Podcast·2 min read

Joanna Gaines on Learning to Let Go of Guilt and Anxiety

November 15, 2023

Author, businesswoman, designer, and chef Joanna Gaines used to let guilt and anxiety consume her. As a mom of five children, and as one half of one of the most successful lifestyle brands in the country, Joanna is now battling her burnout by letting go of those feelings. This week, we spoke to Joanna about that shift to free herself from the pressure of expectations and what it’s unlocked for her, professionally and personally. 

In this episode, Joanna shares: 

  • How she and Chip built a loyal and diverse audience 

  • Why she still has a “small business” mindset, despite all her success

  • The realities of raising five children and running her business

  • How she’s dealt with the pressure of other people’s expectations – and her own 

  • Her favorite activities that spark creativity

On Freeing Herself from Guilt

Joanna: Before I realized it wasn't healthy, I was motivated by guilt. I thought guilt was the normal thing you just feel in your gut all the time, that nervous, guilt feeling. And now I realize I don't like that feeling. Now that I'm aware of it, I don't like it at all. So I'll let it sit for a second and be like, “What is [this]? Oh, this is guilt. Okay.” 

… And then I work out of it. I don't let it stick around. I used to let it stick around. In fact, I feel like that's the only thing I knew how to feel. It was guilt that I'm always letting someone down, or I'm letting myself down. And now, I just don't like that feeling. So I'm thankful for that awareness.

On How She Stays Creative

Joanna: This is hard because when I give this tip, it's not doable for everybody. That's why it's kind of hard. I think for me personally, and it actually is doable, it just may have to be on the weekend. I have told the team I will be off every Thursday and if I can be off, I will be off every Tuesday, Thursday, where there's nothing planned and there's nothing scheduled.

And so right now it's Thursdays and I will wake up, I take the kids to school, I come home, I have no agenda, no whatever, but I just start piddling around. In the garden, lately I've gotten into pressing flowers.… And then what I've realized with staying curious and allowing room for that is, because a lot of the work I do is creative work, and it's a lot of output, if I'm not filling myself up in those ways, I'm forcing stuff. 

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