Kittens, Quartz and Doing The Shit That Makes You Happy On Purpose

REAL-LIFE-INTERVIEW_ADRIENNE_ZIEMERWho are you, sister? Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Adriane, 38 years old, living in West Seattle with the two awesomest black cats ever, Scarlett and Melanie.

I’m a Seahawks-loving, childfree by choice fiction writer and Prohibition-era enthusiast who works in community health to pay the bills and fund my love for traveling—especially to Disneyland!

Let’s do some one word answers. Ready, set, go!

Morning Drink? Cold brewed black coffee
Indulgence? Champagne!
Lusting after? Jimmy Graham (Seahawks tight end—oh yeah!)
Spirit Animal? Black cat, of course
Head Space? Pleased
Heart Space? Excited
Bloom of Choice? Daffodils
Turn-on? A nice laugh (think Tom Hiddleston)
Go-to Gemstone? Rose quartz
Celebrity Icon? J.K. Rowling
Favorite compliment? Happy

What does practicing joy mean to you?

Doing the shit that makes you happy—on purpose. Consistently taking time to do whatever lights you up inside and puts a smile on your face and in your heart. Not giving up when life feels hard or sad.

Biggest life lesson you’ve learned lately?

Pretty much all of The Four Agreements have been my biggest lessons: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best.

I was doing the exact opposite of these for so long and it caused some serious, needless misery. I’ve been trying to be more positive in word and thought for years now, and somehow reading this book recently made me even more aware of the words I choose. As a lifelong carer of what others think, assumer, and half-asser, the rest of the book’s lessons really spoke to me as well.

What’s your definition of success?

Enjoying yourself more than not enjoying yourself. Smiling and laughing more than not smiling and laughing. Personally, my ultimate success would be to get paid so much for my writing that I don’t need a day job anymore, and I can travel the world as much as I want. But since I don’t want to insinuate that I’m not successful until and unless I achieve that, I’d say that my day-to-day definition of success is being excited to get out of bed in the morning, doing the things that make me happy, and living according to my values. It also means feeling the fear and doing it anyway and being able to ride life’s natural ups and downs. To me, success is truly trusting and believing that everything will work out for the best.

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Name 3 things from your Life List that light you up.

#1. Writing and living part-time in Paris; it’s only cliché if you give a fuck what other people think.

#2. Renting a house in Maine for several months so I can write and pretend I’m Jessica Fletcher (minus the murder, of course)

#3. Going on a Disney cruise

What do you do when life gets messy?

Cry. I’m a big crier. But I always feel much, much better afterwards. Sometimes naps also help. Spending time by the water is a God-send. And of course, kitty cuddles FTW!

3 songs, 3 books, 3 Instagram accounts?

Right now, I’m into…

Songs

“Want to Want Me” by Jason Derulo (because SUMMER CAMP!!)

“What Does the Hawk Say” by Bob Rivers Twisted Tunes (because SEAHAWKS!!)

“Minnie the Moocher” by Cab Calloway (because 1930s!!)

Books

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Flappers and Philosophers by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Instagram

I seriously only joined Instagram to follow the Seahawks. Ha! So…

Seattle Seahawks (@seahawks)

Jimmy Graham, Seahawks tight end (@thejimmygraham)

Steven Hauschka, Seahawks kicker (@stevenhauschka4)

What do you love about yourself?

I love that even though I still care a little too much what others think, I’m not afraid to be me.

I’m not afraid to get “fixed” when so many women I know are having kids. I’m not afraid to be 38 and wear sparkly cat ears. I’m not afraid to take vacations by myself.

I’m unique as fuck and I love that.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Molly truly gave me my best life advice when she advised me to write a novel back in 2012. And I did it!

Also, at Camp, we learned that “It’s all okay!” Whatever it is, whatever you’re going through, it’s all okay. You’ll get through this. Life goes on. It’s all okay.

She gives some great advice, that Molly.

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Find Adriane Online. | Website | Instagram

 

Photo Credit:

Julie Watts Photo

A Fresh Definition of Joy and A Cute Obsession

REAL-LIFE-INTERVIEW_ASHLEY_QUINNTribe Sister! Who Are You? What’s Your Story?

I’m Ashley and I’m in Arlington, Virginia by way of Knoxville, Tennessee! And I’m so in love with my pup…

Word of the Year? Purpose. I kept searching for a more fun and sexy word but I landed on purpose. I knew it was the word I needed for the year. I realized at the end of 2015 my goals for 2016 were the EXACT SAME. I had literally gone an entire year not working on one single goal- so instead of letting the wind blow me in whichever direction, I aim to live this year with PURPOSE!

Let’s do some one word answers. Ready, set, go!
Morning Drink? Chocolate Milk (I am a 5 year old at heart)
Indulgence? Sleeping in past 11am!
Lusting after? Time with my long distance girlfriends
Spirit Animal? Pink Flamingo

Head Space? Calm
Heart Space? Cozy
Bloom of Choice? Lilies
Turn-on? Someone who can really make me laugh
Go-to Gemstone? Don’t have one…I should check that out!
Celebrity Icon? Dave Grohl
Favorite compliment? Funny

What does practicing joy mean to you? Or, Biggest life lesson you’ve learned lately? I feel the need to combine these two questions because of my amazing awesome revelation at summer camp (which is the best thing in the world and you should go). I always thought joy meant being over the moon, happy tears, hit the peak of the happy scale emotion, and having joy in my everyday life is impossible. I am a pretty damn happy person but I am not THAT happy every single day, that’s crazy. Then Molly showed me that joy isn’t the extreme of happy, joy is a way of being. There are moments of joy in every single day. So now, at the end of each day I write down what my moments of joy were for the day. Sometimes they are awesomely happy amazing moments like playing the muddiest game of kickball with some of my closest friends, sometimes it’s that I got to take my sweet puppy Larry on an afternoon walk, and sometimes it’s the fact that I didn’t yell at anyone at work that day. So now, instead of always trying to feel happy, I try to find the joy and it’s been a really fucking cool life lesson/revelation.

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What’s your definition of success?
My definition of success is leaving no stone unturned. I don’t care so much about making a ton of money (although that would be awesome), or always being happy, or being famous. I want to try everything I am curious about. Which is scary because I am curious about a lot of uncomfortable stuff (like backpacking in the wilderness alone), but I know if I don’t try it I won’t ever truly feel successful because I will always wonder what if…


Name 3 things from your Life List that light you up.

Let’s see…

  1. -Some big time travel, like hiking the Camino de Santiago
  2. -Having kids (I wouldn’t say that’s a big light like riiiiiiiight now, but like a soft glow that I am excited to turn into a big light…someday.)
  3. -Taking a trip with two of my best girlfriends who have lived way too far away for way too long


What do you do when life gets messy?
I call my mom, she is a rock star and always knows exactly what to say and we talk it out together.


What are you doing in an alternate universe?
Oh man, in an alternate universe I am a bad ass rock climbing, backpacking, sleeping in the woods, world traveling author, who is also a stand-up comedian in her down time. I kinda want my alternate universe to be my real universe, we’re workin’ on it.

How are you going to change the world?
I have coached swimming since I was 13 years old and I love it. I just recently got back into coaching and it has been such an awesome addition to my life. Awhile ago a mom pulled me aside and told me her 8 year old daughter had to write a school report on her hero. Her daughter was trying to choose between her wonderful wise Grandmother or 18 year old me, and she choose me. I knew, in that moment, that I was making a difference in people’s lives. So simply by doing what I love, encouraging and being excited about kids swimming, I am making a difference in their lives and making the world a little better for it.

3 songs, 3 books, 3 Instagram accounts? 

Songs (Current Faves):

Congregation by Foo Fighters

First by Cold War Kids

You Are A Tourist by Death Cab For Cutie

Books (All Time Faves):

Eat Pray Love (didn’t read it until recently, LOVE me some Liz Gilbert)

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Almost anything by James Patterson, I fly through his books.

Instagram: I only use Instagram when I feel like I have already overloaded Facebook with my dog pictures.

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The Lie of Living Abroad and the Truth of Going Home

Hurrah! More Stratejoy 3.0 is revealed!

You’re reading the new Essay Series we’re calling “Two Truths and A Lie.” Twice a month, we’ll be featuring writers from our community sharing what they’ve learned lately about life — specifically, what is true for them and what has been revealed to be a big fat lie. Get ready for some inspiring truth-telling and head-nodding recognition.

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There’s a cartoon panel my dad had framed when we were kids, and it comes up often whenever one of his children does something impressive. In it, a dad cow and a baby cow are looking up at the night sky, watching a third cow jump over the moon. The big cow says to the calf, “Son, your mother is a remarkable woman.”

She is. They both are.

Growing up, they packed our summers with road tips and house swaps. Our Thanksgiving table was fifty percent international, strangers my mom picked up at the train station or in hair salons. Then, of course there was the year I followed her to bellydance classes and Arabic lessons. (Though to this day I still can only say one complete sentence.)

By the time I was old enough to plan for the future, the only picture I could conjure up involved travel. When I grow up, I thought, I will only drink coffee in smokey Parisian cafes. And yes, “smokey Parisian cafes” was absolutely in my nine-year-old lexicon.

Problem was, I’d always been shy, preferring to curl up with a book instead of joining my family on ski trips and backyard basketball games.

But the first time I traveled alone—a summer in Spain at 16—I met Adventure Marian.

I fell in love with this woman I became. She was charming as hell, flirting with glistening Spaniards on the beach. She got lost in Switzerland at midnight in the pouring rain with nothing but a backpack. She looked strangers in the eye and asked for directions.

By 19—after a messy breakup with my middle school sweetheart—travel was the familiar escape that propelled me forward.

After years of feeling boring and unworthy, I was someone else on the road.

My junior semester abroad turned into a full year in London, which turned into almost three years visiting the Kiwi boyfriend I met on the floor of a hostel in Oslo.

England was followed by New Zealand and a short stint in Australia. I found a grown-up job, rented a house, became a yoga teacher and invested in a community of friends. I worked on a farm surrounded by a mountain range. A range called—wait for it—The Remarkables.

After two years in New Zealand, I was offered a job at—shocker—a travel company. A big one. So I moved to San Francisco and started again.

San Francisco was the turning point, though of course I didn’t see it until now. I did all my usual things to make friends. I joined MeetUp groups and connected with Couchsurfers. I said yes to every invitation, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore.

I was tired and disoriented. Instead of daydreaming about cobblestone paths and smokey cafes I caught myself thinking about a town where people knew me by name. I imagined a huge backyard where I’d grow vegetables. I’d live near a dozen hiking trails and take my imaginary dog there every morning. I pined for a bay window that looked over my garden or my neighborhood or my children.

For the first time, I daydreamed of spaces that were mine instead of exploring the world of someone else’s.

I am ashamed writing this. Like I’ve just admitted to being really into clown porn.

San Francisco was a confusing disappointment and I was torn between shame and desire. The shame that I was giving in to the American Dream and the desire to run away.

It took longer than usual, but I eventually opened up, spending time becoming an adult instead of adventuring. I bought a car. Got a raise. A credit card. A puppy. A husband. And, eventually, a small house in the woods outside the city where I could finally breathe. San Francisco wasn’t my perfect place, but at one point I looked up and two and a half years had passed. I had friends. Good friends. The kind of friends who help DIY your wedding and come over for tea and tears when you call.

And then. Six months ago. My husband and I moved to Germany.

The reason why is uncomfortable.

The truth is that I didn’t know what to do with a home and a routine. I thought that by settling down I was giving in to a life of being Average Marian and I had spent so many years running away from her.

The story I told myself was that normal life wasn’t for me. My identity as an expat and a wanderer set me apart, making me more interesting. More remarkable.

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My parents are over the moon (get it? over the moon?) about my adventures. They visit me in every country and brag to their friends. My own friends email to express jealousy and awe. Strangers ask how I do it.

Which is probably why it took me five countries and twenty-eight years to admit: I am exhausted.

As I write this, I’m holed up in my Düsseldorf apartment for the sixth day in a row. I’m looking out across the square of concrete buildings and winter-dead trees, so homesick my heart hurts. But homesick for where? For what? My adulthood has pinged across the globe and I’m nostalgic for a life I’ve never lived.

The truth is that I am grateful to be shaped by my collection of adventures, but that being remarkable is more than just how many cities you visit and people you impress. To be remarkable is to lead a life that is yours.

Because the lie is that I am effortlessly free-spirited. A forever wanderer.

The truth is that I’m ready to come home.


Find Marian Online.  Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

marianschembariMarian Schembari is an award-winning writer, storyteller and brainstorm partner currently setting down temporary roots in Germany. She first got involved with Stratejoy in 2010 as a season 3 blogger.

She believes in the internet’s power to invite a real, deep look into our own unique stories and our feelings about them.

Pleasure, Play and My Obsession With Kombucha

We’re kicking off our year of “Openhearted Connection” with the very first Tribe Interview! And it only seemed fitting that Molly pave the way…

You can look forward to a new Q+A every Thursday — real stories, real lives, real women. Diverse in background, dreams and definitions of success, yet radically similar in their dedication to practicing joy day in and day out.

Enjoy!

REAL-LIFE-INTERVIEW_MOLLY_MAHARTribe Sister! Who are you? What’s your story?

I’m Molly Mahar. I live in Pismo Beach, CA (via Seattle via Montana) with my husband Ken and two littles, Max and Juliet. I’m an entrepreneur, mama, adventurer and gatherer of awesome women.

Superpowers: Telling the truth kindly, drinking copious amounts of bubbly and taking my dreams seriously.

And you might know me as the Founder of Stratejoy…

Let’s do some one word answers. Ready, set, go!

Morning Drink? Coffee with coconut milk.
Indulgence? Monthly massages.
Lusting after? Sequined booties.
Spirit Animal? Puma
Head Space? Busy.
Heart Space? Nourished.
Bloom of Choice? Dahlias.
Turn-on? Smart Conversation.
Go-to Gemstone? Turquoise.
Celebrity Icon? Brené Brown.
Favorite compliment? Badass.

What does practicing joy mean to you?

For me, it means remembering that joy is a choice and it’s one I get to make day-to-day, hour-to-hour. I don’t always choose it, but I can. It’s there, regardless of the situation. Joy is a way of living my life, not a reaction to external events. I use this framework — joy is being me + being present + being grateful — to keep my heart and actions aligned.

What’s your definition of success?

This one is simple for me. Living in alignment with my personal mission to “celebrate my life authentically and inspire others to do the same” and practicing my values of love, freedom, joy, simplicity, devotion, union, authenticity and depth.

Wondering what that might look like on the outside? I’d say nurturing a healthy, loving family who adventures together. Raising curious, kind, spirited tiny humans. Having an intimate connection with my husband, in and out of the bedroom. Creating a thriving 7-figure business that positively changes lives, supports a rockstar team and works with my life, not against it. Spending a good deal of unplugged time in nature, whether that’s the ocean or mountains. Having the freedom to travel and explore the world. Dinner parties and girlfriend gatherings and great live music. Creative expression and freely giving my gifts and leaving a legacy of joy.

Name 3 things from your Life List that light you up.

I think my list is due for an update, but I’m still totally in love with —

#16. Design my own cowboy boots
#30. Take my mom and sister to a spa/yoga/surf camp for a week
#58. Spend a summer road tripping and creating art with my family

What do you do when life gets messy?

Go outside. Cry. Snuggle my tiny humans. Whine on Facebook if I need some community lovin’. Take a bath with a glass of Syrah, candles, and my Spotify meditation playlist. Feel my feelings. Cry to my husband. Journal. Go to bed, knowing life always feels better in the morning.

And then in the morning I remind myself that I am capable. So very, very capable. And then, depending on what kind of messy I’m rolling around in — I’ll do a mega brain dump, just have the hard conversation, make the apology, take things off my plate even if that means disappointing someone, or call a mental health day and hit the foot massage parlor or the beach with a stack of magazines.

What’s your flavor of sexy?

I feel sexy in intense conversation in a dark corner of a moody bar with a dirty Sapphire martini in front of me.  I feel sexy swimming naked in the moonlight. I feel sexy in jeans, pumped up lashes, men’s cologne and lots of turquoise jewelry, making clever comments and talking to strangers. I feel sexy doing the unexpected thing — climbing the mountain in my skirt to make wishes on the brightest star or saying the thing everyone is thinking with a glint in my eye while stealing a sip of scotch.

I love being nibbled on the neck from behind, crowsfeet, men who can sing and overflowing passion for one’s own life.

REAL-LIFE-INTERVIEW_MOLLY_MAHAR_QUOTE_ORANGEBiggest life lesson you’ve learned lately?

I feel like I keep relearning this one, but I’m really trying to integrate the fact that I can do anything I want — I just can’t do it all at the same time.

Picking the guiding word “pleasure” this year is one way of reminding myself to unhook from the productivity = self worth cycle. I love getting shit done in my life and in my business (hello activator strength!) but I don’t want to be a woman who makes things happen at the expense of play and pleasure and silence and spaciousness.

Really learning this lesson means I have to stop being scared of true delegation, prioritize my time and energy based on how I feel, and stop trying to “earn” my beautiful life.

3 songs, 3 books, 3 Instagram accounts?
At this exact moment in time, I’m digging…

Songs
Alive Tonight by Grace Potter
Paint a Picture by Tony Lucca
Walking in the Sun by PANG!

Books
Women’s Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston
The Endless Practice by Mark Nepo
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

Instagram
Eva Kolenko
Pixie Lighthorse
Sunset Magazine 

What’s your personal version of hell and heaven?

Hell. I can only eat imitation crab and drink Orange Tang. Grasshoppers are continually jumping on my legs. My only company is a corporate asshole who can’t stop bragging about his toys and the Real Housewives of Wherever. People litter. A TV playing nothing important is blasting. I am forced to drive in traffic in the dark and rain. The wine fridge is locked. My runny-nosed tiny humans won’t stop tantruming over absolutely nothing. When I try to sleep, I can hear the ticking of watches and my pillow is scratchy and without a cool side.

Heaven. My groceries magically appear in the fridge. I can lucid dream. Everyone I’ve ever loved, admired, or respected lives in our neighborhood of darling houses with the ocean on one side and mountains on the other. We spend a lot of time dancing and cooking and climbing peaks and laughing. The international airport is close with free shuttles to my house. There is always fresh flowers, the smell of coffee roasting, and plenty of perfect-fitting denim. Drinking wine is equally as good for you as drinking water. We film documentaries on the awesomeness of heaven and slam poetry and lovingly care for everyone’s children.

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Find Molly Online.  Website | Instagram | Facebook

A Promise To The Stratejoy Tribe

You guys! It’s happening — a new site, way more useful + inspiring content, and a refreshed commitment to you — our community.

But first, a bit about me! I’m Dee and if you’ve been involved with Stratejoy over the past year, you might recognize the name. I’m behind the scenes as Molly’s right-hand woman, working on everything from engaging with you on social media, getting the newsletters out on time, editing, producing, keeping Elevate running smoothly and trying to manage technical kinks. Phew!

I love my job more than ever because as this community continues to reach more women, my role here is also growing. Let me explain…

Cultivate-and-Curate-600x600Maybe you’ve had an inkling that things are evolving around here; Molly and I and rest of Team Stratejoy have been working our butts off to bring you a fresh, interactive space to call home.

We’ve been joyfully brainstorming and activating ways that we can offer this community everything it needs and deserves.

The truth is that we’ve been listening closely lately and the #1 challenge that you’ve shared with us is desiring more meaningful relationships with like-minded women. To connect. To relate. To have a place to be your truest self and to interact with others who have that same hope.

Message heard loud and clear, sisters.

That’s why we’re declaring 2016 to be the year of Openhearted Connection.

So, what can you expect from Stratejoy as we kick off this phase of evolution?

  • Regular weekly content here on the blog (hooray!) in the form of interviews with real life Tribe women, personal essays from contributors that belong to our circle of sisters, and monthly “Strategy for Joy” videos from Molly. And we’ll be taking contributions soon!
  • Gorgeous, useful, consistent monthly newsletters to your inbox.
  • A lively social media presence so that we can can all interact on a day-to-day basis. Less regurgitation and more play time, connection, deep questions, fresh content.
  • A commitment to connecting you amazing women with each other more often — whether that’s IRL meetups, community calls or introductions via this blog

That hot list? That’s the promise I’m making to you as I step fully into my role as Community Manager of this joyful corner of the internet. That’s my commitment to you — to keep helpful resources and a chance to know like-minded women more deeply coming your way on the regular.

I know you’re familiar with Molly – obviously! She’s the founder, the leader and the heart of this space. She’s the woman with the vision, the boss lady and our fearless teacher. And that won’t be changing.

But me? You’ll see more of me here at Stratejoy as I work to bring more of your own stories and wisdom to the surface. You’ll be hearing from me regularly on the blog and from your fellow Stratejoy tribe sisters twice a week.

I’m sincerely hoping you’re as pumped about that this as I am!

Ultimately, as Community Manager, I want to step into this role as someone who treats this tribe with the care and respect that you receive from your closest friends.

Who gives first and asks later.

Someone who is reliable and keeps the promises I make to you, my people.

Who shows up for the business side of Stratejoy, consistently, and for the sisterhood of Stratejoy, lovingly.

Someone who works wholeheartedly connecting you to each other. Helping you to express yourselves. Learning who you are at your core. Listening to your highs and your lows. Showing you that I care.

Who serves our Tribe by showcasing and sharing relatable, useful stories and strategies for achieving MORE of whatever you’re craving.

I am totally committed to POURING all of my enthusiasm and passion into this year as we roll out Stratejoy 3.0.

In short? My mission is to share more of myself — the real and raw honest-to-goodness truth– and to inspire you to do the same.

To cultivate and curate a space where women like you and I feel loved enough to be open about it all. And, in turn, to inspire more women to open up and share authentically about their lives as well.

I’m hopelessly devoted to serving this community and watching it gorgeously expand this year.

There! That’s my promise to you. Now get ready to rock and roll with us!

Here’s to the evolution of this community!

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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.

FAMILY
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.

BUSINESS
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.

HEALTH
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…

Yup.

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.

Smooch.
M

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!

BUY YOUR TICKET HERE.

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.

XOXO

Day 6 of the Joy Challenge: Commit to Flourishing

JOY-EQUATION_PINWHEEL_BADGE_FINAL

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.


JOY-EQUATION_STEP6_COLORWRITING PROMPT

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

Why?

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?


JOY-EQUATION_STEP6_COLORPHOTOGRAPHY PROMPT

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

 MY PHOTO

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?

XOXO

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.


JOY-EQUATION_STEP5_COLORWriting Prompt

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.


JOY-EQUATION_STEP5_COLORPhotography Prompt

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.


MY PHOTO

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!

XOXO

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

MY PHOTO

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.

XOXO

Molly-Sig Cropped

 


HERE’S WHAT I KNOW:
NURTURING STRONG RELATIONSHIPS

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.