Marie Forleo has been dubbed “a thought leader for the next generation” by Oprah Winfrey, heralded as “one to watch” by lifestyle author Timothy Ferriss, tapped by Sir Richard Branson to mentor young entrepreneurs at Branson’s Centre of Entrepreneurship in South Africa, and drawn into the inner circle of Kris Carr, who trusts Forleo as her very own “crazy sexy consigliere.”
This high praise, however, only begins to describe the media wonder that is Marie Forleo.
She’s a best-selling author, business expert, life coach, and self-proclaimed “multipassionate entrepreneur.” Her YouTube channel and show, MarieTV, boasts 125,000-plus subscribers, and her website, www.marieforleo.com, draws more than 300,000 readers from all over the world.
Forleo is known as much for her business savvy — developed on Wall Street and in New York City’s magazine-publishing world — as for her quick wit, New Jersey–honed sense of humor, keen fashion sense, and love of hip hop. (She was formerly an MTV choreographer and doesn’t shy away from dance breaks while answering serious questions about life, businesses, and spirituality.)
These traits have made her a relatable inspiration for thousands of women who, Forleo believes, will change the world — if they are willing to claim the opportunity.
At the heart of Forleo’s empire is B-School, an online business school for entrepreneurs that is tailored to helping people create a business — and life — they love.
“There are so many beautiful people that have incredible talents and gifts,” says Forleo. “What I love is to see people win and come alive.”
Experience Life | You describe yourself as a “multipassionate entrepreneur.” Can you explain what that means?
Marie Forleo | A multipassionate entrepreneur is really any of us. We’re multifaceted human beings. We have many talents, many values, and many interests. To try and confine ourselves to the tiny little box of a job title not only feels boring for most of us, it really puts a cap on our creativity and our ability to connect with other people.
I love dance and fitness and business and marketing and spirituality and writing. When I gave myself permission to engage in all of those passions, that’s when I started getting traction in my life and started to build a business that was unique to me.
EL | You mention giving yourself “permission” to pursue your interests and change your life. What advice do you have for people who don’t feel confident enough to make a change?
MF | Confidence is overrated. If you wait until you feel confident to transform an aspect of your life, you’ll be waiting a long time. Every accomplished person I’ve ever met feels fear, insecurity, and self-doubt.
But here’s the thing: We feel the most self-doubt when we focus on ourselves — what other people will think of us, how we’ll look if we fail, how will others perceive us for trying. That’s all ego-based.
Your real power comes from keeping your focus on making a difference to others. Maybe it’s with a smile, a phone call, or a simple act of kindness. Do that and — bam! — no confidence issues.
EL | Still, fear can be a stumbling block for many people.
MF | Knowing the difference between fear and intuition is a fine art — one I think each of us needs to develop. One practice I have when looking at a situation is to ask myself, “Should I move ahead?” If everything in me starts to feel contracted, if I feel my shoulders coming down, if there’s just an internal “no,” I can feel that that’s not what I should do.
On the other hand, if there’s a sense of expansion, even if it’s subtle, if something in me says, “Oh my goodness, this would be great — I’m scared, I don’t know if I can do it, but it would be amazing,” then I know my intuition is telling me “yes.”
There’s always fear. But if you’re silent enough and still enough to listen to your intuition, you’ll always go in the right direction.
EL | We are all striving for certain improvements in our lives. What’s the first step in making a positive change?
MF | The first step toward any transformation is gratitude. Do you have clean running water? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food to eat? Do you have access to books, or information online? If so, consider yourself lucky. Because more than a billion people on this planet do not have those things.
Being genuinely grateful opens your heart and mind to new possibilities. Look at what you can do with what you have now. From there, your next steps will become clear.
EL | Your Web-TV show and your B-School course both dig deep into personal-wisdom topics. What’s one powerful insight you would love to see more people embrace?
MF | You’ve heard the saying, “What you resist, persists,” right? Well, it’s very true. The things we reject, judge, or don’t like — about ourselves and life in general — often become huge limiting factors and energy drains.
Judging is a form of resistance and can keep negative mental patterns and habits in place. Awareness has a neutralizing, freeing effect.
When you notice something about yourself that you consider negative, if you can notice without judging, that negative pattern or habit begins to fall away. While seeing “negative” things about yourself without judgment is easier said than done, it’s not impossible.
Quick example: Let’s say it’s raining outside. Most of us have an immediate judgment about that. Either, “I love rain, it’s so romantic!” Or “I hate rain, it’s depressing!” But just noticing the fact it is raining — without adding a value judgment to it — is a neutral observation. It’s objective and without an energetic charge.
This same kind of “just the facts” observation about yourself — some habit or characteristic or pattern you wish was different — can make personal transformation occur more quickly, more gently, and more effortlessly.
EL | In pursuing personal change, what do we need to be careful of?
MF | One thing to watch out for is the belief that your transformation will bring you external validation, fame, or love. Placing our ability to feel worthy or loved outside of ourselves is a recipe for disaster. If we focus on what we’re here to give versus what we’re going to get, there’s a subtle shift that’s so powerful.
I think the biggest obstacle all of us face when going after a big dream is we underestimate our power and greatness and genius. One of my core beliefs is that every single person on the planet is here with a unique gift that only they have, and that their job in this lifetime is to tap into that gift and share it out into the world.