Stop Overwhelm Virtual Training

We can often romanticize the festive season, imagining it’s all cocktails and sequins or a rosy, merlot-induced glow by the fire.

The reality is much different for many of us: skipped meals, squeezed-in dance recitals, cupcake baking for the school fundraiser, midnight trips to Walmart because we’ve run out of wrapping paper, and mindlessly shoving any food in our mouths on the way there. In short, you’re overwhelmed and feel held hostage by life’s responsibilities.

I want to help you avoid overwhelm, enjoy the season, and get more out of your hectic life. I am presenting a seminar that teaches a simple strategy to get calm when you’re overwhelmed by your busy life.

Keeping it simple

In my practice, I have found that big life overhauls don’t work. People often do nothing because they don’t have the capacity to incorporate hours of yoga or complicated food prep into their day. We have heard the solution is to stop being busy, but for many of us, that isn’t an option.

I will teach you how to make a small yet powerful shift so you can feel better and be more productive. It will be a short and powerful training done over the phone that you can dial into and listen in while you’re on the go.

Here’s what you get

  • My simple, three-step process to get calm anytime, anywhere
  • A quick, 5-question overwhelm assessment
  • Real-life examples and takeaways that you can use right now
  • Answers to your questions live on the call.

Where & When

  • Online or by phone. You choose! You’ll receive full connection details when you register.
  • Wednesday, December 7
  • 1 pm Pacific/4 pm Eastern

Reserve your seat here!

Date: December 7, 2016
Time: 1:00-2:00 pm
Event: Stop Overwhelm: Get Calm in 3 Steps & 30 Seconds
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.

Women in Leadership and Business Conference

Join me, six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes, “The Voice” Consultant Tamara Beatty Vocal Coach and more at the Women in Leadership and Business Conference November 20-22 in Calgary, Alberta.

Use ERINVIP to get a truly sweet deal on the full conference price.

If you are a Leader, Senior or Middle Manager, Business Owner, or Entrepreneur you know you should invest time in focusing on yourself, your business and career. If you’ve struggled to find the right format that maximizes your time, energy and resources, the 2016 Women in Leadership and Business Conference is for you!

  • Strengthen your leadership skills
  • Have greater influence and impact in your role and team
  • Market your skills and your business
  • Be heard in meetings
  • Get noticed by clients, peers and your industry
  • Gain valuable influencing skills
  • Grow your business and market share by differentiating
  • Increase your likelihood for promotion
Date: November 20, 2016—November 22, 2016
Event: Women in Leadership and Business Conference
Venue: Hyatt Regency Downtown
Location: 700 Centre Street SE
Calgary, Alberta T2G 5P6
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

Do you ever feel guilty for taking care of yourself because you’re so used to taking care of everything and everyone else?

I’m honored to be speaking on Pamela Zimmer’s FREE Telesummit, Redefining Mom – Permission to Break the Rules.

Register now and you’ll get access to Pamela’s interviews with 16 amazing women who will share their exact strategies for redefining mom, in a way that best serves YOU!

Date: November 10, 2016—November 12, 2017
Event: Redefining Mom: Permission to Break the Rules
Public: Private

To book Erin for your event, visit her speaking page.

Create Better Goals – the Power of the Positive Focus

If you have goals to stop procrastinating, reduce your stress, or quit losing your patience you may be setting yourself up for failure. In this blog post and video, I share how to increase your chance of reaching these and other goals by making one simple tweak.

This blog post came about thanks to a question from one of my newsletter subscribers, Amanda. She wanted to stop procrastinating with her exercise and on her business.

Words are incredibly important, and how we use them can support or sabotage our efforts to reach our goals. And after doing what I’m about to share with you, Amanda realized she was sabotaging her efforts right from the get-go, and it had everything to do with how she worded her goals.

Here is what she changed. She gave her goals a positive focus. In short, she focused on what she wanted instead of what she didn’t want.

Focus on what you want, not what you don't want

Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

Giving goals a positive focus has nothing to do with looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses or being optimistic all of the time. This is about giving your mind something to focus on. Something tangible and concrete that you see and feel and possibly touch instead of something you don’t want, or wish would disappear or go away or stop happening.

The brain can’t not think about something.

For example, it can’t stop thinking about a pink elephant. Stop it! Just stop thinking about her pink tail with the pink tuft on the end and those cute, pink toenails. Stop thinking about it.

See? Your brain put a pink elephant in your brain. And that’s the last thing you wanted in there.

The same rule applies to your goals. When they’re focused on what you don’t want, you brain focuses on that:

  • Stop procrastinating: the brain focuses on procrastinating.
  • Reduce your stress: it focuses on stress.
  • Quit losing your patience: brain focuses on losing your patience.

I assume you don’t want to focus on procrastination, stress or losing patience. So give yourself something you want to focus on instead.

For simplicity, let’s use the pink elephant example again. If you don’t want to think about a pink elephant, tell your brain what you want it to think about instead. How about a purple lion? Think about a purple lion with its purple mane, purple tongue, and piercing, purple eyes. Much easier!

Here is a question that will help to turn your goals from a negative focus (what you don’t want) to a positive focus (what you do want).

If you weren't BLANK, what would you most want instead?

If I wasn’t ____, what would I most want to do instead?

Put the thing you don’t want in the blank.

Let’s use Amanda’s example.

Her original focus was on what she didn’t want: to stop procrastinating with her exercise.

“If I wasn’t procrastinating, what would I most want to do instead?”

Amanda’s answer:

[I would want to] “be excited to move my body, and grateful to have the limbs to do so.”

This became her new goal. And it worked really well for Amanda. Here is what she had to say:

“. . . attaching a negative word to something I want to accomplish is kind of self-limiting right off the bat and maybe even makes it a drudge to work on, but when I change my words to describe it in a way in which I would LIKE to move through the blocks then it’s kind of an opportunity thing…it really makes a huge difference when you change your mind frame and your words!”

Beware or the trickster, “I want.”

Just because you start a goal with “I want” doesn’t mean that you have worded your goal with what you actually want (that positive focus).

Here are some common examples of things that SEEM like they’re focused on what you want, but are really goals that focus on what you don’t want.

  • I want to lose 20 pounds. The focus is on pounds and your weight.
  • I want to stop yelling. The focus is on yelling.
  • I want to get rid of the clutter on my desk. The clutter is the focus.
  • I want to reduce the hours that I’m working. This puts all the focus on the hours you’re working.

What do you want instead? Answer that, and you’re on your way to creating much better goals for yourself.

Actions to take from here

  1. Review your current goals.
  2. Re-word the negatively focused ones to have a positive focus.
  3. Download the bonus one-page cheat sheet of “don’t want” words. Details below.
  4. Send me your questions.

Bonus for newsletter subscribers (and those who become one)

Because it can be difficult to identify negatively focused goals, I put together an additional resource for my newsletter subscribers. This one-page cheat sheet includes:

  • The most common “don’t want” words I hear in my coaching practice.
  • 9 real-life examples of negatively focused goals that have been re-worded to focus on the positive.

If you’re a subscriber, simply scroll down the email of this article to download the document.

If you’re not a subscriber, you can still get it. Become a subscriber here, send me a super-quick email saying you want the cheat sheet, and I’ll fire it off to you. When you subscribe, you’ll also get my powerful and highly coveted 3-2-1 Countdown to get present and calm.

If you found this exercise to be valuable, please share it with others so they can start making better goals for themselves. I will appreciate it and I’m sure they will too.


In the video, I mention an exercise that will transform your excuses into powerful actions. Here is the link to that post:

Your Beautiful But(s)

5 steps to make your goals and dreams happen faster

If you find yourself saying things like, “I would love to travel to Paris but…” or “I need to exercise more but…” or “I should really network more but…”, here is an exercise you may want to do right away. I outline the steps below and explain it in greater detail with three examples in the video.

This process will help you to

  • Get unstuck,
  • See where specifically you’re holding yourself back, and
  • Identify limiting beliefs.

You can use this for personal goals and dreams, business goals or corporate projects. Anything, really.

A recent strategy session that I did for a business woman prompted me to create this exercise. She said one of the phrases above and then let her voice trail away. I’m sure we can all think of something we’ve said that we’d love to do and then let our voices trail away in much the same way. Left to ourselves, we may never make progress on that dream or goal. It likely seems impossible or not something that’s really doable right now. And that’s not the case. Like I did with this business woman, you can explore the “buts” to find out why you think can’t do something and build an action plan to move forward.

Five steps to get your but(s) working for you

Step 1 – Draw a heart

On a piece of full scap, draw a heart with enough room beneath and around its sides. You’ll be writing in those spaces.


Pro tip: If you turn the heart upside down, it will look like a butt. Tee hee.

Step 2 – Write out your goal

What do you wish you could do? What do you wish you could have? What do you wish you could be? Write that out underneath the heart. Let’s suppose you want to exercise more regularly. Write down the number of times you want to exercise or the duration for each exercise session. The more specific, the better.

Write out your goal

Step 3 – Write out your buts

These are all of the reasons you can think of that would keep you from achieving the goal. Write them down around the outside of the heart. Space them out somewhat evenly.

ID your buts

Many common buts that keep us from exercising are

  • No time
  • No money
  • Don’t like exercising by yourself
  • Don’t stick with it

You may have more or fewer buts, depending on your goal and your self awareness of the reasons you feel you can’t achieve the goal. The total number doesn’t matter, so long as it feels complete for you. You will likely find that you have one or two main buts that are the primary culprits in keeping you stuck.

Step 4 – Brainstorm things that counter the buts

Inside the heart, write out your ideas to counter the buts. At this stage, it is helpful to ask yourself, “What do I need to do, have or become in order to make this but go away?”

Brainstorm responses

Here is what this might look like using the exercise example:

  • No time – get up earlier; experiment adding short breaks into the day
  • No money – cut back on coffee or other expenses that you don’t “need”; save up money for membership
  • Don’t like exercising by yourself – Get an exercise buddy; find a group class to join
  • Don’t stick with it – Get an exercise buddy; work with an accountability partner

Step 5 – Take action immediately

Choose one of the ideas you developed and commit to taking one small, simple and specific action step. Write this action step beneath the goal you’re aiming for. Be as specific as possible about what you will do, when you will do it, and where you will be when you do it. Aim to complete the task either immediately or within the next 24 hours.

In our rolling example, let’s suppose you chose your idea to get an exercise buddy. The action step could be:

  • Send Mary a Facebook message during lunch time asking her to be my exercise buddy for noon-hour walks on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Take action

And there you have it. Within about 5 to 15 minutes, you have taken a “someday maybe” idea and turned it into here and now progress.

  • For a specific example on creating a kick-butt elevator pitch go to 12:20 in the video.
  • For an example on becoming an executive member in your organization, skip to 15:08.

If you want to take this exercise further, or if you suspect you have some limiting beliefs that are holding you back, feel free to apply for a complementary strategy session. You’ll gain so much clarity for yourself.

In the meantime, share this strategy with others. Let’s see how many buts we can get working for us instead of against us. I’d also love to hear about the wins you create for yourself by doing this exercise. Drop me an email at erin [at] erinacton [dot] com to let me know what became possible for you.

When you have no energy to do the BBQ


Sometimes, I just don’t have it in me to bring a marinated meat in a plastic baggie with a hand-crafted side dish to a group BBQ. This week was no exception. So I gave myself permission to “fail” at this BBQ. I phoned my contribution in, so to speak. In this short video, I show you what I ended up bringing as my meat and side dish.

In my #FailFriday posts, I share where I’ve been “failing” (those quotes are very intentional) in my life and business to show others that no one is perfect. Many of the people I work with are high achievers who hate failing, yet feel so much better when they give themselves permission to loosen up a bit, myself included.

If you can relate and know others will too, make their day and share this post. Let’s give ourselves permission to fail more often.

How have you failed with the BBQ lately?