I picked the word Essential this year. Here’s what happened…

When I make my theme word for the year, I want it to be a loving, yet firm reminder of what is important to me. It’s easy for me to get caught up in the next bright shiny thing or in pursing egocentric goals because that’s what I “should” be doing, so I need my word to be my guide.

My theme word helps me stay centered on what I have declared is needed in my life, day after day, week after week, month after month.

For 2015, I was led by the word Essential.

I was coming off a crazy external year in 2014 — buying a home, remodeling a home, having my 2nd darling baby, moving into said remodeled home — all while running my business and raising my two year old and being a wife and a lover and a sister and a friend and a daughter.

Needless to say, I was a tad exhausted.

Glowing with happiness, but abso-fucking-lutely exhausted.

Essential called to me as a way to focus my energy for the year — anything that wasn’t my family, my business, or my health was a second priority.

It’s not the way I always want to live (’cause I LOVE me some girlfriends, and travel, and adventure, and exercising creativity, and working on my house, and adrenaline rushes, and learning new things) but for 2015, I needed to pare down for my own sanity.

And guess what?

Essential worked for me.

I feel incredibly bonded with my family and we honored many of our family values together. Quarterly camping trips! Friday family fundays! Books galore! Plus we handled a ton of annoying open loops like life insurance and doctor’s appointments and childcare.

Stratejoy thrived — launched Summer Camp, hired Dee (the best ever right hand woman,) doubled revenue, and started some crazy huge Community rebranding for next year. I am utterly in love with my work and my Tribe right now.

For the first time in my adult life, I have a truly dedicated movement practice. Swimming has become my meditation, alone time and exercise. And twice a week yoga keeps me grounded, limber and strong. We’ve been playing around with dietary changes and less drinking and have been figuring out loving ways to honor our bodies without harsh restriction.

All of this? It happened because of The Holiday Council.

Not only do I love guiding this program, but I am also 100% dedicated to doing the work in my own life. It’s a bit magical and a bit practical — and after 6 years of working it — I can honestly say my life wouldn’t be the same without this process.

Ken was looking at all my old vision boards last week and said,

“Whoa. Your life totally looks that.”

Beaches, babies, chill time, yoga, speaking gigs, bare feet, kisses, gal pal circles, a modern home, natural beauty, family traditions, dinner parties, supportive team…


So, you?  What do you think? Is it time to really dedicate yourself to this process?

There are only five days left to join me for The Holiday Council.

And if this wasn’t already clear, I believe this is the best gift you can give yourself this season. The gift of awareness. The gift of clarity. The gift of support as you set your big, bright goals into motion.

Our 21 days together will take you from feeling like life is moving a warp speed  to understanding exactly where you’ve been in 2015 and what you want from 2016.

No judgement, just support and celebration.

No bullshit, just a bevy of other like-minded women.

No gurus, just a leader who’s been walking women through this process for 6 magical years (and loving every minute of it).

Learn More + Register HERE

I love gathering with you, telling stories, sharing my knowledge, holding space for the hard stuff and celebrating the the amazing things both big and small. And nothing makes me happier than to witness your deliberate gratitude, big dreaming and ambitious action-planning for the new year.

(Plus, the extra camaraderie of these three weeks really helps me get my own New Year visioning done as well… Nothing like knowing I have to send my worksheets to you Insiders to light a fire underneath my butt!)

The Holiday Council is set up to be affordable way to get and stay involved in Stratejoy — I look forward to welcoming you back, year after year. It’s incredible to see it becoming a treasured December tradition for so many of you.

So, babe. You in?

We’re waiting for you in the FB group right now. 

And ALL THE THINGS kick off Monday!

With big love and extra gratitude for you today.


36 Hours. The Summer Camp Countdown is On.

There are 36 hours left to reserve your spot at Stratejoy Summer Camp.

36 hours left to take the leap, have the conversation, push your edge, use those vacation days, carve out the time + say an enthusiastic (if slightly nervous) YES.

The Camp Bus leaves at midnight PST this Friday!


We’ve been hard at work at putting together a magical + deep, playful + transformational, restorative + energizing retreat for the 71 women (so far!) joining us in August.

I'm Going to Camp!As we plot and plan, we’ve been recounting times in our own lives when we went out on a limb to say *yes* to ourselves — when we valued connection and reflection, courage and presence.

Our stories reminded us of the Camp experience we’re creating for you —  one that is not only going to be a freakin’ blast, but also, one that you’ll look back on and say,

“Oh yes, that’s when everything shifted for me.”

There is power in gathering with other like-minded women who want to connect on a deep level and and talk about the big stuff. There is immense value in having dedicated time alone to reconnect with yourself and your dreams. And there is a beautiful magic that happens when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone!

Camp is going to be all of that. And a whole lot of laughter and celebration too.

Want to hear our stories? Read on!

In January 2015, I invited 8 women into my living room. I had met them each at least once; most of them didn’t know each other. But we all were business owners and we all felt alone in our pursuit of our own American Dream. When we sat down, I asked them to answer two questions: what do you love about business and what are you struggling with?

Three hours later, we were all still talking, crying, laughing, and finally feeling understood.

Fast forward to now — these women are the ones that hold me in their arms when I struggle, have drinks with me when I win, and fight to make themselves available when I need help. I never had really good girlfriends, and finally having them has changed my personal life, my business life, and made me feel confident that I can actually get to my own American Dream.

And it all started sitting in a circle of women with a few glasses of wine.

It wasn’t more than a few months after leaning into the world of personal development that I found Molly and Stratejoy. I knew I’d landed smack in the middle of my people in this joyful corner of the internet.

And it wasn’t more than a few months after that when I was brave enough to take my life in a new and exciting direction.

Armed with new knowledge about how to transform my definition of self-worth and emerge from my own QLC, I decided to save up some cash and kick off a new chapter of my life. And before the reality of it all could set in, I went on a personal pilgrimage, zooming around the American West for a month with the essentials for a transformative moment: my sleeping bag, a journal, a camera, and an openness to possibility…

I was taking time out to connect with nobody but myself. Time out to hit reset. Time out to dig into the details of where I wanted my life to go. Time out to dance my booty off at concerts, explore a part of the world I’d never seen, eat fish tacos in San Diego and BBQ in Montana, and meet my newfound Stratejoy sisters IRL.

(I met Molly for the first time on that road trip! Hurrah!)

Without that gift of time that I gave to myself? I truly don’t know if I’d be living a life of alignment today.

Everything started for me when Ken and I left our “real lives” and backpacked around the world for 10 months back in 2007.

The trip was my self prescribed solution to my Quarterlife Crisis. It seemed like escape from my world, escape from my job, escape from the traditional path, was the only thing that would help me reconnect to myself.  I spent the first 3 months of my trip decompressing and the last 7 months designing my new life.

I wanted to share a little snipped from my journal towards the end of our trip —

“Today I took myself to a cafe in Hoi An, sat back and really appreciated the thinking I’ve been doing over the course of this trip.  I’ve been exposed to so many new ideas and observed so many different ways of life.  I have really and truly connected to my vision of success and am enthused about bringing Company X to fruition.

I am so excited about the changes I’m making in my own life to grow and push and seek joy.  And incredibly excited to share these breakthroughs with other woman who feel that sense of quiet desperation.

There is so much I still need to learn, but I feel that my heart & my head are in the right place & ready to move forward.

I know I can’t give everyone the trip around the world, but I hope I can offer the right kind of experiences to help them really and truly connect with their truth.”

I'm Going to Camp!

I’m hoping Summer Camp will be your week. Your life-changing moment. Your breakthrough to joy. Your jolt of clarity.

I can’t wait to hear you say,

“Oh yes, Camp’s when everything shifted for me.”

Time to take action!

Doors close tomorrow night at Midnight PST.

If you know this is what you need, don’t let the bus leave without you, honey.


Day 6 of the Joy Challenge: Commit to Flourishing


If you’re craving a reset button on your life — one full of clarity and forward movement — this is your chance to do the big thinking and make intentional decisions in the company of over 100 like-minded ladies.  

I’m running the newly updated Joy Equation Course *LIVE* starting this Friday, June 12th. Fair warning — it’s the very last time The Joy Equation will be offered at the Pay-What-You-Can price!  

In celebration of relaunching my signature Course, I’ve been challenging *YOU* to start prioritizing joy in your life.  We’re at the end of our 6 Day Joy Challenge, but you can take it anytime!  If you want to take part in the last five challenges challenges, links are located here.


One of the questions I always come back to when coaching and in my own life is a deceptively simple one-word question.


I want you to try it out with rapid, quick fire answers to the questions below. Don’t censor yourself or overthink this one — just write the first few things that pop into your mind.

Why do I want to develop self-love?

Why connect with myself?

Why do I care about defining success?

Why nurture strong relationships?

Why am I declaring my goals and developing habits?

Why commit to my flourishing?


A commitment requires some sort of promise, some sort of special ritual. You’re welcome to get elaborate here — a piece of gorgeous talisman jewelry, a freshly decorated and de-cluttered workspace, a special solo weekend away — or you can keep it simple.

At the very least, I want you to write an affirmation of joy, a dedication to flourishing or a statement of commitment in your own handwriting and post it somewhere in your home that you’ll see daily.

Not sure what to write? Use one of these!

My joy is worthy of my attention and I am worthy of joy.

I commit to flourishing.

I am living life on my own terms, starting now.

I am capable of achieving my dreams.

My Life. My Choices. My Joy.

Snap a photo of your commitment, and post it online using the hashtag #thejoyequation to share with our Stratejoy Tribe. I’m SO looking forward to these.

My Life is My Art Step 6 The Joy Equation Molly Mahar


We’re running at full speed over here to prep for the Course launch on Friday, so I’m taking the “at the very least” option today!

And here’s what I came up with —

“My life is my art, my offering, my contribution. Make it beautiful. Make it count.”

Even if you weren’t participating out-loud and online, I hope these last 6 days gave you things to ponder in your own life. What do you care about? Does your schedule and effort reflect that? Are you letting obstacles of fear or judgement or indecision stand in your way? What’s the end game? And why do you freakin’ care?

If you’re ready for the deeper dive, I’m ready for you.

If you’re craving a reset button on your life — one full of clarity and forward movement — this is your chance to do the big thinking and make intentional decisions in the company of 100+ like-minded ladies.

This Course has changed lives. I’ve witnessed the transformation and heard the stories over and over for the past 5 years.

Your turn?


Molly-Sig Cropped

Here’s What I Know:
Commit To Flourishing

JOY-EQUATION_STEP6_PHOTOIt’s a common trait of women — of the care-taking role we’re conditioned to embrace — to put everyone’s needs ahead of your own. How can I help you? How can I support you? How can I take care of you?

Striving to be all things to all people is exhausting.

Why don’t you try asking yourself these very same questions for a change?

How can I help myself? How can I support myself? How can I take care of myself?

The answer is commitment. Commitment to your own personal fulfillment and flourishing. Commitment with your whole heart. Commitment with your full sense of self.

You can commit in many forms — with time, energy or money, with your willingness to clash with society or the persona your partner/friends/family expect you to be, with your sacred rituals that remind you who you are and what you love.

You’ll have to be brave enough to speak up, look up, live it up.

Your commitment will be worth it because this isn’t a dress rehearsal and you don’t get a do over.

This is your life!

This is your shot to leave a legacy, love with your whole heart, make a difference, appreciate beauty, dance wildly, own your gifts, embrace magic, be kind, and live with integrity.

On your own terms, of course.

And by living life on your own terms, you’re setting off a chain of positive reactions.

You’re allowing others to see the true you, the one that’s been buried or burnt out or scared. You’re inspiring those around you to seek success that is authentic to them. You’re teaching your children to express their uniqueness, to have faith in their individual worth. You’re setting an example of truth, an example of courage.

You’re actually helping, supporting and caring for others by helping, supporting and caring for yourself, love.

Are you up for it?

Committing to your own flourishing guarantees your success. It gives you a safety blanket when the going gets tough. You’ve already made the commitment to travel this road, so just wrap that blanket of commitment around you and face the icy patches with your chin up.

You may have to adjust your course, but you’ve already made the commitment to move forward.  Small step, by small step. There’s no option to bow out or retreat, only to respond to challenges with gracious flexibility and patience for pit stops.

This commitment is important. This commitment is vital.

This commitment to your flourishing is essential.

Are you with me?

Yes? Then, let’s do something about it!

This step of The Joy Equation confirms your dedication to joyful living and the awareness and courage it will take every day.

Day 5 of the Joy Challenge: Declare Goals, Develop Habits

JOY-EQUATION_PINWHEEL_BADGE_FINALI’m running the newly updated Joy Equation Course *LIVE* starting this Friday, June 12th. Fair warning — it’s the very last time The Joy Equation will be offered at the Pay-What-You-Can price!

In celebration of relaunching my signature Course, I’m challenging *YOU* to start prioritizing joy in your life.  We’re 5 days into our 6 Day Joy Challenge with a daily writing prompt for your journal and  photography prompt to post online using the hashtag #thejoyequation. It’s not to late to dive in, sugar!

If you want to take part in the last four challenges challenges, links are located here.


Examining our past stories helps us clear the deck for the future. What are you carrying around that might affect your ability to pursue meaningful goals and develop powerful habits?

Use these two prompts to examine your baggage, both helpful and harmful.`

What are the things you habitually do or mindsets you naturally embrace that are serving you right now? Remind yourself about a time you experienced joy/pride/triumph because of these habits.

What are the things you habitually do or mindsets you naturally embrace that are holding you back right now? Remind yourself about a time you experienced defeat/sadness/failure because of these habits.


Without worrying about a long term commitment from yourself, I want you do something today that you wish was already a habit!

Maybe that’s going for a run, standing up for yourself at work, meditating, drinking a cup of tea and writing in your journal before bed, giving your baby a coconut oil massage or taking a walk at lunchtime. Doesn’t matter what your wannabe habit is, as long as you do it!

And take a picture of it of course… Share with us by using the hashtag #thejoyequation on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook.


Step 5 Molly Mahar Develop HabitsI wish a daily home yoga practice was already an ingrained habit!

I’m pretty good at getting to the studio 2x a week, but the “whip out my yoga mat and go through a few asanas” still alludes me.

Not today however!

Done and done and feeling goooood.

Namaste, loves.

(Also. Taking a yoga selfie is very hard…)

Yesterday was such a special outpouring of sweetness for the cherished people in your world. Thank you for sharing your love with me!


Molly-Sig Cropped

Here’s What I Know:
Declare Goals, Develop Habits

JOY-EQUATION_STEP5_PHOTOThe pursuit of worthwhile goals is one of the few things you can to that markedly improves your life satisfaction. And the development of powerful habits helps support that worthy pursuit.

When you feel like you’re just going through the motions — fearful of making any change, bored by the path you feel stuck on, or scared that you’ll never actually accomplish anything — declaring goals that are in alignment with your authentic self can awaken your spirit.

I firmly believe you don’t have to do anything…

You don’t have to stay in that job. You don’t have to stay in that relationship. You don’t have to slave away at the gym to validate someone else’s perception of attractive.

You have power to make changes in your life, both large and small.

You have the power to declare goals that reflect your core values, your definition of success, your unique take on the world.

When you are prioritizing joy, you examine your life closely.You ask yourself, “Why?”

Why do I work overtime? Why do I spend time with these specific friends? Why do I increase my debt by shopping online? Why do I haul my kids around to every playgroup in town? Why do I turn away from my partner in bed?

And sometimes the question is, “Why don’t I?”

Why don’t I quit my job? Why don’t I forgive my ex? Why don’t I make time to meditate? Why don’t I write poetry? Why don’t I organize that women’s circle I’m craving? Why don’t I dance in the fountain in the middle of downtown?

With that kind of powerful self-examination, you can make conscious decisions about what is worth your time, your energy, your money.

When your goals are clear, the next piece is to identify the specific habits and mindsets that will support you.

It’s the little things you do every day that add up to your experience of life, so be deliberate in what you choose.

After coaching women for the past 5 years and especially in in the year-long timeframe of the Elevate Mastermind — I’ve learned a thing or two about the habits that support authentically joyful women.

Some of my favorites? Asking for what you want, protecting your personal resources, honoring your energy,  gratitude rituals, finding flow and meditation. Part coaching tools, part positive psychology research, part first hand experience — this is the shit I wish they’d teach in schools.

Your habits are going to help you or harm you, honey.

And the cool part? With a little experimentation and understanding of the latest in motivation, willpower and grit, you have the power to cultivate the habits that support the best version of you.

By declaring goals that are meaningful to you and cultivating the habits you need to start or stop in order to pursue your goals — you’ll be setting yourself up to achieve your definition of success in this step of the Joy Equation.

Day 4 of the Joy Challenge: Nurture Strong Relationships

JOY-EQUATION_PINWHEEL_BADGE_FINALI’m running the newly updated Joy Equation Course *LIVE* starting this Friday, June 12th. Fair warning — it’s the very last time The Joy Equation will be offered at the Pay-What-You-Can price!

In celebration of relaunching my signature Course, I’m challenging *YOU* to start prioritizing joy in your life.  We’re 3 days into our 6 Day Joy Challenge with a daily writing prompt for your journal and  photography prompt to post online using the hashtag #thejoyequation. It’s not to late to dive in, sugar!

If you want to take part in the previous three challenges, links are located here.

Nurture Stong RelationshipsWriting Prompt

Journaling can be a safe space for asking open-ended questions without worrying about taking any action. You’re allowing yourself total honesty, without putting any pressure on yourself to change/fix/activate anything.

That’s how I want you to treat today’s prompt.

Simply let yourself explore the questions: Where do I feel a sense of belonging? Where am I craving connection?

Nurture Stong Relationships

Photography Prompt

Sometimes those closest to us can get lost in the shuffle of to do lists and everyday emergencies and end-of-the-day exhaustion.

Today your challenge is simple and sweet — Celebrate someone you love by making extra effort to connect with them.

Call your college best friend, take your kids on a simple, silly adventure, tell your boss what you appreciate about them, make plans to get together with your mama’s group this weekend, mix your partner’s favorite drink and genuinely ask them how they are, write a letter of gratitude to your parents, record a goofy video for your nephew. The specifics don’t matter as long as you’re focused on connection by being present, loving and open.

Snap a picture of your extra effort to connect with someone you love to share with us online! Use the hashtag #thejoyequation on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook so I can applaud your efforts to nurture strong relationships in your world.

Step 4 The Joy Equation Molly Mahar


I’m making an extra effort to connect with 4 incredible women in my world who are expecting tiny humans! Their pregnancies aren’t public yet, so I can’t share, but I want each of them to know how much I love them and how excited I am for them to become Mamas.

One of my absolute favorite things to do with my littles is read to them snuggled on the couch or in the rocker. By gifting some of our favorite books, I’m wishing my girlfriends that same special bond with their babies!

It’s hard when your friends are scattered across the country — hard to stay close, hard to know the day-by-day celebrations and struggles, hard to show up on their doorstep with grapefruit juice and cookies — but I hope that this little gesture will remind them that I’m thinking about each of them and their new adventure.

Love you ladies.

(And yes, I can recite each of these books by memory!)

Thank you for being such brave souls and doing something new/different/imaginative over the weekend.

I’m so impressed with your creativity!

And it’s never to late to just dive into this Joy Challenge. Pick a day that calls you and just start.


Molly-Sig Cropped



JOY-EQUATION_STEP4_PHOTONo woman is an island. Including you, sweetness.

We all crave belonging. We all have a deep desire for intimacy with our partners and our close friends.  We want to feel connected to a community of like-minded people. We yearn for healthy relationships with our families.

Why? The journey becomes easier when you have found your people.

Your people will come in many forms throughout your life — they’ll be mamas, lovers and mentors; children, neighbors, and circles of women; kind strangers, students and best friends.

But your people will all have certain qualities.

They’ll be the people you can be transparent with — no masks, no pretending, no posturing. They’ll be the people who love and accept you for all that you are. They’ll be the people who can see and honor your mess, beauty, juxtapositions, triumphs and mistakes. They’ll be the people who can embrace your vulnerability and heroics, your ambition and your acceptance, your hot buttons and your strokes of genius.

And as much as they give to you — you’ll give to them in return.

If you feel alone or unsupported right now, I want you to open your heart to the possibility of finding and nurturing these relationships.

Maybe you’ve been hurt badly in the past or maybe you’re convinced no one will every get you. Maybe it seems like too much effort to make new friends or maybe you’ve outgrown your gal pals but aren’t sure how to move on.

Maybe there’s a warm body in your bed but you might as well be living on different planets or maybe you’re in love with someone who’s not capable of loving you. Maybe you feel like you don’t have time to spend with friends or maybe you continually put work before your family.

Stop it!  Stop all of the doubting and undermining and questioning of importance.

The one thing that every happiness expert or positive psychology researcher can agree upon is the fact that people with strong connections and loving relationships are more satisfied with their lives.

And I absolutely agree.

Relationships where we are valued, heard, accepted and loved and where we value, hear, accept and love another are worth all of the effort.

They are worth all the hurt feelings, and mixed signals, and awkward attempts at finding your communication groove, and boundary setting you must do.  The rewards of love, support, intimacy, belonging and shared experience are worth it all.

This step of The Joy Equation reminds you that connection with others is essential to your joy and provides tools, tips and resources to examine your world through the lens of strong relationships.

Day 3 of the Joy Challenge: Define Success

Welcome to the 6 Day Joy Challenge!  Are you ready to refresh your sense of self? To remind yourself that joyful living is totally within your reach?

JOY-EQUATION_PINWHEEL_BADGE_FINALIn celebration of launching the new and improved Joy Equation Course, I’m challenging *YOU* to start prioritizing joy in your life.  For the next 6 days, I’ll be rolling out a new step of The Joy Equation with 2 challenges: one writing prompt for your journal and one photography prompt to post online!  And if you want me to cheer you on — just use the hashtag #thejoyequation on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I’ll be looking for your posts this week and next! 

And babe? You’ve got ONE WEEK LEFT TO REGISTER if you want to expand our 6 day challenge into the full 6 week Pay-What-You-Can Course!

I’m running the newly updated Joy Equation Course *LIVE* starting on Friday, June 12th. Fair warning — it’s the very last time The Joy Equation will be offered at the Pay-What-You-Can price.



If you got to the end of your life and someone asked you to recount the 5 most meaningful moments you experienced — what would they be?

This exercise can be insightful to do two different ways… Try writing it out as if you were going to die tomorrow (using real experiences) and then writing it out as if you were 95 years old (using yet-to-happen experiences or a combo of real and yet-to-happen.) The purpose of this prompt isn’t to make your feel bad about your life or pessimistic about your future — it’s simply a different way of exploring your definition of success and taking stock of your current trajectory.

*Warning* This prompt always makes me cry. I hate thinking about leaving my loved ones (especially my littles) even if I’m just doing it as an imaginary writing exercise. If you have a tender heart as well, be super gentle with yourself today.


One of the difficult things about defining success on our own terms is the imagination it takes to see outside of societal or familial expectations. Today’s exploration is an attempt to remind you that you always have a choice, that nothing is set in stone, and that you are capable of doing something different.

I want you to take one action today that stretches your comfort zone, but still honors who you are at your core.

It can be big (book those tickets to Costa Rica, get your nose pierced, forgive someone, write the first chapter of your novel, take the first step towards un-schooling your children, lace up your sneakers and run a mile) or it can be small (eat your lunch outside instead of sitting at your desk, ask that cute stranger on the bus out for coffee, wear your hair up in an unfamiliar topknot, squeeze into the shower with your partner, sleep outside on your deck, listen to a new podcast.)

Don’t overthink this one! Just do something unexpected by using your imagination! And share it with us using the hashtag #thejoyequation on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Step 3 Define Success Molly MaharMY PHOTO

Well, I was camping all weekend in Ojai, so that was something new that honors what I care about! But for this challenge to really stretch my comfort zone, I wanted to do something that truly pushes me to my edge.

And for all my talk about learning to surf this year, I haven’t actually done it…

So — this is me after signing up for my first private surf lesson next Saturday morning at 8 am.

I’m doing it. Wetsuit and booties and cold central coast Pacific and no core strength anymore and ALL.

Juliet is saying, “You’re so hardcore Mama!”

Your moments of silence from yesterday were incredible to witness. Thank you, lovelies.


I’ll be back next week with the last 3 steps of this Joy Challenge!


Molly-Sig Cropped







JOY-EQUATION_STEP3_PHOTOSuccess. It’s a big word.

What does it conjure up for you?

Unless you live in a cave, there are probably aspects of money, influence and beauty woven into your vision. These are the societal definitions of success present in our western world — the powerful CEO, the gorgeous socialite, the well-funded entrepreneur, the influential politician, the sexy model, the widely recognized artist, the rich wife — all of these women are considered successful.

It’s not that money, influence or beauty are bad, but neither are they inherently good.

They are simply the most widely recognized measures of success.

And hey! I’m not turning down a big lotto win, or an established platform to spread my message, or a naturally speedy metabolism if they happen to fall into my lap…

It’s just that in order to truly be successful, you need to be successful on your own terms. And in many cases, society’s darlings may not  play a big role in your version of success.

Fulfillment comes from shining where it counts for YOU. Defining success on YOUR terms.

And to do that takes self-awareness and courage.

Are you refusing to be self-aware because it’s uncomfortable? Or avoiding being courageous because doing things differently is uncomfortable?


Whether it’s fear of failure, lack of self-esteem, resigned acceptance of your lot in life, or short-sighted vision, do not let your life pass you by. Setting the course for your journey, on your terms, working towards your definition of success — however small and precious or big and bold that might be — is a recipe for joy and meaning.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve seen success defined by hundreds of different factors.

Maybe you want to travel around the world, start painting murals, pitch venture capitalists with your great startup idea, slam poetry, run for office in your small town, or be an outspoken advocate for social change.

Maybe you want to go back to school, move out of the country, be the first VP in your company under 40, become a foster parent, design gowns for the First Lady, create an urban commune, hike the Pacific Crest Trail, or invent the next big thing in the pastry world.

Maybe you want to write romance novels, go totally off-the-grid, film a documentary about sex, raise a large family in your rural farmhouse, start a midlife career as a teacher, travel the states in an Airstream, or blog about every Manhattan in Manhattan.

The specifics are up to you, honey.

Yes, it will take time and energy to figure out what it’s really going to be meaningful and magical for you. You may disappoint others. You may to realize your education or previous career or first marriage is a sunk cost and it’s time to move on.

You may feel like you’re starting over.

And that’s okay.

The reward for Defining Success on your own terms is authentic joy. It’s soooo worth it.

Day 2 of the Joy Challenge: Connect With Yourself

Welcome to the 6 Day Joy Challenge!  Are you ready to refresh your sense of self? To remind yourself that joyful living is totally within your reach? JOY-EQUATION_STEPS_COLLAGE_FINAL

In celebration of launching the new and improved Joy Equation Course, I’m challenging *YOU* to start prioritizing joy in your life.  For the next 6 days, I’ll be rolling out a new step of The Joy Equation with 2 challenges: one writing prompt for your journal and one photography prompt to post online!  And if you want me to cheer you on — just use the hashtag #thejoyequation on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I’ll be looking for your posts this week and next! 


Writing Prompt

We’re going to dig in with one of my favorite writing prompts — lists!

Break out your journal and make two different lists: Things I Adore and Things I Despise.

There are no rules here. You list both serious things and humorous ones. The entire point is to start connecting with yourself by making declarations about objects, places, people, or ideas that spark a strong reaction in you.

The more specific you can get, the most insightful these lists will be!


There are many things that will be helpful as you explore your truest self, but one important piece is carving out moments of silence. These moments can be anything where you proactively create quiet time for yourself to think, to daydream, to journal.

So, let’s practice! Even if it’s only 5 minutes — be silent, in silence. Sit on the deck with a glass of wine, take a bubble bath, watch the sunset, meditate, journal on a park bench, or hide out in your car if you have to.

I want you to take a photo of your moment of silence, post it online, and tell us, “Sitting in silence makes me realize…”

If you want to share your moment of silence with the Stratejoy Tribe (and with me!) use the hashtag #thejoyequation on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook.

Step 2 The Joy Equation Molly MaharMY PHOTO

Sitting in silence makes me realize how hard it is to enjoy these quiet moments instead of feeling like I should be something else — like being with my littles, or answering email, or cleaning up the kitchen, or just something “productive.”

It’s sooooo wonderful to just breathe and journal and meditate on my vision board for the year, but it’s hard to relax into the moment.

This both frustrates me and makes me laugh because I’ve had years of preaching/teaching the importance of silent reflective time to my Stratejoy ladies, yet it’s still difficult for me to fully be present to silence in the midst of my normal life.

Retreats? I’m totally in solitude zone. In savasana in the studio? Completely melted into my breath and body. Even swimming laps at the pool, I’m pretty zenned out. And luckily for me — the work I am privileged to do all day keeps me connected to myself and constantly thinking creatively about integrity and joy and alignment.

But when I’m at home, fully in my “real life?” Still hard for me to sit in silence.

Hmmm. Noted. I guess we all have opportunities for growth, eh? #thejoyequation

I loved seeing all your gorgeous self-portraits yesterday and can’t wait to witness your moment of silence today.

Share away!

Molly-Sig Cropped




pJOY-EQUATION_PINWHEEL_BADGE_FINAL.s. If you want to expand our 6 day challenge into the full 6 week Pay-What-You-Can Course — we’re running the newly updated Joy Equation Course *LIVE* starting on Friday, June 12th.

It’s the very last time The Joy Equation will be offered at the Pay-What-You-Can price!


JOY-EQUATION_STEP2_PHOTOIf you stripped down to the very base of yourself – if we took away your job, your bank account, your schooling, your relationship status – who would you be?

Do you have any clue?

Answering this question can be incredibly hard. I get it, love.

You wear so many masks during your day and try so hard to please other people, that your own desires, preferences and unique strengths get overlooked. And pretty soon, you forget what those desires, preferences and unique strengths even are!

Over the last 6 years of working with incredible women who feel disconnected from themselves, there are two main problems I usually see standing in the way of authentic connection.

  • Expectations of others about who you should be
  • Social personas you adopt to deal with discomfort

Even I’m not immune to power of these roadblocks!

Here are the expectations I carry around on a day-to-day basis…

Am I the smart, bossy, kind ten-year-old that my childhood teacher thinks? Am I the overachieving, independent good girl with a hankering for dramatic relationships that my high school friends remember? Am I the selfish, big dreaming, money-obsessed, fun-loving woman my parents believe me to be? Am I the emotional, warm-hearted, sexy, ambitious wife and mama my husband sees when he looks at me?

That’s a lot of expectation and assumption, both positive and negative, to be aware of as I try to live joyfully, truthfully and aligned with my highest self.

And social personas?

It gets even more difficult to know who you really are.

Your personas are shields or masks you’ve formed to deal with difficult people, with situations you find uncomfortable (like an ill-fitting job or a partner who communicates differently) or with society’s version of who you should be.

You probably find it easy to move between your different personas to get through the day — whatever they may be. Maybe you’re balancing your saleswoman self, your stressed-out wine-guzzling self, your maternal self-sacrificing self and your dedicated dieting self.

Here’s the trouble.

Social personas formed out of discomfort tend to disguise your true desires and keep you stuck inside stereotypical boxes. And eventually you outgrown one or realize one is holding you back, but you have no idea how to operate in that particular world without that particular mask.

Connection to your truest self is vital, honey.

In the midst of outside markers (like your bank account, your job, your relationship status,) others’ expectations and your social personas, you can easily end up with a perpetual feeling of disconnection because you don’t know who *you* actually are underneath it all.

And knowing WHO *YOU* ACTUALLY ARE is essential in living a joyful life.

I’m giving you permission right now

  • to start doing the work to discover your authentic self
  • to know you are enough, just as you are
  • to worry less about fitting in and pleasing others
  • to stop behaving appropriately or as expected

Do whatever it takes to recognize who *you* are and how *you* show up in the world by connecting with yourself.

Day 1 of the Joy Challenge : Develop Fierce Self-Love

Welcome to the 6 Day Joy Challenge!  Are you ready to refresh your sense of self? To remind yourself that joyful living is totally within your reach? JOY-EQUATION_STEPS_COLLAGE_FINAL

In celebration of launching the new and improved Joy Equation Course, I’m challenging *YOU* to start prioritizing joy in your life.  For the next 6 days, I’ll be rolling out a new step of The Joy Equation with 2 challenges: one writing prompt for your journal and one photography prompt to post online!  And if you want me to cheer you on — just use the hashtag #thejoyequation on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I’ll be looking for your posts this week and next!


One of the most powerful posts I’ve ever written was a love poem to my own “enoughness.”

Grab your journal and write ode to your own “enoughness.”

If creative writing isn’t your jam — you can dive in by filling out these statements!

I am full of _________. I never  _________.  I radiate  _________.  I struggle with  _________.

And through it all, I am enough.

I am a woman who needs _________. I am a woman who wants  _________. I am a woman who accepts  _________. I am a woman who believes  _________.

I am a woman. And I am enough.

Sometimes I  _________. And sometimes  _________. It’s hard for me when  _________.  And my heart sings when  _________.

I am  _________ and  _________ and  _________  and _________.

I am always enough.


Photography Prompt

A simple way to start embracing self-love is by recognizing and celebrating positive aspects of yourself. As an ambitious woman in a media-heavy world, you are probably ridiculously hard on yourself — continually policing your productivity, your appearance, your achievements and your willpower.

Let’s ease up a little, shall we?

I want you to take a self-portrait that celebrates something you love and value about yourself. Post the picture online and tell us, “Something I love and value about myself is…”

Here’s hoping you can recognize and celebrate the good/beauty/contribution you see in yourself without wishing it to be different, without negating its power, without comparison.

Use the hashtag #thejoyequation on Instagram/Twitter/Twitter so I can cheer you on, honey!

Step One Joy Equation Molly MaharMY PHOTO:

Something I love and value about myself? My dedication to self-care and movement this year.

I’ve been swimming twice a week (more or less) since February and I really love that although it is quite the commitment (secure childcare, drive to the pool, and jump in with all the fast men in speedos and old ladies doing water aerobics) — I keep choosing to make it. Even when I miss a swim or two, I hit the pool the next chance I get without beating myself up.

And that’s new for me. I value my dedication to this first unsexy step of learning how to surf! And I love that I’m being kind to this post-two-kiddo body in a swimsuit too! ‪#‎thejoyequation‬

Now I want to see yours!

Have fun with this very first step of The Joy Equation, babe.  If you want to learn more about developing fierce self-love — read the post below.


Molly-Sig Cropped

JOY-EQUATION_PINWHEEL_BADGE_FINALp.s.  If you want to expand this 6 Day Challenge into the full 6 week Pay-What-You-Can Course — we’re running the newly updated Joy Equation Course *LIVE* starting on Friday, June 12th.

And it’s the very last time The Joy Equation will be offered at the Pay-What-You-Can price!



JOY-EQUATION_STEP1_PHOTOJoyful living starts with loving yourself.

And there’s no way around it, babe.

If you want to make big changes or reinvent your world, you’ve got to cultivate a strong sense of self-worth, develop inner resilience, and practice kindness towards yourself without an agenda of improvement.

That’s why this first step of The Joy Equation is a call to action to start at the beginning — the very act of falling in love with YOU.

Even when it feels hard, even when the light is barely shining, even if you’re not sure you can do it.

All of the rest of it — connecting with your authentic self, defining your own success, nurturing strong relationships, cultivating powerful habits, committing to your own happiness — all of it starts with fierce self-love.

A strong foundation of self-love is the springboard for “more” and “bigger” and “happy” and “fulfilled.”

When you lack self-love, you may be hesitant to listen to your intuition, scared of making a transformation, paralyzed in the face of chasing a dream. You may spend time giving to others, but you’ve forgotten what it’s like to give to yourself.

When you care too much about what others might think of you, you’re not going to make the changes or take the risks that are necessary to put your brilliance out in the world or simply be comfortable in your own skin.

When self-love is absent, you may be letting self-doubt and a lack of confidence hold you back or hold you down.

You’re most definitely getting in the way of your own gifts and brilliance.

And honey?
The world is thirsty for your gifts.

Without fierce self-love your efforts to change or transform may

  • Get lost in self-sabotage
  • Easily overtaken by judgement, comparison or toxicity
  • Dwindle out slowly when you hit adversity

And you and I both know, nobody wants that!

Are you holding yourself back from fully loving your current self? Are you waiting for something to change before you will be worthy for your own love?

It’s time to stop holding yourself back.

It’s time stop waiting.

Let’s celebrate you now. As you are.
In all your glorious strength and weakness, talents and quirks, victories and mistakes.

It’s time to start treating yourself as if you were your own best friend.

It’s time to start Developing Fierce Self-Love.

Are You Up for the 6 Day Joy Challenge?

The Joy Equation Course Header

You guys!  I haven’t exactly been keeping this a secret, but I’ve spent the last month in my creative cave updating and expanding my favorite Course of all time — The Joy Equation.

And it’s finally live! We’ll be starting on June 12th! WAHOO!

In celebration, we’re going to have a little fun here on the blog with a Six Day Joy Challenge!

After all — It’s Your Life. Your Choices. Your Joy.

(click to share this Challenge on Twitter!)

For 6 days, I’ll be rolling out a new step of The Joy Equation with 2 challenges: one writing prompt for your journal and one photography prompt to post online.  And if you want me to cheer you on — just use the hashtag #thejoyequation on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I’ll be looking for your posts this week and next!



Taking part is absolutely free and the perfect way to kickstart a joyful summer.

6 Day Joy Challenge 


Click Here for this Challenge!



Click Here for this Challenge!



Click Here for this Challenge!





Click Here for this Challenge!



Click Here for this Challenge!




Click Here for this Challenge!


What do I know for sure about joy?

I know joyful living in this messy world is possible for all.

I know that joy is absolutely your birthright, no matter how lost you might feel or how disconnected you are from your authenticity right now.

I know that changing your life or reinventing yourself is in your hands. I believe in your capacity for growth, for success on your own terms, for knowing your own truth.

I know that the day-to-day can be more than a to-do list and that measuring your worthiness through productivity is futile. I know that you can feel at peace with yourself and energized about the path you are on.

I know that being true to yourself means you are living deliberately, sharing with the world the very best you have to offer, striving to learn and to understand. I believe that you have unlimited power to contribute, as long as you practice unconditional self-love.

I know that settling is never the answer and that fulfilling others’ expectations is useless is in the long run.

I know that opportunity is limitless, the world is abundant, and that love rules all.  I believe in your ambition and your ease, your uniqueness and our commonality, your high highs and your low lows.

I know that there is a right fit, joyful, meaningful version of your life.

And I absolutely believe in your ability to create it, live it, love it.

By diving into this 6 day Joy Challenge  — You’re declaring to the Universe that you know you’re capable of creating a joyful life on your own terms.

Hell to the yes, sister.

After completing these 6 days, you’ll have started the process of forging an authentic connection to who you are, what you want and how to get it.

On your own terms. With loads of joy.

Let’s do this!



p.s. If you want to expand our 6 day exploration into the full 6 week Pay-What-You-Can Course — we’re running the newly updated Joy Equation Course *LIVE* starting on Friday, June 12th. It’s the very last time The Joy Equation will be offered at the Pay-What-You-Can price!

Maker Mentors Ticket Giveaway!


We’re giving away one free ticket to the Maker Mentors event! (That’s a $200 value!)

It’s three days of Mentoring bringing Makers together to talk about the art of crafting a successful handmade career at the very first COMPLETELY ONLINE creative business conference on May 14-16.

I’m thrilled to be participating in this event and sharing what I’ve learned on my own journey towards living a life of authentic joy, in both my personal and professional worlds.

The topic I’ll cover during the live conference is “Build It and They Will Come: Building a business You Love Around your Life and a Community You Love Around Your Business” and will be Thursday May 14, 2:30-3:15 pm, PST. In my session, I will work to help identify the core components of a right fitBUSINESS for your life and a right fit community for your business. Because whatever the medium you use to share your message — art, coaching, writing, design, community leadership, teaching — identifying how your business interacts and supports your life is essential to making your pursuit sustainable, profitable and enjoyable.

“Whatever your Transition, thePROCESS of questioning, honoring, creating and committing is the same.”

Get all the details for the event here.

I’ll be there alongside the talented Tara Gentile, Sarah Von Bargen and Jennifer Lee, just to name a few. Check out the roster of speakers participating in the conference.

So, wanna win a free ticket? Easy. Just pop over to the Stratejoy facebook page to enter. Comment on the Ticket Giveaway Post by completing the following question in one sentence:

What’s the creative business you dream of?

We’ll announce the winner on Wednesday, May 13!

See you over there!