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Balancing The Drive for Perfection

In the midst of running her multimillion dollar business, entrepreneur Emily Ley discusses how she lives by a standard of grace, not perfection. Read Transcript

NARRATOR: Like so many women, Emily Ley

has felt the pressure of trying to do it all,

and do it all perfectly.

She's an author, the founder and creative director

of a multimillion-dollar business,

and a busy wife and mom of three.

After awhile, the pressure of juggling everything

became too much for Emily to bear.

EMILY LEY (VOICEOVER): I decided that I'll hold myself

to a standard of grace, not perfection,

that I was going to just be the best I could be, and make

the important stuff happen.

NARRATOR: In her new book, "Grace, Not Perfection,"

she shares Biblical wisdom in practical steps that

will help you simplify your routine

and make room for what really matters.

Emily Ley is here today.

We welcome you to the show.

Thank you.

Simplify sounds good.

Thank you, it does.

A breath of fresh air.

You know, my daughter-in-law-- one of my daughters-in-law--

and I were talking just this past week about perfectionism,

because if it's something that you struggle with,

we say it's a curse, but we kind of feel OK about it.

It's one of those curses that seems like maybe there's

a good side to it.



Well, I think that we have all gotten to this place where

we feel like it's the norm to be comparing ourselves, and trying

so hard to keep up, and to portray the image that we have

it all together.

How did you get out from under that?

I mean, you share in the book that you

can get pretty frazzled trying to be on the top of the heap

all the time.

Oh, all the time.

You know, I think I just had to implement

routines that worked for us.

Real tactical systems, like doing our laundry every day

so that we don't have a giant pile on Sundays.

Now, that still happen sometimes.

That's where the grace comes in.

It's OK.

But finding ways that work for our families

so that we can keep the wheels moving.

You've got great little tidbits of wisdom,

like, use what works for you, let the rest go.

I mean, sometimes as women, we almost

need permission to do that.

I totally agree.

You know, I really feel like we need

to support each other as women.


We do.

As a sisterhood, and say it's OK!

We don't have to have it all together all the time.

It's exhausting.

And sometimes-- you're talking about exhaustion,

and then you talk in the book about the peril of trying

to draw from a dry well.


How do you keep from letting your well get dry,

so that you can savor life in the moment in the chaos?

We have to continually fill our well with the good things.

With truth, with rest, with good food,

with the things that inspire us, like reading.

That's very important.

So often we make sure our kids or the people

we love have everything they need, and we forget ourselves.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: You know, I laughed

as I was reading your book when you talked about getting

your closet organized.

And you were talking about getting rid of things,

and you said, get rid of those things that

are two sizes smaller than where you are now.


Because it's a constant judgment of your present state.

You don't even think-- you think you're being practical.

You know, what if I lose, then I'd have to--


Think of-- I mean, those are the kind of practical things

that you say, make it OK to be you.


And when there are less distractions,

I don't want to walk in my closet

and remember the size I was in college.

I want to walk in my closet and feel

confident in who I am right now, who God made me to be.


It's also hard when most of the hangers

are the ones that you're waiting to go back to,

and then there are three or four at the end that are today.

Absolutely. [LAUGHS]

Every woman, I think, needs a support system.

You know, I'm sure men do too, but they

don't seem to congregate with friends like we do,

in the same way.

But friends are really important.


How do you utilize friendships in your life,

in a way that makes you a blessing and blesses you?

I really feel like we need a village.

They say it takes a village to raise a child,

but I think it takes a village to do life well.

And that means having friends who support and encourage you.

Friends that you can pour into, as well.

And when you bring that tribe around you,

and you all have similar hearts, that's beautiful.

You know?

And it just empowers us.

So you have a successful business,

you have three children--

I do.

--a busy household.

How do you keep all the plates spinning at the same time?

And I'm sure there are moments when they don't.

EMILY LEY: Oh, absolutely.

I give myself a lot of grace.

And I bring help in when I need it.

I'm not afraid to outsource.

I also have just found systems that work.

And for me, I use our simplified planner

to keep track of my days.

Talk about that, because you really did simplify it.

Sometimes I open those planners up,

then I just close them again, going, it's

one more to-do list, you know?

Right, right.

I needed a place that would allow

me to spill everything that felt overwhelming in my brain

and heart onto paper.

I needed a place to get everything out.

And I also needed something that felt like a fresh start.

So we designed a simplified planner,

very minimal on purpose, so that every woman can use it

to her needs and to fit her circumstances and her seasons,


TERRY MEEUWSEN: And you've kept the focus on four key things.



Talk about that.

So, our daily pages-- we have a daily and a weekly edition--

but the daily pages focus on your schedule, your to-do list,

what's for dinner, and notes.

And that's it.

There's nothing else.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: You know, I felt so released when

I heard those four areas, because every night when

I get home from work, everybody that happens to be at my house

goes, what's for dinner?

They want to be fed every day!

Like, why don't you people decide?

[LAUGHS] Another thing you say that I

think is so key-- it's key to life in general-- is,

savor the circus.

You know, you can be frustrated by it,

you can lose energy over it, you can rail on about it,

but if you don't learn to savor it, you miss the joy.

I believe that there are seasons of life

that are not changeable.

So, I have three very small children.

That's what it is.


There it is.

And so I have to sit in the mess,

sometimes, with a screaming toddler or two,

with a messy house.

I have to learn to sit in the mess and let it be.


Let it be OK.

And sometimes, then, I'm sure you have deadlines in what you

do with your business.

Sometimes you've got to put the deadline on hold

because somebody wants to read a book, and that's the memory.

And I have a good friend, Rachel Shingleton, who said,

you can be juggling balls in the air and there will always be

one ball that you cannot drop.

You decide what that ball is and you never drop it.

But be OK if the other ones have to fall down sometimes.

So much wise counsel in Emily's book.

I just want to say that it's a book for every woman

to read, no matter what season of life you're in.

Emily, we thank you for being here.

Thank you!

The book is called-- it's just out, hot

off the press-- called "Grace, Not Perfection."

Love the title.

It's available in stores nationwide.

The subtitle is "Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy."

Who doesn't want to do that?

Great to have you here.

Thank you very much.


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