Every fall, I take the most fabulous group of ladies to Paris for an indulgent retreat on femininity, style, confidence and luxurious living.
The intention: to French Kiss Life with every ounce of our beings.
Every woman comes back changed. But, it’s not because we’re sitting around writing out our 5-year vision plans or mapping out every step of our goals.
Oh no! That wouldn’t be very French of us.
Instead, we are practicing tending to the details of our daily lives.
This year, as we gathered in my apartment for an evening salon, one of the speakers spoke about how the French culture pays special attention to the details of 3 very specific areas of daily life.
I had a lightbulb moment.
It occurred to me that most people are NOT focused on these areas. In fact, they rush through them and treat them more of a nuisance than areas to be honored and respected.
And, we wonder why we’re stressed, unfulfilled and overwhelmed?
I also put the pieces of my own puzzle together and noticed: when I pay special attention to these areas, everything in my life works better.
I show up better in my relationships.
I attract opportunities.
I feel better in my work.
I am healthier.
I am happier.
I’m sure you’re wondering what these areas are, and I promise I’m about to spill the beans, but you must know that my experience as a critical care nurse has only solidified my deep belief in what I’m about to share.
I’ve been fortunate to hold the hands of patients who were on their deathbed. And, I can tell you that most of what society is focused is NOT what their 90-year old selves will be celebrating.
Wasted hours on Facebook? No!
Worrying about how many followers or likes we got on our last Instagram image? Double no!
Trying to please the whole neighborhood. Absolutely no!
Working 60+ hours a week? Umm…no!
Checking off the to-do lists? Boring!
Making six figures a year? Not if your relationships are crumbling, your health is failing and you’re stressed out 24-7!
But, as a businesswoman and mom, I get the demands of our daily lives. Yes, there is work to do, commitments to honor and bills to pay.
But, our French sisters have the same obligations. Last time I checked, French women work just like us. And, they have children. Yet, they seem to know where to focus their attention that makes life feel more enchanting.
What I’ve discovered is that much of our obsessions are on things and people that are way outside our intimate circle of daily life.
I mean, I love my followers on Facebook and Instagram. But, what I deeply know is that I must take care of the details of my intimate life before I can post how great my life is on social media! (okay, there was a bit of sarcasm in that statement!)
Yet, I see a lot of people do that. There is NO way they are deeply engaged in their every day life with as much time as they spend on their computers. (And, I’ll admit I’m sometimes guilty!)
Furthermore, we are so accustomed to our five year plans and the big picture, it seems that we’ve forgotten where the best things in life reside: what we engage with on a daily basis.
During our Paris retreat, we ask ourselves what’s really important. More specifically, we begin to dream about how our daily lives can look and feel.
As a result…
…one lady came home, quit her job and is loving staying at home and gardening.
…another lost 15 pounds in the months to follow the retreat.
…another one has reignited her passion for writing and was just published in Huffington Post.
…one woman became super clear on her business, more specifically what she is no longer willing to do.
…one woman is dressing up every day after years of ignoring her personal style.
…another lady has reignited the passion in her marriage.
This is what happens when you begin to take care of certain areas of your life before racing to some goal that doesn’t necessarily promise you anything except a checked off box.
My philosophy is this:
If you focus on living each day well, you will have a well-lived life.
If life feels stressful and chaotic, let me offer you this:
Bring your attention back to the details of your daily life.
I understand that what I teach is not mainstream in our culture where formulas and blueprints for success are being promoted every where we turn. It seems that that we are much more focused on getting somewhere other than where we are.
But, in coaching women for years who have tried everything to find success and happiness, I have come to discover that our greatest joy is found by how we live each day.
Yes, it’s important to have a vision for your life, but the unfolding of it directly depends your showing up fully in your daily life. It’s time we stop neglecting some of the fundamental areas of our life, treating them as things we will get to ‘one day.’
If you’re neglecting the details of your life because you’re chasing for some future goal, you need to ask yourself, “What’s the point?”
In France, the point of life is to live each day fully and well.
When I’m working with women, I’ve noticed that these areas are often being neglected.
They are the first to go on the back burner until someday when…
…they’ve lost weight.
…they have more money.
…life feels under control.
…they’ve met the guy.
…they feel better.
Yet, from experience I know that tending to these details are exactly what will help you attract all of those things.
In fact, just last week, I noticed that I was feeling ‘off.’ My energy was low. I was feeling out of sorts, and before I knew it, the doom and gloom was starting to creep in.
When I stopped and thought about the conversation in Paris, I realized I had neglected the 3 most important areas of my daily life.
I immediately stepped away from everything I was supposed to do and began to tidy up these areas. Immediately, I felt so much relief and was more inspired than ever.
So, why do we neglect them? The reasons vary. And, as someone who has ignored these areas during different times in my life (including last week), I understand why they are usually the first things to be put on the back burner.
We think they don’t really matter.
We convince ourselves that we’ll do it later.
We think there’s not enough time.
We are exhausted.
However, as someone who continues to make them a priority, I also know the shift that can happen in a woman’s life when she doesn’t discount these areas.
So, what are these 3 areas?
1. Your Home
You wake up in it and it holds you while you sleep. It’s where many of your memories are created, and quite possibly where you’ve spent many years. Your home deserves TLC, even if it’s not ideal for you right now.
During a recent coaching call, a client expressed dissatisfaction with her living space. Haven’t most of us? I know I’d love to be living in a modern home perched on a beautiful piece of property overlooking an ocean. But, I’m not. Presently, I’m blessed with a condo in a little mountain town in Colorado.
I am a huge proponent of blooming where you’re planted. In fact, I believe it’s how you’ll attract the things you deeply desire in life.
When I walked into my French friend, Catherine’s, apartment, I was shocked to see how small it was. Yet, it felt luxurious and meaningful, as everything within the walls reflected her soul — from the artwork to the music that played in the background.
Catherine has created her chic sanctuary, and as she told me, “This is the place that holds me after the guy breaks my heart, after a long day at work and when I’m sick.”
She spoke about her home as if it was her best friend, and it was obvious she treated it with a comparable respect.
Your home is a metaphor for your life.
When it’s messy, you’re mind is probably full of chaos.
When it’s neat and clean, your mind is probably feeling at peace.
Change your home; change your life.
Make your home a place that you love and enjoy. A fresh coat of paint, candles or new linens. Maybe, it’s letting go of the clutter that’s suffocating your life. Perhaps, it’s just about having a more grateful heart.
I know that when my home is getting its deserved attention, I show up better in other areas of my life.
When I wake up to a clean kitchen, fresh flowers on the counter, and things put where they belong, I show up better in life.
2. What you eat
It’s rare to see a French woman eating at her desk or throwing a frozen meal in the microwave to save time.
Take a stroll through a French farmer’s market, and the message is clear: French people are passionate about their food.
Yet, when it comes to food and cooking, I’ve heard (and given) all the excuses. I’m too busy. I can’t find good food where I live. I hate cooking.
And, here’s the sweet, honest to God truth: nourishing your body is one of the most important things you’ll ever do in life.
Ignoring what you put into your body and giving it very little attention is not how to live a well-lived life. It’s how you will possibly live a short and painful one.
If you want to create success in life, you must take care of you.
Food matters. Period.
3. What you wear
Every morning, you wake up and make a decision: what should I wear?
You can either unconsciously throw on something OR you can intentionally choose how you show up in the world.
Style is a form of self-expression. As Rachel Zoe said, “It’s telling the world who you are without saying a word.”
What is your current wardrobe saying about you?
For years, mine screamed, “I don’t have time and don’t think well of myself.”
Thanks to spending time in Europe, I began to see how important style is in our daily lives.
Everything is energy, including your clothes.
Of course, it’s absolutely okay to wear yoga pants and sweats if that’s what you love.
But, if you’re throwing them on because life feels out of control or that you’re hiding from your own life, this is a grand opportunity to claim your birthright: to express yourself with intention and daily respect.
These 3 areas may not seem like much. Like most people, you may be more obsessed with the BIG things like making more money, writing a book or finding your soul mate.
And, please know I am your biggest advocate in creating whatever your heart desires!
But, here’s what I know:
When you take care of these 3 simple areas of your life, you are much more likely to attract the bigger things in life.
If you don’t believe me, imagine this:
You wake up each day in a home you love. It’s clean, uncluttered and filled with beautiful things that represent you. Each morning, you take the time to look and feel your best. You always love what you’re wearing and aren’t embarrassed if guests show up unexpectedly. And, each day, you choose foods that feel nourishing and delicious. The result is that you are full of vitality.
If this is your reality, think about how you’d show up in the other areas of your life.
Consider how you’d feel each morning, at work and when you lie down at night.
And, when you feel amazing, how do you show up in life?
You show up better. Period.
Now, how you achieve these things are completely up to you. We are creative beings, which means that there are so many ways to take care of these very important areas of your life.
Hire a chef.
Have a housekeeper.
Find a personal stylist.
Create space in your calendar.
Cook delicious meals for the week on Sundays.
Enlist the help of your family.
The possibilities are endless, but the point here is this:
These 3 areas are impacting the quality of your life. If you want to live luxuriously, you cannot ignore your home, food or personal style.
Now, I wish I could offer you a formula to make this seamless, but there’s not one. We are all unique with different demands, priorities and lifestyles.
I’m constantly checking in to see which of these 3 important areas of my life need more TLC. But, that’s the beauty of this all: it’s an on-going process that will never feel completely tidy. So, for the love of God, don’t beat yourself up if your home isn’t immaculate all the time, you’re not eating 100% healthy and you wore your sweat pants today.
This isn’t about perfection; it’s about awareness!
If what I shared speaks to you, perhaps these 3 areas just need some loving. That’s all.
Now, m’friend, I’d love to know: which of these 3 areas is begging you to notice and tend to?
Let’s talk about it in the comments below.