Do you allow your self-worth to come from others? Read on.

Lovely, there are so many things competing for your attention.

You are trying to be Super Woman and do it all. But with those goals come many demands that leave you exhausted.

You have freedom to choose your disposition.

When something happens to you, before you respond, you have a space.

In that space is your freedom. In that space, you get to decide the type of person you want to be.

Decisions build character and character is your destiny. Decide how you want to exist in the world, beginning with your thoughts.

Today, remember that space and choose your attitude carefully.

Remember to #bloomlovely.

PS. Did you like this meditation? Please share it with a friend who needs some encouragement! 

What to do when you ask, "is this all there is to life?"

Lovely, sometimes you worry that this is all there is to life.

You bought the “right” clothes, tried to find the “right” friends, land the “right” job, make enough money to get by, do something big in the world.

This is as good as it’s going to get. You checked all the boxes to become who you “should” be, but sometimes you still feel restless.

Is there something more?

Remember that success isn’t about accumulating achievements, but about living each moment to the best of your ability.

When you feel peace inside your heart, it radiates outward for everyone to see.

You transform others around you by your own internal radiance.

Today, center yourself and be fully present to others. Seek the good in them and you will find it.

Remember to #bloomlovely.

PS. Did you like this meditation? Please share with a friend who needs encouragement!

Remove the mask you wear for others.

Lovely, sometimes it's easier to act a part.

It's easier to wear a mask that hides what you're feeling from the people around you.

It's easier to play a role that you think everyone wants from you so you can fit in, be accepted, and get by.

The veneer feels safe, but if you live behind it for too long, you can feel your authentic self start to disappear.

You can play characters. It's fun to play with fashion and try different eras, mix and match, experiment with different make-up looks.

But remember who you are at your core. Today, remember to let your true self shine through the facade. 

Remember to #bloomlovely.

P.S. Did you like this meditation? Please share it with a friend who could use some encouragement today! You can also follow along in your own Bloom, Lovely journal.

How to stop comparison from stealing your happiness.

Lovely, it’s so common to look at other women and ask ourselves why we don’t have their clothes, their job, their social life or their looks.

But why waste time wishing for what is not your own?

You are enough. There is something marvelous growing in your heart. Guard it, cherish it, and help it come to life through you.

Be faithful to all the goodness and beauty that lies inside of you.

Concentrate only on what you have control over - this is your sphere of influence.

When you drift outside of that, you lose your power.

When you're tempted to grasp for what someone else has, come back to focus. Center yourself in this moment. Today, you will be gentle with yourself. 

Remember to #bloomlovely.

P.S. Did you like this meditation? Please share it with a friend! You can also follow along in your own Bloom, Lovely journal.

Adulting is hard. Here's why it is okay to act like a child.

Lovely, remember your happy childhood moments.

Remember how it felt when you didn’t hold yourself back with fears of what others thought. You did not thinking about the possibility of failure.

You just leapt, laughed, ran around, jumped in puddles, and found joy.

Beauty is found in listening to your heart and freeing it from all worries and fears.

Take this new freedom and leap into the day with new, uninhibited, joy.

Be confident in your own beautiful character and let that beauty shine. Today, try to rest in the freedom and joy you felt as a small child.

Remember to #bloomlovely.

P.S. Did you like this meditation? Please share it with a friend! You can also follow along in your own Bloom, Lovely journal.

The one thing to remember before you compare yourself.

Don't compare yourself today.

Lovely, beauty is hard to pinpoint. What is it? It is more than a collection of parts or a set of traits. It is unique and personal. 

This is why we should never look at someone else and wish we looked like them.

Comparison robs us of our peace and distracts us from being the best version of ourselves.

When we compare, we lose our power and give it over to judgment and anxiety - two things that attack us and hold us back. Instead of wasting time looking around you, focus on being the best version of yourself.

You are exactly where you need to be in this moment. You have a path that is irreplaceable. Remember that you are on the right track. Run in your own lane. Today, you have permission to bloom.

Remember to #bloomlovely.

P.S. Share inspiration from today and tag @bloomlovelyco for a chance to be featured. You can also follow along in your own Bloom, Lovely journal.

Team of 4 women breaks 3 world records by successfully rowing the Pacific Ocean

It reads like a blockbuster movie title –“257 days at sea” — but this was the reality for four courageous women, who rowed the Pacific Ocean without support. Nicknamed “The Coxless Crew”, Natalia Cohen, 40, Laura Penhaul, 32, Emma Mitchell, 30 and Meg Dyos, 25, completed an epic 8,446-mile journey on Monday. Members of a six-person team, that also included Isabel Burnham, 30, who rowed from SF to Hawaii, and 26-year-old Lizanne van Vuuren. They broke three world records to become the first team of four, the first all female team, and the fastest team to row the Pacific Ocean. And they did it in a 29-­foot bright-pink rowboat named “Doris.”

On April 20, 2015, the volunteer team departed from San Francisco and arrived on January 25, 2016 into he Marlin Marina in airns, Australia after rowing 24 hours per day, seven days per week in two-­hour shifts, for over nine months. Their only stops were in Honolulu, Hawaii and in Apia, Samoa to restock the boat with supplies and assorted freeze­-dried foods.

The crew were motivated by a desire to raise awareness and £250,000 to support two chosen charities, reast Cancer Care and alking With the Wounded. In their words, “everyone has their own pacific to cross. This project is all about creating an awareness for women facing their own challenges. We’re doing it for everybody. This isn’t something we are just doing for ourselves. We’re hoping to… inspire [others].”

As with any goal, preparation was required. The team trained for years and enlisted a support committee, including sport psychologist, Keith Goddard, who equipped the women with mental tools to face the challenges ahead. e trip “was a mindset journey more than anything,” Cohen told Women in the World, whose favorite mantra came from a necklace she wore, which said “ am in charge of how I feel today and today I choose happiness.”

Despite their preparation, she confessed that some legs became mentally grueling and difficult to endure, such as when they battled winds of “30 knots” and “40-foot waves.”

Mitchell described long, dark stormy nights, where it was impossible to see treacherous oncoming waves. These were challenging moments, especially combined with the struggle of “staying awake, because we never got more than one-and-a-half hours of sleep at a time.”

While stuck in the Doldrums, Mitchell said, “the currents were against us. We were pretty much going backwards a lot of the time. We were having to row every session as hard as we could and we still weren’t making any ground… That is when I struggled the most.”

In such low moments, the team united and fueled each other by shared conviction and humor. For Mitchell, “at no point was there any question that I was going to stop… Until we had achieved what we had set out to do, it was never going to be over.”

Added Cohen: “We are such an unbelievably strong team of women. That was key to the success of this trip. We kept each other going. There was continual laughter. I have never laughed so much in my life. We kept each other motivated.”

The crew were motivated by a desire to raise awareness and £250,000 to support two chosen charities, reast Cancer Care and alking With the Wounded. (Losing Sight of Shore)

When they were not battling life­-threatening weather, the team witnessed humpback whales, schools of fish, and herds of sharks that followed the boat for weeks. What they termed their “odyssey” afforded peaceful, spiritual experiences, as well. “You can’t help but be in a meditative state when you’re out there on the ocean. She’s absolutely mesmerizing, as you watch the undulating waves rising and falling, the clouds passing overhead, or the birds soaring in the sky. Everything that happens out there is meditative,” Cohen said.

Asked to share insights that would help someone looking to tackle an insurmountable goal, Cohen said, “you have the power to choose to do anything you want to do. With a little bit of self-­belief and trust in yourself, anything is possible.” For more on this story, Emmy ­award-winning documentary filmmaker Sarah Moshman (he Empowerment Project) followed their journey via footage shot by the women themselves and will release the film, Losing Sight of Shore, later in 2016.

The women continue the fundraising efforts from their homes in the United Kingdom. Readers can contribute by visiting www.coxlesscrew.com.

Ashley Crouch writes and speaks on women, beauty and leadership issues and lives in Manhattan. Find her on Twitter.

 

This article first appeared in Women in the World / New York Times by yours truly.

5 Body Language Tricks to Get Ahead at Work

I love people-watching. It never fails to fascinate; perhaps it’s my Meyers-Briggs personality combination, perhaps my obsession withNancy Drew as a child. Whatever the reason, my penchant to go beneath the surface of people–to not just hear what they say, but why they say it–is woven into the fabric of my being. So I was thrilled when body language expert, Carol Kinsey Goman, author of the new book, The Truth About Lies in the Workplace, wrote a piece in our June/July issue on the secrets of body language for women to help them succeed in their careers.

Studies have found that thoughtfully reinforcing verbal dialogue with accurate non-verbal cues can carry a message farther, especially in the workplace. In fact, it makes more than four times the impact on first impressions than any words we say. So here are five quick tips from Goman’s free downloadable e-book, Body Language for Women Who Lead.

Vive la différence! Goman asserts that men and women speak different languages, especially non-verbally. This is important to accept as a starting point before trying to master your own personal body language style. While there is no right or wrong communication style, it is important to understand the environments where a woman’s feminine genius may have the advantage.

Women tend to excel in collaborative work environments where listening skills, inclusiveness, and empathy are key; whereas men are viewed as more successful in environments where a strong sense of decisiveness takes priority. Men typically approach people from the side, whereas women approach from the front. Men actively listen with a minimum of eye contact or verbal feedback–a poker face, so to speak–while women consider eye contact and nodding important response signals.

I Whip My Hair Back and Forth. When we ladies are nervous, we can resort to little tics and sometimes these undermine an assertive persona. Some examples are twirling our hair, smoothing it down, putting it behind our ears, running our hands through it–you get the idea. These are signs of preening commonly associated with courting behavior. Simply put, it can be distracting in the workplace. To avoid this communication pitfall, use a little hairspray to tame fly-aways, or plaster your hands to the desk and make an effort not to move them.

Don’t be a bobble-head. Think of that pet pooch you had as a child. When the pup is curious about something, he tilts his head to look at you. Women do that, too, and it may be cute, but according to Goman it’s also a sign of submission. When we tilt our head while listening to someone, we may convey compassion or receptivity; we can also convey weakness and may not be taken as seriously as a leader. So try to look straight ahead!

The eyes have it. How many times have you been in a crowded room and tried to talk to one person, only to see their eyes dart back and forth, looking for the next person to talk to? It’s inconsiderate, and frankly signals that the person is closed to your ideas. Avoid this pitfall by keeping a direct gaze, which conveys presence, confidence, and that we’ve showed up. To help you, consider intentionally trying to remember the person’s eye color.

Speak up or down? According to Goman, women commonly use five verbal tones when speaking compared to men’s three; we use them to convey our emotions, but also our thoughts. Often women end phrases on the up tone, almost as if we’re asking a question, when we’re actually making a statement. To ensure that our declarative statements remain assertive, Goman suggests, “use the authoritative arc, in which your voice starts on one note, rises in pitch through the sentence and drops back down at the end.”

Every work environment calls for different modus operandi, of course, but Goman’s tricks are helpful in gaining respect and nurturing productive working relationships. So why not tuck these little gems away and begin slowly implementing them while at work. Perhaps they can help take your management position to the next level, or help you nail that promotion you’ve been dreaming about. As Goman’s research shows, we can speak volumes without ever saying a word.

This article was written by me and first appeared at Verily Magazine.