Episode Number: 189

Episode 189- Live a More Intentional Life & Opt Out of Things That Don’t Serve You w/ Cait Flanders

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Show notes

Jamila Souffrant 0:00

You're listening to the Journey to Launch podcast, How to Opt Out and Live An Intentional Life with Cait Flanders.

Intro 0:10

Welcome to the Journey to Launch podcast with your host Jamila Souffrant, as a money expert who walks her talk, she helps great Journeyers like you get out of debt, save, invest, and build real wealth. Join her on the Journey to Launch to Financial Freedom.

Jamila Souffrant 0:38

Hey, hey, hey journeyers Welcome to the Journey to Launch podcast. If you're brand new here, I call you a journeyer. Because we are all journeyers on this path to financial freedom and independence. So I'm so happy that you can join me for today's episode. Now I'm speaking to author best selling author at that Cait Flanders, Cait wrote, "The Year of Less", which was described by Vogue as a fascinating look into the living experience that we all can learn from. It's been translated into 10 languages and sold more than 190,000 copies like Wow, she has written a new book called "The Adventures in Opting Out." And it's a field guide to opting out of expectations, changing paths and leading a more intentional life. I am so excited to have Cait on the podcast to talk through what opting out means and what it actually does in our lives like not just a prescriptive, here's how to opt out, but what we can expect, what changes in our lives and relationships that change the emotional work that comes with choosing something different. So Cait and I will talk about all of that.

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If you want the episode Show Notes for this episode, go to journe or you can click the description of wherever you listen to this episode to get the full episode show notes. Now if you are a new listener to the podcast or an OG journeyer I've created a jumpstart guide to help you on your journey to financial freedom. It includes the top episodes so listen to the stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources to help you and so much more. Get it for FREE by texting launch to 33777 text launch to 33777 or go to to get your guide for free right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.

Hey, journeyers, I'm excited as I always am to speak to this week's guest in the rocket chair. Welcome to the podcast Cait Flanders.

Cait Flanders 4:12

Oh my gosh, I'm so excited to be here.

Jamila Souffrant 4:14

So Cait, your writer, you have written two books now the first one called "The Year of Less" and then the second one is called "The Adventures in Opting Out." That's your latest book. I'd love to talk about all the things so I know you have a long like history in the personal finance space and from a writer like blogger and you can go through your history because I love getting to like how people got to where they are today. And then I definitely want to dig into the concepts and ideas in your book because just like the title "Adventures in Opting Out" I want to dig into that because I feel like we can all use help and guidelines and how we can opt out a lot of things that are happening right now in our lives to make ourselves more whole and you know just figure out what we want in life. So want to get into that but first Welcome to the podcast again.

Cait Flanders 5:00

Thank you. Yeah.

Jamila Souffrant 5:01

So for you, right, like how your "Year of Less" was your first book that you wrote?Right?

Cait Flanders 5:06

Yeah, the "Year of Less" came out in January of 2018. So it's been like three years now.

Jamila Souffrant 5:12

I follow you also on Instagram. And I saw you had some like questions on like ama on your stories, and so on asked about you on being in the personal finance space, or no, it was about you being in like the minimalist, or the

Cait Flanders 5:25

we have they called it the like, no spend space or something like that.

Jamila Souffrant 5:30

Yeah, we should definitely describe what the year of less was in case if we want to also pick that up. Yeah. But describe what that was. And I'll say why I brought up that question that someone asked you.

Cait Flanders 5:40

Yeah, yeah. So I'm gonna talk about all the personal finance things. But the year of less was about one year of my life, it was actually the year I was 29. Like, I started it on my 29th birthday, I decided I wasn't going to buy anything unless I absolutely needed it. And there was a short list of a couple things that I did need or kind of hoped I could save to buy, like I really needed a pair of winter boots, I literally just didn't own anything appropriate. But then I also hoped that I could save enough money to like buy a new bed was one example, I at that point, had a bed I'd been sleeping on for like 13 or 14 years, I just thought it'd be really nice if I could finally get a new one. And the challenge or like the point of the challenge was really just to see if I could spend less and save more. I was someone who originally like old school personal finance days, I started blogging when I was maxed out with almost $30,000 of debt. And, you know, I paid off my debt. But then I basically went right back to spending all my money. And so I didn't go back into debt. But I was, I was just spending everything. And I used to share these monthly updates, like my budgets and goals and all of that on my blog every single month. And I could never ever seem to hit my savings targets. But instead, I was always listing all these different excuses for why I'd had to spend money, like I just had to.

And so yeah, I just, I mean, I did that for a full year where I was basically spending everything and I just thought, like, every single month, I would get to them being like this doesn't feel good. Like it doesn't feel good that I'm making these excuses or justifications for my spending. And so I decided to just essentially try to stop spending, like, on on anything I didn't need, I cut out even things like takeout coffee. And even though it wasn't a physical object, it's like I just wasn't happy with how much money I was spending on it anymore. And, and got to the end of the year, you know, I'd saved gosh, I can't remember percentages now. But I'd saved something like 30 something percent of my income more, so long now. But I'd saved a ton of money. I think I lived on 51% of my income that was a big one for me, or like that number is very clear. And I spent money on travel for the very first time travel was something I'd always wanted to do. But I'd never had the money, essentially, because I was spending it or I was going into debt and then having to pay off debt. And so I finally got to travel a bit that that year. And yeah, the book goes through, obviously, the financial side of that. But I also talk a lot about my consumption tendencies as a whole. I am someone who I'm sober almost eight years now. And I stopped drinking when I was in my 20s. And I talked about how, like I obviously had stopped drinking, that was something I had been using kind of as a numbing tactic, something to just escape with. And then what I hadn't recognized was that spending was kind of the next thing like without drinking, I was spending. And so then in removing the spending that year, there were a lot of other things that came up like emotional things that came up that I had to actually sit with for the very first time. And so the book really looks at all of that.

Jamila Souffrant 8:51

Back then where were you working, that you were able to save? 51%?

Cait Flanders 8:55

Yes, I did have a full time job back then. I was working for a financial startup based out of Toronto, Canada. At that time, though, I was living in BC, I was living across the country in a one bedroom apartment by myself, which back then rent was much more affordable than it is now. But yeah, so I was not living in Toronto. So I wasn't really living sort of big city life. I just was working for a big city company.

Jamila Souffrant 9:25

Right. And so you were able to save you but that was a intentional decision by then you had paid off your debt. You said right.

Cait Flanders 9:31

Yeah, I was debt free. And I was making 57 or $60,000 a year. This is Canadian, so it'd be a bit less American. And then I was doing some freelance writing on the side. So I think that year I made something like $65,000 Canadian so which would maybe be like 45 or 50 US something like that, depending on the exchange.

Jamila Souffrant 9:53

Yeah, no, and it's good to have that context for people. Also, you know, what happened for you is that you paid off debt. So That's a big milestone that you paid off your debt. And I feel like sometimes people to get through that, depending on how that felt and the sacrifices that you made to do that, that when you are debt free, like unless you have a clear plan, then it's like, oh, now I can really do what I want with my money, but then not maybe realizing at that moment like no, it's still the journey still continues, if you're very strategic about what happens next with your money,

Cait Flanders 10:23

which I did not have a goal. So first of all, like when I paid off my debt, I think because I was maxed out, like that was such a horrible thing. Like that was such a shame filled experience, to get to the place where I had literally $100 left, like I had nothing. And to get to that place, I was so embarrassed, so ashamed that I honestly think the way that I approached my debt repayment was like punishment. Like I was just really hard on myself for two years. And so I didn't really learn anything, I didn't really learn, like why I had gotten into debt, what I had been spending money on, and that at the end of that I did not have goals, I did not have like a very clear goal of like what I wanted for my life. And instead, I remember I would just set this goal of I should save 20% like I should invest 20% for retirement, that was my goal. But it didn't really mean anything. Right? Like it just it was kind of this like, what's retirement, I didn't have any vision of that. I didn't know why would be saving or investing anything. That's something I have definitely learned about how I approach money, if I do not have a goal, it's very easy for me to spend. But as soon as I have a goal, like an actual savings goal, or something that I really want, I somehow find it a lot easier to scale back.

Jamila Souffrant 11:42

Yeah, and it seems so like simple, even just a you know that part of your journey because everyone you know, some people listening are within right now that debt pay off stage. And I always say like, you know, if you're too hard on yourself, if you're too miserable in this, if you're really still unclear about what you're doing, and why like the reason why you got into it. Yeah, you might get a debt. It's happened so many to so many people that you get out of debt, and you find yourself right back into debt. Or like maybe they have an opportunity where they can maybe file for bankruptcy and like wipe the slate clean, but then they're back in the same situation a couple years later, or they're using something else to cover up whatever the internal work that needs to be done of their habits.

Cait Flanders 12:19

Yeah, yeah. And that, my gosh, like the internal work, I just feel like, I never knew that truly like the year of less, just a bad experiment that year, which I just called a shopping ban, which I wish I had called something different. It's like always in hindsight, but I wish I had known or maybe I don't wish I had known this. But the result of that would have been honestly like just years and years of continued inner work ever since. Because I did not I like things I'm learning now about myself are deeper rooted issues of why I never even let myself have visions for my future. Like why I just didn't even give myself that opportunity to imagine like what my future could be. So yeah, there's it's it will go on forever. Probably.

Jamila Souffrant 13:07

I you still working through those like blocks that you have?

Cait Flanders 13:10

Yeah, I think a bit this year has been the first year where I've really let myself try to just vision things up and not in kind of like a woowoo sense. Like, if I could close my eyes and imagine what I would want that what would feel good for me, what are some things that I would actually really want to experience? But yeah, the blocks have been everything from like, it's always leads back to childhood, or like, pretty much.

Jamila Souffrant 13:39

That's for all of us. I think, you know, it's sometimes we have the insight to know that and sometimes we don't like even the way we approach our relationships. Money is like that, then we all need to survive. It impacts everything we do. But then when you think about the relationships, right, whether it's a relationship with our parents, or dads or the lack of one, you know, I didn't know my dad didn't really have great relationships with the Father, suppose the father figures in my life, and I could see how like, reflecting I could see how that impacts everything I do even now like with the way obviously Personally, I approach my relationship to actually now like running a business even like it all seeps in.

Cait Flanders 14:16

I can definitely relate to that. Like I did not know my dad, I was 110% an accident. My mom did not was not even in a relationship. So he completely disappeared. It was just the two of us until I was seven and a half when she met my stepdad. And that's also just a really hard time to bring a dad into the picture. I'm like now my dad is like the parent I have the strongest relationship which like my stepdad I just call it my dad. He's the parent I have the strongest relationship with but absolutely looking back. Yeah, that lack of a figure even like things that have come up in conversation with like my therapist or things around. I literally remember hearing things like your dad Didn't want you, I can literally remember those words, being told that at such a young age, I was probably five or six, like, Yeah, it definitely seeps into everything.

Jamila Souffrant 15:13

And in our confidence and how we interact with people, which all leads into the way we show up in our, in our lives and our careers, in our businesses. It's very interesting when you start really sitting down and realizing Why am I the way you know, like I am? And why do I choose to spend or not spend or invest even like you saying, like, you had blocks about envisioning your future, so many people like, it may be for different reasons. But so many people, I could sit and say, think about your goals, you know, envision a life you want in 1015 years, and some people can't do that. Because whatever blocks they have that don't allow them to, like think the forward in that way.

Cait Flanders 15:49

Well, and I also had that around money very specifically. So not even just what I wanted, or what I wanted to save for. But I remember having blocks a friend saying to me once like, I don't think it would take you that much extra to earn like six figures. And my immediate response was just like, well, I don't want to, and having so many feelings of like not wanting to earn more money, it just infiltrates into everything.

Jamila Souffrant 16:13

self sabotage that happens when it comes to we get opportunities to earn more or to ask for more and what we think that will do to whether it's our added responsibilities or perception, you know, Will people look at me or want more things from me? Or it's so rooted to there's so much so I'm glad that we're kind of like talking through this. And hopefully people attorneys listening can maybe think through some of the things that impact because sometimes it's just you're not going to solve it all. You know, it's but it's just understanding and being aware is just really key.

Cait Flanders 16:43

Awareness is huge. It actually made me think of the question before the person said,

Jamila Souffrant 16:48

Oh, yeah,

Cait Flanders 16:51

yeah, I've no, no, I just thought of it. But someone had said, an assumption I have about you, is that you have abandoned the like, no spend community. And abandon, first of all felt like a very intense word. But I read that and immediately thought, like, I just actually wasn't part of it. Like it was truly just an experiment. I don't have that ambition to be incredibly frugal forever in order to achieve all my goals. And also, because there were pieces of it, that were a bit of deprivation, there was a lot that was just learning and I'm so I will never regret, like anything I did around the shopping ban, because I learned so much about my habits, versus like when I paid off my debt, and I learned nothing other than I didn't want to be in debt again. So I learned so much, but I like that as a lifestyle, like a full lifestyle doesn't resonate, I still don't buy very much. But I don't feel the need to sort of be like the champion of that side of things.

Jamila Souffrant 17:54

And you don't want to be restricted. I kind of feel similar in some regards to like, you know, when I first started, I was like, really financial, you know, FIRE driven and financially independent, retire early, all those things. And the principles that come along with some of that, for some people in the community involved, really not spending a lot and being very intentional with spending, which I agree with. But I also didn't want to get pigeonholed into like, it almost felt like if you really saw my budget and what I spent, you'd be like, Huh, Jamila, like she spent that much on going out to eat and all these things that I didn't want to just be like, pigeon holed in because like No, no. And I think a lot of people, maybe they want to try something but like they feel like then that's it like you can try being just for fun experiment. I'd like to be the scientist in your life doesn't mean you're taking on this role completely. But you can say, you know what, I'm just gonna see how this feels. And I'm gonna do a no spend week. But it doesn't mean now you have to join the frugal community. And now you never can have like anything luxurious again, you know, like, it's just these barriers, sometimes we put on ourselves so that we, then we don't try things in and see what happens.

Cait Flanders 18:57

Yeah, well, like sometimes we do find an identity that it does fit, it does resonate. But I'm definitely noticing this pattern in myself that I'm enjoying the experiments that I've been doing over the years, or just the different OPT outs or changes that I've made over the years, not only for myself, like I'm learning this for myself, but also to give it to others, like the grace to others, giving myself permission to change my mind. And then to be able to give that to others as well like that, that we don't have to put ourselves in these boxes of like you are this way and that is the way you are forever. That's it feels so restrictive. Like that is what feels restricted. I don't want to do this thing forever. Or like, maybe there's some that I might end up doing it forever, but I don't I don't even want to start off thinking that like I just want to be able to like ease into something and see how it goes.

Jamila Souffrant 19:48

Right, The ability to change your mind. Okay, so I do want to talk about the adventures in opting out because and love to talk through principles or just ways in which we can all think about opting out more things in our lives. And I love that you said, um, you know, this book is not like a how to book, you described it as an emotional guide. Because oftentimes, like, you know, we have these prescriptions, especially in the personal finance space, do these things. And then it's like people, most people, there's so many articles and resources about how to budget how to do these things. Yeah, how about like, like, it's why you're not doing it. It's like that deep work and figuring it out. So the emotional part of the journey, the mindset, the habits, all that really lead into any action you take. So I like that you describe it that way. Talk more about why opting out is so important for all of us to start thinking about doing.

Cait Flanders 20:40

Yeah, I mean, we could also just give it a different term would be like just changing paths, right. So it's just something that you maybe have been doing, you decide is no longer right for you. And that can be as big or as small as you want. Like, opting out could literally be, I'm going to become a vegetarian, so I'm not going to eat meat anymore. Okay, that's pretty small change. It could be as big as, yeah, I'm going to go the FIRE route, right, like, I'm going to try to do ephi. The thing that felt so important for the book was to write it for the people who are making whatever the opt out is as big or small as it is, for the people who are doing it truly alone, because they don't actually know anyone in their real life who has done it. So maybe they can find some examples on the internet. But like, they don't actually have anyone built into their support system who has done the thing or even something kind of similar, that they can look to, and say, yeah, this is gonna work out for you. Like, yeah, I can, I can be an example for you, I can talk you through this, I can help you through these things. So when you are the first person to decide to live a bit differently. And the idea for it, I mean, it came from a lot of places. But the number one reason that I wrote it was because I noticed, so I wouldn't be or less came out. I did a whole bunch of events and interviews and stuff like that.

And I noticed that there was always this question that at least one person asked at every single thing, which was along the lines of Did you lose anyone? Did you lose any family? Did you lose any friends? How did your social life change? You know, like, how did your connection shift that people start leaving you out? Right, like, do people stop inviting you? If what, for example of the shopping bag, like did people stop inviting you to go shopping? I guess but you know, I talked about drinking in that book. So did you did you lose anyone because you got sober? And what I noticed, in my response, first of all, was that I'm kind of sugarcoating it, I guess is the best way to put it, like I would kind of just say, Well, you know, like, you know, some friendships might change, or things might change. But like, you can just suggest that you guys do other things. And I was like that that can be true and has been true for some friendships. Like the other answer is like, Yeah, you do lose friends. Yeah, you probably will, depending on what your update is like, your connections will change. And I didn't like that. I was sugarcoating it. So I changed my answers went on. But I also just thought, like, we actually don't have discussions like this, in sort of the personal finance or self help space in general, like, especially self help you find like so many books, they just sort of give you the solutions, like, here are the steps to follow, here are the things to do to make this change. Okay, what else happens? Like what else happens in your life when you decide to do something differently? And it's like a harder truth to give and say, like, yeah, other things change, too. Like, often when you make one change, it's kind of a ripple effect. And other things change. And it may not happen all at once. It could be over time, it could be, you do notice that you don't have as much to bring to the table in certain conversations, it could be that I don't know, you just don't like the lifestyle or like don't resonate with the lifestyle, other people are living anymore. You don't have the same stuff to talk about anymore. Like you don't really have anything to connect on. People could literally just judge you and not want to keep you I don't know, in their main circle of people. And yeah, I just all of a sudden, like, or not all of a sudden, but I started thinking about that more and more. I'm just thinking like, we need to talk about this more, and not in a way of giving steps. Like you said, it's not like 10 steps. And here's how it goes. I'm like, we just need to prepare each other for this piece of it. Like when you change your life, other things change. And we just need to talk about that a bit more. So we're we're just preparing each other and sort of saying, like, here are the things that could come up. And if you can emotionally prepare for that it can help you. Like if it's a change you actually really want to make just being a little more prepared can be one of the things that helps you keep going and be like, yeah, this part is going to be hard. And I still want to do it. Yeah.

Jamila Souffrant 24:57

So what are some that are examples for yourself that you've opted out of the gate people just some like context because, you know, it's also relative to like, what is big? And what is small for someone right of opting out. So for you like, what, what are the things that you opted out of big and small? And how has that impacted your journey?

Cait Flanders 25:15

Yeah, so the biggest one I would say is drinking like sobriety for me is definitely the biggest opt out that I've done. And just because it's the one that truly taught me sort of how to be alone in a room, or like be the odd one out in a room in that sense of drinking is so normal that it is very obvious when you're the one person not doing it, the other one person not partaking. It also changed in my 20s, at least it changed things around dating and stuff like that. everyone just wants to go for drinks, and you're like, I'll go to a bar with you. But I'm not gonna drink anything. So drinking, to me has been the biggest one. Small ones, actually. So I am a vegetarian. That's one I used to use. Like, all social media, I used to use like everything. Now I only use Instagram. So like slowly getting rid of Facebook and Twitter. And that might sound like not a big thing to be concerned about. But also when you have, like an online audience and people who follow you and publishers who would probably love if you were on all the platforms, there are questions that come up with that and and or concerns and what are people going to do if I'm not there? Even with Facebook, that was an interesting one, because it was and still can be like such a social place that concerns for me were like, Are there people I'm not going to connect with, are there events, I won't get invited to because everything is done through there. And even without, like having to get to a place where you're like, I'm gonna take that risk. And I might not be invited. And that has been true, I have missed things and just has to be okay. I guess other ones are, you know, I, I used to work for the government, which was the route that I was definitely told to take, right. I grew up in a government town, my parents both work for the government, the goal is get a job in the government, and then you're good. Like, you stay there until you retire, you have a pension, and you're solid. I had a job with the government for five years. And I've just found like, now I can reflect on this and see it. But I've found that like personal growth is a huge value of mine. And in the government, I just could not grow like I could not sort of even get out of the one office that I was in. And I was like, I know everything here like, like, know how it all works. I know my job inside and out, I was so bored because I wasn't challenged. And so even leaving the government though to go work in the private sector was a big opt out for me, like just based on like family values, like that was a big one for me. And then later, leaving the job at the financial startup and working for myself was really big. And also with those ones, like lots of kind of financial concerns. I've moved a lot, I've traveled a lot. And one of the things I talked about in the book is like for 2019, I gave up my apartment and traveled full time that year. And that was a big OPT up because again, not only was travel, not something we did, like we didn't go on family trips growing up, I always wanted to travel but wasn't really in our budget. I remember we went on two vacations in 20 something years of my parents marriage. And yeah, travel was not something we did. But it also was not norm like it was not okay, my family was flat out like travel is a luxury, it is not something that you get to do. Travelers are like, I don't know, really flaky and like, at some point need to come home and settle down and figure it out. There was so much messaging for me that like travel was not allowed. Hmm. And so even that one just to say like, I'm actually gonna, like try and go away for a year was actually really hard.

Jamila Souffrant 28:53

Yeah, but you know, I like that you're bringing up these examples. Because if you base it on quality of life, and how happy you are like things you want to opt out over things that don't feel right. So it can be like social media stuff that I think we all associate with the pressure of having like an online platform, it is being in all the places and you know, wanting to at least miss out on something or not being able to connect with your audience. But at what what's the trade off there for my like peace of mind, right? And like sanity, not always feeling I have to post something, right? There's that or even like drinking, right? Some of those things are just like quality of life, but then it does impact money. It does impact like so in the case of drinking like you know, alcohol is expensive.

Cait Flanders 29:37


Jamila Souffrant 29:38

right. Like, that's hundreds and hundreds, thousands of dollars a year that people spend on alcohol. And if it's something that you feel like is an issue for you or something that you something you just don't think you should be doing. There's an opportunity there that can actually help you financially. Part of this too, is like being really courageous in these things, because one there's going to be some withdrawal I would assume feelings, like there is going to be push back even before you do it. Even if I wanted to, like, let's just say alcohol is an example, like are like all, like my closest friend and I like when we hang out like we enjoy, like drinking together.

Cait Flanders 30:12


Jamila Souffrant 30:13

So things like that. But like, what if we did it and we I mean, there were times when we do challenges and you know we're working out. And so we don't do any of that so we can connect outside of that. But it's such a part of so many relationships that you have where you're just like I can't even imagine. And one of the things you do say in the book is that opting out doesn't solve everything. It just quiets all the other noise so that you can figure out because you can opt out of something. And because here's a fear also not being in a box, maybe I do want to opt out and try and I've done this before, but try not to be on social for this amount of time or drinking for this amount of time. But you can opt back in. Yeah. But at least you know, from your experiment, what like you really think of it not what other people are telling you to think of it.

Cait Flanders 30:53

Hmm, oh, that's a really good point. And, yeah, the ability to opt back in actually, this is such a silly example. But I haven't blogged in over two years. But I've thought about it a bunch of times. And finally, just like a few weeks ago, I was like, I'm just gonna write a blog post. I'm just gonna, like, see what happens. I'm just gonna put it out there. Because two and a half years ago, whatever I literally said, like, I quit, I'm out. And now I'm like, actually, I can write again, anytime I feel like it. I don't have to put myself in the box that I put myself in, I can decide to do something different. But yeah, I think like, you can do an opt out and learn nothing. You can opt out of something, say for 30 days and and just look at it as like a cool, yeah, I did it but like, not actually learn anything about it. The work in it, though, is of I think getting comfortable. In the space that comes as a result. What comes up? What thoughts start to come up? What are your fears? Definitely, I think like, for me, there was a lot of like, literal space in silence, especially in sobriety in the beginning, because I just started staying home a lot more. And so what what thoughts are coming up then? And also like, what am I doing to sort of self soothe in a healthy way versus numbing out in some way? Because like, unlike the the experience you're describing, and what the majority of people can do, I did not know how to just have a few drinks. I did not know my drinking for me was I could go a long time actually without drinking. But if I drank it was literally like, it's almost like my mission was to get blackout drunk. Like that was just almost the goal. Because it happened every single time. Like whether it was just an hour or the whole night. There was always some part of the night that I did not remember. So yeah, to really fill the silence with that. It's like I I had to learn how to self soothe and said, like, what, why was I drinking like that? And what feelings were coming up but I was ignoring? And what does it look like to actually feel?

Jamila Souffrant 32:57

Yeah, and we want to avoid those things. That's why we busy ourselves with the social media and the scrolling and you know, television and in moderation. And when you're in control, it's fine. But when you find yourself using that as a crutch, that's where the issue comes in. So I like that you break the book out and the whole concept like you know, it's like a journey, which is similar kind of like journey to launch. Like it's all a journey, and you break it out into almost like climbing like a mountain into different I know you can't get you have to go through all but I would like to just be a quick overview of how it relates in the journey of when you're opting out of something. So you have the base, the viewpoint, the valley, the slope, and the summit.

Cait Flanders 33:35

Totally, yeah. And, and it is easy to break those down. Actually, I'd say like the base is the period of time like on a physical mountain, you're not climbing yet. Like you're like walking up to climb it. Or it's like you're driving to the parking lot at the base. But for me, like with opting out, I would say that is the full period of time where you are just thinking that you want something different. And I have actually found it takes me almost like more time to make the decision that I am going to opt out than to even do the opt out, right? Like I'll think about something for weeks or months or even like drinking, I thought about not drinking for years. And before I finally get to that place where I'm comfortable doing it like you've weighed all the costs, you figured out like, okay, yeah, I still have fears. I'm still afraid of this. But I think I'm at the point where I'm, I'm confident I can at least try and often do like for me opting out often actually does come down to experimentation. Like, I have to get to a place where I tell myself, it's okay if I just do this for a little bit and learn something. So all of that though, like happens in the base, it's all just part of the decision making process. The viewpoint I mean on a hike is obvious. It's kind of it doesn't happen on every hike, but on a lot of them you can be pretty early into it and you will see some Kind of beautiful scenery that you're just like, Oh, this is why I'm doing this. This is the goal. They're like this is this is the point of this. Yeah, I'm gonna keep going. My thought with opting out is that if you are choosing, like, if you have intentionally chosen the right opt out for you, that will also happen. Like, you will start to notice some things right at the beginning that just say like, Yeah, I do want to keep going with this. I've also found though, that that can be the point where you decide to stop, because you've only seen a little bit and you're like, Oh, perfect. I did it. I did the thing. You're like, actually didn't. Yeah, so it can either be motivating, or, or just like a cool I did it. I gonna stop there.

Jamila Souffrant 35:44

I sorry, if I could just jump in with like, this thought of like a reference where it can relate to maybe someone like who's making like changes to their diet. And they physically see like, Oh, look at me, and you're like, Okay, now I can have that thing now. And it's like, you can still, you know, don't deprive yourself if you really want that thing. But I that happens to me too. Versus like, oh, there's that result. But it's like it's not sustainable. If I go back right back to what I was doing before.

Cait Flanders 36:07

Yeah, when I think about food wise, too, I think about it for things like Finally, this year, I finally stopped eating dairy, because it just does not feel good for me. Like I have all these different symptoms that come up when I eat dairy. But I would just you just still want it. Right? Like you're like I can like go without it for a little while. Then I would just eat it again. And finally this year, I was like, I have to keep going. Because I don't want these symptoms. And so for me, like when I stopped when I fully stopped, it was like, Oh my gosh, my skin is so much clearer. I'm like never bloated anymore. That's interesting. And it's not Yeah, it's not a deprivation thing. It's it's getting to a place where Yeah, there was a point to that that was the right choice for me. Not because someone told me to or not because it's like some diet to follow or anything. It was like that is the choice for me. So yeah, that's that's a good example, though.

So then if you do decide to keep going, the biggest and sort of like middle section of the book is the valley. The description I use for the valley, which is just very true for me is that like a valley is literally you're going in, like you're going into like they're technically like a V shape, technically. But you're just going down from your beautiful viewpoint. And for me, what I always think of when I'm out hiking is every step down, is often going to be a step up later when you have to return. And so honestly, as I'm going down, I'm just thinking like, Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, do I actually want to do, like, do I want to keep going into here, because it is it is work to get out of the valley. So with opting out, to me, that is the place where you are walking further and further away from the people in your life who were living the way you were before. You might actually feel kind of lost in the valley, like lose a little bit of sight of what you were doing or what you were working towards also, because sometimes, like if you're in the valley, you often actually can't see the summit, like a physical mountain, because you're in so you can't see like, especially here like where I'm from, there's just trees everywhere. So you are like, socked in like claustrophobic. You can lose sight of what you're working towards. This is the place I do find where if we're if like a normal tactic for us is to kind of go back to the people and the way of life that we were living before it will happen here. And part of it is because you're starting to feel so lost you all you want is that connection, like you want what you had before. I think about this with drinking, like how many times I have thought of not drinking, maybe stopped for a few weeks or something. And then ultimately, you just want the same connections that you had. And so you'd go back to it. But yeah, so I think all that stuff happens in there.

It's also the space that people start to make more comments about what you're doing and like how far away they can see that you're physically kind of leaving them the space you're creating there. So I find there's a lot of shaming in the valley. That's when people start to use a lot of shaming tactics just to kind of play back in. If you can work through all of that. The next section was the slope. The slope on a mountain is literally just like the incline. And so just to describe it as like the last climb up. I described it as like switchbacks, like switchbacks on a mountain are sort of this like zigzag where you're, it's on a steep mountain. And so they're created so that the incline doesn't feel as brutal. So instead you go like these long like side to sides and you're just doing a little bit of incline at a time. And so it's meant to make it easier. I think about it with opting out that it's the constant pep talk you're having to give yourself to keep going like you do know you want to carry on you know that this is the life that you want, the choice that you want to make, but it still takes time like you're still wrestling back and forth with your old thoughts and maybe your new thoughts that are like no, no, like you can do this keep going. And then the summit. Actually, the comparison is a little bit different, because like the summit of a mountain is so obvious, like, you know, when you were there, you, first of all, because probably lots of other people are there with you.

But the view is so obvious, like, whatever you're working towards, the goal is there it is beautiful. That's the reason that you did it. For me with opting out, I finally the summit is actually so subtle that you'll probably actually miss it. Because it's just the day that it stops being a challenge, and that you just are living out whatever choice that you had made. So for me, I think it took something like, honestly, probably six to six and a half years, for there to be sort of a summit of like sobriety. And the summit is being where truly was fine with the fact that that was my choice, no matter like even if it meant. I don't know, like maybe I'd never find a man who wasn't comfortable with it. Or certain people in my life, they would never come back to being my friend again. Like I just was like, it doesn't matter. I'm totally at peace with my choice. And yeah, like, again, some of them are, depending on the opt out and the size. It'll take shorter or longer. I think like with something like Facebook, I knew within like three or four months that I would never go back to it just like, yeah, this is totally fine. Why didn't I do it sooner and actually save a Twitter like when I finally made that call on Twitter, I was like, yep, no, this is right.

Jamila Souffrant 41:34

Yeah, I mean, I love how you break that down the base, the viewpoint, the valley, the slope, the summit. And as you're talking, I'm thinking the valley part of it, especially that point where it's just like you're really in the middle of it, like it'd be important to have community and support. And I know you talked about the book being mostly for people who don't necessarily have like real people in their life they can connect to so how much would you say of these OPT outs or individual journey and how much of it though, is that success does depend on finding people who are also on this journey to with you?

Cait Flanders 42:07

Oh, I think finding others is huge. I mean, I can only speak to my own experience. But also, I interviewed certain friends or like people I've followed online and stuff like that for a long time for the book. And everyone's stories are like a little bit different. But the community that you find are just like that feeling that you get, when you find someone who understands what you're doing is just unlike anything, and it's not that you need the validation, it's just being seen, like that, that sense of being seen, especially if, if no one else in your life really seems to totally get what you're doing. Like when one person like it only, it only needs to start with one, like if one person is like, I think that's amazing, or I've been doing that too for a while or have you had this experience, this is mine, like someone who can just make you feel totally seen and understood in the experience that you're having is huge. So yeah, that's like, one of the things I did bring up in the book was kind of the topic of boundaries and, and connections of boundaries, like, I'm a huge advocate for in so many ways. And I think a lot of the means are just like things that we say online that talk about boundaries, they almost make it feel like, just put up a huge wall around yourself and like don't talk to anyone, like just do you. Like that is important. Like, it's important to like, know what you're working towards, and not let other people kind of deter you from that. But like, you have to be open to meeting new people. Also, because those are like, for me, those have ended up being the most meaningful friendships and connections that I've ever experienced. And so it's, it's hard sometimes to be open, like, I've definitely had people reach out and like, I don't know, like, it's like, it's hard to put yourself out there even just as a friend, like it can be hard to open that up and friendship is vulnerable. It's like, in some ways, even more vulnerable than partnership at times. And we have to be open to that because it just it is it's the most meaningful relationships I've ever had.

Jamila Souffrant 44:06

Yeah and as you get older it is it feels harder, it's right to make those kinds of friendships sometimes. And you know, even for me, like all my, like, close friends I've known for years, years and years, like, you know, since I was like elementary school, like I am more of a like a long term, person friendship person, like I don't like change, like, I like, who I know and who I like, and they like me, they know me and that's it. But it's so important now as I enter a new parts of my life, you know, like being entrepreneur, a mom, even though you know, been a mom for like six years now. It's still like, finding and getting to communities where there are more people who are like me, because some of my friends are not really experiencing maybe the same things I am. So yeah, it's really important to be open to those connections.

Cait Flanders 44:51

Yeah, and I think like a big thing I've learned about sort of friendships over the years is understanding and being okay with the fact that there are friends will have who only No one part of you, and that that's okay. Like if you guys really connect on this one topic, and that is the thing that you mostly discuss together, there's nothing wrong with that our friends don't need to actually be part of every single aspect of our lives. And a story in my head used to be like, if I only talk to them about this, like, are we like using each other in some weird way? Like, it's like, we only reach out about this thing. It's like, no, like, that is the thing we connect on. If I have specific person I want to talk to about money, I will contact my friend Kate, because she knows money. And she loves money. She's also Canadian. So we can talk about banking and like all these different things, like, they're just not that many people here that are gonna want to talk to me about that. So like, it's a case like Kate is my money friend.

Jamila Souffrant 45:46

Yeah, I love that. All right. So where can everyone get to know more about you? I know you're only on Instagram, but your website and then when you get the book?

Cait Flanders 45:56

Well, yeah, website is just Apparently, I'm hanging out there again. So that could be in place. But Instagram is definitely the place I hang out most, which is just @Caitflanders as well, as Cait I mean, they'd be able to see this. But Cait is spelled differently. It's ca i t. And the books. They're everywhere, I think,

Jamila Souffrant 46:13

yeah. Talk about how that book did cuz you had like a recent you shared like a recent milestone there.

Cait Flanders 46:20

And in some ways, I just think like it's taken on this weird life of its own. Because like, I don't, I don't really do interviews or like talk about it that much anymore. But so like my, the new book adventures came out in September of 2020. But something seems to happen around then. And I've heard I've heard since that this can be a thing like people hear you have a new book and they go back to your first book first. They'll be like, Oh, I'm gonna read her first book, and then I'll get her new book. And so that seems to have just been true. It. What I saw on Goodreads was that, and it's still kind of in the top 20. But I think it was also in September, maybe October, it was like in the top 10 of all self help books read one week on Goodreads. And since then it like continues to be in like the top 20 or 25. every single week. It is wild.

Jamila Souffrant 47:12

That's That's amazing. Well, congratulations. Thank you. But this was amazing. Thank you so much for coming on. And I hope that everyone will get the book and experiment with opting out of the things that we don't want to do anymore.

Cait Flanders 47:25

Yes, I feel like 2020 what a year to do it.

Jamila Souffrant 47:29

Yeah. All right. Thanks so much, Cait.

Cait Flanders 47:32

Thank you.

Jamila Souffrant 47:37

Wow, what amazing conversation with Cait. That was I really hope you enjoyed that. You go pick up her book, the "Adventures in Opting Out: A Field Guide To Living An Intentional Life." Now you tell me, what are you going to opt out of? As we talked about in the episode, it can be you know, a big thing or it can be a small thing. And sometimes just a thought, like the initial introduction of the thought of opting out of something is the longest part right? You think about what you're going to opt out of. And sometimes it takes a lot of maybe planning or just courage to do it. So even if you're not like 100%, ready to commit to opting out of this one thing, whether that's social media, drinking, spending in a way that you don't like, maybe it's opting out of your job and doing something completely different. What are you going to start opting out of all right, I want to hear tag me @journeytolaunch and Cait over at @Caitflanders on Instagram. I always love seeing your feedback and what you're getting the most out of the episodes.

Now it's time for DCU Tip of the Week, helping kids with money. So this is going to be tips for younger kids around two to three years old. So first, let's help them identify money. If you have change in a jar, let your children help you separate the coins into the corn sorter or into the jar or into roles because that can be a fun game for them. Okay, helping them save money, piggy banks are a great hit even for small children clear non breakable banks. Let them see how the money can mount up. You might give them pennies out of your pocket or purse each day. But just give them something that they can see how when they put money in. It grows over time. For more, check out

If you want to check out the episode shownotes that's where you can get links to anything that's mentioned, and even get a transcribed version of this episode that you can read. Go to or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. Now you can also still grab your free journeyer jumpstart guide by texting, launch to 33777 or go to

If you want to support me and the podcast and love the free content and information that you get here, here are four ways that you can support me in the show. One, make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you listen. Whether that's Apple podcasts, that purple app on your phone, your Android device, YouTube, Spotify, wherever it is that you happen to listen, just subscribe so you're not missing an episode. And if you're happening to listen to this and Apple podcasts, rate, review, and subscribe there, I appreciate and read every single review. Number two follow me on my social media accounts. I'm at Journey To Launch on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And I love love love interacting with journeyers there. Three, support and check out the sponsors of this show. If you hear something that interests you, sponsors are the main ways we keep the podcast lights on here. So show them some love for supporting your girl. Four and last but not least, share this episode this podcast with a friend or family member or co worker so that we can spread the message of journey to launch. Alright, that's it. Until next week, keep on journeying journeyers.

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Is there anything in your life right now that you can opt out of that is no longer serving you? This week on the podcast, I have Cait Flanders, best selling author, of “The Year of Less” and “Adventures in Opting Out.” After paying off her debt, Cait did not have a plan for her money so many of her poor spending habits resurfaced.  At 29, Cait challenged herself to go on a shopping ban where she spent less and saved more.

Cait realized that having clear, meaningful goals makes it easier to save and scale back. In addition, it was crucial for her to work through her internal blocks before she was able to move forward on her journey. Cait shares how to opt out and change paths from something that is no longer right for us.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • More about Cait’s year of less shopping ban
  • How spending can be linked to internal blocks and emotional attachments
  • Why it is important to have clear, meaningful goals
  • What opting out means
  • The 5 “stages” on the journey to opting out outlined in Cait’s book “Adventures in Opting Out”
  • Why community is so important and much more…

Special thanks to DCU for sponsoring the episode! Learn more about DCU by clicking here.

I'm listening to Episode 189 of the #journeytolaunch podcast, Live a More Intentional Life & Opt Out of Things That Don't Serve You w/ Cait Flanders Click To Tweet

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