3 Ways to Experience Peace Through the Craziness of Life

By Eric Cox

Peaceful dayI am guessing you are a driven woman with a list of goals and dreams a few pages long. I know I am, and between my strong desire to feel like an awesome mom and wife as well as carrying out all of these dreams, what most often gets lost in the mix is time for ourselves and our own inner peace.

A million stressors overwhelm and distract us.

We all go through stages where bury our heads in work and family, and sometimes miss the opportunities to look up and experience the world around us. We get caught up, stuck in our heads, and miss the beauty of the bigger picture.

The idea of being peaceful often stays a “nice concept” that we don’t feel like we can afford, but it sounds lovely. We exclude ourselves from the category of deserving or being able to have a peaceful existence. It just doesn’t seem realistic considering all we have to get done.

How can we finally live a peaceful existence amidst the noise? We must start by making an effort and taking little steps each day. With practice and experiencing the positive results, you’ll work harder and harder to make time for yourself and your inner peace!

Here are a few completely doable ideas for you:

Start the day off by enjoying stillness. This may mean we wake up 30 minutes earlier than everyone else that will be rushing to get ready for school or work but this time can help set the tone for our day. I use this time to meditate, pray, and enjoy a cup of coffee. Others like to get out first thing and exercise in peace or go for a walk. Don’t use this time to make a to-do list or read the news – there’s plenty of time for that and it only clutters our mind on what there is to do rather than allowing us to clear our mind.

Take breaks throughout the day. We don’t have to jump from one thing to another. Step away from the computer, delay a scheduled trip to the grocery store – there’s plenty of time for that, too. Repeat the mantra, “there is plenty of time for everything I need to get done today.” Often, our busy-ness is simply a mindset. We all are truly busy, but it’s also a story that we get wrapped up in. Breathe. Sit back and read a book. Savor a cup of tea, Take a look around for a few minutes and let thoughts flow. Then… get back to business more refreshed, clear-headed, and mindful.

Go off-track. Spontaneously go on a walk, run an errand, call a friend for a glass of wine – do something that shifts your tempo of urgency to slow you down. Don’t rush. Take a look around, breathe, and intentionally take in the beautiful world around you. As the thoughts of, “I should be….” enter your mind, invite them to leave.

All of these actions will encourage you to develop the healthy habits of making time for yourself and taking breaks so that you can experience peace amidst the noise.

You’ll be amazed by how much more efficient you are by granting yourself the gift of peace. When we re-set our focus by interjecting peaceful moments through a day, we tend to get more done and have a calmer approach to the tasks we’re committed to fulfilling.

Live the moments – don’t let them pass you by.

Please share what you do to maintain your inner peace and joy throughout the day!

What To Do When Life Gets in the Way of Your Success

By Erin Cox

1234339_10151941624206060_1739240198_nToday I am writing from my brother and sister-in-laws home during a crazy California tour. We spent the first part of this week on the Central Coast of California with my in-law’s, and now we are in Mammoth Lakes celebrating my brother-in-law’s 40th birthday. I wouldn’t miss this week for anything… but it is certainly putting a cramp in my new class launch planning and editorial calendar. I thought I’d have plenty of free time to fit in some planning and writing during this week… but “life” has gotten in the way (as in swinging at the beach, savoring fish tacos while listening to a live reggae band, playing at the beach, hiking with an ocean view, engaging in deep family conversations over delicious meals and wine…etc.). These moments are what life’s really all about!

Every single mom I know goes through frustrating moments when she has an amazing creative project that is aching to be created or book that needs to be written or a product about to launch… but then life gets in the way. A child comes home from school sick, family comes to town for a visit, children need to be fed, or a household is getting too far out of control and the passion projects often have to be set-aside for the moment.

In our hearts we want to be the “good mom” and keep our priorities properly aligned, but it can leave us feeling constantly frustrated and as though the feat of accomplishing our goals is always just out of grasp. Sometimes we just don’t get as much done as we planned to and it can stress us out!

When you are a woman with firm priorities who strives to keep her family and marriage first, this feeling of internal struggle can become all to familiar. As a woman who struggles with this daily, and as a mentor who coaches women who deal with this as well, I know it’s a fact of life for ambitious parents who are balancing so much!

Here are a few keys to thriving through the madness, and achieving great success while raising a family:

  1. Keep your deadlines realistic and build in time for unexpected events and duties that “pop up.” Also be okay if it takes you twice as long as others to launch your class or a year to write your book. If that’s what it takes to live in alignment with your priorities, then so be it! Don’t fight it, accept and embrace that things just might take longer.
  2. Get help with the domestic duties of maintaining your home (i.e. cleaning) so you can focus your at-home time on engaging with your family.
  3. Focus on being where you are! It can be easy to ruminate about the fact that your projects are falling behind while trying to participate in a toddler tea party…just as we can suffer from guilt while we toil away for hours at our computers and others are looking after your kids. In both scenarios, everyone suffers. When you are at work, focus like a laser and eliminate distractions (to the extent possible) and at the end of your workday, put aside your work, be grateful for what you accomplished, and head to give your spouse and children the very best gift – a completely present, on fire, and fulfilled woman.
  4. Involve your family by describing your projects and work with excitement and delight so they can better understand why it matters and why you have to spend time away from them. (If you can’t describe your projects with excitement and delight… consider a career change!)
  5. Take regular and sometimes extended time off where there is no computer, no phone, nothing but you and your loved ones.

You are ambitious because you have something unique and beautiful to share with the world. By living your purpose, you are setting an amazing example for your children. Accomplishing your professional goals will also make you a more fulfilled and happier person to be around, as long as you aren’t sacrificing those that matter most to you!

When you can truly focus on what you’re doing and “be” where you are, use realistic expectations and deadlines, and keep your priorities properly aligned – that’s when you are achieving authentic success.

What You Really Need to be Happy

By Erin Cox

Only 1 in 3 Americans describes themselves as “very happy” according to the Harris Poll. In a country with so much material wealth and comfort, shouldn’t we be happier? Many experts cite economic woes contributing to more stress and overall dissatisfaction, but I’d like to suggest my own ideas here.

Happiness is found in simple things, and that is something many of us have lost touch with. I have friends who have had the opportunity to volunteer in third world countries and they have all commented on how happy most people appeared, despite such abject poverty. These underprivileged people gave freely of the little material they had and appeared to find happiness in family, nature, and community. I am sure the adults have a level of constant stress related to protecting and feeding their families, so I’m not saying that we should ditch our lovely homes, massive supermarkets, clean drinking water, and sanitation. What I am saying is that we have an opportunity to embrace the simple joys, leading to a peaceful joy, while embracing and living our passion in life, which can lead to a whole new level of satisfaction and fulfillment.

Here is what I see as the progression of happiness:

Taking pleasure in simple joys and being in awe of the beauty that surrounds us. This means appreciating a sunrise, savoring a cup of coffee, snuggling with a child, hugging your friend, or smelling a flower. Really, the basis of this simple joy is being grateful and feeling thankful as you notice all the kind people, beautiful sights, and blessings that surround you. This is what people in third world countries often do so well and we tend to forget about.

Making enough money to cover basic economic needs. An article in Forbes describes a study performed at Princeton, which studied 500,000 U.S. households and found that happiness increased in participants as their incomes increased…up to $75,000. There is no increase in happiness after earning more than that. This tells me that the stress of not having enough to pay for bills, groceries, and family activities can cause our happiness to be impacted, but that wealth doesn’t bring happiness either.

The “grand trio” of gratitude, adequate income, and feeling respected. If you can find joy in the simple pleasures of life, make enough money to pay your bills and live comfortably, AND feel respected, then you are well on your way to serious happiness. New research published in the journal Psychological Science showed that overall happiness was strongly correlated to feeling admired and respected; much more than the amount of money one has in their bank account.

Beyond bliss = the grand trio plus vibrant health, fulfilling work, and a sense of community! I had to mention health here because if you are not feeling well or if you are exhausted and run down all the time, then you can’t possibly live your life to the fullest. It’s much more difficult to feel happy until you are well rested and healthy. Make your basic health a major priority and try not to take wellness for granted! I know that I am happiest when I feel passionate and fulfilled by my work and feel balanced in my home life. You are starting to approach bliss when you are healthy and know you are doing something worthwhile in your profession that gives you a deep sense of gratification. Add in a network of supportive friends and family who make you feel like you “belong” and as though someone will always your back can push you in to the realm of deep joy.

What are your thoughts about what makes people truly happy? Where can you make tweaks in your life to bring more joy? Working your tail off to make six figures at the expense of your ability to savor time with your family or enjoy the simple things might be things to reconsider.

I wish each of you more simple pleasures, gratitude, respect, vibrant health, and love in your life!

How to Overcome “Imposter Syndrome” and Believe in Yourself!

By Erin Cox

self-confidenceYou’ve done it. You’ve finally achieved one of your biggest, greatest goals and it feels amazing! You’re flying high, and life is glorious! And then…something happens that shakes your confidence. The ugly, negative self-talk starts to creep in, saying, “you don’t belong here,” or “you don’t deserve this,” or “everyone is going to see right through you,” or “who do you think you are?”

How do I know these horrible statements? Because I’ve asked myself every one of them at one point or another over the past year.

I’d left a career where I’d felt confident and knew where I stood. It was… well, boring. I was no longer pushed out of my comfort zone. Then I quit and entered the world of being a writer and speaker. I’ve never felt more alive, free, joyful… and fearful of not being “good enough.”

While heading author’s cocktail party at my first Hay House I Can Do It speaking engagement, I had to repeat in my head, “I belong here” dozens of times as I met authors whose books rocked my world, like Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. Robert Holden, and Anita Moorjani. I felt like there was no way I could measure up to those amazing people or even deserve to be in their presence. Self-doubt crept in and nearly took over… but my true voice, that powerful voice within, came through for me. I went in, head held high, took some deep breaths, and had some of the most amazing and meaningful conversations of my life.

Self-affirmation has to become a practice. You deserve all the amazing things in your life. You truly ARE worthy!

Self doubt and having moments of feeling like an imposter happens to everyone, and I mean everyone! Think of the most accomplished and successful person you know. Yep, they’ve felt that way too. It’s human nature.

Here’s what you can do today to believe in yourself and know you completely deserve all the wonderful things that you have experienced and are doing to experience:

1)   Write down the top three accomplishments that you are most proud of, and under each, describe how hard you had to work and what you had to sacrifice to achieve of those amazing things. Let it sink in how very much you deserved every one of them!

2)   Come up with a positive affirmation to combat the statements of self-doubt that pop into your head. So, if the thought, “What if they find out I’m an imposter and I don’t deserve this?” creeps into your head, then write down affirmations such as:  I am worthy, I am enough, I am talented, or I deserve this. Find what most directly combats your thoughts of self-doubt. Write it down and read it countless times each day.

3)   When in a place where you feel insecure or out of place, start repeating in your head, “I belong here.” Then reach out to one person at a time and connect when each person as an individual. Don’t beeline for the most important person in the room, but rather connect with whomever you are most drawn to! Once you are comfortable and in your zone, feel free to casually walk over to the “big shots” in the room and give them a sincere compliment. That should start a nice conversation right there!

Everyone struggles with self-doubt from time to time, and awareness is the first step to overcoming this pervasive problem. Once you are aware, you can come up with a strategy to reassure yourself that you are exactly where you belong. Let go of your ego and strive to become more fully and authentically yourself, and these feeling will slowly dissipate. In moments of weakness or self-doubt, try the three tips I mentioned here and keep moving forward.

Have you ever struggled with feeling like an imposter? What strategies do you use to overcome self-doubt? Please share below!