The Fixer Upper star opens up about how a chronic injury forced her to reevaluate what matters most

By Megan Stein
May 17, 2017 12:30 PM

Joanna Gaines may be HGTV’s superwoman, but she’s not afraid to admit that even she has a few weaknesses.

“I used to want to do everything, be everything,” Gaines, 39, writes of her career in design in the latest issue of The Magnolia Journal. “This may make me sound like a textbook control freak and I probably was.” It wasn’t until she was taken out of commission by a lingering back injury suffered during her high school cheerleader days, that the Fixer Upper star realized her extreme perfectionism wasn’t healthy.

“There was something more sinister hiding in my best-laid plans,” she says. “I realize now that I found my self-worth neatly packaged together with all that I did.”

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While under less than fortunate circumstances, her much-needed break allowed Gaines to accept help and the experience had some surprising benefits to both her and the people around her.

“I started to witness others solving problems in ways I would never have thought of,” she writes. “I saw them come alive as they were given the space and encouragement to really go after it without me standing over their shoulder waiting for them to make a misstep.”

She also gained clarity on where her passions truly lie and, she says, can now focus her energy on what she does best.

“I love creating beauty. That’s my lane,” she says, adding, “I am no longer going to fall into the trap of believing that I need to be the best at everything.”

To read her full letter, pick up the summer issue of The Magnolia Journal, on newsstands now.