How a simple new mantra is changing my life

Vale Design - How a simple new mantra is changing my life

My last living grandparent, my maternal grandmother, passed away a year ago this month. I was blessed to spend some of her final moments with her, holding her hand, watching her receive last rites and being able to tell her I loved her. We even shared some sass and laughs at the end. Her passing left me a little bit scattered and shattered, but I feel like the fog of grief is slowly lifting.

I have been reflecting on my grandparents’ life. Both of them lived into their 90’s. For their entire marriage, they lived in a small 1940’s house the size of a postage stamp, yet it had this magic ability to swell to include room for 20-30 family members every Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas or birthday. My grandparents left each of their children a monetary inheritance. My grandfather was retired the ENTIRE time I knew him. They traveled often. They believed that church, community service and giving back to others was non-negotiable. They were surrounded by friends. They lacked nothing and were honored and respected by everyone.

They lived small, saved their money, did not buy every “must have” or "pretty" item and cooked mostly at home (some of the best food I have ever eaten!). They spent time together just watching baseball on tv, listening to one of their grandkids chat about their lives and sitting on their sun porch listening to the birds sing.

But they lived big! Casinos when they wanted to. Traveling to all 50 states and internationally when they felt like it. They laughed, drank wine and told great stories. My grandfather liked televisions. He had 3. He liked cars and would trade his in every once and awhile for a new model. My grandmother liked clothes and lipstick.

I am not someone who believes in owning a lot of things, but we all fall into the brainless consumer trap. This North Face jacket is on sale at the consignment shop. It won’t hurt to buy it. I am tired and I don’t want to cook for my picky eater tonight, let’s go out to eat (so guilty of this!). I must have these 3 fonts in order to find the perfect one for this client. I have to sign up for this business e-course to learn yet another way for someone to tell me to trust my gut, get back to work and that there is no magic formula to success.

Reflecting back on my grandparents' lives gave me an epiphany.

A simple new mantra was born.


From now on, both personally and professionally, I am going to challenge myself to live small so that I can live big!

  • I want to move into a different neighborhood because they have better amenities, but I don’t need to. My house is gorgeous and sufficient.
  • I want all of the face lotions and potions to give me perfect skin, but I don’t need to. My faults keep me vulnerable and real.
  • I want to go on every trip that the Joneses take, but I don’t need to. I am a homebody and I love to work and I love my clients.
  • I want to purchase every stock photography image for my client, but I don’t need to. There are plenty of free stock photography sites with amazing, impactful shots.
  • I can still have meetings at Starbucks, but I do not need a drink every time.
  • I want to take every e-course under the sun to learn something new, but I don’t need to. I am a badass intelligent business owner who knows her s@#$.
  • Target...we might have to break up or at least have a trial separation for a bit.

I looked up to and respected my grandparents. I studied the way their lived and loved. They lived small and as a result of some sacrifice they lived so damn big!

I am grateful for what I have and I am grateful for the choice to sacrifice to have a full life, surrounded by family, donating and giving back to my community and most importantly...making my grandparents proud of the women that I am and continue to strive to become.

My personal and professional decisions will now be guided by some sacrifice and a constant mantra asking "will this help me live small to live big?" Do I need to purchase this thing or commit to this work event? How will this sacrifice pay off? Is this purchase a "hell yeah" purchase? Can I walk out of Target with less than $100 worth of stuff?

What choices can you make right now both personally and professionally to live smaller so you can live bigger?