I read a quote the other day by E.F. Schumacher that said, “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
When I read this quote and I thought about my conversations with clients, the state of the world, the collective energy, I started to ponder, could elegance be the answer? I think so. Which is why I’m doing an Elegant Women series exploring what it takes to live a simple and effective life. And this is the first of at least five episodes dedicated to this topic.
Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here’s your hostess, master life coach Tonya Leigh.
What is happening, my beautiful friends? I’m so excited to talk with y’all. I am actually back home in the South. I’m at my parents’ house. My mom had surgery and I am here for 10 days taking care of her. And I’m happy to report, she’s doing amazing. It’s hard to keep a good Southern woman down. Isn’t that the truth…
But I was actually just sitting here this morning because my mom has pictures of me as a child and as a young adult all over her house. And I was just taking it all in. And I was thinking about everything I’ve experienced; all the failures, the successes, the good, the bad, the ugly, and how I’m just so grateful for all of it.
Life is good, you all. And if you start to look for it, you’re going to find it everywhere. I’m just in awe. I’m just loving my life so much right now. And I’m also loving the School of Self-Image. I just got an email from a woman this morning who started back, I think in December. And she was telling me how she is feeling the transformation that’s happening within her.
And she was like, “I’m not just feeling it. I’m now seeing it.” She’s seeing the outward reflection that is happening as she is elevating her self-image. So, getting stories like that in my inbox, getting messages on Instagram about how this podcast has touched your life, my mom doing well, my daughter’s doing great after four years of really struggling with an illness. It’s like I finally feel like I can breathe.
I’ve been practicing deep breathing a lot over the last four years, but it’s finally coming together. And I share that with you because I know some of you are in the middle of it right now. And I know what that feels like. And you’re just like, “Gosh, can’t I just come up for air? I don’t feel like I can.” But just keep treading water, taking breaks, and looking for the goodness. Because wherever you place your attention, whatever you’re looking for, that is going to be what you find.
And I will tell you, that has been my saving grace over the last four years, even when it was so hard and I didn’t know how I was going to get through another day, I kept celebrating life and I kept looking for the good. And that, my friends, is what kept me afloat. So, I encourage you to do the same.
So, one of the things that I have been increasing in my life is thinking time. We really underestimate the value of time to just think and ponder, reflect, come up with new ideas. And I’ve been building more of this time into my schedule because I find it to be one of the highest leverage activities that I can actually do.
So, when I was sitting down for my thinking time a couple of days ago, I got this idea that I want to do a whole series on elegant women. And so far, I have five that are planned, and I’m thinking I may add a sixth one. So, on this podcast for the next, at least, five episodes, I’m going to be talking about what it takes to be an elegant woman.
Now, when I talk about elegant women. I’m not talking about pearls and lipsticks and sort of the vintage idea that we have of elegant women. I’m talking about modern elegance. And when I think about elegance, it really comes down to a beauty that is a result of simplicity and effectiveness.
Now, this doesn’t mean selling everything and only have a capsule wardrobe of five things. That’s not what I’m talking about when I talk about simplicity. I am talking about taking the hard out, making things less complicated, getting things down to the common denominator that’s going to have the biggest impact on your life, and making sure how you’re thinking and showing up in the world is effective in driving you towards the life that you want.
I’m talking about how to create an elegant self-image because, again, how you see yourself is creating your entire life. What would your life be like, what would it feel like if you truly saw yourself as an elegant woman? How would you show up differently? Well, I’m hoping that this series of episodes will really convince you to embrace elegance as a lifestyle and will give you some really practical tips and tools on how you can live more elegantly in your everyday life.
And I want to get this content out to as many women as I possibly can because I really do think elegance is the answer to a lot of the problems that we’re facing, in our personal lives, in the world. I just often ask the question, what if elegance is the answer? What if having more elegant women would bring more love into the world, more beauty into the world, more kindness, more understanding, more innovation?
I think it is the answer, you all. So, if you enjoy this podcast and this episode, please share it with your family and friends. I would be so grateful.
So, let’s talk about this first episode where I want to talk about five time wasters that elegant women avoid. The first one is the hardest. So, we’re going to get this one out of the way. But elegant women don’t waste their time being concerned with what other people think. I want you to really think about this, you all.
Imagine what you would do. Imagine how you would feel. Imagine how you would show up differently if you weren’t so concerned with what everybody else thinks. I see this hold so many people back. And let me tell you, it held me back for many, many years and I still see it creep in every once in a while. And I have to remind myself, that is not the kind of life that I want to live.
I want to live a life that is true to my core essence. I want to live a life that my 90-year-old self will one day raise a flute of champagne to and say, “Well done, darling.” And I know deep down, I cannot live that kind of life if I am concerned with what other people think. Because have you noticed? Everyone has an opinion about how you should live your life.
The way I like to think about it is you’re running a race and you know where you want to go. You know where the finish line is. And so, you’ve got your cute little running outfit on and you’re running along. And all of a sudden, people on the sidelines, who are not even in the race with you – because people who are in the race with you, they’re focused on the finish line too. And they’re, more than anything, are going to be the ones that are cheering you on and supportive.
But it’s the people on the sidelines who may start shouting out, “You’ve got a funny run. I don’t like what you’re wearing. You should run faster. Who do you think you are, running?” And when we stop and listen to them, what ends up happening? Well, some of us don’t even finish the race because we’re so worried about what people on the sidelines are thinking about us. But it definitely slows you down.
Elegant women know the kinds of life they want to live and they don’t have time to waste on other people’s opinions about how they think they should live their lives. They keep their eyes on where they’re going. And because they’re proud of themselves and they validate themselves and they approve of themselves and they like the race that they’re running. They don’t get bothered by other people’s opinions. They don’t waste their time on it.
I think about one of my favorite quotes by Anthony DeMello where he says, “Would you rather be in prison in the company of others or walk the earth in freedom alone?” Really think about that. A lot of you are imprisoned in the company of others because you’re seeking their approval, you’re wanting them to like you, you’re wanting their validation. And you’re miserable because you know you’re not walking the earth in freedom.
But here’s the thing that I’ve come to understand. When you stay true to you and you don’t bog yourself down in what other people think, you end up attracting the most extraordinary people into your life. And I’ve had firsthand experience of this recently when I decided to open up the School of Self-Image.
I had a lot of people who had opinions about what I should do. I had people send emails and messages that they did not want me to change the brand. I had people who literally said, “I’m leaving.” And I let them go. And I let them go with so much love.
But I know what I want to create. I know what I’m here to do. I know what my vision is. And if I start listening to people on the sidelines, I stop listening to my own soul. And we discount the wisdom of our own souls; that little intuition, that gut feeling, that thing we’re being drawn towards, that thing we’re being repulsed by.
We need to pay attention and learn to trust ourselves and let everybody think what they want to think. Do you know what matters? What you think of you. Do you approve of you? Do you love you? Do you validate you? That’s what you should be thinking about because that’s the only thing you have control over.
And so, again, elegant women do not waste their time on what other people think. The second thing they don’t waste their time on is social media. Okay, ladies, time for some tough love. How much time are you spending scrolling through social media feeds?
And I just want you to ask yourself this one thing; does it give you energy? Or is it draining your energy? Is scrolling through social media helping you build your life on purpose? Or is it distracting you from a life that you want to escape?
Wouldn’t it be better to really take a look at your life and why you want to escape it by looking at other people’s lives, and correcting that? That’s what I want for you. I want you to live an extraordinary life. And what I know for a fact is an extraordinary life does not consist of hours and hours on Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love all of those platforms. But I use them intentionally and with purpose. I schedule my social media time and I have a very clear intent of why I’m on there. And let me tell you, it’s hard. I get it. It’s like you get a little dopamine hit when you open up your social media feeds. You get to see pretty pictures, hopefully an inspirational quote here and there. But a lot of it’s pretty negative if you haven’t curated your social media feed on purpose.
I got rid of all that stuff a long time ago, my friends. But I know some of you, you’re opening it up and you’re being hit with things that drain you. But I was in the airport the other day and I had a layover and I picked up my phone and I was about to open up Instagram. And I was like, “Whoa, what are you doing, Tony Leigh? Put that phone down.” And I was forced to just be with myself.
And do you know what happened? I grabbed my journal and I just started writing ideas. That’s where the idea for this series came up. I jotted it down and then, two days ago, I went back to look at my notes and I’m like, “Ooh, I really want to take that and run with it.”
Now, imagine if I had picked up my phone, opened up Instagram, and just consumed, consumed, consumed without ever stopping to think about, “What do I want to create? What ideas do I have?” We wouldn’t be listening to this series right now.
One of my very dear friends had a really bad habit of playing Candy Crush on his phone. Yes, it’s a man. And he’s so smart and brilliant, but he would just find, when he was bored, he would pick up his phone and he would play chess and Candy Crush.
And I asked him, I’m like, “What value is that bringing to your life?” And he had to think about it. He was like, “Actually, not a lot. It’s a distraction.” And he removed it from his phone and I told him, I said, “Why don’t you spend that time really thinking about your life, coming up with new ideas, brainstorming? Or just sitting with yourself?” And so, he removed the app.
And I talked to him not too long ago and he said, “It’s so crazy how that’s like my very first impulse.” It’s reflexive. When he’s a little bored or he’s just feeling some type of way, he wants to pick up his phone and play Candy Crush but it’s no longer on his phone because he took the app off. And he was like, “So, instead, what I’m doing is I’m reading books and I’m journaling more.” And he was like, “The craziest thing is, I feel like I’m mentally coming alive again.”
And social media does the same thing. It’s a distraction from the life you’re being called to create. Now, I’m not saying you have to get rid of it entirely. But you do need to manage it. Turn your notifications off. Plan your social media time. And then deal with the discomfort that’s going to come up when you are tempted to open up Facebook instead of sitting with yourself. Because again, elegant women don’t waste time on social media
The third thing elegant women don’t do is waste time on being disorganized. How much time do you spend looking for your keys, looking for that sweater, searching for that document, looking for that email? Listen, I am preaching to the choir here. Well, actually, I can honestly say, no longer. But I used to have a self-image of being very disorganized. And I had a lot of evidence to prove it true.
In fact, I had just decided that it’s who I was. Some people are born organized and some people aren’t. And I had decided that I was in the latter category. But that’s where self-image comes into play. Because all of that was based in the past. And as long as I labeled myself as disorganized and messy, guess what I created? Disorganized and messy.
And I wasted so much time. And then one day, I was like, “I am deciding to become an organized woman.” And I got my butt in gear and I started to organize my mind first, and then the result of that was an organized environment. And I cannot express to you the impact that that has had on my life, from how I feel to how I show up to how I see myself to the results that I’m able to create.
In fact, I’m going to be talking about this a lot next month within the School of Self-Image. We are talking about how to do a self-image edit; organizing our brains and our lives so that we can create massive results. And I almost forgot to share this with you because I was so excited about this episode, but we have opened the doors for three days.
So, if you’re listening to this on the day it’s released, I think this is going to be the day that we close the doors. But we opened it up for Valentine’s day because we had women emailing us saying that they wanted to gift themselves something. And I think this is truly the best gift you could give yourself.
For $97 a month, the amount of support and tools and energy in which you will be immersed in will transform your life, so come join us. You can go to schoolofselfimage.com/join. I would love to see you inside.
But again, we’re going to be talking about how to organize our lives because every time you spend looking for something, searching for something, it’s building a self-image that doesn’t serve you and it’s wasting your time. And again, elegant women don’t do that. They simplify their lives.
They get their lives in order so that they have more freedom, more time, more creativity. And they’re able to produce better results in their lives. So, get organized, my friends. Baby steps. That’s what I did. Little baby steps every day, proving to myself that I am an organized woman.
The fourth thing that elegant women don’t waste their time on is procrastinating. This is a big one for some of you. And I know because it used to be a big one for me too. And I think back to the years where I procrastinated and why. And it was because, number one, my mind wasn’t organized. And so, I had convinced myself that I was constantly confused and didn’t know where to focus. And of course, if that’s what you tell yourself, guess what happens? You don’t focus and you stay in confusion.
But there was also an element of perfectionism. I was so afraid of doing things imperfectly, I would just put them off and put them off, until I was waiting until the last minute and I was unable to do as good of a job because of the pressure that I put on myself. And so, I kept just proving myself true, “I’m not good enough. I’m confused. I don’t know where to focus.” And I would create results to prove that true.
But the thing that I’ve noticed, and I actually teach this in the Dream Atelier, which is a part of the School of Self-Image when you join. But learning to plan and stick to your plan has given me the greatest freedom. I don’t have a lot of just dangling things in my head that are being pressured to be done because I have a plan for it. It’s on my calendar and all I have to do is show up for my calendar.
But when I think back to all of those years that I was procrastinating and the time I wasted – because this about it. What do we do when we procrastinate? We get on social media. We sometimes eat. We do things that actually take our lives in the opposite direction of where we truly want to go.
And if you think about it, why do we procrastinate? I gave you some reasons earlier. But it’s always because of thoughts in our head. Things like, “It’s not going to be good enough. You can do it tomorrow. Why don’t you just go sit down and watch some Netflix?” That’s what my brain likes to say, “Watching an episode of Sex and the City would be so much more fun than doing this thing that’s on your calendar.”
But if I listen to that voice, that voice always keeps me where I am. It keeps me stressed and it keeps me overwhelmed and full of anxiety. But if I listen to the higher version of me, to the more elegant me that says, “Go sit down. Get it done. You’ll be so proud of yourself. You’ll have so much more time. And you’ll be moving your life forward,” when I listen to that voice, I’m always so much more happy. And ironically, it saves me time. I create more time. So, that’s another thing elegant women don’t waste their time on; procrastination.
The final thing I’ve noticed elegant women don’t waste their time on is energy-draining relationships. Now, I want to say something about this because it is true that the reason why our energy is drained around certain people is because of the thoughts in our head. And I love knowing that because it does mean, if you choose to be around someone, you can choose to feel differently in their presence.
But here’s the thing, you guys. I just don’t want to waste my time working on my thoughts around certain people. That’s energy and time that I could be using to create, to come up with new ideas to move my life forward, versus just trying to maintain emotional stability around a group of people.
And I just find that our energy is so finite and so precious. We have to be very intentional with how we use it. What is the value this person is bringing to your life? And if the value is null and void, meaning they’re not bringing you much, then you have to really stop and ask, why are you choosing to be around this person or this group of people.
Now, listen, it may be that you choose it. And if you do, I want you to choose it on purpose. For example, let’s say every time you go over to your in-law’s house, your energy is drained. But you love your husband so much and they are his parents and he wants them in his life. Then you get to choose on purpose to be around them and commit to doing the work on your own brain so that you can find some sort of solace when you’re around them.
But then, there are people that you’re choosing to be around that you don’t have to be around. But because you’re concerned about what people will think, you’re concerned about being alone maybe, you continue to engage with people that are just sucking the energy right out of you. And I want you to ask yourself why. What are you afraid of? Why won’t you let these people go?
I think the older I get, you all, I am just so – I’m like a people snob. I want to be around certain types of people. And I want to feel energized when I’m with people because my energy is so precious. I’ve noticed that when I’m with certain types of people, I do leave energized. I have ideas running around in my head. I’m excited. And there’s a reason for that.
It’s because these people are vibrating on a level that I like to vibe on. And then, when I’m around other groups of people, I can feel me having to work really hard to stay at the energy that I want to be at, or if I just don’t manage myself properly, before you know it, I’m on their level. But elegant women, they value their energy. And because they value their energy, they don’t want to waste time on people that drain them of it.
You know, if you look at your life and who you are, you will probably see that it is a reflection of the people you spend the most time with. And not just the people you spend the most time with. It’s the conversations that you have with those people. It’s what has influenced those people that they’re bringing into your relationship with them.
And so, I want you to value yourself enough and your time enough to ask yourself, “Is this person worth my time?” And it doesn’t mean they’re not worthy and lovable and probably amazing humans. It’s not that at all. It’s not you saying, “Well, I’m better and they’re not.” No.
I think every human life is so valuable and so worthy. And we all are bringing different energies and experiences and beliefs and ideas to the table. And you just get to decide, “Is this someone I want to jam with? Is this someone I want to hang out with? Is this someone that makes me a better person when I’m in their presence? Or not?”
But what I do know is that elegant women don’t want to waste their time on people that aren’t adding to their lives. And equally, an elegant woman wants to add to the lives of others. And so, when you can get a match of people who are wanting to be the best version of themselves, not only for themselves but for the people that surround them, that’s when you can create magic in relationships.
So, to review, five time wasters to avoid; what other people think, social media, being disorganized, procrastinating, and energy-draining relationships. And don’t forget, if you want to take this work toa much deeper level where it’s not just intellectual – I think sometimes we can listen to these podcasts and we’re like, “This sounds good I need to be doing it.” And then you just go right back into your daily habits that sometimes aren’t serving you – then come join us in the School of Self-Image.
We practice these concepts on a daily basis. And just like the woman that emailed me earlier saying that she is literally experiencing the transformation, that’s what happens when you apply these principles. So, head over to schoolofselfimage.com/join and I cannot wait to see you inside.
And I cannot wait to see you in the next episode, where we’re going to continue this Elegant Women Series. So again, please share it with your friends and family or anyone that you think would benefit from these teachings on how to be an elegant woman. Until next time, have a beautiful day, everyone. Cheers.
Hey, are you ready to transform your self-image but lack direction and support? If so, I’d like to invite you to join the School of Self-Image. This is an exclusive monthly membership where you’ll create your own powerful before and after story. Through weekly classes and coaching, you’ll learn powerful techniques on how to elevate the quality of your mindset, style, and surroundings to change how you see yourself and create extraordinary results in your life. Head over to schoolofselfimage.com/join to learn more.