My First 60 Days of Living With Less

I normally tailor my blog posts to business, success, and entrepreneurship, but today I’m going to go a little left field and share a challenge that I posed to myself on January 1st.  It has little to do with business, but now 60 days into the challenge I’m beginning to see some opportunities where the lines may cross.  Perhaps this lesson I am teaching myself has a lot to do with both business and life.

On January 1st I dared myself to take a stand.  I didn’t call it a resolution, because I am not good at keeping those.  A dare, however, is something that I can win.  I’ve dared myself to do a lot of things in life and I usually win.  So, this too, was a dare.

I love clothing and shoes.  I have a closet full of business suits, dresses, designer jeans, sweaters, and more.  My shoe closet?  I’ve got plenty to choose from.  I love clothing and shoes.  In a normal year, clothing and shoes are my vices.  When I have a bad day, I’ll buy a new outfit to feel better.  When I had a win, I’d go buy new shoes to celebrate.  Thankfully I’ve never been afforded the time to be a shopaholic.  So, my closets are packed, but not overstuffed.  But, I do own plenty.

Last year, I was at a gala for Be Like Brit.  Len and Cherylann Gengel founded an orphanage in Haiti in memory of their teenage daughter who passed away while on a mission there four years ago.  I watched the video they played during the gala when it hit me that I need to just stop always wanting more.  There are people in the world with real need, people like the ones in Haiti.  Most of Haiti doesn’t even have clean drinking water.  Most do not have suitable housing.  Many don’t own a pair of shoes.  There are people like them who live in constant need.

After I left the Be Like Brit event that evening I kept thinking about all the need in the world.  Need is an interesting word.  For me, I had misused it my entire life.  I thought I needed another pair of black shoes because the others were scuffed.  I thought I needed a red winter coat because  I didn’t own a red one.  I thought I needed.  In fact, I’ve never once in my life needed anything.  And here I was 41 years old just realizing for the first time that I need for nothing.  I’ve got everything I need already.

I challenged myself on January 1st to stop pretending to need things.  For example, I do not need more clothes, more shoes, more coats.  Since January 1st I haven’t purchased new clothing, shoes, or coats for myself.  I’ve been content in finding new ways to use what I already have.  My nice warm Ugg Boots got a big rip in them.  Last year that would have been cause for running out to buy new ones.  This year, I sewed up the hole, good as new.  My black professional boots got all scuffed and worn from the snow and ice.  I didn’t buy new ones.  I reorganized my closet and found a pair I hadn’t worn in years.  I have been wearing clothes that I haven’t put on in years.  I have even had fun putting together ensembles which would have never been created had I just gone and bought new stuff.

For a girl that has spent an entire lifetime striving for more, I’m beginning to realize that sometimes less is where it’s at.

There are so many awesome charitable organizations out there.  Everyone has a cause, charity, or foundation, that they support. I’m all for giving money to worthy non-profit organizations.  I’m all for volunteering time as well.  That being said…. I’m beginning to think that the best way to change the world is to really get to the heart of one little word, “need.”  When we all understand what it truly means, we are well on our way to changing the world.

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.