In this episode of the Feel Good Effect Podcast, we’re talking with Camille Styles about deciding what to keep or leave behind and cultivating intentional growth, even when it doesn’t mean doing more or getting bigger. Plus, Camille offers some tactical ideas on journaling that are valuable for beginner and more seasoned journalers alike.
Things to Leave Behind with Camille Styles
Freedom is one way to describe our experiences during this unique time.
Through it, we’ve had to realize that life is short and anything can happen.
Camille and her family have taken advantage of this new sense of freedom, finding a place to spend time by the ocean, a dream they have had for some time.
This year, it’s like our world was shaken like a snowglobe and we came untethered, landing somewhere new.
We can find freedom in this lost sense of normal.
Finding creative freedom
Everything was shaken up in our lives; it’s been both heartbreaking and inspiring hearing about different people’s experiences and perspectives through all of it.
There’s undoubtedly so much hardship, sadness, and constraints.
At the same time, a huge thing for Camille this year has been finding creativity within constraints.
Within our constraints, whether that is being constrained to our homes, constrained by financial hardship, or however it may look, there is room for the birth of new ideas and new inspiration.
There can be a shift in perspective from feeling roadblocked by the constraints put upon us this year to viewing it as an opportunity to take a step back and embrace a fresh look.
So many things that were occupying our minds and calendars were stripped away, leaving this white space that we can build upon.
On a daily basis, there might be more distractions but still access to that white space with the absence of a regimen.
A switch to intentionality
We do so many things without thinking or being intentional about what we’re doing and why.
Sometimes it just takes that realization that we can shift things and we do have the choice, in general.
We don’t all have the choice to anything we want at all times, of course, there are all kinds of practical considerations, but we often do have a choice to do something different.
It is possible to grow professionally without getting bigger or doing more.
Camille started her website twelve years ago as a creative outlet and fell in love with having the platform for writing and building an online community.
For the first few years, it was a really small team working out of her house.
At that point, growth felt like hiring people, getting bigger, finding an office, etc.
One by one, she added team members, renovated an office, and then a bigger office.
At the peak, there were seven full-time employees and lots of other contributors around the country.
In some ways, she loved it; but it also came with a lot of stress of managing people, managing money, and a habit of producing and monetizing in order to make ends meet.
There was always something that felt like it was chasing her while she was chasing after it.
Moving toward a life she wanted
Camille had an ah-ha moment, realizing that she had worked so hard to build up her own business, but at what cost?
She started reflecting on what it would require to get her life closer to what she wanted it to look like.
Each of these days rushing from place to place compounded into years and she didn’t want her life to look like one big blur.
She started reflecting on what her dream day would look like, what it would entail.
In reality, it was full of little things that often were pushed to the end of her to-do list or pushed off altogether by the urgency of things she had on her list of work to do.
She followed with a list of barriers: Why am I not doing these things? What changes would I have to make?
Her goal was to get back in touch with why she was doing what she did in the first place and what she was truly passionate about in her professional life, how growth could look different than just getting bigger.
A new sense of growth
For Camille, professional growth now means growing her audience because she believes in her content, believes in what her team is creating, and wants to continue sharing that with more and more people; it doesn’t require a bigger team to do so.
Personal growth, for Camille, means growing into a person who is making a more positive impact on the world, growing in the depth of content being shared with her audience and provide truly inspiring writing and photography.
Growth in nature requires contraction and expansion; it’s not only in one direction.
Knowing what to leave behind
Robyn goes over this idea of getting brilliant at the basics, that 20% of your effort yields 80% of results.
Stripping away everything but that 20% means you don’t have to do the extra, but how do you get there?
Social media makes it tempting to see what other people are doing, what seems to work for them, and what seems to bring them happiness.
It’s hard to drown that out and get in touch with yourself and what authentically brings you joy.
Social media is full of loud voices that make it harder to hear your quiet voice.
Journaling for clarity
Camille uses her journal for clarity on what is or isn’t serving her; the big reason for journaling is to bring clarity to her thoughts.
Getting quiet with her journal and slowing things down helps her organize her thoughts and get to the heart of what is bothering her or weighing her down.
Seeing it on paper makes it clear.
Camille often sits down not thinking that she has anything to write about but when she starts writing, more times than not she ends up getting to the heart of what is on her mind or actually important for her to be thinking about.
We can bring clarity to the things that are weighing us down, but we need a practice that allows us to hear our inner voice.
Journaling is incredibly accessible, but there are mindset blocks that many people have around journaling.
Blocked by mindset
If you were raised in a traditional school setting, writing had a purpose and it wasn’t self-discovery.
You might have learned that there were right and wrong ways to write, wrong ways often pointed out.
Camille doesn’t journal with the intention of going back and reading what she’s written.
The primary goal is to process as a mindfulness practice.
In fact, she often writes with a stream of consciousness, totally nonsensical, with the goal of getting thoughts and words flowing to express herself.
Finding what works
Camille used to journal in the evening, which can be a really helpful tool for getting things out and processing the day.
That said, she finds herself tired at the end of the day and would actually dread journaling.
Knowing this, she didn’t want to add something to her routine that she actually dreaded or that was a burden.
With the insight that she has more energy and clarity of thought first thing in the morning, Camille made journaling part of her morning routine.
She gets up, makes a cup of coffee, opens up Evernote, and just starts writing, starting with something that happened during the day, a friend she saw, a conversation she had, etc., often ending up at important self-reflection.
Throughout the day if Camille thinks of something meaningful or comes across a quote she wants to unpack, she makes a note to journal about it later, giving her a prompt the next morning.
Additionally, if she is journaling about something specific, like feeling competitive on social media, she will write that at the beginning of the paragraph and highlight it, like a theme.
Then, later if she is working on her newsletter or blog post or needing journal inspiration, she can go back and quickly scan the themes she has highlighted.
This helps her find which entries might be helpful to revisit and reflect on what she may have discovered.
We can flip from goal-oriented to process-oriented and release some of that all or nothing, comparison cycle, because you’re not trying to get anywhere, the process is the doing.
When we do that, it creates freedom in our lives.
Finding joy at home
A big return for many this year has been a shift in wanting to make our homes our favorite place.
We’ve spent so much time at home this year and so many of us have had this awakening that our homes are important to our mental health.
This new perspective is about having your home feel like a sigh of relief when you walk in the door and letting it truly be the place that sparks joy where you can do the things you love.
Right now, carving out life at home that feels fulfilling is what is lighting Camille up.
What it really means to be healthy
I think it’s feeling comfortable in your skin, feeling a sense of balance, and really just… feeling connected to who you really are at your core and feeling like you’re always on a journey that’s getting closer and closer to that.
On her award-winning lifestyle site, Camille Styles shares inspired ideas for living a happy and healthy life with hundreds of thousands of readers each month – her passion is inspiring others to “Live Life Like You Mean It.” Camille leads a team of editors who create daily content for the brand’s properties, serves as a spokesperson for Target, and is a regular lifestyle contributor to national media outlets. She lives in Austin with her husband Adam and their kids Phoebe and Henry.
Check out www.camillestyles.com
Connect with Camille on Instagram @camillestyles