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How To Keep Your Small Business Motivated—No Matter What

small business success tips with Marie Forleo

Inspirational quotes and self-help advice are great when you’re in the right mindset, things are going smoothly, and you’re cracking open your day with a hot cup of seasonally-spiced coffee.

But what about when debts pile up, client leads go cold, or you’ve committed to a huge project you’ve never tackled before? 

We went straight to the small business source for answers.

NY Times bestselling author, business thought leader and acclaimed B-School founder, Marie Forleo, shows us how to keep our motivation warmed and ready for action, even when we feel our most powerless (and pumpkin latté-less). 

Marie Forleo On How Any Business Struggle Can Be 'Figureoutable'

Marie Forleo - Bestselling author and small business expert

Trello: Hi Marie! So you’re right in the middle of a huge book tour for your book, Everything Is Figureoutable. You recently shared a behind-the-scenes video getting ready for this tour, and you were a little stressed out!

In the video, you ask yourself: “What did you get yourself into? Why didn’t you just do a normal book tour like everyone else? Why did you have to go above and beyond?”

So—why didn’t you just do a normal book tour like everyone else? How did you overcome your inner critic to tackle such a big project?

Marie: Nothing about me or my career has been normal, so I wasn’t about to break that pattern. I strive to live my life by this truth: you never get stronger if you only do easy things.

When I first shared my vision for our New York City book launch, “Imagine if a Beyonce Concert and a TED Talk had a baby, then threw a block party” it was both terrifying and wildly exciting. The only way we’d be able to bring that vision to life was to get straight into action. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

Action is the antidote to fear. Action beats the pants off self-doubt. That’s because movement creates momentum and once you’ve got momentum on your side, it’s hard to stop.

Trello: For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to read your amazing book yet, can you talk a little bit about the phrase everything is figureoutable, and why it’s been so important to your career and business success?

Marie: It’s a simple phrase that anyone can use to transform their life. It’s universal and limitless in its application.

For example, you can use it to solve mundane problems like a busted washing machine or flat tire. You can use it to build a company, reshape your health, or create financial freedom. You can use it to save (or end) a relationship, or find your way out of chronic stress, grief, anger, depression, addiction, anxiety, hopelessness, and debt.

Most importantly, you can use this idea in collaboration with others—in your family, organization, team, industry, community, or the world—to create positive and significant change.  

Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo (book jacket)

 

This 3-word phrase—"Everything is Figureoutable"—is the single most powerful driving force in my life. I still use it every day.

In high school, it helped me end a toxic and physically abusive relationship. In college, it helped me win highly-competitive work-study positions to pay for room and board.

It’s helped me land every job I’ve ever had, from bartending at the most coveted restaurants in Manhattan to lucrative oddball gigs—selling glow sticks at megaclubs—to trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, publishing at Condé Nast, teaching hip-hop, starring in workout videos, producing and choreographing on MTV, and becoming one of the world’s first Nike Elite Dance athletes—despite no formal dance training.

It’s what gave me the audacity to start a business at 23 and build it into the company I run today. 

Trello: That is truly amazing. Why is "everything is figureoutable" not just a motivational phrase, but, as you say, “practical, actionable discipline” for achieving your business goals?

Marie: When you say this phrase out loud, your brain instantly shifts into solution mode vs. being bogged down in problems. The more you repeat the phrase, the faster you train your brain to think more innovatively and creatively.

Repetition is a key principle in neuroplasticity. The book is filled with pragmatic strategies and simple steps, many of which are based in neuroscience, behavioral science, and plain common sense. 

Marie_Forleo"Action is the antidote to fear.

Action beats the pants off self-doubt.

That’s because movement creates momentum and once you’ve got momentum on your side, it’s hard to stop."


Trello: Especially if you’re at the helm of a business, it’s disheartening (even scary) when things take a downward turn and your motivation goes cold.

What do you do when you wake up in the morning and are just in no freaking mood to work on the pressing things you have to do to move your business forward? 

Marie: First, remember that downturns and sh*tastic days are a given in entrepreneurial life. Train yourself to show up with your A-game no matter what you feel. Why?

Because feelings are fickle. If you rely on feeling “inspired” or “motivated” to do what must be done to make your business succeed, it won’t. Relying on “feeling inspired” is an immature approach.

That said, keep the following in mind: You are your most important asset in business, so get enough sleep and take good care of your physical, emotional, and mental health.

Second, stay connected to the deeper reasons why your business must exist. When you’re committed to making a difference to the people you serve and to your team, you’ll have the emotional fortitude you need to persevere during tough times. 

Marie_Forleo
Feeling stressed as a #smallbiz owner? Don’t worry for long — @marieforleo shares her secrets and reasons for why #EverythingIsFigureoutable #TrelloSmallBiz

Trello: You dedicate a whole chapter to perfectionism. Why is it so good at draining our motivation? (And why don’t we often notice this happening?)

Marie: Trying to be perfect is exhausting. Perfectionism keeps you suffering and spinning your wheels. The solution is to focus on progress, not perfection.

Why? Because making progress is extremely motivating. Life doesn’t demand perfection. It doesn’t require you to be constantly fearless, confident, or self-assured. Life simply requires that you keep showing up. 

Trello: Later on, you mention your team keeps a “stress log” at work, which was a new idea to me. What is it and how does focusing on stress help you move past your biggest blockers?

Marie: A stress log is a simple practice of making a written list of recurring stressors. Then, the goal is to work through that list with your team and design systems and solutions to eliminate or transform the sources of stress as best as possible. Watch the MarieTV episode on the process and philosophy behind it here

Marie_ForleoThe solution is to focus on progress, not perfection. Why? Because making progress is extremely motivating.

Life doesn’t demand perfection. It doesn’t require you to be constantly fearless, confident, or self-assured. Life simply requires that you keep showing up. 


Trello: You also describe the cycle of fear and shame you went through trying to find your career path—including quitting a string of steady “dream” jobs in order to pursue your entrepreneurial passion for life and business coaching.

Now that you have the perspective of being a NYTimes bestselling author and successful business owner, what first piece of advice would you give your just-starting-out entrepreneurial self?

Marie: I’d give myself the advice to stop trying to fit into a conventional box. I’d encourage myself to embrace the full spectrum of my talents, skills and interests and trust that my multi-passionate nature is a gift that will fuel both growth, happiness, and ability to make a positive impact on others.

More Small Biz Advice From Marie

Marie_Forleo
Feeling stressed as a #smallbiz owner? Don’t worry for long — @marieforleo shares her secrets and reasons for why #EverythingIsFigureoutable #TrelloSmallBiz

Trello: Thank you so much, Marie, for all these amazing insights! Where can folks go to learn more about your work?

Ready to become unstoppable? Order your copy of the #1 New York Times bestseller Everything is Figureoutable from an Independent Bookseller, Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Do you want more actionable wisdom, inspiration, and entertaining videos magically appearing in your inbox each week?

Subscribe to become an MF Insider. You’ll also get instant access to a free training called How To Get Anything You Want. 

And, no matter what problem or challenge you’re facing in your business (or life !), there’s a MarieTV episode (or podcast) that will help. Check out the hundreds of free episodes available right now. 

Marie Forleo, Small Business Tips


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