Black Minimalists: Yvonne Wallace
I was fortunate to meet up with Yvonne back in March. We talked for hours and if you need someone to give you a strong push, she is your coach. It's so refreshing to connect with like-minded people and I look forward to meeting up and collaborating with Yvonne in the future.
What drew you to minimalism and what are your goals in living simply?
I think the main thing that drew me to minimalism is having my daughter and realizing that everything (that's needed with a baby) was multiplying faster than ever. Babies come with a lot of stuff so I realized that if I don’t do anything about it then sooner than later, clutter was going to take over my house and my mind.
This started my journey of minimalism. I had a “free” garage sale when leaving my first house and never looked back. The most important thing is to take one day at a time. I do not beat myself up about NOT doing everything. I take one day at a time and try to focus on one business task and one personal task each day. Then I celebrate small victories of completing these two tasks along the way.
Your mission is "to help make people wealthy, financially, mentally, and physically, from the inside out", How do you accomplish that in your work?
I like to think that coaching is at the root of many areas in life. Whether it’s dieting, exercising, playing a sport, financially, or learning the skills for a new job, it always starts with a coach who is there to train, teach, inspire, mentor, and be a cheerleader. This being said, I think one thing I help people with is figuring out their values before making any major life decisions.
If we can figure out how they are doing mentally, it makes it easier to deal with harder subjects like money and finances. In addition to my 1:1 coaching, I’m in the process of creating a travel course that will help families plan almost free trips. I want to help families simplify based on values and create experiences instead of collecting stuff.
Visit Yvonne's new site: Simple Travel Hacking and get a free quick sheet with tips for how to travel nearly free!
You focus on simplicity in your coaching, What drew you in this direction professionally?
Professionally, I always had people come up to me and ask me how I was able to accomplish something or how to create easy systems to follow. So I think that it was only natural I fell into this role. Simply put, a clear mind will result in a happier life. I saw this improve over the years in my life and I wanted to be apart of this on a larger scale.
Can you offer a few quick tips to bring more simplicity into our lives right now?
a. One thing I always ask myself is do I NEED or WANT this before every purchase. I think that it keeps things in perspective when shopping in a store like Target when it’s easy to go in for one thing and come out with 20 extra items.
b. Once a week, go through your home and choose one thing to donate or recycle...do this until you feel happy to walk in the doorway because the clutter is gone.
c. For a clearer mind, use the Calm App. This will give your a few minutes of peace each day.
d. Set your intentions at the beginning of each day so you will be more clear and focused and you will also put things into action faster.
Having lived in DC for a few years, I know it's about movement. How do you find your zen in the city in addition to your roles as a coach, writer, speaker, mother, and wife?
Consistent breaks is key in my life. Taking a walk in a new neighborhood, going to a temporary art exhibit to see something beautiful brings me joy. I try to see one new thing each week that’s different and specific to DC. It’s important to collect experiences rather than stuff. Check out Twitter or Google for ideas. Turn your surrounding environment into positive energy.
You offer a free happiness tracker on your site, what are some things you do to find your happiness on a daily basis?
Being grateful for 3 items each day is so important. At one point, I would text my friend every day three things I loved about life and she would do the same thing. We were grateful accountability buddies! It puts things into perspective.
Another thing I do is my own version of meditation...it’s saying mantras over and over again in the morning so I can focus my day with the things I want to accomplish. This goes back to setting intention. I do not read the newspaper because I noticed that my energy would be drained from tons of bad things happening in the world so I use the daily Skimm email to learn about current world events. Therefore, I can still have a conversation with others but I’m not constantly upset either. It’s a balance.
What's your take on the black minimalist movement?
I think that it’s important to realize that we, especially women in our community, become caregivers and helpers very early on. We take care of our grandparents, parents, children, family, and friends. A lot of the time, we give so much, we might not have a lot left for ourselves. That being said, we need to take care of ourselves and I think by simplifying and being minimalist, we will not only take care of ourselves but will also be better people for others who depend on us.
Where can we learn more about you?
I hang out on Twitter (@itsyvonnenicole) and will be scoping daily simple travel, financial, and mindset tips on Periscope (@itsyvonnenicole) in April.