Marie Forleo is one of the most inspiring humans on the planet. Through her B-School program, she’s coached thousands of people over the last decade in basically every industry you can think of. When I heard that she was coming out with a book, Everything Is Figureoutable (Amazon link), I had to get her on the show to find out more about it. [Full Disclaimer: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if your purchase through this link.]
The idea behind her book is pretty much in the title: Everything Is Figureoutable. If you think about the moon landing, for example, someone needed to decide that it was doable in order for us to eventually do it. They had to believe it was possible, and then—from that belief—broke down that big goal into manageable chunks that they could figure out, step by step.
One of the main things that Marie is focused on and that we talk about is how to work past the excuses and make something happen. “I don’t have the time,” or “I don’t have the money,” or, “I don’t know anything about business.” As coaches, we hear this all the time from our students. Instead, what Marie suggests is that fear is actually your soul’s GPS—it can tell you what direction you need to head in next.
We also talk about how Marie Forleo became Marie Forleo in the first place. I knew she was up to a lot, but I didn’t realize just how many different things she tried before she became a coach. Everything from traveling the world as one of the first Nike elite dance athletes to her first job as on the stock exchange floor on Wall Street. We even jump in the DeLorean to hear what Marie thinks businesses should be focusing on in the future. There’s so much great stuff in this episode. I hope you’ll be as inspired as I am by Marie’s story and the way she views the world, and don’t miss out on Everything Is Figureoutable.
Marie Forleo: So I whipped out my then flip phone, which gives you a little idea of context. This is like the late 90s. And I was just bawling my eyes out just saying, “I’m so sorry. I don’t want to be a disappointment. I don’t know what to do.” It just was a mess and my dad cut in when I took a breath, and he said, “Look, Rie, you’ve worked since you were nine years old. I am not worried about you keeping a roof over your head or putting food on the table.” He’s like, “The secret to life—”
Pat Flynn: You’re listening to Marie Forleo. Yes, we have Marie Forleo on the show today. If you don’t know who this is, you might have lived under a rock. But it’s okay because Marie is one of the most influential people that I know. She’s helped influence a number of the guests who have been on the SPI Podcast before. She is a business maverick, titan, amazing, beautiful soul and I’m just so honored to have her on the show today. Now that’s going to be enough gushing for me. I’m here because she has a number of things to offer us. Number one, we’re going to talk about her new book. She has a new book coming out called Everything Is Figureoutable (Amazon link). Which I just love that message. [Full Disclaimer: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if your purchase through this link.]
But number two, I wanted to dive into her story because I knew a lot about what she’s been doing now. She’s had this program called B-School that’s been out, opening up every single year for about a decade now, has helped over fifty thousand people in that program, which is just incredible. But I wanted to reverse time a little bit and go back into the DeLorean to talk about, well how did she even get started? How did she become such a well known business coach? And then secondly, we also talk on the other end of talking about her book—which again, is amazing, I highly endorse it personally—is we talked about the future. The future of business and what will really matter for all of us, whether you’re just starting out now or you are a veteran business owner. Times are changing and we get Marie’s perspective on, well what should we be focusing on next? And funny, it’s what we should have been focusing on all the time. Right? So sit back, relax. But of course, let’s play the intro. Here we go.
Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now. So you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he’s half Filipino, but one hundred percent nerd, Pat Flynn.
Pat: What’s up, everybody? Welcome to Session 388 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. This is a big one. We’ve got Marie Forleo on. I announced on Twitter right after the interview. People were just going gangbusters about this. So excited for you to listen in. I already gave you the intro and what we’re going to talk about. So let’s just dive right in. Here she is Marie Forleo.
Marie, welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thank you so much for being here today.
Marie: Oh, Pat, it’s an honor. Thank you for having me.
Pat: You’ve helped influence millions of people. And a lot of people who have then become amazing people who have helped many others, who have been here on the show before as well. I’m just so, so honored to have you on the show. And before we start, you have this new book coming out called Everything Is Figureoutable, which I think is a perfect name. And we’re going to dive into that. But first, I want to dive into you and how you got to become a business owner and somebody who teaches business. The first thing that I learned about you when I heard about you was the fact that and this was the first fact that somebody said, you used to do hip hop fitness videos.
Pat: When then timeline was that?
Marie: Yeah, that was when, in the timeline, I had already begun as a coach, so I’ll take you back even further. When I graduated from school, my first gig was Wall Street on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. And I was really excited to have that job because there’s no seats and I’m a person with a lot of energy. So I actually loved that opportunity. The problem was, after being there for about six months, I started hearing this little voice inside that says, “This is not where you’re supposed to be. This is not what you’re meant to do.” And as someone who’s the first one of our family to go to college—my parents busted their buns to put me in school—I had this conflict. I was like, I can’t quit. I don’t have a safety net. I’m like tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Not to mention, it just felt wildly irresponsible, but I couldn’t deny that I did not want to work there.
But here’s the thing: that little voice inside didn’t tell me what else I should be doing. And it eventually got to the point where there was one day when I was on the floor—and I now recognize it was probably like a little mini panic attack—my body just revolted against being there anymore and I started to feel dizzy and lightheaded. And I told my boss, I was like, “Hey, I need to run out and grab a coffee.” Except I ran out and didn’t grab a coffee. I ran out to the nearest church. I had just graduated from a Catholic University. So I was kind of trained in moments of crisis to like, look up and ask for help. And so I sat there on the church steps, and I just bawled my eyes out, because I felt sick physically, I felt sick emotionally, and I didn’t know what to do.
And the first clue that popped into my brain was call your dad. So I whipped out my then flip phone, which gives you a little idea of context—this is like the late 90s. And I was just bawling my eyes out just saying, I’m so sorry. I don’t want to be a disappointment. I don’t know what to do. It just was a mess and my dad cut in when I took a breath and he said, “Look, Rie. You’ve worked since you were nine years old, I am not worried about you keeping a roof over your head or putting food on the table.” He’s like, “This is the secret to life. You have to find something you love. And once you do, it’s not going to feel like work and you’re certainly not going to feel sick and run out and call me right now.” He’s like, “So you got to do whatever you need to do to find something you love. But if your work is making you this sick, you got to quit and go find it.”
And that was kind of my permission slip, Pat. You know what I mean? It set everything in context, even though I was still panicked in my body, and I’m like, I have no idea how to find what I love to do. There was still a grain of truth in that, that I trusted. Of course, because it’s my dad. And then I set out on an odyssey to try and figure out what I was supposed to do. And I was trying to blend the fact that I was very, very creative. As a child, I thought I would either be an animator for Disney, a fashion illustrator or a fine artist, but I also really loved business. My dad was a small business owner and there were many nights and weekends that I would go into the shop and help him and be with him and do whatever we could do to take care of his customers.
So I came up with this idea, well maybe magazine publishing, right? This blend of the commerce side of advertising, the blend of the creative of editorial, and I got a job as an ad sales assistant at Gourmet magazine, which is part of Condé Nast publications. That storied publishing house, and I was excited. It was different. I was learning new ropes. I’m like, “Oh, this is amazing.” I had an awesome boss. My desk was near the test kitchen, and I’m a girl who likes to eat, so all of the editors would bring by like all of the test recipes.
Marie: I was like, this is awesome. Except about six months into that job. Those voices came back, “Marie, this isn’t what you’re meant to do. You’re not supposed to be here. This still isn’t it.” Now I’m starting to panic. Now I’m feeling just like a loser. Now I’m just like, what is wrong with me? I have a strong work ethic. It’s not like I want to sit around eating bonbons, but I can’t deny that I don’t want to do this. So then I step back and thought, Well, let me take a look ahead. Do I really want to be an account executive—who is my immediate boss—or do I really want to be the publisher of a magazine? And the truth was Pat, I didn’t want to become either of them. I didn’t want their jobs. And I thought to myself, well, if I don’t want to climb this corporate ladder, why should I stick around wasting their time and mine?
So I thought, okay, maybe this is just too focused on the numbers between Wall Street and ad sales. It’s just too businessy. Maybe I need to flex more of my creative side. So I went to HR and I finagled the job as a fashion assistant at Mademoiselle magazine. And I was like, okay, this is gotta be it, right? Working on photo shoots, kind of interacting with designers, seeing new collections. Again, a whole different environment.
Started on that job. It was great for a little bit. And of course, you can expect what happened, the voices came back. I was like, literally at this moment feeling like maybe I have a cognitive problem. There’s something wrong with my brain. Am I just a commitment loser? You know what I mean? I can’t stick with anything. Nothing made sense. One day I was on the internet when I probably shouldn’t have been and stumbled across a new profession at that time. Again, this is 1999. And it was all about coaching. And Pat, when I read this article, something in me lit up like a Christmas tree. Metaphorically speaking, the feeling I had was of the clouds parting, little angels coming out and shooting like sunbeams into my eyes. It was like, aaaahhhhh, like that. But the logical part of my brain was like, are you kidding me? You’re twenty-three years old. You haven’t even lived life yet. You can’t even hold down a job. You’re tens of thousand dollars in debt. You have nothing to offer anyone. This is the craziest idea ever. And how cheesy is the term life coach? So that conversation was happening on one side of my head, but my body was like, this is amazing. You have to do this.
So that night I signed up for a three-year coach training program, a place called Coach University, and I went back to my job during the day. Fast forward a few months, I get a call from HR. They had a promotion for me at Vogue. That was my proverbial fork in the road, do I stay on the safe path, right? And keep that steady paycheck, which was very important. And those health benefits, right? Very important and have a respectable, understandable prestigious job, or do I quit and try and start a business as a life coach? Which no one had ever heard of. I had no experience, no clue, no money, just lots of debt. And of course, that’s what I decided to do. So I quit my job. And I started bartending and waiting tables again. And I started trying to figure out how to build a coaching business during the day and the fitness and the dance thing didn’t come up until about four or five years later. So I just needed to set context before that first fact that you learned about me.
Pat: Yeah, wow, but this is good. We’re going back in time. I’m curious. When you read the description of what it meant to be a life coach. Why did that ignite you?
Marie: I don’t know if I can put my finger on it intellectually. But what I can tell you is that it was really exciting to me this idea of partnering with people to co-create a stronger, better future. There was this distinction that I read in that article about how coaching was very distinct from psychotherapy, where in this particular frame, they were talking about how psychotherapy was very about healing the past, right? And kind of diving into some issues that were historical. Where coaching was very much about the present, and what you wanted to create in the future. It was about evoking the strengths and the innate wisdom of your clients. Not necessarily that you had all the answers, but the job that you had as a coach was to bring out someone else’s power, if that makes any kind of sense does.
Pat: It does.
Marie: So I loved that frame. And beyond that description, it was a visceral feeling like something that’s almost pre-verbal, that it’s hard for me to articulate but it felt right in my bones.
Pat: And how did you get over the idea and those initial thoughts that you had about only being twenty and not having life to coach life with?
Pat: This is a very common thing that my audience expects when it comes to business. Who am I? I don’t have a business degree, I’m not qualified. How did you qualify yourself?
Marie: Yeah, well, I’ll tell you what it was all the pain from all of the failures in the career before, right? So hitting all of these different walls. Like on Wall Street, the advertising job, being at Mademoiselle. The fact that I kept trying to be the best me in this more traditional conventional sense. But it got so painful that this was the only option I could see to move forward. So there was no way I just rationalized it, I had to get out of the pain that I kept putting myself in. And I figured, if I try this and it totally fails, well, I’m just going to keep moving and try something else. And the other thing that I told myself, especially as it related to coaching was, my job at least initially was to just learn how to be the best coach I could be.
So it was about figuring out how to provide value, how to get people results, and also I didn’t start charging for my services for a while. I was willing to coach anyone, to work with anyone—people’s dogs, if they would let me—for free. So it was just about me gaining skills and confidence initially and I really didn’t have a longer term vision. I just knew I loved this thing. It sounded like me. It sounded like it was something I could excel at. And there was just so much pain behind me that I had to move in a new direction.
Pat: It reminds me of . . . I remember watching Tiger Woods get ready for tournament, and he had his swing coach. I’m like, why does Tiger Woods need a swing coach? Oh, it’s because Tiger is always trying to improve. Even though he’s the best, he still needs a person to support him, to guide him because he’s so focused on these other things. And I think of Rocky the boxer, right? His coach would get in a ring and probably the crap beat out of him because he was so old. But he knew how to train somebody else to become the best version of themselves. And I feel like that’s what a lot of coaching is.
You don’t necessarily have to have the skills to be what it is you’re trying to teach somebody to do. But a coach is to help a person through a process, through the mental, through just guidance and through filtering everything else that’s happening in their life to become the best version of themselves. And that’s something I’ve heard about you before. Is you’ve helped people filter all the noise out there to help them become better women, better business owners, to help them guide their lives. And so I feel that you found sort of your calling there eventually, finally. But it wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t go through those struggles.
Marie: That’s right. Yeah. And so for anyone that finds themselves in a space of pain, or a space of frustration, or a space of discontent, I say celebrate that because probably what’s coming in the not-so-distant future is a breakthrough. Is some type of aha, is some type of relief if you’re willing to stay in the game and keep going forward.
Pat: So you start coaching for free and doing that thing, when did this start to become something that you’re like, oh, my gosh, this is my new career? This is actually paying me?
Marie: Not for a while. I mean, just to set a frame around it. I had side gigs and different jobs. And I do want to put that into context for seven years before I took my business full time. So after I was coaching people, and then I started kind of charging a small fee, maybe after like a year or two of doing it for free. All of the personal development work that I was not only learning about and supporting my clients, I was doing for myself, right? I had to walk my talk, I had to live in integrity.
One of the things that I admitted to myself was how much I loved dance and fitness, and this whole other world. And this was another breakthrough that came out of struggle. One of the things that is most often taught when it comes to business success, and certainly in my kind of coaching school—and I understand why people teach this because intellectually it makes sense. It’s the notion that in order to succeed, you have to find your own niche that you have to get very specific, right? And very focused. So it was like okay, well what kind of coach do you want to be? Do you want to be a financial coach? Or a relationship coach? Or a productivity coach? Or a woman’s coach? Or a man’s coach?
And every time I tried to narrow into one of those things, it felt awful, it felt wrong. And out of doing this exploratory work, I also realized I just didn’t love coaching, I loved a lot of different things. Things that were far beyond the scope of a self definition that would be even like the editor of a magazine or a trader on Wall Street or even a coach. And so I started admitting to myself how much I love dance and fitness. And this was when I was about twenty-five. And I had all the same fears. I was like, “Wait, you’ve never taken a dance class in your life. You have no formal training, you’re twenty-five,” which in the professional dance world is over the hill. And I know that’s a really sad thing to say. But again, in the professional dance world, it’s kind of true.
So I was in New York City, which I still am, and I started taking dance classes and discovered that I really loved it and I had a really good time doing it. This one particular gym here called Crunch, they had phenomenal dance fitness classes, and I started taking so many of them that my dance teachers were like, “You’re really good, you should teach.” And I was like, wait, what? What are you talking about? That makes no sense. I have no experience doing this. You’re like, you’re really good, you’ve got energy, you’ve got the right vibe, you should do this. So that whole . . . what you heard about me. That came about after I’d been coaching for several years, and I just dove in and then I got this mental download from the career gods that completely changed my life. When people would ask me what I would do for a living Pat, I would always feel such tremendous shame because I never had a good answer. I’d always be like, “Are you talking about tonight? Because tonight I’m bartending. Are you talking about tomorrow? I have two coaching clients. Are you talking about Saturday? I’m being a personal assistant, because that’s how I’m paying all my bills.”
And so the phrase that came to me from the career gods was called “multi-passionate entrepreneur.” Completely made up phrase. Came to me out of nowhere, but it gave me a new context through which to see myself. And ever since I had that phrase, when people would ask me in a cocktail party what I did, I would tell them, “I’m a multi-passionate entrepreneur.” And nine times out of ten, they be like, “What does that mean?” And I would say “Well, I have these dance fitness classes that I’m teaching, I’m starting to take dance classes here. I have a coaching practice, I publish this newsletter, I also bartend at this restaurant on West 9th Street.”
I would just go through the whole thing and I felt so much more proud of myself. And so for a while, I really embraced having a lot of different plates in the air and I didn’t want to go full time on my coaching business. I wanted to be in the world of dance and fitness because—like a few years later, I became one of the world’s first Nike elite dance athletes and I got to travel around and train thousands of other dancers all over the world. It was amazing. And so that seven years that it took me before I went full time with my online business, which is a version of what you see today. A lot of that was a conscious slow down because I wanted to have a lot of plates in the air. I didn’t want to just be a coach. I didn’t want to just be a dancer or fitness person. I wanted it all.
Pat: Love it and is that sort of when B-School came about?
Marie: B-School came about probably . . . Well here’s the deal. When I was teaching all these fitness classes and doing all these different things, I would just run into so many people who would be like, “How are you doing this? How do you have this business and this life and you’re teaching these dance workshops?” And I would explain to them about sales and marketing and online business. Which again, was very new to most people back then. This is like in the 2005, 2006 land, now. And I was shocked by how many people said, “Oh, I would love to start my own thing, but I’m not a business person.” Or, “I’d love to start my own thing but I’m not a numbers person.” Or, “I hate marketing. That’s so gross.” And I would want to shake them, Pat, because I’m like, “Oh, my goodness, sales and marketing is the lifeblood of your business. You cannot outsource that.” That’s not a thing, I believe, especially in the beginning, that you just want to go find someone to do for you. Especially when you’re trying to get a new business off the ground.
And that was one of the impetus for me to start B-School. I had done other group coaching programs before. A number of them, but I just saw such a strong need for there to be small business education that values-based. That was rooted in our desire to run a business but not just makes money but makes a difference, and to have it actually be fun and exciting and aesthetically pleasing. So that’s when B-School came about, I think it was in 2009.
Pat: That’s insane. So it’s been about a decade since that thing’s been up and continues to help people and correct me if I’m wrong, it opens kind of once a year, and then you kind of go through a year-long training, and then it opens up again. And you’ve just done this over and over again, and it continues to get better and better.
Marie: Yeah, we’ve had over fifty-five thousand graduates from I think, 171 countries and four hundred plus different industries. I mean, from flower farmers to app makers to fashion designers to writers to coaches to you name it. Every kind of business that is like a self-funded, self-started business has been through our doors, and it’s awesome.
Pat: That is so cool. So first of all, congratulations.
Marie: Thank you.
Pat: Before we get into the book, I do want to ask you one more question about B-School and that is it’s only open once a year, I’m sure people would love to join throughout the entire year. Why keep it closed all the time? Like you’re one of the examples of somebody who when we talk about in business, do you keep it open? Or do you go evergreen? You always keep it closed and open once a year. Why?
Marie: Yeah. Well, part of it has been because we go so full out. I’m in there with the students, we have B-School mentor coaches. An entire team of coaches that walk people through the actual content. There is so much support. There is so much interaction. There’s so much engagement. That we couldn’t keep that up really all year long. I couldn’t be in there with people all year long and actually have other pieces of the business.
Pat: So it’s the way the course is structured is the reason why it has to be like that?
Marie: Yeah. I mean for us. Not to say that, is there going to be a point in the future that we decide to change things? Perhaps. I’m not one to ever say never, but for the past decade, it’s worked really well. Because what happens is . . . so all of our students get lifetime access to B-School, right? So if you’ve taken in the course before you can come back and retake the course. We’re always looking at the content to see what needs to be tweaked or updated or amended or just made better. And you don’t ever have to pay again. So people that have taken it in 2010 come back and they get access to anything new that we’ve done. They get access to the coaching, they get access to everything for free for the life of the program. So it’s like a huge surge of energy. And Pat, you know this more than anyone else. There’s a certain energy that happens when people are kind of looking at the same ideas at the same time. Do you know what I mean?
Marie: Re-investigating their foundation. Re-looking at what are my email sequences? How’s my copy doing? What’s happening with my website now? How can I optimize it? There’s so many pieces to our online businesses that you have to revisit, that you want to re-freshen and tweak and update. And it’s super fun to do that along with a group of people. Now, of course, people have access to the content all year long. But in terms of that live interaction, that big burst happens once a year.
Pat: Yeah, I mean, this is a big thing that we’ve been talking about on my team because we have done the live launches and we’ve also done the evergreen. We’re kind of just weighing pros and cons. And that’s something you do miss with the evergreen is that, the excitement and the liveliness in the chat and the community when you do go and there’s a cohort of people that kind of all come in together. So food for thought for everybody listening, but I want to talk about your book, because I had heard that you were coming out with a book when I was coming out with my book and your book just came out. Mine came out a month earlier. And so I’ve been very aware of what’s happening in the publishing world because I’ve just been so in the books. I’m so excited because is this your first book?
Marie: It’s my second book, but first I want to congratulate you too.
Pat: Thank you.
Marie: Because you know, they are no small feat. Anyone who’s written a book who’s listening right now, I’m sure you are shaking your head. It is not easy to do that. So congrats to you too.
Pat: Thank you. So this is your second. What was your first one?
Marie: So my first one has a very sassy title. My first one was well over a decade ago, I think. It was actually I’ll tell you is an interesting story. The title is, Make Every Man Want You: How to Be So Irresistible You’ll Barely Keep from Dating Yourself! (Amazon link). [Full Disclaimer: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if your purchase through this link.]
Pat: Wow, there’s a headline right there.
Marie: Exactly. And actually so that book started as an ebook, because I was taking an online course about how to use eBooks to market your coaching practice. And one of the best insights I got from that class was how important titles are. Doesn’t matter how good your material is, if you don’t have a great title, which is another word for a great headline, you’re not going to sell many books. And I knew I wanted my book to be about the idea of being present. But I couldn’t write a book. Like, “How to Be Present as a Twenty-Four Year Old,” it just wasn’t going to deal.
And so I realized so many of my clients at that time were women, and one of the most frequent topics we would talk about in our coaching sessions was relationships. So that’s where the title came from. But that book started as an eBook. Then I self-published the book and . . . self-publish it, this was before vanity publishing was really a thing. We actually went to Ann Arbor Michigan and had a proper printing of it. And then I sold it to McGraw-Hill. And so that first book is in like sixteen languages.
Pat: That’s crazy.
Pat: But now over a decade later, your next book’s coming out and: Everything Is Figureoutable. Of all the things you could talk about and write a book about, I mean, the gazillion things, obviously. Why this?
Marie: So I realized that this is probably the single greatest driving force of everything that I have ever experienced, created, achieved in my life personally and professionally. And when I look at it through a different lens, it is the spirit through which all great achievements in human history have been accomplished. So if you look at someone walking on the moon, right? Someone had to realize or even just imagine that that was indeed figureoutable. If you think about curing polio, if you think about the women’s suffrage movement, you think about civil rights, someone had to look at what is reality right now and say, I think it could be better. And then they went to figure it out.
So the reason I wanted to write this book is this. I was actually working on the manuscript, Pat, and I was in a restaurant in New York City, and I’m like typing away furiously. And I saw my friend Toby, who is the CEO of Shopify, and we saw each other like, “Oh my goodness, what are you doing? How are you?” That little business catch up. And he’s like, “Marie, why are you writing a book?” He’s like, “Your business is going well, you got so much on your plate. This is a really big deal.” And I said, “I know.” I was like, “First of all, this book is kicking my butt. I’m totally miserable right now,” I said, “but second of all,” I said, “Toby, if I walked outside and got hit by a bus, this idea is the one thing I would want to leave behind. It’s the one thing that I feel like if I can communicate it effectively to other people, that I can say peace out and go on my next cosmic adventure feeling very satisfied with my time here on Earth.”
Pat: I mean, that’s a good reason to write a book, right? It’s a way to leave a legacy. And I think for everybody who is in my audience who has been thinking about writing a book, I mean, think about that, seriously. So, Everything Is Figureoutable, it makes me think of Elon Musk, right? Who’s just like, “Oh, yeah, let’s go to Mars. We’ll figure it out.”
Marie: Yes. Yeah.
Pat: And he’s doing it and it’s changing the world and all the technologies that are coming out of that are just amazing. So take us through the book, what is it going to teach us? You’ve made a very bold statement here, okay, Everything Is Figureoutable. But what’s inside?
Marie: So, well on the broad level, it’s about how one simple belief can help us change our life and the world. And we start off with the origin story, which I won’t get into here because I don’t think we have enough time. But it’s a really fun one about where this phrase actually came from. And then we start diving into what I like to call the magic of belief. And just really understanding how powerful our beliefs are. I look at them like train tracks of our lives. They determine exactly where we go and how we’re going to get there. And I don’t know if we talk enough about how incredibly powerful our beliefs are. As cliche as it is, Pat, old Henry Ford quote, “Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right.”
Marie: But that is true on such a deep level. And so we kind of walk through just the magic of our beliefs and how, kind of unlike a lot of other self-help philosophies and a lot of other personal development books, I don’t believe that you need to hunt down every limiting belief that you’ve always had or have right now. Because here’s what I discovered. If you adopt this one, what I call meta belief that everything is figureoutable, it’s almost like the master key. It unlocks the entire castle of your consciousness. So you don’t have to worry about anything else you don’t think you can do. If you accept the notion and adopt the belief that everything is figureoutable, you’re just going to go. And then anytime you hit a roadblock, you’re like, well, this is figureoutable too. Let’s figure this out. And oh, this is figureoutable too. Let’s figure this out. So it kind of saves you a lot of time and energy. So that’s where we go first.
Then we look at what are the things that can hold us back. And I think one of the biggest things that can hold all of us back myself included, my hand is raised, is our excuses. Just our typical excuses about how we don’t have the time, we don’t have the money, we don’t have the resources. So we spend quite a bit of time going through how to eliminate our excuses and live what I call an excuse free life.
Pat: And one quote that you mentioned in the book that ties into that is when you say all beliefs are a choice and choices can be changed.
Marie: Yes. I don’t know if we realized that too, because a lot of us think like, whatever we believe it’s just oh, that is there and that is the truth. But it’s not, necessarily.
Pat: And I love how you broke out the sort of idea of belief into five different components. Because I think, we hear that quote, we’re like, “Yeah, that makes sense.” But then there’s different kinds of beliefs and there’s different reasons we believe certain things and when you kind of break that down, I mean, the way to understand something is to really break it down and go into the root, right?
Pat: And the whys. Like the five whys and you break down the idea of belief into environment, experience, evidence, examples, and envisioning, and to me the most interesting—I mean, they’re all interesting, obviously, but environment. I would love for you to speak on how our environment affects our beliefs and how we can maybe even strategically sort of remove ourselves from places where there just is toxicity so that we can become in a better place to actually do what we want to do?
Marie: Oh, yeah, I mean, I think about all of us right when we pop out of the womb, we’re like these blank open little sponges. We don’t believe necessarily anything. And then little by little our family, our caretakers, media, society just kind of imbues the beliefs and the culture that we grow up and onto us. And we just assume that that is it. I remember when I was probably about eight years old, my parents got divorced. And I was standing there in my kitchen and my mom was on the phone with her mom who was in Florida and she was just pat bawling her eyes out.
I’d never seen my mom like this. She had lost like fifteen pounds. She looked really skinny. Her eyes were bloodshed. And she just kept saying over and over to my grandma, her mom, “I have nothing, I have nothing.” And she hung up the phone and she bent down, so her eyes met mine. And she put each of her hands on my shoulders and she shook me and she said, “Marie, don’t you ever be stupid like I was. Do you see what’s happening right now? I have no money. Don’t ever give your money to a man. Don’t ever let anyone control your life. You have to grow up and be independent and take care of yourself. Don’t be stupid like me.” And Pat, in that moment, that was like a real DNA shift.
Highly emotional experiences tend to embed beliefs very deeply into our consciousness. And for me, that was one. And so I’m not going to be shy about it. Like the belief of giving anyone control over my money, the belief that you know what I mean? If you let anyone control your checkbook, you’re going to be stupid, and it’s going to create pain and regret. Like those beliefs. Even though, obviously, I’m a grown woman now, I can see where those were formed. And I can see how they shaped my behavior throughout my teenage years, throughout my adolescence and into adulthood.
And so I think it’s important for all of us to question our beliefs to take a look at: “I wonder where that came from?” It can be as simple as you think you don’t like a certain food because you heard around you so much that no one else liked that food in your family and then all of a sudden as adult you try it, you’re like, “Oh, it’s actually really good.” To the more serious things, in terms of your question around extracting ourselves from environments that have negative beliefs. I do think it’s really, really important—especially as entrepreneurs—to surround ourselves with people who believe in possibility. And if you don’t have those people in your immediate physical environment, you can certainly start to make those connections online. I had that. When I first started my business, I don’t know if this was true for you, Pat, but I didn’t know any entrepreneurs. I didn’t know anyone who had an online business. It was so weird and different back then.
Pat: It was. I mean, I got to know of people who had online businesses through podcasts and things that I was listening to. But I mean, you’d gotten started before even podcast and access to stories and things like that existed.
Marie: Yeah. There was no social media, right? It was all email. And so the way that I got to know people was actually going to conferences. Going to physical business conferences and then meeting other people. I’m like, “Oh, my goodness, you’re nerdy like I am. This is awesome.” But so for anyone listening though, if you find yourself kind of entrenched in a negative belief environment, know that you have the power to change it. You have the power to listen to podcasts like this, you have the power to put yourself around people that have different belief systems. And I think it’s important for us to know, like, how influential we are, as humans. We don’t like to believe that but we are. And if you start to shift your environment, you will shift what you believe and more positive, supportive, helpful beliefs will start to take root.
Pat: I consider your book like a nice refresh on sort of like Steven Pressfield’s War of Art (Amazon link). [Full Disclaimer: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if your purchase through this link.] It touches on a lot of similar notes, but number one, without the vulgar language, thank you. And number two, it’s just a great reminder for those of us who are not where we want to be, but we really, really know that there’s something better for us out there and this is kind of the way to crack that code. And one of those things that you talked about that is also talked about in Steven Pressfield’s book is the idea that fear is a sign and that’s where you should go. You call it like your soul’s GPS and I love that.
Marie: Yes, yes, yes. In fact, I mean, I love when I quote Stephen in here that’s actually it’s a really huge compliment. It’s one of my favorite books on the planet. But in terms of fear, it is really misunderstood. I call it like the big F word we all need to embrace. I was actually thinking about this, this morning. Evolutionary fear, right? The fear that stops us from walking in front of a moving bus. We all recognize that’s helpful. But here’s the thing. All fear is helpful if it’s properly understood. And I was actually thinking about this just this morning, I’m like, wow, all fear is designed to help keep us alive.
So the fear that stops us from walking in front of a moving bus helps keep us physically alive. But the fear that is directive, the fear that is the GPS for where our soul most wants to go, that is keeping us alive as well. It’s trying to keep us engaged and passionate and on the edge of our growth. It’s just a different form of aliveness.
I talk about it like this. Think about a baby, right? A little infant doesn’t have the language skills to tell you what’s wrong. A baby’s only method of communication is crying, right? So they’ll cry if they’re hungry. They’ll cry, sometimes, if they’re super joyful. They’ll cry if they need their diaper changed. Crying is the way to get attention. Crying is the signal that something’s up. Same thing with a dog. I have my dog, Kuma. I love him. He could be super excited and he’ll bark because he’s like we’re playing and he’s like having a grand old time or he’s barking because he thinks there’s danger outside because the UPS guy is here. He can only bark—he doesn’t have language skills. I think about fear in the same way.
Fear’s only ability to communicate with you is to make you feel something and most of the time, for most of us again, if we’re not about to step in front of a bus, we misinterpret that signal to mean “danger, stop,” instead of “do it, move ahead. This thing is important to you. This thing is going to get you to grow and experience just these glorious lessons and a new adventure and who you’re meant to become.” So thinking about fear as a GPS for where your soul most wants to go can help us reframe it. And in that reframing it, we stop trying to annihilate it or punch it in the face or get rid of it. And we realize that it’s just a really helpful signal that’s guiding us towards a path of growth.
Pat: Where’s your GPS pointing you toward?
Marie: Oh, right, exactly where I am. So I know when we publish this, it will probably have already happened when you all are listening to this. But basically, this book is a piece of the tour that is called the New York Experience is so far beyond anything that I have ever done. And it’s stretching all of us in all these new directions. And there’s choreography, there’s production, there’s . . . I described it to people like this. If you imagine a Beyonce concert and a TED talk had a baby and then threw a block party, that’s basically what we’ve created.
Pat: Oh my gosh. This is you and your team putting this together?
Marie: Yes, exactly.
Pat: Oh, Lord, where do I buy tickets to this?
Marie: Well, everyone’s listening to this, it will have already happened—
Pat: Oh, no.
Marie: But no, it’s okay. It’s totally okay. We’ll have video captured. And ideally, if everything you know, goes as it will, we’ll be able to share it with the world online in some form.
Pat: That’s amazing. Well, thank you. And I’m super stoked for your book, obviously. A big fan of you and the book and I hope people read it. Where can they go grab it?
Marie: Oh, absolutely. I mean, you can grab it at your favorite bookseller, or you can go to everythingisfigureoutable.com we have links to indie books and every different bookseller there is, even with international shipping. It’s coming out in eighteen territories, which makes me really, really proud. So if anyone’s listening from a different country, and they’re like, “Oh, I wish it was in my language.” There’s a chance that it is.
Pat: That’s epic. I wanted to take a few more moments if you had the time, Marie, to talk about the sort of future of business because things are changing quite rapidly here and I’d love to get your expert perspective on where things are headed. So for people who have businesses today or want to start a business, where do you foresee success happening? Because for a while, it was beyond social and now it seems to be communities and groups. Where do you think we should be putting our time and effort to build a sustainable business?
Marie: Yeah, it’s a great question. I’ve been on this train for a really long time. And I think it’s one of those core timeless, kind of pillars of business, that oftentimes people don’t pay enough attention to, or don’t give enough creativity to. I really believe it’s in customer experience. I think that due to technology and due to AI, and due to how automated things are, that people are lonelier than ever. Suicide rates are at a 30-year high here in the United States. And a big component of that is how lonely people feel. And so I think that as business owners, we could not only create really strong businesses by focusing on customer experience, but we can help heal people and we help them feel connected to themselves and others.
Marie: I think about this often because I fly a lot. I’m sure you do as well. And the airlines that take customer experience seriously, like for me, JetBlue is fantastic. The other night I took a flight on a different airline, which I don’t want to trash them. But I was shocked. I could not believe how the folks working there really didn’t want to work there. Do you know what I mean? There were so many elements. Even from a corporate level of the things that were offered or, kind of how they didn’t take care of their customers. It was shocking to me. And anytime I walk into a restaurant, I walk into a store, it could be a movie theater, it doesn’t matter what vertical that you’re in. When customer experience takes the front seat, I feel like people are happy to come back again and again. They’re happy to bring their friends and I think that can absolutely translate into an online business.
Our customer happiness department is the largest department in our company and it continues to grow. We answer every email. We respond to every inquiry. We help coach people and give them resources and do whatever we can to take care of them. And most of those people, Pat, they’re not B-Scholars, they’re not people that have taken The Copy Cure. They’re not necessarily paying customers. But we’re creating a customer experience with our community. And I say that in a large sense, and I personally think that’s the future of business.
Pat: I love that. So for me, I use the analogy of like, you’re at a restaurant, right? The worst customer service is you’re sitting there, you drink all your water, and it’s just like sitting there with an empty glass. Nobody’s helping you, right? That’s the worst thing. And most people who are listening to this show aren’t at that level, because we actually care about our people, right? But then the other one is, okay, the person sitting down goes, “Hey, excuse me, can you refill my water?” And that’s where most people are at. It’s like the reactionary customer service only when there is a problem, we will help you. My goal, and especially with Superfans is like, let’s get to the point where we’re all paying attention to the person’s glass, and before they even ask, we’re already refilling it for them, right?
Marie: I love that analogy. Brilliant.
Pat: So what are some ways that you or anybody listening can be proactive in customer service versus reactive?
Marie: One of the things that we do, which I love that we do this is we keep an eye on people. So in our B-School or community, for example, Customer Happiness is in there watching the conversations. When we notice someone having a struggle, they’re not necessarily asking for coaching or help, but we will go and send them what we call a love bomb, and they will get a handwritten card. Sometimes they get a surprise. They will get something in the mail unexpectedly that lets them know like, “Hey, I know that your husband was having a health challenge. That is one of the most difficult things in the world. We want you to know that Team Forleo is sending you and him prayers and our love and that we’re here for you and we’re going to be cheering you both on.”
Pat: That’s literally giving me goosebumps right now.
Marie: It’s the truth.
Pat: That’s so key because how long did that love bomb take you?
Marie: I mean, not long at all. And it’s just like sometimes there will be, and this isn’t I don’t know if you can consider it like, that’s something more proactive. But sometimes we’ll notice it’s someone’s birthday or something like that, and the team will let me know. And I’ll go make a little video, you know what I mean? To have it sent privately to that person or whatever. There’s so many different fun ways to—
Pat: And they’re easy guys. They’re easy to do. It just takes caring.
Marie: Totally. It’s just looking around. It’s kind of like, if you think about your customers, and you think about your fans and your audience as friends, and as people that you genuinely want them to feel seen and heard and acknowledged, and you root your behavior in generosity, there’s nothing you can’t achieve in your business. And by the way, I do want to make sure you say this, you cannot do it for a reaction. You have to do it from the purity of your heart. You must do it from a desire to genuinely connect and share a kind act with someone else. It cannot be a quote unquote strategy. Does that makes sense?
Pat: Yeah. Agreed. However, I recommend that you can schedule time to offer those unexpected personal interactions, right?
Marie: Oh, for sure. Like the logistics of scheduling time to make it happen, abso-friggin-lutely.
Pat: Right or else it’s never going to happen.
Marie: Correct. But like if someone’s like, “Oh, I have to. Now I’m going to go love someone up.” It’s like people can sniff out insincerity a mile away.
Pat: And then two weeks later, they get a follow up email, by the way buy my eBook, you know?
Pat: That’s not going to work.
Marie: Yeah, no, that’s not what we’re talking about.
Pat: So in your book, you have at the end of each chapter these insight to action challenges—which I love—it’s getting people to actually do what you’re talking about. What’s one thing based on just what we’re talking about right now that a person could really easily do and get some results?
Marie: Oh, insight to action challenge for this particular idea would be if you have a community, whether it’s on Facebook or somewhere and you have a set of customers that you know who they are, pay attention. Go check out their blog or go check out your community or go check out their Insta page. Snoop around in a really loving way and find someone who could use some acknowledgement. And whether you do that publicly and digitally or again, if they’re a customer and it’s okay because you do have their address, write a handwritten card, write a thank you, write something that has absolutely nothing to do with you or getting anything but merely shower them with appreciation or love or support based on the context of what they’re experiencing now.
Pat: Yes, Marie, this is why I love you, you’re so great. And it’s no wonder why you’re successful. You actually care about your people. And that’s really what it’s all about. And I care about people getting your book, Everything Is Figureoutable, available everywhere. And look out for those videos from that block party. We’ll go and find that and link to it once it’s out. But Marie, thank you so much. I appreciate you. What’s the one website you would want to have people visit?
Marie: Yeah, so there’s hundreds of free MarieTV episodes and The Marie Forleo Podcast. Over at marieforleo.com. It’s M-A-R-I-E-F-O-R-L-E-O.com
Pat: Thank you, Marie, I appreciate you.
Marie: Thank you.
Pat: Alright. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Marie. And again, check out her book, Everything Is Figureoutable. If you are around books for sale, you are likely going to see this book. And of course, you can check it out on Amazon as well. If you go to smartpassiveincome.com/figureoutable, you’ll find this book through my affiliate link. And it’s available in all kinds of ways. You want to check out a book, audio, Kindle or physical copy. I highly recommend the physical copy. It’s a beautiful book. I got an early copy of it, read it. It’s a part of my book club for this month as well. I’m not just endorsing this because she’s awesome and she’s a friend. I’m endorsing it because I do believe in the message and think everybody needs to read it. So check it out. Everything Is Figureoutable.
Thank you so much for listening in today. I appreciate you Team Flynn. You are my favorite people. And speaking of, there might be tickets available for the next FlynnCon. Yes, that’s right. If you haven’t checked it out yet. I know a lot of you are wondering how the first one went. We have an episode coming out next month, where Michael O’Neill comes on to our show here, to be a special guest interviewer. He interviews me about FlynnCon and everything that went down there. And if you want to get the early bird tickets and make sure you get in before it gets sold out to FlynnCon, July 24 to 26 in San Diego next year, just head on over to FlynnCon2.com. And you can check that out. Join all of us.
I think a lot of people were like all right, Pat. Well, I’m going to wait to see how you and your team do the first event to see if you even want to do it again. And we already sold nearly a hundred tickets before event one even finished. It was that good. And I cannot wait to host more of you here in San Diego. We’re not going to grow, even. It’s going to remain the same size. It felt very good. And yes, there will be an arcade again. So and yes, it’s in the summer and I highly recommend you bring your family as well. So anyway, all the good things are over at flynncon2.com. Thanks again to all the attendees who came and made it great and just make sure you get your ticket before the price goes up at the end of this month, flynncon2.com.
Team Flynn you’re amazing. Please subscribe if you haven’t already. And Marie, if you’re listening to this, thank you again for your time. I know you’re busy, especially with all the planning with your book launch. You are incredible. Thank you keep doing what you’re doing. And for everybody hey, Team Flynn for the win. Cheers.
Announcer: Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at www.smartpassiveincome.com.