by Jenna Kutcher
Chances are if you’re in the online business space, you’ve heard of B-School and it’s incredible creator, Marie Forleo. Over 50,000 students have learned effective online marketing strategies from Marie’s B-School, and thousands more tune into her online series Marie TV for training in business, mindset, and more.
I can’t predict the future, but I’ll bet when her new book Everything is Figureoutable is released it’ll be sitting at the top of the list as THE go-to book for multi-passionate entrepreneurs who want to build a business and life they love. Or really anyone who has a goal — personal, business, or otherwise — and needs the guidance to reach that goal swiftly and with intention.
The title was inspired by her industrious, resourceful mother. The content of the book was pulled from years of coaching others, but also her personal journey to owning the “Multi-passionate entrepreneur” title and navigating her dreams, all of them, before she was “ready”.
That’s what we’re talking about in this interview: How to start before you are ready, and how to even figure out WHAT you should start. This conversation is anything but the same goal setting fluff and tired motivational quotes — Marie and I walk through actionable steps to place you at the starting line, poised to make your big dream happen, once and for all.
I feel like Marie needs no introduction… But I asked her for the scoop anyway. Where did it all begin for her? Before she was a well-known name in the world of business and entrepreneurship?
Well, it started on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. As the first person in her family to earn a college degree, she was grateful for the job and steady paycheck. As she looked around, she saw rich but still “bankrupt” people. A voice inside her said: “This isn’t what I am meant to do.”
After a tearful call with her father she got the permission she thought she needed to make a change and quit her job in search of what she was truly meant to do. Then followed a string of jobs that seemed perfect but still didn’t quite fit. Marie began to feel broken. How could she be such a hard worker and committed to doing good work, but so confused about who she was in the world?
It wasn’t until she learned about the new (at the time) field of life coaching. It sounded cheesy, she doubted it was possible for her, and her critical mind began to tear down the idea of pursuing this new path. But Marie said it was the first thing that felt RIGHT. It was the first time the voices in her heard were calling her toward something instead of away from it.
Press play on the episode above to hear more about Marie’s business and how it grew in the early years. A lot has changed in the first seven years of her business, and it wasn’t as glamorous as you might expect.
What It Means to Start Before You’re Ready
“One thing that helps us all figure things out is this mantra: Start before you are ready,” Marie began. Okay, but what does this actually look like?
What holds us back is this lie we tell ourselves that we’re not ready yet, that we’re not ready for our next big thing yet. You might feel you don’t have enough experience, that you’re not qualified, that your website isn’t pulled together enough.
“The truth is, we learn best not theoretically, but in action.”
When Marie was invited to audition for an MTV choreographer position, all she wanted to do was bail out on the invite. She didn’t feel ready (with only a few months of formal dance fitness teaching under her belt) but something told her it was important that she took the audition anyway.
Marie landed the position, and though she still had days that she didn’t feel ready or equipped to do the job, her learning curve was months instead of years. She learned so much from the experience because she said yes before she was ready.
Two Voices in Your Head
You will have two voices in your head when faced with a new opportunity or decision. One is loud, telling you you’re not ready, that you’re crazy, and bullying you into staying still. The quiet voice is the whisper saying, “What if? What if you tried? What if you were successful?”
From what Marie and I have both seen in this business, the successful people, particularly women, are the ones who are better at amplifying the what-if whisper and quieting the negative Nancy. It’s the difference between fear and intuition, and the ability to tell them apart.
“It’s a skill anyone can master,” Marie shared. That said, telling fear and intuition apart is challenging. Sometimes, fear is actually leading us away from something we shouldn’t do. Other times, intuition is leading us into something that we fear, but that is ultimately good for us.
Intuition versus Fear Test
How do you know which voice is speaking the truth? How do you know if the voice convincing you that you aren’t ready and that you should be fearful of the opportunity is actually trying to help you? Marie has a simple test that has proven accurate over and over.
Think about the opportunity that you’re considering saying YES to. Go sit alone, close your eyes, get centered and ask yourself, “Does saying yes to this make me feel expansive or contracted?” In the nanosecond after you ask yourself that question, you will have a visceral, sensational, body reaction.
Expansive might feel like your shoulders are lifting up and back, you body might be moving forward as you sit, you might feel like taking a big breath in. Even if something about saying yes is intimidating, your body is opening up physically because it’s the right move for you.
Contracting might feel like a pit in your stomach, like a sense of dread, your whole body is pulling back in space, and your head might even be shaking no without effort.
Taking this step and doing this test is crucial “when you’re faced with an opportunity that your ego thinks is going to help you get ahead.” If you want to say yes because it puts you ahead of someone else, or if all of your peers are doing it, or if you’re thinking of the money on the line, but your body and intuition are pulling you away from it, you have to trust that message.
Wouldn’t It Be Cool If…?
One phrase totally set Marie free at the beginning of her business journey: multi-passionate entrepreneur. Can you relate to that title? Like you have so many things that light you up and set your dreams on fire that there’s only one way to describe it and it’s multi-passionate.
Having multiple passions though can be very confusing. Which one are you supposed to pursue right now? What direction are you supposed to head next?
In her book, Everything is Figureoutable (out on September 9), she shares a little prompt that has lead to some very big breakthroughs in her own business. It’s called, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?”
Finish that sentence. Don’t censor yourself. Follow up that phrase with whatever is on your heart and mind right now.
This exercise is a great way to release ourselves from the expectations that society, family, or we put on ourselves. It’s a fun way to dream and identify the big dream that won’t leave you alone.
How to Find Clarity
So you’ve worked on your intuition versus fear identification skills. You’ve played Wouldn’t It Be Cool If…? over and over. And you know you’re not ready, but that you’ve gotta start before you’re ready to get anywhere. Now what? It’s time to act.
I was sent a copy of Marie’s book to preview before the release date so I could prepare for this interview and one of my favorite messages in the book is this: Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.
You can sit and think and mull over and flounder in the idea in your brain. But until you act, you’ll never really have clarity.
Find a way to do a test run. For Marie, she thought about being a dancer for years. She played with the idea of dance classes and watched choreography videos and loved hip hop music… Could she be a dancer? Should she be a dancer?
It wasn’t until she took action and signed up for a beginner dance class at a studio in NYC that she realized, YES, this was something she could and should pursue. That first step, booking her first dance class as an adult, was the action she needed to gain clarity on the question that had floated around her brain for years.
No matter what it is — renovating your house, quitting your job, going back to school, starting a business, ending a relationship. Do a test. You will know instantly if that choice is right for you. You need to engage and act to find clarity.
More from This Episode
What’s Marie’s favorite mantra for creatives? What is Marie’s WHY? How can you find yours? Plus, she shares the reason she hates elevator pitches as a business coach. Press play on the episode above to hear the interview with Marie Forleo. This one is absolutely filled to the brim with goodness.