Money can come and go, but emotional bankruptcy is a killer.

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Just a short time ago, I was driving my daughter’s friend, Jordan, home after a fun day at the beach. I noticed that as we were getting closer to the young girl’s home she was becoming quite upset. I asked her if she was okay and she replied “my mom, sister and I had to move this week because we were evicted from our home”. Jordan went on to share that her mom’s second husband was abusive, had left them and she was trying her best on a small salary. My heart sank as I immediately felt her mother’s pain of trying to make it as a single mom with young children. As we approached her new home I realized we were in the worst part of town.

Jordan went into her house and quickly came back out running to my car-crying hysterically. She begged to stay with us for the night. She said she didn’t want to go into that awful place. It was the “slums” in her eyes and she was upset at her mother for moving her there. Jordan’s mom quickly followed, tears in her eyes holding her six month old baby, and assured me it was okay and best to take her daughter for the night.

My heart broke for her as we drove away. What she didn’t know is that our stories are the same. Yes, stories.

Many years ago, I left an abusive marriage and ended up on food stamps to support my kids. The lack of money was not as much what took me down, it was more about pulling myself up from the damage that was done from the words and threats that I endured on top of feeling as if I was a failure. Little by little, I was able to pick my self up and do the work to build a solid foundation of self-love.

When we are emotionally bankrupt it can be a danger zone. Not taking the time to fully heal and regain our sense self-worth can often times put us right back in a relationship with someone else who doesn’t value us. When we are hurt and feel down about ourselves, quite often the first person that comes along and tells us we are beautiful and fabulous wins our heart. We begin to find our sense of worth in someone else’s arms only to find ourselves back in the same cycle over and over again.

I got my daughter and Jordan back to my house and settled for bed so that I could make a very important call. I picked up the phone and reached out to the troubled and heartbroken mom. I wanted her to know that I’d been there too and she didn’t do anything wrong. She’s not broken… she’s beautiful, loveable, and capable. I wanted her to know she’s not alone… If she needed anything, I am here. My home is her home. We cried together and talked about how life throws us curve balls and when we pick ourselves up and remember who we are, shower ourselves with love, and surround ourselves with love (ask for help), we can and will survive and thrive in the end.

I dedicate this to all women who have felt or do feel broken. You are not. You are beautiful, you are strong, you are capable of anything. I am here to remind you that you are not alone and you are love…pure love inside. Don’t let someone else break your spirit. Break free and let your spirit soar. Fly beautiful girl, fly!

Love,
Michelle

When You’re Supported, You Grow!

Support

When I was in the downward spiral of my depression, a friend suggested that I try attending his church. I told him that while I appreciated the suggestion, I wasn’t a very religious person. I considered myself more “spiritual.” He assured me that his church was different and that the person giving the sermons was less of a preacher and more of an inspirational speaker.

Since I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, when the following Sunday rolled around, I picked up my mom and we went to my friend’s church. I listened to the speaker and hung on her every word, tears flowing down my face the entire time. Although there were some 500 people there, I felt as if she was speaking directly to me. Most of all, I felt like I was home. I started attending regularly, and the sermons would lift me up and carry me through the week. Since I was becoming a familiar face there, I also stepped into a beautiful circle of new friends. The church became a constant source of unconditional love and support.

You don’t have to go to a church to experience this, though. Go online or visit your local community center and look for clubs or organizations that are of interest to you. You might even be able to find a women’s club in your neighborhood. You can also sign up for my monthly newsletter on my website (www.MichellePhillips.com) for ongoing support, love, and encouragement.

Michelle

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!

Breaking the chain of low self-esteem

breaking-chain-low-self-esteemEverything we are and everything we desire stands on the foundation of self-worth that we build from within. The value that we place on ourselves in the marketplace of life dictates the quality of relationships we will have, the pay that we will receive for our services, and resonates out to our family in friends in ways that will affect generations. It is for all of these reasons and more that we build that foundation strong and tall and lovingly reinforce it every day.

Recently my friends and I celebrated the life of an amazing woman who was truly an inspiration for us all and who so beautifully illustrated the importance of creating our personal value. The day my friend Jan realized how her low self-worth was allowing her abusive marriage to continue and how that relationship was affecting her children was the day that she said enough and left. She took her kids to a shelter and started over with the desire to always be treated the way she deserved.

While living her new, higher-valued life Jan gave back to others at every opportunity. Whether it was the Red Cross, YMCA, or abuse shelters, she was always showering others with love and telling them they were worthy of more.

Eventually she started her own organization that supported foster children who had been abused or neglected. Through dedicating her life to children who felt they had no hope she helped them realize they already possessed every ounce of worth and potential needed for beautiful, abundant lives. The legacy she leaves behind doesn’t just live on in the kids and young adults whose lives she touched but in their children and children’s children. By empowering just one person to a stronger sense of self-love you afford them the opportunity to change every life they touch.

Where does this change all truly start though? How do we break the cycle of bad jobs, bad relationships, and stop passing down a belief that lives that are beneath us are acceptable? By reclaiming and building our self-worth we free ourselves from the chains that hold us back from living with purpose and joy. The next step is demanding that value be honored in every aspect of our lives. By asking for what you are worth you teach others how to treat you and model to your kids the importance of valuing themselves.

To start the self-worth ball rolling take an inventory of your amazing, positive qualities.

What are your strengths? What are the personal qualities that define you?

What are some achievements you can look back on with pride to remind yourself of what you are capable of?

How did you feel when you achieved those things? Try to remember by putting yourself back in that place of accomplishment.

Another great tool I suggest using is to think of how your best friend would speak of you, if needed, ask them. We can all think of an endless amount of beautiful things to say about someone dear to us, start by giving yourself that same amount of love.

The most important thing of all though is to pick your moment to ask for what you’re worth. Whether it is in your relationships or your job, the day or minute you make the decision to say to the world, “I am good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, and deserving of everything I desire” is the day it will start coming your way. And it is the day you break the cycle for generations by inspiring others to start construction on the foundations of their beautiful lives.

Inner Peace on Earth- for a truly beautiful Holiday

For many people this season it’s difficult “to be jolly”. Financial woes, loss, loneliness, and family stress can feel like weight of a heavy snow more than ever around this time of year. By the way, if you broke in to song with that first sentence, this may article may not apply to you but read on…

Something that you hear a lot around now is “Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men!” More than any other times of year, around the Holidays we tend think about what we can do to better the lives others. If you are struggling with ways to find your own peace though, spreading peace to others can seem out of reach. So how do we remedy that in time to have a great Holiday? I believe the cure lies in one of my favorite phrases, the change we want to see in the world starts with us. Once you have inner peace it becomes easy to be one person or one family making a difference in the lives of others by word and deed.

Now we’re on to something but, again, where do we start within ourselves is the next question.

I come to this with kind of different angle given my particular area of expertise as a Beauty and Life Coach. While millions are constantly searching for an outer “fix” the real connection to harmony and beauty is feeling bliss on the inside and radiating that out to the world. I believe that much of the inner turmoil and lack of peace that we experience comes from allowing ourselves to be caught up in superficial things like material possessions, and not living according to our authentic beliefs.

Even before thinking of the gifts you would like in your life, start finding your peace by thinking of those you already have. Your gifts can be your beautiful smile, radiant personality, intuitive feeling and deep connection to those around you, constant optimism, or just about anything else. By taking this mental and emotional inventory you remind yourself of the value that you already hold rather than thinking there must me something more. That is the point after all, that you are already more than enough! All too often we think of ourselves in terms of the “mizpah”, the beautiful necklace that we give each other as friends. It’s that heart that is broken and each of us takes half to symbolize the eternal bond with the other. The true gift is in letting yourself be complete and giving your whole heart to as many people has you can throughout your life.

We can also achieve peace by remembering that we are all gifts to the world. We are such wonderful gifts in fact, that we should be re-gifted often. And as those gifts we are not our wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows, we are a joy-filled bundle of beauty and divine purpose!

When something or someone is true to their purpose and simply enjoys being they are a source of beauty for the world. Before waiting for New Year’s resolution season, take some time to explore what it is that brings purpose and joy to you. Consider what you would be doing in your ideal job, relationships, and personal life, and how living that true to them would bring beauty to your soul. Now take that a step farther and actually write that down and create your special “gift list”. There is something about the process of putting pen to paper and seeing your dreams in front of you that helps bring them to reality.

Have a wonderful, and beautiful, Holiday and I look forward to being an inspirational part of your journey in the coming year!

Written by Bestselling Hay House author, TV & Radio Host, Celebrity Makeup Artist and Life Coach Michelle Phillips

My Vision For A Spring Party!

my-vision-spring-partyA very important process that I share in my book “The Beauty Blueprint” and my coaching circles is to create a vision board. Over the past few months I have had a couple vision board parties that were a huge success!

If you are asking, what is a vision board…let me back up for a minute. A vision board is a corkboard or poster board or anything to post your dreams to, to help the manifesting process of making them come true. What better way could there be to concentrate the power of making something come to be is there than actually seeing it?

So how do we get our vision board party started? That’s the fun part. Invite some friends over, put out some snacks…and drinks to help the dreaming come easier… have each person bring or you can provide poster boards, scissors, tape..and lots of magazines to find the images or words that appeal to you—

Be sure to have your guests bring pictures of people, quotes, or personal letters that inspire them.

I like to cut out positive words from advertisements, such as powerful, truth, and beautiful. If you like uplifting quotes, O Magazine is a great resource.

While you do this, try not to concentrate on material things. Rather, focus on your dreams and on living your best life; your job, family, relationships, hobbies, whatever it is, be specific about how you would want your life to look like the people or places that inspire you.

In the center of my board is my personal mission statement you might choose a picture, quote, or a verse that really resonates with you. The important thing to remember is that there is no wrong or right way to create a board…or two! I have three in my home and feel that it is a fun thing to do every few months. You will also find that all your dreams and aspirations will come true after posting them on your board…so updating is crucial.

Doing this by yourself can be a blast, but doing it with your friends can be even more fun and a great way to support each other in making your best lives a reality. It’s really fun to see what your friends are dreaming about…

Here are some thoughts on how to do that with some fun pics and video from my last vision blowout.