Turning 40 and Mastering the Chaos: A Conversation with Corinne Morahan of Grid + Glam
Thanks to her overachieving tendencies, Corinne Morahan had built a life she was happy with. Mom, wife, employee, friend. She had it all under control until the day that life brought her to her knees at which point she realized her tolerance for chaos was very low. Her tolerance for organizing, however, was considerably higher. Overwhelmed and at her wits end, in a life that wasn’t working and certainly wasn’t making her who she wanted to be, she decided to take action, which led to a much happier life and then to Grid + Glam, the business where she gets to share that gift with other women.
Corinne Morahan is the Founder and CEO of Grid + Glam, a thriving organizing and media company designed to give busy people back their beautiful spaces and the breathing room they deserve. In addition to providing in-home organizing services, Grid + Glam offers the G+G Home Organizing Membership, a virtual platform that gives busy families a step-by-step process for creating and maintaining an organized home.
Corinne is a highly sought-after business coach and keynote speaker, and speaks on topics including creating and maintaining an organized home, women in business, entrepreneurship, and how to massively grow, scale and systemize your business.
Corinne earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree from Harvard University. She began her career working on Wall Street and currently lives just outside Boston, MA with her husband and two children.
Corinne Morahan had everything under control: a job in finance, two little kids successfully marshaled to and from all their commitments, a husband she not only loves, but actually likes a whole lot even after 17 years of marriage. Typical overachiever stuff, but she felt like she had built a life she was happy with. So why then, one fateful day, did her kids running around the house laughing, of all things, bring her to her knees?
It was the chaos, she realized. She came to understand that she had a very low tolerance for chaos. However, she had a very high tolerance for organizing. So the year before she turned 40 she embarked upon a year of decluttering her life – the house, of course, but also the family calendar, the plans they made as a family and some relationships. She says that project brought about a huge shift in her life because it brought intention and awareness to everything she was doing, which also brought enjoyment back to all the little moments that make up a life, including squealing, laughing children.
Corinne used her newfound insights to launch Grid + Glam, an organizing and decluttering business that helps other women conquer the chaos and enjoy their lives more.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
1. How Corinne Morahan realized that the chaos in her home was affecting her mental state.
2. How to get out of the constant cycle of feeling like you have to manage the chaos of your environment.
3. How to determine how organized/decluttered you want your house and surroundings to be.
4. The 5 lessons Corinne learned by the time she was 40 and the 5 promises she made to herself.
The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications
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Stephanie: Hi Corrine. I am so thrilled to meet you and so happy to have you with me here today because as it turns out, you're kind of a big deal.
Corinne: Oh, oh, am I? That's one way to start an interview, Stephanie, thank you so much for having me, I'm excited to be be here.
Stephanie: Well, I think you are a big deal. I found you as I find many of my interview subjects, I was wandering through Instagram I'm always looking at hashtags around turning 40 and I found something that you had posted that led to a blog post and I fell in love with your blog post, which we will get to in a little bit. But then I went digging into you and your business and you are one of those people. I think it's safe to call you an influencer, don't you?
Corinne: My account has been known to do some influencing, so I guess you could say that.
Stephanie: I love it. I love it. Okay. We're not really here to talk about you being an influencer, but I was just very pleased with myself that I'm talking to somebody who's such a big deal. But let's talk a little bit about your 40 story. Tell me a little bit about your background, how you got to where our story begins.
Corinne: Yes. So I think I would consider myself a pretty typical overachiever, perfectionist, always wanted to do really well in school, have a job that paid well. I had a dream of moving to New York City after college, so I got a job working on Wall Street, and I loved the fast pace, I loved the sexiness, I loved the money, but I was really bored and unfulfilled. So even at that time I started thinking, Hmm, I wonder if there is something more for me in the world. Started volunteering on the side and I thought, okay, well maybe I can have this life where I work really hard, I make a lot of money, but I do some volunteering. And after several years of that I thought, nah, wouldn't it be nice if I actually had a career that felt super fulfilling? So I decided to get a master's in higher education. I had this idea of somehow I could work on a college campus and I was in particular interested in social justice is what we called it at the time, many, many years ago. And I worked in that arena for a few years and then I had my son and we were in New York and I thought, wow, I'm gonna have to be paying to make no money in my career to have daycare for my son. So it really started me back again on this path of like, I haven't found the the answer yet, but I was generally building a life that I was happy with. I adore my husband, which I feel like you have to say cause not everyone does. We've been married for it'll be 17 years this year, and I still really like him. He's one of my favorite people.
Stephanie: Oh, that's awesome.
Corinne: So I had all these really great things. We had financial security and this great relationship and I just was kinda not that happy. At this point we're living in Massachusetts. We did a little bit of a back and forth, met in New York, moved to Boston, moved back to New York. We moved to the suburbs of Massachusetts, which in and of itself, frankly at the time was depressing because I fancied myself as a city person. And I got back into working in finance, but this point it was not as sexy of a position and I just all around was feeling like a little bit uninspired, I would say.
Stephanie: Yeah. Tell me what's the difference between a sexy position and a not sexy position in finance?
Corinne: Sure. So, you know, again, back in the day when I was working in finance, the industry has changed quite a bit. It was super fast-paced. I was working for one of the big investment management firms and there was still a ton of corporate spending and nights out and dinner. It was work hard, play hard on the company dime and that was really fun. And then thefinancial sector that I was working in most immediately was really more personal finance, much more responsible, much lower key. So it just didn't have the same allure or cache to me. So it was like a lot of the boring stuff without a lot of the fun to balance it out. Can you tell I like to have fun a little bit?.
Stephanie: Yeah. So it's funny, I'm hearing your story and I'm thinking of myself. So I spent a dozen years in Boston. I went to college down there and stayed down there for a long time in the nineties and had a rocking wild time. And then moved back home up to New Hampshire, I think I was like 31 or something, and felt a little bit the same that you did moving to the suburbs in Massachusetts. It was like, oh, there's not the vibrancy, there's not vitality, there's not the restaurants, there's not the shopping. So that transition can be a little bumpy until, and I'm only speaking for myself here, until you realize that things like getting groceries is so much easier. You can actually get in your car and drive to the grocery store and park and buy as many groceries as you want and not have to worry about schlepping them on a train or seven blocks. So there are definitely some things about the suburbs that are a lot cushier than living in the cities. But I do agree with you. There is a loss of vibrancy and options and a little bit of that energy.
Corinne: Yeah. Well, and it's so funny you say options 'cause my husband's like, "I don't even know what you're so upset about, it's not like you ever went out all that much in New York." I was like, "Yeah, but I had the option to, I don't even have the option." But as you were talking, Stephanie, it got me thinking, I think what was so hard too about that transition was not even the reality of my surroundings, but it was more that thought of like, have I given up on this dream that I had? I thought I was gonna be someone that lived in the city forever. And I feel like a lot of what getting older is, is realizing we haven't achieved some of the dreams we thought we would, and that is very hard until we realize like, oh wait, actually the dream has changed. There's a reason I followed my heart to do something else. That is not my dream anymore. But until you can really reconcile that, you do have this feeling, I think a little bit of like, have I disappointed myself? Was I one of those people that couldn't make it? So I definitely had a lot of those thoughts and that was very hard while I'm transitioning to the suburbs and definitely feeling more isolated and missing that vibrancy.
Stephanie: Yeah, I had another way of thinking about it as well. My whole like teenagerdom I thought I was gonna be a journalist and as a matter of fact, I went to Northeastern University specifically 'cause they had the co-op program and specifically 'cause I could work for the Boston Globe. And I did all my co-ops at the Globe, loved every minute of it. And my last session as a senior was, you sort of get to the point where you get the sort of the top co-op job, which is you were a student reporter, which just means you're a general assignment reporter in the newsroom. And it was the most grueling and difficult thing I had ever done. I did it for I think, four months andyou know, you don't have a great shift, you working like two to 10, you're running out, into, car fires in Dorchester at 10 o'clock in January. It just, it was so grueling. And then the prospect of graduating from college and the Globe now saying to me, even though I had four and a half years of experience at the Globe, the Globe saying "Go get some experience now." And having to go work at like the Patriot Ledger for $16,000 a year for five years before they would even look at me again. So I got to the same point as you did with the dream piece, but the way I rationalized it to myself was I said, "I did it, I achieved it. I actually achieved the dream. I was a reporter for the Boston Globe," and through all my other sessions with them in different departments, I published lots of stories in the Globe. So now it was time to look for a new dream. That's the way I did it.
Corinne: I love that. That's a much healthier and more optimistic way to look at it. I love that. Its amazing.
Stephanie: See, 'cause I would say to you, you lived in Manhattan at least twice for multiple years, doing the deal. Like you did it girl. Like that's it.
And you did it as a young person when you can do all the things and you've got the energy for it and ugh.
Corinne: And there was something very satisfying about being able to support myself a hundred percent in New York City, in my early twenties, without parental support, without a boyfriend supporting me, just doing it. And those years and those experiences were invaluable. So I will take it. Thank you.
Stephanie: Yes. Okay, so that brings us to your late thirties, you're like 37. And tell me a little bit about your turning point.
Corinne: So for me, I am the type of person where I am very action oriented. So I set a goal, I will do something about it. And I had this moment where I had realized it's sort of been falling into this routine of this life where I'm like, am I being intentional about what I'm doing? Am I really enjoying myself? So one day in particular, I had a full day of work. I went to go pick up my, I had two kids at this point. I mean, I still have two kids now, but when I moved to Massachusetts the second time, I only had one. So at this point I've got both of my kids and I picked them up from daycare, brought them back home, and you know how it's to bring the kids in and then you've got the three trips back and forth to the car, bringing in all this stuff, and I finally got settled and my kids were running around the kitchen just being kids, being playful and laughing, and I just couldn't handle the chaos.
Corinne: They were messing up the house that I had just straightened up and just running all around. And I yelled at them. For laughing, for having fun, right? It's like a dagger to the heart. And I sank to the floor in tears and I thought, what am I doing? I have become someone that's yelling at my kids for laughing. I am in this beautiful house, I have a partner that I adore, I have these two healthy, happy kids, and I am not happy. I cannot accept that this is the next decade or two decades or whatever. This cannot be as good as it gets. So I decided in that moment that I was gonna make a change. That was it. And I decided to spend a year decluttering everything in my house that was not serving me, so that I was not in this constant cycle of feeling like I had to manage the chaos. I just needed things to be easier. So I did.
Corinne: I spent a year decluttering everything in our house, and not just the physical stuff, but looking at our schedule, looking at the plans we made, looking at all the things that I had been saying yes to that were not making me happy, and it changed my life. That one year was the biggest shift because it made me bring intention and awareness to everything that I'm doing. And it brought back that enjoyment of the little moments because the truth is our life is made up of those little moments. I love to have fun and I love the vibrancy, but our life is every moment that we're in right now, and if we're wishing it away or we're on autopilot and we're not enjoying it, we're not enjoying our lives, and going through that process really gave me back that enjoyment. And I was staring my 40th birthday party in the eye after this year, and I thought, um, it's now or never.
Corinne: I wonder if I can give this gift to other people. Can I actually help other women, at the time was focused solely on women. Can I help them go through a similar transformation where they get rid of the physical things in their lives that are weighing them down leo, as the wife they wanna be, as the woman they wanna be, to get back to that vibrancy that they had maybe in their twenties, even if the lives around them look very different than they thought it would. So I started my business and that's the story of how my business Grid and Glam came to be.
Stephanie: How'd you come up with a name? What does the name mean?
So I thought long and hard about creating a fun business name, and I really didn't want it to be my name. I knew even at the time that while I was gonna focus on helping people get organized and decluttered, I wanted to create a business that could be a brand, that could have longevity, that could do more. And so my whole goal for the business and really goal for my life was to combine the form and function, so a nod to my days working in finance - Grid, speak to grid lines in an Excel spreadsheet, right? Thinking about everything being lined up and organized and categorized. And the Glam is bringing the beauty to it and the aesthetic. And I really feel like when we have that perfect marriage of aesthetics with the functionality, we can really find that true pleasure in our environment.
Stephanie: Yeah. The year you were doing your decluttering, were you also documenting it on Instagram? Were you sharing it somewhere or was this just something you did internally?
Corinne: It was just something I did internally. I am of the age where at that point I still was not very comfortable sharing on social media. I had a Facebook account because we all did, but I still thought it was super weird to share personal pictures. I never would've thought to speak to camera or to document what I was doing. It really was a truly personal experience and the reality of, in the beginning, I didn't tell anyone about it, and I didn't even necessarily bring my husband and kids into the mix, in the beginning. Eventually where I was like, okay, I'm doing this, I am committed to this, I would call in his support either to actually help me with a space or say like, "You've got the kids, for the weekend, let me make some progress in a space or two." But no, none of it was documented on social media.
Stephanie: So it was truly just for you personally.
Corinne: Yes. Mm-hmm.
Stephanie: So how did you go from doing that very internal, very personal thing to presenting it as something you could help others do? Where did that transition come from?
Corinne: So having a business background I think definitely gave me an advantage. So when I went out to create the business, it started strictly as an in-person organizing business, so I did all the business fundamentals you need to do and set up my LLC and my business bank account and all that stuff. And I thought, well, okay, great. I've got a business, but like I don't have any clients. How am I gonna work with myself? And at this point, the way you marketed was on social media. So I set out, I challenged myself with showing up live on Facebook every day for the month of January. I launched my business in, I think it was January of 2018, because I'm just hitting my five year anniversary.
Corinne: So I said, every single day for the entire month of January, I'm gonna go online and I'm gonna give people a short and manageable daily organizing task where they're going to see immediate results. They're gonna feel super inspired to get organized, and I'm gonna get some buzz going about the business and I was not expecting the results that we had. There was so much energy from that. I got my first several clients. It also blew up my Instagram. Even though I was showing up on Facebook, it blew up my Instagram.
Corinne: Now I have to say it was a very unrealistic goal. My kids were little at the time, my husband was traveling a ton, showing up live on Facebook, I'm so much more comfortable doing it now, but at the time it was absolutely terrifying. I remember I had a system where I would put a stuffed animal at the top of the stairs and if the kids saw the stuffed animal there, it was under no circumstance, unless you're dying when you come downstairs to interrupt me. Cause I thought it was like, oh my God, what would happen if my kids ended up on video? Now you realize like that stuff is cute and funny. But at the time I was taking it very seriously. So I quickly had to scale that down to every weekday in January. But that whole process was incredible because I was like, I'm doing this. It's out in the world now. And it gave me content and it got my name out there and it just got a ton of buzz and energy about the business and those lives then later became boot camps that I would do for free. Then they became paid boot camps and then I turned it into an entire membership, which has had hundreds and hundreds of women go through it and it has changed their lives. And frankly, it's changed my life because it's been a super lucrative business model for me. I employ 10 women who work for me in the business now. You just never know how one thing is going to turn into something so much bigger.
Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah, it's true. And it's funny you talk about the lives because even for the podcast, which I started in April of last year, as somebody who is an extrovert and a Leo and I love me some spotlight. I'm happy posting on social. I'm happy telling everybody about the episodes and really like digging into people's stories, but for some reason actually being out there, there's a hurdle I haven't quite gotten over. I don't know if it's I'm not sure what I have to say, I know I have plenty to say. I'm not sure what the hurdle is. So, and you're actually the second person I think the person I talked to last week said the same thing. She did a 30 day challenge and the first 26 days she hated it, the last couple of days she did alright. So I don't know if I'm gonna have to do that for myself at some point to challenge myself to do lives. I'm still so far at the beginning of this journey that I'm sure it will show itself to me what the right next step is. But it's just funny hearing you say that 'cause you appear to be as outgoing and extroverted as I am, so.
Corinne: Yes. And I think, you know, I kept hearing this message over and over again. I'm sure you've heard it too, that by keeping the things to yourself that you know could impact other people's lives, you're actually being very selfish. And that you have to put it out there because how else are you going to impact all the people that you know you can. And I just kept that in the back of my mind. I kept saying, it's not about me. It's not about how I look. It's not about, if I stumble over my words. What's important is the message that I'm saying and the impact that I can have. And I've really, really tried to lean into that as I've continued to learn more new technologies and show up in, newer and fresher ways. But I also feel like I do well with a challenge and a big goal, and something to hold me accountable. So if I were to just say like, oh, I'll go live, sort of, you know, whenever I can fit it in, I never would've done it. But to say something like, I am going to do this every day, and the reality is , you know, having to scale back to five days a week, so it was 20 days rather than 31. It was still an incredible amount of content. So it's like if you set a huge goal, even if you fall short, you've still achieved so much.
Stephanie: Absolutely. You can shoot for the stars and if you end up on the moon, it's a still a huge success.
Corinne: Right. Exactly right. Yes.
I'm gonna detour just for a moment into the business 'cause I have a personal question and that is are you someone who's naturally organized?
Corinne: So yes and no. I am someone who absolutely thrives on systems and I can easily create order out of chaos.
Corinne: I will also say, being a Leo myself, I am naturally chaotic in my mind. So some of this being naturally organized is sort of a hyper-focused, executive functioning skill that I've developed through the years as a way to really help me harness all of my energy and what I have to put out there.
Stephanie: Corrine, you just blew my mind. Okay. So I too am just naturally organized and systems come easily to me, especially when it comes with like where stuff goes and I can certainly make order out of chaos. I had never heard anybody say that as a Leo your mind is chaotic, 'cause it is, and you're right!, The organization is almost a balance to that. It's if I can keep the world organized or my world organized, then this can kind of be crazy and I can just follow the threads. 'Cause that's where the magic is, right? The magic is in the chaos.
Stephanie: Oh wow. I'd never heard it said that way. That's amazing.
Corinne: Oh, I'm glad it resonates cause I've thought about it a lot 'cause I'll get a lot of resistance from people that say "I'm spontaneous and I don't wanna lose that fun." Andwhat I try to explain is the amount of freedom that you will find from being creative and from simplifying your life is beyond anything you think you're experiencing right now because there's no whiplash. It is true enjoyment of that chaos and freedom 'cause you're not then having to clean up like a manic mess afterwards. You are able to sustain that because your whole world is not chaotic. So you could really live in the flow of the fun chaos. I've really leaned into that.
Corinne: The one other piece I will say though is, my self now, as compared to my younger self, I loved stuff before. So even though I was naturally organized, I loved stuff and I had little collections, and I had just a lot of things that made me happy. And now I am in the place where I'm certainly not a minimalist. I love beautiful things. I love a super cozy, comfortable surrounding, but any excess, even one extra thing in my visual line of sight feels like visual clutter. It feels like too much. So that process of getting organized really helped me have a healthier detachment and also a healthier attachment to my things. And so I do have far less stuff, which as I talk about all the time in business, the less stuff you have, the easier it is to stay organized. I mean, it's just that simple.
Stephanie: So it's funny 'cause that's the direction I was first gonna go before you blew my mind. My mom lives about a block and a half away from me, so she's always around to help me on projects and stuff, so I'm forever calling her over for help on stuff in the house. She's super into cleanliness and over time she's become very minimalist and yet she'll come to my house and I've actually been saying to her for the last year or two, more is more. I want more. Let's do more. And it's just within the last couple of months that I've actually found, and I've actually joined some groups on Facebook around Maximalism.
Stephanie: And have to tell you, those are my people. Oh my God. I was like, it's got a name! So I was interested to ask you about, as someone who is a more is more person, how would you approach a home like that or a space like that?
Corinne: So when I started out this business and I was trying to sort of impose some mathematical calculations on how do we figure out how organized people wanna be?
Corinne: So I had a funny story where I had a friend come over to see our house after I had organized it. And he was like, "Oh my God, this is like a Pottery Barn catalog." And I was like, "Oh, thank you so much." He's like, "Oh no, it's not a compliment. It's so barren here." And I thought, wow, I would never wanna live with more stuff again. But he would never wanna live with this little stuff. And so I came up with this sort of chart where you can think about both your threshold for chaos, right? Where are you on that? And chaos can mean different things. It can mean visual clutter, right? It can mean lots of different layers of fabrics in your home. And then what is your appetite for organizing? So I have a very low threshold for chaos. Very low, right? My kids' laughter set me off and I have a very high tolerance for organizing. I enjoy it. I find it very therapeutic. So my home is going to look very organized at all time and not overly layered with things.
Corinne: For someone who enjoys a lot of things, like you, you're saying you're a maximalist and it sounds like you have somewhat of an appetite for organizing, you'll find your own set point for what feels really good. Nobody else can tell you what the right amount of stuff to have is. I always say our houses need to have enough stuff to make us feel grounded, but not so much stuff that we're feeling weighed down. And where you find that balance is very personal and you'll know if you start walking to a room and you're like, "Ooh, I feel like this room is a deep breath, I feel so calm here. I just wanna relax," you'll know you've set it up perfectly. If you walk in, you're like, "Something feels a little off. Maybe it's me. Maybe it's like there's just too much stuff going on." Maybe I could experiment with decluttering a little bit or creating a little bit of a better system here and seeing if that's the thing.
Stephanie: That's interesting. I'm walking through my house as you're saying this. So first of all, I like to say that most of the things in my home have soul. I'm not a Home Goods kind of person or if I am it's rare and it's small. I have lots of family heirlooms and some art and lots of pictures so, most of it really does give me joy. And as you were talking about the different ways to walk into the rooms, because we have no kids, so our upstairs middle bedroom has become my dressing room. It's pink walls with white armoires, as a matter of fact, my mother walked into it this weekend and just said, "Oh, this is such a nice room." And for her to say that is actually a big deal. But I feel that every time I'm in there, but I'm actually thinking we have a downstairs office. and I do have too much stuff in there and I'm just feeling that same like UGH like, maybe I need to spend a weekend tearing it apart. That's interesting, I like that.
Corinne: Yeah. And it's, it's not all or nothing, right? You don't have to get rid of all the things, and it is very personal and there's no right or wrong way to do it. But I think if someone truly wants to change their life, they have to be committed to decluttering somewhat, but there is no magic number because our environments are so personal to us, we have to feel great in it.
Stephanie: Yes. And what do you say to people who would say to you, "My house would be perfectly organized if only my husband would put things away where they go?" asking for a friend.
Corinne: So I would say, "Does your husband know where all the things go?"
Corinne: He does. Okay. The next conversation I would have, so I do, as you can imagine, a lot of marriage, marriage counseling in the work that I do is, "Have you had an actual sit down with him to say, Hey, I know you love me and I know you're not doing something to be dismissive. But can we have like a real conversation about how much this bothers me and how much stress it causes, and how I would be so appreciative if you would just take these little steps on a daily basis" and being very specific about what those steps are.
Corinne: I think a lot of times we end up either lashing out or nagging and we don't actually talk to our partner on like the deep, fundamental level of why this bothers us because he's obviously not bothered by it. Right. I had an interesting conversation with my husband about this as well, because he is a disciplined, tidy person, but not to the degree that I am. He is way chiller than I am, like exponentially. And for a while in our relationship, he was kind of like, Not in a resentful way, But "why does what you want trump what I want? I don't wanna put it away. You do." But then he said, once he understood the true stress it caused me when him putting the thing away was actually not even super bothersome to him. He realized like, "Oh, I wanna do that for you. I want to help you be less stressed cause it really doesn't actually bother me." But he didn't get it at first. He didn't get how much it bothered me. Now, I will say, he has seen the light and now he, for himself, enjoys what it feels like to get organized. Not just because he is doing it for me.
Stephanie: That's great. And I do have to give props to my husband. He does a great job and has evolved over the years to do a better job. We were just talking over the weekend and he was saying something about, "Oh, I used to do this back then," when we first got together or something when we first moved in. And, I said to him, "Oh, back when you were feral?" Yes. So my mother used to say, women civilized men, and I guess in my house it's an ongoing process and he's very civilized. You know, you sort of like level up, step by step by step.
Stephanie: I want to jump into the blog post you wrote around when you were turning 40 and I think it's fabulous. So you called it OMG, I'm Turning 40, and I think you said you published it in like 2019. It was just before you turned 40. So you have five lessons you learned and five promises that you were gonna make yourself. And it's been a couple of years, so we're gonna check in on those promises. But let's start with the lessons you learned. One of your greatest attributes is how deeply you feel.
Corinne: Yeah. So for anyone who's been called sensitive their whole lives, like it was an insult, you wonder why am I so sensitive? Why can't I be less bothered? Why can't I be tougher? And I realized, first of all, I am pretty tough, but the gift of being sensitive and feeling deeply has given me a level of empathy and understanding for others that I would not have otherwise have. And I get to use that every day in my job now, but even prior to that, in the relationships that I've had, I have incredible friendships, such deep, satisfying friendships with some incredible women. And I know I wouldn't have that if I didn't feel so deeply. I know it makes me a better mom and sometimes a worse mom when I get so frustrated. But I think that's one of the things in getting older was I stopped hating that about myself and realizing that it's actually a really great attribute.
Stephanie: Nice. You said your neighbor's grass is irrelevant.
Corinne: Yes. So I think a lot of us are taught to think the grass is not always greener on the other side. You don't even know what they're doing. And if you had that, it wouldn't make you happier. And so you start thinking like, well, would I be happier if I had that? And as I was approaching 40, I realize like it doesn't even matter if it's green or if it's not. Like who even cares? What matters is like, same thing we were talking about with what level of organization and stuff in your home is gonna make you happy. Steph, it's not gonna make me happy. It really doesn't matter. The work that I need to do is learn me, who am I, what do I want that is gonna make me happy 'cause no external metric of success can tell me if I have achieved real happiness.
StephanieThat is the truth. Um, Love takes work.
Corinne: Yes. So I'm really, really proud of my relationship with my husband because he's still my favorite person and we have fun and we have great romance and we have a great friendship and all the things. And it takes work to show up for each other. We still schedule a date night, just the two of us every month. If we didn't do that, life would get in the way. We still make sure our sex life is on track and fun every month. You think you wanna show up as like, I want to be in love my whole life and I want to have a satisfying relationship. But just saying you want it doesn't mean you're gonna show up and do the things that are going to get you that. And I think there is such a fallacy in thinking that if we had the perfect relationship, we wouldn't have to do the work. No, you do the work so that you can have the perfect relationship.
Stephanie: Right. Absolutely. You also learned that being a mother is the hardest, most excruciating job on the planet.
Corinne: I mean, it is so incredibly humbling, and I will say that my husband and I were both easy kids, good students. We followed the rules, for the most part. We did a lot of rule breaking too, but I was savvy enough not to get caught. And then you have a kid and you're like, "What the hell this is not the order I placed. What? What is this?" And it's really, really hard on so many levels. You create these people and you are solely responsible for their wellbeing. Even once they get big enough to feed themselves and clothe themselves, you are still responsible for their lives and their wellbeing. Then as they get older, you add mental health into the mix and it is really, really hard. Every day. And if anyone tells you differently, they're lying and I'm not even gonna say, "Its the best in the world," I have several friends that don't have kids that have very satisfying and fulfilling lives. It is excruciating.
Stephanie: Period. We're just gonna leave that one right there. The fifth lesson you said you learned was choose fun and be kind.
Corinne: Yes. I don't know what the catalyst for saying that was at the time, but I've thought a lot about that expression you never know the battle that anyone is fighting. I used to, I think probably as a defense to being called sensitive, I developed this very tough shell and if anyone wronged me or anyone did anything, I felt like I had to stand up to them in the moment, I had very little tolerance for that. And then you realize you just don't know what people are going through, and it always pays to give people the benefit of the doubt and be kind, because when you show up in your worst moments, and believe me, I do, I wanna be given that same grace. So just really always lead with kindness.
Corinne: And the thing about having fun is, at least for myself, I had gotten very bogged down in the responsibilities of paying bills and having a job and being a mother and all the things all the time. And it's like the fun got lost. And you can really find the fun in the simple situations. I mean, even when we're preparing dinner or putting groceries away, we'll have a dance party while we're doing it. Right. It doesn't mean you're like clubbing out on the town. It might be, but it's just finding fun in the everyday moments.
Stephanie: Yeah, yeah. Finding joy for sure. There was a bonus here. You said, "Perfect is boring."
Corinne: I was a committed perfectionist. I really, really was almost turned on by perfection and I started realizing like, wow, it is just not that interesting anymore. The older you get, actually perfectionism to me started feeling so much like conformity, which I thought in my life had served me well to a point. So I don't lament that I did conform in ways that helped me be successful. But at that stage of my life and I was writing it, it started feeling like this is no longer feeling fun and satisfying. It's feeling like chains that I'm shackling myself with,
Corinne: I can pursue excellence without this drive to be perfect.
Stephanie: Yeah, and I think that plays into a lot of the conversations I've had, people struggle with the word should. Throughout their twenties and their thirties, they do so many things that they should and that somebody tells them are right. And so that strive for perfection is actually somebody else's measure of perfection, so that really plays into that should piece.
Corinne: And in addition to someone else's measure, you also feel like you've been handed a surefire recipe for happiness. If I'm perfect, I will be happy. And then it's like, mm, nope. That's not, that's not how it works.
Stephanie: Right? And so trusting yourself to really figure out what's right for you is actually perfection.
Stephanie: All right. So now you made five promises to yourself in this blog post, and I wanna hear how you're doing on them three years later. You said you were gonna say no a lot more.
Corinne: Yes. Um, and I do,
Stephanie: You do?
Corinne: I do and I still say yes sometimes when I don't want to. This is an area that I um, continue to work on and I have learned whenever someone says no to me, I am so happy because they're modeling to me how to do it in a really kind and effective way. And I am practicing that more and more. The thing that's so hard about saying no is you're gonna disappoint people, and for perfectionists we're also people pleasers that's really, really hard. And I have really come to prioritize pleasing myself over other people.
Stephanie: Nice. You said that after you spent a year decluttering your house, you were gonna spend the next year decluttering all your bad habits, thoughts, and relationships that you hadn't yet banished from your world. How did that go?
Corinne: That that went well. I, um, had to make some hard decisions to end some relationships. The thing about relationships that's tricky is they're never all bad and so very hard to have to let go some relationships that did have some good parts, but that ultimately were toxic and not making me feel good. And I did that and I got rid of a lot of bad habits and a lot of negative self-talk, and it's something I continue to work on. I feel like the reality is I will probably always be a work in progress in those areas.
Stephanie: I think we all are. Tell me a little bit about the relationships though. How did you go about ending them? Did you have a conversation with somebody that said, "This is no good for me. I don't wanna be your friend anymore?" Or did you just stop saying yes to invitations? How did you do that?
Corinne: Um, one in particular was a friendship with a girlfriend and we had one difficult conversation and that was it for me. She did not feel that that was the end, but it was for me, and so I just stopped responding and that was very hard. The people pleaser in me, the part that wanted to be kind, the part that thought about all the wonderful things she had done, found it really hard. But I leaned into the people who were real friends and that had to end abruptly.
Corinne: There was another relationship that was more complicated with a family member where the relationship didn't end in the sense that there's no more communication, but it ended in the sense of me feeling any obligation to show up, to be in touch, to be a certain type of person so I can be in proximity to that person. I can be kind and say hello, butI no longer have the obligation hanging over my head of what type of person I'm gonna be in relationship to them.
Stephanie: Nice. I love that. Now I know you're still doing this one. You made a promise to continue to share how decluttering and organizing improved your life. That appears to be your sort of life's mission now.
Corinne: It is. It's not only the mission of Grid and Glam, but it really is my life's mission. So that one that I'm gonna give myself a full check mark for.
Stephanie: Big old check. Okay, we're gonna get to another tough one here. You said you were gonna spend way more time in the moment.
Stephanie: How are you doing?
Corinne: I am doing well with that. This was really, really hard. This was probably the hardest one and believe it or not, the thing that has supported me most in this effort is delegating, is actually taking more things off my plate, delegating both in my personal life and in my business. Because for me, I felt like I needed to practice that first in the still and silent moments and really cultivate what does it feel like to be present when I can just focus on being present. And then that has started bleeding into being present when I am doing all the other things that are life and that are chaotic, and not just rushing through.
Corinne: Even now, sometimes I'll find myself in the shower, for example, thinking about the day. And I'll think, wait, did I wash my face? Did I not wash my face? And then I will say to myself, slow down. Just be in the shower. Don't be in the rest of your day. So it is constant reminders, but this has been extremely satisfying. Cause as we were saying earlier, these moments, every moment is our life, and are you showing up and are you enjoying it? This has been super satisfying to go through that practice.
Stephanie: My husband was having a particularly challenging time at work last year at some point. And I told him, "Stay in your shoes." He said it was great advice. I said,
Corinne: Mmm, I love that
Stephanie: Just stay there, stay in your shoes. He was spiraling out about this person or the situation or that person. I literally made him a sticky and put it on his laptop and I was like, stay in your shoes. And he said that was really helpful. 'Cause that's actually a physical one. You can feel your toes in your shoes so that actually just sort of brings you back to yourself in the moment.
Corinne: I love that.
Stephanie: And then your last promise to yourself was that as often as you can, you're going to feel proud of yourself.
Corinne: Yes, I will give myself a check for this too. In a team meeting earlier I was literally patting myself on the back. And what this has extended to is teaching all the women in my program, in any of my programs, to celebrate themselves for everything they've done. And in fact, we have shout out posts in all of my closed Facebook groups for all of my programs where you get to just brag about what you've done and we will celebrate you because we live in a society where women aren't supposed to talk about how great they are and so I have gotten a lot better at being able to talk about all my accomplishments and encouraging other women around me to do the same.
Stephanie: That's fantastic. Well, it sounds like you're doing pretty well on the promises that you made to yourself, so I am proud of you.
Corinne: Thank you and I'll give myself two pats on the back for doing what I said I was gonna do.
Stephanie: Nice. All right, so last question for you. If somebody was listening today and they found themselves in their mid to late thirties, they were just brought to their knees by their life and where they were, what advice would you give them?
Corinne: The first thing I would say is, Don't spend one ounce of energy beating yourself up for where you are right now. Everything you've done to get you to this point has gotten you where you are, has been a beautiful lesson, has been a gift. And take all of that energy into channeling it to making change, to figuring out what will make you happier and to start taking the action steps.
Corinne: We waste so much time and energy thinking about what we wish we would have done or could have done. You can't go back. You can only go forward. And I think just freeing ourselves from that mental anguish is enough to immediately make us feel happier and feel empowered that we actually can create a life that will bring us so much more joy.
Stephanie: That's amazing. To add to that, a girlfriend of mine told me this was the best advice I ever gave her. She came to me, I think she was in her mid thirties, and she said, e "Everything's wrong." Everything in her life was wrong. She literally asked me if I would write her a recommendation for the Peace Corps. I mean, it was that wrong. And I wrote her the recommendation of course, but I said to her, "Change one thing. I know everything feels wrong, but just change one thing.
Stephanie: It's like one of those puzzles with just one piece missing. Just move one piece and see how everything else can just sort of waterfall out or, how everything looks once you change that one thing." And frankly, that's what she did. She didn't join the Peace Corps. She changed one thing and then over the course of some time, the ripples worked out and now she's happily married and doing great things. So,
Corinne: I love that. And it speaks to the power of action, right? Of just doing one thing. I love that.
Stephanie: All right. Corinne, this has been amazing. I am so happy that you were able to join me today. Before we leave, will you just tell people where they can find you?
Corinne: Yeah, so I hang out a lot on Instagram at Grid and Glam, G R I D A N D G L A M. But if social media isn't your thing, I have a full website that has the blog that you found with lots of free tips and talks about the work we do in all of our programs, and that's www.gridandglam.com.
Stephanie: Oh, thank you so much, Corinne. Thank you. I just love this conversation that we had today and it's so wonderful to meet you.
Corinne: Thank you so much for having me. This was such a blast.