Black and white photo of a family of four sitting on a bench outdoors

Dismantling My Three Ring Circus

Stephanie’s Transformation Through “Success With Less

Have you ever wanted someone else’s life?

Stephanie McNamara had a life worth envying. Married. Two healthy, young children. And on the cusp of her third promotion in five years. Her team had grown from 10 employees to 20, and even that was expect to double within the year.

She had it all.

Or, did she?

In truth, Stephanie felt trapped. Trapped in endless to-do lists. Trapped in a corporate race with no finish line. Trapped in her desire to “have it all.” Trapped in her belief that she must do more to have more to be more. And, most of all, trapped in her own, powerful, one-word answer to every question.


How often does your inside voice scream, “NOOO!,” while your lips exclaim, “YES!?” You’re not alone.

“I said yes to everything,” she sighed, “and was not doing anything well. I was running on empty.”

Stephanie was desperate for relief when she discovered, “Success With Less.” The simple formula resonated:

Pause + Ponder + Prioritize = Success With Less

“I immediately paused to figure out what was most important to me personally and professionally,” she reflected. “And then I found a home for the things that no longer aligned with my goals. I started purposely prioritizing my world.”

Taking a pause became the turning point in Stephanie’s story because she used that time to consider what she cared about most. Then, she SLOWLY released the obligations that no longer served her to make room for the people and the experiences that did. Starting small — one commitment at a time — was the key to realizing big results.

Releasing calendar obligations also yielded an unintended benefit: new opportunities for rising talent on her team to expand their responsibilities and internal visibility.

Today, you’re as likely to find Stephanie climbing the Stairmaster as the corporate ladder — even though her Director promotion was just announced. Balancing career, family and well-being is still a challenge. The difference is that when she feels overwhelmed now, she gives herself permission to press pause much sooner

“I am still a work in progress,” she says, “but I believe in the (Success With Less) approach and inspire it in others.”

Are you feeling overwhelmed instead of overjoyed?

The transformation that Stephanie achieved is within reach for you as well. The journey begins with giving yourself permission to pause — even for five minutes — to consider what matters most to you right now. Then taking one small step forward.

Group of people on stage in front of a presentation featuring Stephanie

This post first appeared on Medium.

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