Self-made millionaire CEO Marie Forleo on the 3 things that get her through the day

Bonnie Tsang Studio

Did you know everything is figureoutable? Yes, even those impossible things that plague you every day are figureoutable. At least that’s what one of Oprah’s favorite thought leaders, TV and podcast host, and life coach, Marie Forleo says in her new book. And considering she started her own business at 23,  B-School, a business training program, which was named one of Inc.’s 500 fastest growing companies and is now a multi-million dollar company and is now a New York Times best-selling author with her new book Everything is Figureoutable you may not want to write this off as yet another throw away self-help book.

“If I walked out of a restaurant and got hit by a bus, this is the one idea I’d want to leave behind. If people could just get a fraction of the benefits from this idea, I would feel like my time on earth was well spent,” Forleo told Ladders of her new book.

Forleo spoke with Ladders about why she wanted to write this book, dismantling perfectionism and the three things that get her through her day.

Creating before consuming

Forleo has been labeled as a multi-passionate entrepreneur meaning she has pursued a lot of different things. From building a media empire to being a life coach to starting a dance career in her late 20s (perhaps the most daunting task of them all.) Many of us can relate to having a side passion or even several apart from our regular 9 to 5 job. Perhaps we want to start a small business or write a book but there never seems to be enough time for any of that. Forleo says that the dilemma is figureoutable:

“All of us individually and collectively have a lot of stuff to figure out. Three-hundred million people suffer from depression suicide rates, we are in this super volatile economic and political environment. So we have some challenges on a broader scale and I feel that this mindset really does help us tap into the innate wisdom that each of us has to solve some of our biggest challenges.

“We wake up and look at our phones, we go to the bathroom and we look at our phones. We are unaware of how much time and energy we are frittering away. Whether you want to create a stronger healthier body, or it’s a novel you want to write. If you prioritize creating before you consume I think that most of us can carve out 20, 35, 45 minutes, maybe even an hour, to make the changes we want to make to so our lives go in the right direction.”

marie forleo

Outdated single career paths

As someone who wanted to pursue multiple avenues, Forleo supports others doing the same though she says our structures aren’t always built for that:

“A lot of our models when it comes to careers and professions are archaic and outdated. You chose one thing to be when you were 18 and you stuck with that thing for 30 or 40 years and you got a gold watch and then you retired. And we don’t really have a framework for young people out of college that aligns with things that really fire you up or you have some type of innate attraction to. You need to not worry that you don’t have a set career path.

“For many of us, there’s a point of convergence that happens in your late 20s or 30s, or even 40s, and you cannot predict it from the onset but if you keep on developing your skills and relationships and paying attention to where your strengths lie you will find or create a dream job. It may not be out there, you may not be able to identify it in an example. I had to create it for myself and I think that’s becoming true and true even more.

“For people that are multi-passionate you may have a day job that pays the bills and give it your very best, but also give yourself permission to take classes or do projects on the side and engage in your other passions as well even if you aren’t getting paid for it so you can discover what most lights you up.”

On her greatest lifehack

In the book, Forleo talks about her struggles with becoming a boss for the first time and hiring an assistant. It didn’t go very well. She was so used to doing everything herself that she found it hard to delegate or even justify spending the money on an assistant but looking back she learned to be a little less tough on her self:

“Be kind and gentle with yourself. You’re not gonna be great at it at first. All of us suck when we become a boss. To have that self-compassion is crucial.” She says the way she figured out how to be a better boss was by writing down what she was bad at.  I love writing in journals because when you write things down you can identify a solution, for example, I’m really terrible at communicating and delegating.

“I’m not really good at setting deadlines but when you see all that on the page you have your action list for what to work on. You may know intuitively what to work on but who do I know that’s a really good delegator? Or is there a podcast on that I can listen to? Make a punch list for yourself from your journaling and taking those little micro-actions for yourself each day can help improve your own skillset as a boss is how you get better.”

Forleo is a huge proponent of writing things down in order to provide life clarity:

“There is something incredibly profound that happens when you put actual pen to paper rather than typing digitally. Studies show that we actually retain information better when we write with our hands. And on a broader skill writing with our hands slows us down. We usually think more concretely and think deeper truths. You don’t slow down when you are typing to get to the root of the issue. The exercise in and of itself of putting pen to paper can be quite enlightening”

3 daily essentials

As for what gets her through the day, the list is rather simple but quite innovative:

“This one for me is pretty essential because I have a very active mind. It’s very hard to get that thing to shut off. Meditation is a lifesaver for me. There are so many different forms out there and just finding a practice that works for you and clearing my mental cache and helping me feel more rooted clearly and calmly and effectively.

“Physical movement is huge for me because I do spend a lot of time in front of screens running a digital business. Apps that have 7-minute workouts work wonders if I can’t get to the gym or a class. I’ll do a workout right in my kitchen in my normal clothes with my body. Movement is crucial.

“I need to have connection time with people I love. Whether it’s my partner, Josh, of 16 years or jumping on Skype with a friend. I need an emotional relational connection.”

Dismantling perfectionism

In the book, Forleo writes a lot about why our overwhelming need to be perfect can be a real downfall.  It needs to be viewed in a different way:

“Perfectionism can take you off track. Did I make progress and by progress did you learn something? Did you move the needle and in the process did you discover something that’s useful to you? Did you move the project ahead even by an inch?

“When we measure by progress instead of making something perfect, which doesn’t even really exist because we’ve all got our opinions on what something perfect is, all you’re going for is just a little bit of progress then a lot more joy will come in. The other piece is the fear of failure.

“Generally speaking, failure is an incredibly short-sighted concept. It’s like going to the movies, you’re halfway through and the characters hit this main point of conflict and then you get up and walk out. Oh, they failed, they were horrible. You have no idea where that story went. This is absolutely true for most of us in our lives. If we cut ourselves off and declare ourselves a failure midway through the story, it’s not gonna work.”

Something to think about. Don’t give up on your story at the halfway point.