Should I have said "no" to this?

In this solo show, Tiffany takes a beat to reflect after a jam-packed six-week sprint in the Sauder household. Between Tiffany and her husband’s hectic travel schedule, sick kiddos, and seemingly never-ending house construction projects, Tiffany has learned a lot about her own “minimums”—and what happens when she lets go of them in busy seasons.

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In this solo show, Tiffany takes a beat to reflect after a jam-packed six-week sprint in the Sauder household. Between Tiffany and her husband’s hectic travel schedule, sick kiddos, and seemingly never-ending house construction projects, Tiffany has learned a lot about her own “minimums”—and what happens when she lets go of them in busy seasons.

Queue this one up for your next drive and listen to Tiffany chat about setting your own minimums, knowing when to say “no” to things, and a reflection on how her recent trips to Washington D.C. have her thinking about service and sacrifice.

For more on minimums, listen to Tiffany’s episode with Zach Pello

Tiffany Sauder: Okay, we're live. Here we go.

So this is my second solo show and I've been thinking the last, I don't know, day or so, knowing that I was gonna jump back on the mic today about just like kind of pausing my brain about what's going on, what am I seeing, what am I feeling? So I'm gonna export some of that today.

I'm a little nervous it's gonna come out like I'm a one woman complaint train . Um, cuz I've just exited a season on my calendar where like, legitimately coming out of the summer, I had told my family like, September and October are gonna be brutal. My husband had a lot of travel. I had a lot of travel.

We had a big construction project going on in our house. and basically like everything that I am involved with had a great big thing happening across the six weeks period of time. I knew it was gonna be brutal. I'm sitting here on November 2nd. It was brutal, like it was ugly and I am feeling like a bit battered and bruised coming out of it.

Uh, and so I'm just gonna like sit in reflection in some of that. Um, and I would say I'm not to the place where I'm like, Oh, I've got my energy back. And I'm like, you know, Stella's got her groove back. I'm back on top of my schedule. Um, because as things would have it, I exited this season of insanity and this is my first week back.

To like a normal schedule, whatever that means in our household. I was craving early mornings, a workout, a little bit of alone time food that I'd made myself, like tired of eating out. I'm tired of all the things and Quincy is super sick. So instead of her being a daycare and instead of me being able to freely do my schedule, um, I'm homesick.

Not complaining about that. I'm grateful that I have the flexibility to be home with her, and I'm grateful that, um, you know, I can be here when she's sick, but I'm also bugged, like as a human, as a mom, I'm glad I can be there for her as a human. I'm just like, ugh. This feels like such annoying timing because it's like one more week where I have no control over my schedule and I.

I don't like not having control over what's happening. I don't like not having a routine. I am like not good. I get very itchy and like weird in my head when I don't have control over my schedule. And so I'm feeling that inside, like just this, like itchiness, like antsiness, like I don't know, weirdness. So as what was going on, um, in October, I was gone from my house 18 days.

It's too many days. For me to be gone for my house, . Um, and of the days I was home. I think JR was also home five of those days, so like in a month or like maybe six weeks. We've been in our home together less than 10 days for sure. So it's just been a really nuts stretch. So I like asked myself the question.

I'm not a victim to my life. I'm a grownup. I get to make these decisions. I got to say yes to those things. I was the one who decided all of that. Like it did not happen to me. Um, but I looked at this and say like, Should I have avoided it? Should I have not put our kids through that? Should I have not put JAR and I threw that?

Should I not, Should I have not put myself through that? Should I have said no to something? And I actually came through. And has said like it was hard. We're all a little spent, but I still feel like I made the right decision by saying yes to the things I said yes to. And. Not everybody needs to decide this, but I do think to get uncommon outcomes in life, it takes an uncommon effort.

And there are seasons where the like decibel level in our house is like screeching so fast. We all know it's. Unsustainable, but I knew it was a season. I knew it was six weeks and then I knew it would come back down and it does not clip back into place perfectly right after we're done with the season of crazy, I would say even without a sick kid, it probably takes me a week with a sick kid.

It might take me two weeks to like get the Fung Shu back into the situation. Um, but I still would say yes to all those things. I had some really incredible opportunities to lead. I said yes to, I said yes to, , some speaking engagements that I really feel like were impactful to the audience and helped me continue to grow as a speaker.

Um, JR had some. Important things that he needed to go do for his job. some of it was a away time with our kids, so it wasn't all away. we got to experience a special, experience with Ivy, just JR. And I took her to Boston to go see one of his friends and. As an aside, highly recommend the two on one.

It is so special to get your kid all alone, especially in a house of four. it's easy for any one of them to be lost, but I would say in particular, IVR third, she gets lost the most as far as like. Just like what she wants, kind of doesn't matter. The big girl's Trumper or Quincy just, you know, needs my time a lot.

So it's really, really special to go away with her. So I would say yes to all those things again, and it was unsustainable. And I'm really passionate about getting my life to a place where it's sustainable, The things that I'm saying yes to, I have energy for them every single. Were just coming out of a season that was fully unsustainable.

And I look at that experience and say, I think it was the right choice. It so happened that all of these things converged into six weeks. It was nuts. Um, I feel a little disconnected from jr. I think he would say. He feels a little disconnected from me, but we were able to have actually a like really honest conversation about that on the phone a few days.

We were both somewhere else, not home. and I'm working on a big project that in a different world he would be really involved with and vice versa. He has a really big thing he's working on in a different season of life I would be really involved with. And he was like, We're just not able to be there for each other in these projects.

We're doing them alone. Um, and we were able to be like, Yep, that's totally. And if we got to pick it, it would be different. But it's okay that you can't be there for me right now. Like I understand it's not for lack of effort or that you don't care. It was a really healthy discussion for us. so yeah, I'm a little spent, I'm a lot tired.

and that's just where we're at right now. The other thing I look back, yes, I would do it. Also, one of the things I did was I went to Washington DC well, I'll talk about that in a minute. I went to Washington DC with my eighth grader, and basically the whole eighth grade class, talk about an experience and letting go of all control of all things.

Oh, my word is wild. Um, but in these last few weeks, one of the things I did is I lost my minimums. So if. Hung around the show for very long. you may have heard me talk about this idea of like minimums high achievers. oftentimes think about the world through the lens of their goals. How much do you wanna earn?

How much do you wanna work out? How many date nights do you wanna go on? How many hours a week do you wanna spend with your kids? Like all this kind of stuff. Like these are my goals. And then we evaluate how good or bad a day or a week was based on how we performed against our goal. But my trainer, Zach Pell, he opened my eyes up to this idea of like, what about if you would define your minimum?

What are the things that on your worst week, you don't let go of? So an example that's very easy to think about is like brushing your teeth. It doesn't matter if I'm sick, if I'm healthy, if I'm rested, if I'm unrested, if I'm home, if I'm not home, if I woke up at two in the morning or I woke up at 10, I always brush my teeth.

It's a minimum. Right. It's like literally always happens no matter what. For me, that's a minimum. But in these areas of life, like exercise, like relationships, like, you know, time with our kids, or even like the standards in our house, laundry, that kind of stuff. What are your minimums and how do you grade yourself against your minimums?

So for me, I've talked. My brain does so much better when I move my body. My minimum for myself from a workout perspective is lifting two days a week. Like 60 minutes, you know, 120 minutes total in a, a week, that's not that much time. I get a lot of hours and in these six weeks I let that minimum slip and I feel like garbage as a result of it.

I'm mentally beating myself up. I feel like I'm backsliding in my progress. I didn't keep my promise to myself in those minimums, and it's like kind of mushrooming in my head and I, I hate that so, For me, it's a great reminder of why adhering to those minimums are such a critical part of me being sustainable as a person so that I can show up with the energy and clarity and availability that I want to be known for.

But when I let go of those minimums, Kind of collapse inside. Um, and those have become a really big insurance policy. Same thing with like eating. I feel like our frame of mind is so much more clear when you feel on top of your game from like a health perspective.

So maybe your goal is to eat. Six fruits and vegetables a day, all organic, like perfectly spaced out. It's like, well, that's not a minimum, That's a goal. But maybe your minimum is like, I don't eat candy and I'm not going to eat after 8:00 PM or something like very basic and easy to manage. Well, when I was in DC on this eighth grade trip, Legitimately our options to eat were like Panda Express, Arby's, McDonald's, food courts, sbarro, like Philly cheese sticks from Charlie's.

Like what in the world? This is not, I eat Chick-fil-A, but like this is not food I eat on the regular, not because I'm too good for it, but because it just actually makes me feel like a pilot crap when I do eat it. But on this eighth grade trip, I am not exaggerating. I do exaggerate, but this, I am not exaggerating.

50% of our meals we ate in a food court in a mall. Like what in the world? And so, um, I also just let go of my minimums from a food perspective and I felt like crap. but like those decisions of. Eating eight Twizzlers before I went to bed did not make me feel any better to be able to get up the next morning at like butt crack 30 to be able to work out.

And it just becomes this like mushroom effect. And so this is not really about me just reporting on my own minimums. It's giving you some examples of minimums and me reminding myself that these are an insurance policy for me, like these minimums that I have decided I just went through. An intense fricking season, and I as a way to, I think, maybe kind of reward myself in some sort of stupid way.

I rewarded myself with like the treats before bed, and I rewarded myself with an hour more sleep instead of like honoring myself. With not eating those Twizzlers and honoring myself by getting out of bed in the morning. Again, that's not about saying like, I can't sleep in or I can't eat crap at night.

That's all fine and fun. It's more about the fact that I compromise my commitment to myself and what my minimums were in this season where they were really gonna be pressure tested and I knew that and. Me reminding myself that it did not serve me well to give up on those minimums.

Um, but I'm sorting through this like kind of in, very much, in real time of it is interesting, this idea of I in a, in an effort to reward myself, it actually was like, Compromising on my minimums and in compromising in my minimums, I felt worse than if I would've honored those. And so the reward actually to myself would've been honoring those minimums, of being responsible and not even responsible.

Sometimes sleeping in an hour is the responsible thing to do.

For me, this is like a big thing cuz I am better at keeping commitments to other people than I am at keeping commitments to myself. And for the last almost two years, I have been maniacal about. My workout minimums of lifting two hour, two days a week.

And in the season I let it go and I'm just reminded that it's really important to adhere to that, um, in letting it go. I also wanna encourage you, like if you have not gone through and thought through what your minimums are, not your goals. High achievers, we love our. But we only feel good about ourselves when we hit perfectly every day against our goals.

And that happens very rarely actually. And so if you measure yourself against your minimums, then when you exceed those, because a lot of weeks you can, then you, that starts to feel like, Man, I totally crushed it this week. You know, my minimums are lifting two days a week. I actually lifted three and went on a run like working out four days a week.

not that impossible, right? There's still three days that you're not working out, so you can really feel like you crushed it versus like your goal being four days a week. For my schedule, it's really hard to work out more than four days a week just because I get distracted. I'm not always disciplined is more of a me problem.

Um, So that's just encouragement. Find your minimums. I have a podcast episode on it somewhere. Well link it and show notes if we can find it. Um, and I talk about defining your minimums against, I say the five basic areas, and for me, those five basic areas are myself eating and exercise, my house, laundry, the kids.

And food. That's the fifth one. those are like the areas that I have minimums to find. Okay. We're not gonna go down that rabbit hole. We're done with this topic. okay. I hear Quincy crying, so I'm gonna try to go into one more topic and we'll see if she can manage crying in bed for a few minutes.

Okay. I mentioned I went to Washington dc I actually went to DC twice in the last six weeks. I haven't been to Washington DC in the last six years.

And so my eyes were like very fresh for the whole experience as a grownup and just like all that we're dealing with as a country. Politically, it was just kind of interesting to go there and to watch. And my takeaway in both of them, we went to like Mount Vernon, which was, you know, where Washington was at.

We went to the Jefferson Memorial, we went to the Korean War Memorial, we went to the Holocaust Museum. We went to the African American History Museum like lots of places, saw lots of monuments, did lots of things. And my takeaway. Was that there is no service without sacrifice. There is no service without sacrifice.

and I mean that in like the smallest sense of it. So if you're gonna like, serve in your local church, usually means like you have to get there early. It means that you have to maybe stay late. It means that you and your family have to drive separately or like whatever it is, Like anytime you are going to serve.

there's going to be on the other side of that coin sacrifice always. And the story that for me, or like the sort of vignette in history that was so poignant to me was George Washington. His home was Mount Vernon. This amazing, uh, it's like 300 some acres right on the Potomac River.

With like the most beautiful views and it's so serene and, you know, I can't imagine how peaceful it would be without, you know, hundreds of tourists all over it. Um, but he was away from his home for 17 years, nine years when he was at war. And in those nine years, one of the things that we read, he only came home one.

In that nine years in the second he was gone for eight years when he was president. And when you think about somewhere along the line, he had to realize, my life is in service to this war. My life is in service to this cause my life is in service to this ideology that I believe in. And. Lots of other people believed in it too, and were willing to fight for it, and were willing to die for it.

But he, somewhere along the line had to accept and realize that he was going to be the face of this effort. and as a result, the things that he was gonna have to sacrifice was not being in his home bed, not having Normal, see with his wife Martha, so I, I was just like so impressed on me that also at some point she had to accept that her husband's life was in service to this country and that she was going to have to sacrifice time with him. And I think part of the reason that's so poignant is that right now in this season of our life, Jar and I are both 42 years old.

we both are called to leadership and as a result, there are seasons where it takes us apart and.

That is okay. Not because I want to be a part, but because I think when I was seeing their story, I started to see that, like that's part of saying yes as a couple, there are things we're gonna have to sacrifice. There are experiences, we're gonna have to sacrifice some moments with our kids.

We're gonna have to sacrifice if we want to be in service to these people, to these causes, to these ideologies. I don't know, it's just like something I'm. Thoughtfully pondering right now. I know that there are sacrifices my kids have to make because of the places that I feel called to serve and the purpose that I feel has been laid on my life and in my heart.

So as I kind of move back towards trying to get my life to a place where it's sustainable, I share with, just coming out of this crazy season, one of the things I'm a little bit intimidated about is my second Ainsley.

She's in sixth grade, just made a travel volleyball team, so I'm very happy for her. Um, it's interesting this like the between 10 and 12 years old, they start to realize that you can work towards something and achieve it. I don't know. I think, I don't know. When they're young and they sort of like naturally are good at things or they don't experience me as consciously, the friction of learning

I saw this with Aubrey too. I remember the same transition where they kind of are like, I'm not good at it, or, She was good at volleyball, but not great at volleyball, but she wanted to be great at volleyball. And so, she practiced, practiced, practiced, practiced her face off the summer and got so much better.

And for her to experience that inside of her body of like getting better, it was amazing. It was really special to watch it. And then, She made this travel team. We're very excited for her. We're very supportive of it, but I feel very naive about , what it's really gonna mean. Have 12 weekends that we're gonna travel away.

And so anyway, I guess day tuned. We'll see how that goes. Or if you have advice for me candidly, like it would be so helpful, like direct message me over Instagram or LinkedIn. Those are great places where I, uh, definitely engage a lot. Um, I'd love any advice and maybe I bring somebody on the pod that can.

Do an episode with me about like what it looks like to do the travel team thing. Well, um, when I was growing up, I didn't do that stuff. My parents were very present, but they didn't, my dad didn't really care about the sports stuff. My parents didn't really invest a lot in it. And so I feel, uh, a little intimidated about what this is gonna look like and I don't want my little kids to feel.

They're just like drug all over the world, but maybe that's just what it is and maybe it'll be fine and they'll live on hot dogs. I don't know. So, okay. That's all.

Thank you for joining me on another episode of Scared Confident. Until next time, keep telling fear. You will not decide what happens in my life. I. . If you wanna get the inside scoop, sign up for my newsletter. We decided to make content for you instead of social media algorithms.

The link is waiting for you in show notes, or you can head over to tiffany soder.com. Thanks for listening.

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