When I decided to add CLEAR to the 2015 reading list for the Beautiful Knockout Book Club, I had no idea how my life was about to change.  And there was no way my friend and author of CLEAR, Annick Magac, would have been able to know the depth of CLEAR’s transformational impact on the direction of my life.  She is not a psychic; she is an author, interior designer, health and fitness coach and a woman who understands that our outer world is a complete reflection of our internal world, whether we are aware of it or not.  She understands that we hold ourselves back by the stuff we accumulate and holding onto stuff prevents us from living a fully fearless and joyful life.  Clutter whether it is mental, physical or in our email inbox keeps us living small,  often stifles our growth and doesn’t allow us to reach our full potential.  Like I said before, when I got my copy of CLEAR and prepared to read it, I just thought, “this will be great! I can clear out some clutter and feel more organized.” What I couldn’t have known, was that my life and understanding of myself would never be the same.  I didn’t know that I was about to make one of the biggest leaps in my life. Looking back, it was perfect timing for me and just what I needed to feel confident in my ability to let go and live more fearlessly!

So let me begin from the beginning.  I started a book club in January because I wanted to be able to connect with women like me to help inspire and empower them to fully embrace their lives and live joyfully plus kick ass doing it.  You should also know that, I LOVE reading and learning is truly a passion of mine.  The Beautiful Knockout Book Club was the perfect combination of what I needed and what I wanted to give to other women and so with that it was born.  As I decided on the books for the BKO Book Club, CLEAR was one of my top choices, there was no question about that.  I am friends with the author and I knew it would be a unique opportunity for the members of the BKO Book Club to not only engage in discussion with me and each other about CLEAR, but also to discuss the book with the author. Given that this book is about “decluttering,” I scheduled it for February right before the normal “Spring Cleaning” many people do.

CLEAR BookIn preparing to start reading CLEAR, I committed to doing every single exercise she had written to my fullest ability. Even with this level of commitment, I had no idea that my life would be forever changed in the ways it was.  For me every chapter was an opportunity to learn and explore myself and my thoughts.  I love the way Annick started CLEAR’s first exercise by making the recommendation to “pick out a fresh journal or notebook that you love the look and physical feel of.”  She walked me though how to make a very intentional choice when choosing the journal I was going to honestly explore myself and my clutter.  For me, this was the first step of my transformational experience from CLEAR.  I had to go to two different stores to find the perfect one. I put out the intention on finding a journal for this process, one that made me feel empowered, energized and would allow me to create endless possibilities for myself and I found it!! Funny thing is that the color of my journal almost exactly matches the color of the cover of CLEAR which was completely unintentional or was it…. When we set intentions we draw the right energy to us. Annick shares a lot about how to be intentional in what you do and I just love that because I know sometimes for myself I have not been as intentional as I needed to be and that is when I end up with stuff that I didn’t need or really even wanted. And then it sits there collecting dust and wasting money.

As I continued to write, explore and reflect, I came to exercise 14 – Allowing Beauty In. This was like a big slap in the face, a literal knockout punch to the jaw, when I realized that I was not allowing beauty in my life because I felt like I didn’t I deserved it.  As as I wrote and explored, I came to this place where I felt like I needed something radical and completely unorthodox way to allow beauty into my life and it started with my closet.

IMG_9104I decided that in order to let beauty into my life I would have to take drastic measures in my closet, so I PUT EVERYTHING I OWNED IN A TRASH BAG.  Yes, I put all my clothes from my closet and dresser in trash bags, including my underwear and bras.  Now, I didn’t throw them out but I decided that in order to allow beauty into my wardrobe I needed to start over.  I was being limited by what I already owned. In others I was trying to fit in, with what I already had instead of allowing myself to be fully expressed in who I am.  Now in case you are wondering, no I didn’t throw everything away, not just yet…..

What I did next was sent a budget of $400-500 that I would allow myself to spend on a new wardrobe.  Now if you know me, this was EXTREMELY challenging because I often would not allow myself to spend money on myself and when I did I felt guilt and shame about it.  Major guilt and shame, to the point that I would call my mother to get approval and confirmation that it was okay for me to do this.  So knowing this, you realize how big setting a budget up to $500 would be.  Next, I talked to a trusted friend and told her about my plan.  I only wanted to buy things that I loved and felt incredible wearing.  Things that made me feel beautiful, sexy, and a knockout right now, not in a month from now when I can wear them, but right now. This wasn’t an easy process for me.  I was scared of what my husband would say, would he approve or would he be angry? I felt that I would have to justify my actions and I was torn emotionally, because I am an adult working woman who makes her own money and ‘should’ be able to spend it on what she wants. I even wrote in my journal, ‘Is it okay for me to to own nice things, even when they don’t bring in money? YES because they make me feel good and when I feel good I am less stressed and happy!!!”

It took about a week for me to do.   I decided I couldn’t wait longer than that because if I did, I wouldn’t do it.  I had to jump into this fearlessly and with confidence knowing that I was empowering myself and allowing beauty back into my closet and therefore my life.  So with the encouragement of some incredible friends, I started my project and here are the steps I took:

  1. 1. Put all my clothes from my closet and dresser into big trash bags (I think I ended up with 7 big bags)
  2. 2. Took pictures of my empty closet and dresser, a blank canvas for creation
  3. 3. Went shopping for a brand new wardrobe with my accountability friend, who kept me focused on my 4 questions
  4. 4. Come home hang everything up in my closet
  5. 5. Tried on all the clothes I put in trash bags and again focus on my 4 questions
  6. 6. Created 3 piles – put back into closet/dresser – donate – see how I feel in 6 months
  7. 7. Donated more than 5 overflowing bags of clothes.

 

IMG_9107 IMG_9105I have to admit this was hard and exciting.  My husband didn’t understand it and did say “this doesn’t make sense to me” when he saw all the bags, my empty closet and I told him I was going shopping for a new wardrobe.  I acknowledged he didn’t understand it without getting defensive (huge success for myself) and just stated, “I need to do something different and it makes sense to me.”  (which in my book, is the only person who truly needs to understand why you are doing what you are doing). He didn’t say anything else and I went shopping.

While I was shopping I was armed with my four questions:

  1. 1. Do these clothes allow me to feel beautiful, sexy and like a badass knockout? If No they Go
  2. 2. Are they REALLY me?  If NO they GO
  3. 3. Do I LOVE them?  If NO they GO
  4. 4. Do they feel right to me now? IF NO THEY GO

 

Having these intentional questions and my friend to keep me accountable made it easier to stay focused.  I found some things that I liked and they were okay and in the past I would have bought them.  However this time when I started to waver my friend was there to say, NO, which helped.  I even remember saying, “I like this but….. I won’t miss it if I don’t buy it.”  So with that thought, I knew that I couldn’t buy anything that I wouldn’t regret not owning.

IMG_9110 IMG_9570At the end of my trip I spent $430 and I got a completely new wardrobe mostly from the Banana Republic outlet store, which is my new favorite place to shop.  I ended up getting 3 pairs of jeans, 20 tops, 2 sweaters, 2 cool cardigan covers, and 1 very cool vest top that feels a little rock’n roll and rebellious but is super cool.  In my shopping experience, I also broadened my typical color palette of black, grey and brown and ended up with pinks, oranges and brighter colors.

Now since this CLEAR experience at the end of February, a lot has happened in my life and the biggest was that I left a job I worked at for more that seven and a half years.  I had thought about leaving in the past and felt complacent there but never put in the effort because of how comfortable I had been there.  However after this closet clearing experience with allowing beauty into my life and letting go of the things I had outgrown, I was presented with a unique opportunity at another agency.  So I applied and the day after they received my resume they called me for an interview, and I scheduled it the following day.  A week later they called me for a second interview and just 4 days after my second with the CEO and COO, I was offered an incredible unique position. So I quit my job and took a job where I had little experience but had a great deal of interest and passion for learning.  I have now been at that job for two weeks and it is incredible.

Just 3 months after reading CLEAR and completing all the exercises, I have given up many things I had outgrown which allowed me to step into where I am right now.  This experience of letting go, empowered me to take a risk and live my life more fully.  I realized that I didn’t have to live small anymore and in order to truly live, you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone in new and scary ways.  Growing can be painful but I have learned pain isn’t bad, it is necessary to transform and ultimately reach your full potential.  Reading CLEAR allowed me to honestly explore and reflect openly with myself and see what I have been allowing to control my life.  It helped me take ownership and responsibility for my choices and see where I had been holding myself back.  CLEAR provided a platform which empowered and encouraged me to simplify my life, so I could live more fearlessly and I am doing just that!!

AMClearPromoThank you Annick for writing CLEAR and sharing your wisdom with the world. You took a risk and by doing that, you inspired me to take a risk which lead me to uncharted and exciting waters.  If you are looking for inspiration, self-discovery, and want to be empowered to explore what is keeping you from living more fearlessly, then get your copy of CLEAR now at Annick’s website http://annickmagac.com/clearbook/

If you are ready to transform your life, getting CLEAR is just what you need.

Much Love and Success – you Beautiful Knockouts

<3 Amanda

P.S. If you want to join the Beautiful Knockout Book Club, I would love to have you. Just go to this Facebook link —>> BKO Book Club and request to join.