have been writing a new class for the last several months. I have been working hard on it, tearing my hair out at moments, wondering if I would ever pull it off and if it would be as inspired as the first class I wrote. I considered quitting.

And then. I heard a very comforting inner voice: You can let it be simple.

This was my breakthrough moment. I got unstuck. I started writing what meant the most to me. The most simple version. When I stopped trying to dazzle… I could stop hustling and just share.

Stop striving for genius. Don’t try to be brilliant. (Nothing gets more in the way of brilliance than trying to be brilliant)

Let it be simple. Let it be lovely. Let go of the bells and whistles. Let the simplest form be just right.

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.

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37 Comments

  1. Gabi

    I so know the feeling of being overwhelmed. Most of the time I’m trying to catch up on things but then I realize they are not as important as I thought and then I let go and make things simple for myself and for the ones I love. I love the relief afterwards I realize that things can be done simply without me burning myself.
    Love your words, Andrea!! This post is exactly what I needed to read tonight. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. laurie

    It’s just nice to hear someone else speaking aloud to themselves like this – nice to hear I’m not alone. The perfectionist thing is never ending. I love your post Andrea – it’s simple – I believe you – I trust it – and if I can just remember it tomorrow when I’m editing, working on that new website…well then, tomorrow will be a much better day. Thanks honey – good enough!

    Reply
  3. Amy

    1. How cute is that tiny baby toe/nail? So cute!

    2. I’ve been reading you since 2004 and I feel like you always write just what I need to read, at the exact right time. Thank you. This is lovely.

    Reply
  4. Dahlila

    This was like reading a post about me. Overly sensitive (or, more so than the majority), adverse to too much noise–crowded restaurants, noisey venues, chaos and always, it seems, in search of quiet. Sigh.
    Noise is exhausting.
    And yes! Hot baths, hot tea, close up the house, curl up w/the dogs. Peaceful. (Long quiet walks are good too).

    thank you for sharing. It’s always nice to know someone else who may feel a bit overwhelmed by what everybody else seems to love.

    p.s. There’s a note over my computer: Done well is better than perfect. Done is better than not done. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Kristin

    I constantly have to remind myself that my job is not brain cancer surgery. Calm the _____ down and just remember to breathe. Life goes by so quickly, I need to learn to calm. It’s a constant process.

    Reply
  6. Anna

    Overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion … and illness, unfortunately.

    I am trying to embrace good enough … so that I can start those tasks that seem impossible to perfect.

    I am keeping my head above water right now, but JUST BARELY.

    I need some daily rituals to help me decompress… hoping to get back there very soon.

    Reply
  7. Renee Last

    Thanks so much for this, Andrea! I needed reminding big time, especially now that I am navigating the path and journey of new motherhood 🙂

    Really enjoying your Mexico posts – I’m so glad you did it – yay!

    Love,
    Renee
    ps – I’ve always had the Mondo Beyondo logo on my blog but for some reason the url is not working now when I save it on my blogger 🙁 Please advise, but only if you have a minute to spare. xo

    Reply
  8. OhAbigail

    I feel overwhelmed by how much I always feel I have to do. Weirdly I just posted about ths today – my five things to remember in order to achieve some semblance of productivity everyday!
    Thanks for your insight into keeping things simple.

    Reply
  9. mairi

    i love this post!!! i love the photo and the message. i love the joy. i love the truth. i love your spirit, dear Andrea. i love the laughter. i love the warmth.

    Reply
  10. Kristy

    Yes! Thank you for figuring that out and sharing it with us. I needed it. I’ve been so stuck and not getting anything done. AND OVERWHELMED. Today, everything will be good enough.

    xo

    Reply
  11. LauraC

    I want to scream YES YES YES at everything you write! This is a fantastic mantra, something I have been trying to achieve this year.

    Reply
  12. Harmony Pyper

    I seriously could have written this post….can SO relate. Well said!!

    Reply
  13. Amanda

    Your post came at the perfect time.
    I’ve been wanting to build a website for my art but have been putting it off because I can’t think of the “perfect design”. I wanted it to dazzle, as you said, but why? Should it not be the art that stands out instead of the page(s) that hold it? So here I go… keeping it simple!

    Thank you!!!!

    Reply
  14. 6512 and growing

    “Nothing gets more in the way of brilliance than trying to be brilliant”

    So, so true.
    *smiling as I continue with my good enough work*

    Reply
  15. teryll

    What’s so amazing is that often times out of the simple comes to the extraordinary.

    We complicate things more than we realize or care to admit. 🙂

    Thanks Andrea for the reminder!

    Reply
  16. Mariella Newton

    I took the quiz. Yep, as I suspected, “highly sensitive” too. Oh boy. Nice suggestions to cure the overwhelm. Nightly bath..ahh, yes! Good foods…oh yeah! I’d love someone to shop for them and cook ’em up for me too. 😉 I will focus on letting it be simple, and surrendering to what it is/allowing myself to be at peace in each moment. xo

    Reply
  17. jennifer w. mccullough

    Yes, I am overwhelmed and this is often the case. And I’m a HSP. And a perfectionist. I am only just beginning to learn to do things that help me be who I am versus doing things to try to change who I am.

    Let it be simple. Just writing it makes me feel better. Thank you :o)

    Reply
  18. Miriam

    Such wise words–Let it be simple!

    Thank you!

    Be gentle with yourself, brave and sweet, Andrea. You are so much more than enough!

    Reply
  19. Trish

    Simply: You are enough! You are scrumptous!!

    Love you from your blue eyes to your toes!

    Trish

    Reply
  20. rebecca

    your salutations for simple remind me of the blossoms from your previous post…and your cheeks when you would arrive each morning for our shared breakfast in san miguel.
    cheeks flushed with the bright rush blossoms of living in the present moment, of walking mindfully the ancient cobblestones, of touching simple, and arriving, chock full of perfect meaning.

    xoxoxoxoxo

    Reply
  21. Michelle

    Wow how I have missed these posts about how people really feel! This post could absolutely be about me except that you seem to have a better grasp on managing it. The hardest thing for me is saying “no” and not feeling like I am disappointing someone or letting them down.

    I think my words for the year are “good enough” and “keep it simple”!

    Thank you for being inspiring by being honest!

    Reply
  22. GailNHB

    Amen, amen, amen. I love this post. Thanks for your simple truths, your honesty, and your vulnerability again.

    The one area that I’ve learned to take it easy on myself is housekeeping: my kids repeat it with me – after I’ve swept or vacuumed or decluttered a little or mopped (I mop twice or three times per year, no joke) – I say, “It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely better.” I think I need to add that phrase to other areas of my life as well.

    I have a lot to learn about the “good enough” mantra. I try way too hard to be perfect. Way too hard. Good enough is so great.

    Thanks so much, Andrea.

    Reply
  23. michelle andre

    Mulling over which sauce to dip those wittle toes in…. 😉

    Reply
  24. Rockyann

    Spot on. I’m in trouble if ever I try to be brilliant.

    Reply
  25. Flora

    Great post Andrea! Letting go of the need to dazzle was exactly what I needed to read right now:)
    xoxo

    Reply
  26. Jennifer Hagedorn Dizon

    Thank youuuuuu Andrea. I needed to hear “good enough”… it was an affirmation exercise I just accomplished this morning. It is something I definitely need to keep telling myself. I will now go and paint those words on paper and post it in the ‘play area’. 😉

    Nico’s toes are sooo kyoooot! 😀

    Reply
  27. kjersten hayes

    Thanks for this beautiful message. So true.

    Reply
  28. Lisa

    I love you perspective on “good enough”…seems like we are all struggling with being overwhelmed and reading these posts are so helpful.

    Reply
  29. Christine

    Thank you for this post! Feeling so overwhelmed right now.
    I heard Peter Walsh say ” perfection is the enemy of done.”
    I came home from work ready to cry, scream, drink, eat, or quit.
    I chose to talk to my husband, watch modern famy, then read your blog.
    It all helped. Thanks.
    I was just writing in my journal before reading your post that I don’t know how people do it.
    I am feeling like a regular work week is just too much for me.,
    I am feeling like a person who can’t handle much. Everyone else seems to
    Be handling stress and strain and yet they also do things like go out, drink, travel, see movies, go to film festivals, go dancing, go to yoga.
    How do they do it? I need my introvert time. I like a weekend with zero plans. I like soft pajamas, my pug, movies, cuddling my husband, quiet, reading, cooking. I don’t want to go to your shower, no, I don’t want to go to that art opening. I line you, but no. I need more quiet time than the average bear, and it gets stronger, the urge to cocoon, as I get older.
    Thank you for your beautiful words, for sharing them with us! Xoxo

    Reply
  30. Adam W.

    This is epic! Thanks for posting. Love the blog…

    Reply
  31. Dana

    “Things just aren’t quite right yet with that new website, just need to edit that piece a bit more, just need to learn a few more tricks before I hire myself out…”

    This post and quote in particular really hit home for me. I’ve been hesitating to release my website and photography business out into the world because it’s not perfect yet…i’m not ready…all of those convenient excuses that make it so easy to procrastinate and live in the fear. Time to make it simple!
    Thank you!

    Reply
  32. Frizz

    OMG – did I need to find this! Thank you.

    Reply
  33. christine adolph

    In an effort to keep it simple, I’ll just say Thank you for the post, it hits home.

    Reply
  34. colleen

    I love this post! I can totally relate. Overwhelmed and Highly Sensitive – sometimes it’s enough to make me want to not get out of bed, but good old Perfectionism makes me. Sigh. These are really useful tips and insights, thanks Andrea!

    Reply
  35. Kate Daniel

    oh I really loved this post Andrea. Spoke directly to me..and I’ve been trying to practice these same things lately – doing things just good enough and letting things be simple. It’s a daily practice, for sure.

    Reply
  36. oprolevorter

    My spouse and I stumbled over here by a different page and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to checking out your web page for a second time.

    Reply

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