I need to take a quick step back before we dive into today’s interview, because I want to make sure you understand how much of an impact this particular cheerleader of mine has had in my life.
Back in 2009, I discovered a woman online who was talking about relationships and living in the moment. She was a little edgy, very bubbly, and sharp like a freshly honed pencil.
I noticed that she not only knew a lot about online marketing and business, but she really walked her talk, so I decided to enroll in the new program she was promoting.
That woman was none other than Marie Forleo, and her program at the time was the predecessor to B-School. You see, I’ve been on the Marie training train for over 5 years now… and I have to say that every time I work with this woman, and go through her materials again, my business gets more fun to run and I make more money, too.
So let me explain the cheerleader thing… In 2011 and 2012 I hired Marie to work with me one on one to help me grow my business, and it’s no surprise that 2011 was the first year that my business hit the six figure mark.
Which is why I always think of Marie as one of my biggest cheerleaders.
Who Is Marie Forleo?
In case you don’t know who Marie Forleo is, here is her official biography.
Named by Oprah as a thought leader for the next generation and by Forbes.com as one of the Top 100 Websites for Entrepreneurs, Marie’s mission is to help you realize your greatest potential and use your gifts to change the world.
She’s the creator of the award-winning show MarieTV, founder of B-School and has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, among others.
Marie’s been interviewed by Tony Robbins as one of the world’s leading lifestyle and online marketing experts and mentored young business owners at Richard Branson’s Centre of Entrepreneurship. Through her Change Your Life, Change The World® initiative, each for profit training program is tied to a non-profit partner who supports women, the environment and entrepreneurship.
Cue The Marie Forleo Interview
Let’s dive into the Marie Forleo interview now, shall we?
1. What are you most excited about in your business right now (B-school and beyond)?
I’m excited to spread my creative wings: I’m writing my next book and working on a few new training programs that have been on mind and in my heart for years.
One thing that most people don’t know is that I didn’t start out teaching business and marketing. I actually started teaching personal development and spirituality.
That’s how I cut my teeth, so to speak, on learning how to launch and grow a small business. So, I’m really excited to get back to my roots and sharing some of the core principles and strategies that helped me get everything (including myself) together in the first place!
2. You believe in life-long learning and education, can you share with us what you’re currently learning and how you make the most of the programs, teachers, and experiences you invest in personally yourself?
Right now I’m spending a lot of time studying social business as well as creativity and, of course — always studying marketing! A few things I do to make the most out of any investment: I engage fully. If it’s a live event — I do my best to be fully present, take excellent notes and complete all exercises.
Books — I highlight and read things two or three times to really absorb it. With individual teachers, I bring an open mind. Most of all, what helps me get the most benefit is that I always check in with my own heart and intuition vs. blindly accepting advice.
I’m very careful about what ideas and strategies I take in and implement, always making sure they’re in alignment with who I am, who I want to become and what I’m striving to create.
3. So many people see what you’ve created in your life and business, but what they might not see is the years that went into building it. Could you talk about the “years before the overnight success” and what those were like for you?
I spent at least six of those early years working multiple jobs to make ends meet. I bartended and served in restaurants, I cleaned apartments, I was a personal assistant — you name it. It took me a long time to build my confidence, my skills and my audience. I remember the very first workshop I gave had exactly 6 people in the room and 2 of them were my parents!
4. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice that you wish you knew when you were starting out in business, what would it be?
I’m both blessed and cursed to have multiple passions. Blessed because I’m never bored, cursed because I’m always torn.
Now, all the top experts and business books I’d read early in my career said you should choose one thing and focus on it exclusively if you wanted to be a success. But at that time in my life — when I was just starting out — choosing one passion over another felt like cutting off a limb.
So one piece of advice I wished I knew earlier on was this: clarity comes from engagement, not thought.
It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to stop trying to “figure out” which passion to choose — and just got out there (in other words, I said screw it and engaged in all my passions simultaneously), that I was able to eventually discover the convergence of my talents and build a truly custom-built business for me.
5. Can you share with us one specific story where mentorship, coaching, or training changed your life?
When I was a kid, I got rejected for years when I tried out for the cheerleading team. Finally, one year I made it.
I was totally intimidated and felt like an outsider because all the other girls had been cheering for years. Plus, they were a lot prettier and more popular than I was. But I loved to dance and cheer people onto victory, so I was so thrilled.
I wanted to do everything I could to help the team be great. I knew competition season was coming up and so I put together a weight training program to help our team develop the strength we needed to do better lifts, and have more of an edge.
I also tried to help out as much as I could to to create the choreography for our routines. And, I learned the crap out of those cheers — because everyone else had known them for years. Fast forward a few months and our coach was choosing new “captains” for the following year.
This was a huge honor of course, and not once did I imagine it could be me. After all, I was the new girl and everyone else had years of seniority and experience.
I’ll never forget it.
My coach pulled me aside and said she was so impressed with how hard I worked, my attitude and how much I did to contribute to the team, that she was going to make me one of the captains.
She said that my passion, energy and commitment mattered more to her than anything else.
She gave me a real gift that day. Not because she made me a captain, but because she taught me something priceless: that if you work really hard, focus on making everyone around you successful, and go the extra mile every chance you get — you’re a leader.
Leadership is not always about experience, seniority, or popularity. It’s about something each of us can control — our own performance.