The Successful Woman Entrepreneurs Give Back article series focuses on women who have mastered the art of creating and maintaining a business that sustains and enriches every aspect of their lives. The fourth pillar of Arianna Huffington's Third Metric - Giving - figures prominently in their lives and is supported by their multi-million dollar businesses. In bringing you their stories, my intent is to provide you with information and inspiration for modeling your business to achieve your personal version of lifestyle, legacy, and leading by example.
Marie Forleo is a force to be reckoned with in today's small business and personal development training arena. Dynamic, witty, and worldly, she provides inspiration for hundreds of thousands of followers through her award-winning online show, MarieTV. She has garnered the attention of some of the biggest names in the business - Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, and Sir Richard Branson, to name a few - and she has grown a simple solopreneur coaching business into a multi-million dollar enterprise that made the Inc. 500 list of Most Rapidly Growing Private Companies in America in 2014. Her Web site, MarieForleo.com, was selected for the first Forbes list of 100 Best Websites for Entrepreneurs in 2013.
I wanted to interview Marie, not only because of all of her accomplishments, but also because her interview with Arianna Huffington is what prompted me to read Arianna's latest book, Thrive. Thrive is the inspiration for this article series.
Marie says that the growth of Marie Forleo International is the result of setting big goals and taking strategic action. She is thrilled and grateful for her success, particularly because "nothing in business is guaranteed." Her desire to create positive change in the world and make a real impact on people's lives is what drives her to show up every day and give the business her best:
Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing others reach their full potential.
Marie's penchant for giving back began "in the early days," when she discovered she needed to work on her relationship with money:
While in my heart, I "knew" there was more than enough money to go around -- the reality was that I felt stress and anxiety whenever I opened my checkbook. Some weeks there was barely enough to cover the bills. I knew the only way I was going to permanently shift my external financial reality was if I started behaving in alignment with my internal truth.
So I made a commitment to give away a portion of profits from a small, virtual coaching program I was launching. That was my first substantial charitable donation and it felt so good that I wanted to keep going.
And she has kept going! Marie Forleo International seeks to partner with organizations that do work in areas that Marie and her team are passionate about. They get to know the founders of these organizations, their initiatives, and their track records, and also look at their philosophy and impact. When there's alignment, Marie "goes for it." Through her Change Your Life, Change The World® initiative, each for-profit training program that she offers is tied to a for-purpose partner that supports women and girls, entrepreneurship, education, and the environment.
I asked Marie to reflect upon what her financial success has done for her life - positively and negatively. Does she consider herself a High Net Worth Individual? She responded as follows:
It's been all positive. I have a healthy respect for money and value it as a tool for growth. I deeply appreciate its ability to create opportunities for myself, my family and my team as well as make an even greater difference in the world.
[Being a High Net Worth Individual] doesn't cross my mind. I was brought up by parents who looked for ways to save every penny, and I try to do the same.
Philanthropy is not the only element of Marie's life that anchors her in the Third Metric described in Arianna Huffington's Thrive. She also has a happy and fulfilling home life that revolves around her fiancé, actor and director Josh Pais, and her Australian Shepherd, Kuma.
Both Josh and Marie primarily work from home, so they get to spend a lot of time together. There are certain stretches of time where work becomes more intense and they "hang out a little less," but over the years, Marie has seen that things always seem to balance out. In terms of spending time with her parents, she says that she sees them more now that they live in Las Vegas than she did when they lived in her home state of New Jersey!
Marie says that laughing is extremely important for nurturing her mind, body, and spirit. She also meditates daily (she started this practice at the tender age of 17!), exercises, and eats "good, nourishing food" as part of her routine for self care. For fun, she cooks, has dance parties, watches movies, rides on roller coasters, and reads. She emphasizes that she loves to read.
I asked Marie who she is "being" these days, how this has changed over the years, and how philanthropy feeds into it:
I do my best to be of service. And, to be loving, playful, honest, receptive, creative, open and focused. I don't think who I am, or who I'm being, has changed that much over the years. [Philanthropy] inspires me to create more, grow more, and learn more so I can give more.
Today, Marie's ultimate goal in life is
to keep creating more ways to help people. It's all about creating, serving, loving, and having fun!