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« Sometimes It's The Little Things | 3 Tips to Feed the Possibilities »

Ask the Expert: DeeAnne White

DeeAnne White, Live the Charmed LifeThis year we’ve enjoyed engaging conversations with the “Ask the Expert” feature on The Other Side of Organized blog. We’ve spoken about success with Lori Deschene, enlisting help with Janet Barclay, motivation with Dr. Shannon Reece, time management with Julie Morgenstern, clutter with Lorie Marrero, letting go with Geralin Thomas, next steps with Yota Schneider, and change with John Ryan. As we shift our focus this month, I’m happy to bring you author, speaker and zestful life seeker, DeeAnne White to share her wisdom about possibilities.

Several years ago, I came across DeeAnne and her wonderful post, “The Elegance of Slow.” She wrote that, “Slow is much more elegant than fast. It’s all in the pure luxury of taking the time.” I’ve been a fan ever since as she reminds us to appreciate life, take chances, and slow down. My deepest gratitude and thanks goes to her for taking the time to join us. Before we begin, here’s more about DeeAnne.

DeeAnne White is a former Fortune50 Executive Vice President, author, speaker, American expatriate and lover of cricket, golf, wine, Jimmy Choo and life, in pursuit of a life beautifully lived. Born in Dallas, she’s been everything from a young wife and stay at home parent, to a single mother beginning her career in Orange County, California, to one of the few women to reach the top tier of the investment distribution industry. DeeAnne began LiveTheCharmedLife and describes herself as “ridiculously curious and who’s never once thought that anything was impossible.” Her book LiveCharmed-The Elegant Guide to Lifestyle Design is due out later this year. You can connect with DeeAnne on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blog or website.


Linda:  You’re an expert on pursuing a life well and beautifully lived. How can we stay open to possibilities?

DeeAnne:  A few of the best ways to stay open to possibilities are, first, to remember that every day is a new chance to create a life as we’d like it to be, and, second, to allow ourselves to daydream about what that life would look like. Many people believe that once we’ve started on a certain path we must stay on it, and nothing could be further from the truth. We have an endless supply of do-overs, if you will, and only our dreams limit us.


Linda:  The possibilities can seem endless and overwhelming. What strategies help us make choices?

DeeAnne:  It helps if we can remember that not only can we change direction, if we don’t like a choice we’ve made, but to know that we definitely WILL change direction at some point, simply because of changes in our circumstances, age, etc. So the only truly important thing is just getting started somewhere, and then change course, as necessary.


Linda:  Fear can prevent us from pursuing possibilities. What suggestions do you have for letting go and moving forward?

DeeAnne:  There’s a saying in the investment business that people are either motivated by fear or greed, but I’ve come to believe that it’s true in every area of our lives. There will always be those that will be fearless about going after more in life, and there will always be those that are fearful of losing what they have. It’s a great help to accept and embrace who we are, and then to guide ourselves with gentle questions like “What’s the worst that could happen?” Once we’ve answered that, then all we need to do is decide whether we could live with the worst-case scenario. I find the answer is almost always yes. Begin using this technique with something that’s just outside your comfort zone to start building your possibility muscles for larger decisions.


Linda:  How are possibilities and growth connected?

DeeAnne:  We simply cannot grow, if we aren’t able to open ourselves to possibilities, and the changes required to go after those possibilities. I know that it can be very scary, but it’s like a sailor wanting to keep his lovely new sailboat in the safety of a harbor...he or she will never know the thrill of the sea without taking the risks that come along with it.


Linda:  What has been your biggest personal challenge around embracing possibilities?

DeeAnne:  My biggest personal challenge has always been that I love security, and the idea of leaving one thing for another has left me terrified, at times. Even some of the most wonderful promotions that I was offered left me with a sense of fear that I had to find ways to overcome. So you see, all of the answers I’ve given to you are strategies I’ve used myself.


Linda:  Is there anything you’d like to share about possibilities that I haven’t asked?

DeeAnne:  Only that there is a big, wide, beautiful world out there, and I’d encourage anyone not to miss a single second of it!

Thank you, DeeAnne for your hope-filled insights about possibilities and life choices. I love your ideas that we have an “endless supply of do-overs,” and that while change can be scary, growth will not occur unless we are open to possibilities. By extending ourselves beyond our comfort zone, we learn to strenghthen our "possibility muscles." I invite all of you to join DeeAnne and me as we continue the conversation. When you put on your possibilities cap, what do you envision?


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Reader Comments (19)

"...every day is a new chance to create a life as we’d like it to be..." <<< Love this statement! Sometimes, we forget this, especially when we have a not-so-good day. If we keep this sentiment in the front of our minds, every day will get off to a much better and more positive start. Great topic!

October 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeb Lee

Thanks for this great post. Regarding the role of fear, I'd add that fear is a good barometer for what you should do. If a new opportunity strikes terror in your heart, it probably means it's worth doing!

October 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJuneau

True words spoken!! Change is one of the hardest things for us to do, and I love how the statement, "What's the worst that can happen?" can help us to let go of whatever fear we have - to allow ourselves to experience a possibility/opportunity that we may have not had before that can truly enrich our lives.


October 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElisa Cashiola

Wonderful to "hear" all of your voices!

@Deb- The idea of a clean slate each day is a powerful way to begin every day. Love that too!

@Juneau- Using the "fear barometer" for saying "yes!" What a shift in perspective. How wonderful!

@Elisa- Letting go can be so challenging whether it's letting go of fear, our possessions, or our attitudes. Amazing things happen when we are able to make that shift.

October 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I can so relate to all the things Deanne mentioned! I love that she talked about how it's so easy for us to remain in a situation -- even an undesirable one -- because we're nervous about giving up the known for the unknown. I totally get that. However, time and time again, I have learned through experience that the only time I grow is when I stretch and get out of my comfort zone.

October 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMonica Ricci

How lovely to see the comments building on what we each know, in order to grow our collective learning!

One of the things I should have mentioned in the interview is how important supportive friends/allies/mentors are for us as sounding boards in knowing when we need to "jump" and when we need to "stay put' just a bit longer.

Warmest regards,


October 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeeAnne

I agree - slow is far better than fast. Slowing down and reducing work for me was out of my comfort zone but has been the best thing I've ever done. I am more connected to myself, my husband and my children and definitely don't feel like I'm missing out. There are possibilitiies galore in the realm I now choose to focus on in my life. I love it!

Claire McFee
Organize Your Life

October 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterClaire McFee

@Monica- Yes. It can be hard to leave that comfort zone. How spectacular it is when we do!

@DeeAnne- What a great conversation you've inspired here! I love how this conversation continues as people add their thoughts about fear, comfort zones, possibilities and more. I appreciate your addition about developing a community of friends, mentors, or allies we surround ourselves with to help us sort through our options.

@Claire- It's so easy to buy into the "busy" mode as a way of being. What an interesting perspective that doing so was outside your comfort zone. Congratulations for taking that leap and creating a way of being that makes you feel more connected.

October 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

In a time that "hope" is a most important "commodity", the idea that every day has possibilities and hope beyond what we imagine is the most valuable commodity. It is in keeping open and staying positive that real possibilities happen. Let's be bold and take the next step! Thanks for sharing this amazing post!

October 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Ellen- Love how you discovered the "hope" theme in this post. The idea of waking up each day with that as part of the mix is a powerful concept. I suppose that sometimes we feel bolder than others. Staying open to what is possible, moving beyond our fear and out of our comfort zone, enables us to embrace and seek out new directions. As always, I appreciate you taking the time to join the conversation.

October 25, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

"So the only truly important thing is just getting started somewhere, and then change course, as necessary." - I second that idea! It's about moving forward and adjusting as you need to rather than being too "stuck" to even try something else.

October 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Vulakh

I love the idea of SLOW! I have been lately walking to the grocery store, which takes an hour round trip, but it gets a walk in along with my shopping, and I literally stop to smell the flowers along the way (actually I am looking to see if my bees are foraging!).

Slowing down has added a lot to my life lately.

I also appreciate the theme of examining fear and flipping it judo-style to serve us instead of hinder us. Tony Robbins says: "What you are afraid to do is a clear indicator of the next thing you need to do."

October 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLorie Marrero

@Stacey- It's always fascinating to hear what words resonate with someone. The idea of just beginning somewhere, anywhere, and then altering as needed seemed to speak to you. Moving past "stuck." DeeAnne's phrase, "getting started somewhere" is so liberating, isn't it?

@Lorie- Slow is a beautiful thing. It's one of the reasons that DeeAnne's post, "The Elegance of Slow" is one of my favorite pieces. We can do simple things on a daily basis to increase our happiness if we just slow down enough to appreciate and experience them. Am loving the joyful image of you walking to the store, smelling the flowers along the way, and checking out your bee friends. Just lovely.

October 25, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I am a huge fan of DeeAnne's blog and have been religiously following it for awhile. I love how she reminds us to slow down, enjoy life, savor the moments, and embrace change. I particularly love how she does it with style and panache! Her posts are always visually appealing, in addition to being thought provoking. What a winning combination!

I relocated this summer 3,000 miles across the US so my husband can follow his dream of doing a residency in veterinary internal medicine. I am so proud of him for seeing that it is never too late to be who you want to be. And for me, it is a wonderful chance to explore a new area of the country, make new friends, and enjoy a new quality of life. I have truly stopped to smell the roses many times in my new neighborhood, as I now bike everywhere and hardly drive my car at all except for long distances. Change may seem scary at first, but brings the opportunity for new possibilities, as DeeAnne so eloquently reminded us.

Thanks for a great interview, Linda and DeeAnne. :-)

XO - Lisa

October 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Montanaro

What lovely, lovely thoughts and comments to wake up to this morning! I'm so happy to meet so many lovers of "slow", as well.

And, Lorie, I may have to add "flipping fear, judo-style" to my vocabulary! Absolutely loved the imagery.

Happiest of Fridays to all,
D x

October 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeeAnne

@DeeAnne- A good way to wake up indeed! Wonderful conversation happening as each person identifies with certain aspects and takes us to another level of appreciation and understanding. I love all the energy that's coming from the group. Am truly grateful.

@Lisa- You and I are card carrying members of DeeAnne's fan club. Her posts combine elegance, beauty, and common sense in such an enticing way. I knew she was "the" person to start our conversation about what's possible. And you certainly know about that too. With the changes you've made in the recent past, you've faced fear in the face and gone boldly across the country changing your life and morphing your business. A true testament to not just possibility thinking, but possibility DOING! Great to have you join the conversation.

October 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Oh, Lisa! I just loved reading your comment, and learning more about the grand adventure you and your husband are living. How very fortunate the two of you are to have one another, but also to have such courage to make your dreams come true.

My very best,

October 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeeAnne

Thank you so much DeeAnne for a very heartfelt post that touches upon the challenges we all go through in thinking, rethinking our career path; or any habitual modus operendi! Our ability to become possibility thinkers, and to fight the fear by focusing on the enormity of possibilities and opportunities around us is critical.

My very best!

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIrene Becker

Wonderful to have you join us, Irene. Fear can so often stop us from growing, moving forward, or thinking about possibilities. As you said, our ability to to suspend that fear IS critical.

November 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

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