You’ve probably heard of the phrase, “less is more”.
The first place I was able to locate it (well, to be honest, someone else did. But this person had the oldest reference, so I kinda located it) was in a poem by Robert Browning from 1855.
But the phrase is often associated with the architect and furniture designer, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. He is one of the founders of modern architecture and a proponent of simplicity of style. And because of that, it has taken on its current meaning, the notion that simplicity and clarity lead to good design.
No, I’m not trolling you to give you a history lesson. Although that would be amusing. I am merely using the descriptive type of background information as a literary device. And now I’m gonna hit you with the hook, the real meat of this blog.
When talking about personal and gym goals for the year, my boss, Emily, told us her phrase for the year was,
“Less, but better”.
What a wonderful idea. Simply saying “less is more” and applying it to a business doesn’t automatically imply a better business. Sure, we could offer less classes, make them more valuable. We could have a smaller space, less equipment. All things would definitely save money, but simply saying “less is more” doesn’t mean that you are improving the quality.
That’s why we, as a team, have adopted, “less, but better”.
Over the past few months, we have started looking at our gym as a whole; our systems and processes, our needs and our wants. We are highlighting the things that are necessary to keep the business open and finding the things to help us grow in a quantifiable way and then focusing on how to do those as efficiently as possible. Ta-da. Doing less. But doing it better.
Slowly but surely, from a managerial/back end standpoint, I have seen how great that has been for the business and it has now become a phrase that has permeated pretty much every aspect of my professional and personal life.
In terms of nutrition (for myself and clients), using this phrase in two ways. First, by focusing on foods with minimal ingredients and processing. And then also in terms of how we approach habits around food and nutrition. Most people want a total overhaul, they want us to tell them what to eat and when to eat it. But we focus on small, sustainable changes in habits. By focusing on small things, learning how to kick ass at them, clients blink and have established a lifestyle change. We did less, but we were really thoughtful about it and committed.
Some of you might not know this, but I also moonlight as a dance teacher 3 days a week. We are prepping for our annual recital and this year, I got my choreography taught faster than ever. And I have done this for 10 years now. Probably because I made it a point to do just a little less than previous years and give the girls weeks to practice the final product versus a few hours.
In terms of my own training, I choose CrossFit as my exercise of choice. And with CrossFit, you do a little bit of everything. I was desperately trying to be good at everything. But seeing as I am not getting paid as a professional athlete, I don’t have the time to devote to trying to do it all. So instead, I triage. I have picked the areas that I want to work on the most and start there. I work on my weaknesses and then, if I have time for the rest, cool. It has definitely led to FOMO but it has also lead to me feeling stronger than ever. I’m training less, but with a lot more focus.
I could go on (you know I could) about all the ways this phrase has made its way into my life and affected my habits in a positive way. So I’ll finish all of this with a quote from Steve Jobs, “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But in the end it’s worth it because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
Clear your head. Clear your life. Get rid of the clutter. Focus on the things that matter. Then focus on doing them well. If you can do that, you’re unstoppable.
Just do less, but better.
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