Made by Jasmine Browley

From the outside, Cortney McDermott had it all: High powered career, loving husband, beautiful daughter. All of the items on the #LifeGoals list was firmly checked off. Except one…happiness.

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“I was doing all the things that I thought accomplished people did, but no one told me that being ‘successful’ was so miserable,” said Cortney. “After I found myself on the verge of a breakdown when my daughter broke my Blackberry, I knew I needed to take a deep look at my life and make some major changes.”

After taking some time to do a life overhaul, Cortney decided to take her evolutionary journey and share it with others. Her latest book, Change Starts Within You, outlines the steps she took to redefine success, sustainability and make her personal goals materialize.

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In an exclusive interview with MADE, she walked through some actionable steps we can all take to apply some of her high-level principles, take personal inventory and make the rest of ‘17 (which has been pretty rough) align with your goals.

1. Chill out
“Take time to talk yourself out of the ‘never enough’ zone,” she said. Cortney said that the first step to achieving personal success is quieting the outside and listening to your intuition. “You know what you really want, you just have let it resonate loud enough to hear.

2. Stop chasing gold stars
In her book, Cortney outlines that by society’s standards, she had it all:

“A rising career at a Fortune 500 company, publications, awards, husband, daughter, marathon medals, Jimmy Choos…yet inside those designer shoes, I felt cramped. It was becoming increasingly clear: chasing gold star after gold star, coupled with unrealistic ideas about work-life balance, was not sustainable.”

After coming to that realization, she said it was imperative to ask herself some questions:
Whose dream is this anyway?
Am I living for me?
Am I honoring my values?
Are the things I’m doing now sustainable in the long run?
How much energy am I expelling when compared to I’m earning?
If you take the time to ask yourself these questions, you’re one step closer to figuring the answers.

3. Take your life pictures
Ask any self-improvement expert about the most important part of a attaining a goal, they’re guaranteed to tell you to put up a mirror up to yourself and assess where you are presently. Or, as Cortney puts it, take a life picture.

In her book, she outlines her Life Pictures exercise:

Take a picture, or find a picture, of you in each core of your life, then pull these together to make a big visual assessment of how you’re doing overall. For example:

Physical: Get naked and take a photo of your body.
Social: Grab a recent pic of you with your friends.
Love: Take a picture with your partner, or alone if you’re not currently
From there, evaluate exactly what those photos depict and how accurately they reflect where you would like to be by the end of the year.

“We have the power to create the type of year, life, whatever we want,” said Cortney. “All it takes is looking within.”

For more information on Cortney, please visit CortneyMcDermott.com