Erica Cobb On Why Pressing Pause Is Essential To Leveling Up Your Productivity Game

Erica Cobb gets real about how losing her home, marriage, and job propelled her into her destiny.

Finding Balance

In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.

With a husband, a home, a successful job, and a salary that more than sustained her, Chicago radio girl Erica Cobb was living her absolute best life. However, one thing was missing: her happiness. It wasn't long before an unexpected lay-off led her life into a series of unfortunate events that ended in divorce, a departure from her identity, and eventually her hometown.

Sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fall together and in an intimate interview with xoNecole, Erica got real about how losing everything more than a decade ago helped her manifest a life she could have never imagined. She explained that it was only after being let go from her job on the radio that she was able to peel back the layers and define how she really wanted to show up in the world, "I just started to really take some risks and bet on myself––[knowing] that I was going to be enough, regardless of what I was putting forward if what I'm putting forward is truly who I am [but] I had to have enough courage in order to do that."

Since transitioning from radio to on-camera journalism, Erica moved to Colorado, met and married the love of her life, secured a full-time gig with Daily Blast Live booking interviews with subjects like Michelle Obama and proved that there is so much power in pressing pause to reassess your purpose. We talked to the TV host about the self-work it takes to manage the life of her dreams and thanks to this unique set of coping mechanisms, she isn't letting anything get her out of alignment.

Along with catching up on The Real Housewives and practicing Kundalini yoga a few times a week, Erica says that seeing a therapist and taking mandatory breaks are essential to the self-care routine that keeps both her mental health and her happiness in-check. She told xoNecole, "I understand now that if I need a break, that is not an option. It's mandatory. So, I have to give myself permission to take a break, which is the reason why I do tend to engage in like inconsequential programming or giving myself permission to do things and be different versions of myself. "

In this installment of "Finding Balance", Erica shares how putting her phone down is self-care and why hiring an affordably priced personal chef to do your weekly meal prep is a simple luxury you didn't know you needed.

xoNecole: At what point in your life did you understand the importance of pressing pause?

Erica Cobb: I wasn't necessarily going after my goals in terms of my job because it was serving a purpose for me, or it was true to what was going to be the best me or make me happy. I was doing it because society was telling me, this is the way it's supposed to look, this is the way you're supposed to act. And when everything fell apart, I realized that so many of the decisions that I had made in my life were based on keeping this image alive and it wasn't based on me really being connected with my purpose. Somewhere along the way I really lost that.

"When everything fell apart, I realized that so many of the decisions that I had made in my life were based on keeping this image alive and it wasn't based on me really being connected with my purpose. Somewhere along the way I really lost that."

What is a typical day in your life? If no day is quite the same, give me a rundown of a typical work week and what that might consist of. 

I generally exercise in the morning because if I don't exercise in the morning, it doesn't happen. I'd just get up and say, just do it. Don't even think about it, just do it. So I'll either do Kundalini or I'll do a Pilates session or I'll do cardio, one of those three things every morning. And then I start my routine of showering. I do my morning meeting every morning––that's our breakdown of the show––and then lately, for the past few months since the quarantine, I'm responsible for my own hair, makeup, and wardrobe, which has been a challenge in itself, because I always tell people, beauty is not my brand. There are so many women and men who do it very, very well. That is not my forte, but I've been trying to at least get myself presentable for camera. So that's been a new challenge. And I try to wrap my day by like five or six o'clock.

What are your mornings like?

I watch a lot of Bravo. I really try hard to watch what I call inconsequential programming because so much of my day gets so heavy with the topics and I really just want to see some foolery drama sometimes, just to disconnect. I probably should be doing something more for the soul, like meditating my way down or something like that. But right now it's just like a glass of wine or tea and like just sitting down, watching some TV, and hanging out with my husband and dog.

Do you practice any type of self-care? What does that look like for you? 

I have a therapist that I meet with once a week. She was very important. I started meeting with her in November. She's been really great. I really appreciate her, especially for what I'm doing because she went to Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech as a child and her life has very much been rooted in activism. She just really gets me in a way that other people wouldn't have been able to get me in terms of therapy. I don't have to explain the fundamentals, so she's been really great.

What advice do you have for busy women who feel like they don’t have time for self-care? 

If you're not taking care of yourself, then you're not good for anybody. If you can't take the time to prioritize yourself, you're not going to be of service to anyone. And because I see that so much, especially when we look at the matriarchs of our family or women who we look up to and we see that there's a reason why we're connecting with them, whether we're related to them or not, there's a part of us in them and there's a part of them in us. And so, when we make those connections, we also see what isn't necessarily working as well because we care about these women who are mirroring us.

"If you're not taking care of yourself, then you're not good for anybody. If you can't take the time to prioritize yourself, you're not going to be of service to anyone."

We want them to be around for a long time. We want them to be happy and to live lives of abundance. And when I think of the way that I look at my mother who has been so selfless my entire life to all of the kids, not only the biological ones but the ones that she's taken guardianship of, I always tell her, "Mom, you need to be moving. You need to go get your nails done. You need to do all of these things for yourself because that's what's going to sustain you. And I need you here." It's almost a bit selfish but you're also giving them permission to care for themselves. That's the reason why I think that we need to think about the way that we talk to the people that we care about the most because there's always a message for us in there.

How do you find balance with:


A big thing with [me and my husband] is, we'd be on a vacation and he would have to pull his computer out and work from wherever we're at. I would say, "When are you going to be able to take a break because you can't just work this vacation?" So, he put his phone and his laptop in a safe and the entire rest of the time he wouldn't engage. So there are times where he'll be like, "Can you put the phone in the safe?" Which means I've been engaged too much. So I'm just trying to get better at that and not feel like the world is taking off and I have to be engaged all the time.


That's hard. It's harder now because of the situation that we're in. Obviously we're not seeing our friends the way that we used to see our friends in terms of work and home. That is something that I am just now really balancing the equilibrium. And a big part of that is the fact that I have an abbreviated schedule. So I can be like, you know what, I'm going to do this production this day and I'm ending at this time.

And then I'm going to go downstairs and I'm gonna hang out with my husband on the patio and play with Spike on the patio and make sure that I FaceTime with this girlfriend because I haven't spoken to her or seen her in a while. Now that I have a little bit more control over my schedule. I've been trying to just make more of a conscious effort to make sure I'm carving out time.

The Self?

I schedule, I schedule everything. I'll schedule months in advance. So I know that every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 in the morning, I'm doing Kundalini. I know every week, same day, same time I am with my therapist. Any self-care in terms of like aestheticians or stylists, all of those things, are completely scheduled out pretty much for the year, because otherwise I wouldn't just stop and be like it's time. As women, we feel guilty. I feel guilty all the time. Should I really be getting my nails done? Is that really necessary? So, if it's on the books, then it becomes more of like, 'OK, well it's my schedule, so it needs to be completed,' you know?

"Any self-care in terms of like aestheticians or stylists, all of those things, are completely scheduled out pretty much for the year, because otherwise I wouldn't just stop and be like it's time. As women, we feel guilty. I feel guilty all the time. Should I really be getting my nails done? Is that really necessary? So, if it's on the books, then it becomes more of like, 'OK, well it's my schedule, so it needs to be completed.'"

Exercise? Does it happen?

I started doing Kundalini yoga. And it's the idea of, if you can keep up, you'll be kept up. And it was just something that was so out of my comfort zone, but I chose to do it because I kinda needed to do something to get out of my comfort zone, but also to kind of find more balance and meditation in my life. So I actually have been doing that now for three months. it makes you uncomfortable and if you can get uncomfortable voluntarily, it kind of eases the discomfort when it comes at you.

Lastly, what does success mean to you?

Success means happiness and balance. Although I'm in an industry where people become notable or achieve celebrity status, I realized that what's really meant for me is to have a very fulfilled life. And I don't know if having an overabundance of one particular area of my life will create the balance that I truly need to be happy. So being in control of my schedule, having a life where I'm not burning money, but at the same time, I don't feel like I'm in deprivation mode. A life where my relationships are healthy and that I have true partnerships in the world. So success for me would really mean balanced in all capacities.

For more Erica, follow her on Instagram @EricaCobb!

Featured image by Instagram/@ericacobb.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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