Curating Your Inbox

Or, a practice for redefining success

Susan Doerksen Castro
5 min readMay 3, 2023
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Curate your life. You — and only you — have the ability to decide what you want in your life and what you want out.
- Emma Scheib -

My mother’s dishware is perfectly curated. Each piece has a story; is a sensory delight, the pottery of a fellow artist, a treasure.

Her collection is curated.

My dishware is white. My husband and I selected a whole collection when we got married. It’s beautiful, yet practical — to be used daily.

Our collection is also curated.

Which means the dishes in the photo above, would not work for me, yet without a doubt, might look like my mother’s cupboard.

Where have you curated your life?

I’ll venture to believe you have a place in your life that is curated. Considered. Thought-filled. By design. Intentional.

I’m curious, how that part of your life feels.

Centered. Grateful. Calm. Delighted. I feel this when using my dishware.

Why do I feel this way?

Our dishes were chosen for their beauty and simplicity. They were chosen for their (smaller) size which helps us stay awake to portion size. We are pragmatic wanting only one set of dishes.

A curated life feels good.

Bravely curating

Despair, disappointment, sadness, frustration.

This is how a young (and incredibly talented) woman I met with last week was feeling about the prospect of returning to her workplace post-maternity leave.

This mother of 3, with a super sized drive, a solid desire to contribute to her family, the capacity for great impact, this and so much more is what this young woman had to offer.

But it was the above feels she had about returning to a workplace that didn’t value who she now is.

In our conversation, I could sense a need for alignment to what matters to her, to be inside a healthy culture, to be valued for her contribution, one that was respectful and honored her needs.

It felt risky to consider a new workplace, when there was one she thought she should just tolerate and go back to, still she pressed on into an exercise of disconnecting from one workplace by defining what matters to her.

This is the brave work of curating your work life. Releasing the old, Choosing the new.

Weighed down

Worn down. Weary. Annoyed. Restless. Self-conscious.

This is how my client felt as she explored her inertia.

Like so many working professionals, she works (mostly) remote, and her needs of home have shifted. She’s aching to find her way into redefining how her home might look and feel.

And for anyone that knows what a closet full of too many past-life clothes, a pantry full of unused food, or a garage full of tools and plant fertilizers, she’s yearning to feel lighter, and more grounded in her space.

And so together we crafted a set of practices to move into this change.

She’s releasing the home that was sufficient years ago, and moving through the heaviness of it towards new-ness.

It starts with unsubscribing.

Big Idea #1 of Our Manifesto invites us to wake up and notice where the undercurrents of mainstream success are directing our lives.

Lots of mainstream success gets touted in front of us, inviting us to just do without intention. Or we’re swept up into activities other people around us are doing. Or our parent’s values are the ones we think of instinctually.

Mainstream success can show up in the undercurrents, barely noticed, but still strong with undertow.

The job that once was exactly right a decade ago, no longer the us of now.

Or the home that had just the right design for the family of young kids, is no longer the place that nurtures us today.

To come around this first big idea is to unsubscribe from what no longer serves.

If a part of your life doesn’t serve you, it won’t serve you. It’s that simple.

Practice Unsubscribing

My inbox is a lot quieter these days.

Sometimes, out of habit I’ll check for new email. There’s nothing new. Even after hours have passed.

It’s an odd feeling. The emptiness feels eerie. Like I’m the kid not getting the invites and being left out.

But then I remind myself, of my practice of unsubscribing from emails earlier this year. Emails like:

  • kid camp subscriptions that they won’t go to again
  • emails I signed up for because I really only wanted their freebie #guilty
  • newsletters for people struggling with “x” that I don’t need anymore
  • emails from vendors who spammed their way into my inbox
  • discount and product emails from companies who require my email when I pay
  • content with language or tactics that feel maligned

Oh so much clutter.

And there were a couple of more painful unsubscribes; I knew I didn’t need their stuff, but the FOMO still gripped me.

It’s interesting to note what remained, and what didn’t.

And it’s sparked a simple practice, inviting you to redefine success inside your inbox.

The goal of this practice isn’t to end up with zero or fewer emails.

The intent is to discover why something is given your attention now.

There is no right or wrong.


  1. Each day, spend 5 minutes in your inbox.
  2. Starting with the first email, pause, and notice why that email is there.
  3. On a separate pad of paper or in a notebook, note the reason why.
  4. Go on to do this with at least another 4 emails, making note of why it matters today. And if you don’t know “why” it’s there, that’s fine, simply write that down too.
  5. NOTE: There is no need to unsubscribe or delete, but if you choose to, write down why you did so.


After a week of collecting your “data” of reasons why, look back over the themes that emerge.

Notice what is given space in your inbox.

Notice what you no longer need in your inbox.

It’s up to you what you do from here.

The gift of this practice is to help you cherish this space in your life and consciously invite in.

This is the gift of awakening to your life and curating the kind of work that you most want to be doing, or curating the spaces that you need to be in, or simply to curate your life.

Calm, Spaciousness, Ease

This 👆🏻 is how my inbox feels now.

This is a taste of the gifts that came come from redefining success.

May this inspire you to curate your life!

If you feel sick and tired of the mainstream version of success and are feeling curious about how your version of success can come alive, consider signing up for my weekly letter and fill your inbox with possibility and practices for the life you’re ready to live:



Susan Doerksen Castro

Entrepreneur & Integral Master Coach™ helping accomplished women redefine success so they can realize a new, more fulfilling agenda for their lives.