Image by Shannon Ho Photohgraphy
I ‘met’ Whitney by clicking through Instagram profiles earlier this year and was completely inspired by her words and her profile. Then I saw she was the creator behind the Day Designer®, and if you’ve been a reader for awhile you know how much I love designing your life around your ideal day. It was like a match made in heaven! She is a necessary addition to the Inspiring Women Series. I’m so excited to introduce Whitney to you today; and then go check out her 2015 DayDesigner too!
Name: Whitney English
Occupation: Creative Entrepreneur
Please tell us a little about you:
The basics: I’m married to a great guy, and live in Oklahoma City with our little clan of three kiddos: two boys and a girl. Saved by grace and grateful for mercy.
Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):
- My Day Designer®
- Diet Mt. Dew
- and at least a couple of pages in a (hopefully good) book.
Who are you inspired by, and why?
Currently, authors. I have a wild-fangled notion to write a book so studying how writers write, and tell story, has been a recent fascination. Right now, my two favorite people to read and follow are Donald Miller and Jeff Goins.
To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply quit?
I remember sitting in bed on a Saturday morning, with the finalized first Day Designer® in front of me, and realizing that the time had come to announce the project to the world. I was hesitant to tell people. Literally, I had never poured my soul into a project like that, and there was a lot of hope that it could make a pretty dark spot in life better. As the story goes, some things got worse, and some things did get better as Day Designer® did eventually take off. I think the thing that kept me motivated in the darkest moments was the realization that you can’t do nothing. It’s physically impossible. So I might as well chose to do things that matter. Eventually, and no matter what, that pays off.
We always want to know how others balance it all, and I’m sure you feel like you don’t, but tell us some ways on how you stay on top of your game. What gets left behind, what gets top priority, and what helps you stay grounded?
I think the secret to balance is knowing which balls to let drop. I learned in those dark days that I couldn’t let my self-maintenance ball drop, so now I work out religiously at least three days a week. The next ball that can’t drop is the family and relationships ball, so I’ve been very intentional about family time and kids activities. When a ball starts to fall because it just isn’t the priority at the moment, I’ve learned to look at it two ways: I can find someone to delegate the task to, or I can let it fall. I like what Albert Einstein said once: life is like riding a bicycle; to keep your balance, you have to keep moving.
What are your must-have tools to keep on top of every day tasks as well as your busy life?
My Day Designer®, again. Can you see the theme here? For work, definitely my MacBook. After that, a coffee maker.
Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life?
Oh, no, there was definitely a day–actually, several–when I woke up and said, I can’t do this any more. I can’t let life control me like this. When this happens, I usually go into cleaning frenzy, email-answering frenzy, or whole-food-eating frenzy. I think we all occasionally let our “intentionality” slide, and I use an aligned goal-setting method to help keep me in check.
How has your life changed since you’ve been living it intentionally?
Well, it’s not perfect. Living intentionally is not the be-all/end-all, as my mother would say. In fact, sometimes it’s harder. The discipline has to be turned on. The choice to put one foot in front of the other, put the candy bar down, or put the iPhone away is sometimes all-too conscious. I wish living intentionally came naturally to me, but I’m grateful for some big-dream ideas that drive me, and for a God that blessed me with a brain to keep me going when the going gets tough.
Have your family/friends been supportive?
I think living intentionally is a personal choice. I don’t think any family or friends has ever come to me and said, “Oh, good to see that you are living intentionally now”. My parents were always supportive with a, “Good choice, honey”, and occasionally my husband will remark about how clean the house looks, if I’ve taken extra care in a certain spot, or made a really nice dinner. But for the most part, intentional living is the tiny decisions that no one ever sees that result in long-term benefits if you keep doing them long enough.
Do you have any rituals or friends you call upon when you need extra support or encouragement?
I meet monthly with a group of women in Oklahoma called Posse. It’s a commitment, but for many of us as busy entrepreneurs it’s the only face-to-face time we get with life-minded women, so we don’t miss it. My husband and I try to make it to church three out of four weeks, as a way to re-balance, re-align, and gain perspective.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to live intentionally but doesn’t know where to start?
In the simplest form, intentional living is all about your choices. What do you spend your time and your money on? That’s what your putting first in your life. If you don’t LOVE the thing you are spending your time and your money on, then it’s simple: you’re out of alignment. If you don’t LOVE your job and it’s eating 60 hours of your week, start making tiny decisions that take you in another direction. Intentional living doesn’t have to be cold-turkey, but it does have to be deliberate.
Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?
The Bible. I’m no preacher or theologian, but there’s no other answer for me. Jesus was a pretty cool dude, and I’m aware that He said that following Him wouldn’t always be easy, but love isn’t always easy. Sometimes, I think that’s the only way the path is straight and narrow–it’s just because love can be pretty darn hard at times. (Reference intentional choices, right?)
I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?
Writing a book. Jeff Goins said that if you want to be a writer, call yourself a writer. It’s a title I’m still trying to embrace. And I realize that writing a book is super-challenging. Sometimes I wonder if I’m up to the task. Also, I’m working on some pretty cool stuff for Day Designer®. Stay tuned!
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