Show up in every moment like you’re meant to be there, because your energy precedes anything you could possibly say

MARIE FORLEO has been called “a thought leader for the next generation” by Oprah Winfrey. She is the creator of the award-winning show MarieTV and the founder of B-School, and Forbes has included her website on its list of “100 Best Websites for Entrepreneurs.” Marie has mentored young business owners at Richard Branson’s Centre of Entrepreneurship, and she is the author of Make Every Man Want You: How to Be So Irresistible You’ll Barely Keep from Dating Yourself!, which has been published in 16 languages.

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?
Hands down, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This book has a magical, activating quality to it. It’s the essential no-bullshit guide for anyone who battles self-doubt or struggles to bring any important project to life. I reread it in full at least once a year. But it’s also the kind of book that you can flip to any page, read the passage, and find the exact jolt of inspiration you need to move ahead.

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why?
My billboard would say, “Everything is figure-out-able.” I learned this as a kid from my mom, and it’s fueled every aspect of my career and life. It still does to this day.

The meaning is simple: No matter what challenge or obstacle you face, whether it’s personal, professional, or global, there’s a path ahead. It’s all figure- out-able. You’ll find a way or make a way, if you’re willing to be relentless, stay nimble, and keep taking action. It’s especially useful to remember when things go wrong, because rather than wasting time or energy on the problem, you shift immediately to brainstorming solutions. I honestly believe it’s one of the most practical and powerful beliefs you can adopt.

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?
A three-dollar yellow legal pad. When I was 25, I taught hip-hop classes and tended bar to pay the bills while slowly building my online business. Every time I taught a class or poured drinks, I brought that yellow legal pad with me. Because inevitably, people would ask, “So, what else do you do when you’re not teaching/bartending?” I’d tell them about my online business, hand them a pen and my yellow legal pad, and ask them to subscribe to my email list.

That yellow legal pad and a long-term focus on nurturing my subscriber list is the foundation of my entire career. It’s helped me set and exceed major life goals, build a global business, and generate more than $75 million in revenue for my company.

What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

I love grocery shopping alone, especially when there’s no time pressure. I like pushing the cart, cruising up and down each aisle, and crossing things off of my paper list.

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
Learning and using a relationship communication tool called the Imago Dialogue, created by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt. It’s a structured way to talk with your spouse or significant other, especially when you’re fighting. At first, it all feels a bit hokey and totally unnatural. But when you learn how it works and use it earnestly, it’s nothing short of miraculous for your intimate relationships.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore? [My advice:] Pursue every project, idea, or industry that genuinely lights you up, regardless of how unrelated each idea is, or how unrealistic a long-term career in that field might now seem. You’ll connect the dots later. Work your fucking ass off and develop a reputation for going above and beyond in all situations. Do whatever it takes to earn enough money, so that you can go all in on experiences or learning opportunities that put you in close proximity to people you admire, because proximity is power. Show up in every moment like you’re meant to be there, because your energy precedes anything you could possibly say.

Ignore the advice to specialize in one thing, unless you’re certain that’s how you want to roll. Ignore giving a shit about what other people think about your career choices or what you do for a living—especially if what you do for a living funds your career choices. Ignore the impulse to dial down your enthusiasm for fear it’ll be perceived as unprofessional. And especially for women, ignore societal and familial pressures to get married and have kids.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
When it comes to building an online audience, a big mistake people make is trying to be everywhere at once. They’re scrambling to generate a ton of mediocre content to fill up a seemingly endless number of social feeds and online platforms, which leads to dismal results.

Trying to crush it on every platform, especially if you’re a one-person show, is not a wise or sustainable use of your time, talent, or energy. Even if you have a team, I still recommend choosing one platform to focus on at first. Before committing to another content channel or social platform, ask yourself, why exactly do you want to be on this platform? What are the specific business reasons you’re going to commit time, energy, and resources to regularly creating and engaging in that space? Does this really make sense given your other time commitments and big-picture goals?

One thing business owners don’t realize is that every social media platform you’re active on becomes an open channel for customer service. People will ask questions there and, yes, they’ll complain there, too. Think that through. Have a process in place for someone on your team to sweep social channels on a regular basis so you don’t create a customer service nightmare for yourself. Just because you can be active on a platform doesn’t mean you should.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

Whenever I feel unfocused or stuck on a particular issue, I do some kind of intense physical workout. Could be a spin class or a circuit training series with great, loud music. The goal is full sensory immersion, which does a few key things. First, it clears my mental and emotional cache. But more important, it opens up what I can best describe as a channel of inner intelligence that I rarely, if ever, access through focused thinking. Without fail, I get some spontaneous download that leads to a clear plan of action to move ahead. For me, creativity lives in the body, not the mind.

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