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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.

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