Why your success will never equate to happiness

For so long, I always tried to ladder my decisions in life towards what I said I wanted. If  I had a  goal, then I’d be scrappy, I’d be creative, I’d be skilled at coming up with the combinations. I’d do that without ever evaluating if it was the right goal. I’d bee line towards it because it sounded great.

I was stopped in my tracks when I realized that obtaining those goals wouldn’t ever actually make me happy. I thought the success would. I thought “that out there in the future”  would lead to a happiness like I’d never known.

It seems so clear to me now how wrong, how terribly wrong my formula for happiness was.

I always knew I had some part of the equation wrong, but I couldn’t have told you what the right formula was, exactly. Truly, it wasn’t until diving into the meaning of personal leadership and creating the workshop that you’ll see below-  that I was able to fully understand my past mistakes in all of their beautiful glory.

If you’ve ever thought “when I make that dream a reality, when I accomplish that goal, when I find that partner, when I lose those 10 pounds, when I start that company” + “then I’ll be happy” …. This video is for you. It’s a single flip of the mind that will change the way you look at success:

Your success all hinges on such a simple thing. I can’t wait to hear how you’re going to do that. Share the insights, wont’ you? #maxie on social and let me know: what does your future smell like?

Is this masking your obsession?

Is this masking your obsession?

You probably celebrate the art of working your booty off. We’re raised that way. I would go as far to say that hard work is American. The two are equitable in most of our minds.

And what could possibly be wrong with working so hard? It’s how we build our societies. It’s how we support our families and ourselves. It’s the bedrock for ingenuity and creation. It’s the baking soda of our lives: allowing our dreams to rise.

My answer would be nothing, that nothing is wrong with hard work. Until it stops being hard work and turns into straight up obsession.

You know what obsession feels like: can’t stop, won’t stop, don’t know how to stop thinking, brewing, strategizing, mulling, moving moving moving toward one. singular. thing.

Our life view becomes a one stop shop. It’s that (the object of our obsession) or it’s bust. It’s accomplishment, or nothing. All of our eggs are in the obsession’s basket. And the basked is on a 100 MPH train away from us.

If you’re saying yes I totally know that feeling… you’re not alone. I’ve been an obsessor too, particularly a goal-oriented obsessor (ok ok, sometimes a people obsessor but we’ll leave that post for another day.) And I’ve personally experienced the letdown of an obsession not becoming mine – no matter how much of my soul I poured into it.

Obsession can wreck you. It can leave you very alone, because so much of your identity is wrapped up in that single focus. If it comes to fruition, you can often feel very unfulfilled- like “this is it?”. If your obsession doesn’t pan out, unraveling is often not too far away.

And the whole time: the days, months or even years of obsessing…. you disguised it with hard work. It was easy to get away with. It was easy for your daily obsession to go unnoticed, even to yourself.

So how do you work your ass off without becoming obsessed?

You detach and trust. Trust, because that which is meant for you will not pass you by.Tweet: Trust, because that which is meant for you will not pass you by. @maxiemccoy http://ctt.ec/4YLpX+

You trust your talents, skills and will. You trust the bigger picture.

That trust will allow you to detach. And here’s the thing about detachment – it doesn’t mean you don’t care. It doesn’t mean you don’t work hard. It doesn’t mean you don’t have desires. It simply means you welcome whatever does  show up in your life, even if that looks different than what you were working towards.

What have you obsessing over lately? How can you take that amazing, hard-working energy, mix it with a strong trust in the Universe, and detach?

Every once in a while, obsession can happen as a result of our need to be perfect. If that’s you, especially this holiday season, check out my Perfectionist’s Guide to the Holidays on The College Prepster.

Perfectionist Holiday

A better way to measure success

I’ll never forget sitting at a breakfast table with founder and then- Chairman of lululemon, Chip Wilson. Along with about 20 others, I listened to him talk about lululemon’s insane growth and success. Not once did he say anything about the amount of yoga pants he had sold. He didn’t talk in achievements or success as we typically hear it (or measure ourselves). He measured his success with one succinct benchmark: “how can I send more people to The Landmark Forum? The more money this company makes the more employees I can send to be a part of this transformational personal-development experience.”

That always stuck with me. Almost 4 years later I still think about that often. Because the heart and energy behind the company finally made sense to me. I understood their success with leadership and outlook like that.

I often get caught up in what I’m doing and what I’m building and creating: I think about making money, building lists, producing better content, creating awesome video, have a brand identity I love, emails that look better, partnerships that make sense, experiences that are valuable.

In all of that planning, I have to wake back up to my why. Why am I doing this? For what reasons? What purpose? And I know the answers to all of those things, but sometimes it’s easy to forget. I shouldn’t be forgetting, though, because I believe framing success should first and foremost be benchmarked in the value you get to add to someone’s life outside of your own. And that will actually in turn make you even more successful…because you have a really powerful driving force.

As I’m planning for 2015, do I have goals that reflect income and audience growth? You betcha. But underneath all of that is the single most important goal: the more I can expand my own reach, the more lives I get to inspire. And when your light turns on, you help turn on the light of others. Everything will be measured first and foremost by that goal.

If what we’re doing doesn’t create that value, we’re looking at it wrong. If what we’re measuring is rooted in what we get out of it, fulfillment will always be just out of reach. Our fab outfits, new lipstick, sexy trip and brand spankin’ new camera will never truly mean anything. We’ve got to flip the framework for ourselves.

I encourage you, as you’re thinking about your year ahead, to consider your goals. How can they serve you while having a broader sense of giving something, anything back. Whether it’s being healthier so that you can have the energy to add value to your family’s lives, or taking a dream vacation so you can be more present with those around you, or make your first million to be able to give more away.

We all need a gut check. I sure do. Especially when we’re mapping out our wildest dreams. And this is yours: Frame success in terms of value you’re adding, not things you’re getting.Tweet: Frame success in terms of value you're adding, not things that you're getting. @maxiemccoy http://ctt.ec/Q9c3I+

Want to do something big? Start here.

We all have a desire to live big. It looks so different for all of us.  You may want to have a game-changing technology company. I want to inspire billions and have my own digital show. Someone else may want to feed every child in America, others may want financial freedom for their family, while someone else wants to have the best damn yoga studio in Texas.

Whatever it is, whatever it looks like, it’s our truth and purpose pulling us. It’s our desire.

And there is one very, very clear way of doing it, of living the life of our dreams: screwing up. Failing. Falling. F*ing up.

More than ever, I’m understanding that it’s literally the only way.

The more we try and avoid screwing up, the more we’re avoiding our dreams. Full stop.Tweet: The more we try and avoid screwing up, the more we're avoiding our dreams. Full stop. @maxiemccoy http://ctt.ec/yHfdI+

It’s natural to try and stay away from errors – You want things perfect. You want things just how you’re envisioning them. You want people to say great things about you.

You can have all of those things and still mess up (well maybe not perfection cuz that’s not real anyways).

If you want to move closer to the life you want for yourself, you’ve got to find something to screw up. It’s how you’ll learn, iterate, and grow. This process will never stop, but it begins with trial and error. The sooner you begin that process, the closer you get to living your vision.

So start here. Now. Don’t avoid the mess ups: seek them.

And if you’re currently sitting in the discomfort of messing something up, remember this: it is the only way.

Just do this.

We all have plenty to worry about. Plenty.

But are we worrying about the right things? Are you worrying about the right thing?

I remember earlier this year before I left for almost three incredible months in Europe, I was worried about one very specific thing: my rain gear. Forget the 15+ events in 8 weeks and all of those details. Or the documents I needed to provide to border control and customs for being over there that long. Or my planes, trains and cars…I was channeling my energy into which wellies to buy. Important, right?

That memory came to me a few weeks ago when I was freaking out about a step in the process of my new branding. I started spiraling about what a decision would mean for me and how this was going to end up in a total URL battle if I made that decision. And should I do it now or wait for later when it would cost me so much more. I literally could not sleep. I was spazzing over something that wasn’t even a problem yet. Just like those rain boots, I was using a deflection mechanism.

What was I deflecting you ask? From doing the work.

As said best by one of soul sista thought leadahs: Do the work.

We see this a lot. The purple rain boots wrong URL thing – we see our energy being put into the wrong places. But when you’re trying to move the needle, when you’re trying to change the world, when you’re making your mark, you can’t afford that. You m u s t do the work. No speaking engagement, 1000+ likes on instagram, absolutely f*cking perfect rain boots is going to do that for you.

Doing the work will. Having substance, having energy to give – it will ignite your universe.Tweet: Doing the work will. Having substance, having energy to give – it will ignite your universe. @maxiemccoy http://ctt.ec/C0frh+

So buckle down and start doing. Carve out time. Calm your mind. Schedule it in. Say no. So you can do the important things, the ones that may not seem as glam, the ones that may not be as dazzling to talk about…do those.

And by the way… I did wear those rain boots in Europe. Once.

What a cinnamon roll can teach you about life

What a cinnamon roll can teach you about life

Whether you were up at 5am on Black Friday or totally stressed out from holiday travel, you’ve surely already felt some of the pains of the holiday rush beginning.

And it totally sucks that I started this post with a negative, because the holidays are beautiful. SO beautiful. The family is together. Friends are saying how much they appreciate your clan. Loved ones are remembered. And holiday cheer sparkles around the city.

While so many things make this the best time of year, there’s also a piece of us that can get completely lost in it all…if we’re not grounded. stable and centered.

Why yesterday, during Thanksgiving breakfast (yes, it’s a thing at The Real McCoy’s household), did we fight over who was eating only the centers of the cinnamon rolls that my mom made? #guilty

Because…the centers are THE BEST. Duh. Everyone knows it. And some of us #guilty just went straight in for the kill instead of acting like we also enjoy the hard outsides of the cinnamon roll. The center is warm, gooey and extra cinnamony. That’s what makes the center so freaking good.

Turns out, cinnamon rolls aren’t that much different than us. In our core, we have love, gratitude, bravery, and desire like we wouldn’t believe. In us is everything we’d ever need to change lives, raise beautiful humans, realize dreams, and live really really big. It’s in us. It’s just in the center and few people choose to live from there.

But we must. We must live from our center. All the things we want most are there.Tweet: We must live from our center. All the things we want most are there. @maxiemccoy http://ctt.ec/uzOL4+ And all the things that life will throw at us can be handled, by staying incredibly connected to our core.

For those of you who ever played sports, you probably remember how important it was in any defensive position to “stay centered”. It allows you to react more effectively and to make a better read on what is instantly coming at you.

Our lives are no different. Remaining emotionally and spiritually centered will result in our success, both during the craze of the holiday and the craze of life. Staying centered isn’t always easy, which is why I’m always championing meditation. But I laid out a few other amazing ways to stay centered when it feels like there’s anything but time in The College Prepster. 

Holiday Gift You Must Give

Quit saying thanks and do this instead

I’ve said plenty of thanks leading up to this Thanksgiving. And I’ll be saying plenty today.

But none of those words, emails, or texts can replace the greatest gift that you can give someone: actually seeing, hearing and being with them. Right now. In this moment.

The people we’re with deserve our connection, our attention, our presence. Give that to them. Show them how much you love and appreciate them by really being with them today. It’ll mean more than you’ll ever be able to comprehend.

This week I was given a beautiful gift of presence that I’ll never forget. Someone sitting in front of me, looking at me deep in the eyes, and talking to me in a way the communicated I was being heard. I was being seen. I walked away feeling like I wanted to give every person I’m with that same deep attention that he gave me. It was felt. It was memorable. And it made an impact on me. We’re never too busy to deeply connect.

So today, show someone you’re here, fully here. Put down your iphone. Shut your computer. Close out the apps. Turn off the TV. And be fully freaking here. Be here for them. We’re in such bad need of this – of relationships, conversation, and interactions without distraction. Sitting with them. And being fully present with our love and attention. Today of all days is an amazing place to start.

Do more than say thank you today. Give utter gratitude by being it, by showing it, by being present with whomever is with you.Tweet: Do more than say thank you today. Give utter gratitude by showing it & being present. @maxiemccoy http://ctt.ec/FqrQd+ Let them feel how much they mean to you. Likewise, let yourself be present to your own love for them and for these gems from the Universe.

It’ll be the gift that keeps giving, both to them…and to you.

You can make better decisions by asking this

I want you to hold a string with a coin dangling at the bottom and move it clockwise. Without moving a fibre in your body. Move it with your mind. Move it with your energy.

Think I’m crazy yet?

Well, you’re about to think I’m crazier. Because I’m going to ask you to now stop it (without moving a single molecule of your body) and reverse it (using your mind power).

Think I’m even crazier?

I don’t blame you. I gave the same “you’re completely out of your mind” look to the person that put me through this exercise. You’ll imagine how baffled I was when I was able to accomplish her requests simply by sending my energy to the coin. I was blown away with what I was able to do by focusing my energy somewhere. Did it take a lot of focus and patience? Totally. But it worked and there was no denying it.

It took me a while to understand what that meant for me. Nothing tangible was sticking. Could I control my energy? Apparently. Was my energy very real and tangible? Totally. Could I use this as a lesson to how control my other energies, like anxiety and stress, out of my body and into the ether? Sure. But it wasn’t taking root. I still didn’t have myself wrapped around it.

That all changed the next week when I was with two dear friends in NYC doing what soul supporters do: we were sharing our challenges and helping each other problem solve which direction to go on various endeavors and relationships. That’s when the question was posed: “Does it energize you? Or does it drain you.”

It it energizes you, then do not stop pursuing. Run after it. Hard.

Follow the energy. The same energy that had the ability to move that damn coin. That’s where we’ll find the answer to what we’re looking for. Should we take that opportunity or not? Should we keep that person in our life or not? Is this the right team to be on? Is this the right project to see forward?

Yes. If it energizes you. That should be your filter. That should be the question you ask yourself every time. Because that energy you feel is powerful. It has force beyond anything you can conceive – that energy is tied to the Universe’s grander plans for you. Trust it. And follow it. It’s connected.

You know what being energized feels like – it’s more than a cup of coffee. It your soul bouncing around with excitment. It’s deep. It’s waking up to write notes in the middle of the night that you can work on later. It’s being excited to talk to or be around that person. It’s like your insides feel all perky but you can’t really explain why.

When you’re wondering what to do simply ask: “Does it energize you?” And suddenly the answer will unfold.Tweet: When you're wondering what to do simply ask:

 

One way to make AMAZING things happen

I’ve never been a big believer of coincidences. I think it’s a word that should be extricated from the English language all together. But even while I don’t believe in coincidences, I madly embrace unbelievable, bizarre and incredible things that can happen when we start paying attention.

Magical things happen. Stars align. People Show up. Opportunities arise.

I tend to be someone these interesting occurrences happen to a lot. I get a lot of signs in my life. They don’t happen all the time. But they don’t never happen either. It’s somewhere in between. It’s enough to have my ears perked to the universe’s force.

If you’re wondering what this looks like, let me tell you a little story from today: I was gabbing away on the phone when my uber picked me up from the airport. It’s snowing in Detroit. Cars are barely moving, so my trip is probably taking double the amount of time it should. But what do I know? I’m on the phone.

Once my call ended, I had very small talk (bordering polite) with my driver. This went on for a few minutes. He began telling me about how much he loves driving, which I minimally engaged with – listening but thinking about my own day ahead. He told me how he now gets to see so many secret parts of the city. His favorite being this little coffee shop behind a grafitti wall that has the very best beans. And oh ya there’s this pretty cool organization in the same building that creates coats that convert to sleeping bags for the homeless.

Sleeping bag coats? In Detroit? I KNOW THE GIRL WHO FOUNDED IT. Veronika. We met two weeks ago in NYC and I adored her and the insane work she’s doing. He had my attention. So we start going a mile a minute about how it has to be the same person. I couldn’t believe it. He asked if I wanted to go get coffee and pop in to see if she was upstairs? I said heck yes! It was worth the try.

As we pulled up to the coffee shop, who was walking up to the door at the very same time? Veronika. Of course. Fast forward a couple hours of having coffee talking to my Uber driver turned tour guide turned friend, touring the facility where the coats were being sewn and learning about the women taken out of the shelters, trained, and given these jobs … And my mind was just blown on how the entire afternoon unfolded.

It unfolded because I began to participate – with the humans around me.

The more you engage, the deeper you’ll go. And down there is some seriously magical shit waiting. Humanity is what we have in common. So connect openly and often. That’s when the path will unfold in front of youTweet: Humanity is all we have in common. So, connect openly and often. That's when the path will unfold in front of you @maxiemccoy http://ctt.ec/a2ec1+ -either to an opportunity you didn’t know existed, a moment with someone you’ll absolutely never forget, or a realization about yourself that will help to turn a corner.

If you’re missing magical amazing things aligning in your life but feel like you’re putting in the effort then think about this. Identify where you can be open, real and honest with the humans around you.

It all requires one simple thing: being present.

You’ll look good in this #MaxieLoves

You’ll look good in this #MaxieLoves

Every once in a while you meet someone with total spark, or sparkle as we’d say in the south. They’re amazing to be around. Loving. Optimistic. and Supportive. But what truly makes them sparkle is the way they use their energy for others. Everyone they meet is left feeling brighter. Truly, the communities around them are better because they exist.

When I first met Samantha Cooper, I knew this woman was going to rock whatever came her way. What I didn’t realize at the time was that she wasn’t going to wait for that, but rather she’d be actively seeking it out. And the fashionable company that is Trend Tribe was born.

I have a couple killer jewelry pieces from Trend Tribe that I get compliments on every time I wear them. But the best part about that compliment is getting to tell Samantha’s story – how she began this company to give college women entrepreneurial experience and philanthropic impact. That every one of her “Trend Setters”, the college-aged women who sell TT jewelry, actually get to put a portion of their sales towards a non-profit organization of their choice. It’s so much bigger than the jewelry.

I can’t get enough. Which is why we’re giving away one gorgeous necklace from the fall collection.

TrendTribeGiveaway

Hello fab cobalt blue (my fave). My only ask to anyone who enters, or who buys a piece from Trend Tribe (get free shipping with the code: maxiemccoy), is that whenever you get a compliment (which you will, many of them) tell the Trend Tribe story and spread the amazing work that Samantha is setting out to do. #Karma
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