Episode 11

011 How to Change Your Life – Part 2: Cynicism vs. Inspiration


September 14th, 2014

46 mins 58 secs

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About this Episode

Show Summary

In this episode Leslie interviews Laura about her cynical reaction to the book Essentialism and together they find a way forward into the changes they need to make to dramatically improve Laura’s life. It’s a raw, real look at the mental obstacles that do their best to keep us from our best and what we can do to overcome them.

Show Resources

Download the transcript for Episode 11 here.

Show Highlights

No music today; we are grieving the passing of our friend Sarah, who was taken all too soon by cancer.

This is part 2 of the new series best titled: “How The Camachos are Changing Their Lives,” spearheaded by our reading of the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

The problem with the kind of book that is Essentialism, is that it can be discouraging and overwhelming when you are at your breaking point (which is where Laura is definitely at).

Apparently the proper pronunciation of Greg McKeown’s last name is “Mick-YONE.” We both got it wrong on-show. Sorry Greg!

Laura feels “inspired yet cynical” about this whole process.

Leslie gives a brief summary of the first two parts of the book:

Part I – Core mindset of Essentialist

  • You have the power of choice
  • You need to practice discernment
  • Assess the tradeoffs between opportunities/problems

Part II – Explore

  • Escape – get away and get mental space
  • Look – objectively and critically
  • Play – embrace the wisdom of your inner child
  • Sleep – “protect the asset”
  • Select – give yourself extreme criteria to ID the most important stuff in life

Our current work is to create the mental capacity to even be able to explore.

Laura wants to point out how incredibly privileged the premise of the book is – that we even have the luxury of deciding how we spend our time rather than just living in hand to mouth survival.

She also admits that she doesn’t have as much of that privilege as she would like. 🙂

Leslie points out that because we have that privilege, we need to honor it by making best use of our excess time and energy.

Laura feels like she’s been in survival mode forever, and reading a book that seems to say “It’s your fault that you’re in survival mode; just get your priorities straight!”

Laura feels like she has a “vital many” and that the few things that really feed her get trivialized. She doesn’t see how it’s possible to narrow down to a “vital few.”

It seems impossible to Laura to find the time and space to enact upon the five things. She mainly gets mad when she hears about sleep being “The option you’re not choosing ‘cause you’re dumb.” As a parent, it’s usually not by choice that you are being awoken throughout the night.

“I feel like my whole life is being run by all these other demands.”

But Laura doesn’t know how to choose otherwise. If she chooses not to do any of the responsibilities she currently has, either Leslie has to shoulder them (on top of everything else he’s already loaded with) or the whole family suffers.



Laura’s escape would look like a month in Italy with one or both of her best friends.

“I might not come back at the end of the month.”

A more realistic version: Leslie could take over supper and bedtime with the kids twice a week so Laura could leave the house.

She would need exercise and mental space. No technology.


Laura remembers loving playing video games with Leslie, but in this season that type of checking out doesn’t feel right/healthy to her.

Laura admits that she hates imaginative play with her kids. But she does feel rewarded by their appreciation when she does engage them in the thing they love the most.


Neither Leslie nor Laura seem to have a solution for this area of their lives. They are trying everything. Probably time is their only ally.


Laura’s not in a place to think about selection; too much brain fatigue.


Laura’s takeaway from her reading is feeling “Defeated and angry.”

“It’s all stuff I want to do! But it feels so unattainable that I crash and burn as soon as I start to think about it.”

Leslie’s words of hope: “If it was insurmountable, the world would be drastically different. There wouldn’t be a lot of the things we enjoy today if parenthood actually destroyed the majority of people’s lives.”

Laura is a leader, and she can’t fire her team. (Plus, they are kinda useless most of the time!)

28:56 – Laura threatens to punch Leslie.

Leslie’s main message to Laura: “You’re not alone. Other people have solved these issues. We are going to get you there, too.”

The first step is to heal Laura’s mental exhaustion.


Leslie’s mandate for Laura:

How sad would it be if success for the Camachos meant 4 people thriving and Laura burnt out and miserable? That isn’t success! It’s time to bring Laura up to speed.

Every day this week, Laura will be out of the house from 5-7pm. Leaving Leslie to do supper and wind-down with the kids.

This means no housework, no errands, no work. Pure Laura time. She needs to be intentional with at least half of it; the other half can be play time.

Every morning at 7:30, Leslie and Laura will have a 15-minute Standup meeting to go over the day before and what is up for the current day.


What I’m going to do for you

Laura offers to not leave Leslie hanging regarding what to feed the kids. Leslie promises to treat Laura like a client – in a good way!


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